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Yamato: The New Adventures


Fan fiction sequel to Final Yamato Movie, in Episode Format. 1-5 Parts out of 7 Part Mini-Series


Yamato: The New Adventures... (Sequel to 'Final' Yamato in Episode type format) 'Written with permission of Voyager Entertainment

By Erwin Stevens


The Arrival ---


     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 who love, aspire and fight in war, and there are others that are peace loving. Many forms of life are in the universe, and they mostly live in peace, scattered throughout its cold vastness.


     The speck that makes up Earth is one such place. It is a place where wars have come and gone, leaving their mark. It is in a standard class M solar system, known as 'SOL' where eleven planets orbit the single life-giving star. Living on the third one, the insignificant body called Earth lives an advanced civilization known as the human kind. It is one solar system in the middle of this galaxy containing millions of stars with many solar systems yet to be discovered.


     The story starts outside of the 'SOL' Solar System in the middle of deep space. It is where a relic of war, floats freely in space, a lone derelict carried by the solar winds as it travels farther away from its point of origin. The place is called Earth.


     The hulk and derelict are the remains of the bridge and amidships section of Space Battleship Yamato, a ship destroyed during the last conflicts for Earth and SOL. The ship had been sacrificed when the Dinguil traveled to Earth for conquest, and used the legendary planet called Aquarius, to prelude their invasion. Aquarius is a planet, which in legend, had given Earth life and their seas. The Dinguil failed in their plan, to flood Earth and destroy the planet, however. The enemy was destroyed with the help of the Gamelans, and the Yamato Space Battleship had sunk in the remaining waters, after breaking the water column that flooded Earth. Now as a derelict, the bridge section of the ancient ship spun freely as it tumbled against the stars of space. It is a permanent memorial for those sacrificed on the last mission to protect Earth. Although, there is only one body that remains on board and it is he alone who triggered the wave gun. The body of Captain Abraham Avatar, Commander of Yamato, still sits in the Captain's chair his hand still gripping the wave triggering device. 


     Now after a year, as the bridge continues to tumble through the cold oblivion of space: It does not do so unobserved. Nearby, a huge green swirling anti-matter vortex has opened up. Appearing from within it, that a streamline vessel, a Star Cruiser Class Starship named the S.S Magellanic Clouds arrives from the future.


     Sitting on the bridge of her ship, Ihsss T'Larra, a young reptilian woman called a Thyrnn is the Commander of the Clouds, a Star Cruiser Class Starship of the future. As the young reptilian Captain slumps over in the command chair that she managed a groan, before slowly opening her green eyes, focusing on the smooth darkened metal of the bridge's ceiling bulkhead. The reptilian woman sits dazed from the wild ride they had just taken through time and space. Slowly, she manages to sit up in her chair from her slumped over position, and shook her large head before turning her head to pan a quick gaze about the silent bridge of her ship. She and her crew are one of many other races throughout the galaxy who staff this compact Space Cruiser Class Starship. They are all refugees from the evil war machine of the Cybertron Empire who had enslaved the universe in the future.


Captain T'Larra herself is a rather unique individual. She is a large, very beautiful reptilian female, with a trim, muscular body, a standard bone structure unlike a human with two forward set emerald green eyes. She has along graceful neck with grayish scales on her tan and white colored body. The only difference to a human would be that Ihsss' people have long tails. She would be considered to resemble the reptilian creatures on Earth.


     At first glance, the ship at the moment is a stream of chaos. Many bodies lay on the deck, wounded from the battle against the Cybertron Empire before they had been thrown through time and space. They would be thrown light-years from their original position and through time, to six hundred years into the past. The futuristic starship had come from a century where a huge galactic war in the known universe rages into its twentieth year, where everyone combatant. This even included Earth, until its destruction and the entire known universe conquered by a cybernetic war machine, called the Cybertron Empire. It would be where many planets would fall, until the universe combined its forces, pushing back the Cybertron to halt their evil conquest in its tracks. As for the ship and crew of the Clouds, at this very moment, unknowingly now find themselves in the year 2208 AD, a year and a half after the Yamato had been destroyed, its crew returned to Earth from space.


     “What happened? Where are we?” Thought the reptilian Captain, and slowly, she panned a gaze to each station on the bridge.


     At each position, her friends, refugees from the war in their time, staffed the semi-lighted bridge of her ship. Felonious Purrrtz of a feline race slumps over the console of the science station. Veloxa Bzzzarti and Thyrac Antillean of an Insectoid race sprawl out across the Helm and Navigation positions. Kwai Mao of a Humanoid race is lying on the deck next to the weapon's defense station and Hi M'thss, the captain's daughter, slumps partially in her chair about to fall to the deck. Outside, her ship spins uncontrollably through the black void of space.


     “Report!” the reptilian Captain shouted sharply and slowly Felonious Purrtz, the feline Science Officer, rose up from a slumped over position over his console. He panned a quick check about at the semi lighted bridge, as he shook his furry head, to quickly clear his disorientation and brush his long grayish-silver fur from his golden eyes. His paw-like hands danced quickly over his console, moving with blinding speed, checking all systems and clicking the many switches on the panel. The feline officer's face grimaced.


     “It appears we are on emergency power captain.” He announced after a moment, “All systems are out. If Voloxa is still with us in engineering, we'll have power back in a few moments.”


     Ihsss nodded, as she glanced in his direction. “Is everyone all right?” The reptilian Captain asked, panning a worried look about the bridge to her long-standing friends. Each one made a move to acknowledge her question, the ones who were living, and she managed a slight nod. Ihsss then turned her attention to the Navigator, Thyrac Antillean. A moment later, the lights on the bridge brightened and some systems beeped as they restarted.


     “Auxiliary power restored, Captain. It appears that Voloxa is still with us.” Felonious said, and Ihsss turned, flashing a smile at him. A low hum echoed across the bridge, as the ventilators began to work, clearing the bridge of smoke.


“Damage control all decks… uh… Report it to the bridge.” Ihsss said into the intercom, “Report to weapons control.” She hit a switch located on the arm of her chair, to close the channel.


     “Veloxa, activate forward view screen, let us see where we the heck we are.” Ihsss ordered.


     Veloxa, the Insectoid Navigator sat at her console and she turned, hitting the control with her claw-like fist. At first, a gray static appeared on the screen before it flickered, and the once again the stars of space appeared there. Ihsss managed a smile, extremely happy to see the stars again, but it quickly faded as she realized her ship was spinning out of control outside a large unknown galaxy ahead of them.


     “Helm, thrusters at station keeping, and hold us all stop.” Snapped the Captain, and the helmsman quickly hit her controls. Outside the ship, small blue jets thundered from the ports in the hull, and their Star Cruiser straightened itself before it wallowing slowly to a stop. Thyrac Bzzzarti, the ship's Navigator sat busily over the computer monitor and on the screen, complex equations scrolled across it as he fed data into it. After a moment the insect Navigator turned, meeting the reptilian Captain's questioning look.


     Ihsss stared at the main screen in question, now showing the great cloud of the Milky Way in front of them and her expression showed a confused frown. “Where are we, Navigator?”


     “We're approximately one million light years from our last position captain.” He said, “Whatever that vortex did to us it threw us off course and we currently sit in uncharted space for our records.” Felonious hearing this, had put his furry face into the sensor module, and after a moment he straightened up with a strange frown.

     “Galaxy ahead is a class M star cluster, approximately over ninety thousand astronomical meters in diameter, has a trillion solar mass, and approximately made up of two hundred billion stars.” He announced, “Length of central bar is approximately twenty-five thousand light years. There are seventy major systems in this part of this galaxy. A class M type solar system lies ahead of us.”


     “Class M?” Ihsss mused, “Is it well defined? Where we can find a planet to gather the needed materials to make repairs in flight?” 


     “Aye, eleven planets, one major star, planets ranging from two to nine on the habitation scale.” His whiskers twitched when he read the data. “We are on the extreme edge of its border. The outer planets are not habitable they seem to have been blasted into rubble. There are nine planets of all distinguishable size.” Felonious paused as data streamed on the console screen.


“The second galaxy in this area is a little larger, approximately two hundred thousand astronomical meters in diameter and is rated as class K. It has a double nucleus, and approximately thirty-one major solar systems.” The Science Officer said, finishing his initial report.


     Ihsss grimaced, “Is there any record of any contact or habitable planets in this area?” The feline Science Officer shook his head.


     “No record of habitual systems in this area… or contact from any ships from our respective cultures.” He announced and the reptilian Captain managed another grim nod.



     ”Excuse me, Captain, the damage control is completed.” Kwai interrupted, and Captain T'Larra swiveled her chair toward the Humanoid woman. She had heard the worried tone in her voice.


     “Go ahead.” Ihsss prompted, and even nodded to her.


”We sustained minor damage for all decks. Any major damage is in engineering section and the starboard nacelle. The rest were overloads and power burn outs.” She replied, “Casualties, we ended up with a few, but there were still six who were killed. Engineering reports we are now on auxiliary power and full power will be restored in about three hours. In a summary skipper, we are extremely fortunate.”


     “That's for sure Kwai.” Ihsss muttered to herself, turning to the Science Officer and nodded her head.


     “What was that phenomena that we passed through, Fel?” Ihsss asked.


     “Unknown. I only know that it was comprised of pure anti-matter energy, and when it exploded, that it seemed to be a warp of types opening up a hole in the space time continuum.” The feline Science Officer reported, “According to our sensors, and the recorders, we have been thrown through time and space. To where is uncertain, and I am analyzing the data from them for an approximate fix.”


     “Better find out quick and everyone keep an eye out for Cybertron.” Ihsss' ordered, “We don't need to be caught vulnerable like this.”


     “Aye captain,” He replied and turned to the console.


     “Kwai stand down red alert, but maintain yellow alert.” The reptilian Captain ordered, “Hi'Mthsss, anything on the communications channels?”


     “Negative Captain.” Hi replied, “It is very strange, the normal channels are static.”


     “Keep trying.” Ihsss ordered, waving her hand gently to her frustrated daughter who sat at the Communications station.  


     “Aye captain,” The young reptilian replied, turning to let her fingers dance over the console in front of her, switching channels at will, with a vain hope of contact with someone.


     Behind her, at the Helm, Veloxa, the insect-like helmsman turned away from her post, attention distracted by a young Humanoid that held a very thin wafer board. She took it, scanned it quickly, to sign her name while behind, her the derelict of Yamato floated undetected in front of them.


     Hi' Mthsss sat at her console, punching the seek button, as she scanned the frequencies of communications. Several times static echoed through her earpiece of her headset. Here, she scanned other channels and gasped when faint voices echoed over it. At first, she felt a wave of relief but frowned when she figured that it is not their base she had been listening to on her headset. Her hands danced quickly over the console, getting a fix on the location on the directional indicator on the console. The reptilian communicator glanced at the screen, at the Milky Way Galaxy ahead of them, and then back to her console. A look of confusion appeared on her face.


     “Mother, err… Captain, I am picking up radio chatter in this area.” Hi announced, “It is not on the usual channels. I picked it up as I tried to get a hold of the council via subspace messages with no luck. It's very faint, coming from the solar system ahead of us.”


     Felonious and Ihsss both turned, to face her, and they had a look of astonishment on their faces. Ihsss and Felonious could not believe what they had just heard.


     “What do you mean… radio chatter?” Felonious asked, walking to join her at her console. He put the sounds on the small speaker on the console and Ihsss quickly joined him too. Both listened intently to the chatter at her console.


     “Cybertron?” Felonious asked and Hi'Mthsss shook her head.


     “I don't think so.” Hi’Mthsss said, hitting the button to clear the crackle of white noise that cracked on the speaker. “As far as I can tell it is on a low level band.” A voice echoed across the bridge, along with static between certain parts of it, making it seem fragmented and splotchy.


     “Today's evening news, Sept…ber sixth, twenty-two…” The voice said, “Today the crow… all over … world is in wild … for the anniversary … victory of the defeat of the Comet … who … surrender as they attacked our forces. … know it had happened one year after … recovered from the deadly radiation of planet … and the … went to Iscandar to receive the … from Queen Starsha … Iscan… Today will mark the eight-… of these … great events and … of those who … to maintain the pea… On hand … the celebration will be the crew … that … journey. In other news is … planet in jeopardy?”


     “Hi.” Ihsss said quickly, and made a throat cutting gesture. The bridge was silent. The captain turned her head to the others on the bridge who stared at the communications station, having listened in amazement at the transmission they had just heard.


     “Comet Empire defeat,” Ihsss said, “That happened in the latter part of the twenty-third century.”


     “It appears we are too.” Felonious told her solemnly. The reptilian Captain glanced at him. A look pure surprise and astonishment on her face.


     “It coincides with the data we have. It appears that we have warped through time, not just in position like a warp fluxes that would take us speedily across the universe.” The Science Officer told them, “Anniversary of the Comet Empire defeat is when a lot of enslaved planets were freed, when Trelana of Telezart, helped the humans of Earth fight the evil empire.”


     “Our planet had been one of those slave labor camps.” Veloxa added, “They were cruel taskmasters for their evil war machine.”


     “What do you make of it Fel?” Ihsss asked, grimacing at the speaker as more broken transmissions echoed from it, thanks to her daughter who listened to it as she tried pinpointing the broadcast specifically.


     He shrugged. “It makes me uncomfortable skipper.” The feline Science Officer replied, walking back to his station, “I have a bad feeling about this. This could be a trap set by the Cybertron, knowing our mission to stop them from changing history.”


     “Hi… continue to monitor the traffic, and record it for analysis with linguistics.” The reptilian Captain instructed, as she worked over the console.


     Ihsss stood staring at the view screen in confusion. “Strange wormhole caused by anti-matter, echoes from a solar system that seems to be inhabited. What next? She muttered.


     “I don't know, Captain.” Felonious whispered back, as they talked privately between each other. “We had better be cautious and our next move could be a disaster. If we indeed were transported to another time, I recommend caution. Any change could destroy everything we know. However, if the Cybertron came here, trying to change time to their advantage, we need to stop them.  Right now, we need to find out what the focal point is of this time stream before we try altering it.”


     “Well I agree, but what is our next move?” asked the reptilian Captain.  


     “It has to do with Aquarius.” Felonious said, “They have an unlimited source of energy, if we can destroy that planet here, we can stop them from winning the war and stop the bloodshed in our own time.”


     “I think the Cybertron have entered this time, to change time where they will have the water planet here, and potentially use as a base to destroy the allies that could potentially stop them before the war even starts.”


     ”Earth was the first target in their invasion.” Hi’ Mthsss corrected, “They have wave technology, the most powerful weapon in the universe, short of the pulsar cannon. The Earthlings refused to surrender and kept on fighting, ending in their demise.”


     “They could destroy the planet, and the Cybertron in our time would lose the war?” Ihsss asked and she caught his nod.


     “Then we have double jeopardy, protecting Earth and destroying Aquarius.” The reptilian Captain said, “However that is a logical place to start and where our duty lies. But how do we make contact, and make them believe us.”


     “I don't know.” Felonious countered, “There has to be a focal point that could make them listen. I don't know what happened in this time frame or events in this year, so it is hard to make an analysis.”


     Hi'Mthsss, behind them, let out a startled gasp when she had looked up from her console and on the screen held the derelict of Yamato before them, now outlined by the huge white cloud of the Milky Way Galaxy.


     “Captain!” She shouted, and quickly Ihsss, who had returned to her chair, swiveled it to face her.


     “What…? Holy Kriznar!*” Muttered the reptilian Captain, glancing once at the view screen. She found herself gasping in loud amazement.


(*Footnote, expression of exclamation, IE 'Holy Cow!')


     “Kwai, sound red alert, raise the shields and all hands to battle-stations!” A klaxon alarm blared over the speakers and several crews appeared on the bridge. Fifteen minutes later, everyone had the ship manned and ready, waiting for the battle to start. Captain T'Larra sat in the command chair, scanning the bridge and the view screen. She had hit the silencer not more than five minutes after signaling the alert, neutralizing the klaxon, and now sat waiting, as the crew worked hard to identify the ship on the screen.


     All eyes including the young communicator were glued to the screen. The familiar humming noise of the sensors echoed across the bridge. “Ship is a derelict.” Felonious declared solemnly, and the crew breathed a sigh of relief.


     “Maintain alert.” Ihsss instructed, “Whose ship is it?”


     Felonious shrugged when she glanced at him.


     “I'm running matches of all encountered ships, including Cybertron, so far there is no match. Strange, however, I am also scanning strange concentrations of recent battle radiation from the derelict. There seems to also to be a chemical composition that is illogical for a derelict to have.” Felonious reported.


     Ihsss swiveled the chair. “Explain.” She said.


     “Well, starting with the radiation, the levels indicate there had been a fight recently, the derelict is the source of the radiation and it is leaving a trail through space from the solar system ahead of us.” Felonious said, pointing to the display. “There is also a low level of nitrogen and oxygen present, though the ship has been compromised to the vacuum of space.”


     “Is there any life on board?” Ihsss asked, hopefully.


     “Negative Captain.” Felonious replied solemnly, “We are doing full scans. The radiation might be interfering with our scans though.”


     “Tachyon Energy was used back in the twenty-first mid twenty-second century, by most cultures that had any sort of space travel. It is a precedent to the current methods of the warp engine. It was very efficient for the day, and it radiated a lot of power, but was unpredictable.” Voloxa said, as he appeared on the bridge.


     “I thought you were below.” Felonious said with a smile, and he walked over to gently backslap the engineer warmly, “Nice work on keeping us afloat, Voloxa tis to your work.”


     The engineer grinned smugly, and he narrowed his eyes at the screen. “That ship has been around probably for a few centuries and what it used to be was a fine piece of work, as an engine goes.”


     “Well it appears we are too, according to scans and data logs.” Felonious told the engineer, “Up for a spacewalk we should take a look at that ship a little closer, I have a feeling that is going to tell us a lot what happened here.”


     “You mean that ship has been around for five hundred years…” Voloxa asked with a gasp, “It looks brand new.”


     “Yes, we are still trying to identify her.” Ihsss added, politely.  


     Sitting at her console for Communications, Hi'Mthsss studied the ship for a moment, and shook her head before turning back to the console in front of her. Something kept making her glance at the screen every few minutes, as her mind whirled with memories.


     “There is something familiar about that ship.” She thought, “I have seen that structure before.” She had turned back to her console, but constantly glanced at the screen and the Science Officer.


     “What are the proportions of the nitrogen, oxygen levels?” Ihsss asked, and the feline Science Officer hit the switch on his console and figures flashed on screen.


     “Seventy three percent oxygen, twenty percent nitrogen,” Felonious announced, “Low levels, but breathable.”


     “What happened to them?” Ihsss asked, “That is one powerful weapon to destroy a ship of that size like that. Could it be a pulsar weapon? Like the vessels, we encountered a while back. Could it already be the Cybertron?”


     “I don't think so skipper.” Felonious replied solemnly.


     For several minutes, it puzzled the young reptilian communicator and she reminisced back when they were home on their planet, something old that she had learned back in school. When it finally came to Hi'Mthsss, it had hit her like an electrical charge, making her snap her head, staring long and hard at the view screen. The communicator gasped, unable to believe that she now is staring at a legend, one she learned about on her home world. Her gasp had echoed across the bridge rather loudly, and it made everyone on the bridge look at her.


     “Yamato!” Hi breathed, remembering the lessons long ago while on her home world and in school. It had been a lesson about a ship from far away that had single handedly defeated the Comet Empire, with the help of Trelana of Telezart, freeing many enslaved planets of this war machine. All eyes focused upon her.


     “What's wrong Hi?” Felonious asked.


     “That ship has a name and I know who it belongs to.” Hi said, “It was a study back home. That is the Earth ship Yamato, the ship that destroyed the Comet Empire.”


     A low groan and murmur echoed the bridge as Hi M'thss stood up slowly from her chair, her eyes never leaving the view screen. Voloxa had gasped too, having heard the name while on his one home planet when the Comet Empire had control and before the Cybertron had taken over.


     Ihsss turned to the science officer. “That radiation trail…Felonious.” She asked, her voice choked, and her face showing a grimace, “You said there is a visible radiation course?”


     Felonious turned, hitting a button, and a line appeared on the screen from the derelict into the Sol galaxy that lay out ahead of them.


     “Origin is course one, eight, three, distance, one point one light year.” The feline Science Officer answered, “Confirmed, it is leaving a visible trail from the solar system ahead of us.”


     “Do you think the Cybertron got to her first?” Ihsss' countered, “Do you think Earth is still there?”


     “It seems so, Captain.” Felonious replied solemnly.


     “The radio signals I have intercepted are a news base of a New Tokyo/Federal City.” Hi reported, “There is no doubt Earth is there, I am certain of that, and have confirmed the origin of the signals, multiple times.”


     “Hi' M'thss.” Felonious said, “What are the coordinates you have that might list the location of Earth.”


     “What is it Fel?” asked the Captain who turned her chair to him.


     “I want to test a theory.” He said, “It may prove our location and the jump in time.”


     “Well the only information we learned was the home base region was called Earth, and group was called the Star Force.” Hi said, “The system was called SOL, in the Milky Way, coordinates two, seven, seven by one, three, three. They are the only group who fought the Comet Empire and it is because of Trelana warned them and her power defeated the Comet Empire.”


     “Thyrac.” Felonious said, turning meeting the questioning gaze of the Insectoid, “Please pull up the star charts we have of this region, for our current time.”


     “Aye.” He replied and his claw-like hand touched the button nearby. Turning Felonious dialed in the coordinates and they appeared on the screen in the form of a yellow dot.


     “Now, I'm calculating our position.” Felonious said, and a red dot appeared. The feline officer moved the two together and it formed an orange dot.


     “You mean we are at the Milky Way?” Ihsss gasped, and a low ripple of conversation rippled around the bridge.


     “Quiet please.”


     “It appears so Captain.” Felonious replied, “We might not be at the focal point in history where Earth has been destroyed already. We might be further back, before it was destroyed by the Cybertron. In my opinion, there are two possibilities, we could be hearing an echo from space, caused by the displacement of the time continuum, or we are really in the past.”


     “The ship, was not destroyed after they defeated the Comet Empire were they?” Felonious asked, and Hi M'thss shook her young reptilian head.


     “No…” The Communicator replied, “I don't know when the ship was destroyed, but according to the history, the ship did return home after that battle. Trelana sacrificed herself and returned the Emperor of the Comet Empire to the cosmos. The fate of it, however, is uncertain after that.”


     “Then that means we ARE in the year twenty-two-oh-eight then?” Ihsss suggested, “Something must have happened. Could the time stream have been altered, and the Earth ship destroyed by the Cybertron in this century?”


     Felonious shrugged. “The data is still being analyzed from the recorders for an accurate reading. The Comet Empire was defeated in the year twenty-two-oh-one, approximately. It has been about seven years since that battle occurred. Apparently Earth has endured many more battles, against other enemies, since that time.”


     “Well Felonious, I think we had better investigate. Helm?” Ihsss prompted and Veloxa turned her chair to face the reptilian Captain, with a big grin on her Insect-like features.


     “Bring us within one thousand kelicans of the derelict. Course three, one, five. Thyrac, raise the navigational deflectors. Approach her nice and easy.”


     Veloxa turned to her console. “Aye, captain,” She replied, as her hands danced across the console. 


     “Kwai maintain yellow alert status. Hi'Mthsss, you assist Felonious in the investigation, providing all data you know about Yamato's background. Voloxa and Felonious will be going on a spacewalk to examine the ship close up.” The ship became a hustle of activity. Ihsss stared at the screen then down to the chair's console before hitting a switch.


     “Boarding parties, report to airlock five in fifteen *tarnos.” The reptilian Captain ordered, “Full Medical and Engineering Teams.”  *(tarnos = equivalent of minutes on Ihsss' planet.)


     Veloxa half turned, “Ready, skipper.” The insect-like pilot told her and Ihsss' nodded.


     “Thrusters ahead,” Outside the ship, the jets of blue appeared on the hull and the Cruiser slowly began to make its way toward the derelict. They had no idea of the find they were about to discover aboard the derelict, a Hero of Earth.


A New Adventure 


     The story picks up approximately one and a half years after the final mission of the Earth ship, Yamato -- 


     Meanwhile on Mars: Derek Wildstar, formerly of the Yamato crew, sits in the assigned quarters for him and his new wife, Nova. They have come to Mars not more than a half a year ago, a few weeks after returning from the final mission of the Space Battleship Yamato.


     Once again, this crew saved Earth from destruction by the Dinguil Empire that threatened their home with the use of a legendary planet known as Aquarius, who in legend gave Earth life. They had all paid a high price for peace this time, paying dearly with the blood their comrades who died on board the Yamato on its final mission, to again save Earth. It is also hard for the others in the ranks of the Yamato crew to cope, especially for Derek who lost his best friend, Mark Venture and his mentor, Captain Avatar who seemed to be resurrected from the dead many years after the first mission to Iscandar.  It still hurt the young chief to remember his friends, whom they had buried upon Hero's Hill before this final mission of Yamato and the now more, who had been buried after they recently arrived home. The chief had seen enough blood-shed to last a lifetime. and all he seemed to have from his time in space are those memories.


     However, as Chief Wildstar thinks of his friends, he also remembers the first time they had been brought together for the first mission. How they had taken the Yamato, and had traveled out to Iscandar to get the Cosmo DNA. He remembered how young they were, how many adventures they undertook fighting the many battles against the Gamelans, and having to deal with the anxiety, stress and fear everyone had of not succeeding on their mission. The chief thought of Conroy, Hardy, Lance, Orion, Sgt. Knox, Sparks, and even Royster. They are all gone now, perished while on their adventures together. They included, on top of the names, innocent bystanders like Starsha of Iscandar, heroine of Earth, Astra, her sister, Wildstar's own brother Alex, and his niece (Alex and Starsha's Daughter) Sasha, who sacrificed themselves to save Yamato. Even Trelana of Telezart, who loved Mark Venture, had died to save Earth by taking on the evil Prince Zordar of the Comet Empire. She had sacrificed her planet first to slow the Comet Empire down, allowing the Yamato to reach home first before the Empire arrived at Earth. She then sacrificed her life, returning Zordar to the cosmos using her mystical powers. Now it was all over, Earth was at peace.


     Derick, shook his head and cleared the images, silently staring at the stars through the view port. He could not help thinking of his friends, the many who had perished during the many adventures of the Yamato. He stared at the stars, and could almost imagine Mark and Trelana meeting once again, with the others, his crewmembers and his friends who had died. He imagined seeing them running across the landscape and he taking her up into his arms, kissing her passionately. Old lovers reunited after their separation by death. Wildstar smiled openly at the thought then reality came back into focus.


     “We have accepted an assignment to Mars. This is, our final assignment in space, before we return home to permanent places on Earth.” He thought and grimaced. Derick and his wife Nova, are those few who had went to the planet Iscandar, and had survived all the missions together. During that time, they had fallen in love with each other and had finally married after the Yamato's last mission, despite putting it off before. This would be their last assignment before they would return to Earth. Derick's thoughts were suddenly interrupted however, his reminisces fading, when the door chime sounded. The sound had made him jump slightly, and he felt an overwhelming dread encompass his senses. Walking to the nearby console he hit a switch. 


     “Come!” Wildstar shouted sharply, and the doors opened obediently to allow entry of his very pale and drawn wife. An Earth Defense trooper steadied her on the arm.


     “Nova?” he asked, his voice and tone indicating a question more than a statement. Derick stepped forward toward her.


     “What happened?” Wildstar asked, directing his question toward the trooper.


     “She's all right chief.” The trooper replied, “She collapsed while on duty and I have orders by the infirmary, Doctor Hill to escort her back to quarters.” Derick managed a smile, and a slight nod. The trooper's hand slipped from her arm and he let go of her. Nova stumbled forward and Derick's reflexes moved like lighting as he lunged forward, catching her in his arms.


     “Thank you.” Wildstar politely told the trooper and smiled broadly as the young soldier saluted before exiting their quarters.


     When they were alone he stared at his wife. Derick's eyes carried a deep concern. “Nova, are you all right?” He asked and she smiled.


     “Derek, I'm fine, really. You didn't have to worry.” She told him, “I'm fine, and so is the baby.” Wildstar held her tightly, shaking his head. Her statement seemed to hover there for a few seconds.


     “You shouldn't be working so hard. This has been the third day of extra…” He declared, and suddenly her statement had sunk in, feeling like someone or something had slapped him very hard upside the head. Wildstar had drawn back, gasping loudly and stared at her with a genuinely astonished face.


     “What?” Wildstar managed to stammer, choking, “W-what was that Nova?” She stared at her husband lovingly, her eyes twinkling, giggling quietly with a mischievous mirth.


     “I said I'm fine and so is the baby. Derek, I'm pregnant and you're going to be a father.” She giggled quietly again. Wildstar on the other hand stared at Nova and his mouth hung open.


     “ME?” He choked, after a full five minutes. “A father? Are you sure?” Nova was nodding her head, but was biting her lip trying not to laugh at the face that he now made. Wildstar's face still showed astonishment but there was a smile forming there. After a brief moment between them, he happily grabbed her up into his arms letting out a yelp of joy.


     “HOT DAMN, I'm going to be a dad!” He shouted, lifting her up and as Derick held her, he spun her around in a loving embrace. Nova giggled, and laughed, as they held each other. They stared into each other's eyes and he embraced her again, kissing her passionately. However, Wildstar could not get the provocative question that his inner soul kept asking out of his head. 'When?' It had not been long after their marriage they had done the deed.


     “When?” His mind coached and now it was his turn to blush. Wildstar did so deeply when it finally struck him, remembering when they had got married and what happened after.


     “We had made love on the beach after we got married, that's when!” Derick thought, answering the question. He grimaced, his face showing him absolutely stunned by the revelation. 


     “Oh my god,” Derick murmured, as his face showed clear alarm for the thought of being unprepared for parenthood but still the thought of being a father intrigued him. It was a little sudden and Derick knew he would have to make arrangements quickly to accommodate this new event.


     “Derick are you alright?” Nova asked, and he nodded. Everything seemed to be getting much better.  The pain seemed to lessen from the memories of the last mission. Wildstar suddenly found himself back on the Yamato, on the mission to Iscandar, and standing in the observation lounge. It had been when Nova had been wishing on the Volton Star. It had just been after one hell of a trip through the red star, after they used the wave gun to destroy a huge flare, and barely managing to avoid the plasma cloud sent by the Gamelans to destroy them.  He had laughed and made fun of her.


     “Had it come true? All this was a reality now. They had fallen in love, married and now parenthood.” He asked himself, “Thank the heavens we will be on Earth in a few months.”


     Inside, he was a bundle of excited nerves, excited and hardly able to wait to tell their friends and former shipmates about it in the Star force. “Great news to tell…” He murmured and Nova put her hands on his shoulders.


     “Derek, are you sure you are all right?” She asked, again her face showing grave concern. She put up a hand and lifted his chin and met his eyes, staring deeply into them, madly in love with her husband that she had fallen for what seemed a lifetime ago for them both.


     “Uh.... Yeah....” He replied, “Everything is terrific!” Wildstar embraced her, and just held her. Nova began to laugh and Derick followed suit. He just held her, putting his hand on her stomach. He glanced at her smiling.


     A moment later the door-chime sounded behind them, and it interrupted their romantic moment. They both glanced at each other, before turning toward the door in surprise. Wildstar turned, setting Nova down gently, and moved toward the door.


      “I wonder who that could be. It's quite late for visitors.” Nova frowned, shrugging her shoulders.


     “Come!” He commanded, and he hit the button on the console making the door slide open. Two uniformed officers appeared outside the door, clad in the familiar Earth Defense uniforms, and they stepped through the open doors entering the room. The couple gasped when they saw them.


     “Why it's Sandor and Dash…” Nova stammered, staring at the two men who served with them onboard the Space Battleship Yamato for many years, and on the many missions of the familiar ship. 


     “Sandor! Dash!” Nova and Derick exclaimed together, rushing toward their friends. He greeted them with a hearty handshake and Nova kissed the two men on the cheek. Sandor and Dash both sputtered a bit, and coughed uncomfortably, making Nova laugh. 


     “Derek, Nova.” Sandor replied grinning.


      “Hey chief, how's it going!” Dash exclaimed, as he warmly black slapped his commander. Derick laughed loudly at the two men, putting a hand on Sandor's shoulder.


     “It's been a long time Sandor, what brings you and Dash to my neck of the woods?”  Wildstar asked, the technician grinned slightly, as did his former second in command, Dash.


     “Yeah, it seems like a long time since we were all together, but it has been only a year or so. We missed you at the last gathering though.” Nova moved to take her husband's hand.


     “Well it seems you both will be returning sooner than you think, however.” Sandor said and withdrew an envelope from his jacket, handing it to Wildstar. He took the envelope with a puzzled frown and turned it over in his hands. The technician had always been reserved, but zany in his own way. He always had flair of being dramatic and too serious.


     “What's this?” asked Wildstar, taking the envelope and holding it.


     “It is your orders from the Earth Defense Commander himself, hand written and on the strictest confidence to be carried to you both personally,” The technician replied, “It seems we had some interesting activity while you both have been away. We made an exciting new discovery in the US Sector of the Earth Defense Command.”


     Nova and Derick glanced at each other and their stares of disbelief panned to Dash and Sandor. Wildstar had managed to accept the envelope with a rather passive look on his face, until he stared at the flap, noting it had the Earth Defense Seal on it. Derick broke the seal, and from the envelope, he pulled the papers from inside it. Quickly his eyes scanned them. They were hand-written orders from Earth Defense Commander Singleton, and a look of question appeared on his face.


     “What is it Derick?” Asked Nova and he turned his head meeting her questioning look, reading her expression to nod slowly.


     “But Sandor, the Commander knows this is our last assignment and we're out after this…” Wildstar told him, handing the papers silently to Nova. She read them quickly and let out a gasp. Derick glanced at his wife in silent understanding when she put up a hand covering her mouth as-if to stifle it.


     “Derick…” Nova started to say, and he understood her astonishment she held up her hand. She stared at her husband, as Sandor and Dash, shook their heads at Wildstar.


     “I did not know that, but orders are orders, Commander Singleton needs you both back urgently.” Sandor urged.


     “You got my attention now Sandor, what's going on?” Wildstar asked.


“Well first, the information what I know, is classified and I can't tell you until we return to Earth to the Commander's office.” Their friend replied. Both Derick and Nova grimaced. “But, what I can tell you now, is a discovery that has made has a link to Aquarian Technology to our past, two hundred or so years.” 


     Nova at first hearing the news let out a gasp, and glanced at her husband as the technician had said it, prompting him to respond quickly.  “Aquarius!” He breathed.


     “You got it…” Sandor said as Derick took his wife's hand and gripped it tightly as she laid her head on his shoulder. For a brief moment the thought of going into space, made them feel uneasy and feel something was very wrong.



“…When we arrive, the Commander is expecting both of you.” Sandor told the couple, and he yet did not fill Derick and Nova in on very many details of the nature of the discovery made. Wildstar considered a moment what he and Nova were being asked:


They were being asked to once more head out into space, after the crew had dispersed, and without Yamato to take on a research mission to Aquarius. They would study the planet and the heavy water that was found on the plant. Inside, he wondered once they reached Aquarius, how easily they would pull the mission off. He wondered what link they would find there linking them to two hundred or more year ago in the past of Earth. He also wondered how much more blood-shed there would be in the name of peace. Derick had no idea that the Aquarian technology had been mistakenly planted in the past, when a ship bearing that technology was shot down and crashed in the deserts of Earth.


     “Honey, can I see you a moment in the bedroom?” Derick asked his wife, very sweetly.


 “Privately…” He added and motioned Nova to the door leading into the connecting bedroom. When they were alone he turned to her.


     “Please, stay home Nova, this time. You have our child and should not risk yourself out there.” He firmly said.


     Nova glared at him. “Oh no, I am going, if you go… I go…” He frowned at her stubborn attitude.


     “But Nova…” Quickly, she put her hand over his mouth.


     “We are not going to discuss this Derick.” She said coldly, “If you go, I go… I will stow away as I did last time.”


     Derick managed a smile behind her hand, and a quiet chuckle. He remembered when the Star Force, under his command, had broken out of the underwater dock and headed out to Telezart. They had seen the signs of danger from which they would have to fight, and a new enemy, the evil Comet Empire that had approached Earth. Nova had smuggled herself on-board. He took her hand from his lips, and kissed it gently.


     “Okay Nova, you win… But please don't do anything too stressful.” Wildstar told her, concerned for her welfare.


     “If you're going, we'd better get ready.” He said, pulling the duffle bags from the closet, and quickly packed their gear into it. A few minutes later, they returned to the main room where Sandor and Dash sat on the couch. Nova and Derick dropped their bags in the entryway. Sandor filled them on the non- classified data, and the technical information they had discovered. All four had then did not know that time itself had been breached from the future, and the past of Earth. A half hour later they all boarded the transport, shuttling them all to the main hanger bay. Everyone drank coffee, laughing and caught up on old times, just like they did many times before.  At the same moment, however, as they headed out into space to protect Earth, an enemy now builds.  A great armada of ships hovers at Aquarius, as on the planet the robotic enemy constructs great ships and powers them with the Aquarian energy cells. They had come from the future, traveling back into past, and their mission to change time to win the huge war they would lose in the future.



Requiem of the Past --- 


     Meanwhile on Earth: Just as a portion of the Yamato crew speeds home to Earth, to join their friends before their new mission: A lone soldier stands in the waiting room of the Commander's Office at the EDC Headquarters. His name, Seth Aguilera, formerly of the United States Army in the twentieth century, has just arrived here minutes ago at the Headquarters of the Earth Defense Command. He is coming here at the request of the EDC Commander himself, Charles Singleton, and as he stands alone in a side foyer he pulled at the uncomfortable neckline of the dark green uniform he wears belonging to the Space Marine Corps. As he does so, he stares impressed at the sectional mirror located in this alcove. The uniform is a dark green, cut to fit and trimmed in black. A silver bar gleamed on the collar of it. It is a welcomed sight and distraction for the young officer, shaking his head to bring himself back to reality to now and what he is here for today.


     “Today, either I am active again the current military, or discharged as a private citizen.” Seth thought, checking himself one more time before glancing at his surroundings. Stepping back, he entered the main area of the waiting room. It is a large open room with open beams, plush furnishings, and four sitting areas on a thick brown shag carpet. In the center of these carpeted sections, a tiled walkway leads to the large onyx desk that sits in the center of it. The room, to the young officer, reminds him of a waiting area just like this one where he and the eleven 'volunteers' had gathered at a doctor's office in San Francisco at the Presidio. Here they were checked out, and cleared for the project of Cryogenic Stasis, long forgotten as yet another war raged somewhere in the world.


     Now with that all behind him, he with the others recovered a half a year ago, have awakened from the long terms of stasis. As for Seth, however, he now attends the Space Academy in the year 2208 A.D. where he has been engaged in the long process of  'catch up learning' to bring him up to speed into the present. Two hundred years has elapsed, he and his crew have made it, far beyond their wake date into the winds of time itself. The young officer still has not fully recovered from the effects of stasis, still partially ill from the lag involved from it. He has managed to start his new life, catching up with limited duties within the Earth Defense Command, the new military organization of this century. Seth would consult with many experts world-wide, answering questions as they analyzed the chambers that he and his surviving crew arrived in.


     It has also been an extremely hard few months for Seth, first to be awakened and brought out of unconsciousness by the medical people. Other than two centuries he lost, the young officer has also lost everything he knew in the form of friends and family. His whole world had changed, turned literally upside down. Also, in addition to this, he has lost someone dear to him who had been a member of his stasis team, a young woman whom he had fallen in love while training together in San Francisco. It is a romance that spanned two years, as they were comrades in arms for their project. Something he could not get over to know that she is now gone, leaving him alone in a new century. They had lost seven people from an explosion that had thundered through the chamber by a planted terrorist bomb and which had collapsed the chamber, after throwing shrapnel that covered the chambers. Several of them had been damaged by the falling debris and pieces of metal belonging to the chamber, breaching the chambers and causing the occupants to die in stasis.


     “And she will never know the fantastic changes.” He thought, “What a waste.”


     The young officer remembered that day where he had gone to the funeral and the day where he put his friends to rest. Seth also remembered the fan fair that had been accompanied with the bodies of his friends. They were to be taken to a place called Hero's Hill, a place that had unanimously been decided by the Earth Defense Command HQ, the Federal Hospital staff and the former Star Force members, to put them to rest there. Many people would come in droves to watch the funeral of the seven people from the twentieth century, all here to also see the two hundred year old man who was said to be attending this funeral.


     Seth watched in grim silence at the fanfare around him, as he stood at the memorial waiting for the funeral to begin for his lost comrades. He desperately tried to ignore the questions of the press, shouted at him, and ignore the flashes of the cameras in his face for the last hour. The young officer grimaced when he turned his head, when the first coffin appeared with the six pallbearers around it, who carried it into the memorial. It was the first of seven coffins to come here for burial. In the background, the song, Seth recognized as 'In Pace' was played over the loudspeakers.


     “From Hamlet… Nice and appropriate…” Seth managed to murmur as the other coffins appeared. He gazed at the six pallbearers carrying each coffin all draped with the EDC flag and the U.S. Flag over them.  As the coffins approached, the crowd fell silent, and the only sound was the booted footsteps of the pallbearers echoing on the granite walkway. Hats were removed as the caskets passed the crowd, some in uniform saluted the caskets and the press cameras flashed all over the memorial. All eyes were focused on the young officer of the past who had stepped forward, saluting the flag that draped over the coffins too. A low murmur of mixed reactions rippled across the crowd.


     Back in the Federal Hospital, the stasis crew who had recently awakened now occupies two rooms: They are unaware of the memorial service for their friends, not told by the EDC Staff that their seven friends had died while in stasis. They are just now learning of their adventure through time and already welcomed by the staff of the hospital. As Melinda Morris lay in her bed, next to Amy Panstingle, she flipped the channels on the television. It had been the one channel she had flipped to and she stared at the picture of the crowd that had gathered at the memorial that drew her interest. The same memorial that Melinda, Amy and even Amanda and Manual had seen a short distance from the city when they awakened in Federal Hospital. Melinda grimaced when she saw it, having seen the memorial many times through the window of the hospital room.


     “Hey there is something going on out there.” Melinda said, glancing at her friend who had been engrossed in her tablet that that showed the text history of Earth on it. She had pointed at the window where Hero's Hill Memorial that appeared on the hill outside of town. The two women had glanced at each other and then back to the monitor, watching it in stunned silence as the camera's focus was on the caskets, moving back to the crowd, then to the Yamato crew, and the Earth Defense Commander, Charles Singleton who stood in dress uniform at the podium across from the newly excavated graves.


     “It appears the seven chambers belong to a unit who was placed in them two hundred years ago. A stasis project, that the Earth Defense Command Science community has called a miracle of science.” The first reporter said, as the camera panned right.


     “It is quite a gathering for something so strange. I guess only proper, though they are hardly the first citizens like the Yamato crew who had served Earth. We have word that five of these people from the past are still living despite this burial. They are still listed in the Federal Hospital as critical, but stable condition. The EDC has neither commented, nor released the names or photos of those individuals.”  A camera fell on the stone cold gaze of Lieutenant Aguilera, who watched the caskets pass by him.


     “This young man was one of the survivors right?” asked the second reporter and the first one nodded.


     “Well yes, according to what I have, this man is the leader of the group found.” The first reporter said, “He is here to oversee personally these burials.” Next door, there was a yelp and footsteps, as Manual and Amanda, donned in robes rushed over to their room from next door.


     “Hey are you watching the memorial on TV?” Amanda asked, “It seems we're famous TV Celebrities.”


     “Shhhh.” Melinda replied in annoyance, as she waved her hand.


     “We have word that the caskets are approaching their final resting place.” The reporter stated formally, “Let's go live to action.” On the screen, the camera panned to the crowd, and to Commander Singleton, and then to many others who had come to the memorial to witness this funeral. Standing with the Seth, the Yamato crew stood looking on.


     “It seems the Yamato crew is also on hand.” A reporter commented, “The Earth's finest citizens who had saved Earth from the Gamelan attacks and rushed to Iscandar to get the Cosmo DNA nine years ago. They defeated the Comet Empire, eight years ago.” At the memorial, cameras blinked across its granite surface, as all eyes had been trained on a young Lieutenant Aguilera who stood with Doctor Sane, the Yamato crew, and several others. They had been watching and as the first casket passed him that he snapped to attention, raising his hand in formal salute, to hold it, as each draped caskets passed him.


     Melinda nudged Amy when she saw the young officer, who seemed familiar to her, hardly able to recognize her friend who stood in the dark uniform and the heavily bearded face, despite the shaved dark hair.


     “Oh my god,” Melinda murmured, “That's Seth!”


     “He's alive too!” Amy exclaimed, and there were low murmurs among the stasis crew gathered in the room. They saw Seth salute the caskets as they passed him, holding the military honors. They smiled, glad to see him alive and well, looking sharp in the uniform of the Earth Defense Command.


     “Who we are seeing now is the leader of the stasis group, a man named Lieutenant Aguilera, who has been beneficial, helpful to identify the project that used the water of Aquarius. A power source and the same waters that Yamato had stopped from flooding Earth and defeated the Dinguil Empire over it a year ago.” A reporter said.  


     “Oh my god,” Melinda said, tears forming in her eyes, when she realized what she was seeing before their eyes, “I can't believe it, it's a funeral? Our friends are dead?”


     “My god, it appears so.” Amy gasped, watching the caskets on the screen. “This cannot be, when the hell, did this happen?”


     “It IS for your friends,” A voice said, and they turned to see a young nurse they recognized as Lieutenant (JG) Yakamori, “You are the ones they mentioned are you not?” She asked. It was very apparent everyone was watching in the city.


     “Well… yes ma'am, we are…” Melinda replied, meeting the look of the young nurse standing in the doorway and quickly remembering military courtesy.


“It is their funeral.” She said, “The entire Yamato crew, the hospital staff, and Earth Defense Command, unanimously decided to put them to rest there. The memorial is a place where the Yamato crew buried many of their friends in service to save Earth. Your friends are being given the same honors.”


     The nurse smiled as she paused, “You are all legends, Heroes. You are much admired for your courage by the staff at Federal Hospital and the EDC.”


     “Well…thanks.” Amy replied, glancing at Manual who held her Amanda in his arms. Melinda, Amy, Amanda, and Manual were speechless to this information given to them and all eyes were back on the monitor where the young officer, their friend, stood at the memorial. They noted the young nurse watched with them.


     At the memorial, Nova, her husband Derick, Sandor, and the Yamato crew had all watched the young officer hold the salute as the flag draped caskets passed by him. His hand lowered a moment later, and a murmur from the crowd echoed the memorial, when Seth stepped forward and fell in step behind the caskets. He turned sharply to the left, after stepping forward to follow behind the last of the caskets headed to the gravesite. 


     “What the hell is he up to?” Sane had whispered to Nova and Derick, just as astonished as everyone present had been. Seth ignored the murmurs, as he walked behind them, and took his place in the center of the seven graves that had been dug here, as the pallbearers stood nearby. 


     The pallbearers grinned at first when they saw him, and then realized what it was he was doing. A grimace appeared on their faces, one of them glancing at Commander Singleton, who watched impassively. Seth glanced at the Earth Defense Commander and he nodded once, understanding what the young Lieutenant wanted to do.


     “Pallbearers attention,” Seth shouted, the six people at each casket, still holding them turned and straightened. “Let's give them a bit of close order here. Sidestep left, at the half step.” The pallbearers held the casket and with one-step moved to the side the graves in one smooth precise motion. Nova and the others smiled at the precision, beauty and elegance of the motion.


     “Company halt,” Seth shouted, as each casket was positioned over the graves. “Ready…”


     “Ready!” A voice replied, a young Sergeant who had been leading the caskets before.


     “Caskets… Down!” Seth ordered and the pallbearers obeyed, sitting them all smoothly on the unit that would place them into the graves.


     “Dress right Dress left, close intervals.” Seth shouted and the group stood at attention, as one arm was an arrow, and they slid into close formation rank. The young officer nodded.


     “Ready! FRONT!” Heads snapped forward and they faced the mirror of the three other people carrying the casket.


     “Render Flag to honors.” Seth ordered, and the pallbearers turned to the coffin and quickly each flag was removed from the caskets and neatly folded. The flag then was passed to the first person at the head of each casket.


     “Company, left face,” Shouted the young Lieutenant, the company present turned and Seth nodded.


     “Forward… March!” The echo of the command went down the line.  Neat rows of the formation of pallbearers walked from the side of the caskets and they walked toward Seth on either side.


     “Company Halt,” The group of three stood clear of the caskets with a row between them.


     Seth spun to the left. “Company... Left, Face.” He snapped out the command and the compliment present complied. Neat rows faced the Commander, who stood impressed at the podium. Seth turned from his place, and he took a place on the left side of the formation.


“Close ranks and stand at ease.” Seth snapped and the rows neatly filed in close as forty-two people stood in formation beside the graves. Nova had her hands on her face, and there were smiles by the Yamato crew, for the excellent demonstration by the pallbearers. There was polite applause. Commander Charles Singleton stood at the podium, dressed in the formal dress uniform, a green colored one, trimmed in black. He wore a billed hat, and ribbons on his chest of the many campaigns he had served. Everyone turned when the Commander stepped up to the podium.


     “We are gathered here to pay respects to our honored dead and we welcome home our lost sons and daughters of Earth who have returned after two centuries.”  The Commander stated, “We welcome home 'Emiline Montgomery', 'Denise Watson', 'Doug Woolard', 'Christina Cook', 'Sherry Carnelli', 'Edward McKee', and 'Katherine Lewis'” He said, pausing, as he panned a look to the many faces in the audience.


     “These people are the true spirit of honor and dedication. They are also the ultimate sacrifice so others may live. They will be honored also as earth's finest citizens, in the face of adversity, trial and in the performance of their duty.” The Commander finished speaking, and the stasis volunteers in Melinda and Amy's room seemed to react to the kind words spoken for their friends, as they watched the monitor in the hospital room. The words, for a moment, seemed to hang there in the air at the memorial and slowly faded with the wind, as their friends now slowly were put to rest. The Yamato crew had been here many times before, in the last few years, to bury a few more of the crew from the ship and among them a good friend of the Yamato crew. (Nova's first love, Mark Venture) She knew what Seth and the others in his crew must have been going through, as did Wildstar and even Doctor Sane.


     “Honors, HUT! Salute!” A soldier shouted, and the company mass saluted, as the coffins were lowered slowly into the grave. In the hospital room, Amanda Melinda, and Amy wept openly as they raised their hands in salute. Manual held a crisp salute, his face hard and unmoving as Seth's was, as he stood at the memorial. At the memorial, Nova bleary eyed turned to salute as did the other Yamato crew. As she held the salute, the seven coffins were lowered into the graves.


     In both places, there was a moment of silence from which there could be some reflection among the living stasis crew for their friends. They all remembered the good times, after the rocky start, to work as a team. They learned to trust, and each other's idiosyncrasy that helped them communicate and work better together. Now that was over, and all they had was memories. The Yamato crew strangely echoed the same thing from their first mission to Iscandar to now. They too reflected for their friends, recently lost to the horrors of war.


     “Return Salute.” Seth shouted, his voice listless, and the company lowered their hands. It was over.


     “And now we are five.” Amy murmured, as she stood in the room, lowering her hand and beside her, Melinda turned her head, managing a slow nod at her revelation. At the memorial, Seth turned to the pallbearers and the others present.


     “Company… Dismissed!” Seth shouted, as the forty-two people who had brought these seven caskets, marched out in the same order they had come. Seth turned, as cameras and press cameras scanned the memorial, showing the stunned reaction of the crowds.


     Seth's memories faded, and cast another uneasy glance to the surroundings and at the futuristic waiting room at Headquarters where he found himself.  His gaze refocused on the mirror in front of him.


“Jesus. That was almost two months ago.” The young officer thought, and he grimaced, shaking his head in silent disbelief.


     “In an hour, it is either yes or no.” Seth thought happily, “Reactivation to duty, or release into the future as a civilian.”


 Lieutenant Aguilera stepped into the outer waiting room, and pulled uncomfortably at the collar of the uniform. He had been so engrossed in his memories, that he had not noticed what was going on around him until a young enlisted person bumped into him.


     “Excuse me sir!” The voice said as Seth returned his salute sharply. He smiled at the motion, letting out a sharp exhale.


     “Just like old times.” He thought, and chuckled quietly. The young Lieutenant felt the confidence building a bit, by the military courtesy shown to him.


     The young officer walked toward the huge onyx desk sitting in the center of the room and soon stood before two young women, an Ensign of the Space Service and a young Second Lieutenant from the Space Marines Corps who are assigned to work behind it. Two burley guards stood on either side of the room, dressed in full battle armor, holding nasty looking rifles as they stood like statues against the wall. When Seth approached the desk, the two women looked up startled and stood to salute him. The young ladies at the desk had not been expecting such a person to arrive on their watch. Seth had been at least an hour early to arrive at the Headquarters building.


     “First Lieutenant Aguilera, U.S. Army?” The young ensign asked and he nodded silently, absently smoothing the black band on his uniform, signifying a mourning band for his friends.  


     “Outstanding sir, the Commander is expecting you. Please follow me.” With that, she moved from the inner section of the desk, and started down the nearby hallway.


     “Wait, I thought my appointment was at fourteen-thirty hours.” Seth questioned, his tone indicating surprise, but he moved in one-step behind her as they walked the plush, but brightly lit hall. Seth glanced down quickly at the chronometer on his wrist, his eyes moving up from the chronometer, and they found the young woman.


     Immediately the young Lieutenant ran a quick gaze over the youthful Ensign, carefully, admiring the beauty and curves of her fabulous figure. His eyes examined her from the top of her head, to her long brown hair that draped to an attractive shoulder length and down her curves to her cute buttocks that swayed in the almost molded tight uniform.  He did not recognize her from the memorial service for the others.


     “Wow!” He murmured, “What a babe, I think I am going to like the future after all. At least some things have not changed.” Seth laughed quietly. The young woman, named Crystal, had felt his gaze burning into her, and inside she was wondering what he is looking at. The young woman then realized, it was she the young officer was watching. When she overheard his comment, she decided to have some fun with him and whirled on him.


     “Excuse me sir?” Crystal asked, in mock annoyance.


     “What? Err… Nothing.” He replied quickly, waving his hand at the young woman.


Crystal turned, nodding slightly. “I thought so.” She murmured, chuckling quietly under her breath, as the two officers resumed the short walk down the hallway. The young woman smiled at him as she pointed to the doors.


     “Here it is, Lieutenant.” She told him, “And the answer is yes, if and when you get back after reporting in for your new assignment. Or your release from the service.” Seth met her gaze with a shocked look and Crystal winked at him before turning to leave. Lieutenant Aguilera felt the flush rising over his collar, and managed an amused smirk.


     “Now I know I am going to like the future…” She heard him mutter and exhale sharply. Seth turned his head when he heard her giggle. Crystal had heard him and he flushed brightly in embarrassment. He never was good with women, even in his century and he did not know how he'd fare being a dinosaur to the new generation of this military.


     “I guess it must be important if they are going to see me early.” Seth thought and turned to the large walnut doors. Before he could knock, however, the doors opened slowly. They allowed the young officer to step through them, and into the huge sprawling office of General Charles Singleton, Earth Defense Commander. The officer of the past's reaction had been quiet astonishment at the size of the office, even though he was the Earth Defense Commanding General.


     Lieutenant Aguilera walked into the Earth Defense Commander Singleton's office, a sinister, but Spartan furnished office that sprawls out in front of three bay windows overlooking the city. A carved, stone desk sits in the corner, facing the door and another table connects it. Around the office are the same furnishings like the outer office that decorates the room. Three men and a young woman sat at the table, which Seth immediately picked as one being Commander Charles Singleton himself sitting in the center, his aides on either side named Lieutenant Kitano, and Commander Mitty Mc Donald. A young chief sat beside Commander Mc Donald, named Jordy Venture, who happened to be Mark Venture's brother who had died on the last mission of Yamato. Jordy sat with a machine in front of him, recognized by Seth as a recorder found in a court. Seth managed a few steps in, slightly unnerved by the people present but he marched forward anyway, turning to face them. Seth snapped to rigid attention and snapped off an old fashioned salute to the Commander and company.


     “First Lieutenant Seth Aguilera, U.S Army, reporting as ordered, SIR!” He said, holding the salute until the Commander returned it. An amused smile appeared on the other faces as Lieutenant Aguilera dropped his hand, but remained at attention.


     “Welcome Lieutenant... Aguilera, is that right?” Defense Commander Singleton's voice boomed.


     “Yes sir!” Seth replied briskly and another flash of grins appeared all around.


“You may stand at ease.” Seth relaxed, with his hands behind his back. 


     “First let me introduce my aides, before we start this debriefing.” He motioned to the side. “Seated on my left is Lieutenant Kitano, and Jordy Venture. Seated on my right is Commander Mitty Mc Donald, whom you know. I have summoned here to officially and finally welcome you personally, into the twenty-third century.” He said.


     Seth acknowledged the officers. “Thank you.” They smiled and returned the pleasantry.


     “We summoned you here today for a debriefing session, on the recent events of your stasis project and to possibly get you moving forward to your adjustment into the new century.” Singleton's voice said, “Quickly, of course, because we have a new assignment that your skills would be quite valuable instead of being in limbo.” He paused, studying his aide after she whispered in his ear.


     “However, it has been brought to my attention that your debriefing was partially taken care of while in Federal Hospital by one of my staff members, therefore we will dispense with the formalities.” Inside, Seth felt a little uneasy at the thought.


“We have need for your valuable abilities immediately in the Earth Defense Command, and I am reactivating you immediately to duty to attend a briefing on Thursday, at sixteen hundred hours.” The Commander's voice boomed, “You will be leading a small platoon of Marines, to protect a science team, and their command crew who are shipping out in two weeks on a classified project. Along with this post, there is a rank increase in it for you, to the rank of Major. We need a good command rank in charge of this team, as it is a dangerous assignment. I am confident with the service record we managed to find on you, placed with your project, you are more than able to handle this assignment.” The new Major was flabbergasted by the General's statement, realizing it was an assignment and a promotion they were offering him.


     “It is an assignment that you don't have to take. You can pass and wait for another assignment in the EDC, or choose to be fully released from your active service. From here, you can return home and start a new life.” He said, “The assignment would return you to active duty military status, in the new military, and return you into the new world which you are a very much a part of.”


     “I choose the danger and the assignment.” Seth replied sharply, “You can count on me sir.”


 The youthful Lieutenant remembered quickly where he was, if he was released from the service, and knew he really had nowhere to go in this century. He only had the choice to start a new life in the city of San Francisco of the future, where there would be many harsh and negative memories for him. He knew that he would not be able to carry out a promise to someone very dear to him, to meet in a familiar place on the California Coast where they had met before.


     Singleton grinned as he met the looks of his the two officers who sat next to him.  Lieutenant Kitano and Commander Mc Donald beamed in delight by the young Major's acceptance of the assignment. Seth was known even in the twentieth century military to have been able to get things done. He was a go getter.


     “Outstanding.” Singleton boomed, “I welcome you back.”


     “Welcome back Major.” Kitano said.


     “Welcome back sir.” Chief Venture said, leaning to offer his hand from across the table. Seth shook his hand.


     “Congratulations.” Mitty said, stepping from the table and glanced at the General who nodded. She first embraced him, planting a kiss on his cheek. She pulled out a blue box, bearing the seal of the EDC on it.


Seth was startled at the formality, and realized that he was going to be given a ranking ceremony right here. The doors opened and others filed in, standing mostly near the doors. He watched the unfamiliar faces, except three, Crystal, Melanie who worked the front desk and Doctor Sane who had been part of the crew aboard Yamato.


     “Lieutenant Aguilera is now activated to duty into the Earth Defense force, and is now recovered fully to resume his duties in his new command.” Singleton said, “In accordance to his significant achievement, bravery and service, we hereby authorize promotion to Major with all the full rights and privilege they bear.”


     Mitty reached up, unpinning the silver bar from his collar and opened the box revealing a pair of gold oak leaves, that even in this time marked him as the rank of Major.  She pinned them to his collar as Seth bent down. She smiled at him.


“Welcome back, sir.” She whispered, and stepped back.


     “Hand salute!” Mitty shouted and the company saluted him. Cheers and applause echoed the chamber. However, outside, the stasis crew stared at the crowd uneasily and wondered what was going on. Seth grinned, flushing slightly, as his hand snapped up and returned the salutes. A round of shaking hand commenced and they all looked up at the General Singleton.


     “Company dismissed as soon as the congratulations peter out.” Singleton's voice boomed, and as people filed out, the young man watched Sane lean out and motion to something outside of the doors. Seth greeted him warmly, quite surprised to see him here. He returned the offered handshake from General Singleton and Commander McDonald, whom he bowed slightly, kissing her hand.


     Behind him, Sane had motioned to the four-stasis members that had been with Seth in stasis. As they walked into the room standing near the door, their nervous, uneasy glances moved about the office. Their gazes all fell upon Seth, and when the Major turned, sensing them, that he sharply exhaled. He stared at their semi-familiar faces of his friends, Amy, Melinda, Manual and Amanda, the ones who had been at his side when they were brought together in the military and later volunteering for a project that they knew might be a one-way ticket. When his friends saw him, they stared briefly at the newly appointed team leader before moving in on the run. The three ladies embraced the young, newly appointed Major, on both sides. At first, Seth drew back alarmed, turning his head both ways to stare at the faces of the two women who now stood beside him.


     “Amy? Melinda?” He asked, and after a moment they nodded. Together, they both embraced the young Major which he returned warmly. Seth took up Melinda in his arms and laid her back as he planted a very warm, passionate kiss on her lips. Turning he did the same for Amy. Both women blushed furiously, and struggled from his grasp. The Major peered at the strange looking features of his friends, the long unnatural hair that draped to mid-back level, making them hard to recognize from what he remembered. He grinned at Manual, who had his head shaved already.


     Seth also noted the ranking insignias on their collar. A gold bar on Melinda's uniform marked her as a Second Lieutenant, wearing the unfamiliar green and gray Armed Forces uniform of the Earth Defense Command. His head turned to Amy who wore the unfamiliar blue and trimmed dark blue uniform of the Space Corps and she also has a gold bar on her collar, marking her as an ensign. Manual and Amanda both wore uniforms like his. Amanda sported a pin of three stripes up, marking her as enlisted. Manual wore a similar pin three stripes up, one down. They were given their ranks from the twentieth century, to identify them to others in the EDC. It was mostly for medical staff, who worked over them, to awaken and bring them up to speed.



     “You all look fabulous!” He told them, “A sight for sore eyes.” Amanda and Manual walked up and Seth hugged Amanda. She shook her head, placing her arms around him and planted a heated kiss on his lips. Turning, Seth shook Manual's hand warmly. They clustered about him laughing, joking, and chatting over old times.


     “Ah, no kiss for me?” Manual joked, grinning and Seth turned his head.


     “Don't push your luck.” He replied in a joking tone, and laughter sprinkled through the group. Several questions assaulted the young officer from all sides by all hands present. He waved his hands, making them quiet down.


     “It's alright, quiet down.” He said soothingly, and he felt the hand of Melinda who placed it on his shoulder.


     “Where are we Seth?” Melinda asked, “What is this all about? Where are we really?”


     “Yeah, What IS this all about?” Amy asked, “We awoke in a hospital, but haven't been told much other than we would be debriefed today, almost two months being laid up and prodded like guinea pigs.”


     “It seems we all took a little trip.” replied the young Major, “A little detour to what the chambers were programmed for.”


     “Yea, we saw you on TV a month or so ago.” Amanda added, “Are the others besides all of us dead, really now, and truthfully?”


     Seth grimaced, realizing they had seen something happen over a month ago, which was supposed to be kept from them.


“I…” He started to say, but kept his mouth shut, contemplating the answer that he was going to give her.


     “Seth you are not saying much. Is there something you are not telling us?” Amy asked, and he glared at her, shaking his head.


     “I was thinking,” replied the young man, a hint of annoyance in his voice.


     “However, I can answer that!” General Singleton's voice boomed. Their heads turned. Sane motioned to the group and Seth too, motioning them into position. The group stood in a row and they stood at attention. General Singleton's voice had thundered and echoed the chamber before Major Aguilera could reply.  Seth actually was glad for the intervention.


     Manual raised his hand in a crisp salute and the others glanced at him silently. They followed suit, and like Seth had held it until the General replied with the same salute. They stood at attention, a bit nervous with the meeting the General for the first time.


     “Stand easy.” Singleton replied, “You are among friends.” Commander Mc Donald smiled, as did the others. Singleton nodded to Sane who smiled broadly.


     “We have summoned you here for debriefing, we, this panel will answer all questions on your location, and what happened to you.” He thundered on. “This is a debriefing session to that cryogenic assignment you were in, and possibly to place you into the Earth Defense Command based on the files recovered from your place of cryogenic storage. Or it will release you from service into civilian life here in the twenty-third century.” Murmurs of delight rippled through the gathered group. They group had grimaced at the sound of release, realizing like Seth, where they were and there was no place to go except back to the city of San Francisco to live out probably long life.


     “Major Aguilera!” General Singleton said sharply and Seth snapped to instant attention. The other stasis volunteers stared in wonder at the rank change and then realized Seth had been going through the ceremony a moment ago in the office.


     “Major?” Melinda breathed quietly. Sane shushed her, and motioned to the General.


“It is alright he will explain later.” He murmured to the party and they nodded.


     “SIR!” Seth exclaimed, snapping to instant rigid military attention.


     “You are not needed for this meeting, and you may leave.” Singleton's voice boomed, “I just thought you would want to see your friends before we start the meeting.”


The young officer nodded, smiling broadly.


     “Thank you General, that was very thoughtful.” He said, “Will I be able to see them before I go on my assignment?”


     Singleton nodded. “Of course,” Seth grinned.


     “Thank you SIR.” Seth told him, snapping off a salute. He smiled at his friends who stared at him. Quickly, the twentieth century officer stepped forward, turning sharply to his right and headed toward the doors as they opened slowly. He paused in front of Doctor Sane, who had stepped forward to stand next to his friends.


     “It's okay. I will see you all later.” He whispered to the group as they clustered around him and their questions rippled and echoed through the room.


     “It's cool, these people will answer all questions and so will the wisdom of Doctor Sane for what they miss.” He paused, meeting their smiles, grinning at the flush and modest look on the doctor's face.


     “Oh yes, Doctor Sane… Can you do me a favor and bring my friends to Hero Hill later, I'll be there waiting for them.” The Major asked. The doctor met his look for a moment and nodded, a huge smile appearing on his face.


“It will be my pleasure, Major Aguilera. I will be coming up there later anyway, to meet my friends and it is my honor to guide them.” Sane snapped off a salute and Seth, laughing, waving off the salute casually.


     “Thanks doc.” He told him and glanced at his four friends. “I'll see you later then.” Seth nodded, turning to the door and without another word walked through them. Both the huge, walnut, doors thudded hollowly as they closed behind him. In alarm, the stasis personal whispered among each other, confused by the exchange. They glanced at Doctor Sane who nodded and had motioned to the chairs provided. 


     “It's alright, you'll see him later, and he will meet you later at a place with my friends.” They relaxed and faced the table.


     “Please take your seats and we will start the debriefing.” Kitano said, and quickly each of the remaining stasis personnel took the seats provided, sitting down. They were huge chairs, with high backs, made of an absorbent plastic. For the next hour they were debriefed, they were heartily welcomed into the twenty-third century and were completely flabbergasted by the information they were given. It had also including more information about the memorial service for their friends, and the stasis personnel had nodded as they accepted condolences for their loss.


Remembrance of the Fallen --


     As for Seth, he moved off from the Earth Defense Commander's office, through the foyer and toward the main hallway. He grinned at the young ensign, Crystal who smiled at him. Seth of course, paused and glanced at the room at the few people sitting in the foyer. He stood by the desk.  He flirted with the young officer named Crystal who worked at the desk.


     “So… when do you get off duty?” Seth asked, “Maybe I can buy you dinner.” Crystal grinned, and glanced at the other young woman who had turned her head, smiling at him too.


     “You guys never ease to amaze me.” Crystal declared sharply, in mock annoyance “We're much more than just pieces of meat!” Seth grimaced and raised a hand off the desk, sensing hostility among the lower ranks. She looked up at him and smiled, writing on a slip of paper. Crystal wrote down her Com Number and he took it, thrusting it in his pocket.


     “Call me.” Crystal told him and Seth nodded.


     “Oh god he is a dream.” Her friend, Samantha commented as Seth left and Crystal nodded.


     “Not too bad for someone who has been through hell, and back for the last two centuries.” The young woman commented, as she watched Seth leave, “Just like the other two before them, a year ago…” The other young woman merely glanced at Crystal, but did not say much about it. The look on the young woman's face had been one of sympathy, as she watched the young Major go. She was lucky not to have said that in front of the Major to inform him of something that had been kept from his group for a long time. There was another group out there.


     Seth walked from the Headquarters building a moment later, and down to the corner on the street near the Headquarters Building. As he stood there, he tried to gather his bearings, and navigate himself to the main gate from Headquarters without the young Sergeant who had been his guide since he was released from the Central Hospital. Quickly, he found signs and landmarks but quickly took a wrong turn to find himself near the airfield and docks adjacent to the airfield. Seth watched impressed at the Astro-fighters that thundered into the sky.


     “Wow, nice lines on that bird.” Seth commented to himself, “If that's the kind of stuff this new military flies, I am going to enjoy my service in this century.”  Turning, he adjusted his bearings before turning to walk toward what appeared to be a main drag. He paused, finding himself lost again.


     “Major?” A voice asked and Seth turned his head to a jeep occupied by the young lady guide, “Are you lost? Hop in I know the way and what you are looking for. This base got to me too when I first arrived here.”


     “Thanks.” Seth replied, relieved at the intervention. They drove off and took two turns to soon arrive at the main gate. The guards at the post saluted as they passed, opening the gate allowing them to leave. Driving along, Seth took in the futuristic New Tokyo. He nodded. impressed by the tall buildings and futuristic designs. It certainly was not like it was in his century, but he did call it home for now.  The Major smiled at the trams overhead enclosed in glass tubes, reminding him of the monorail in Disneyland back in his century. The Air tram service reminded him of Star Trek, something his best friend back in his century had been so into.


     “This is amazing!” He thought, “Emily and the others would have killed if she had this in San Francisco. Hell, they would have loved to see New Tokyo even in this century.”


     “So how long have you been assigned here in New Tokyo Sergeant?” Seth asked, making small talk.


     “I have been here a couple of years, but I still occasionally get lost.” She told him, “My name is Marla by the way, sir. You can call me that when we are outside the ears of others.” He grinned slightly.


     “I'll do that.” Seth replied, “I’m Seth, nice to meet you Marla, since we never were properly introduced to each other.” He heard her laughter and managed a grin.


     “That's for sure I wasn't exactly expecting someone your age for being in stasis for two hundred years.” She told him and he nodded. “You look like you are about twenty.”



     “Twenty-ish.” He replied, and here he laughed. “Sheesh, it seems like a lifetime ago.”


     “Did you have a family when you were in the twenty-first century?”


     “I had three siblings, all brothers.” Seth replied, and he let out a sigh, “They are still working to tell me what happened to them. I was supposed to meet them after stasis, on leave. I never got that chance.”


     “I'm sorry.” Marla replied, “I did not mean to pry.”


     “No you're fine.” Seth replied waving his hand, “I often miss them, as we were very close.”


     Turning his head, he took in the surroundings in silence until they reached the road that went out to Hero's Hill where the Yamato crew buried their comrades and now the stasis personnel. The jeep came to a stop and he turned his head to meet her smile.


     “We walk from here.” She announced suddenly, “Ready?”  The young Marine officer nodded, and they both hopped out of the jeep. Quickly, they found the path easily and his boots echoed on the granite path by the sea. It turned, and he followed it up toward the huge obelisk, standing as a marker to the memorial.


     As the young officer walked up the hill, he turned his head and stared at the horizon, at the beautiful scene of a glorious sunset before him. Suddenly, Seth was confronted with a memory of long ago, when he and Emily sat together through many glorious sunsets like this one, on the beach of San Francisco. Together, they both had stared together at the spectacular fiery red, burnt orange, and mauve colored sky, along with mixed lavenders and gold in the sunsets they watched from North Beach, two hundred years ago. The young man suddenly realized that this one sunset that his young love would not be sharing in, and inside, his stomach heaved as he thought of Emily. The pain of her death still haunted him like an open wound. Many things in the future still reminded him of her, making his existence harder and harder as the days progressed since their burial.


     “She's dead and that's a fact.” He murmured, “I cannot undo what is. I thought it would not be so hard to get over, I guess not.”


     Seth shook his head, remembering his lost love and tears welled up. He wiped away quickly. Major Aguilera stood with the young guide beside him at the memorial, staring at a gorgeous sunset, but in strange time and place. It is a place that had rescued them all from hell. The young woman had come from the east, and never had dreamed of a city like San Francisco where they were all being trained. The young officer smiled, remembering the good times they shared together, memories that seemed to lessen the pain a bit.


     “Remember your friends, remember them positively and share those good times.” A voice said, and Seth grinned slightly, remembering hearing that from someone else knew very well.


     It was several minutes before he could force his gaze away from the scene, and turn it to the memorial itself. He managed a few more steps up the path toward the center of it. As it spread out before him, the young officer still found it an amazing sight every time he saw it.  It is huge memorial, built in a circular design and made of granite. Around the whole area is green and overgrown, with several trees, several thick shrubs under the trees and several grassy areas. A huge stone obelisk stands in the center of the memorial and a statue of Captain Abraham Avatar stands directly beside it, staring off out to the sea. Lining the grassy area, under the statue, are the many graves of Yamato's crew who were buried here after their missions to save Earth.


     Seth stared at the obelisk and panning from it, his gaze fell on the statue of Avatar. It then moved to the surroundings around the memorial itself. He walked with Marla toward the obelisk and toward the graves for the Yamato crew. The young officer did not stop. He walked right past the graves and only glanced up at the statue of Avatar. Here he exhaled sharply, before he saluting the graves, statue and the flagpole bearing the EDC flag.


“Only proper,” He thought, “They died saving Earth.”


     Sergeant Marla McGivers followed suit, gasping, as this would be the first time at the memorial and seeing the Yamato crew's graves. The young Major's path was only twenty-five feet past the Yamato graves, his destination, where a new section of the memorial was surrounded by short granite pillars and chain. He arrived at the graves of his friends, and here he stared at the familiar sight that he had seen many times through his recovery, with Doctor Sane. Exhaling sharply, his long stare panned across the section and to each tombstone where a familiar name and face were carved in the smooth granite surface.


     He casually glanced at the names, as he had several times before, carved in Old English Text, and inscribed on each tombstone. 'Emiline Montgomery', 'Denise Watson', 'Doug Woolard', 'Christina Cook', 'Sherry Carnelli', 'Edward McKee', and 'Katherine Lewis'. Seth's gaze stared at the faces carved on the tombstones as well, and he walked along the line of them. When he got to the end, the young officer stopped at the farthest one, at Emily Montgomery's grave.


     “Well Em, Here I am again. I thought I would stop by to say goodbye for a while.” He whispered and held his hand on her tombstone, as if he could gain strength from her. He thought of the young woman, her long brown, curly hair, brown eyes, round face, and her sweet kisses.


     “It looks like I have been reactivated to duty, assigned to a new mission and heading out into space on a classified project. I probably will see you soon babe, if the mission is as it sounds. It seems like it is a suicide mission.” He paused, fighting back the pain of heartache in his chest. It pounded like a piston engine in his chest, and he could hear the blood in his ears.


     “You would never believe how much Earth has changed. We made it almost two hundred and five years past the end date of the project, making it into the twenty-third century now. Earth seems to have had advanced so much and I wish you were here with me. It's no fun to share this alone.” He shuddered with the brisk sea breeze and glanced to the surroundings.


     “Whatever happens, I may see you soon, and wherever I go and do, I still will always love you.”


     From his jacket, he withdrew a long stemmed red rose with a shaking hand, and placed it at the foot of her tombstone. He placed the rose on the ground, on her grave. He then placed his fingers to his lips, kissing and then placing them on the cold stone mouth of the granite face carved on the tombstone. Behind him, Marla had backed off and walked toward the other graves under the obelisk and the statue. Seth and his companion did not sense the surviving Yamato crewmembers arriving at the memorial, coming here before every mission into space.


     As always, the Yamato crew gathered here to pay their respects to their friends lost aboard ship and always coming here to visit before a mission or when they needed inspiration. Together they walked clustered in a small group, toward the memorial, and the group that made up the Yamato crew had not been expecting Major Aguilera to be here or the young Sergeant with him. As usual they had been laughing, joking and carrying on as they crested the hill, their voices and footsteps echoing off of the granite pillar in the center of the memorial. When they saw Seth and the young Sergeant, however, they stopped and glanced at each other, before walking forward toward them.


     The group consisted of Stephen Sandor, Derick Wildstar, Nova Forrester-Wildstar his wife, Dash Jordan, who arrived from Mars, Thomas Orion, Christopher Eager, Homer Glitchman, Cory Conroy and the Chief Toragawa. They were all confused by the single officer's presence at first, but suddenly realized what he was doing. They also remembered, practically never forgot, when Thomas Orion had been here tending his father's grave, doing the same thing.


     “Who is that?” asked Derick, exchanging a look with Nova, who managed to shrug. The group stared at the officer, the dark hair, bearded face, and dark eyes. Nova had not recognized him as they had walked up to the memorial or the young enlisted woman who panned a look at the Yamato graves in stunned silence.


     “Whoever he is, he's quite handsome.” Nova commented, suddenly grimacing when she recognized the young man from the past. He had been the one, whom she had been introduced to, before a funeral at Hero's Hill, a few months ago after he was awakened from stasis. She also cast a look at Sergeant McGivers who stood in front of the Yamato graves.  She turned, snapping to attention.


     “Attention on deck!” She shouted and Seth looked up at the group from the graves where he had been kneeling in silent prayer. Derick, who led the group, took a step toward the officer.  He nodded to the Major who stood several feet from the graves that were located under the obelisk and statue of Avatar. Here, he turned his head and acknowledged the young Sergeant with him. She saluted sharply.


     “Carry on.” Nova told her quietly, “Relax it's a social call here.”


     “Nice to see you again, Lieutenant,' Wildstar said sharply as Seth approached the duo. Derick saw the gold oak leaf on his collar. “Excuse me, Major.” Nova smiled, as she stood beside him.


     “Oh, Hey Chief… How's it going?” He replied listlessly, “May I present Sergeant Marla McGivers. My intrepid young guide.” The young sergeant smiled at Seth.


     “It is nice to meet you Sergeant,” Derick told her, “First time to the memorial?” The young woman nodded slightly.


     “I never thought I would see the graves for the Yamato crew in person. I read about your exploits in school and I never thought I would meet anyone from the Yamato.” She replied, “It is an honor to meet you all.”


     “So Seth, you were promoted, when did this happen?' Nova asked.


     “I just was reactivated today. Not my idea though.” Seth replied casually, “I am assigned to the combat group that is going to Aquarius with all of you. General Singleton is eager to get this group formed, briefed and dispatched to the water planet without delay.”


“It appears we're all shipmates.” Derick said, “We're the Command crew.”


     “What about your friends?” Nova asked, “Are they going too?”


     “No. Only Sergeant Major Parry, myself, and a small group of Marines will be going. The rest will stay here on Earth.” However, before Seth could reply further, a voice interrupted them.


     “Ah so you have come!” Sane said, and Homer was first to turn his head as Doctor Sane arrived at the memorial. A big smile appeared on his face, and the same smiles appeared on everyone's faces as he approached. The doctor arrived with two young women, holding onto his arms on both sides. Seth recognized them to be the two of the members of the stasis crew. The young Major smiled broadly, as a ripple of laughter sprinkled through their group.


     “Just like Doctor Sane to make an entrance with beautiful ladies on each arm.” Homer commented and laughter cycled through the group. Amy and Melinda colored slightly as they met everyone's gaze and smiled largely when they met Seth's smiling face. Both of the young women broke from the Doctor's arms, and rushed toward him. Amy embraced Seth first and then Melinda followed suit. Both of them kissed the young Major on the cheeks and he blushed. Amanda embraced Seth as well. Manual backslapped him. Doctor Sane was shaking his head. There were questioning looks by all hands, as they watched a touching reunion of old friends.


     “Damn. You win a few and you lose a few.” Sane murmured and the Yamato group heard him, laughing loudly as they clustered around him, greeting their fellow shipmate warmly.


     The Yamato members glanced several times at the young women, Seth's friends. They had been in the arms of the doctor and behind them had been the other two, a red haired young woman and young man. Doctor Sane smiled as he told them of Seth's promotion and the important assignment he would be taking on. The Yamato crew had gasped, when Sane had told them about it, and had glanced at Seth in surprise. As for the stasis group, they clustered around Seth and their voices of question assaulted him from both sides, catching up on the old times they shared together. They told him what happened in the debriefing and everyone given the choice to join the Earth Defense Force.


     He stared at his friends warmly. Melinda and Amy sported new ranking on their collars. Melinda wore a single bar on their collar, marking her as a First Lieutenant and wearing the green and gray of the EDC Armed Forces. Amy sported double bars on her collar marking her as a Lieutenant for the Space Corps, clad in the unfamiliar blue and dark blue trimmed uniform. Amanda wore a gold bar on her collar with two red spots, marking her as a Warrant Officer One and Seth noted that Manual did not seem to have a promotion. He did not know that Manual had turned one down to become a Warrant Officer. They had given him two more stripes, marking him as a Sergeant Major.


     “Well they activated me too.” Seth said, “I know what went on.”


     “Well this is the future then?” Melinda asked, “We are really two hundred years past our time?” Major Aguilera shot her a look, but nodded slightly.


     “How the hell did we get here?” Questions rippled about the young man, who tried to answer each of them with what he knew, which was not much. Only thing he told them was what he had been told. Seth had been working with the technical people who had been examining the chambers, and he knew it would be no use to tell them what they already knew. He remained silent instead, contemplating the answer.


“It was a glitch, a fluke.” He said finally, “I am guessing that something must have happened, and we were not taken out of stasis.”


     “That's no answer Seth and you know it.” Amanda shot back sarcastically.


     “I really have no idea what and how this happened.” Seth grumbled, “But you asked.”  There was an uncomfortable silence.


     Melinda, standing beside her, decided to change the subject, seeing the anger in her friend's eyes as they jabbed back and forth with their unruly banter and flaring tempers. The young woman could see this was getting out of hand and decided to be a peacemaker.


     “So this is where everyone is buried?” asked Melinda, turning to pan a silent glance across the memorial. “We saw this on TV. I did not know it such a large place.”


     “You saw all of that.” asked Seth and they all smiled.


     “It was very sweet what you did for everyone.” Melinda told him, and managed a smile. Amy turned her head, nodding slightly as did Manual and Amanda.


     “Well I have an announcement and it is official.” Wildstar shouted, “I'm going to be a father!” He said and a cheer echoed through the Yamato group. Nova blushed very deeply as he held her around the waist. Congratulations circulated through the group. Sane had turned when he overheard the announcement.


     “What!” He asked, gasping as he walked toward them.


     “You are!?” Sane shouted shrilly and Nova nodded.


     “The Mars doctor sent the records.” Nova said, “Your office has them by now!” There was laughter and cheers. The stasis group looked on in confused silence. They were together in a small group and talking quietly among themselves. Sane of course, broke briefly away from the group and stood in front of the statue of Avatar to stare up at it. He nodded, before he turned, as if the statue spoke to him.


     “Star force! Fall in!” He shouted and the Yamato crew gathered at the graves quickly.


     The stasis group stood there watching as the remaining Yamato crew fell into neat ranks. Sane turned to the stasis crew.


     “You guys too. Don't be strangers we are honoring your friends too.” Manual motioned to his friends and they took up a position on the side of the Yamato crew, making up an L-shaped formation. Nova looked around for the young Major, and saw he was nowhere to be found.  He had wandered off to the sea and stood alone staring out at the blue water, feeling the stiff wind that hit his face. He turned to sprint back to the formation. He nodded to Sergeant Mc Givers who hung back and motioned her to join in.


     “Crew Atten-hut!” Seth shouted and the stasis crew listlessly snapped to attention.


     The Doctor glanced at him, as did the others. “Once again we have gathered here, and honor you Captain Avatar and those who lay to rest here in the name of peace. We honor you, the one hundred and fifty-six of the Yamato crew who lay here at rest. Also the seven from the stasis project, whose deaths will never be in vain, and as you and they will live forever, and shall be remembered forever. Pray for the swift response of Yamato. Pray for the quick response of stasis crew two-fourteen.” The stasis crew turned and stared at Sane. Each member of the two groups stared at the graves and remembered their friends.


     “Prayer finished.” Sane shouted, “Salute!” Stiffly the members of the stasis crew raised their hands in salute, the old-fashioned one compared to the salute across the chest as the Yamato crew had done. They held the salute, each one remembering their respective groups and their time together as comrades in arms.


     “Return Salute!” Sane bellowed and they all dropped their hands in unison.


Afterward, the crew of both worlds broke off into small parties where cups distributed among them and Avatar's spring water freely poured. Here they also included the stasis crew, treating them as they would fellow crew aboard ship. They sat in silence as the stories flowed from the Yamato crew and joined in uncertainly at the laughter and banter. They were trying to be polite, and try to fit in, as this was now a long stretch ahead of them. They had accepted service over release, having nowhere to go in this century.


Death --


     Two hours elapsed and Seth sat alone nearby, staring out across at the sunset, the ocean, and the beginning of stars that now twinkled in the darkening sky. He sat listening to the thunder of the ocean that boomed in the distance, as waves struck the shore, making a fine cool mist swirl about him as he sat deep in thought. There was a party going on with the Yamato crew, and the stasis crew, his team welcomed without question to a new century from which they did not belong. The young officer did not partake too much, staying alone and stared off at the fading sunset as he felt the pain in his guts. His face carried a hard look, as the sting of the cold wind struck his face, and did not hear the Yamato crew tell the stories of their adventures in space. The young Major had not been blamed for their mishap or their jump in time. He had just preferred to be alone and wanted to prepare himself for the mission at hand ahead of him.


     “Excuse me Major. Please come back and partake of the conversation.” A voice said, and a moment later, he felt a hand placed on his shoulders. Seth surprised by the presence, half-turned to regard Lieutenant Nova Wildstar standing over him.


     “I want to be alone. I just don't feel like being sociable right now Lieutenant, with apologies to your friends of course.” He replied dully, “But a nobler part of me lies there at those graves.” Nova glanced at the memorial in pain.


     “I know your pain, and understand.” She said quietly, “I lost a good man here on the last mission, Mark Venture. He was my first love as was she to you. He died protecting us all on Yamato, in the line of duty. Remember that, she died in the line of duty for your project.”


     “Even worse for Derick, myself and the others, that Avatar, who was as a father to us all had to die again. It was even after we thought him dead, coming home from our very first mission to Iscandar. You are not to blame for something that happened centuries ago, and because of something that was tend to malfunction. You are blameless, you should forgive those who left you there and forgive yourself…”


Seth nodded, “I know. I read about your exploits.” He replied, dully.


     “Then, we are the same, you and I. Your team and the Star force.” She continued, “What you need to do is to forgive yourself for what penance you feel you must face, also to just accept, remember them, and move on.”


     Nova paused, seeing his astonishment and then a look of bewilderment. “You can also dismiss their statements as crazed anger and shock of a loss.” She continued, making Seth grimace. He had also glanced up at her in surprise. She smiled and nodded before returning to the group. The young Major thought of her words:


     “Very wise,” He admitted gravely, “Now you need to just forgive yourself.”


     He watched Nova mingle back with the others and his gaze saw something on the other side of the memorial that caught his eye. A gleam of metal appeared from the bushes, near the party. Seth's gaze moved from the metal gleam, his gaze falling on Nova, then back to it. It went back and forth several times quickly, and he realized it was the barrel of a weapon.


     “Holy shit! A gun barrel,” Seth breathed, seeing a shadowy figure in the scrub bushes and with what appeared to be a rifle of some sort. The shooter was taking aim at the young wife of Derick Wildstar.


     “Oh no you don't, I don't think so.” He thought, drawing his Astro-automatic pistol, leaping over the pillar and charged. Startled, the other stasis crew, and Yamato crew, looked up in astonishment at Seth charging toward them. Both groups noted his weapon was drawn. Quickly, they rose to their feet in confusion. Derick Wildstar's gaze went from him to Nova and back again. Seth seemed to be traveling in slow motion and Wildstar's gaze bounced between them, before he figured out what and why Seth was charging. He was heading right for Nova.


“Nova! GET DOWN!!!”' Seth was shouting, running full speed at young Nova Wildstar. Derick sprung instantly into action, moving toward the Major who charging toward his wife, not sure what was going on and trying to intercept him.


     “AHHHHHHHH!” Seth yelled as he charged, and he lunged across the path of Nova as a shot rang out. Seth felt the shot strike him, as he knocked Nova clear. On the other side, Nova felt the push, hearing the shot, and see her husband just miss grabbing the young officer. Derick's had lanced out, just brushing his uniform as Seth crossed her path and saw the young man stiffen as he saw a bolt strike his body to pass through him. A ricochet had sounded, and a splatter of blood from the exit wound flew out in all directions from the Major's body. Nova had been struck by that blood, and he had heard her gasp, knowing he had protected her.


     “Success!” Seth thought as Nova yelped in alarm as he flew past, hitting the ground with a hard thud. He rolled twice and returned two shots. The shots had streaked across the memorial and hit their target in the bushes. A robotic figure fell from the bushes. Everyone turned, seeing the two robotic creatures fall from the bushes as smoke billowed over the memorial like a thick blanket.


     His action had been swift, and a few seconds had passed from when the shot rang out, to his now crouching on the ground. There was startled silence in regards to what had just gone down here. Several of those seconds had elapsed as Nova sat on the ground, looking up in fear before she felt a slow dribble of liquid on her face. She idly reached up to wipe the liquid from her face and looked down at her hands. It was blood.


     “Oh my god!” Nova gasped, and the others, especially her husband, turned horrified. He was confused what was happening.


     “Derick!” She stammered and fainted onto the ground.


     “What the hell?” Derick replied, turning to catch her as she fainted. He lowered her onto the ground. The young officer stared at the blood.


     “Nova!” He said, “NOVA!” The young woman lay motionless, and he panicked when she did not respond.


     “Doctor Sane,” Wildstar exclaimed, “Nova has been hit!” Sane was beside her in a heartbeat.


     “What the...” Sane gasped, staring wide eyed at the blood on her tunic and her face. Laser fire erupted from all directions around them. Seth, mortally wounded staggered to his feet, and ducked behind a tombstone. He began shooting, cut off from the others.


     “AMBUSH!” Wildstar shouted, as a cross fire appeared from all sides. The Yamato crew took cover, returning the fire and trying desperately to keep from being shot.


“Damn, pinned down in a cross fire.” Derick thought, watching as automatic laser fire lanced out. “This is not exactly what I had in mind.”


     “How is she doctor Sane?” Wildstar asked, and he looked up as the young chief returned the fire.


     “She is just fine.” Sane reported, “This is not her blood, she has only fainted. Your wife and child are still okay.” He pulled her unconscious body close to the tombstone.


     “Where is that blood coming from?” Derick asked and he glanced about the memorial.


     Nova opened her eyes, jolted by the smelling salts, and turned her head. She looked at the young Major nearby, as laser shots streaked across the wide expanse. Seth held his wound, blood seeping through his fingers. Nova saw the wound, startled to see it, and reminded that it was almost like Mark Venture's wound on the last mission.


     “Derick.” She whispered and Sane put her hand on her shoulder, Wildstar turned to meet her gaze.


     “Nova…” He breathed, his pistol shots echoing the memorial.


     Wildstar's wife saw Seth's expression, as she stared at him, and he had turned to meet her examining stare. She saw that look of intensity in his eyes as held the wound. Blood covered his tunic and on his hand, that covered his wound. Nova gasped as she tugged on her husband's tunic and he turned his head in surprise, looking at whom she pointed. She pointed at Seth. He saw the blood. Sane had turned too.


     Sane stared at the bloody wound with raised eyebrows. Before he could do anything though, the young Major made a decision, and nodded only once to them as they saw the look in his eye and realized what he intended to do.


     “This is the only way.” Seth thought, “It will break this stalemate.”


     “Oh my god…” Nova said, as she and her husband exchanged astonished glances, realizing what he was about to do.


     “Don't do it Major. Please Seth.” Nova Wildstar thought, and yet Seth, without warning, rolled over a tombstone with gritted teeth. He charged out into the line of fire.


     “FREEEDOOOM!!” His piercing battle cry echoed over the memorial, and it made everyone turn their heads in astonishment. The robotic soldiers had seemed to pause when they saw the human jump the tombstone, and without fear, charged toward them. They pointed their weapons and started firing. The others, startled by the cry, watched in astonishment as Seth charged through the now thick smoke.


     “What the fuck?” Manual exclaimed, as Seth charged the guns, opening up on them with his pistol. He watched as Seth dodged, pivoted, and dropped two of the robots. He pivoted again, missed by one bolt but another struck his arm. Amy and Melinda screamed again, as they saw the shot strike their friend. They heard the shouts. Drawing their pistols they also returned fire and started dropping the robots.


     “No Major Aguilera, NO! Get down.” Wildstar shouted, but Seth did not listen as he ducked, weaved, his finger on the trigger. Seth took two more hits, dropping to his knees and continued to fire his weapon. Two more robots sparked, and fell smoking into the memorial. They saw him drop to his knees for a second when the shots struck him. There was a momentary pause by Seth, before he rolled, fired, and then gathering himself, slowly rose to stand and move.


     “No!” Melinda shouted, as everyone realized what was happening. It is no dream the young Major had charged the guns, and he was taking fire. Manual had stood up, again, from another tombstone and slowly made his way toward Seth to no avail.


     “Damn it, give him some cover!” Manual shouted and shot off two rounds, as he saw the bolts strike his friend several times. Manual's fire also struck several of the robots and he managed to move slowly forward to another tombstone. A shot struck him full in the shoulder and it threw him back. He let out a yell as he hit the deck and from their places, a startled Yamato crew watched in horror. Amanda and one of the Yamato crew pulled Manual back behind the safety of a granite tombstone.


A cloud of thick smoke now masked the fire and their position as one by one the young Major fought, dropping the enemy. When it was all done, the young Major knelt on one knee in the now silent memorial. Thick smoke billowed around him and the only sounds were the sparking of the robot's components. Seth had gathering himself again, the pain unbearable, as he staggered to his feet, and he staggered a couple more steps. The officer leaned against a nearby pillar lining the walkway as Astro-fighters rocketed overhead and troops came running toward the memorial.


     “It's over.” Wildstar said to his wife. “Nova, are you alright?” She slowly opened her eyes, meeting her husband's loving eyes.


     “I'm okay Derick.” She whispered, “I did not get hit. Find Seth though… oh please, find him… He saved my life.”


     “Don't worry we will.” Replied her husband, but he stayed beside her. “You just rest.” Sane instructed, and he was on his feet as a silent wind whipped across the memorial, clearing clear the smoke that covered it like a fog. He quickly moved about the memorial, finding the other Yamato members. He found Dash, Conroy, Eager and Homer. He found the chief and Thomas Orion. He then found each stasis member, with exception to Seth. After five minutes, the stasis volunteers stood up, rattled by the battle that had raged here. Sane went to work. The wounded were brought to one place. A couple of the Yamato crew had been unfortunately clipped by the gunfire. Manual had been shot in the shoulder. Amy, Melinda, Amanda had been fortunate to duck when the fire had started. Each one had returned fire too and the trio had at least over one kill to their credit.


     Melinda's eyes darted to the bushes, as did the others standing over Manual who lay on the ground as Amanda tended his wound. She put a pressure bandage on it, ripped from the bloody uniform sleeve. Her team mates knelt next beside them.


     “Holy cow, what the hell was that about?” asked Amanda and the two other young women only shrugged.


     “Seth…” gasped the dark haired woman, remembering it was he who had won this battle.


      “Where is Seth?” Melinda asked, and she turned to shout his name. She rose and started looking around the memorial. Amanda's eyes repeatedly fell upon the blood on the tombstone, where Seth had been ducking behind as the firefight was going on. A pang of regret washed over her.


     “Oh my god,” Amy stammered as she turned her head, scanning the memorial through the smoke that billowed upward into the sky. Melinda was already on her feet and Amy was too, moving out and around the memorial looking for their comrade. A landing craft ripped across the memorial and landed nearby. A platoon of marines appeared, followed by a young officer leading them, shouting orders.


     “A little late,” Derick muttered under his breath and he met a smile from Nova who giggled at the sentiment. He nodded as she lay back to sleep, induced from the meds Sane had given her to settle her down.


     “Is everyone all right?” The officer asked, and Wildstar rose up as he approached.


     “We've got wounded, sir. We need a medic over here to assist Doctor Sane. We need to get them out of here, as soon as possible.” Derick told him, “We were ambushed by a new enemy. There might be more out there.”


     Wildstar slowly helped Nova to her feet, and Nova scanned the memorial. She silently nodded to Manual and Amanda as she approached them. Melinda had been shouting for Seth, walking to the far side of the memorial. Amy had taken the closer side, but there was no sign of him. They could barely see, with the thick smoke still clearing by the wind, and Melinda becoming more panicked as they continued their search.


     It was here that Nova realized what had happened, and what had been done. Seth had given himself to save her and the others. She watched as Melinda walked through the smoke that billowed across through the memorial and on the other side was Amy. The young women were getting frantic now as they called Seth's name and got no answer. When Melinda finally saw the shadow of her friend, a second later through the smoke, a wave of relief fell upon her. The young dark-skinned woman's gaze fell upon the Major sitting on the ground, slumped against a post that lined the walkway.


     “Seth!” She exclaimed, relieved to find him and ran toward him. When she got closer to him, she abruptly stopped when she saw a pool of blood around his body.


     “Oh my God!” The young woman screamed, moving to his side, and knelt beside him. She saw the blood that covered his uniform.


     “OVER HERE!” Melinda shouted, and Amy ran from the other side of the memorial, as did the medic. They both knelt beside Seth, looking horrified at their wounded friend, who lay bleeding on the ground.


     “Doctor SANE!” The medic shouted, and a few moments later, the doctor was at his side with Nova. The good doctor had smiled at first, when seeing him, but it quickly faded becoming a grimace when Seth fell backward.


     “Oh my god,” He murmured quietly. Nova gasped.


     “Is he alive, Doctor Sane?” Nova asked. Seth opened his eyes slowly, and his absent stare met their faces, before it found the blue sky.


     “Fortunately for him, yes, but not for long Nova, we must get him to the hospital at once.” Sane replied, “He has already lost quite a bit of blood.” Sane said as he began to examine the young officer. Sane noted the hole in his chest, just below the breastbone of the ribcage.  


     “Give me your medical bag.” Sane told the medic and silently the medic handed him the bag. Sane pulled out the contents and began applying compress pressure bandages. Nova helped him.


     “What happened here, Chief?” asked the Marine Commander and Derick shrugged, stepping back as he pulled the officer aside.


     “It looks like we have a new enemy. We were here at the memorial paying our respects and were attacked.” He said, “As you can see, Lieutenant it is some sort of robot. We must inform the Earth Defense Commander at once.”


     The young officer nodded and he signaled to a young corporal who had a radio. Shouting orders, the marine platoon dispersed and took up flanking positions. A medic helped Manual and couple of Yamato crew to the rescue ship and it rocketed off into the sky. Marines scoured the memorial, taking up protecting positions, as a medical team arrived from another ship that landed. Doctor Sane sat over Seth as they came to his side.


     “What's going on Doctor Sane?” asked the young Medic and the doctor nodded toward the young officer.


     “This man needs immediate attention, and can be moved out of here!” Melinda, Amy, and the few remaining Yamato crew clustered around Seth as he lay here bleeding profusely.


     “He's hit in the mid chest, and I think it has nicked the heart. Also he has several hits to the mid abdomen.” Sane said, cutting away the tunic, “I was trying to stabilize him. This does not look very promising but at the moment, until I can examine him more, I would make him as comfortable as we can.” Sane worked with the young medic. Melinda and Amy, with tears in their eyes, were weeping as they watched their friend dying. Sane glanced up from his work at the young women. He smiled.


     “Don't look so worried, he will be ok. I do not think he is in that bad in shape. I have seen much worse.” Sane grimaced when he cut away the tunic and saw the wound in his chest. The young Major's innards semi-slithered out from the cavity making Nova turn to gag slightly. She continued to kneel beside Seth and the doctor, assisting him in field dressing Seth's wounds.


     “Oh, Dear God,' He murmured and Nova, with tears in her eyes turned to meet his stunned expression.


     “How can he be alright Doctor Sane?” Nova asked, fighting back the tears.


     “I did not mean it Seth.” Amanda said, “I am so sorry.”


     Sane grimaced, as he set to work, working fast to patch him up quickly. “We'll suture him up… To at least stabilize him and keep him alive,” Sane murmured. Nova’s gaze showed question and the doctor shook his head slightly.


     “Don't tell them yet.” He instructed Nova, “I don't know how bad the damage is, it could be much worse.”


     Seth, lying on the ground, stared up absently at the blue sky above him, already knowing he was wounded badly. He had been shot in the abdomen and chest. The young officer knew it had done more damage than the Sane actually had found, and he already knew he did not have long to live. Strangely to the young Major, he was not afraid of dying and could almost see his friends who waited for him and family, wherever they are. He knew would be with Emily soon too, unaware she was still alive in this century by a mistake. The young Major relaxed on the ground, feeling his life ebbing away and yet he managed to turn his head. A couple of people who walked up the hill, staring in astonishment at the action they had missed. Quickly, the two young women stared at the mess made by Seth, and the Yamato crew.


     “Attention!” Dash said, immediately snapping to attention and quickly saluting Commander Mitty McDonald, Singleton's Aide, and Angie Stethem, a member of the first stasis group.


     “As you were,” Mitty said, staring at Doctor Sane who had his hands against Seth's body, and his hands covered with blood.


     “Sorry Commander.” The doctor said coldly, “We have evacuated all but one of the wounded, and my hands are the only thing holding this man alive right now. Forgive my discourtesy.” Mitty nodded, and looked over Amy's shoulder.


     “What the hell? Major Aguilera?” The young aide stammered, noting the looks around her and the pool of blood that surrounded Seth’s body as he lay there dying. “What happened here?”


     “He risked his life and saved us all.” Derick said, as Mitty glanced at him. The young chief nodded slightly.


     “He's an honest to god, red blooded, hero.” Derick said and yet Commander McDonald just stared at him, purely horrified by the sight. Melinda turned, regarding the young women beside the aide for Singleton, and her face fell as she stared in astonishment at the other woman beside Mitty.


     “Angie Stethem?” She thought and shook her head.


     “Nah… it cannot be.” Melinda thought, nudging Amy who stared at the young woman beside Mitty too.


     “This is going to sound weird, but she reminds me of Angie.” Melinda whispered to Amy and her friend shook her head in silence.


     “It just can't be.” The dark-haired woman thought and slowly she stood, regarding the young officer. The young woman’s face, to Melinda and Amy, was much leaner than she had remembered Angie to be and her ash blonde hair was long and darker. Angie was dressed in the same uniform as she was, in the Earth Defense Command, Armed Forces. She sported silver double bars on her collar, marking her as a Captain, and the gold braid on her uniform. She was working in the Headquarters office, shadowing Mitty, learning the ropes how to be an aide. 


     “Angie? A-angie Stethem?” Melinda asked suddenly and the young woman turned to stare at her. Angie had been in a first group for stasis, and it had been found much earlier than the team here. (A year earlier) She and one other had survived from the past. The other team was placed separately and kept secret from the secondary team for security reasons. It was wiped out by a terrorist bomb as they were being put into stasis, killing everyone around Angie and her companion.


     “Huh? What?” Angie replied, and she stared at Melinda's face and then turned to Amy.


     “Oh my god, I don’t believe it!” Angie said, and both of the women jumped to the feet to embrace her warmly.


     “Doctor we've lost a pulse.” The medic cried out. Sane's head, as well as everyone who remained here, had turned in alarm. The doctor's resolve was immediate, and his fist struck Seth's chest in frustration.


     “Come on Major.” He said, “We can't let you die like this.” Seth gasped a sharp breath in response.


     “No pulse Doctor…” The medic's heavy voice told him, as Seth exhaled sharply again.


     “Come on, another one like that, Major.” Sane snapped, and again, his fist struck the Seth’s chest. The Doctor began doing CPR compressions on the Major’s chest, over his heart, just as another rescue craft landed at the memorial. It was the longest agonizing moment they had ever encountered when the medic had announced that the young officer's heart stopped. It was like standing in slow motion, and they clustered around him. A faint heartbeat thumped in Seth's chest, followed by a ragged breath.


     “Okay we have something.” He said, “His pulse is probably over two hundred beats a minute. We have to board that rescue craft as soon as possible and get him into surgery!”


A litter arrived, followed by yet another medical team. They lifted Seth gently onto the stretcher, and they quickly hoofed him to the rescue craft's ramp that had lowered to allow Sane, the medic and others on the team to enter.


Melinda followed, wanting to go with him like the others, but she was held back by a medical tech. She stood back and watched the craft take off, the wounded evacuated to the hospital. Turning, she heard the other's comments, as they walked to their craft for evacuation to the base with the Marines that had come.


     “This is a hell of a way to start a mission.” Homer said.


     “Yeah, that's for sure.” Orion replied and Melinda nodded in silence, staring at the Rescue craft as it headed toward the city. On board the rescue craft is her friend, barely alive.


She ran to the waiting landing craft with the Yamato Crew, the remaining stasis crew, the Commander’s Aide and the Marines. They all were being taken back to the base for debriefing, despite the Yamato crew and stasis crew had technically been off-duty during this attack. On the transport, Melinda and Amy laughed and joked with Angie, catching up on old times, during those turbulent times of centuries past. They introduced her to Amanda and they sat around exchanging stories the whole time until they landed. 


-- To be continued...


Yamato: The New Adventures... (Sequel to "Final" Yamato in Episode type format)

By Erwin Stevens


EPS 2 - Death and Resurrection of History's Heroes:



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. Many forms of life are in the universe, and they live scattered throughout its cold vastness.


The speck that makes up our Earth is one such place, a place where wars have come, and have gone, leaving their mark. A solar system named "Sol" resides in a mere corner of the infinity of space, and so does the huge galaxy known as the Milky Way where the Sol system resides. It is one of seventy such systems located here in the mere tip of this galaxy and in this solar system that nine planets orbit the single life-giving star. Living on the third one, an insignificant body called Earth lives an advanced civilization known as human kind. 



It is on Earth, a man lies dying. Seth Aguilera of the twentieth century lies on the stretcher, barely conscious, but alive, as his transport landed at Central Hospital in a bold new century. The young officer blankly stared up at the sky, as a team of people ran toward him from all sides. Several medical personnel have gathered around him to grab his stretcher, lifting him over to a gurney that would be rushed into the huge white building of Central Hospital. Seth's blood still seeped from his tunic, covering the stretcher, his uniform, the Doctor and the medic who struggled to keep him alive. He is a man who is a hero of Earth, who had come through the winds of time using a new technology that was discovered in the twentieth century. It is a technology that had been brought from the future, by a miscalculation of a cybernetic race that wages war far in the future.



Now, two hundred years later, Seth has an expressionless gaze as he stares up at the blue skies of Earth and then at the sterile white ceilings of the hallway in the hospital. He can feel his life ebbing away from him, and the young office calmly knew already that he did not have long to live. The first thoughts Seth had were immediately of Emily, knowing he would see her, friends and family who had died centuries ago. Death, he knew, is enviable now and it did not bother him.  He had given his life to protect others at the memorial, saving the Yamato crew and the stasis members with his sacrifice.



The young officer has no idea that Emily and Denise both have survived and now recover, like everyone had, in the Central Hospital somewhere. The two young ladies were fortunate to be regaining consciousness as they were examined, and almost autopsied. The tech had discovered they were alive when the saw them moving their fingers and gasped as they briefly opened their eyes. Immediately a team had come down and wheeled them both to the ICU where they lay until Denise staggered into that hallway. What had happened was the ladies were wheeled into a hallway and somehow clipboards were switched on the gurneys by the overworked tech. They were automatically classified as deceased soldiers who had been killed in the war against the Dinguil Empire.



Now with that already happened, they now had Seth in the operating theater, preparing to try and save his life.



"Hang in there, Seth." Nova murmured, "You're going to be alright, we're in the hospital." Tears filled her eyes and the young Major noted the concerned look on her face as they rushed him down the hallway toward the trauma unit. 



"Let me die." He croaked repeatedly, his voice barely audible and several times he tried to push the oxygen hoses away before they were taped down by the techs. He even pushed the mask away to breathe. The young officer did not want to live, live with the failure of letting his friends down, and his lover. The last thing he saw was Nova, as she placed the anesthesia mask over his face, preparing him for surgery after he was quickly wheeled into an operating theater.



"Breath in gently," Nova instructed and he breathed in the gas, restrained from moving. "See you soon. You're in good hands."



"No…" He croaked and darkness fell in around him. Seth could only see the blackness at first. He then found himself lying on a blanket beneath a glorious blue sky above, hearing the thunder of sea nearby and the cry of gulls that flew in the sky around them. The young officer turned his head and he gasped, staring at the sleeping face of Emily Montgomery lying next to him.



“What the hell? Where am I? H-how can this be and how can she be here?” He thought, pulling off the mask and staring at his lover in silent awe. He had no idea, at first, he was dreaming while back in the operating theater Nova and the others stood beside him as they continued preparing him for surgery.



 "Blood pressure stable, he's asleep." Nova reported, "Iq-9?"



"Oxygen flow normal, carbon dioxide output normal." Reported the robot, and Nova turned her head to meet Doctor Sane's careful examination of the soldier's vital readouts.



“Those readings are so low, I don’t know if that is a good sign or not.” He grumbled, slipping on a pair of gloves from a nearby tray.  “Okay, let’s get on with it.”



A steady bleeping sound on the monitor indicated his pulse. Other readouts like O2 intake, C02 and respiration was monitored by the robot as the doctor started his work, cutting into the body of the young officer, a man who was technically two hundred years old.



Sane held the laser scalpel in hand and turned to the man, his new friend who lay on his table, coming from the past and from a stasis project that used technology impossible to have come from his century. It is a project that had all odds against it for the group’s survival since their recovery. But despite it, five of them now survived into this new time alive and well. Sane wasn’t about to let Seth quit, like his friends, or the other stasis members for that matter.



“Come on Seth.” Sane thought, “You want to live.”



As Sane began cutting on Seth, however, an obnoxious beeping sounded that echoed the operating theater and it was, followed by a long tone. Sane looked up in alarm, as did Nova, the vitals indicating he was dead.



"Damn! He’s flat-line!" Sane shouted, "Get me adrenaline and hydrocortisone, five hundred CC. Prepare paddles for resuscitation."



Nurses and the other doctors worked feverishly over him for five minutes trying to revive the young man from the past. The sounds of battle, the buzz of electric and the thump of Seth’s body as it hopped on the table the only sound in the theater. None of the personnel had said a word, other than the shouted orders of the medications and shots to give the young man to bring him back from the dead. Six minutes had elapsed, and Seth’s vitals beeped on the monitor. Nova let out a breath of relief that echoed the room.



“Thank…” Nova began to mutter, but a grimace appeared on her face and the others in the room when Seth's vitals stopped again. They started and maintained CPR for several minutes, constantly having to revive him over the next five more minutes. Sane shouted more instructions as he performed CPR, Nova squeezing the oxygen bag and another doctor, working with Doctor Sane, leaned over to inject the necessary chemicals into his IV.



Meanwhile, Seth sat on the beach at this very moment, totally flabbergasted by the sight around him, of a time and place that he had once shared with a friend a long time ago. As he turned his head, he took in the surroundings quickly, realizing he was on North Beach of San Francisco. Turning he stared at the buildings of the city skyscrapers in the distance that were showing over the rocks and he stared at the traffic and bustle that made their way down the Pacific Coast Highway, known as highway One that ran along the coast.



“What on Earth? How the hell can this be North Beach? I am in the Twenty-third Century, shot and dying.” Seth said to himself and yet here he was, sitting near the rocks taking in the very real surroundings.  More traffic ran along the highway and he turned his attention to the long expanse of North Beach where many people ran along the beach on this early afternoon, laughing and carrying on as usual.



“There has to be something going on, I must be hallucinating.” Seth said, shaking his head, trying to clear the very crisp images before him. He heard a yawn and a groan next to him and his head turned immediately toward the sound, despite the thunder of the ocean waves and the cry of gulls that echoed the beach around him. The young Major’s eyes locked on the familiar face of someone he had not expected to see lying beside him. He felt the familiar déjà vu when seeing the face of his young lover beside him. The same lover that he would bury two hundred years in the future in a place called Hero’s Hill in the Twenty-third century.



“What the deuce!?” He stammered, peering at the familiar long brown curly hair, beautiful face, and shapely form clad in a loud colored, string-bikini. They both lay on a blanket on the sand, next to the rocks.



“Oh my god!” Seth thought, “Can it be?”


The young Major turned his head, spying the abandoned anesthesia mask that lay abandoned at his side.



“How can I be here if the anesthesia mask is lying over there?” Seth asked himself, “That proves I am not in the Twentieth, Twenty-First Century.”



He turned his intent, examining, stare at Emily who lay beside him and as she slowly opened her eyes. She immediately focused on Seth and returned his startled expression with a smile and a loving gaze. The young woman sat up quickly, looked into his eyes and embraced him.



"I'm dreaming." He said simply. The young woman smiled at him.



"Yes you are. Are you alright Seth?" She asked, her hand touching his shoulder. He shook his head and Emily tilted her head in half understanding.



"I am in a hospital, shot and dying." He said, "Where am I? What year is it?" His tone showed a touch of fear, as-if he was afraid to hear the answer to his question.



"We're on the beach." She replied, quite confused. "What year is it? It is two thousand and one. We are on North Beach in San Francisco. Why, where did you think you would be?"



"You wouldn't believe it if I told you." He replied, making Emily frown playfully.



“Try me.” She told him in a playful but mischievous tone and at first Seth didn’t answer. He did not draw away either, he just stared into the brown eyes of the woman he loved dearly, and knew he would lose two hundred years from now.



She leaned over to hug him, and her lips touched his, kissing him passionately. His eyes were wide and a smile appeared on his face. It had been as sweet, filled with promise and exactly as they had kissed the first time.



“I missed you.” She told him and he nodded.



"This is so weird, but I am so glad to see you." He said, turning his head to inspect the familiar surroundings of North Beach that lay out around him. The large buildings of San Francisco rose up in the distance, clearly visible over the rocks into the skyline. A building on the top of a large cliff, a restaurant called 'The Cliff House' stood nearby. It is one of the well-known, very tasty, and pricey dining establishments in San Francisco.  He could not believe that was there either.



As the surf pounded the beach, a sky full of gulls, the familiar sand and laughter echoed from across it. Seth sat beside the young woman he had fallen in love with a long time ago. He did not know how to ask the next series of questions to figure out if this was real. The Major took in the surroundings in silence with the only a shake of his head.



First, he had already known the others in his project, seven of them, had died and there was something amiss by his presence in a place he should not be. The place he sat was in a time where all of his friends, family and the members of the stasis crew still survived. He was reliving something that had already been lived and would be impossible to relive or change even if it were possible.



"It’s just impossible!" thought the young officer.



 "How can I get back to the twentieth century when I awakened from stasis? This is not possible. I cannot change the future, it would totally make things all screwed up." He said to himself. "Maybe, perhaps I am dreaming of the future and I have not been put into stasis yet."




Despite his questions burning in his mind, he thought of someone else who had thought and enjoyed Science Fiction. Even he was alive and well. He knew that he would have written this experience down, making it a great yarn of a Sci-Fi story. 



"Seth, you look like you have seen a ghost." Emily declared sharply and he turned to the young woman. He peered at his lover, companion and fellow stasis member like him, who is assigned to the same project as he and the eleven others would traverse soon at this very moment.



"Perhaps I have. I am not sure." He replied, "Perhaps I am seeing one now." Seth glanced down at a black watch on his wrist and a medical bracelet on the other one.



“What’s wrong Seth?” Emily asked. He ignored the question, briefly closing his eyes.



"How long have I been here?" Seth calmly whispered, opening his eyes to intently look into her brown eyes, "How did I get back to San Francisco?"



"What do you mean? You… we’ve been here all day. It's Saturday and we're taking a break from duty together. We came to the beach, it was your idea." Emily said, "We've been here for a year and month for training… Seth you are starting to worry me."



"But you're dead!" Seth blurted out suddenly, "I-I buried you at Hero's Hill, in the year 2208!"



"Now you are REALLY starting to scare me." She said, "Stop it, Seth…"



"But…" He started to reply but fell silent when Emily gave him an annoyed look. Seth managed to look around and met the surroundings with a fearful, confused look. He stared at the rocks on the northern end, the sandy expanse and parking lot that connected Highway One that went along the coast from which would lead along the coast of California. The people seemed to be moving in slow motion all of a sudden.



"This can’t be right. There has to be more to explain this all.” He thought, grimacing at the surroundings as she picked up the beach towel. Seth moved in and he held her. He instinctively took up her arm as they walked together down the beach. Grimacing, the young man shook his head and he grimaced at the infectious smile that appeared on her face when she felt him take her hand.



All of a sudden a loud beeping sound echoed in the air around him. It made Seth look down at his wrist at a black wrist watch he wore there and at the blinking numbers that flashed there on his arm. He felt himself drawn back from the images that abruptly faded.



"EMILY!" He shouted as they both were separated by a large chasm. The beeping noise echoed around Seth in the darkness, and he recognized it as a heartbeat as he glanced down at the flashing number on his wrist. It had been only a dream and a feverish medical team worked hard in the operating theater to revive Seth for the last five minutes. When they were successful, they all looked up in relief as the familiar rhythmic beeps echoed in the O.R and his steady heartbeat showed on the monitor beside the table. They thankfully indicated that he was back from the dead. Nova was fighting to hold back her weeping as she held the young officer's hand tightly. Another beeping and Seth's heart stopped again, and again Sane hit him with the paddles.



 "Come on Major… Damn it." Sane muttered, as he zapped the young soldier on the table. The others present on the staff ventilated and squeezed in the blood that hung dripping into his body. The young Major inhaled sharply before going to flat line again.





"Another one, just like that…" Sane coached, as he zapped him again. This time a steady beeping sounded on the monitor.



 "Okay." He announced, his team looking up, "We have him back to the realm of the living. Let’s get him stabilized and work fast to get the damage repaired." Nova looked up and nodded.



"Ready Doctor," She murmured, making him grimace before looking down at the gaping bloody wound.



"Laser scalpel," He ordered, and she handed him the instrument. Several times Nova looked down at the immobile form of Seth as he lay on the table. Doctor Sane patched up the damage and hours later, when he was done, they hung another unit of blood as the Major lay there.  He walked toward the exit, nodding to Nova who stood nearby. Doctor Sane looked up at the observation room, also nodding to Mitty McDonald who sat watching.



"Keep an eye on him, and don't worry. He'll have a rough looking heartbeat for a while, but only time will tell if he's going to pull through. Not to worry, he has a good chance." Sane said, encouraging the young woman and his team when he saw their worried expressions.



 The doctor understood not to tell her the chances of his demise and thankfully kept it to himself. Nova, as she stood there, remembered Seth's friends, who by now waited for news in the waiting room. They had all come to the hospital to lend support for him. She had been correct. They had been waiting for several hours, hoping to hear how their friend was doing, and Nova had no idea the Yamato crew had come too to lend moral support with them. Everyone was there and they all claimed the Federal Hospital's largest waiting room.



As young Forrester-Wildstar walked down the hall toward the waiting room, a few minutes later, she is still dressed in her blood-covered uniform heading to where the stasis and Yamato crew wait. As she approached the corner, Nova stopped, peering down the corridor where her husband Derick and Mitty McDonald, aide to General Singleton stood talking. Nova hung back around the corner from the waiting rooms located near the operating theater, and tried to compose herself quickly. She tried to keep from weeping, having witnessed a great battle between life and death for Seth several times in the operating theater. A man she came to admire, despite the situation that he had successfully defused at the memorial, and the difficulty of success repairing his body by the Doctors of Federal Hospital.



"Oh hell," She murmured, wiping the tears away.  "I can't avoid them, but I really can't tell them that he is not going to make it." Breathing in, composing herself, Nova walked around the corner. Derick, taking one look at his young wife, had grimaced at the unsightly blood covering her uniform but he moved to her side to embrace her. Derick's questioning expression was met by the young woman and when his wife shook her head, he bowed his head.



"Oh damn…" Derick murmured, as he held his weeping wife in his arms.



"I thought he would make it." Nova’s husband said, as he glanced at his wife, lifting her chin to place a loving hand on her shoulder.



Nova's head turned, intently watching the others in the waiting room. They were waiting any word from Doctor Sane who had worked on Seth. The stasis crew talked over old times with their friend from their time, placed in another group from the same stasis project they had not known about. Their friend, Angie Stethem, is alive and well from another project like their own, a group of chambers assumed destroyed by a terrorist bomb. They all were chatting, laughing and carrying on. They did not notice Nova's arrival or as she backed away from the door, meeting her husband's gaze.



"H-he's stable at the moment. Derick." She said, "He's in worse shape than was originally foreseen. It is only time and in god's hands now." She described the situation clearly, vividly and what had happened in there.



"She's right Wildstar, we did what we could." A voice said, and they turned to see Doctor Sane appear from the doorway, still dressed in his bloody scrubs. "We repaired the damage, but it's clearly up to him now." Mitty joined them when she saw the couple and she had nodded a greeting to them, especially to Doctor Sane.



     "Doctor Sane, I can't… I-I can't tell them h-he's… that he might not make it." Nova whispered, "Please don't make me…"



Sane saw her glancing at the waiting room door, hearing the laughter and chatter there. He shook his head.



"No, Nova, that duty falls upon me. I am the doctor in charge, and I am responsible for reporting life or death to the next of kin or friends. I wish like hell and hope I have good news to tell them after tonight. It doesn’t look good."



"Also, bear in mind Commander McDonald, when you report, Seth Aquilera is in critical condition and is under full life support. He may or may not make it by the morning." Sane declared solemnly, "It is up to him, if he lives or dies now."



"Noted, but what do you recommend we do about the assignment given to the young Major?" Mitty asked, "We are now one man short for this new assignment. Should we pull one of the others to take his place?"



"We should reassign someone else who is familiar with the Aquarian waters." A low voice said, "And that is not one of the other stasis crew members, even though they were all trained at the same time, on the same data. They are just not qualified."



There was a gasp, and everyone in the hall had turned their heads to a rough, looking officer who stood nearby. He is mid height, has slightly graying brown hair, a full beard and he wears a black eye patch over one eye, partially covering an angry-looking scar starting from his forehead that ran to his jaw line on the patched side. The officer is dressed in the familiar blue, dark blue trimmed uniform of the EDC Space Corps, and he has the insignia of a silver cluster marking him as Lieutenant Commander pinned on his collar. He saluted smartly.



"Commander McDonald," He said solemnly, nodding a greeting to her. He grinned at Derick and Nova. “And of course, Doctor Sane." He bowed formally to Nova and Mitty.



"Greetings Lieutenant Commander," She said, smiling, "I did not know you were here. I thought you were at dry dock overseeing the repairs of the Kosheo, as ordered by Captain Yamazuki."



"I was, until I got this strange call from General Singleton's office, with orders to high-tail is over to the hospital and assume all duties given to Major Aguilera, who presently is in critical condition. Is it Seth Aguilera?"



"Why yes, do you know him?" She asked and the Lieutenant Commander nodded.



"He is one of my best friends in the whole world, in civilian life, and a hell of a person. We sort of lived in the same neighborhood back in the twentieth century. Forgive me, if I am a bit stunned that he was one of the stasis members they found recently. I had no idea he would put in for something like that." 



Mitty was nodding, and she stopped to frown, turning her head to regard the officer for a moment. "Wait a minute, to assume all duties given to Major Aquilera?"



"Here's the order." He said, handing her a slip of paper with the printed order that was transmitted to the ship and to the grizzled officer. Mitty quickly scanned it.



"My ship has a long time in dry dock for repairs." He said, "I guess it is because I am like Seth, also from the twentieth century, so I was a logical candidate for the job."



"You are to be lead for a ground assault on Aquarius, igniting the Tritium mine and eliminate all resistance. Do you even have qualifications? I think your specialty was computers, right? You are second officer aboard that Heavy Cruiser."



"It is, but we all had the same type of military training in my century. I was trained on technical specs as lead of stasis group two-fifteen, so I have that same knowledge as he does about the power sources and so forth." The officer explained, "Even if we were different branches, the training they gave us is essentially the same. So I think I can carry out your need for this assignment. I should meet the team, though and know what we are facing."



"Aye," Commander McDonald said, "I can arrange that… Call together a changeover briefing tomorrow at sixteen hundred with your new team." She told him, and the Lieutenant Commander nodded.



"Don't worry about my assignment aboard the Heavy Cruiser. It has been arranged with the Captain, and the EDC Commander. I will be reassigned back when I am done. Right now, is there anything else to be done at this minute?" The officer asked, and Mitty shook her head.



"Negative," She replied sharply, "I will personally alert your team, and make them aware of the change in command."



"Thank you, Commander. That would be…" The officer started to reply, but his voice faded off as his head snapped toward the empty corridor behind him. He had sensed something very wrong happening at this moment. His eye focused on a young blond haired woman, dressed in a medical gown, staggering toward the group from around the corner and using the wall as a support. The woman is Denise 'Watts' Watson, who was part of the secondary stasis group, who was presumed dead after a mix up of charts with deceased soldiers, who died during the last war against Earth.



The young woman stared at the group clustered nearby, and swooned. The young Lieutenant Commander bolted and ran toward her like lightning, sliding in, to catch her neatly into his arms as she fainted. He stared at the familiar face before him, one whom he had not seen in a long time, in two hundred years. He fought to get a name, and grimaced when he realized who she was.



"Denise 'Watts' Watson." He murmured, "I don't believe it."  He turned his head to the hallway, where Nova and the others stood by watching the whole event.



"Miss Wildstar, get the medics down here... Get them now." He shouted, holding Denise in his arms and echoing Kirk's words from Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock Movie of his century. Wildstar's wife ran to a communicator and hit the alert button. A beeping sounded and red lights blinked overhead. Shouts and footsteps responded, as people ran from every direction. Derick, Nova, and Doctor Sane were at his side in a flash. The young Lieutenant Commander held the limp form of Denise in his arms, as a commotion echoed through the hallway. Doctor Sane used smelling salts and brought her back to consciousness. She shook her head in disgust, at the smell.



"Ugh, get that shit out of my face." Denise sputtered, as her eyes opened and she managed to turn her head to blearily examine her surroundings. She peered at the many faces standing over her.



"Where am I? W-what's happening to me?" Denise asked.



"Shhh." Sane soothed, glancing at the people gathered around her. Denise's head turned to the young officer who held her in his arms.



"Don't talk, you are alright. You are safe and very much alive in the hospital." The doctor told her.



The young woman's eyes focused on Doctor Sane who nodded as he examined her, then to Derick, Nova and the young Lieutenant Commander who held her. She frowned for a moment, her eyes growing wide as she stared at the scarred face and patched eye of the officer who held her. She yelped and fainted in his arms again. There was a momentary pause as Nova, Derick, and Doctor Sane looked at her in surprise then met the young Lieutenant Commander's astonished expression. An amused grin appeared on their faces. A quiet ripple of laughter followed, even from the young officer. He shrugged his shoulders. 



"I guess I must have that effect on people." He told them and the group smiled.



"I guess so, Commander." Nova replied, with a smile, and he met her grin with one of his own.



 "I must have scared her." He muttered, "Just great, I'm scary looking."



Behind The Lieutenant Commander, Nova and Sane, the other stasis personnel and Yamato crew filled the hallway when they heard the alarms. The stasis personnel gasped loudly when they recognized their comrade in arms, whom they thought was dead, placed on a gurney by the young officer. There were gasps all around, and a low murmur rippled through the stasis group. Medics, technicians, and nurses ran to Denise's side as she was attended to. The young officer, who held her, stepped back, letting the medical staff do their work after putting her on the gurney, and turned his head to meet the familiar faces of the stasis crew who stood nearby. He tilted his head slightly, seeing their faces, and grinned openly before turning to walk toward Commander Mc Donald who stood nearby. As he approached the gurney, the young grizzled officer nodded to Doctor Sane and Nova who stood near the gurney containing Denise. The stasis crew and the other Yamato crew had glanced at the unfamiliar officer in the blue/dark blue uniform of the Space Corps, and no one thought any differently about him. The stasis group had not recognized the familiar face of the officer, focusing mainly on the event at hand: Their comrade in arms who was reported deceased before, and now lay on a stretcher, alive and well.



"Denise? Denise Watson?" Melinda exclaimed, "You're alive? HOW…?” The young woman headed toward the Doctor, but she felt herself restrained by the strong grip of Angie, who shook her head as Melinda turned her head. 



"How is this possible?" Amy stammered, "She's dead, they told us she was killed in stasis."



"I bet it will be explained." Angie prompted, and the group met the concerned look of the nurses, technicians and Doctor Sane himself.



"She'll be ok." Sane told Nova, and his gaze met hers for a moment. He noticed Wildstar’s wife pointed at Melinda and the others.



"Oh… yes… quite right." Sane muttered, and he turned to meet Melinda's astonished expression. His look, that he gave her, was hard and in his eyes, they clearly showed his pain and distress over losing his patient.



"Doctor? How is Seth?" Melinda asked, and the others gathered around him, remembering their comrade who had been shot to hell.




At first, Sane did not answer. But when he did, his voice was sharp, like a doubled edged sword. 



"Seth is in critical condition, and he has a very slim chance of recovery, if that. Only time will tell at this point. It's up to the Major to fight, and heal. We did everything humanly possible. I'm so sorry." Doctor Sane waited for the protest by everyone gathered here, and it did not happen as he had expected.  There had been just astonished silence by both groups.



"If you will excuse me, I have a life here that needs my help."  The doctor's voice had been hard, calm, and his tone had been dead even.



Melinda stared at the Doctor in horror. She was totally stunned, as was the others. There was not a sound until Amanda began to weep, and threw herself into the strong arms of Manual, who stood with them. Sane, Nova and even Mitty walked along the stretcher that contained their friend and around the corner. Melinda held the stunned look on her face as they disappeared around the corner and half turned to see Amy shaking her head. Her face showed the same horror. The crew from stasis was absolutely stunned by the news. As Sane wheeled Denise down the hall, he paused briefly at the corner where Nova and Derick now stood, holding each other. They took a step forward toward him, and the doctor shook his head slightly.


 "Nova, there is nothing you and Wildstar can do here now." Sane said, "Get some rest. I'll let you know if anything happens with this young woman, or if anything changes."



"Doctor Sane, is that one of the people that Seth just buried?" Nova asked and the doctor nodded, after holding their stare for a long moment.



"Yes and the young woman named Emily Montgomery too." Sane said, "They had been brought up from the morgue not long ago, their records had been mixed up in the morgue with two other soldiers killed in the last raids by the Dinguil."



"My god," Wildstar murmured, "What the hell else, can go wrong?"



"Please keep us up on how things go?" Nova said, and Sane nodded.




"It's amazing isn't?" Sane commented, "These people being put in stasis in the twenty-first century… Using a technology we had to fight against not long ago." Both Nova and Derick nodded slightly in agreement.



"It is all hard to believe, Doctor Sane." Wildstar replied.



"A strange coincidence for us all, Wildstar… Nova…" Sane replied.



"Doctor Sane, you are needed in Emergency 4." A voice said, announcing it over the intercom above him. Sane nodded slightly when he had heard it.



"Sorry, I have to go. I'll let you know how things go." Sane told them, and he ran down the corridor.



Derick embraced his wife before he took her hand, and they walked down the hallway together. Nova smiled at her friends, as they passed her, and the couple stopped to chat with others, who embraced her. When they were alone, minutes later, she kissed Derick passionately.



"I have to get out of this uniform, Derick. Can we go by the changing room?"  Nova asked, consciously looking down at the blood belonging to Seth that stained her uniform. Her husband grimaced at the sight of the dried blood on her uniform and nodded. They walked a short distance down the hall together, and soon ended up outside the changing room. She walked toward the door.



"Wait for me. I'll only be five minutes."  He smiled at the young woman, as she disappeared through the door. Derick still could not believe he was going to be a father, after almost a year of marriage.



Five minutes later, she walked from the changing room wearing her nurse's uniform and they held hands as they walked toward the exit. She noted the grimace on his face as memories moved through his brain about recent past. Derick thought of about a half a year ago, when they had all come home on the last mission of Yamato. It had been when they fought the Dinguil, who used Aquarius as a weapon against Earth.



"What's wrong Derick?"



"Nothing," He replied, and he put out his arm, allowing her to take it with a smile. They walked together down the hallway toward the exit.



As for the stasis crew, they also had left the hospital stunned, returning to the quarters belonging to Amanda, Melinda and Amy. They sat glumly around the trio's assigned quarters, hardly speaking, as they thought of Seth, critically injured, who had sacrificed himself for them all. The group just could not believe this had happened, all of these events happening so fast, and all against a new Cybernetic enemy who threatens Earth.



Meanwhile, in the middle of deep space, the crew from the Star Cruiser class starship called the SS Magellanic Clouds, inched toward the hulk of the Yamato's bridge. As Felonious floated freely in space, his attention was focused on the scanner in front of him, as the crew began setting up survey drone to inspect the outer integrity of the derelict’s hull. The rest of his crew prepared an airlock and inspection of the super structure for their entry into the remains of the Yamato's bridge section. They all had a lot of work to be done, to examine the derelict for clues, for what had happened here in space.



     "Ihsss to Felonious," A voice said over the headset, and the Feline Science Officer turned, looking down to hit the console on the arm of his suit.



     "Felonious here," He replied. It was the Captain.



     "Is there anything to report?" Ihsss asked, "What is your status."



     "We are about to inspect the hull. As I feared, all exit blast points that are visible, are outward from an internal explosion." He said, "Crews report, that the hull and everything seems intact."



     "What?" Ihsss asked, "Are you sure?"



     "Whatever happened skipper, they blew up their ship." Felonious said, "There are too many signs that self destruction might be a strong possibility of what happened here. Voloxa also reads a higher Tachyon emission here too with some residual radiation."



     "Can you determine what it was they were against?" Ihsss asked, "That they would do that?"



"Not at present, but I have found a high concentrate of water, like this ship was immersed in it. The signs are everywhere."



     "How can that be?" Ihsss asked, "Could they have been on a planet, you know, on Earth, and the planet destroyed to throw it into deep space?"



     "No, but they could have been on Aquarius, or on proximity." Felonious said, "The water seems to have a heavy base to it. We were just about to enter the ship and head to the bridge, to see if we can salvage any of the memory-banks to find out what happened here, even maybe a log."



"Also, I think we have survivors." The Feline Science Officer replied, "I don't know how, but I thought I just saw someone inside. They were wearing a spacesuit with a helmet."



     "Survivors!" Ihsss breathed, and if sound could have traveled, that the echo would have went into space itself. Her bridge crew had turned their heads, looking in astonishment and Ihsss frowned. 



"I need someone standing by on the sensors and scanning for human life-signs again. Make sure the scans are outside normal parameters, taking in account for the radiation level surrounding the derelict." Felonious suggested "I think the radiation has been interfering with the reading with our hand-held scanners. I am unsure how they could be alive. The ship has been out here for a while. I see small damage from meteor hits and other damage on the hull."  



     "I'll get someone to stand by on your console. You take it easy in there, Felonious. If there are any issues, pull back out of there." Ihsss warned over the COM, as he moved to the airlock outside a main hatch on the derelict. Stepping into the airlock, he used a hand-held manual opener to open it and the door slid obediently open with no hiss of equalization. 



     "We have breached the outer airlock." Felonious said, stepping toward the internal one. There was no light beyond. He rubbed the window of the glass, shining his light through it.



"No power, no atmosphere, there was no equalization of a nitrogen oxygen atmosphere here." He muttered, "Scanners indicate pure vacuum, and the radiation seems to be increasing."



"Circle of three." He ordered, and nodding the crew had their backs to each other with weapons drawn. Voloxa hit the opener and the hatch opened, and again there was no equalization pressure. The hatch behind them had closed. The insect-like engineer stood beside him, inspecting the couplings and the displays.



"Voloxa here, Captain." He said, "Engineering report, this place is a bloody mess." He grumbled, "As Felonious said there is no internal power and the corridor is half obliterated from the inside out. It looks like it had its guts blown out of her."



"That's for sure." Felonious murmured.



"We're in the ship and making our way down a small hallway.  There is no power, or what appears to be an engineering section to produce power, but I am going to see if there is a battery room. Perhaps to see if we can get the emergency lighting to work." Voloxa reached out and flipped the switches on a control panel he opened nearby. He took out his tools and began working.



"According to the scanners, there seems to be more moisture here skipper." Felonious added, "I see a water line on the internal bulkhead of the ship, as well as scars of our so-called blast that ripped through this thing."



"We see it too." Ihsss replied, staring at the screen at the science console, watching their progress through the derelict.




With everyone's weapon drawn, Felonious, and his team came to the main corridor of the ship. Nodding and motioning with his hand, two went either direction.  The young feline officer took the main corridor, approaching open doors leading into a long dark corridor. Felonious led with his weapon, shining his light in the each doorway, illuminating the room to check it before walking further down the corridor.



"There is a lot of damage here. A bulkhead here looks like it seems to be shattered by Felonious' explosion. What is left of what appears to have been a hatch here, but the room itself is empty." A crewmember said.



"Use your scanners and stay alert." Felonious ordered over the static filled COM link. He left it open so the crew on the Clouds could hear. He switched the camera on his suit to the on position. It beeped accusingly at him as it initialized and then showed a picture of the surroundings from the Feline Science Officer's point of view. He glanced down at the hand held scanner as he moved through the pitch-black corridors, and the only light being that from the one in his suit, moving it back and forth. The feline officer passed closed hatches and others that had been blown apart, others partially open. Here, he looked in one and there was a door beyond. Walking, half floating, Felonious made his way down the corridor and stopped before a hole in the floor. 



"Are you getting this?" Felonious asked, and on the bridge, Ihsss T'Larra stared in surprise at the jagged hole and fused metal. She had gasped, like the others, on the bridge of the Star Cruiser Class Starship. They peered at the view screen and the picture of a hole in the floor the bulkhead. It appeared to be an internal explosion that had melted and fused the floor of the bulkhead with excess heat. 



"We're getting it." Ihsss said, "Pan right for a second."  On the derelict, Felonious complied and there was a hatch nearby.  "Shine next to that hatch."



The light on his suit banished the shadows and clearly, there was the label that was half obliterated on it.  'Qu_te_rs, M__K V_n_t__e.'



He stood in front of the door that was half open, showing the interior of the room. The feline officer crept toward the door and forced it aside, peering into the room. The room was empty except for a few things, including an unsent letter left on the desk in the room and a photo of a young man in a white uniform and a younger man together. Felonious collected the picture, the letter and put them both in an envelope. He pulled open the drawer and uniforms lay neatly in it. The feline Science Officer grimaced as he returned to the corridor.



In another part of the ship, inside a corridor like the rest of his shipmates, that Tyr'Ven walked down and explored the ship as the others. As he walked with two of his shipmates toward another junction, he panned the flashlight around the passage, examining each room and the damage that had been everywhere thus far. Turning his light he thought he saw the flash of red, like that of an indicator light. When he shined the light, there was nothing there.



Meanwhile, the insect-like engineer floated down a nearby access corridor, and toward an opening in the bulkhead. His light shined on a nearby sign 'Bridge Elevator three,' Voloxa read the sign aloud as he half turned to the crewmembers that held their weapons ready. Poking his head through the door, he peered up the shaft and saw nothing but darkness and down to see the tangle of debris of the lift that had fallen into the shaft.



"Mind the corridors." Ordered the Engineer and here he found another panel that was half shattered. Voloxa opened the toolbox, and he spliced several wires that hung freely through and from the metal panel.



"Let see if we can get some of the lights working in this section." He said after a moment, flipping the switch on the panel. A low light flickered for a second and a low light illuminated the floor. The insect engineer turned abruptly, when he thought he had seen motion, and his compound eyes showed some emotion when he peered at the ghostly form of a figure, dressed in a space suit, standing before him. The space suited figure had turned the corner and disappeared through a bulkhead.



"Did you see that?" Voloxa stammered. He turned to the crew who were beside him. They looked at him in silence.



"No, sir. What did you see?"



"There is someone here." He rasped, "Weapons on heavy stun. Don't take any chances." Voloxa moved down the bulkhead further, and his compound eyes narrowed when he saw something that he did not understand. A lone ghostly figure floated freely down the hallway, but as he raised the weapon, it disappeared. On the other side, cutting through a different room and up a level, Felonious moved down a hallway above with the two shipmates who were with him.



"Felonious." Voloxa said, his voice shaken.



"Go ahead Vol." Felonious replied, "How are things going."



"Power is going to be restored here in a second. I don't know how much life the batteries have in them, but I found it with no problems," Voloxa reported, "But on another note, I think you're right. I just saw something that may be constituted as strange."






     "I just saw a space suited figure." Voloxa said, "You said, no life signs?"



"I am not sure now." Felonious said, "My hand held scanner is in perfect adjustment, and I think it's the radiation. I have nothing here."



"I am at bulkhead A-41, what appears to be life sciences lab and a medical section." Voloxa said, and he nodded to the crew as they opened each hatch.



"I am going to start searching for survivors." He said, "I sent one member of my party below to find the sick bay and morgue, to see if there were any bodies aboard." 



     "Can't be, the ship seems abandoned." A voice said, and Felonious recognized it as Hxar's, "If they were killed, where's the bodies? Bodies in a vacuum don't decompose as fast."



"Well yes, but still the ship appears to have no half cups of coffee or anything that would indicate they were not ready for it." Voloxa countered, "I'm wondering if they abandoned ship and it had been set automated for self-destruct."



     "Well, that is one thing to find out, once we locate and find the way to the ship's bridge." Felonious replied. He then turned to the corridor ahead



 "Xner come in please? Report!"



"Something is wrong." Felonious said.



"T'Ver." He said, "Report."



     "T'Ver here," A voice said, "Nothing to report, Commander." He said, "Come three up on the staircase, bulk-head C-3. You are not going to believe this."



"Copy that." Felonious said, and a while later, the feline Science Officer’s team arrived at the staircase, as well as Voloxa and a few of his team. 


They shined the light inside the room. 



The feline Science Officer peered into the room, and saw the strange bluish glow on the floor.  He stared at the scanner in his hand. Voloxa's compound eyes widened when he saw the glow too.



"There seems to be a bit of gravity here."  He declared, "And I am reading that the glowing substance is water. That's really weird. Why has it not broken into droplets of its consistent elements in the vacuum and why is it glowing like that. It should be the elements or ice by now."  What they saw is the remains of the water of Aquarius that had flooded the ship.



"Xner to Felonious," A voice said, and the feline officer looked up.



"Where were you Xner?" He said, "We were concerned."



"I managed to go down a few levels, it's like a bulkhead hell here, but I found what is left of the medical department. I found the morgue and there are no bodies here. There are signs though, blood stains on a couple of the slabs. Otherwise it appears to be deserted."  Felonious gasped, as did Ihsss on the Clouds.



"So where did the bodies and or the people go" Ihsss asked, "Were they possibly sucked out, when the explosion breeched the hull?"



"They might have transferred the dead to another ship too." Felonious suggested, "Families right to bury their kinfolk."



"I think our best bet is to find what we need on the bridge. Xerc, get up here. Wait did you find Engineering?"



 "What's left of it Commander," Replied the voice, "I found the hatchway, and I can, at this point, see off into space. The bulkhead is partially blocked, but I can see over one hundred meters past it. The whole aft section appears to be missing."



"Okay, get up back up here." Felonious ordered. 



"Commander!" A voice stammered, through the crackle of static.



"F'Meher?" Felonious asked.



"…I am at the main bri… I think we…" The COM crackled.



"Where are you?" Felonious yelled.



"Main brid… Bulkhead B…2…" A moment later, the COM went dead.



"Let's go!" Felonious said, charging through the corridors and up any ladders he found and or any stairs. When they found deck B, they charged down the hallway, and they found the members of their crew on the deck. The spacesuit faceplate was shattered, and the body exploded inside it. The feline officer grunted. He turned to the hatchway of the bridge and leaned down to pick up the crewmember's weapon.  



"All internal search teams, if you can hear me… get back up here." Felonious said, "All crew members, yellow alert. Internal search teams, report immediately back to the bridge hatchway."



"On my way…" A voice said.



"Acknowledged…" Another voice replied.






"What's happening over there?" Ihsss asked, as the COM crackled.



"Felonious!" She exclaimed, sitting in her chair on the bridge, but there was only silence. On the derelict, the feline science officer stared at his team as they gathered at the emergency stairs hatch that would lead to the bridge. 



"Captain?" Voloxa said, "It appears communications are out Felonious."



"Yes." replied the Science Officer, hitting the buttons of his suit, "Okay, team two, take the hatch on the other side, team one follow me and be careful."



"There is a bit more radiation here." A crewmember said, "It's within limits."



Slowly, Felonious climbed the stairs, followed by his group, and when they reached the sliding doors, they paused with their weapons drawn.



     "There is some more gravity here, and the oxygen nitrogen atmosphere here too."  Xnerc muttered, staring at the scanner.



"Set weapons on stun. Put up the portable airlock." The hatch was setup with an airlock and the four space suited figures stepped in. A hiss sounded, and pressure was equalized. Voloxa jury-rigged the control to the hatch and it abruptly opened. The four-held position with their weapons around the hatch and the others came in.



"Steady." Felonious warned, as they all walked in toward the bridge with their weapons ready, and checked every chair. 



"Fan out." Felonious ordered, and the crew dispersed.



"It's empty." Felonious grumbled after a moment, and he saw one point at the center console. The whole group spun around, pointing the weapon at the center section, when seeing the body of Avatar sitting in the chair.  His body had been preserved perfectly by the vacuum of space, and the low-level atmosphere had not decomposed his body.  



"Felonious to Clouds," The feline Science Officer said, but there was nothing but static.



     "There is high radiation is in this area and it is interfering with communications." T'Ver reported, "It is within safety limits for our limited exposure."



Sitting on the bridge of the Clouds, Ihsss T'Larra was chewing at the bit as she sat helpless, sending a security team to the derelict because of the silent boarding party.



"What is going on over there?" Ihsss asked, and glanced at Hi'Mthsss who shook her head.



  On the derelict, Veloxa held his weapon ready on the body, his compound eyes watchful for anything to happen on the bridge. Felonious turned his furry head at the two other members of the group on either side of the body, their weapons drawn. His golden eyes scanned the bridge, and he stepped carefully forward toward the seated body. One of the technicians held the scanner over the body, and he took vitals of this strange form.





"No life signs, but appears to be humanoid-like," The tech said, as he used one of the devices, touching it at the temple of Avatar. 



"Alright, keep your eyes open." Felonious said, and he slowly turned with scanner in hand. "Voloxa, is it possible to get these consoles to operate?"



"We can try, Commander." Voloxa said, glancing at the antiquated equipment, even in their time. He set to work, putting up a power converter and generator. Opening the panel, he found wired and he began splicing them.



"There is a lot of damage here. We might be able to make it work though." Voloxa grunted, hooking up the wires. Looking up, the feline officer saw the hatch above the body of Avatar. 



"You, keep guard on that body." Felonious warned, pointing at a guard "Keep your weapon trained at it. We lost two of our crewmates to something strange happening here." Turning, he nodded to the crewperson who stood at the window, who withdrew a laser beacon. The crewmember flashed it, sending a signal to their ship that hovered nearby and on the bridge of the Star Cruiser, there was a cheer.



"Contact established Commander." Reported the crewmember, "Sending coded message now of our findings."



Felonious nodded, as Voloxa worked quickly, and after a moment he flipped the switch as the consoles lit up, blinking and beeping. Outside, they had no idea that a second team had been sent over to the derelict. They entered in force, entering the ship and had fanned out to search the relic. Several headed to the bridge, posting sentries to make a path through the half-shattered ship. They entered the airlock, and the soon entered the bridge.




"We found them." The young humanoid said, “Relay to the Clouds.”



Felonious turned to see Kwai enter the bridge with a couple of security personnel.



"Kwai." Felonious gasped, and he turned to the young humanoid.



"We're ready." Voloxa said, as he sat at the system, and he began typing in at the keyboard.



"The memory units are seriously damaged, Commander." The insect-like engineer said, as his assistant worked at the science station, Sandor's station. 






"What's going on?" Kwai asked, turning as she saw the body on-board. 



"We need to get that body out of here and back to the ship for analysis." Felonious said. "We have things running here, and are about to find out soon enough what happened to the derelict. There is also someone here, I think, and he has killed two of our crewmembers."



"I have security sentries posted."



"Good, but we need to get everyone out of here." Felonious ordered. "Start with the downed crew members and all non-essential personnel to return to the ship at once."



"Aye," Kwai replied, nodding to the two troopers next to her and they went to the body.  Gently, they picked up the limp form of Avatar. There was no rigor, and hardly any decomposition. A sealed stasis chamber had been sent for from the Star Cruiser and less than thirty minutes later the body had been passed down and placed in the airlock. The body of Avatar was put into the container and removed. 



Outside, as Ihsss saw the space suited figures float away from the derelict, she identified several of her crew who had been killed while on the derelict. Except one, who had been placed in a coffin, as requested by Felonious, her science officer. Captain T’Larra had gasped when he had made the request. They had found a human body per the report given to her by the Science Officer. As the stasis chamber floated between the two-space suited figures, they approached the ship. All eyes, by the bridge crew, were on the view screen.



"Zoom in." Ihsss said, curious of what her feline Science Officer had found. Veloxa clicked on the zoom and on the screen, the coffin was clearly shown close up.



"Hmmm, it appears to be an officer." Ihsss said, and turning she nodded to her daughter.



"Doctor Platt, to Airlock Four," Hi'Mthsss said, and she and Ihsss both left the bridge, in a hurry, a few minutes later. They had found a Hero of Earth.



Back on Earth, at the same moment, but unknowingly to everyone this was happening: Denise Watson, one of the mistakenly dead stasis crew, is alive, well, and slowly regaining consciousness after passing out in the corridor. As the young woman lay in the room, she managed a groan, feeling nauseated as her eyes fluttered to slowly open. Her eyes focused upon the white ceiling above her, and turning her head, she squinted at the darkened room where she had been for the last two months, before staggering blindly into the hallway.



Her gaze fell upon the room from which she and Emily now lay across from each other. She immediately recognized as a room found in any typical hospital, with sanitary white walls, beds, and the heavy drapes that cover the window. A room, she deduced having been a hospital room, because of the septic smells and background noise she could hear in the hallway outside. Denise wondered where she was, this place was not what she expected or remembered visiting on the base in San Francisco. Slowly her head turned, catching the movement from the corner of her eye, and her eyes focused upon a nurse standing nearby.



"Nurse." She croaked, realizing she had no voice.



"Nurse!" She repeated. Her voice was a mere strained whisper. Astonished, the nurse turned and exhaled quietly before rushing to her side.



The nurse, Major Matilda Downing, an older woman with black hair, a barrel shaped figure and a semi-unattractive face was at her side in a flash. She assessed the situation quickly.



 "Oh my god… Doctor Sane!" She shouted, turning to the intercom. She hit the button with a shaking hand. "Doctor Sane!  Come quickly! Room three forty five,"



 Her hand slammed the red alert button that flashed lights and a klaxon throughout the ward. Footsteps followed as the doctor arrived on the run, followed by couple of the other nurses. 



"Where am I?" Denise croaked, staring at the unfamiliar faces around her, “Who are you people?"



 Doctor Sane shushed her. He turned his head when he heard the murmur of her roommate, her fellow stasis member in the bed across from her.



"You are in Federal Hospital." He told her, as he checked her charts. "My name is Doctor Sane. I am your doctor."



Sane paused, glancing at her vitals as he ran them on the instrument in his hand, "It appears you are just coming out of unconsciousness from your stasis project. Just relax."



"How do you both feel?" He asked neutrally as he examined Denise first then moved to Emily's side.



 "A little nausea," Denise replied, "Feel like hell."



"Ditto," Emily added and put her hand on the bridge of her nose. Sane carefully began to examine her, nodding slightly. "Just relax, just a little exam."  He pulled the stethoscope and placed it against her chest after warming it. He listened to her heart.



"Breathe." He instructed and the young blond haired woman complied. He crossed the room to do the same thing to Emily. Sane hit a switch and a panel lit up beside him, the panel showed their vital readouts. He turned to them, meeting their expressions with a large grin.



"You both are in fair shape, considering the unusual circumstances."  He began, and both of the young women turned to regard the doctor with a look of confusion.



 "You both currently are suffering from hibernation sickness. It is not uncommon to have this after an unusual extended period in cryogenic stasis. You both will recover in time."



"An unusually long time in stasis?" repeated Denise, “What does that mean, it's only been five years right?"  He shook his head silently, amazed by her question. 



"Hardly that young miss." Sane replied, and smiled before he spoke again.



"I suggest you not worry." He told them, "Rest assured, you both are safe, and please do not fret. I can bet you both have many questions right now on what happened and where you are. We can take them one at a time." He turned to the one nurse and nodded. Nurse Downing walked to the nearby intercom.



"Have a couple of security personnel come to Federal Hospital please, Room three forty five." She said and her hand hit the switch, before turning back to assist Emily in her bed. Both women, of the past, were confused by the people around them and nothing seemed familiar to them. Denise did not remember a hospital like this in the city, a sterile, futuristic hospital that is highly technological for the time.



"If I may permit some introductions," Sane said, managing a grin, "May I introduce Nurse Kelly, Nurse Yakamari, and Head Nurse Downing." He motioned to each as he introduced them.



"You both are lucky to be alive and if you need anything they will be happy to help." Sane continued. "I suggest you rest, you both have been through a lot."



 "Call the Headquarters staff and let them immediately know that there are two more members of stasis from the twentieth century who have awakened. We need to debrief them as soon as possible. Also keep this under raps, and pass to security everyone now has restricted access to them." Sane whispered, "When HQ responds, let them in." Denise lay back, overhearing the instructions by Doctor Sane.



"So we’re under arrest?" Denise demanded, as five minutes elapsed, before two security personnel arrived and took post outside. Doctor Sane turned to shake his head at her in wonder. 



"No. You're our guests, and expect, Miss Watson that you and Miss Montgomery will be dealt with soon enough." Sane met the expression they gave him with a quiet gasp and he quickly shook his head.



"Oh no, relax… in a good way…" He told her, "Relax… It will be the official welcome wagon around here." Here, Sane paused. "It is an honor to make your acquaintance despite the circumstances."



Now, both of them wore utter confused expressions on their faces, and turned their heads to the open curtain from which the bright light spilled in. They suddenly had realized the Doctor was not joking, he was being serious.  The nurses raised them both to a sitting position and they stared at the window after the young nurses had opened the curtains, allowing the bright light to spill into the room. Outside, they saw the futuristic buildings, and the two women had gasped openly at the sight. They suddenly realized something was definitely amiss.



"Uh doc," Denise began, "Can I ask what year it is? It should be two thousand and six right?"



"Yes, please, what year is it?" Emily asked, agreeing with Denise with a nod.



"Well, that's a good way to start." He said, "And to answer that question…" He cast a look at the window and the open curtain. He shot an annoyed look at the young nurse and over to the Major. "…uhm …well if the data holds up of what I have read from the records recovered with your chambers and the information stored in your chambers when examined." He started, shaking his head in wonder, "By the calendar, as you would know it, uhh… it is the latter part of the twenty-third century."



"The twenty-third century!"  Both Denise and Emily exclaimed together, both amazed by the information given to them.



"Yes, It is the year twenty-two oh eight, about mid-September." Sane told them, "It has been about two centuries from your being placed into stasis."



"What happened, why were we left in stasis so long?"



"That, Miss Watson, is a good question and we are trying to access the computer systems of your chambers to find out." Sane told her, "You both are miracles of modern science. Even our best techs are perplexed how you both withstood so long in stasis. By all rights, you and your party should have been dead a few centuries ago."



He managed a grin and a slight nod. "There is something called a black box, in your century it was a flight recorder that recorded everything that happened in your chamber. They are looking for that box right now to find out more of what happened."



"Yes, it was used in my century for airliner flights and space flights." Denise prompted making the Doctor nod formally.



"Well according to the data, it was also used to document everything happening in your chamber, where your stasis chambers were located, etcetera." He said, "There is a reference to it, but so far we have found nothing. We have only found signs of damage and an explosion." Denise closed her eyes for a moment, taking in the information before opening them. She met the Doctor's serious expression.



"Is this for real?" Denise demanded, "Who are you really."



"I told you." Sane shot back, "I am your doctor, who is telling you to rest." An eerie whistle echoed through the room, and the Doctor grimaced. He raised his hand to the young ladies.



"Excuse me. I have a call from Headquarters with instructions." He said, "Get some rest. I'll be back in a few minutes."



Both he and the nurse departed, and slowly Denise sat up.  The young woman fought down the nausea and swung her legs to the side of the bed. Slowly, she managed to scoot forward until her feet touched the ground. Swooning, the blond haired young woman stood up, catching herself on the bed. Glancing down she examined her thin body before grabbing a nearby cotton robe, to cover her nudity. Wavering, she staggered to the window, and caught herself on the window jam. Denise stared outside at the futuristic buildings that sprawled out before her, looking down upon the hustle and bustle below.  An astonished expression appeared on her face as she turned her head back and forth at the spectacular sight of New Tokyo that lay out before her, in its futuristic splendor. Denise found herself amazed by the sight.



"Oh my god," Denise murmured, "Emily, we're in BIG trouble."



"What?" Emily replied, sitting up and she swooned slightly.



"Come here. Check this out." Denise instructed. Emily rose from the bed, swooning as she sat on the bed. She did the same method as Denise, putting her feet on the cold tiled floor and rose up slowly. Miss Montgomery grabbed a nearby robe, and staggered toward the window to catch herself on the jam. Both of them glanced at each other.



"Whoa!" The young woman gasped, as their eyes panned back and forth to the outside. They stared at the futuristic city where they had landed in astonished silence.



"I totally agree wholeheartedly." Denise replied with a grin, "This is totally amazing."



 For quite a while Denise and Emily panned a long, examining, look below at the grounds of Federal Hospital. Specifically, their gazes were on the many people, dressed in the strange uniforms they saw several times today. The guards, posted outside, a couple of the nurses and the people who had been with the Doctor had all worn the unfamiliar uniforms. Ms. Watson shook her head in an astonished silence and stood watching the outside carefully, still wondering if this was a dream.



     "It's unreal." Denise said, "This has to be a dream, but by the look of things it cannot be the twentieth century, or even the twenty-first century."



"That is because it is not, and you're here. You are both displaced out of time and place." A voice said, and behind her, a young woman walked in, Commander Mitty McDonald, Aide to General Singleton and the Earth Defense Command.



 Denise and Emily turned when they heard the voice, both remaining standing beside the window as they met the surprised look of the young officer. The first thing they noted was the unfamiliar uniform, a fine cut blue and black uniform, with a high collar. The stasis members noted the gold cluster collar pin, marking her as a Commander, even in the current day military. The pair also spied the gold braid in on her uniform marking her as an Admiral's aide. Both stasis members were both startled how young she is, and are certainly surprised that someone her age held the job she did.



Likewise, Mitty had been just as startled to realize that the two young women were part of the stasis team, and are equally as young as she. Commander McDonald had expected two older persons, when the project was explained to her, and was told they were over two hundred years old. She had not known what they looked like, anything much about them, or how attractive they were despite their true age. She cleared her throat quietly.



"I'm Commander Mitty McDonald." She said, "I am your liaison for the Earth Defense Commander's Office."



"The Earth Defense Office…? What's that, the military?" Denise asked, and glanced at Emily.



"If you consider it to be military, then it surely is." The Commander replied, as she met the two unfamiliar faces.



"You're awfully young to be an officer." Emily commented, and the young woman managed the flash of a smile.



"Thank you." Mitty murmured, before clearing her throat, and grimacing as her face flushed a tiny bit. She had not been prepared for the compliment.




 "Well, I am here to debrief you both, as we did your friends." She began, "What this will entail that our little jam session here will partially help me find out some information about you. Just a little until we can schedule a meeting before the board with the Earth Defense Commander, General Charles Singleton. It will just bring you up to speed what is happening in the century in which you have now arrived." The young woman quickly explained the procedure to them. They would both be interviewed here, informally, and in the next four weeks, if they were well enough, be escorted to the Commander's office for a meeting.  All three sat around the room, jamming, as they answered the young Commander's questions and she answered Denise and Emily's questions.



"What are you doing out of bed!" A shout said, interrupting the trio, and all three turned to meet the grizzled expression of the nurse that Mitty recognized as Nurse Downing.



 "Get back in bed right now." 



"It's alright, Major Downing." McDonald said, "I am here. Please don't let anyone else in here till we are through." 



"Oh. Aye, Commander," Grumbled the older nurse, and moved to the exit.



"Can I ask what happened to our families?" Emily asked.



"As for your families and the fates of each of them, we are working on that, to help you find out what happened to them." Mitty paused and nodded her head.



"Many records have been lost from the times before that, because of the planet bombings latter of the last century, so we have very little knowledge of what happened. All we have was stored in the great vault with your chambers but even that was not much."



     "There was a holocaust?" Denise asked and Mitty nodded again.  



"Yes. Earth has been at war, off and on, for the last eight years or so. Mostly it has been enemies from space, and hostile races." Commander McDonald replied, "Earth has almost been decimated by radiation bombing once, and has endured many attacks."



Both Denise and Emily gasped loudly, hearing this information.



"Attacks from outer space, oh come now, that's a bit corny don’t you think?" Emily said with a chuckle, "That's very hard to believe, like us being in a new century."




“Well I grant you that.” The Commander said with a smile, “But you are here, and we are speaking.”



Mitty paused, glancing at chronometer on her wrist. She turned her head. "Don't worry, we will give you access to our knowledge base and let the two of you do some catch up learning. So you both can be brought up to speed quickly in our century. Once you read about it, you will understand what Earth has endured for two hundred years."



"Strange, your friends were the same way." The Commander told them, and the young women perked up.



     "Oh yes, who was left of the group and can we see them? Please?" asked Denise and the young woman regarded her for a second before she nodded her head. Emily grinned happily, knowing that they were not alone in a new place or isolated as only survivors.



     "Let’s see." Mitty mused, pulling out the pocket computer, and she punched a few buttons. "Three females, two males, It appears you have five shipmates who are still living and were recovered from the chambers."



"Who though… Which ones?"



"Oh, let's see, 1st Lieutenant Melinda Morris, Lieutenant Amy Panstingle, Sergeant Major Manual Perry, Warrant Officer 1 Amanda Garcia, and now, Major Seth Aguillera. They are the ones who survived. You lost a lot of the others. They were killed in stasis and you will be taken to the graves when time permits. They were activated yesterday afternoon and returned to limited active duty in the Earth Defense Command Headquarters."



"At least Seth made it." Emily murmured and Denise turned to meet her friend's smile before smiling broadly herself.



"They were promoted too, eh?" Denise asked, and Mitty nodded.



"The least we could do for all of you, to welcome you back to a new world and get you up to speed to our century." She replied, "Think of it as congratulations for a job well done, and a welcome home gift. You both will be granted a promotion too. But, enough of sadness, how bout a little happiness, you will be amongst the living again and it will be arranged to see your friends. Not until you are off the deceased list however." Mitty declared, and Denise's attention had been riveted upon the officer.



"What do you mean, we're dead?" Denise asked.




"Well when we found you, the records were very brittle and were demolished and burned." Commander McDonald explained, "We did what we could to recover a lot of information from the computers when we found you. The EDC scientists had no idea who you were and how the chambers worked at first, and had to spend a lot of time researching before we were able to extract anyone from the chambers."



"You assumed we were dead when you saw the deactivated chambers and…" Emily prompted, making Commander McDonald nod her head.



"Very good, yes, we saw your dead chamber and assumed you both were already dead along with the other seven whose chambers were impaled or destroyed by damage." Mitty replied. "It was the morgue tech who had examined you and noticed you were moving your fingers, had a low repertory rate and low heart-rate that alerted us you both were alive. It appears when we brought you in, they mixed up some charts with some deceased soldiers who had been killed in the last war we had recently.”




“Lucky for us you were paying attention.” Emily said with a sigh, making the young Commander smile.



 Yeah, when they saw that we immediately revived you both and brought you both up here. Even luckier, they almost did an autopsy on you two."



"Anyway," The young woman said, quickly changing the subject. "I am here to answer any more questions you have."



For the next hour Mitty brought them up to speed on certain things, answering the many questions they had, and they in turned answered her questions. Commander McDonald had gained a lot of information on the two young women who had been technically now deceased for two hundred years and quickly made the arrangements to meet with the Commander Earth Defense Command. Commander McDonald turned her head when he saw Doctor Sane, returning with a nurse. She continued her talk for an hour, as the good doctor did a routine checkup of vitals on the patients.



Neither Denise nor Emily had been informed that Seth had passed during the night and of a funeral coming up for him in three days-time. Sane and the young Commander planned to tell them later and what exactly had happened to him.



As for the others, the stasis crew and the Yamato crew, the next event would be the hardest event of their lives. Three days elapsed quickly as the stasis crew and Yamato crew rolled up in an air car. They all got out of the vehicle and stood in a small cluster on the threshold of the granite memorial that lay out before them. It is at memorial where Yamato personnel were buried in honor for their service for protecting Earth and now the stasis crew's final resting place. It is thanks to the Earth Defense Command, Yamato's crew and the Central Hospital Staff who unanimously voted to put them to rest at this sacred place.  That morning, bright and early, a service was being held here, Seth's funeral service was being held there today. Melinda, Amy, Amanda and Manual walked behind the Yamato crew, climbing the hill toward the main memorial where the granite obelisk stands and the graves of the deceased Yamato crew members are located.



As they approach the graves, they all gazed upon General Singleton, Commander Mitty McDonald and others who had come to pay their respects at this service. Also as they approached the graves, Melinda and the other stasis member's eyes darted uneasily to the surroundings, a grim reminder of the hell they had been through a few days ago. A place where Seth made the ultimate sacrifice of his life to save everyone present at the memorial. Melinda was first to raise her hand in a crisp salute to General Singleton and Commander Mc Donald who stood next to the obelisk next to the Yamato crew's graves. They also noted another man, clad in a suit, standing beside the General and recognizing him as the President of the Earth from their catch up learning. He and several of the council attend this meeting, aware of the group and their history of being out of time and place in the new century.



"Good afternoon General Singleton." Melinda said, greeting him and he nodded returning the salute. Amy followed suit. Manual and Amanda both, holding hands raised their hands in salute too.



"Good afternoon sir." Amy stammered.



"Good Afternoon General." Amanda and Manual said together.



"Good afternoon ladies." He told them, "Good to see you here Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer."



They passed him, crossing the memorial before the graves of the Yamato crew and all saluting the EDC flag that fluttered in the breeze above them. Turning slightly, they walked twenty-five feet toward the new section for the stasis crew buried here at Hero's Hill. Amy and the others are still stunned by the news of their friend's death and they stared at the coffin that reminded them of their nightmare a few days ago. It lay positioned over the hole dug for it, the lid closed with the EDC flag and the U.S. flag draped over it.




"Please." Singleton said formally, motioning to the grave and to the company of stasis volunteers, Yamato personnel and Earth Defense Personnel who took up a neat formation in front of the grave, facing it.



Thankfully, for this ceremony there was no press, it was a military funeral here today. No one else beside the Yamato crew, the stasis crew and a few others part of the HQ staff was here, with added security all around it. Commander Singleton took a seat next to the podium as did his aides, councilmen and women, even the President of the EDC. Everyone else that came, like the press, were turned away by the Marine guards posted around the memorial. The stasis members, who stood in formation in front of their seats, found themselves generally surprised how many people showed up to this funeral. Their eyes fell upon General Singleton who stood for a moment, and at first they thought he was going to say a few words as he did last time at the last funeral that they had watched on the monitors. The General, however, reseated himself when another officer appeared behind the podium instead. He snapped to attention, saluted the flag and the General who nodded. 



 "Who is that?" whispered Melinda, seeing this stranger, and getting a strange sense of recognition.  A low ripple of mutters moved through the Yamato crew and stasis crews alike. Melinda turned her head to Amy who shrugged. Amanda and Manual likewise were curiously watching the stranger behind the podium.  He unbuttoned his bridge coat, and from within it that he withdrew a sheet of paper. He placed it on the podium before him. They only glanced at him at the hospital, when he held Denise in his arms and had not thought anything about it the first time they saw him. They had not expected him to be here today and standing behind the podium to speak for their friend.



They studied the officer, who tried to act casual and detached when it came to recognition of the party before him. Even though he knew who they were, and attempted to hide a smile when he saw them. They, in turn stared at the short brown - gray hair, piercing blue eye, the other patched and the complex scar that ran across his face on one cheek from his forehead to his jaw line. The scar, they noted, partially was covered by a full beard. He is a wiry, lean, but a muscular young man who wears the light blue, and dark blue uniform of the Space Corps. The officer wears a familiar black band on his sleeve, signifying a mourning band and on his collar is a silver cluster marking him as a Lieutenant Commander in the EDC.



 He had worked hard when he got out of high school to get his first degree quickly, and had soon had his second before he knew it. By the time the officer was drafted for the military during some troubled times in the world. He had been working on his third degree when he volunteered for military service, putting in for combat first then volunteered for stasis. After his awakening from stasis, a year before the second group, he had been baptized under fire. They had him through catch up learning and assigned him to a destroyer with Angie, where they got their first tastes of war of the new century. In the first four months they had moved through the rank quickly, having to learn their jobs in the heat of war.



The officer’s gaze panned across the memorial to the gathered group.



"Company Atten-hut!" Derick shouted. The company who had gathered here, all snapped to attention. The young officer panned his attention to the officers, enlisted and civilians before him. His long stare found the familiar faces of Nova, Derick, the Commander, and his aides, Mitty and Kitano. He nodded a silent acknowledgement to them, meeting the beaming smile of Nova before turning his attention back to everyone present before him, especially the Stasis crew members.  He wore a grimace on his face.



 "We are gathered here to pay tribute to our honored dead." He said, as he started the eulogy, and everyone showed surprise when he spoke in a low deep voice. The officer briefly paused, meeting each one of the faces gathered here today, and he glanced at Crystal to nod his head. The young woman beside him, whom Seth had met in the lobby of Commander Singleton's Office not long ago, met his glance. She stepped forward with another young Ensign and they carefully removed the EDC flag and the U.S flag from the top of coffin. Together they had folded the flags quickly, to step forward with them.



"…And yet, it should be noted, that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of a new beginning, a new century that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish.  He did not feel this sacrifice a vain and empty one - and we will not debate his profound qualities at these proceedings… Of my friend, I can only say this… Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most…" Here, the officer’s voice faltered, and from her place, Angie had tears in her eyes. She had recognized the eulogy words from somewhere else, from a movie a long time ago, and they seemed too damn fitting. She met the cold expression of the officer who stared at the group in silence. He managed to straighten slightly, his mouth twitching before continuing, "…Human." 



There was surprise among the stasis volunteers who seemed to react to the familiar words.  The words, for a moment, seemed to hang there in the air as a warm breeze whipped across the memorial.  Melinda, Amy, Manual and Amanda stood there as the words spoken for Seth seem to fade with the wind, his body now being laid to rest at the memorial. All stood in silent awe at the fine words, fighting their emotions as they stood in the ranks. The Yamato crew stood glancing at each other in the ranks, startled by the words.



 "Honors HUT! - hand salute!" Derick shouted, and the company mass saluted as the coffin was lowered slowly into the grave.  Seth had a sense of drama the last time, using the music of Hamlet to bury the others here. There was nothing here but memories now and death, as Melinda, Amanda, Amy and Angie wept openly. Nova bleary eyed, had turned to salute, meeting the stone cold expression of the young officer who spoke, and gave a superb eulogy. Manual held a hard look, like the officer behind the podium as he too watched the coffin disappear into the ground. Melinda watched the strange officer in curiosity, holding the rigid military honor as he stood beside the podium, his expression seemed unmoved.



"Return Salute." Derick shouted, his voice listless and the company lowered their hands. It was over. "Company Dismissed."



 "And now we are six." Amy murmured and beside her Melinda bobbed her head. She watched the workman as they began filling in the grave.  They both stopped and gasped in surprise, meeting each other's look of pure astonishment. Both of the ladies had heard those words before, and it had hit them suddenly, like a lightning bolt striking each of them.



"Holy shit," Amy gasped, "I know where I heard those words before."



"You are thinking the same thing as I am." Melinda replied, and both turned their head to stare at the empty podium then at each other.




"What's wrong?" asked Angie, curious at the four astonished expressions on her friend's faces. 




"Those words are from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when Spock was killed and Kirk read the eulogy." Melinda exclaimed, "That's from a movie that was made during our century, two hundred years ago." She paused to catch her breath, "There is one man from our century who was into the Trek Universe."



"Are you sure you are the only one from your group to survive?" Melinda asked abruptly, making Angie frown, but nod her head. The young woman on the other hand had not known the young Lieutenant Commander would say those words. He was supposed to say something else, but adlibbed.



"In its own way, it was very proper." Angie thought, and turned her head as the officer's words still hung in the air.



"Yes, but how did someone know about a movie from the eighties? You don't think that was someone from our century do you." Melinda pressed.



"If it is who you think, I can say no." Manual replied, "He would be dead now, for two hundred years."



"NAH." Melinda said, "It cannot be him, impossible. You are right."



"Well, that is no coincidence." Amy said and nodded as Angie motioned to them. Angie glanced over at the General and the young Lieutenant Commander, her friend, who had volunteered like the others for a project that turned out to be a one-way ticket into the future and oblivion.  She made every effort to keep the second group pre-occupied, per her orders.



"I think we all need to get stinking drunk." Captain Stethem suggested, and for once Manual laughed, as did the group. 



"Surely a proper send-off… rather than sadness have happiness in a wake. To remember those lost and the good times shared together, despite they were damn short."



"You know that's a great idea." Manual agreed. The Yamato crew moved off toward the main memorial and they chatted with General Singleton. Melinda glanced several times at the grave for Seth, as workers filled in the hole.



"Goodbye Seth." Melinda said, turning and walking toward them. A sharp gust of wind whipped across the memorial and she watched the flag flutter in the breeze.



Together they returned to Melinda, Amy, and Amanda's quarters and here they had a wake among friends. They remembered their friend, sitting for several hours as they drank and talked about the good times. Melinda managed to slip out, what she though was unnoticed by the group, and she made her way back to the memorial. Here, she sat alone by the sea wall, staring up at the stars. As she sat on the sea wall, letting the moist sea air assault her senses, Melinda took in shallow breaths fighting back the tears and sorrow she felt inside right now. They had lost their best friend and a good man. The young woman was still stunned by his sacrifice. It was hard for her to realize and accept what had happened. She had seen it here, a few feet away, that he had charged down the guns of the enemy and had taken hits to destroy each one. The stars above her twinkled and shivering, she got up to walk toward the main part of the memorial in the cool ocean breeze that had sprung up.



When Melinda reached the memorial, she peered into the dim light, and at the obelisk that had a twinkling light on top. Her eyes dropped to the statue that was here in the dim light. It is a place that was sacred to the Yamato Crew and so many who had died in this century to defend Earth. Her eye caught the tombstone and the face that was carved into it. The name of their friend glistened in the bright moonlight, as did the stone face carved in the tombstone. It was still rough and new, finished only a few hours ago by the workers who put the final touch upon the surface of it. Half turning, her eye caught the shadowy figure walking toward the graves. Gasping, Melinda watched as the familiar officer, who gave the eulogy, crossed in front of the center area. He saluted the graves and obelisk before him. Peering closer, she saw the officer walk only a few feet more and he stood alone at the graves of their friends.



"Oh my, it's the officer who spoke for Seth and gave that splendid eulogy." The young woman said to herself. She watched him closely, trying to make out any detail to tell her who he was, and examined every move he made.  Melinda stared at his face and something seemed familiar to her about this officer. The young woman stood unnoticed, watching him as he stared at the graves in silence, his stolid, emotionless reaction to them. He wore the blue/dark blue trimmed uniform, and on his side is an Astro-automatic pistol side-arm.



"Who the hell is that?" Melinda asked herself, and decided to find out, moving like lightning toward the officer. When his head finally turned, Melinda was almost upon him and his hand had flashed to the grip of his side arm. It was not fast enough to draw it as she tackled him to the ground.



"Who the hell are you?" Melinda demanded, drawing a knife from her boot, something she carried concealed on her person, and the blade quickly found his throat. Feeling the blade's cold sharpness against his throat, he stopped struggling.



"A friend," He replied simply.



"You have got to be someone I knew before." Melinda demanded, "Your words are something that cannot be known to anyone in this time. I want your name!"



"If you will get off me, and put the knife away… I'll tell you who I am." He told her, pivoting slightly. He reached up to stealthily grab the knife and twist it slightly, making her drop it. He moved her weight from his body, making her fall face first into the concrete.



"What AGH!" Melinda shouted, the knife skittering off a few feet from her. Rolling, the officer jumped to his feet like a cat, kicking the knife away. He stood his ground, as the first lights of dawn appeared in the eastern sky. The young officer stood ready, standing in an easy stance, his fists ready. He motioned for her to come. She had jumped to her feet too, but paused, seeing his easy posture. Melinda sensed that a trained fighting man now stands before her and she grimaced. The grizzled looking officer seemed to be waiting.



     "Who the hell are you?" Melinda asked as she thrust out with martial arts kicks and punches, learned while their training in the military. As the young woman's punches were thrust out, they were quickly blocked. She grabbed him and he flipped her over the top of him. He crouched, and Melinda moved in, circling as they exchanged kicks and punches. The young dark-skinned woman threw a kick and tagged him in the face. Blood trickled from his mouth.  They circled, despite the one lucky shot, the young woman found it hard to hit him. Even as she punched or kicked, the strikes just did not seem to faze him in any way. Silently, he wiped the blood from his mouth.



"Good one." He grumbled, "But not good enough." Melinda had been surprised by his quick reflexes, and moving in, they exchanged a series of kicks and punches. She dove and kicked, which he dodged. He stepped in and with one hand he touched her tunic, pushing her backwards to make her fall on her ass. The young woman jumped to her feet as she spun in with a series of high kicks toward his face. He stepped back quickly, blocking each one, dodging the punch that followed. He raised a fist and quickly stepped in to hand strike across her face, making her step back this time. She looked up, wiping the blood from her mouth, and gritted her teeth. The young woman flew angrily forward with a series of high kicks and spinning low she managed to trip him.



"Damn…” He cursed, as he hit the concrete and rolled with a complete flip onto his feet. He quickly turned as Melinda stepped in again and he dodged her punches. They circled for twenty minutes and finally Melinda saw him back off slightly, putting a slight gap between them. When he turned to go, that she followed, grabbing her knife. Throwing it, she saw the blade strike him in the shoulder, making him stagger backward toward the sea wall and the railing.



"Damn!" He muttered, letting himself fall backward, and flip over the rail. A second later, there was a splash. Melinda ran to the edge and peered down into the dark water.



"Shit." She muttered a curse at herself, "Nice going."



The young woman cursed as she pulled off the tunic and slacks. Here at the memorial that she shivered in her skivvies and vaulted the railing into the cold water below. As Melinda came up for air, she bobbed in the ocean for a moment before she took in a sharp breath and she dove deep. A few minutes later, the young woman quickly surfaced and quickly dove again several times. For fifteen minutes, she searched but the young woman did not find whom and what she sought.



Quickly, Melinda swam to shore and as she staggered onto the beach, in the dim moonlight, she saw the gleam of metal lying in the surf. Walking toward it, the dark skinned woman found her knife in the surf, and picking it up she slipped it back into her leg sheath. Melinda stood in the surf near the edge of the beach and peered at the nearby vegetation around it.



“He must have come ashore here and pulled my knife out to drop it on the beach.” Melinda thought, “But any signs of him with any blood trails have been washed away.”



When Melinda staggered back to the memorial, the first light of morning was just rising as she stepped onto the granite walkway. It is here the young woman turned to peer at the first rays of sunlight lit up the sky on the eastern horizon and realized that she had been out all night. On the eastern horizon, the sky is now a deep colored red, staining the horizon with a deep gold, velvet purple and crisp blue colors. She watched the magnificent sunrise from the top of Hero's Hill, the whole time wondering about the stranger that had been here last night, forgetting why she had really come to the memorial in the first place. She also realized that the effects of the alcohol, that was heavily consumed, had worn off a long time ago and she was now stone cold sober. She grinned as she watched the spectacular sunrise, seated at the memorial located at Hero’s Hill.





Back in her quarters, shared with her friends: Amy, at five in the morning, awoke in her room in their quarters. As she opens her eyes, the young blond woman from the twentieth century, sits up and stares at the sunlight that now pours through the window of their quarters. The young woman is first to notice the pain that throbs from her temples and groaning quietly, she managed yelp as she managed to stretch then manage a painful yawn. The young woman quickly realized that she has a massive hangover from last night’s binge drinking, and at the moment her head feels like it is about to explode from her shoulders.



     “Jesus, what a night.” Amy managed to grumble, as she held her head, staggering to her feet as she made her way to the kitchen in their lavish quarters. It is very large and airy, with a simple furnishing like on board ship, with built in table, coffee table, cabinets and shelves. It has deep shag blue carpet, trimmed in gray. A large console dominates the center of the living space, facing the exit doors that lead in and out of this living space manned by the three stasis personnel.  Something they would get used to seeing on board ship when they were assigned to their posts in the EDC.



Lieutenant Panstingle grimaced at the amplified pain that her footsteps, breathing or any sound makes as she tries to function after their so called wake last night with their friend Angie. She wondered why the hell she let Angie talk them all into having the wake in the first place for Seth. Holding her temples with one hand she managed to click on the coffee pot that began to brew coffee, and turned to pop three Aspirin with a glass of water to quell her headache.  They had a great time, catching up with Angie to a point, before the alcohol caught up with them. Her eyes burned with the halo of the dreaded hangover.



“Great, Mr. Hangover is here.” Amy thought, and she staggered to her feet toward the living space and gasping as her silent footsteps echoed through her head. She passed the bedrooms of Melinda and Amanda and knocked quietly on the door. It was time for them to rise. They all had duty this morning at the Headquarters since they were reactivated to this current day military.



This would be the first day of their futures in the service, on a new team, far past their own in a new century that they would be assimilating quickly. Amy wondered how this new assignment would do, being the first day and wondered if they were even up to speed to handle it.



"Yea we're up." A voice replied, muffled through the door, and when Amy opened it she got a big surprise. Manual and Amanda were together in the bed. The young blond woman stared at them astonished for several seconds before she turned away, blushing profusely.



"Woops!" She gasped, closing the door.



Amanda shrugged, as she turned her head and peered into the young man's eyes beside her. She managed a grin before kissing him, and together they struggled from bed. Amanda blushed, as she had stared into his dark eyes. She tried to remember last night when they were talking and laughing with the others, and he had comforted her last night, later to drop into bed with her. The young woman managed a smile as she peered into his eyes and he nodded in agreement at the unique but awkward situation that had somehow happened between them. He pulled on his uniform bottoms quickly and his tunic.



“Before you say anything about this…” Amanda said, silencing him with a look, “I want you to know that it was not planned, and I don’t expect you to come to me and expect sex always from me when we meet. Not unless you go all the way in a relationship, that means one hundred percent committal. On another note, though, you have my thanks for the comfort. It was needed, and welcomed even after two hundred years. But keep my proposal in mind if we choose to go on with this.”



Manual nodded sharply as he stood, fully dressed now in his uniform. He stepped up to look down at Amanda, deep in her eyes, and take his hands to put on her face. He kissed her passionately on the lips.



Outside, Amy walked back over to the door of Melinda's room.  As she stood at the door, that the young woman rapped, not hearing any sound in response from it as before. Curious, she wondered if there was something wrong and reached out to put her hand on the door button. Amy found herself almost afraid to open it. She did not know what to expect in there, she could be dead or poisoned by the booze for all she knew. When the doors slid aside, opening quickly with a whoosh, it revealed an empty room and a neatly made bunk.  



Amy in a fog remembered Melinda slipping through the doors of their quarters and wondered where the hell she would have gone in the middle of the night. She thought of the robotic soldiers that were out there and knew that she could be hurt or worse, not knowing this century very well. Anything could happen to her and they probably wouldn’t find her, not right away.



"What the hell!" Amy breathed, "Amanda! Manual!" She shouted, "Get in here… quickly." She turned as she heard a rush of footsteps and the door opening and they couple running toward her. She grimaced at the noise of the footsteps as they padded in the deep carpet and her head pounded by the voices and her shouts from just a moment ago.



"What's going on?" Manual exclaimed. Amy noted his pistol was in hand. 



"Melinda must have left last night and didn't come home!" She exclaimed, and there was a glance between Manual and Amanda.



"Now, what the hell?" Amanda gasped, turning her head to the room. Manual understood and checked the bathroom, finding it empty and when he appeared again, he shook his head.



"We'd better call base security." Amanda suggested, "That's not like her, although she was drinking pretty heavy last night."



"Well we were not all seeing straight." Amy murmured, and she nodded to Amanda who stood beside the bulk of Manual beside her. "We should not have let Angie talk us into the wake and drinking that heavily, until we are used to the liquor in this century."



"And you need to get out of here, this is the female quarters." Amanda grunted, "You get caught in here we are in trouble, Manual."



"Nothing doing, I am now on duty." Replied the young man, walking back, and came back of Amanda’s room with his belt, putting the pistol in the holster.



"Besides she is my friend too." He continued, looking up, to meet the nods of the two young women. Quickly he radioed security officers who came up quickly. He immediately got on the videophone to alert Doctor Sane, who informed the others.



In an hour, they all stood in the apartment and quickly departed to find their friend. Not that it had been a matter of her being AWOL it had been mostly because of the robotic creatures that had ambushed them the other day at the memorial that came to the mind of everyone present. They did not ant anything drastic to happen to Melinda. They worked in pairs as they searched everywhere, searching all sections of the city. During that time they ran into Derick and Nova, who joined them, as well as Eager, Dash and Doctor Sane. Headquarters was notified, and guards had been searching with no results. They racked their brains as they searched, and thought of anywhere that might she might have gone to, logically checking the hospital first.



Several hours elapsed, Nova, Derick, and Sane, with the Yamato crew and the stasis crew now sat in the hospital grounds, in the garden located on the first floor of the hospital. They all looked glum at their recent endeavor of not finding Melinda, having put in a lot of effort to come up empty.  There was hardly a word was spoken between them. They were racking their brains trying to figure out what happened to their friend, who had all but vanished like a ghost. Even Angie was filled in when she arrived at the garden, frowning at the sour expressions on her friends and the Yamato crew’s faces.  



"We searched everywhere." Manual said, "There just is no sign."



"I am really worried something happened to her, with all that business at the memorial." Amy declared quietly, "It is not like her to do something like this."



"I hope whatever those robotic creatures were, they didn't get her." Amanda stammered, "We got to look for her. We should search everywhere again. Perhaps we missed something." They sat there, going over the places checked, and Amy idly worried about her friend, lost in a new century.



"She's probably being tortured by the robotic creatures that have her." Amy thought and grimaced as she shook her head. Her gaze panned the busy street then turning to stare at the memorial in the distance.



“No, she wouldn’t allow that, she’d fight first.” Amy murmured, and she shook her head, her gaze locking on the memorial again.



Slowly the young woman of the past, a soon to be nurse in the military, stared at he memorial in the distance and her gaze regarded it for several seconds. The base command had already been informed of Melinda's disappearance, and the entire Yamato crew had volunteered to continue to look for her. The question remained if they had looked everywhere. The quick answer in Amy's mind had been a solid 'No'.



"Oh my god," Amy exclaimed, without turning. "I think I know where she is. I just thought of it a second ago too." She sat there silently, and Sane was the first to turn his head to the direction she had been staring. He saw the memorial and one by one, the others also peered at it too. Amy had glanced at Sane, Nova and the others.  They all exchanged silent looks amongst themselves.




"You know I think I know too." Amanda said, slowly standing as realization appeared on her face.  There were shouts of astonishment as they jumped to their feet and all broke into a run to commandeer a jeep, driving to the airfield on base. Here, they commandeered a troop transport/landing craft. Holding it steady, Wildstar piloted the craft as it rose up into the sky, banking suddenly and it rocketed into the sky.  Their ship thundered across the sea and then cut in back to the memorial. People who had been walking on the streets of the futuristic city and in the buildings had heard it.  The General had heard it, along with his aides and had come to the window to watch it go by. Their ship thundered toward the memorial, and Singleton knew something was up when a moment later, a voice echoed over the phone intercom system. It is an urgent message that was from the airfield and a young enlisted jabbered the news rapidly over the phone.



"Slow down, son." General Stone soothed, "What is this all about?" 



"Doctor Sane and the Yamato crew just commandeered a ship." A voice said, "They said it was a matter of up most urgency. It was something about rescue of a comrade."



"Which direction were they heading?" Stone asked tightly and he glared at Singleton.



"To the memorial sir," replied the voice on the phone.



"Did they say what purpose and who was being held?" Singleton's aide, asked.



"Negative." The enlisted man jabbered on the phone.



"Call the fighter command, intercept at once and shoot down." Stone shouted. He practically screamed at a young Lieutenant who quickly grabbed the phone and Singleton frowned at him.



"Wait. Alert the Reconnaissance group and send a patrol for a photo operation." Singleton said, "We don't know what has happened, but I suspect they have a good reason. Ready a medium sized strike force at once, three platoons of Space Marines to head for the memorial immediately!" Staff personnel in the office were on the phones, relaying the orders to the necessary groups. Somewhere on base a klaxon sounded, and men ran from their barracks after gearing up quickly, to form at the flight line. A harried young Captain took charge and briefed the NCOs of each platoon of the objective as it was verbally given to him directly from General Stone.  



Singleton turned to the reports from Wildstar and Sane that sat on his desk, giving a detailed account of the firefight at the memorial and their finds. As he read on further, in their extensive report, a lone pilot took his place in the cockpit of his plane at the air base. The Astro fighter thundered off into the air.



Meanwhile, Derick, the Yamato crew and the stasis crew, on board the landing craft, all landed safely onto the granite walkway near the sea, at the edge of the memorial. When the doors opened they all appeared dressed in battle gear as they all disembarked from the transport. Manual held a case containing a weapon and he quickly had assembled it in flight, at the dismay of the Yamato crew who watched him do it under two minutes flat. When he emerged, he hefted the rather large weapon by its handle.




"Okay this is how we play it. We’re going to use an OLD strategy called the lame duck." Manual said, "I act as your eyes. The rest split into pairs, stay low and undercover until you reach the top." He said, "Stay alert. When you get there, secure and hold. You will act as decoys and lure them out, and I pick them off." He glanced at Nova and Sandor, who nodded in approval, being the ranking officers on deck. 



"Don't you dare do what Seth did and play the hero, not after what we did together. Not now mister, your ass is mine!" Amanda grumbled, and he shook his head. Derick grimaced at the use of terms and Sergeant Major Parry merely glanced at her. The red haired woman’s eyes held the young man who stood beside them all. She was not about to let him do the same thing that the Major, their personal friend, had done to protect them all.



"I am not going to do what Seth did." Manual told her, "I promise you that. I won't get myself killed or let anything happen."



Manual hefted up a rather large rifle and he put a rather large object on it. Amanda grinned, and leaning up they exchanged a very passionate kiss between them. Amy grinned, and a low chuckle rippled through the Yamato group. Manual opened the flap on the scope, hefting the weapon into position and began centering it out. It took him no longer than a few seconds to complete the task.



"What's that Sergeant?" Nova asked, and Sergeant Major Parry smirked.



"It's a sniper rifle with a scope." He said, holding it in position, placing the legs on one of the stone pillar that marked the beginning of this memorial.



"May I?" She asked and he nodded. Putting her eye down level, and looking into the scope, she clearly could see the memorial over 500 feet away with exact detail. 



"WOW!" She said, "That's amazing."



"You've not seen anything yet." Manual said, grinning, "You are all in good hands." 



He took position behind the many stone pillars that marked the edge of the memorial, near the sea, and he nodded to the others. 



"Alright take off, I am on station, I'll pick them off from here." Manual said, the pairs moved off in the direction of the memorial top. He watched they moved from stone to stone.



"Check, Check." He said into the communicator, and there was a moment of silence.



"This is Nova, I hear you." She said, "Derick and I are at top of hill, ready to move in.



"I am at main walkway at the sea wall."  The Sergeant Major said, "The hunt is on."



"Quack, Quack. Duck one is at back." Orion reported, as the pairs split up and moved off at his direction to the positions Manual suggested they go when they left his side. There was polite laughter over the com-link.



"Quack, Quack. Duck number two is in position." Dash said, a moment later. There was more laughter on the communications channel.



"Okay, Okay, enough with the quacked duck jokes. You are all laying an egg." Manual said over the channel and there was laughter that echoed over the communications channel back at him.



"Us too," Another voce chimed in, belonging to Chief Yamazaki and Cory Conroy.



"Doing a sweep Chief… It looks like nobody is home." Manual said, as he crouched next to a pedestal nearest to the sea wall, and peered through the scope. "It looks clear, go ahead and move in." 



"We're moving in." Derick said, "Ok. We're there."



Manual crouched low, with a full visible view of the obelisk, peering through the scope he had put on the futuristic rifle.



"I see you guys." Manual said, "So far it looks clear."



"There is no one here?" Derick asked, "Are you sure?"



"Wait, I do see something." The Sergeant Major said solemnly, "I'm going to take them."



"No wait."     



Manual squeezed the rifle's trigger, and a shot rang out as Derick turned. There was a metallic thud, a spark of metal and electric buzzing before a plume of smoke rose upward into the sky. An automatic sweeper had appeared from the shrubbery. Everyone stood at the obelisk, staring down at Manual who still was at the sea wall. It had been a shot over five hundred meters, and he had tagged the small sweeper unit like there was nothing to it. The sweeper jumped off the stone walkway sparking and smoking. The small machine clattered on the ground.



"Did you see that?" Thomas exclaimed, taking a step back. They crouched, in the center of the memorial. Sergeant Major Perry still crouched low at his place, keeping a watchful eye and listening for the signal.



"It is all clear," Dash said impatiently, as a metallic figure appeared behind Derick. A shot rang out, and the shot slammed it hard against the pillar a few inches from Wildstar's head.



"Okay, maybe it wasn't clear." Dash commented, ducking down behind the graves with the others. They turned astonished, quickly taking up defensive positions. Each one held their pistols in their hands, as laser fire erupted from the bushes again. This time everyone was prepared. As the group continued shooting, Manual picked each one off with a thump as they clattered against the ground. Thick smoke billowed across the memorial after each position was eliminated by Manual's quick thinking and sharp shooting ability. Sergeant Major Perry walked up and he carried the weapon and the scope on it.



 "Hmmm, no one here, except these robots. Ok we split up and search." Wildstar said, "You two left, you two right." He motioned to Amanda and Manual. A few minutes later, they gathered in front of Melinda who looked up in astonishment.



"Melinda, are you all right?" Amanda asked, as she stood up and greeted her friends. A moment later, another troop transport landed at the memorial and three platoons of Space Marines appeared, taking up flanking up positions in and around the memorial. They were led by a young Captain. Derick greeted him silently with a salute, as did everyone else.



"Yeah, what's this all about?" Melinda asked, clearly puzzled why they were in battle gear and had come in such a way to find her. The reason suddenly dawned on her, and her laughter echoed the memorial.





"This no time for levity, you could have been killed Ms. Morris." Sane told her, "There were Cybernetic enemy troops stationed here again.



"I didn't see them when I came up here. They must not have detected me." She replied, "I am flattered that you came looking for me, though."



The group met her look with a puzzled one of their own.  They led her back to the troop carrier and there Sane checked her over. Derick held himself back, and chatted with the young Captain, showing him the robotic soldiers. He indicated to the officer this would be the second time they were ambushed at the memorial and dropped a big hint of a suggestion that troops be stationed at the memorial.



 Meanwhile, sitting on the bed on the transport, Sane continued giving Melinda the once over. Her uniform was rumpled, disheveled, and her head was splitting from a hangover, after drinking so much at the wake.



"Are you sure you are alright?" Sane asked and Melinda nodded.



"I am better than ever." She replied, "After what I saw this morning, sitting at the memorial, it is good to be alive." Melinda told them, despite the looks they gave her. 



"Huh?" They asked, and all present had met the dazed look upon Melinda's face as they escorted her to the hospital for a check-up, then Headquarters via the transport.



Later in the afternoon, Melinda got a surprise visitor. It was well after being chewed out and confined to quarters for not reporting for duty in the morning. It had been someone, and something she had not expected to come to the door. As the young dark-skinned woman sat on the couch in the quarters assigned to them, she is reading technical documentation on the screen before her. She was studying, catching up on the century and bringing herself up to speed for the new century that they all had arrived. Her head pounded from the headache, caused by the hangover from the boozing binge. Melinda's ears still burned from the roasting received back at Headquarters, and when the chime sounded she only winced. At first, she ignored it, but then looked up annoyance as it sounded again. She got up, walking toward the door, as her bare feet padded on the plush carpeted floor. Walking to the control panel, Melinda hit a switch and glanced at the door.  



"Jesus, come already!" She said sharply, and the door obediently opened revealing the form of a person before her. Someone she had not expected to be visiting her today.



     "Oh my god!" Melinda stammered, as she stared at least two dozen red roses and a vase that seemed to have legs. It slowly lowered, revealing the bearded face of the young man she had stabbed. He smiled, as she ran toward him, very glad to see him alive and well. She was also perplexed, who the hell this semi-young officer was who stood before her.



     "Flowers… Oh my god, roses!" She gasped, and she took them, inhaling the scent of the red roses that he held. The young woman blushed, "A-are those for me?"



     "Well I am not delivering a pizza." He thought to himself, but aloud, he was sweet at honey. "Yes, for you." He told her formally, and bowed slightly at the waist.



     "You did not need to do that."



     "Nah… I thought you would like them." He replied, "Women are always suck ups for flowers. Especially friends…" The young woman laughed, glancing curiously at the face.  She noted the sling of his arm. Melinda frowned at the friend comment.



     "I thought I killed you." She murmured, "You vanished like a ghost. I thought you were one. Who are you?"



"Wishful thinking… wishful thinking…" He replied, managing a smile. Melinda's mind whirled at the face, wondering who this even remotely COULD be to her. The eye patch made all the difference, and perhaps the full beard. She tried to picture him without a beard, and different hair of someone she knew a VERY long time ago now.



Memories of another place, and faces, from long ago whirled around her. After a moment, her jaw quivered to drop open with surprise, and tears formed in her eyes. She recognized the person in front of her, after a long time apart from each other. A face from a long time ago appeared there, one the young woman stared at that she had not seen in decades, years, and now even centuries. She, like many, wondered what happened to him. Melinda shook her head many times and she finally embraced him.



"Thank you… Nathaniel! They are beautiful." Melinda stammered, staring at the face that she still could not have expected to see at all in the new century, "It's impossible. It's incredible! I cannot believe that you are here! This must be a dream."   



     "This isn't a dream babe. About time you recognized me… Welcome to the twenty-third century." He said, "Kind of weird in a Trek way. If this was a dream, it would have had a weird ending."



     "That's for sure." Melinda said, and stood on her tiptoes to kiss him. His expression showed surprise.



"What happened to you, where did you go? How have you been?" Many of her questions echoed the room as she stood next to her friend. Things were looking up, even more so for the young woman. They all did not know how many projects there had really been, but really there had only been two, one full and a partial destroyed by a terrorist bomb a long time ago.



"Nice." He said, and he tried to answer the many questions that assaulted him. He tried to explain where he went after Bellbrook, his adventures that took him west, and after during High School and College. He described his adventures in the service. He described reawakening into this century, and the battle that Earth had been engaged in. He told her of having to be hurried up to speed while aboard a Destroyer in the space service, learning the ropes the hard way. He told her of his adventures in those four months where he gained experience, respect, and rank quickly. The young officer even described being shot twice in the line of duty, but he had protected the ship against the Dinguil. Melinda listened in amazement, as he told her the tale. He fell silent as the doors opened behind them, where they sat on the couch.



Through the door, they allowed Amanda and Amy to enter their shared quarters. Their expressions were one of surprise by the visitor, and their eyes fell upon the roses. He remained silent as they entered.



     "Roses!" Amy gasped, staring at the flowers, and back to the stranger. He and Melinda rose from the plush couch in middle of the living room where they were seated across from each other.


"It has been a long time since I have seen roses!" Amy exclaimed.



     "Me too!" Amanda added and both leaned over to inhale the scent of the flowers.



     "Those are for me." Melinda told them, and they smiled at her, glancing at the officer who stood next to the couch, across from their roommate.



     "Yeah, and brought to you by a hunky guy." Amy commented, "So where have you been hiding him? Oh-ho, no wonder you went to the memorial, to meet with a secret lover!" Melinda blushed at the sentiment. "Oh no he's just an old friend." She replied quickly, holding up her hands.



"That is an Earth Defense Uniform. How can that be an old friend? Who are you sir? Have we met before, since our awakening from stasis?"



     Melinda heard his low chuckle and she smiled quizzically. He shook his head at the two young ladies, but even he found himself grinning openly at the familiar faces. The young officer stood there silently, as if he were waiting for something.




     "I have been described in many words, but never a 'HUNK'." He commented, finally breaking the silence, and flashing a smile at Melinda who still could not believe he, an old friend, was really here.



"May I present," Melinda said, motioning to the officer beside her, "Lieutenant Commander Nathaniel Miller, Second Officer of the Heavy Cruiser Kosheo. Apparently an old friend to all of us, it looks like." The young man grimaced and chuckled.



     "And I am at your service." He replied, bowing slightly at the waist. Although, they did not hear the word 'Again' uttered by the officer, it seemed to hang there with his statement.



     "An old friend?" Amy repeated, meeting the bearded face and the eye patch. "I've never met this person before. Although, his name does sounds familiar to me."



     "Me neither." Amanda chimed in, "Mmmm… but the name sounds familiar to me too."



     "Oh come on Amy, there was a young man who sat on the back row opposite to Dennis Penfield and Scot Patison for homeroom with Ms. Hill at Bellbrook.” Melinda prompted, “You remember, dark brown hair, slightly graying at that time, blue eyes, and a stocky build. Dorkish? He was very bright and yet very zany?"



     Nathaniel turned his head, about to reply in his defense for the Dorkish comment, but he decided to close his mouth and wait it out. Amy shook her head slightly, closing her eyes, to imagine the room and the faces that she saw there a very long time ago now. Those faces were all dead now for several centuries. She tried to picture the room and the others around her, like a ghost, faces appeared before her, and each one she shook her head.



     "You were the one at the memorial right." Amanda asked suddenly and he nodded affirmatively to them both of the ladies. He had a big grin on his scarred face.



     "I was." He said, "I spoke at the eulogy for Seth, because I knew him for a long time."



     "Those were beautiful words," Amanda said, "You took them from a movie right of the twentieth century." Her own statement did not hit her at first, but when it finally did, she gasped remembering a face too from long ago. The young woman thought back to a long time ago, and a name vaguely came to mind.



     "It seemed appropriate." He said, "For your friend, and mine too. I was a bit distressed when I was told by Captain Stethem about the funeral."



     "Angie told you?" Amy asked, as the young woman's eyes narrowed, her memory still searching for the image and possibly the face of this stranger.  The young woman still did not recognize the officer before her.



Thinking harder, Amy closed her eyes and this time, a familiar face of long ago finally appeared abruptly before her. It was what Melinda had described to her, but she shook her head as she dismissed the thought. To the young woman it would be highly impossible that their paths could cross even after centuries, unless he had been put in stasis. Amy had known that Angie had been put in a similar group as she had. She also had mentioned there were only two of them to survive the trip into this century.    



The name clicked. "You're right, Melinda. It was in Bellbrook High School, in our homeroom class. No fricking way!" Amy exclaimed, her voice a stunned tone. The young woman was hardly able to think of the name, even after many years apart, and now even after stasis for two hundred years.



"Yes actually, it was," He said, confirming the rest with a nod, "Home again."



Amanda had the same thought, and shook her head. "And for me it was in Wilcox High School, Santa Clara California in the Trade School group."



"My god… It can't be."



"But it is!" He chortled, "And YES it is! Hello!" Amy yelped and moved toward the living area from the kitchen. as did Amanda.



"Nathaniel!" She chortled and held him. He held Amy as she put a flurry of kisses on his face. Amanda grimaced when she saw the face, but even she embraced him. 



"I cannot believe it!"



"You'd better believe it!" He replied, "Welcome home!"



Many questions assaulted him from all side and he motioned to the couch. They sat down and he started from the beginning, telling them lot as they caught up on old times.  The called Manual over, who arrived bearing alcohol, and sat together talking well into the night. They laughed, cried and roared with the stories of adventures in the past. They were stunned that he knew Seth, long before he had joined military and had taken on stasis. The yung Commander had been watching from afar and had never forgotten him, helping each other as they progressed in the service. He had nodded when they mentioned Emily and Denise.




Hours later, while the group caught up on old times: Night fell on the city. Lying in her room at Central Hospital that she shared with Denise, Emily awoke screaming as the horrors of nightmares faded around her. The whole ordeal of their trip, and arrival, into this century are vivid in her mind, making her suddenly awake in a pool of sweat and gasping as she scanned the room with wide eyes. As the young woman lay there for several minutes, she stared at the window at the city that sprawled out before them and was reminded of where she was and what happened. It was several moments before Emily finally sat up, and grabbed her robe to saunter over toward the window to stand looking at the lights of the city that twinkled around her.  Glancing at Denise, Emily could see that she was out-cold, having taken a sleep-aid that kept her asleep, despite the same dreams that plagued her too.  



"It's just a dream." Emily thought, breathing a sigh of relief as she opened the window, and a cool breeze hit her in the face. Turning, she walked to the door, her bare feet padding on the tile floor before she found her slippers. With that, she headed for the door, intending to take a walk through the ward. Her mind was a torrent of memories of the stasis chambers, the bloodshed, the carnage of the explosion, and the loss of two hundred years. With her walk, Emily hoped it would occupy her mind, instead of enhancing the vivid nightmares that marched through her brain right now. As the young woman appeared at the door, she had startled the nurses who had looked up at her. The youthful Lieutenant, from the twentieth century, noted the time on the clock on the wall. '04:30' the accusing numbers said on the LED screen and she grimaced.





"Jesus, it is four thirty in the morning." Emily muttered, shaking her head, standing near the door to her room. She hitched a shoulder in the doorjam.  



"Lieutenant Montgomery, what are you doing up?" A nurse asked, "Can't sleep again? We can give you something."



"I can't sleep…" Emily told them, "I don't want anything. I had enough sleep to last a life time. I thought a walk to one end of the ward and back might do me some good. It might get my mind off these images I keep seeing in my dreams."



Nodding the nurses stepped back, and returned to the desk, leaving Emily to walk the ward. She poked in at the many rooms, the lounge and different parts of the ward as she explored the hospital for an hour or so. She found stairs and finally found her way carefully down them. She had found her way to the galley. Food smells guided her way down the hallway, and Emily smiled at the familiar scents of breakfast and the smell of fresh brewed coffee.



"Oh, that coffee best smells wonderful." She murmured and walked into the galley, clad as she is in her pajamas and a fluffy robe with the hospital logo on the breast. A few of the nurses glanced her way, and a few stopped her, to question her. Ultimately they left her alone, leaving the young woman top grab a cup of coffee and sip it. She stood outside on the balcony, looking out at the sea, letting the salt air strike her face as she stared at the sunrise on the eastern sky. Emily watched as a new day and a new century welcomed her home. The young woman smiled, taking a determined sip of the coffee in the cup.  



"Fantastic!" Emily thought to herself, smiling broadly as she stared at the spectacular array of color on the horizon. She suddenly felt glad to be alive, even after all the literal crapola that she, and the others, had been through. A project success for stasis, but also it was a project failure with many casualties.



Emily wondered how the others were taking this, being awakened after two hundred years to know they had nothing left of what they knew and having nothing to really to come home to. She had promised her family after the five years that she would come home and hopefully married to a young man she had met in the military. But Emily had never got to honor that promise.  Frowning, she turned away as she made her way inside and refilled her cup, and a long stare to the galley around her.



It is like most hospital galleys, with food sections, salad bars, drink machines, juice cabinets and even a grill. It had many tables that were setup here, past the cash registers where she paid for her refill of coffee. Grinning she walked to a nearby table and took a set, glancing at a nearby paper. Frowning, the young woman took it up, and began reading as she glanced at the windows at the sunrise. She was flabbergasted by the news it contained, but quickly had a full understanding of the new century at hand. She had confirmed her worst nightmare. The young woman really was in the twenty-third century. 



“Oh my god.” Emily murmured as she took in another sip of coffee, and that was the only thing she could think to say at this moment of revelation.



In the quarters assigned to Amy, Melinda and Amanda, the group all laughed, cried, as they talked all night with their friend, who centuries before had been with them. As morning encroached upon them, like Emily, they had adjourned onto the balcony of the quarters. Here, they all solemnly watched the sunrise of a new day, in a new century.



"The sunrise is a simply glorious sight for the opening of a new day." Nathaniel said, "M'friends, we have come home."



At the same moment, in the ether that surrounds the galaxy edge, and near the ninth planet that orbits Sol in this solar system: The Stasis and Yamato crews are all unaware of what is happening in space as a ship hovered at the edge of the Sol Galaxy, and prepared to come to Earth. The Star Cruiser Class Starship, the S.S. Magellanic Clouds hovers in space close to the ninth planet that orbits the Sol star, where humans live, as the crews are recovered.



Sitting on the bridge, Ihsss sat in her chair watching the derelict spin off into the background of stars.  Felonious and the others now sit on the bridge, having seen the body of Avatar body that lies on the cold slab and as it is examined by the ship's doctor. They still could not believe that they had found a human on board, and one according to the data recovered from Yamato, who had bravely ignited the Tritium to break the water column of Aquarius. A human named Captain Avatar who died at his post a hero for his entire race of people.



"We have got to go to Earth. It is a priority." Ihsss' murmured, "We need to warn them about the impending attacks."



Here, she scanned the bridge as they all watched the derelict disappear in the shadow of the Milky Way.  She managed a grin at the sight before her, all of a sudden feeling a tad bit small in the universe as infinity of space lay out before her. Ihsss and her crew took their positions, preparing to get under way to Earth.



"Navigator, prepare for departure, plot a course for Earth." Ihsss ordered, "Use the radiation trail Felonious plotted."



"Course plotted and coordinates, locked in." Thyrac reported.



"Helm, execute." Ihsss hissed.



Outside in space, the sleek Star Cruiser class starship spun in place and it moved through the stars away from the derelict. Ihsss heard the engines whine as they accelerated away from the derelict they found at the edge of SOL and the infinity of space.



"Departure angle on viewer." Ihss ordered.



"Departure angle," The Insect-like helmsman replied.



The viewsreen switched as the derelict of Yamato's bridge section slid behind them as the ship raced off toward Earth, their mission to warn them before the Cybertron attacked. Sitting on the bridge were Ihsss' ragtag crew, as they too faced forward, as the ship approached the SOL Solar System and the legendary place called Earth. 



"Viewer ahead." Ihsss ordered.



"Viewer ahead," Thyrac repeated and the view screen switched to the stars that seemed to hurl toward them.



"Goodbye Yamato." The reptilian captain murmured, "And thanks…"



Ihsss' wondered how the Earthlings would react to the strange presence of her ragtag crew.  They had not yet met many off-world people of other planets and it would be a long time before they would unify with other planets in the many galaxies throughout the universe. As their ship moved through the system, the Feline science officer scanned ahead, mapping out this large solar system, save the large galaxy where they now had come to. Felonious' golden eyes widened at the data streaming on the screen before him.



"Captain, solar system boundary in two minutes," Veloxa warned.





"Helm secure from warp speed. Slow to full impulse power. Come right to zero nine five," Ihsss ordered, "For Earth system only."



At the helm, Veloxa and Thyrac, the insect Helmsman and Navigator both punched in the calculations into their consoles.



"We are entering SOL solar system, home sector for Earth."  Felonious reported.



"Felonious, activate sensors and sweep for any Earth patrol vessels and bases." The reptilian Captain ordered.



     "Negative patrols detected, but there are life signs on the nearest planet here, number nine." Felonious reported, "Out of eleven planets for this system."



"Steady as we go." Ihsss warned.



The reptilian Captain waited in her chair as she watched the stars that appeared to collide with the ship. As she sat there, a grin appeared on her reptilian features, knowing that soon they would be on Earth. As a new alliance builds, traveling to Earth, it is to meet with the Earth Command about an armada that would be soon heading to Earth too, its mission to destroy.



--- To Be Continued, Episode 3: The New Alliance.





Yamato: The New Adventures... (Sequel to "Final" Yamato in Episode type format)

By Erwin Stevens



EPS 3 - The New Alliance



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. Many forms of life are in the universe, and they live scattered throughout its cold vastness.


     The speck that makes up our Earth is one such place, a place where wars have come, and have gone, leaving their mark. A solar system named "Sol" resides in a mere corner of the infinity of space, and so does the huge galaxy known as the Milky Way where the Sol system resides. It is one of seventy such systems located here in the mere tip of this galaxy and in this solar system that nine planets orbit the single life-giving star. Living on the third one, an insignificant body called Earth is an advanced civilization known as human kind. 



As the crew of Yamato and the stasis members are on Earth, preparing for a new battle against an enemy of the future: Meanwhile, at the edge of the Sol System, the Star Cruiser Starship, the S.S Magellanic Clouds slowly moves into the solar system.  The small starship moves at slow speed right now, blinded by the haze that surrounds of the solar system and heading toward the farthest known planet known as Pluto. The crew quickly tries to make repairs to their ship, heading to Earth at slow speed, to advance warn of the impending danger that is coming to their planet.  



Again sitting on the bridge Ihsss T'Larra sat on the bridge, and watched the view screen as the ship cleared the haze and entered the large solar system that contained the legendary planet of Earth and the Yamato. It was here the base on Pluto detected the Clouds as they entered the solar system and an alarm echoed across the console of the many operators who were watching the space. A thick complex detection web was installed shortly after the decisive victory of the Yamato way back after Iscandar mission and had several times been put under real situations. Operators had seen the blip and hit the alarm putting the base on alert.



"Supervisor, Operator five on-line," A voice said. A young harried Corporal sat at the console in the operations pit, and he watched at the blip approached and entered the system. He spoke rapidly on the communicator with the XO of the station located on Pluto.



"What's up Johnson?"



"Unidentified ship passing Pluto Base, Sir," reported the operator, "No identification, and it is refusing to answer hails. Approximately ten space knots."



"On my way," Commander Farrell said, clicking a button on his console. He got up and ran into the main control room.  A few moments later, he came through the doors on the run.



"Status report." The Commander exclaimed sharply.



"No change sir." replied the operator.



"Are there any ships scheduled to enter or exit the system today?" asked the Commander and the operator shook his head.



"Negative sir, not on the schedule I have up." Johnson replied.



"What about the assigned entry sector for Earth transports?" Commander Farrell asked.



"They are not on any flight path Commander.” The operator replied, “Ship confirmed on intercept course toward Saturn.”  



"What's going on Farrell?" A voice said and Jake looked up to meet the intense gaze of Captain Hank Russo, the Commanding Officer of the Pluto Base who appeared on the monitor screen next to him.



"There is an unidentified ship coming into the solar system skipper," Jake replied.



"Have they responded to hails?"



"No sir, there could be a couple dozen reasons why not, however." Jake suggested.



"Deploy the fighters." The Captain said, "Mission to identify and find out their intentions, shoot to destroy if attacked." The Commander hit the alarm, and from their barracks, the pilots who are stationed here on this frozen wasteland ran to the launch tubes and their fighters.



Astro fighters from the station, on the icy world of Pluto made up of mostly of ice, methane, nitrogen and carbon monoxide, roared from the airlock. The ships moved upward into the star filled sky.  The pilot named Deek Baker intently checked his controls as he climbed up into space.



"Squadron one, to Base. Squadron Alpha is now airborne." He said into the headset, in his helmet, as twenty-four Astro-fighters roared up into the star-filled sky.



Matthew 'Buzz' Alron, Deek's second command roared up into space moments later, leading his twenty-four planes behind Deek's.



"Squadron two to Base. Squadron Beta is now airborne." Buzz said into his microphone.



"Copy, you are both cleared to identify and engage." Replied the Commander, and he watched the status display screen, showing the fighters as blue arrows, that streaked out toward the red circle that floated several meters off the screen.  The blue arrows got closer to the circle, marked now with the symbol UNK01. It was unlike what the air craft control had in the ancient towers at the airports on Earth.



"You should be on top of it." Commander Farrell said into the headset. Deek and Matthew, in their planes, checked his controls and screens.



"Affirmative, we are approximately six mega meters away." Baker replied, "Does anyone see it?"



"Tiger two negative."  A voice said.



"Tiger three negative." Came another and each one gave the report.



"Hold up." Another voice said, "Tiger twelve here, Aye skipper I have it in visual."



The rest of the planes locked onto the radio and they streaked toward it. In the cockpit that Baker let out a sharp breath as they approached.  "We're on station." He said, "Everyone form up and let's identify her."



"Damn, it's a big ship." Buzz commented, "It's the size of an EDC frigate."



"Good looking lines though." Another voice chimed in.



"Pipe down fellas, and fall in." Baker ordered as they streaked toward the unsuspecting Magellanic Clouds. "Deek, take left, I'll take right let's identify her."



On Earth, the alarm was put out in the war room. "General! Pluto Base reports an unknown ship inbound into the solar system. Speed ten space knots."  The Commander of the Earth Defense Force looked up in alarm at the announcement, as did the aides and people working. There was hustle in the control room.



"Pluto Base deployed fighters." The operator said, and the Commander nodded. "Also sir, Neptune and Uranus Bases have also been alerted. They're ready for them." The Commander sat in his chair, and he examined the data.



"Deploy Space Destroyers Fuyuzuki, also the Marauder from Saturn station to the Pluto area." He ordered, and the Commander's aide glanced at him.  Unaware, the Clouds crew and the ship still approached Pluto, their ship coming within a close proximity of it. The small planet loomed on the view screen as the ship slowly approached.



"Felonious, give me a pre-approach scan please." Ihsss murmured.



She stared at the screen, curious of the bluish purple planet ahead of them and as the ship headed toward the planet's outer fringe. A chunk of planetary material appeared on the screen, making up the moon that orbits the planet.



 "Scanning planet," Felonious said, "The first planet here is number nine in this system of eleven planets. Diameter is two thousand three hundred and twenty kilas, approximately one thousand four hundred and forty miles as measured by Earth-people. Orbit, is once every two hundred forty nine years. A solar day is six point four days hours. One visible moon, its diameter is one thousand two hundred and seventy kilometers or seven hundred and ninety miles, planetary tilt, seventeen degras, elliptical orbit." He paused to take in a breath as data streamed on screen next to him, "Surface Composition, that makes up the planet is nitrogen with minor methane count and traces of carbon monoxide. The hint of pink suggests that it has a reflecting layer. Bright areas along equator suggest it is solid nitrogen ice, methane, ethane and carbon monoxide. Darker areas suggest a primordial organic material as result of photochemical reactions to cosmic rays."



Felonious hit a button to scroll the information on his monitor. "Surface temperature, varies from negative two hundred and twenty eight to negative two hundred thirty degrees centigrade or negative three hundred seventy eight to three hundred ninety six degrees. It ranges from its thirty to fifty degras orbit from the sun. Internal Composition, Unknown. Planetary Density lies between one point eight and two point one gm/cm cubed which indicates the planet is probably fifty to seventy percent rock and the remainder being water and other ices."



"Gee a regular garden spot." Kwai commented, and there was laughter on the bridge.



"Very well," Ihsss said, "Life signs?"



"Yes Captain, but I think it's attributed to the basic organic material that lives on the planet." Felonious replied, "But there are also strong life signs on the planet otherwise. There is, as you suspected, a base there."



"Captain we've been spotted, fighters coming in." reported the Navigator who stared at the view screen, "It looks like a couple of squadrons."



Ihsss turned her scaly head and grimaced.



"All repair crews come back inside!" Ihsss ordered and Hi'Mthsss turned to her console, hitting a button that sent the recall signal to the space suited figures outside the ship. They all headed to the airlock.



"Shields up!" Kwai reported, as she nodded to Felonious. A ripple of tension rounded the bridge.



 "Is the radio still out?" Asked the first officer and Hi'Mthsss turned to shake her head.



"The antennas are done."  Hi said, "Repairs are completed on the radio. We should be able to transmit."



"It might be interference from the planet." Kwai suggested, "We are pretty close Felonious." 



 "This is the S.S. Magellanic Clouds, to unidentified fighters… Hold your fire… we are a peaceful vessel, originating out of the Parker Star Cluster." Ihsss said, "We are on a peaceful mission and request permission to enter solar system. Please respond." 



"Any response?" Ihsss asked and Hi'Mthsss shook her head. "There is a lot of static Captain. I'll try to compensate and rotate channels."



On Pluto, the station operator turned his head when he heard Ihsss T'Larra's hissing voice. He stared at the console for a long moment before he hit a few buttons to clear the static. The message was very badly garbled.



"…This is the Magellanic Clouds…, Star …uiser out of …r 5, we … on a non …tile mission, …your fire. We req… perm…sion to …your …lar sy…em."



"Sir, I'm picking up an, uh, message." The operator announced, switching it over to audio, "It's garbled, but it seems to be from that ship out there."



"Adjust frequency." The Commander ordered and the operator complied.



"Magellanic Clouds, adjust cycle three hundred."  The operator replied, "The message is still garbled. Adjust cycle three hundred! Please respond!" Back on the Clouds Hi'Mthss adjusted the frequency and the channel cleared.



"This is the SS Magellanic Cloudsss, Hi'Mthsss T'Larra, Communicationssss Officer." She said hurriedly, "Please ssstand by for Captain Ihsss T'Larra, my Commanding Officer."



Sitting on the bridge, Hi'Mthsss half turned and nodded. "I think I have them now mother, err Captain."



Sitting in a chair at the console near the radio operator both men heard the young Thyrnn's voice and they glanced at each other. "Whoa, a female Communications Officer what do you make of that Jake?" The Commander asked, and the young officer and second in command glanced at him.



"She sounds fairly sexy." The operator commented and the two men laughed. Little did they know of Hi'Mthsss and her spitting image to her reptilian mother. She would probably have been offended by the comment, if she heard it.



"I am not sure I have heard of the Parker Star cluster, unless it is beyond where any Earth ship has gone.” The XO replied uncertainly.



"Attention S.S. Magellanic Clouds, This is Earth Defense Command Pluto station. What is your destination and purpose in this star system?" The Base Commander asked.



"Good job Hi." Ihsss replied, and walked to the communications station, as did Felonious. 



"Audio only."  Ihsss cautioned, "They probably don't know of our respective cultures yet."



"This is the Magellanic Clouds, Captain Ihsss T'Larra Commanding, I repeat our last message. We're here on a peaceful mission, originating from the Parker Star Cluster, sector coordinates 90,125. We formally request entry to your system and request landing on the third planet, Earth." Ihsss said into the headset. On the Pluto base the Captain and Commander glanced at each other.



"Well, what you ask is difficult." He said, "What is your reason and purpose for your request."



"Sssirrr, we have news that is gravely important to Earth and must be relayed to your headquarthersss at once. There is a war machine massing at Aquarius, and soon to be on its way to destroy Earth. We managed to gather a lot of recon and intelligence of this war machine and would like to directly relay it to Earth, in a peaceful gesture between our two governments. We took a beating to gather the data and are need of repair before we are to return to Aquarius, our mission to destroy the planet as possible." A low gasp echoed the war room as the others, and the crew present gathered around the radio center. A low murmur rippled through the command center.



The Captain waved his hand for silence.



"Keep it down." The commanding officer grumbled, as the radio operator adjusted the controls.



Both the commanding officer and second in command, glanced at each other.  The operator half turned, a look of astonishment on his face.



Captain Russo glanced over at the Commander who shrugged. "Notify Earth Defense Headquarters at once. Notify all available ships."



"Stand by Clouds, we are getting instructions on this point and will relay." 



"Communications go." Commander Farrell ordered pointing at the Communications Officer who was waiting.



"Aye, Sir." Replied the young operator, and he turned to his console.



On another channel, the communications officer spoke quickly, "This is Pluto Station to Headquarters Station, come in please."



     The Communications Officer glanced at the Commander. "Sir, there is a surge of energy blocking our transmission!"



     "Locate!" The Captain ordered sharply.



"It is bearing three, one, five, at ten mega meters from the station." The operator said.



Out in space Baker's eyes widened as he heard Commander Farrell's voice on the horn, with the Communications Officer. They were not too far from base and it was not what bothered Baker. The others started jabbering over the radio on what they had just overheard.



     "Hey guys keep it down." Baker said, "Something is happening, something about an armada heading our way. There is also an energy surge ten mega-meters from the base!"



"Farrell to all Fighter groups," He said, "Alert status one! There is a surge at three, one, five at ten mega-meters from the station. You are cleared to engage hostile craft, but make sure Magellanic Clouds makes it to the Neptune Station where their fighters will take over. The Fuyuzuki is inbound with Battle Group One, close behind."



"Copy." Baker said and he switched channels. "Baker to group, our orders are to escort this craft to the line and Neptune Base will take over and there. Stay alert we detected a hostile craft on motion detectors approaching the station."



"What's this all about skip?" Another voice asked, "I got a bad feeling about this,"



"I don't know." Baker replied, "Pipe down, and fall in."



A moment later, all hell broke loose as an energy bolt appeared and hit the Cruiser, with an explosion to follow. The fighters scattered as another bolt hit the ship again.



"What the hell was that?" Baker asked, "Report by the numbers, did anyone fire?"



"Negative." A chorus of voices echoed over the channel.



"Does anyone see it?" Baker asked, "Shit, we're sitting ducks."



     "That's for sure." Buzz’ voice said, “There is just no data, sir.”



     A bolt appeared from the black star-filled background, striking the Clouds again.



     "It is from dead astern skipper, sensors indicate origin of bolt." Matthews said over the radio, and he pulled back on his stick turning his plane toward the point of origin.



Turning toward the blast origin, the fighters took up the fight as multiple explosions rocked the Clouds.



"What's happening?" Commander Farrell shouted through Baker's orders.



"Commander, we lost the Clouds." The operator reported.



"We have an intruder, bearing mark three, one, five, distance, now seven mega-meters." Baker radioed, "We are attacking the target now. And we need some help out here."



"The Fuyuzuki is inbound at top speed." An operator reported, "Also the Marauder."



"Take on that ship, but send two ships to follow the Clouds, and assist as needed." The order came and Baker stared at the speaker.



"Excuse me sir?" Their lead pilot asked, "Could you repeat?"



"You heard me." Farrell replied.  



"Let's go boys. You heard the man." Baker ordered, and the two groups of fighters raced after the attacker as two planes broke off to follow the spinning crippled Star Cruiser.



On the bridge of the Clouds, Ihsss and all hands were thrown from their seats.  Screams echoed across the bridge as the lights went out making it pitch black. Down in the sickbay, a power surge lanced out and surrounded the body of Avatar. Slowly his eyes opened, and his eye lids blinked as the stasis field was shorted out.  His eyes focused on the dim light, and his ears started to work as his senses started to return. The Captain lay there and he found he couldn't move. He was very cold, and stiff. Outside the chamber, he could hear the dull screams and shouts of the crew echoing the chamber outside as they fought the fire and were occupied with damage control. He tried to move and he closing his eyes managed to wiggle a finger. Five minutes later, Avatar managed to turn his head slightly. Chaos raged outside the chamber, as many wounded are being mended by the ship's doctor. All he could see was blackness, and a blue suspensor beam on the interior of the cabinet.



On the bridge, fire and smoke covered the bridge as damage control parties fought the fire that started by shorting systems. Several people fell, and Hi'Mthsss dodged to pull a shipmate from the jaws of the explosion that shook the bridge. 



"We are out of control!" Veloxa said, as she fought for control at her console. "No power, overriding to emergency power and thrusters.  Outside sparks of the thrusters appeared as blue flames from the hull and the ship continued to spin faster.



"Veloxa get us under control." Ihsss screamed, "Right now. Compensate by using emergency power."



"We're going to die!" A voice quailed, in the half illuminated bridge.



Veloxa struck the console, and the thrusters succeeded to counter the spin. The ship, however, is a projectile and was just out of control, blind as a bat away from Pluto, as it raced toward the larger planets in the middle of this solar system.



"Damage report!" Ihsss shouted.



"There is damage in sections fourteen fifteen, sixteen, decks five through eight." Felonious reported, "Decompression and emergency bulkheads in place."



"Bridge to Engineering!" Ihsss shouted, "We need power, emergency power, do you copy?"



"Captain, we are approaching the next planet." Felonious reported, as the ship powerless and helpless headed toward the greenish ball of Neptune.



"Veloxa…" Ihsss asked, "Can we alter trajectory?"



"I'm trying Captain." Veloxa replied desperately, "No power or emergency power available."



"We're hit again Captain!" A voice quavered, and Ihsss silenced the speaker with a look as the ship lurched again. The shudder of an internal explosion rocked the ship.



"We have minor damage in engineering." Felonious reported.



"The engines are out of control Captain!" Veloxa said, "We are at maximum impulse and energy output will create a warp threshold in five minutes. Our main engines are out."



     "Felonious?" Ihsss said in askance, and he glanced at her, as data stream flooded his screen.



     "It is dangerous if we allow ourselves to warp." He announced, "If we do, there is a good chance that we can end up hitting a moon, a minor space body, like the sun of this solar system, a star, or materialize inside a planet." Ihsss turning her head had stared at the screen in helplessness. She turned her attention, pushing the call button on the intercom, trying to raise the engine room.



"All stop helm!" Ihsss exclaimed, "Neutralize engines."



"We have negative response on controls." Veloxa announced.



"Use the bloody override then." Ihsss snapped, and Thyrac hit the button.



"No response on emergency systems." The Navigator barked, "We're a bullet, Captain."



 "Voloxa, what's happening down there?" Ihsss shouted over the noise, hitting the buttons to signal the engineering deck.



"We're at warp threshold sir." Felonious reported, as outside, the ship faded from view leaving the fighters behind.



"Sir, the ship just warped from our sector." Baker reported, "Maintain position?"



"Negative." The Commander replied, "Link up with the Fuyuzuki, in your sector, and search for wreckage of the attacking vessel. I want to make sure that no other ships have entered our solar system."



"Yes sir." Baker replied, and he closed the channel.



"Good luck and god speed, Clouds." Baker murmured as he and the two squadrons took up a search pattern.



Meanwhile, on the Saturn station, an operator named Sharon Patel sat at her console. She took up the transfer of command from Pluto and data peered at the data that streamed across the screen before her.



Commodore Russell Bates, the Commanding officer of Saturn base stood on the floor, gazing at the screen and the information that scrolled across it.



"Status report." He ordered. 



 "Saturn fighters deployed, and the Marauder has turned about heading back at top speed to Saturn Airspace." An operator reported, "ETA is approximately twenty minutes sir. Space Battleship Nagasaki and Taro have left Saturn Station with Battle group one and are making thirty space knots to Pluto." 



"Very well, any word from the Clouds?"



"Negative, the fighters picked it up as it materialized from warp and is seventeen mega meters from Saturn and the station sir."



"What do you make of this Skipper?" A voice asked and Russell turned to meet the concerned look of his second in command, Jake Sullivan.



"Whatever attacked the SS. Magellanic Clouds is out there still, somewhere." The Commander told him, "The Captain of Battle Group One is pretty seasoned, so he will relay anything they find."



"I don't like this sir, it is too reminiscent of the Black Nebula when they came through and hit every base, killing everyone on each station. You think it's them again?"



"I don't think so this time." He replied, "It might be the beginning of another war against Earth, from the armada that the Clouds reported and encountered."  Both men watched the screen, and a looming feeling that passed over them.



On the bridge of the Clouds, Ihsss felt a lurch forward, throwing everyone onto the floor as the ship appeared from warp. The sounds of loud wrenching metal could be heard, as the ship abruptly came into existence from their warp.



"Warp completed." Felonious reported, "We are still maintaining twenty plus space knots. We are approaching the sixth planet of this system." Felonious commented, clicking his console. "If we do not diminish our speed, impact will be in less than twenty minutes into the thick atmosphere of planet six." 



"Planet analysis." Ihsss said quickly, "Can we make emergency landing if we get control."



"Negative." Felonious replied, "The planet here is a gas giant, its composition, appears to be made mostly of molecular hydrogen, approximately eighty eight percent, and helium at eleven percent, with traces of water, methane, ammonia and rockier elements. Temperature of the rocky core in the center is twelve thousand degrees Fahrenheit. Wind pressure radiates at ten times stronger than winds on Class M planets, such as Earth. We can withstand the outer edge of the atmosphere, but the gravity and pressure will destroy us if we get too far into the gas atmosphere. Collision is approximately in twenty-one minutes, present speed." Veloxa reported.



"Voloxa." Ihsss shouted, turning to the intercom, and trying to raise the engineering section. "What's going on down there?"



"Why does the planet have rings like that?" Kwai asked, "Is that ice, Felonious, or is it rocky matter?"



"Ring Composition is mostly made of small particles of water, ice, some of which may be coating rocky particles. These ring particles range in size from microscopic dust and pea pebbles, to boulders of several meters, perhaps yards, probably include some larger objects that are as large as a kilometer, or mile in diameter. The rings of planet six are two hundred and fifty thousand kilometers, or one hundred fifty five thousand miles wide, but only a few meters or yards thick in some places. As a result, their total mass may actually amount to no more than a single icy body of a hundred or two hundred kilometers, or sixty to one hundred twenty miles across."  Felonious said, reading the analysis,



"Temperature is negative variables, I advise not getting near the rings Captain, one of those boulders can cause harsh damage to the hull or put a hole in us. The extreme cold could affect our systems in a negative way."



"That's going to be difficult with current circumstances Felonious." Ihsss replied, and she sat with a sigh into the command chair. 



     "Acknowledged." Felonious replied, shaking his furry head.



"Engineering to Bridge." A voice said, and Ihsss breathed a sigh of relief. It was Voloxa the Engineer.



"What is your status report, Engineer?"



"Partial auxiliary power is restored, No change on the engines, they are still out of order and at full impulse power." He said, "We had decompression in those areas, and we have major radiation happening down here from the core. Main power is off-line and the main engines are also off-line. We'll have the full auxiliary power back on line, in a few minutes." 



"We felt the ship decelerate, but we're still a bullet at twenty space knots. We need those engines now." Ihsss said, "We're out of control on collision course with planet six, a gas giant in this system. Get to it mister."



"Aye, Captain." He said, and the channel closed.



Ihsss turned to Veloxa at the helm. "Maneuvering thrusters Helm, get us to all stop or alter trajectory to the planet."



"I'll try Captain. Thruster power is down to thirty percent." Veloxa replied, hitting the control on the console. The ship slowly responded, as it was like a bullet heading for certain to its destruction.  Just as the Clouds approached Saturn, that several large ships rose up into the sky and headed toward the crippled starship of the future. Astro fighters, from Saturn base, also streaked up into the starry sky and like the other fighter wings of the other planetary stations, they were on station quickly. They were watchful for any signs of life aboard the visitor from outside their galaxy.



"USS Tristan here." A voice said, "We have the visitor on scanners. No contact, they are out of control and we can't raise them. We are moving to investigate and linking up our battle group two with the Marauder." 



"Ship looks dead Captain. They might have killed all hands." Zack Johnson said, sitting in the cockpit of his Astro-fighter, flying toward the smoking Star Cruiser with twenty of his squadron members. The fighters stayed with the Cruiser on its left side, but kept a respectable distance from it.



"Estimate impact into Saturn in about twenty minutes. They have warped but have been dragged into the gravity of the planet. They are not slowing down."



"Keep trying to raise her." A voice said, and they recognized it as General Singleton.



Out in space, the ship still streaked toward Saturn and inside Ihsss and Veloxa worked at the controls to help adjust their bullet course toward the planet ahead. "Ship has turned at one half degree." Veloxa said.



 "Felonious, how about the moons? Can we safely land there?" Ihsss asked, as she turned to her feline science officer. 



"Planet has thirty one moons Captain." He said, "Analysis of each one completed. The outer most moons, twelve, range in size from three to fifty km, almost two to thirty one miles with irregular "long and loping" orbits. Out of those thirty one moons, number two is the largest one." Felonious replied, "Analyzing now. It has a relatively large diameter of about five thousand km or three thousand two hundred miles. It has an unusually thick atmosphere that is composed of mostly nitrogen but may have as much as a tenth in methane and smog, with traces of ethane, acetylene, ethylene, and hydrogen cyanide. Planetary temperature is at around negative one hundred eighty degrees Centigrade, or negative two hundred ninety two degrees Fahrenheit as measured by Earth people." Felonious paused as the computer completed spitting the analysis on the screen.



"Atmosphere scans indicate it is surprisingly dense, resulting in a surface air pressure to be about one point six times more of a class M planet. The surface scans indicate that planet surface is cold enough to have pools, even seas of liquid methane, perhaps nitrogen and for frozen methane to persist for extended periods. Moreover, liquid fuel-like liquids may also precipitate out of its atmospheric smog. Hence, this planet is thought to have an abundance of the organic molecules that are thought to be the precursors of life."



"Will we be able to make a soft landing, Felonious?" Ihsss asked, and the feline science officer grimaced.



"If we do skipper, we are going to make an awfully loud boom, if the analysis holds true." He replied, "Liquid fuel and methane is very volatile substances, even in a cold state."



"Well we won't know till we try? Thyrac, set course and Veloxa can you slow us down for fair soft landing?" Ihsss asked.



     "Aye Captain, I'll do my best." Veloxa said, touching the control on her console.



     "Course plotted." Thyrac added hitting the buttons, "And engaged in computer."



     Their ship slowly and painfully turned, as it sped toward Saturn and still out of control. As it did so, down in engineering, Voloxa feverously worked to get the engines back on line. He stared at the console, as he worked, and at a flashing yellow light. He struck it with a tool on the top of the machine, making a dent in the top of the metal. A moment later, a whir sounded and a green light indicated the status of the system he was working on.



     "Come on you piece of Placto!" He shouted, hitting the console in frustration. He heard the system whir and systems flashed to come back on line. The engines hummed as they stopped their thrust.



     "Auxiliary engines back on line, Captain." Veloxa shouted, sitting on the bridge.



     "Bless you Voloxa, Go Veloxa!" Ihsss instructed, and the Insectoid Helmsman hit the control. The ship painfully slowed down, but it was far too late as Saturn's gravity already had them. It took them away from Titan, with a violent jerk, and the ship began to heat up as it entered the gas atmosphere of Saturn.



     "Set a low orbit." Ihsss ordered, "One quarter impulse."  The engines whirred and the ship set a trajectory change.



     "Helm answering," Veloxa reported, but shook its large insect-like head, "Controls are sluggish and slow responding."



"Pressure increasing, fifteen hundred pounds per square inch on hull, sixteen hundred; seventeen-hundred." Felonious announced, "Twenty five hundred pounds. Three thousand pounds pressure on hull. Hull pressure is now three thousand five hundred pounds."



"Any change in our speed." Ihsss asked and Veloxa managed a nod.



     "Engines reversing and they are slowly bringing us to all stop. The gravity is very strong and she's fighting it." Veloxa informed Ihsss' and outside the ship began to shimmy and shake. Veloxa and the crew sat on the bridge and held on to the arm of their chairs. Many of her crew were thrown from their chairs or thrown against the bulkheads.



       "Holy Kriznar*! Hold on everyonnne! Arrggghhhh." The reptilian Captain muttered, "It's going to be a rough ride."



(*Footnote, expression of exclamation, IE 'Holy Cow!')


       There was a yelp on the bridge as a few went flying forward as the ship lurched and wallowed to an abrupt stop. Sitting calmly at their console, the two Veloxa Insectoid hardly winced as the pressure threw everyone forward. Ihsss went flying out of her chair and ended up near the helm console on her butt.



       "What the heck." Ihsss thought, looking at the view screen as a haze appeared on the screen.



"Orbit has been achieved. We are in a stationary orbit. Steer to get us out of orbit and escape velocity?" Veloxa asked after both the Helmsman and Navigator glanced at each other, both letting out a half audible sigh.



"Negative, take us up to gas surface, but no further." Ihsss ordered, "Maintain orbit." Veloxa's hands danced on her console.



     In the Astro fighters that tailed the Star Cruiser, a pilot named George McGraw, saw the change, and he smiled. Other pilots had whooped and guffawed loudly in the headset, at the dismay of the staff on Pluto and the other bases and ships who listened to the chatter of this entire strange event.



     "Astro fighter three here," He said, "Ship appears to have life on board, it made a course correction and collision course was averted. But it's in the Saturn's outer layer of atmosphere. It is safely in a stationary orbit."



     "Tiger three. Great work." A voice said, "Stay on station, and give as much assistance as you can."     



     "U.S.S. Tristan is on station." Another voice said over the channel, "We'll stay on station until the fleet arrives. The Astro-Fighters can return to base."



     "If you can hear this Magellanic Clouds, welcome to Sol and Saturn Station." Commander Farrell murmured as he stood in the Pluto control room. In the control room cheering and handshakes all around went around to the staff on duty in three bases. The Commander of the Saturn base turned to the radar operator.



     "Scan and get a fix on that ship." He instructed and the operator nodded. He clicked the controls and immediately located the crippled Star Cruiser.



     "Ship is in stable orbit on Saturn, it is not moving Captain." He reported, "Analysis indicates by Thermal scan their power systems are very low. The ship is in a parallel orbit, opposite to Saturn Base on the other side of planet."



     "Send the Marauder to assist and cover it with Battle Group Two." Ordered the Commander and the radio operator smiled as he nodded.



     "It will be my pleasure." The young operator said with a grin, and he turned to make the call.



     On the bridge, the crew worked feverishly to get the systems repaired, all hands but a handful of them floated freely into space, including Ihsss, Felonious, Veloxa, Thyrac and anyone else who was non-essential personal for interior repairs.  They floated freely to the mess out of the hull of the ship and outside to start repairs on the exterior of the ship. Ihsss, however, stared at the beauty of the stars, remembering a long time ago back to her youth on her planet when she too dreamed of being in space. As she stared at the brown orb, a twinkle not far off caught her eye and she turned.



     "Felonious." She said, and the feline officer turned to where Ihsss pointed. "We have company."



     Ihsss saw a small blip in the background of stars, and realized it was the Earthling's ships on the way to help.  She turned her head to see a scout ship nearby, but when she looked again, it was gone. She was unaware that it was cloaked out there. The reptilian Captain turned with her cutter, starting repairs on her beloved ship, with the others to cut away the damaged section. A repair drone that held small plates, sidled up behind them. Five of them moved the large plate to the skin of the ship. But little did they know down below in sickbay that Avatar blinked his eyes. He managed to wiggle his finger and found out he could move his head slightly, peering down at his feet to realize he was still in a uniform.



     "Where am I?" He thought, "Who am I?"  A second later he heard voices. The chamber opened and he saw light that hurt his eyes. They pulled the tray from which he lay, and a willowy face looked down upon him. He revolted, struggling, but could not move.



     "What on Arth?" A lispy voice said, "He's alive?"



     "I don't know doctor." Replied the insectoid voice, "I bet it is when that static charge went through the ship."



     "Pull him out." Fallora Platt ordered and Avatar looked blankly at them. He tried to squirm and move, his body lurching slightly. 



     "He's going into arrest." The assistant said, grabbing the deliberator unit. He hit the human with a zap and the arrest stopped. The heart of this human beat once again, the same one preserved by the water of Aquarius and who had died at his post saving Earth.



     "Start mixture at once." He said, "Watch him carefully and make sure he is sedated. I'm going to call the Captain."  



     "Sickbay to bridge," He said, "Come on, someone pick up."



     "Hi'Mthsss here." The young communicator's voice replied.



     "Get your mother." He said, "We got a problem down here in sickbay."



     "I'll connect you. She's outside the ship helping with repairs." Hi said, as static crackled over the intercom.



     "Captain Here." Ihsss said over the intercom, floating freely near the skin of the ship; outside. She had glanced down at the communicator located on the arm of her space suit in alarm when he saw it flash.



     "Captain," Fallora said, "I need you to come back in and come immediately to sickbay."



     "What's going on?"  Ihsss replied, "What's wrong, doctor?"



     "I just need you to come back in." He said, "We got a little problem in here, in the way of our passenger. The one we picked up on the derelict."



     "The body we picked up on the Yamato's hulk?" Ihsss asked, "What's going on doc? What are you on about?"



     "Please just return to the airlock and come to sickbay." Fallora said, "Please…!"



"Acknowledged," Ihsss replied starkly, "I will be right there." She closed the channel abruptly.



"Felonious, something is happening." She said, as he floated nearby, "Take charge. I will return shortly."      A few minutes later, Ihsss walked into the sickbay, the doors obediently opening for her and she was still dressed in her space suit. She grimaced, fuming about being called back inside. Ihsss had work to do and needed to get it done before they could move out of here, to link up with the Earth Ships on their way to Earth.



     "What's going on doc?" Ihsss asked, and the familiar bleeping of a heartbeat echoed through the chamber. Ihsss had a surprised look on her face, a look of annoyance as well, when she saw Avatar's body on the life bed.



"He's alive." Fallora said, "And before you ask why we did it, or why he is not dead… We did not revive him. It must have happened when that short circuit and power surge went through the ship."



"Uh… oooh-kay." Ihsss said surprised, and suddenly was unsure what she was going to ask next. His statement had startled her, dissipating her annoyance and anger for being brought away from the repair efforts. The reptilian female walked toward the body of Avatar and stood next to fuzzy bearded old man. The same one she had said a few words of wisdom to. She wondered if he was alive then.



"Could he speak?" Ihsss asked, and Fallora shook his willowy head. His large compound eyes showed a deep troubling expression.



"We have him sedated." Fallora said, "He went into arrest when he saw us, and I wouldn't blame him for that coming back from the dead like he has. I know one thing Ihsss, we are in deep trouble."



"You aren't kidding." Ihsss said, "But this human sacrificed himself against all odds, saving his crew and home world. When he's stronger, I want to talk to him. Any man who is strong enough to survive that task can fight along side of me any time. Besides, I think he could hold the secret of getting out of this mess with the Cybertron and us arriving back in their time."



"What about the Yamato crew?" Fallora said, "They know him as a hero and who died. We should have let things alone."



"Well…" Ihsss said, "They are now in this, and the first worlds to be destroyed. I am not going to let that happen. Also whatever happens, Avatar surely sacrificed himself, and he's still a hero, no matter he is alive or dead. He gets a burial, or a hero's welcome. It would be a win-win for Earth, his crew, and Avatar himself." Fallora went to his office. He took out two glasses and Ihsss turned to pull out a flask containing a purplish liquid. The willowy plant-like doctor shook his head, and he held up the orange one. He poured them a drink.



"I think a toast is in order." Fallora began and Ihsss chuckled, nodding her large reptilian head. She had a big toothy grin on her face, as she regarded Fallora for a long time, standing there. He had been with them from the beginning of the Cloud's adventures, rescued from a derelict ship of Elowan fleet that was half obliterated by the Cybertron.



"I agree wholeheartedly." Ihsss replied, still with a toothy grin on her reptilian features. 



"To Captain Avatar," Ihsss said, "Adventurer, statesman, and all around brave hero." She held up the drink, "May he live a long time and guide us on our homeward journey.”



"To the Clouds, and her Captain," Fallora replied, "The crew who found a hero." Ihsss smiled slightly to nod, perhaps even to bow slightly and downed the drink.



"Keep me informed on his progress." Ihsss replied, "I am going to check in on the bridge, and see what's happening."



     "I'll do that, Ihsss." The doctor replied, and the reptilian Captain nodded.



     On the bridge, Hi'Mthsss sat at her console, finishing the repairs to the communications station. She switched it on, and static echoed on the speakers. She had been working feverishly to reconnect the circuits and repair the scorched boards in the unit that was fried by the static charge that ripped through the ship. As she finished, reconnecting the components back onto the board, she plugged in the board into the nearby slot and reached up to hit the switch on her console. Her console beeped once as it initialized.



     "…U.S.S. Marauder to S.S. Magellanic Clouds. Please respond." A voice said, "Repeat, Earth Space Destroyer, U.S.S. Marauder to Clouds, please respond to this transmission."



     Hi'Mthss turned to the console and picked up her headset. "Magellanic Clouds, Hi'Mthss T'Larra, communications officer speaking."



     On the Fuyuzuki, the operator turned. "We got them!" He chortled and the Captain nodded. There was a cheer by a few, applause and even a sigh of relief. 



     "This is the U.S.S Marauder here." The human Captain said, "We are in route to you, to offer assistance and your escort to Earth. Is your Commanding Officer there?"



     "No, she's outside the ship." Hi'Mthsss said, "I'll connect, please stand by."  Quickly, she hit the console. Down in sickbay, Ihsss looked down at her communicator.



     "Ihsss here," She said, "What's going on Hi'Mthsss?"



     "Captain of Earth Space Destroyer, Marauder, is on channel three." She replied. Ihsss got up and walked from the office. "I'll be right there, Hi."



     "You're back aboard?" 



"Yes Hi, the good doctor needed me in Sickbay." Ihsss replied, "It seems we got a little problem. I'll see you in five minutes." She got up from her chair, nodding to the Doctor who was logging vitals of their new patient. The doors opened obediently allowing her to pass through.



     "Aye." Hi replied, relaying the message. Five minutes elapsed and Ihsss walked onto the bridge, still in her space suit. Hi'Mthsss grimaced at the expression of her mother. She could read her and she apparently did not like the fact of Avatar being alive and well. They were in a tough spot. As the ship's doctor pointed out, either a hero's welcome or a funeral. It would still be a win-win scenario.



     "Yea… A win-win situation for whom?' Ihsss asked herself, and she walked toward the communications station where her daughter sat. Hi'Mthss turned her head and nodded to her mother.



     "Put it through." Ihsss instructed and Hi M'thss nodded.



      "Captain T'Larra here," Ihsss said, "Commander of the SS. Magellanic Clouds."



     "We were worried about you." He said, "Glad to see you are still with us. We are in route to you and will be there shortly to assist and escort you to Earth. The Earth Commander, Charles Singleton is quite anxious and is looking forward to your arrival."



     "Yes, Captain." Ihsss replied, "Also, I am just wondering why our ship was attacked."



     "We don't know, but you were attacked by another vessel." replied the Marauder's Captain, "It was not one of our ships. Our fighters engaged and destroyed it. Was the damage severe?"



     "Bad enough, we lost only a few of our crew, the rest wounded." Ihsss reported, "We could use any personnel to assist. It is appreciated and perhaps this will strengthen our respective planets in future relations."



     "Perhaps it will." replied the Captain, "We will be there within a quarter of an Earth hour."



     "We are not ready to move out. I am making some temporary repairs before we get under way again." Ihsss declared, "The others can be done in flight. We sustained considerable damage."






     "We will, however, set to proper increment." Ihsss said, "We look forward to meeting you, Clouds out."  Hi'Mthsss closed the channel.



     "Wait till they see Avatar's body. They are in for a big shock." Ihsss told her daughter, managing a low throaty chuckle. 



     "Why?" Hi replied, looking up at her mother curiously.



     "The short circuit we experienced brought that man back to life."  Ihsss murmured and Hi's scaly eye ridges rose up in alarm, arching slightly. Her mother nodded at her response.



     "Yea, I know the feeling, I did the same thing." Ihsss replied, grinning, "Continue monitoring traffic, I am returning outside the ship. Notify me when the Earth ship arrives. You have the con."



     "Aye." Hi replied, as she walked to the lift and stepped in, the doors closing behind her. She turned to the others who watched the interaction and the dialogue between the Earth ship and the Clouds. Hi'Mthsss nodded in response to their questioning looks.



     "We'll be okay, let's get to it. So we’re ready when the Captain comes back aboard and we can link up with the Earth fleet." Hi'Mthsss told them and there was a grin on all the faces as they resumed repair stations on the bridge.



     As for the Ihsss she returned outside, kicking herself free from the airlock and floated once again in the stars of space.  She grabbed one of the tools and she helped weld one of the plates on the ship. Next to her, Felonious had a plate in hand and they worked to get a piece of the plate loose that was damaged.



     "Wow, what a mess." Felonious remarked and Ihsss grinned.



     "It could be worse. We could be space right now." She replied, and he chuckled, taking up the plate from the drone to position it in place. He reached and grasped the welder and a bright arc appeared as he welded the new plate onto the skin of the ship.



     "Captain, the Earthlings are signaling, and are now on station." Hi'Mthsss' voice echoed over the speaker in her helmet, and it made her turn to see many ships before them that surrounded their position. The crew watched as many space suited figures appeared from the ships and moved toward the Clouds.



     "Wow, quite a welcoming committee." Felonious observed, making Ihsss laugh.



When Ihsss turned, she saw a space suited next to her, and she turned as the Space Destroyer Marauder hovered above her.  The space suited figure is a human and he, with many others, stared at the crew members of the Clouds in fear when he saw the reptilian features and then to the feline. The young officer smiled, meeting her face, and he put out his hand. 



"Lieutenant Michael Farragut, Space Destroyer Marauder." He said, "We're here to assist and escort you to Earth."



Ihsss' crew, a ragtag bunch, drew their weapons and Ihsss put up her hand. She met the Commander's face and stared at him, suddenly revolted as he was to see their faces. She took his hand.



"Ihsss T'Larra." She replied, "Commander of this ragtag crew of the starship, SS Magellanic Clouds. We are at your service."  An hour elapsed and their ship was repaired in record time. Ihsss and the young officer stood on the top of the Starship. In the windows, the reptilian Captain could see her crew. She moved to embrace the human officer warmly.



     "I will see you on Earth." Ihsss said, "MY crew and I thank you, and your government, for your assistance."  The young human smiled, saluted. Captain T’Larra, fifteen minutes, later arrived on the bridge.  "Veloxa, power us up, and plot course parallel with the Earth Space Destroyer and their fleet."



"Aye, Captain," He said, smiling as she sat down. Ihsss sat in her seat and she panned a gaze to her crew. 


On board the Marauder, there was great discussion among the crew about the strange beings they had seen on the ship called the Magellanic Clouds. The ones who had assisted out there, said very little other than they thought they were weird, but seemed really intelligent and nice. Outside, the Clouds paralleled the Space Destroyer, keeping up with it and staying alongside.  Hi'Mthsss sat watching the view screen, listening to the chatter of the communications that went through to the other planets and ships.  They soon arrived at Earth.



Thankfully with the battle at Pluto, the whole SOL star system was on full alert which made it easier for the Clouds to travel to Earth.



     "Earth Control." Hi'Mthsss said, "This is the SS Magellanic Clouds, requesting landing clearance."



     "This is Earth Defense Control, permission granted, land at coordinates twelve, fifty one, forty three."



     "Acknowledged, and with thanks." Ihsss replied.



     "Continue landing procedure and I will be in sickbay." The Captain announced, turning to walk off the bridge.



     "Captain is off the bridge." A voice announced as the doors closed behind Ihsss. The lift moved swiftly to the Deck Five, and the cab opened allowing her to exit. Walking with quick steps and a long stride, the reptilian Captain arrived at sickbay. She walked through the hatch. Ihsss had walked fast, practically ran to the Sick Bay, eager to see the patient that the ship's doctor was treating, a hero of Earth.



"Doctor Platt." Ihsss said, as the willowy doctor turned and eyed the Captain, "How is our patient?"



"He's a little confused, and awake." Replied the doctor, and Ihsss met the face of Avatar, at his bearded, seamed face and confused expression.



"Who are you?" asked Avatar "Where am I?"



"You are on board the SS. Magellanic Clouds, a vessel of the Thyrnn Government." Ihsss replied, "Captain, do you remember what happened to you?"



"Who am I?" Asked Avatar, "What are you?"



"He was dead, clinically. There is no memory of who he is." Platt replied, "This is very bad."



"You are Captain Abraham Avatar, of Earth, Commander of the Yamato." Ihsss said, "You had died saving Earth and somehow were revived by a static charge." Avatar listened in silence, his mouth open and his face showing no hint of recognition of the name that was spoken many times by the willowy Doctor or Ihsss.



     "Sir, we're taking you home." She said, "To Earth."



     "Earth?" Avatar replied, a questioning look and frown appearing on his face. A moment later, the intercom whistled.



 "Bridge to Captain," Hi’Mthsss’ voice said.



     "Ihsss here." replied Ihsss, touching the button on the wall intercom.



     "Earth Control informs us that we are on final approach to Earth." Hi'Mthsss replied.



     "Okay." Ihsss replied, "I'll be up in a moment."



     "Acknowledged," Hi replied and the channel closed. Ihsss turned, walking toward the doors that slid obediently open for her.



     "If he's strong enough, bring him to the bridge." The Captain said, "We're about to land."



     "Aye." Platt replied and he walked to stand beside the befuddled Captain Avatar. The doctor hit him with an injector, and he had the human back lay back.



     Ihsss walked quickly down the hall, still in awe that the Captain was alive. As she headed to the turbo lift, that would take her to the bridge, her mind was in turmoil at what she would face. The man who sat in sickbay was dead, that was a fact, and yet by a strange twist of fate that he had once more been brought back from the dead. He was a hero, by all means to the earthlings, and she wondered how they would react to have a hero returned to them.  Ihsss T'Larra stepped into the lift.



     "We have an interesting problem." Ihsss muttered, "I wonder how this is going to turn out." She had no idea, in fact, how Earth would take this and knew they had now only a few minutes before they would land. Slowly, her eyes trailed the lift, and the doors snapped open. Again the familiar sounds of the bridge assaulted her senses and she stepped onto it.


     "Captain's on the bridge!" A voice announced. As Ihsss approached her chair, she nodded to her First Officer.



     "Report." Ihsss ordered, crossing the bridge and to her command chair.



     "We are on final approach Captain." Felonious said, getting up and moving to his side, allowing the reptilian woman to sit, "We have a trajectory plotted and we're prepared to lay it in."



     "Very well." Ihsss replied, and turned to her daughter.



     "Earth Defense Control, this is the Magellanic Clouds, on final approach and on final landing procedures." She said warmly.



     "This is Earth Defense control, affirmative Clouds we have you on course, follow beacon and welcome." The strong voice said.



     "Clouds acknowledge and confirms." She said, and she made a throat cutting gesture. Hi'Mthss closed the channel.



     "Veloxa, you're on manual." Ihsss coached.



     "I got her Ihsss." Veloxa replied, "It's been a while." Veloxa's claw-like hands danced over her console, holding the ship level, as it entered orbit. 



     "We have orbit Captain." Thyrac announced, "The Marauder is descending."



     "Hold here in an asynchronous orbit, and when ready follow them in, but keep a wide opening." Ihsss said, "We don't need to crowd them."



     "Aye." Replied the Helmsman and Navigator simultaneously. Outside in space, the ship maintained steady orbit and waited for the window that allowed the ships to move freely through the atmosphere for landing on the surface.



     Behind Ihsss, the willowy doctor appeared on the bridge and beside the doctor is Captain Avatar, dressed in his uniform. Ihsss had turned and the crew of the bridge was on their feet. A mass salute was directed to Avatar. A smile appeared on Ihsss' face, meeting the crew's faces with a nod. As for Avatar, he slowly raised his hand and returned the salute. A loud applause echoed across the bridge.



     "We are at thirty thousand kellins, ready for decent." Felonious announced as the crew resumed their duties.



     "Retros active," Veloxa added, "Holding steady trim and descending."



"Very well." Ihsss replied, as the view below was of a green landscape, and a vast blue ocean.  A large twinkle on the landscape indicated the city, the one they would be landing at.



     "Captain Avatar, I had you brought to the bridge for a reason." Ihsss said, "Do you recognize this place?" The confused human shook his head, and Captain T’Larra motioned to the doctor.



     "That's your home." Ihsss said, pointing to the view screen.



     "Earth analysis is complete Captain T'Larra. Planet has nitrogen oxygen atmosphere, rates nine on the planetary scale, class M. Mostly nitrogen, oxygen, but it has mild traces of carbon and methane. Pressure is twenty nine, point nine three, gravity one point one in strength." Felonious said, "Average temperature is seventy four degrees ranging from arctic to searing in rating. It has seven major seas and several major mountain chains in several areas on the visible continents."



     "Sounds quite cold." Ihsss said, "Average altitude?"



     "Some places its sea level to over ten thousand in the mountains." Felonious replied, "Sounds actually unique…”



     Captain Avatar watched in bleak silence, his mind in turmoil of where he was, or what he was looking at. The planet to him did not ring a bell as being familiar to him.



     "Clouds, veer six degrees to port, and land at landing bay twelve." A voice said and Veloxa's claw like hands danced rapidly, making the ship veer slightly. The dampeners for the motion hummed into life, but not quick enough. Avatar hit the rail.



     "Are you alright?" Platt asked, beside him in a flash. The willowy doctor glared at Veloxa. He silently cursed at the Insectoid Helmswoman, shaking a tentacle at him.



     "Sorry Doctor." The Insect Helmsperson apologized.



     "Keep it steady Vel." Ihsss cautioned, "Not too many bumps."



     The ship outside was aglow, as it continued through the atmosphere. The hull red by the heat and friction being subjected to the ship as the gravity and envelope rubbed against the skin of the ship. Ihsss turned to Captain Avatar, who held his head with his hand.



"Where am I?" Avatar said, "D-did we save Earth? Who are you?"



     "You are on board the SS. Magellanic Clouds." Ihsss said, "A ship of the Thyrnn government across space. Do you remember what happened to you?"



     "What happened to the Yamato?" He rasped, "The last thing I remember was the explosion."



     "You saved your planet. You saved them all." She replied, "We are at Earth though, by your calendar it's been one year since you did that. You were killed in action."



     "Was the ship destroyed?" Avatar asked, and Ihsss nodded, "We found you outside the solar system. We did not revive you, there was an attack by a new mutual enemy and it fired upon us, casing great damage. You were in stasis when a charge of energy ripped through your body and somehow you were brought back to life. You seemed to be preserved in a partial vacuum and low oxygen state in the section we found you in."  Avatar said nothing, as he gripped the rail, and Ihsss turned to the view screen



     "Your reputation precedes you." She formally said, "You exploits are almost legendary, as are the Yamato's crew."



     "I was only on one mission, to Iscandar, and the second one to save Earth." He replied, "But it is my thanks, you should have left me where I was."



     "There is another adventure happening and Earth will have to fight again." Ihsss told him, "Perhaps with your help we will be able to solve both our dilemmas. Perhaps to save Earth from destruction and also return my crew back to the time we belong."



     Avatar was stunned, as Ihsss casually turned toward the helm.



     "You are not from this time?" Avatar asked, "A time-warp?"



     "Affirmative." Ihsss replied, "Approximately six hundred years. We were pulled through an anti-matter vortex after tracking a task force rumored to be doing a time-warp of their own. We were jumped and destroyed a scout ship that pulled us into the anti-matter vortex they created."



     "That means you are here to change history?" Avatar asked, "What about the paradox? What exactly is your mission in our time?"



     "We are here to eliminate Aquarius. It is being used as a base for a Cybernetic race called the Cybertron that has enslaved the universe in our own time and destroyed Earth as their first conquest. It is because you have wave technology and is the only race that can stop them. So they returned to this time, to destroy you here, so they could win the galactic war back home."



     "Oh." Avatar replied curiously, and he shook his head.



     "Descend and land." Ihsss said, turning to the helm, "All hands brace for landing."



     The ship hovered and a thud as the massive ship landed on the landing legs that touched the cement landing field.



     "Power down complete." Veloxa said, turning and the crew was on their feet.



     "Hi." Ihsss said, "Inform Earth Defense Headquarters We are down and ready to disembark." Outside the many pilots watched from the hangars, and near their planes, as the sleek Star Cruiser Class Starship descended. It is the size of the EDC Frigate, but visibly in need of a paint job after the many patches it received to fix its hull. There were many whistles and comments about the sleek craft.



     Inside the ship, Hi'Mthsss turned to the Captain when she issued the command.



"Aye Captain," She replied and a few minutes later Ihsss, Felonious and Platt, along with Hi'Mthsss walked to the hatch on the side. It is here that the reptilian Captain pushed a button, and the gantry unfolded from the side of the ship. Her gaze turned to Avatar who stood next to them with several guards. The hatch hissed and opened, allowing the breeze to enter the ship, as well as the sunlight. Ihsss squinted, and she stepped out on to the gantry. Below, several platoons of soldiers and vehicles had surrounded their ship.



     "A monster!" A voice said, and rifles were all aimed at Ihsss. Behind the guards, the Earth delegation and the maintenance crew, General Charles Singleton walked up toward the field with his top aides. Scientists also were on hand. Singleton squinted upward at the gantry and his eyes widened in surprise as Ihsss and her ragtag officers walked toward them, surrounding Captain Avatar.  Ihsss stepped forward when guards stepped in front of them, their weapons lowered at them.



     "Withdraw." Ihsss muttered, raising her hand. Beside her, their security guards went back up the gantry. At the top of the gantry, they took posts at the ship's hatch. Captain T'Larra, on the other hand, stood in front of Charles Singleton, the aides, guards and everyone. Each one of Ihsss' officers saluted formally. She glanced at a few of the pilots, who had come to stare at the occupants of this strange visitor. They had whistled and catcalled, but fell deathly silent when they saw the group.



     "Captain Ihsss T'Larra, Commander of the SS Magellanic Clouds a ship of the Thyrnn Government." She said, stepping forward, "These are three of my officers. To my left, is the First Officer/Science Officer Felonious Purrtz, Standing on my right is my daughter, Hi'Mthsss T'Larra, Communications, and the ship's Doctor, Fallora Platt."



     Singleton nodded to each. "These are my aides Mitty Mc Donald and my Chief of Staff." General Singleton said, "Guards take your posts. Please this way." Around the entire vessel, guards of Space Marines took up positions, holding their rifles ready and dressed in battle gear.



     "And, forgive me," Ihsss said suddenly, "Almost forgot. Someone you know, and know well."  Her officers parted and behind her that Captain Avatar stepped forward.



     There was a gasp by Singleton and the guards. Each one saluted formally. "Abraham!" Singleton breathed, "But how?"



     "We found him on the bridge section of Yamato outside your solar system. It seems on the way a static charge revived the body after we sustained several direct hits." Ihsss said, "Our report is right here."



The reptilian Captain handed him a disk. "There is a report on a great armada that is headed this way, the disk contains data from our long range probes. Some serious heavy equipment is coming your way."



     "Please." Singleton said, motioning to a jeep. They drove off the field. The crew of the Clouds was taken to Headquarters, where they were interviewed from which they told of the Armada. Analyzing the data, collected by their hop in the time continuum and by their probes, it revealed and confirmed Earth's worst nightmare as a fleet of ships raised up from the icy blue ball of Aquarius. The picture abruptly turned to static.



Ihsss walked with General Singleton, and together they headed to council chamber, from which their full report would be heard by the council. There were collective gasps that echoed through the council chamber and everyone stared in silence at the presenter of the information. Ihsss T'Larra herself.  The reptilian woman stood clad in a uniform of the Thyrnn military, a dark blue tunic, pants and black boots, bearing the shiny gold bars on her collar despite the sleeve markings. Over her tunic, she wore a leather jacket that resembled the old style aviator's jacket. 



"I am finished Sssirrr." Ihsss said with a nod, and she stepped back from the podium as the council sat staring at her in silence.



"We must act." Commander Singleton added, "If Ihsss is correct, this armada will be fifty times more powerful than the combined Dinguil Fleet, the Black Nebula Empire, the Bolar, and the Comet Empire. A battle, if we do nothing, will result in Earth's annihilation. We must start work on rebuilding the mechanized fleet, around the clock, and reactivate the finest crew of the EDC who would never give up a challenge."



"Have you located all of the Starforce crew for reactivation to duty?" A councilman asked.



"I have, and already we are filling them in on what is happening." Singleton replied, "Including the Wildstars, who are on their last assignment, have been pulled from Mars, as well as others from Neptune and Uranus stations."



"Commander T'Larra, if I may, you did not specify how you ended up coming to this time." The President of EDC asked.



"We were tracking the armada ssssthips as it sssstarted their time warp. We were attacked, and upon destroying the sssscout, it opened up an anti-matther vortex and it dragged us and the remaining Cybertron into it.



"From how far in the future?" A councilwoman asked, "If I may be permitted."



"Sssix hundred years." Ihsss said, "All I am authorized to tell you that the battle you face is with a muchth sssuperior technology. With our joint effort we should be able to win the day. It will be much harder, I realize, without the Yamato." Ihsss met the council's reactions, with a silent toothy grin, knowing she had persuaded them into action and she nodded to Charles Singleton.



     "I will gather my crew, and fill them in at once." The reptilian officer said, and with that she saluted formally. She glanced down at her wrist, speaking into the wristband that she wore there. 



     Meanwhile, in the Central Hospital, Lieutenants Emily Montgomery and Denise 'Watts' Watson stood outside on the hospital's grounds, in the gardens located off the main lobby of the Federal Hospital. It is here they both had come from their room, together staring in silence at the futuristic buildings of Federal City/New Tokyo from an observation platform above the outside garden on the ground floor.



Together, they had come a long way from a couple of months ago, suffering from hibernation sickness, after their recovery from their tomb of over two hundred years. They had been mistaken for dead, and sent to the morgue, until technician noted their vitals and the wiggling of their finger, indicating they were quite alive. What had happened, the charts had been mixed up with two soldiers killed in the raid by the Dinguil with the stasis members. The two young officers of the past had been taken to ICU for three weeks, and put in a room after where they were partially welcomed and debriefed by the EDC staff. Denise and Emily also had undergone the royal treatment in the way of recovery, finally able to relax, enjoying a break outside to inhale the clean air of a new world and time. One time that would soon assimilate them into it, soon enough. 



     "HEY, you two!" A voice said, "Here you are! We finally found you, after trooping through this damn hospital!" Denise and Emily turned to meet the smiles of two familiar faces of Melinda and Amy approaching, both clad in uniform and being led by a young nurse they recognized as Nova Wildstar and her husband Derick Wildstar. Emily and Denise managed a hearty laugh at the complaint by her friends, from her group, and her classmates of a school far away in the past.



     "Hey!" Denise replied, warmly embracing both of them, and Emily followed suit. Both noted the unfamiliar uniform and the unnatural long hair that draped to their mid-back. Denise smiled as she recognized the rank of 1st Lieutenant for Melinda and Lieutenant for Amy.



     "So… they're letting you have free roam of the building now?" Melinda joked, "Letting you off the leash and letting you take in the sights, eh." Laughter followed, quickly becoming solemn.



     "Yes, it's a minor reprieve from the warden." Denise joked back, and both Amy and Melinda laughed.



     "It's nice to see you two." Denise replied, "At least to see a familiar face, in a strange land. It feels like a dream, like we are going to wake up and find we didn't go anywhere."



     "Yeah, that's for sure Denise." Emily added and winked at her friend. She half turned, to peer at the wiry Lieutenant Commander walking toward the elevator with the young Sergeant who had been his guide from the beginning. Her eyes brows raised in quiet astonishment. She thought she was seeing a ghost, as they walked together, and stood outside the lift. He was dressed in uniform, and had glanced up at the group, as if to know they were there, to smile broadly and salute formally. Denise had to shake her.



"Hey, you okay?" Denise asked and she turned to grimace before nodding. Emily returned her stare at the elevator and Denise had turned, almost too late, to catch the glimpse of the familiar face that had held her in Federal Hospital. She had gasped, as he stepped into the turbo-lift.



     "…Yeah you get to spend the time wanting to see everything." Melinda agreed, "But you probably won't have the time to, though. It is better than spending it in a room as a bloody guinea pig, being poked and prodded."



     "Hey, you guys okay?" Amy and Melinda asked, examining them and seeing their astonished expression.



     "Yea, fine." Denise lied, "We're waiting for Doc to give us the green light and get us the hell out of here." Denise replied, "They are taking their sweet time about it. Commander Mitty Mc Donald of the EDC Admiralty visited us and took some information, so we have been partially welcomed back to the realm of the living."



     "We were visited too." Amy admitted, making Melinda nod.



     "Have patience, it takes time." Amy agreed, "Soon you will be able to really explore. We have been out and about today taking in the sights, its nothing like you would ever have believed existed. Travel long distance here, is like a few minutes, we did a day trip to San Francisco and it's simply amazing. It was nothing like the original city."



     "So what's it like being in the military?" Emily asked.



     "Different." Melinda replied, "For this military. But it mirrors just what we went through two hundred years ago. It can be tough sometimes. Our duties right now are light, and are in the Headquarters building. We both are assigned as messengers right now."



     "What are your duties supposed to be?"



     "Mine is a nurse in the Hospital." Melinda replied.



     "Mine will be working on Computers and Radar." Amy replied, "Probably on board a ship somewhere in space."



     "We're just waiting for training courses to open at the academy, and released from medical by Doctor Sane for full duty."



     "Sounds like it can be fun." Denise chided, "I can't wait."



     "Changing the subject," Emily said suddenly unnerved, "So are you doing any better, Nova?" Glancing down Nova smiled as she held her belly, pregnant with Derick's child. They had conceived on the beach, after they had been married. 



     "Well the cramps are not so bad now." She said, "The nights aren't so hectic and sleepless." Nova turned to glance at Emily and company, who were grinning openly.

She suddenly had a strange feeling and here, she turned her head, gazing down the walkway and then upward on the side of the building of Federal Hospital to its many windows. When she got to one, a big surprise awaited her. Nova's eyes widened when she saw Captain Avatar standing in the window. Her mouth had dropped open when she had spied a ghost from her past, and stared in astonishment at the man who had died aboard the Yamato. He was their Captain for their first mission, having died, and now sacrificing himself to break the water column of Aquarius on their last mission, igniting tritium using the wave gun's energy.



"D-Derick!" She gasped, her eyes holding the window. Her hand found Derick's sleeve, her eyes staying on the window and she tugged it. Nova stared into the eyes of the Commander of the Yamato, a hero of Earth.  Her husband, Emily, Denise, Melinda and Amy had been talking and he turned when he heard her stunned voice.



"Nova? What is it?" He asked, noting her hard look as she stood up, returning the salute of Avatar.  Derick had stared at her in question.



"Fifth window," Nova stammered, "Derick, just please look, tell me it's impossible." Wildstar turned his head and his eyes found the fifth story window of Federal Hospital. Derick without thinking, returned the salute too.



"It's just Captain Avatar…" He replied, and they returned to talking. Derick had stopped speaking after a moment, and both Wildstar and Nova had met each other's astonishment faces in silence as their head turned quickly back to the window. It was the cliché of the double take and both of them, with their own eyes saw him standing there. He was alive and well. 



"I-I don't believe it!" Derick breathed. Avatar had lowered his hand, smiling as Nova and Derick only glanced at each other before they ran toward the doors. Amy, Melinda, Emily and Denise were on their feet and right behind them. They commandeered a wheelchair for Nova when they reached the doors. 



They ran into Doctor Sane who with, Homer, Eager, Dash, Thomas Orion and Sandor had been walking together.  When they saw the group, they moved to the walls of the hallway. As they ran by, Nova was pushed speedily along in her wheelchair, and she motioned to them.



"What's going on Wildstar?" Sane asked, "What's the rush?"



"You would not believe me if I told you, Doctor Sane." He huffed, "You have to see for yourself." They joined Derick, Nova and the others, boarding the elevator to pile into the extra-long car that was setup for moving gurneys between floors.



When Nova and Derick, and the Yamato crew had ended up on the fifth floor, they ran down the hallway. They stopped before they missed the doorway and turning slowly they entered the room. As Wildstar walked into the room, with the Yamato crew and the members of the stasis crew behind him, they all stared upon the figure that stood in the window. The person sensed them and half turned: Smiling.



"Captain Avatar!" They all breathed, and a low murmur rippled through the group. It was once Sane had been with him when he died, and the second time they had watched him die. They were all startled. Nova took one look at Avatar and she fainted sideways in the wheelchair. 



"Nova!" Derick said, holding his wife as he looked up at the grinning face of Avatar.



"Captain!" He breathed.



"But it's not possible." Sane said, "We saw the ship destroyed!"



Nova moaned, and behind him there were just astonished gasps and murmurs by the Yamato crew as they stared at a hero. It was as if he had one again cheated death, and he had brought hope to them again and inspiration.



"But you died on the Yamato." Sandor agreed, "We all saw you ignite the Tritium aboard her and saw the ship explode. We saw the ship sink into the water of Aquarius. How can this be?"



"Attention on deck!" Denise shouted, saluting rigidly, and everyone snapped to attention.  Everyone turned as General Singleton and Commander Mc Donald entered the room.



"As you were," Singleton replied, turning to the others.



"I know everyone has a lot of questions, but Avatar is here because of a fine ship and a miracle by the waters of Aquarius. I too am pleased to see him as all of you are." Singleton’s voice boomed.



Behind Singleton were silent gasps, as Ihsss T'Larra, Felonious Purrtz, Hi'Mthsss T'Larra and Fallora Platt walked in behind them.



"It is because of these people." Singleton said, "May I introduce the crew of the Magellanic Clouds, A ship from the future."



"Future?" They asked.



"They arrived here through an anti-matter explosion and came from another time, approximately six hundred years from the future." Singleton said, "They have information on an enemy building at Aquarius. The crew here has readily volunteered to go with you… Your mission is to destroy Aquarius and keep it from our enemy's hands"


"You will all be briefed." Singleton said, "Her crew is repairing her ship at this very moment. The command crew of the Whirlwind will be the Yamato crew, and the strike team will be led by different officer, since Major Aguilera is now deceased. Operational control has already been transferred to new officer, and he is on his way to a briefing for the strike." Emily gasped at the notion and Denise put a hand on her shoulder. Little did they know the Lieutenant Commander, who was to take control, had been in Bellbrook too. The young officer still had strong feelings for Emily, glad to see they were alive and well after the mistake thinking they were deceased. He tried to not get too emotionally involved as it was a very long time since they had met centuries ago. Derick put his arm around Nova's waist.



"Now to the issue at hand," Singleton said, "Welcome home, Abraham."



Cheers followed by all hands, as Nova embraced the Captain, the same way she had when they were last to leave the Yamato before he had taken it to be destroyed. For the crew of Yamato, it was a semi-good omen despite the death of their comrade who had saved everyone at the memorial.



"Although a little strange." Nova murmured, and Derick glanced at her, nodding sharply to the thought. "It is almost as if something keeps changing, first we saw his death and now again, he has been reborn." Derick whispered, "I wonder if this has anything to do with the Magellanic Clouds crew?" Nova managed a shrug in reply.



"I don't know Derick." Nova answered, "It could be."



     Elsewhere, in the Headquarters building, Lieutenant Commander Miller walked down the corridor to the conference room, running a tad bit late for a briefing with a special-forces unit assigned to destroy Aquarius. As he makes his way down the sterile white corridor, he managed a glance at his chronometer and grimaced as he read the time. '15:57' the numbers said, and he let out a sharp exhale realizing he is almost twenty minutes late, held up elsewhere on the base. 



The young officer is clad in the standard light blue, blue uniform and he carries a leather briefcase containing their orders from General Singleton. It is the same one that was given to Major Aguilera before his death, and selection for this team. The young officer carries a stern, cold expression on his face, focused on the task at hand, to destroy Aquarius. The only thing that troubled the young officer is the plan of attack, reviewing it earlier in the day after the meeting with General Singleton and his staff. He absently returned salutes as he passed others in the corridor.



The plan was to warp into the sector where Aquarius was located, and drop a team in a landing craft to the surface where they would plant charges to destroy Aquarius' Tritium Mine. The only trouble was it was in the middle of over fifty or more Cybertron warships that orbited planet, with dozens on the ground, including troops. In the conference room, his team waits for the briefing to start and Sergeant Major Perry quickly inspected the team, making doubly sure that everything is in order for the Lieutenant Commander assigned to replace the Major. Manual also waits for a young harried Lieutenant, his direct superior for this team and his directly responsible as the second in command.



"Attention on Deck!" The Lieutenant exclaimed and everyone was on their feet as Lieutenant Kino Minezati stepped into the room with Lieutenant Commander Miller. Everyone saluted formally.



"As you were." The young Lieutenant Commander replied, casually returning the salutes and he stood at the head of the long conference room. He panned a glance at the surroundings and to the others in the team, clad in the green and black uniform of the EDC Space Marines. He smiled when he saw Sergeant Major, the only man in the stasis crew who turned down a promotion to a Warrant Officer. He took another couple of stripes, making it three up and three down. His reason was that it took more than just a rank to execute a mission. He is an old friend the Lieutenant Commander had known two hundred years ago in another time and place. He nodded a silent greeting to the Sergeant.



"I am Lieutenant Commander Miller. I am the replacement for Major Aguilera, assigned to this strike force." He said formally. "As you have probably already read, I am just another EDC officer, assigned as Second in command aboard a Heavy Cruiser. I am fully qualified, however, briefed on the technical data of the Aquarian waters that powered the stasis chambers. If you must know, I am also from the twentieth century. I do apologize for the uniform, but my green and black one has not been issued yet."



"We've been briefed already on the change of command, Commander." The Lieutenant said formally.



 "Excellent, if everyone is ready then we can dispense the formalities and get right to it." The Lieutenant Commander said sternly, sitting in a chair at the head of the conference room table.



He briefed them fair on the information at hand, given to them by the Magellanic Clouds crew, and in some detail of their objective, Aquarius. He noted the heavy hardware that would precede the invasion force, and the fighters that the Space Destroyers assignment to this task would encounter. Other information was clearly outlined for the mission objective and each stage of the drop.



"The drop information is way off, they want us to warp in aboard the Destroyer and drop at three mega-meters from the planet atmosphere." Nathaniel told them, "I actually disagree with the tactic. We would be dropped into a meat grinder of fifty Cybertron warships. They would be all over us, warp or not, before we are even airborne and inbound to the planet surface."



"Who the hell setup the tactics for this mission?" Perry asked, "What they are asking here is suicide."



"The headquarters tactician team and intelligence unit set this up." Lieutenant Minezati chimed in.



"You know that's an oxymoron, right?" Manual asked and Nathaniel grinned broadly. Everyone read on, glancing at the overhead chart diagram related to the information on the page.



"How I see this: We need a ship that is better suited than warping into the sector and getting hammered by fifty plus to one odds. We need a ship that is equipped with a cloaking device or jamming device. It is the only way this is going to work is to get us in close to the drop point. The ship can stay in orbit, so long as it remains cloaked until extraction, and with maybe a diversion to keep the enemy busy while we do the drop and extraction." Nathaniel declared, "Whoever set this plan does not have a clue what the hell they are talking about."



"Attention!" A voice said, and everyone was on their feet again. The Lieutenant Commander turned to see General Singleton, Commander Mc Donald, Ihsss T'Larra, Felonious Purrtz, Hi'Mthsss T'Larra and Fallora Platt enter the room.



"As you were…" The General replied, motioning to the Clouds' crew to be seated.



"I apologize for being late," General Singleton said formally, "I'd like the Clouds' crew to be on the strike briefing."



"No problem, General." Lieutenant Commander Miller replied, "We were just going over strike targets, and reconnaissance data."



"I heard your comments from outside. I hope you have a better solution than what was prepared by our tactics team?"



"I don't at this moment, sir." The Lieutenant Commander replied, "But by the time the strike team gets anywhere close to that damn planet, we'll be jumped by a whole strike force. There is no way and hell to pull it off. Not even enough time to power up the wave gun to take a shot at it."



"I see," Singleton replied, "Do you at least have a recommendation?"



     "What we need is a ship that is either well armored like Yamato, able to take hits and keep on fighting, or a ship that is equipped with jamming mechanism, and/or a cloaking device. We also should have a task force, to keep the enemy busy, while we slip in to do the drop and recovery." The Lieutenant Commander suggested and glancing once, he noted the reptilian Captain had a toothy grin on her face.



     "I have a sthholution." Ihsss declared, "The Magellanic Cloudsss is sssso equipped. Sssset the Yamato crew in the Destroyer, with your task force to act as a decoy and lure the fightersssth and part of the task force off while the Clouds sslips in and deposssitsss the team in atmosphere in their landing craft. Then standby, cloaked, until ready to evacuate and hit the detonator as we leave orbit."



     "Detonator is set for ten mega-meters, I will up to fifteen and give us some leeway." Lieutenant Minezati said, "I will have our resident tech set that up. Is there anything you all might need, besides the detonator and high explosives?"



     "Let see, some night vision, goggles, infrared scanner, and various anti-personnel weapons that can be effective against Cybernetic targets." The Sergeant Major chimed in, "Or the equivalent of equipment. I would recommend mainly claymore mines, which shoot out explosive charges for up to fifty feet. Just to cover our escape, if things get dicey."



     "A wise precaution but we don't need to be bogged down with too much unnecessary equipment." Miller replied, "This is going be a fast in and out job and we're not taking on the ground forces if there are any. Maybe the guards and selected targets, but we are going to keep a low profile."



     "Well we need to cover our tracks, if we alert the task force by removing those targets." Sergeant Major Perry replied icily, "Best to be careful."



     "Very selective targets." The Lieutenant Commander replied, "I concede the point though, safety net if things get out of whack. I got that. This has to be done fast, smooth and cleanly."



     "That looks good on paper, but when it comes right down to it, the grunts are going to get the brunt of the action." A corporal said gruffly and Manual shot him a dirty look.



     "On that note, Lieutenant Minezati and I will be in the trenches with you, not monitoring from ship bound." Nathaniel replied, "I firmly believe in hands on support, and pulling my own weight."



     "Great, we're going to be babysitting the brass instead. How many combat mission have you been on Commander?" Another voice said sarcastically, and Manual cleared his throat in annoyance.



     "Just so you know, the chances of us returning in one piece just doubled with the Lieutenant Commander on board." Sergeant Major Perry replied coldly, "He's not just a computer major, he has combat training in order to lead his stasis group. He knows how to fight and how to fight hard. Don't let his background fool you. He volunteered for stasis and after served about a fighting ship."



     "Yes Sarge." A sub servant voice replied, and he glanced at the smiling Lieutenant Commander.



     "Keep it covert as possible." General Singleton suggested. "But keep an alternate plan, just in case things don't go well."



     "Aye, we'll work on that and have something before the day is out." Nathaniel replied, nodding.



     For the next few minutes there was a bit of a Q&A session, getting the final details in order for the strike. Lieutenant Commander Miller stepped out on the balcony nearby, and gazed out over the futuristic city that he technically been reawaked in and now had been living a new life. Sergeant Major Perry joined him.



     "We're almost ready skipper." He said, "You need a break, you should go to the Hospital and see Emily and Denise before you leave. They'd love to see you. I personally am glad you are alive and well, along for this ride. I never knew you were so into this technical stuff."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



     "They probably don't even remember me." Nathaniel remarked casually, "It's been a long time you know. Yes, I got hooked with Star Trek."



     Manual laughed loudly as he stood on the balcony, and placed a hand on the Commander's shoulder. "It's been a long time, not since Wilcox. I heard you went to college and all that, studied up on that stuff, did you have a wife at all or military service all your life before stasis?"



     "What is this, twenty questions?" Nathaniel asked with a mock serious tone, but hid the smile on his scarred face.  He had not answered him directly, but by his expression had told Manual a lot, making him nod.



     "You know, Amy, Melinda and Amanda knew you. It took them a moment, but they figured out who you were." Perry replied, "And me too. It should be no difference, two hundred years or not. Better bring flowers for them though, just in case."



     The Lieutenant Commander glanced at the grinning Sergeant Major who stood next to him. He returned the wide grin with a quirky half-smile. The young officer could not believe what he was hearing.



     "Oh right, flowers. Heard about that did yah?" Miller asked, and both men regarded each other for a moment before bursting with laughter, quickly becoming solemn.



     "Well, it was a very moving gesture for Melinda and the others." Manual told him, "It might work to smooth things over for Denise and Emily, welcome them into a new century with a friendly face."



     "You know Sergeant Major… you have knowledge that expands beyond your years, and rank." Nathaniel said with a chuckle, "I'll be sure to do that, and it's a shame about Seth. I'd really like to see that bastard again, always going out a hero, saving the day." 



     "Yea me too, He was one heroic son of a bitch." Manual replied with a smile and he nodded sharply, "My knowledge is all part of the service, sir." 



He shook his head before he walked back into the conference room, followed by the Sergeant Major and he took a seat. Sitting in the chair, the young officer turned his head to listen to General Singleton outline the strategy with the Clouds' Captain, partially Ihsss’ staff and the strike team. A few minutes later, the briefing broke, and he walked down the sterile white corridor to a turbo-lift.



     "Hold please!" A voice called and a young woman dashed toward the lift as the Lieutenant Commander held the door. She entered the lift in a hurried huff.



     "Thank you sir."  The young woman said and he nodded silently to her.



     "Level please." The mechanical voice said, and the officer grinned.



     "Airtram/Federal Hospital level." He declared solemnly.



     "Level two please." She replied, and he remained silent, studying her with his eyes. The young woman is attractive, a young Warrant Officer 2. She wears a gold bar with three red dots on it, pinned to the collar of her green and black uniform she wore over her attractive figure. She has long auburn hair and green eyes that seemed to twinkle in the light like emeralds. The young woman glanced in his direction and he managed a smile at her before turning front. 



     "Not bad." He thought, "A little young for being a Warrant Officer."



The lift stopped at the level and the doors opened, allowing the Warrant Officer to get off the lift. Turning her head, she winked at him and he managed a sheepishly grin at her as the doors closed. A moment later, the lift hummed into operation as it quickly went down to open its doors at the Air tram / Hospital level. As it arrived, it did so in the familiar whoosh, as the doors opened allowing him to exit the cab.



Walking across the half deck that connects the stairwell to the Air tram deck, the Federal Hospital and the Headquarters building, the young Lieutenant Commander paused to put on his aviator glasses and hat, taking in his surroundings quickly. Here, the young officer paused to watch as the trams landed and left, watching the many people unload and load from them. Many of the people who stepped out from the trams wore the familiar EDC uniforms and others not. Some walked in groups, dispersing to other trams or to the stairwell leading to the half-deck that connected the Hospital and Headquarters building where he now stood. Others went to their destinations on the main tram deck. 



The area also reminded him of a movie from his century a long ago, the first Star Trek Movie, over two hundred years ago. It reminded him of the scene where Admiral Kirk arrived by air tram at Starfleet Headquarters and stepped off the tram onto the flight deck. The air tram deck looked very close like it did in the movie and he managed a grimace at the familiarity that this area shared to a science fiction movie of the past.  The only difference though he was in Tokyo, rather than San Francisco. Turning he returned salutes from a chief and a petty officer who walked up the steps and headed toward the door, leading to the Headquarters building. He managed a grin, suddenly feeling good as he returned the salutes, and glad he was back in the saddle after two hundred years of stasis.



     The Lieutenant Commander then walked down the sterile white corridor, after entering the hospital through the double doors, leading to the Tram deck. He made his way to the main lobby where the turbo-lifts for the hospital are located. Entering the main lobby, he panned an unfamiliar glance to the surroundings before pushing the button to call the cab that would take him to the third floor to their room. The young officer was not aware that Denise and Emily were on the ground floor in the gardens with Amy and Melinda. He pulled off his cap and his glasses, hanging them from the front pocket of the uniform.



     "Level please." The lift's mechanical voice said, interrupting his thoughts and he turned his head.



     "Level Three." He ordered, and the lift's doors shut.



"Thank you." The lift said, and the lift hummed into life. The lift rocketed upward to the third level and the doors opened with a whoosh, allowing him to step out into the sterile white corridor. Here the young officer walked quickly toward the familiar nurse's station. They stood respectfully when they saw him. Nathaniel noted the familiar, youthful nurses who worked this floor with the head nurse, ones he recognized from his time here in the Federal Hospital himself. Major Downing glared at him, and muttered a growl at the others at the desk.



"As you were," He said quickly, flashing his coded identification, "Please, carry on."



"I am here to see Lieutenant (JG) Montgomery and Watson. What room are they in?" He asked formally and he eyed Major Downing, the Head Nurse for a moment who looked up from a chart she was reading.



"Three forty-five." She replied, "Visiting hours, are long since over, Commander." The officer glanced at the chronometer on his wrist and he managed a grimace. It was a bold faced lie, there was still a lot of time before the visiting hours were over, and dinner was to be served. At least forty-five minutes, to an hour.



"Major. My visit is not a social call." He replied, "I am coming from General Singleton's office, official business." She rolled her eyes, and scoffed silently at his statement.



     "Just get your butt off my floor." She told him, "I can call security you know, you are not welcome here."



"Look, Major, I don't have to be here. You know, I can always report the uncooperative staff of the hospital to the General." He said sternly, "Just let me do my job and what I am ordered to do. He orders, I move, it's that simple. You of all people should understand performance of your duty." She grimaced at the statement and said nothing as he stood there. The young Lieutenant Commander, realizing his good mood had gone, tapped his hand on the counter a couple of times before departing toward the rooms. He had pointed out discipline, and carrying out orders of a superior officer. The Lieutenant Commander had a job to do. As he walked the familiar corridor, he saw Angie Stethem leaning in the door of their room. She was dressed informally, in a casual non-military outfit, a rather attractive attire of a red tunic and pants. She had the symbol of the EDC pinned on the breast of her jacket.



"Commander!" Angie said formally, "I was just thinking about you." He grinned at her, and he eyed her curiously, at the attire. He noted no uniform. It was the first time he had seen her outside of a uniform and she was rather attractive in the new age outfit.



     "Ah, a social call I take it?" He asked and she nodded.



     "How'd you guess?" She asked, and he shrugged.



     "Your outfit gives you away." He replied gently, and she smiled at him. She spun in place and he managed an impressed nod.



     "Don't you ever get out of that uniform Nathaniel?" Angie asked, "You ever let your hair down?" He grimaced, shaking his head.



"It is a rarity if I get time off." Nathaniel said with a smirk, "So what's the caper tonight?" He found himself almost afraid to hear her answer.



     "Was planning to take Emily and Denise for a little R&R, get them away from the hospital for a while but they are not in their room right now." Angie replied grinning, "I received Doctor Sane and Commander McDonald's permission of course." 



     "Hrml, interesting." The young Lieutenant Commander replied casually, echoing the words of someone from a very long time ago, when he was part of a Bulletin Board System.  He turned his head to a young nurse who walked by, putting out his hand to stop her. She smiled, nodding to the young officer of the twentieth century.



     "Excuse me nurse, do you know where Lieutenants (jg) Montgomery and Watson are right now?" He asked, and she glanced at the doorway.



"Oh they are on the ground floor, in the Hospital Gardens." The young woman replied, "They aren't back yet?" He shook his head at the nurse and she grimaced.



"Thank you nurse, we'll get them." He told the young woman and he put out his arm for Angie.



     "Shall we go?" Nathaniel asked and she laughed, taking it. They walked together passed the nurse's station to the turbo-lifts. Stepping in the cab that arrived he turned to the speaker.



"Level Please." It said.



"Level one, Lobby." He replied.



"Thank you." The elevator's voice said.



 "Up your shaft!" He replied quickly and the lift jerked downward.



     "Temper, Temper." The young officer replied sarcastically, as Angie laughed loudly. The Lieutenant Commander managed a quick grin at her mirth, feeling a bit better that he was able to see a smile today by someone, instead of given attitude for a job he had to do.



     "You stole that from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock from our century." She said, smiling, "I always knew you were a Trek nut." 



     "Yeah and it never gets old." Nathaniel remarked, "These lifts have a really well done AI programming and are almost human. So you can really erk them just a bit. You should hear the ones in New Joisey." She laughed again.



     The lift hummed into life, as it moved rapidly downward and soon stopped at the first level. The doors opened with a whoosh and together Angie and Nathaniel stepped into yet another small hall that looked like all the hallways in the hospital: A sterile white one, with the familiar blue and red stripe and the EDC emblem blazon on the wall in gold. It is only a few feet on either side, and it connects the large plush lobby of Federal Hospital. This lobby is an open room with plush carpets, tiled walkways and furnishings throughout. It reminded both newcomers to this century of the Doctor's office they had been at in San Francisco, Presidio where they had been screened and accepted for stasis. Angie noted several guards posted in the lobby with thick battle armor, and large nasty looking rifles as they stood guard. A glass wall, with automatic doors separated them from a plush green area with granite walkways, oak benches, fountains and man-made streams that ran under the many trees that line the garden. A stairway leads upward into a large platform that overlooks the edge of the garden and out over New Tokyo/Federal City.



They both saw Denise and Emily with Melinda and Amy outside, staring at the futuristic buildings that surrounded the hospital and headquarters building. He noted the breeze that whipped their hair as they stood out in the sunlight. He motioned to his classmate and fellow stasis member, putting a finger against his lips, signaling for her to be quiet. They stepped onto the escalator leading to the open second floor, toward an automatic door that quickly opened and allowed them to step through, then closed behind them. Nathaniel was glad to see Emily and Denise, thankfully alive and well.


“But what cost with Seth gone.” He thought and grimaced. The officer wondered if she would forgive him for not taking the action he should have, and taken her as a girlfriend long ago as he rightly should have done.



The first thing Nathaniel and Angie also noted was on Melinda's collar was the shiny single silver bar on her collar marking her as a 1st Lieutenant, and on Amy's collar of her blue and dark blue uniform, she wore a set of double bars marking her as a Lieutenant too. Amy wore the uniform like him, the blue dark blue trimmed uniform of the Space Service, while Melinda wore the unfamiliar green and gray uniform of the Space Armed Forces. He put on his cap and the mirrored dark aviator glasses.



     “…Jesus this place is huge." Emily remarked, "It's not like I expected."



     "It's hard to believe isn't." Melinda asked, "Two hundred years, a lot has changed."



     Amy managed a laugh. "You aren't kidding, I didn't even recognize San Francisco when we visited and we spent a year and a half there. We took a day trip there and it was amazing. It is nothing like it used to be."



     "I can only imagine what San Fran looks like now. Even by the looks of Tokyo I agree whole heartedly, too much has changed in two hundred year." Denise replied as she smiled, but it faded when she sensed Angie and Nathaniel nearby. Melinda turned her head to regard them for a moment.



     "Attention on deck!" She called out suddenly, and everyone snapped to attention. Emily and Denise did too, by habit because of their military training they had received a long time ago. Everyone saluted and the young officer regarded them before returning the salute with a nod.



     "As you were," Nathaniel replied quickly, waving his hand, "Jesus, relax this is a bloody social call."



     "Hi Angie… Lieutenant Commander…" Melinda said, greeting the duo warmly.



     "This is weird, I was just thinking of you two." Amy said with a frown, "You guys pick the strangest moments to show up."  Both Angie and her companion glanced at each other to smile, a chuckle rippling between them.  As Denise and Emily stood there, they were staring at the couple quietly, as if to study them. A sudden familiarity came over them when they recognized Angie from their old school a long time ago.



"Yea, but it's always great to see a familiar face again." Denise said, embracing Angie warmly when she recognized her. Emily had followed suit, to embrace her too, remembering her from long ago in Bellbrook. She had nodded in agreement to the sentiment. Both women didn't recognize the man clad in the unfamiliar blue/dark blue trimmed uniform that stood beside her.



"So… they let you out for a bit off the floor to roam the hospital, that's a good sign." Angie said and there was laughter that followed by everyone. 



"That's what Amy and Melinda said." Denise replied with a smile, and there was a chuckle that rippled through the group.



"It feels great to get out a bit from the stuffy room for a moment." Emily replied, "Get to, at least, see the outside and feel the real wind and breathe the real air for a change."



"I know that feeling all too well." Amy replied with a smile of her own, making small talk.



"Speaking of that, how would you all like to get out of here and have dinner away from the hospital cafeteria food?" Angie asked, "I got permission from Doctor Sane and Commander McDonald, to take you out for a few and show you around a bit in your new home. Maybe hit a few clubs too and get acclimated to this new century in the way of how things are around here in this century. He thought it would be good for you two to start getting acclimated to the surroundings and the time."



"I don't think I am in the mood for clubbing." Denise said, "I think I am out of touch with the times."



     "Me neither." Emily said, "This is a whole new generation, who'd want someone like me who is out of time and place?"



     "Plenty of people would. No doubt of that." Melinda replied and she grinned, "This new generation, as you put it is still well versed in the funky monkey."  There was laughter from the group. They both glanced at the face of the young officer who stood before them, his scarred face showing clearly in the light despite the beard and patch.



     "Speaking of new generation," Denise said with a smile, pointing at the Lieutenant Commander, "Where'd you find this hunk of man in this century, and does he have a brother?"



"Yeah, no kidding." Emily added with a laugh, "He's not a bad looker at that, despite what I have seen what is in this century. I hope like hell he's single, now that Seth is gone. I really need someone to talk to after all the hell we've been through. At least get a relationship in order."



     Denise had pointed at Nathaniel who frowned slightly at the reference. Melinda, Amy and even Angie chuckled at the frown he gave her. Both of them strongly knew his feeling for the term 'Hunk' that was used to describe him. She did not recognize him from the hospital where he held her in his arms after fainting. Denise had swooned in the corridor and the young officer was beside her in a flash to quickly catch her. He had held her, as they revived her, only to have her look at him, and faint again.



"He's not from this century. The Lieutenant Commander here is the leader of my stasis group that was wiped out by that terrorist bomb." Angie explained, "From our group there was only two of us, I am thankful it I had someone to see me through this place when I woke from stasis. My first sight was him, standing over me, his face bandaged but recognizable, and all smiles."



"I didn't know there were only two of you, how awful." Melinda said with a grimace.



"Me neither." Amy said with a gasp. 



"You guys aren't married are you?" Emily asked, and the couple glanced at each other for only a moment, smiling as he winked at her and they both laughed out loud.



"Uh no." Angie replied with a wave of her hand, "Although we are together a lot and rightly should be as it seems like we are. He never asked, or hinted though."  Her tone had shown annoyance and he grinned shaking his head.



     "Why not?" Denise asked suspiciously, "You make quite a handsome couple."  Angie blushed deeply, smiling politely and nodded to her classmate. Beside her, the Lieutenant Commander was broadly smiling.



     "Thank you."  They both replied simultaneously, and glanced at each other to grin.



"We both have our duties, and it kind of keeps us both busy." Angie said and he nodded.



     "Not right now… maybe after the mission ahead of us." The young officer intoned, glancing at Emily and then Angie who was smiling.



     "I just have to ask this, what's with the eye patch and scar. I thought the medical science came a long way from the twentieth/twenty-first century." Emily commented, "According to what I have been reading in our catch up learning."



     "It did. This is about what is considered normal." He prompted, "I had a piece of shrapnel from the chamber cut the stasis chamber open like an egg and into my skull. I lost sight in the eye, so they patched it and fixed my face at least to be presentable. It is a work in progress to restore sight in my eye and remove the scar."



     Denise clearly was astonished by the revelation, "And you still are in the service? They must be hard up for people."



     "I can still be useful with one eye it seems." He replied, "You can do a lot from a console now days. It won't be too long and I will have use in my left eye again." 



"You know, Lieutenant Commander, you really seem familiar to me." Emily said with a playful frown, "Have we met before, sir?"



"Yeah, me too…" Denise said with a curious tone, and both turned their head to stare at the young man before them. Both had noted his overwhelming, looming demeanor, but that was because he was put into a command capacity. He tried to not to be friends with his group, but a leader when he was on duty.



     "Perhaps, a long time ago in the twentieth century," The Lieutenant Commander replied solemnly, "If memory serves, it was around nineteen eighty seven and eighty eight."



     "We were in Bellbrook then." Emily replied with a start, "How on Earth could you know and have been there? You probably read it in our military files."



     "Like Amanda and Manual, we served in the same west coast high school the rest of the years I had to be there for graduation. I was in Ohio three years though." He prompted again, and became quiet, almost solemn as if he were waiting for something, recognition perhaps. Angie glanced at the playful look on Nathaniel's face, when he started thinking of another time and place they all were together, all one hundred and thirteen class of nineteen ninety-one.  So long ago, and she managed a sigh as she thought of their friends.



     "Well, I certainly was glad to see him when we were in training together with many others from all walks of life and creeds." Angie said, "I didn't expect to see him again after he left Bellbrook and years later in San Francisco, California at the Presidio Base of Stasis Operations no less."



     "When I learned you and Watts here…" He started to say and he was interrupted by Denise.



     "Say what?" Denise interrupted, "W-what was that?" He had dropped a deliberate rock solid clue of his identity to the young women before him. Melinda and Amy smiled at her nickname.



"I said when Emily and Watts here were…" He started and Denise interrupted again.



"There are only a few people who know me by that nickname, and that has not been in a very long time. That was a revelation from Doug Woolard from a class in Junior High when we went to see a movie as a class, Some Kind of Wonderful." She had said it in objection and he smirked, continuing on anyway. It was not without a slight nod his head and wave of his hand.



"Well, when you both were mistakenly marked as deceased, I was pleased. The records were only mixed up with a couple of soldiers killed in the last war on Earth with the Dinguil Empire. That was one hell of a war where we both had our baptism of fire." Nathaniel said with a smile, "I was glad to see the secondary group and the familiar faces though, after it was all over. And for your information, Miss Watson, We were in Ms. Depinto's class in nineteen eighty-seven." Nathaniel prompted as he finished her thought, "Some Kind of Wonderful was the film we saw together as a class and you earned that polite nickname."



     "There is no way anyone knows that. How on Earth did you know that?" Denise demanded. "Who and the hell are you? It's not in my military file."



     "May I present Lieutenant Commander Nathaniel Miller, Second Officer aboard the Heavy Cruiser SS Kosheo," Melinda prompted, "Former member/leader of stasis group 215, and old friend from Bellbrook High School Class of Nineteen Ninety One."



     "I am at your service." He said with a slight bow, and he saw the astonishment on their faces. Emily shook her head in disbelief and she peered at him in silent surprise. The Lieutenant Commander nodded sharply, and smiled broadly at Denise and Emily. Memories of a youthful face appeared there, and Emily silently examined him for a long time before she moved to embrace him warmly. The young man was surprised when she put her arms around him, shaking her head to plant a warm passionate kiss on his lips. He stared at her in surprise but they both held the embrace and passionate kiss for almost five full minutes. There were smiles all around and there were whistles by passing military personnel. Both blushed deeply as they broke, glancing at the trio who stood around him. Angie had done the same thing when she saw him for the first time, and after they had recovered from stasis. 



"It can't be… but it is!" Emily gasped, "I remember you? We were next to each other in home room classes next door to each other. I never thought I would see you again after you departed. How the hell have you been?" He nodded his head.



"Very nice, and I'm so pleased to see you." He whispered to Emily, "Here with us all."



"You both look great!" He told them, and both smiled, blushing slightly. "How is your back after that fall in the hospital by the way?"



     "Hospital?" Denise asked and she thought about it for a moment, and through the haze of disorientation and pain he remembered his face blearily in her mind. She gasped.



     "It's nothing really, don't worry about it." Denise said with a wave of her hand.



     "I remember, we waved at each other every morning, and passed each other in the hallway during fifth and sixth periods." He replied with a smile, "I never forgot you or the others in the Nineteen Ninety class and Ninety-One class."



     "I think you were in my second period class, and fifth period class." Denise said with a frown, "You were an annoying little shit. I didn't like you, yah know."



     "Gee, thank you for your support." The young officer replied with a sarcastic tone and he stepped back. "So what do you think of me now?" He opened up his arms and he bowed slightly.



     "I don't know exactly what to think." Denise replied icily and he laughed, moving to embrace her. He jumped back when she moved her leg and there was a brief pause.



     "I have come a long ass way from that annoying little shit." He prompted, making Denise frown. "I think you will like me better than I was. Besides that's not really giving a guy a sporting chance."



     "So true, it was a surprise for all of us." Melinda replied, and Amy nodded too.



     "So you are a Lieutenant Commander, Jesus, how'd you get that rank?" Denise asked and Emily nodded her head with the same question, "We only got two stripes after stasis."


     "You are looking at an honest to god hero." Angie replied smartly, pointing at the young officer beside her and noted the modest look on his face.



     "Yes, I guess you can call me that, but for both of us. We earned our stripes for our first baptism of fire after stasis. I started out when I enlisted as an ensign fresh out of the academy. I served with honors and gained one stripe for a year of service to JG, then volunteered for stasis after a year of combat duty. After that, they gave me two stripes for getting out of stasis into the EDC as a welcome home and assigned me aboard a Destroyer. They rushed us through recovery and catch up learning to assign us to a ship that served during the last war, the Dinguil War. I have been shot twice, in the line of duty, and managed to protect several of my shipmates when the Dinguil sneak attacked while we were recovering our injured. I took at least two hits to protect those who were already shot."



"Wow. That must have been unnerving." Emily murmured and he shrugged, "Angie was assigned with me and she took a couple of hits herself. It was a pretty hard core, how do you do for a new century, that's for sure."



"You both are lucky, and so are the others." He pointed at Melinda and Amy. "At least you all will get a full term in catch up learning at the Academy and ease into your assignments to learn the ropes gradually and not under fire. You and Emily will also have that benefit."



     "I hope we can make it." Emily remarked casually, and he nodded.



     "You will, do what they tell you no matter how stupid it is, and follow orders. If you don't know, ask questions for clarification." He shot back, "That's how you survive the service."



     "I hate to interrupt, but how bout we all go to dinner and catch up on old times." Angie suggested, "I'll alert Manual and Amanda. We can talk then." 



     "Sounds good to me," Melinda replied, and glanced at the nodding head of Amy who stood beside her. Nathaniel also was nodding.



     "Great idea!" The Lieutenant Commander exclaimed, "I know the place to take this lot to, Ang. Let's try the restaurant we found on main street, great food."



     "Oh I know what you mean, that place is nice." Angie replied, "I hope you like Japanese. It is a great little place we found a few months back."



"Your uniforms should be in your room by now too. So should some clothes for off-duty. We should stop by and let you get dressed in proper attire." Angie told them, "You guys can make the choice what to wear."  Both Denise and Emily had a surprised look on their faces.



     "You actually got us some uniforms issued?" Both women asked with surprise and Angie nodded. "Yes, with compliments from General Singleton himself, his staff, and Commander Mitty Mc Donald his aide."



     "Send our thanks to the staff there." Denise requested, "For everything they have done for us."



     "Will do, shall we go?" Angie asked, grinning when Nathaniel put out his arm and she took it, all walking through the door into the sterile hallway. They waited for a turbo-lift cab to arrive, and it did so with a familiar whoosh. They all stepped into it. Amy hit the button for floor three and the lift moved upward to open onto their floor. They walked in a group toward the nurse's station and Nathaniel smiled at the young nurses who manned the desk. A few moments later, they all stood outside as Emily and Denise slipped into the garments on their bed and stored the rest in a locker next to the beds.



     "Okay you can all come in." Emily called and the group entered to stare at the familiar EDC uniforms. Both wore the familiar blue and dark blue uniform that Nathaniel wore. Both dubiously stared at the mirror in the room at the uniforms and both busily pinned the rank insignia, a set of gold double bars for Lieutenant JG on their collars. Emily put on the insignia that marked her as a nurse. Denise pinned the symbol of as operations specialist on her collar for Radar/Analysis. The uniforms were cut properly, flattering the formidable curves of their bodies.



     "Damn, you both look great in those uniforms." Amy complimented.



     "I hope we put them on correctly." Denise complained and glanced at Emily who was smiling.  The two grabbed a pack containing their new identification cards and slipped on the dog tags around their neck to put them under the uniform tunic. Turning their heads, Nathaniel and Angie both were smiling too, nodding in approval. They spent a couple of minutes going over the new military courtesy how to salute and rank recognition.



     "You really know your stuff, how long has your group been out of stasis anyway?" Denise asked casually and he snapped his head to look at her.



     "Oh we were only awakened last year." He replied, nodding, "Don't worry you'll learn the ropes quickly. It's not hard to survive the service."



     "So, are you both ready for the good times?" Amy asked, politely interrupting and both Emily and Denise turned their head to nod.



     "Yeah bring on the chow and party." Denise and Emily said simultaneously and both paused to grin.



     "Just like it was two hundred years ago?" Emily replied and there was a brief chuckle, "I can't wait, bring it on."



Together they walked toward the door and into the hallway. Angie led the way with the young Lieutenant Commander as they headed toward the turbo-lift on the other side of the nurse's station.



     "Curfew is ten hundred." Nathaniel said, "We'll try to have you both back here by then. There is one place I am going to take you both. I at least owe you both a look of a very special place here in this century." Angie perked up on Nathaniel's statement and she nodded, realizing he was talking about the memorial where everyone was buried. The turbo-lift cab arrived with a whoosh, and the doors slid open to reveal Amanda and Manual.



     "We got your message." Amanda said quickly, glancing at Denise and Emily with a smile. "Damn, you both look great in those uniforms, and I am glad to see you both alive and well. Those uniforms really suit you."



"Thanks." Emily and Denise said together, returning the embrace by Amanda and Manual who stood beside her. 



"Say, what rank is that?" Emily asked, pointing at Amanda's collar, "I never have seen a pin like that one even in our own century."



"She's a Warrant Officer." Angie replied quickly. 



"So what do you think Sergeant Major?" Amanda asked, glancing at him sideways "What do you think of this dream team of the past." Manual managed a polite, impressed nod.



"They look damn good." He declared as he nodded impressed at his friends and stasis shipmates, "Although I wish more of us survived the whole damn project. Eddie would have liked this."



"For sure…" Amanda prompted, "Same with Sherry and the others."



     "This way." Angie said, and they all stepped into the turbo-lift. She pushed the button for the lobby and the lift hummed into life as it moved quickly downward to the street level. Together, in a group, they stepped into the large plush lobby of Federal Hospital. It is an open room with plush carpets, tiled walkways and furnishings throughout. It reminded both newcomers to this century of the Doctor's office they had been at in San Francisco, Presidio where they had been screened and accepted for stasis. Emily noted several guards posted in the lobby with thick battle armor and large nasty looking rifles as they stood guard. Many times as they passed enlisted, and higher ranking officers who they returned the salutes formally. The Lieutenant Commander merely nodded his head or flashed a quick salute to them, despite their rough looking frowns. Outside on the street, they peered at the buildings that loomed around them, the scale much different from their perch high above them. Several Air-trams appeared into the sky as they moved on their courses to other cities. Glass tubes for the monorail system were high above them, and it reminded them of Disneyland in their century.



     "So what do you think of the city?" Angie asked them and both glanced at each other.



     "It's big." Denise replied, "I didn't realize how big, until you are on the street level."



     "Yeah, and it's a bit unnerving." Emily chimed in and the young Lieutenant Commander managed a chuckle.



     "We probably all were the same way. It took a guide for me if I had to travel around to other cities." He mused, "It was hard as hell to get used to, always forgetting where you are and what century you are living in. You will acclimate over time though."



     "I know this is New Tokyo, but have you been home yet, Nathaniel?" Denise asked, "I know you were from the San Francisco area." He shook his head.



"My duties keep me here a lot of the time when I am ashore. But usually I am aboard ship."



"So why the hell are you going on the strike team to this Aquarius, if you are assigned aboard a ship?" Denise asked, "That makes no sense."



"I have knowledge of the power sources for the stasis chambers and technical knowledge." Nathaniel replied gently, "They temporarily pulled me from my ship to assist in the strike because of that knowledge of the chambers, their power sources and because I am also from the twentieth century. With Seth gone, someone had to fill in as C.O."



"I want to see his grave, is that possible?" Emily asked and Denise nodded in agreement. Melinda glanced at Angie who smiled warmly at her friends.



"Yes we can." She replied, "Anytime you like."



"There's something else I can't wait to see." Denise said, "Actually serving aboard a ship in space. We were just entering space travel to Mars two hundred years ago. That's hard to believe."



"They have stations on all the planets, or orbiting stations. Ships and people actually serve in those places too." Angie explained. "Earth has advanced a lot since we were in the twentieth century."



Lieutenant Commander Miller nodded to Angie, who led the way, and the group chatted, joked, laughed and carried on while on the main drag. The newcomers took in the sights of the city. There were whistles and catcalls from civilian clothed personnel who stood outside the surroundings disco-techs. Denise and Emily smiled. A few minutes later, Angie stopped at the entry of the restaurant they frequently had inhabited while in New Tokyo, the one they found on today's internet.



"We're here." She murmured and she opened the door.



'The Silken Rose.' The sign read and a smell of oriental cooking heavily permeated the air.



"Smells good," Denise said, "Hope they have good food."



Stepping through the doors, they stood before a podium in a rather large entry foyer that connects with the eating and service areas. The foyer itself has a fountain in one corner and a bench adjacent to it. Seating in the form of tables littered the room and booths along the windows. It is two levels and there is a sweeping staircase here, leading to the floor above them.  Throughout the adjacent room that connects the foyer, it is decorated with many panels of brush paintings and ancient writings. The floor is tiled with a white decorative tile trimmed in blue. Plush dark maroon colored carpet lined the floor throughout the restaurant. Above them, old style Japanese lanterns hang from the ceiling to light the rooms.  Angie turned to the young oriental man, who stood at the podium, holding menus and who nodded formally to the party.



"Haw many in your perty prease?" The host asked and Angie glanced at the group quickly. All were fighting a grin.



"Eight." Angie said, and the host nodded.



"One moment prease, I have to setup yaur tabre."



"Thank you." Angie replied, bowing slightly to the host who smiled at her. 



"You know the customs well." Denise complimented making Angie smile as she motioned to a nearby bench and they all sat, laughing and talking amongst themselves. Many people, non-hilarious groups seated and unseated, frowned as they watched the rowdy group of people in the foyer. Laughter echoed through the room, as the Lieutenant Commander made a joke relating to the host that was about to seat them.



"Dis way prease." The host said, and they all stood, and they followed the oriental man toward the corner table that was setup to seat all eight of them. Menus littered the table. Nathaniel and Manual stood as the ladies sat first, and they took a seat a moment later. A young woman appeared at one end of the table with a touch pad.



"I am here to correct your drenk ordar." She said, and there was sharp laughter.



"Gee, didn't know there was anything wrong with it." Amanda spouted off and more laughter followed.



"I'll have a Rong Isrand Ice Tree." Nathaniel said and there were choked snickers among the group.



"Pardon me?" The lady asked and he frowned.



     "You know a Rong Isrand Ice Tree?" He repeated and she frowned at him. He muttered a silent curse under his breath.



"Long Island Ice Tea."



"Ah-so, yes." She said, putting it on her pad.



"Beer." Manual said.



"Prum Wine." Amy said solemnly, with a dead pan straight face. More laughter echoed the room.



"Excuse prease?" The women asked, cocking her head apparently not getting the humor behind their responses.



"A grass of prum wine." Amy repeated, "Prease."  The girl frowned, trying to understand the patrons before them.



"Jesus." Amy muttered to herself and out loud she spoke quickly. "Plum wine please."



"Make that two." Melinda said.



"Make that three." Amanda added.



"I'll do the beer thing too." Denise ordered.



"Tequira Sunrise." Emily said and there was a smile all around.



"Ah so, Tequira Sunrise." The woman replied, and she managed a grin at the group, suddenly understanding their humor. She realized they were teasing her, making fun of her accent.



"Scotch, neat." Angie ordered, "With a beer chaser."



The young woman nodded before she walked away and conversation resumed, also the hilarity at the table at the dismay of the other patrons. Their laughter echoed the restaurant, comparing notes on what they saw so far in this century. They shared humorous stories of their arrival into this century. When the drinks came, they all were distributed quickly and the waiter, a young oriental kid stepped up to the table.



"Can I rake your ordah?"



"Yes, so long as it's in a neat pile." Manual said jokingly and there was laughter among the group. Other patrons frowned at the table containing the stasis volunteers, quickly finishing their meal and leaving. Soon the area around them was empty except for a few patrons. Orders were taken quickly and the discussion continued, turning to sex in the twenty-third century. It was a topic that was not appreciated by a full Colonel who sat two tables over with his wife and four children. Two older ones wore the uniforms of the EDC and two younger ones sat beside them.



"…I wonder if that's possible in zero-G. That would kind of get a bit weird don't you think?" Manual said with a laugh.



"Nah probably it's done the same way. We can always try during the moon flight, on our time off together." Amanda commented followed by loud laughter from the others.



"Whoaaa, Jesus, get a room you two."  Denise laughed.



"Been trying, but there is no time." Amanda replied drunkenly and there was laughter and banter among the group.



Sitting at the table the Colonel glanced many times at the group of stasis volunteers, grimacing annoyed at the trash talk and taboo topics while they waited for their meal. They drank at least two rounds of alcoholic beverages as they waited for their food. The Colonel, finally fed up, shook his head had pushed back his chair and walked toward the group sitting two tables over from them.



"Excuse me, Lieutenant Commander." The Colonel said formally, and Nathaniel looked up in surprise, staring at the birds on the green and black collar that now stood at his elbow. He quickly deciphered the ranking recognition.



     "Yes, Colonel," He replied after a moment, addressing the superior officer "How may I be of service, SIR." A quick hush fell over the group, as they turned their heads respectfully.



     "Your voice is carrying, a topic I rather not have my young children overhear you and your party flap your big mouths about."



     "It happens to be a public place Colonel, but we will try to keep it down a touch, and maybe keep the topics PG rated." Nathaniel offered and he turned his head back to the group. The high ranking officer shook his head.



     "Consider it an order and I prefer it as a courtesy to STAND, when you address a superior officer." He droned, and Nathaniel frowned to slowly stand.



     "I know who you all are. You should not be wearing those uniforms." He said with a touch of disrespect, "You didn't earn them. Not in this military boy. You are all dinosaurs in comparison and are hardly all EDC material. I'll see to it you people don't last in this man's military."



     "Oh I heard an asshole boy." Manual said, pushing away from the table, as did Amanda, Denise, Melinda, Amy and Angie readying for action.



     "With all due respect, Colonel," Nathaniel said with a snarl, "Fuck you… Sir…"



     He snapped off a fast salute with the middle finger extended and there was a brief pause, as he turned his back on the officer. At first there were surprised looks on the faces of the stasis group, their jaws dropping open in awe at what was just said by the young officer, and their friend. A low hush rounded the table, as smiles appeared on the stasis member's faces. They stood up a moment later, applauding the Lieutenant Commander. He smiled back and bowed slightly at the waist.



     The stunned Colonel stammered and sputtered as his face turned dark purple with rage. "How dare you speak to me in that manner, do you know who I am?"



"No who… The pope?" Manual spouted off and there were snickers among the members of the stasis group. The Lieutenant Commander put up his hand calling for silence.



"Colonel Samuel Allen Jackson, Saturn Station." He rasped, "Your, er… a superior officer."



"Yea? Bully for you. I'll have you know, Heir Colonel, we did earn these uniforms and we are definitely the kind of people you'd want as EDC material. We fucking aye earned it, putting our asses on the line for Earth, king, country by risking two hundred years and possibly death in that deep freeze." The Lieutenant Commander snarled belligerently, "And what did we get for it? We lost fifteen people, good men and women in that bloody stasis project between two groups. As well we lost two hundred years, our friends, our families, everything we cared about, a home and got a world that totally forgot about us. That's what we got, we got screwed, blewed and tattooed at the same fucking time. You welcome us home, with some fucked up bullshit like this. Nice fucking welcome, nice fucking century. With all due respect, which I have none, you are an asshole, sir."



"Doo rah." Manual replied, glancing at the stunned expressions on the stasis member's faces and then to the hard expression of the Lieutenant Commander, his friend and high school buddy of long ago. A stunned silence moved across the room, as the Colonel stammered, his face turning purple with rage again. Nathaniel paused as he glanced at the group, then to the room at the others present. His comments had drove the point home, to remind them all that there was a lot of life lost among the stasis crew and sacrifice made to protect Earth, just like the many who died in the Star Force. Everyone had forgotten that fact, and he merely reminded them. There were stunned expressions on a lot of the faces present, and regret on a few of the others, his point very clear to the situation at hand.  



     "I think we are done here gang." Nathaniel said, turning to his friends and they nodded slightly, as they stood in silence. Here, the young Lieutenant Commander flipped out bills of the new currency to pay for the meal that they had not even received yet, and for the drinks that were not quite finished before they filed out into the street.



     "I want to go find a bar and drink till I am not sober." Nathaniel said sternly, "To forget that asshole's face. What a fucking jerk, I surely wanted to pop him a new one. It would have been worth a haul in the brig, being a higher rank or not."



     "I'd be right with you too, skip. Who was that guy anyway? He had a lot of fucking nerve." Manual asked.



     "He's one of the battalion Commanders of Saturn Station." Angie replied, "He's a stickler, every times he comes to Earth the EDC hops to. They give him spit and polish or you hear him bitch from lower ranks to upper echelons. The Command Generals listen to him. He's some great hero and tactician within the EDC. He could cause you great grief, now that you told him what you think of him."



     "He's an idiot." Amanda murmured, "We did nothing wrong, but have a normal conversation. Even though we were, I admit, getting a bit rowdy. But when did that stop us before though, when we were together painting the town red in San Francisco?"



     "Hey it's us." Melinda replied, "Old and new friends on our first meal together as a team, together again after two hundred years… That guy just needs to pull his head out of his ass and cut us a little slack."



     "You certainly gave them something to think about." Angie mused and Nathaniel turned his head to smile.



"I meant every fucking word too." He replied.



Turning, the group heard conversation and music. A crowd of people stood outside a bar, drinking and talking. They went toward it.



"Hey wait up!"  A voice shouted, as several uniformed officers, patrons while in the restaurant with the Colonel walked up toward them, all carried bags. They handed them to them.


"You all forgot your meal." A Lieutenant told them, "Don't worry the boys and I settled up for you at the bar. You guys have some brass balls, excuse me ladies, for standing up to Colonel Bonehead, Jackson."  The stasis group smiled at the politeness of the youthful officer. "So where are you all headed, it's early for heading in."



"To the Nearest Bar, sir."  Manual spoke up, and there were smiles as they pointed to the bar they were walking toward.



"Ironic that is the hottest bar that EDC inhabits." He told them. "Come with me, the first round is on me."  There was a cheer by the group as the mingled with the officers and enlisted that had seen the fight at the Silken Rose. As they stepped in, the place was crowded with uniformed personnel, and not. A few of them glanced at the door as the stasis personnel entered and some stepped aside allowing them to head to the bar.



"Hey look it's the group from the past!" A voice said, and the room fell to a hushed silence as applause thundered among the uniformed personnel.



"I am buying you the first round on us." A full Commander declared, "For your bravery and service for Earth. You guys are the bravest people I have ever met, second to the Star force and deserve a top brash welcome into the century the right way."



"With thanks." Nathaniel said formally.



"…And for telling Colonel Samuel Allen Jackson where to fricking go." Another voice said and laughter followed. "He'd the hardest dick in the EDC and you stood up to him. That takes some huge brass balls to do that."



The speaker paused sheepishly, glancing at the ladies among the stasis personnel and nodded. "I was speaking figuratively of course… with my apologies ladies."



"Don't worry about offending these ladies they probably could take you down before you could say Jack Robinson." A voice said, and heads turned to see Alex Sandor who walked toward them all, raising his hand in greeting.



"Apparently news gets around." Nathaniel said to his group and there were smiles among them, "Looks like we're famous." He put on his aviator glasses and he moved to the bar where beers were put in their hand. There was laughter among the stasis volunteers. The conversation moved through the bar like wildfire.



"A toast," A voice said, "To the bravest men and women in the EDC and the newest sensation. May they have profitable careers, long lives and welcome home!"



"Thank you all." Nathaniel replied holding up the beer mug before they all downed it as a cheer echoed the bar. Laughter followed as conversation resumed and they stood drinking, clearly welcomed by the personnel in the bar. Turning his head Manual grinned when he saw Cory Conroy, Dash Jordan, Christopher Eager, Homer Glitchman and Chief Yamazaki standing at the bar. All found their way to the stasis personnel and Sandor clapped the Lieutenant Commander on the back.



"How are you doing there, Lieutenant Commander?" Sandor asked and Nathaniel turned, grinning.



"Not bad, you sir?" He replied, "The mission ship out date is in a couple of days, are you all ready?"



"Yea, all set and briefed, we set about the Heavy Space Cruiser Whirlwind tomorrow and get situated with the crew and the Captain."



Nathaniel nodded and he turned to the barkeep. "Keep them coming, our plan is to wake up in the alcohol ward and love every minute of it!" Laughter and cheers followed as the Lieutenant Commander chugged another beer as they chanted.



"I like your guy's style." A voice complimented.



"We got a secret admirer!" Manual boasted, holding up a mug and handing it to the speaker who smiled broadly. Music resumed, as stories and conversation moved through the bar, making the stasis personnel feel welcomed by their peers. Better than what they got with a certain Colonel. They inhabited a back table where they feasted on the Japanese Food from their first stop and continued with the beers, bought by many of the patrons.



Meanwhile in the office of the EDC, Colonel Jackson stood at attention as he waited for General Singleton and General Sloan to acknowledge his presence.



"General, your new recruits from the past are clearly out of control and I want to file personal charges against that Lieutenant Commander, their leader." He said with a sneer. "What's his name? er Miller. He was disrespectful, rude, and uncooperative. He threatened a superior officer and refused a direct order."



"I think they probably had a very good reason." Singleton replied firmly, "They were probably blowing off steam after all they have been through."



"They still need to learn discipline and honor to wear these uniforms." Replied the Colonel and he glanced at Command Mitty McDonald who was slightly smiling.



"They should not be wearing those uniforms, not until they earned the right to wear it." He said, "I want him on the block, and to learn what it means to be in the EDC and know discipline."



"I am glad you find this amusing Commander." He said sternly.



"It's not amusing, it's very serious." Mitty replied coldly, "According to your charge, he broke seven regulations of proper conduct as an EDC Officer. They were in a public place, though, not like they were on base or anything. They had permission to be off base and off-duty to take in the sights and acclimate themselves to life in this century."



"They all had permission of Doctor Sane, who thought in a medical opinion, that it would be very helpful." The General added, "If you think they are unfit for duty, I can have them confined to the Hospital until they are officially released by Sane, and they start and complete OCS school at the Academy."



"I think some time in the brig should be added and see how they like that." Colonel Jackson replied, "I don't like being made a fool of."



"Yes, yes, if they make it back from their assignment in one piece. Singleton replied firmly, "They are shipping out soon to Aquarius on an assignment that could lead to their deaths anyway. The rank increase was there, to thank them for their service for Earth, and at least give them a sense of purpose back in a new world."



"Who came up with the plan anyway, that Lieutenant Commander?" Sam asked and General Singleton shook his head. "The tactician team did that, he only adjusted the plan slightly utilizing the new ship that came to us as a visitor to Earth. Their mission is to destroy Aquarius. If they fail, we are faced with a large task force headed to Earth."



"Outstanding you are going to drop them all into a meat grinder?"



"No, actually, Lieutenant Commander Miller and Sergeant Major Parry are taking a squad of twenty-four Space Marines aboard the Space Cruiser and they are going to lead the assault personally on Aquarius." 



"For that?" Colonel Jackson asked, "One ship versus a taskforce? That's crazy."



"We are sending the Star Force aboard the EDC Whirlwind and Taskforce two to act as decoys, to keep the Cybertron taskforce busy. The SS Magellanic Clouds is equipped with a cloaking device and is going to slip in, deposit the team and extract them when the job and charges are set."



"If they succeed at this mission, I want to have these charges pending dropped against them all, Sam. I would like them honored like the Star Force, welcomed fully in the EDC and the new century." Singleton said formally. "It is the least we can do for them. They have nothing else left of their old lives, they might as well be acclimated in this century."



"I guess if you say so, sir." The Colonel grumbled. "I can concede if they do something extraordinary like pick off Aquarius I will say yes to that."



"Do we know where the stasis personnel are right now?" Singleton asked, "I would like to see them here immediately."



"No, General." McDonald replied, "They were at the Silken Rose. Where Colonel Jackson reported they were and they left in the middle of their meal."



     "Oh they were in the Mikado District." Kitano piped in, "I know the area, and can locate them if you like, sir."



"I have no idea where they went, but I was glad to see them go." The Colonel grumbled.



"Alert the security forces to pick them all up." Singleton ordered, "And brought to Headquarters. I don't want any force used. It is an order, nevertheless."



"Aye, sir." Mitty replied, hitting the button on her console.



Back on the Clouds, Ihsss and her crew sat on the bridge as they went over the plan and checklist discussed with Earth forces. They filled in Veloxa, Thyrac the insectoid Helmswoman and Navigator, Voloxa the insectoid Engineer and Kwai Mao, the Weapons' Defense operator. The three who stayed to oversee the repairs to the ship while the Captain, First Officer, Communications Officer and Doctor went ashore to negotiate with Earth Defense Command.



"So that's it, they set charges on Tritium mine and one blast should globally destroy Aquarius?" Thyrac asked, "It's that easy?"



"Looks that way, or at least have the Earth Defense Forces hit it with their Wave Cannon." Ihsss replied, "They need to have at least one hundred and twenty seconds to setup and blast it though, not possible in the middle of fifty Cybertron Ships, possibly more by now that are on planet and the now probably several legions of robotic solders on planet. I think the charges the team sets on the mine will be sufficient to affect the whole planet's destruction."



"How much explosive did they calculate that it would take?"



"Approximately twelve, 500 pound charges set in multiple locations." Ihsss replied, "After the Earth forces set it and they evacuate, everyone will draw back, us and the EDC Forces from the planet's location within fifty parsecs. The planet will have an explosion equivalent to a Reverse Super Nova of a dwarf Star."



"Tritium implosion?" Voloxa gasped.



"It will implode the planet and into a black hole. It is theoretical Physics." Felonious responded quietly, "It will destroy everything in this sector, but better that than the Cybertron War Machine attacking Earth."



"What happens if the Cybertron are not destroyed?" Veloxa asked suspiciously.



"That will be sucked in the back hole, trapped forever in another time, space or dimension." Felonious replied, "The remaining ones will be destroyed by the Earth forces. If we destroy the planet here, the Cybertron will lose the war in the future."



"The odds are about seven thousand, two hundred and fifty one to one." Felonious quoted, and there were grins, "For success. I think those are pretty good, personally.



"So when do they report here?" Veloxa asked and Ihsss met the Helmswoman's bug-like features.



"In a couple of days we are departing Earth, bound for Aquarius." She replied, "If they pull this off, we win back home, and we can return to our own time."



     "After our favor, with Mr. Miller?" Felonious asked and Ihsss nodded.



     "If we do that, there is a guarantee that we have sealed the fate of the Cybertron and possibly can go home quicker." She said, "I do appreciate your readiness and volunteering for the mission."



"Sounds dangerous, but I'm all for that." Felonious said, "But we could always stay too."



"And rewrite history with our presence on our respective home worlds?" Ihsss asked, "I know I can't return home, but most of you can."



"Rather stay in space, we have had too many fun adventures together, it wouldn't be the same." Kwai chimed in, and Ihsss grinned to nod politely.



"I agree." Veloxa replied with a smug grin and Thyrac nodded his head.



"You have my thanks for your loyalty." Ihsss declared happily, "Repair stations please."



"Aye, Captain." They all said and the group broke up and went to their posts leaving Ihsss in the center seat, contemplating the plan. Inside, she was a bit uneasy for what they faced before them. She wondered about the mission and her home world, who no doubt knew of their adventures. Ihsss also wondered if it would make a difference, so she and her daughter and many others from her planet could return home.



"Let's hope we are successful." Ihsss murmured, and glanced at the busy bridge, standing to walk toward Felonious who lay on the deck, his furry head in a small compartment as he repaired circuits of a nearby console for the science station. Kneeling, she assisted him.



Back on Earth, security forces combed the city and the many streets but were not able to find the members of stasis who were out somewhere on the town in Federal City/New Tokyo. A convoy of military vehicles moved down the street in a straight line, passing many people who eyed them suspiciously. They stared at a young woman, a Major who was put in charge, to find the stasis crew in the city. She is quite attractive with shoulder length blond hair, blue eyes and she wore the familiar green and black uniform over her attractive figure. She had great luck in the EDC, having moved through the ranks quickly for her bravery for the last two wars that had been fought on Earth against the Black Nebula, and against the Dinguil Empire.



"Major Fleming." A young sergeant said, "Headquarters on the squawk box." The young Major took up the receiver of the radio, standing as she touched the button.



"Fleming here." She said formally.



"Report Major." General Stone's voice echoed over the speaker, "Have you located them yet?"



"Negative. We are still searching." She replied, "Should we step up the search, and check building to building?"



"No not yet, but check places like local bars and so forth." Stone ordered, "They are out there somewhere, and make sure you are not lenient bringing them in. Use whatever force you need."



"We might need another unit out here, sir." She said speaking into the microphone, "New Tokyo is a big city after all."



"We'll send two more units to assist." Stone said, "We want them here, in an hour."



"Yes, General." She replied and quickly handed the microphone back to the sergeant, a look of disgust on her face.



"We have an hour to find them." She said sarcastically, "But there will be two more units linking up with us."



In a different part of Federal City/New Tokyo in the bar, the stasis crew sat together with the Yamato crew. They laughed and carried on telling stories of the past and the city they had been station in while training in, San Francisco. The Yamato crew in turn listened in amazement, as they described the region and the peninsula where the city that never sleeps was built on. Turning his head, Lieutenant Commander Miller spied two troopers enter the room, led by a young woman.  He also noted two guards outside.



"It looks like we have some company." He mused and the others, clearly intoxicated all peered blearily at the troopers and their leader.



"Yep, I smell bacon."  Manual declared, "Looks like they are looking for someone. I hope the people they are looking for… aren't in too much trouble."



"Spread out and search." The Major ordered and the group of troopers moved through the crowd. The troopers turned to ask a question to a couple of the patrons as a young Lieutenant cycled around to stand next to the table.



"Quick get lost, they are after you."  He said, "They were asking about your group if they had seen you. Don't worry I have your back, get moving out the back door into the alley." The stasis crew ducked into the crowd, after abandoning their booth, and together they made their way through the kitchen. They found the back door as described.



"Hang tight and stay in the shadows, there are several guards outside the alley." Nathaniel warned as he drew his Astro-automatic from its holster.



"You aren't going to kill them are you?" Angie asked, "That's murder, they'll throw you in a penal colony. They don't fool around here."



"Hell no." He replied, "It is just in case they start shooting first. I set my pistol for a low power setting. It will act like a stun setting."



"You can do that?" Angie asked and he nodded.



"Read the technical documents on it."



"Show off." Angie said jokingly and she placed her hand on his shoulder.



"Follow me and stay in the shadows." Nathaniel whispered and they all crossed the alleyway onto the other side where there was more clutter to conceal them. They moved in the opposite direction of the alley only to find it was a dead end. Melinda touched a door that opened and they all entered. Minutes later, navigating the dark building they came out on a side street, not far where the guards were posted.



"Apparently that Major didn't think we'd get out." Manual said with a whisper and all turned to Angie who motioned to them.



"Come, this way." She told them, "I know a place where they won't look now, and have probably already checked it."



Angie led the way, turning on a nearby side street and together they made their way to the edge of the city. They noted a checkpoint setup at the road and yet Angie led them stealthily out on the cement footpath that would lead them to the memorial on Hero's Hill.



A half-hour later, they arrived at the memorial, passing the stone markers by the sea wall and turning to climb the hill to the top. Emily and Denise panned a gaze about the memorial at the shrubbery and plants that surround this solid granite monument. They recognized the gravestones for the Yamato crew and now the stasis crew who had died in the name of peace and for Earth. As they approached the center of the memorial, both the newcomers glanced at the many tombstones on the grassy area below the obelisk and statue of Captain Avatar who stood staring out to sea. Nathaniel and Angie saluted the statue as they passed it first. Melinda, Amy, Amanda and Manual all followed suit as they too passed it by. Angie led them twenty-five feet away to the new graves where the stasis crew's now lie. Denise and Emily gasped aloud at the names they peered at on the tombstones.



"Holy shit," Emily exclaimed, "Is this where they buried everyone?"



"Yep." Angie replied, "We are the only two who were put in before the terrorist bomb went off, and destroyed everyone. This is your group's graves."



Emily stood before the angry raw, freshly carved tombstone with Seth's face carved on it. Tears filled her eyes as she placed her hand on the cold stone. Denise stood staring at the names of her friends from stasis, totally flabbergasted. They had the same reaction as did Melinda, Amy, Manual and Amanda when they had visited the memorial. Denise silently read off the names to herself. 'Doug Woolard', 'Christina Cook', 'Sherry Carnelli', 'Edward McKee', 'Katherine Lewis'. Both newcomers stared at the faces that were carved into the stone tombstones, and she shook her head sadly.



"So it is true." Denise murmured, "They are gone and I really don't know what to say. or how to feel right now. Part of me is happy to know they probably didn't suffer, and the other part of me is sad for the loss. Who was responsible for us being left in stasis anyway? Was it our own government? Was it the scientists? Was it our own military?"



"That's irrelevant now. It's over and done, and then some for two hundred years." Nathaniel replied, "It shouldn't matter, they are at peace now. Oh yes, and I'll have you know that Seth gave them all a top brass send-off. I was in the crowd and saw the action."



"I bet he did." Emily replied, grimacing as she scanned the large granite memorial.



"I can only imagine your eulogy." Denise said with a smile, "For Seth when he died." 



"I did the one from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Movie from the twentieth century, when Spock died and Kirk read his eulogy."



     Denise and Emily both laughed loudly, "I knew it would be 'Trek' related!" Emily embraced the young officer a smile on her face.



     "I don't know about you, they were damn fine words." Angie chimed in, "Very appropriate. It sure shook up the people in the EDC when he did that too."



     "I can only imagine." Denise said with a laugh.



"Seth was one heroic son of a gun." Melinda said suddenly, "He protected all of us single-handedly, without a thought about it, when he charged those guns. He died as a soldier should on his feet and fighting to protect us all."



"Just like him to be a Hero." Emily said with a smile and Denise nodded.



"He was always that way." Denise replied, "You should have seen the medals and commendations he got in our time. He moved up the ranks even in basic training. The son of a bitch was a natural born leader."



Nathaniel laughed, and nodded his head. "Yes he was. I watched him afar and was the reason he joined the service. He went Army, I stayed Navy, but we helped each other out as much as we could. I gave him a lot of recommendations and letters to his superiors complimenting his service. Too bad his brothers couldn't have served too, and were here, we'd have a party then." Emily laughed at the mention of the word party, so did Denise and the others. 



"He had brothers?" Denise asked, and the Lieutenant Command nodded slightly.



"He had all younger brothers." He replied, "All good kids, they were all close."



"I'm going to miss him." Emily said, "It's going to be tough without him."



"So will I." Denise added and Nathaniel nodded too. His jaw dropped open as a thought crossed through his head. He reminded himself about space travel and time travel, thinking of the Magellanic Clouds who had come from the future.



"I think I know a way to bring him back." Nathaniel thought suddenly, "If the Clouds warped from their century to here, why not sling shot and warp again and go back and ambush the Cybertron who were on the hill waiting for everyone to show up. We could ambush an ambush." Angie noted Nathaniel was deep in thought. She had asked him a question and he did not respond. She put a hand on his shoulder.



"Hey, are you okay?" She asked, and he turned his head sharply to nod.



"I was just thinking." He replied, and she raised an eyebrow quizzically at him, sensing a drop in mood among the group by his silence. Angie wondered what he was planning, or wondered if it were the assignment he was on was affecting his mood. Inside Nathaniel hatched a plan, and hopefully to his advantage could carry it out, after they destroyed Aquarius. He could right a wrong that had happened, and his best friend had been killed.  He would discuss it with Ihsss T'Larra, the Captain of the Clouds, and hopefully they could change history. They would return to this time and the Clouds could attempt the journey home.



"But first, we have a mission." The Lieutenant Commander muttered, and he went over the mission in his head, as his crew prepared for departure for Aquarius in two days. Their mission is to destroy it and keep it from the Cybertron, who are attempting to change the time stream here to affect the future. where they would succeed in taking over the universe. The only group to stand in their way is the Star force and the stasis crew.



To be continued - Episode 4, the Departure






 Yamato: The New Adventures… (Sequel to "Final" Yamato in Episode type format)

By Erwin Stevens



EPS 4 - The Departure for Destiny!



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. Many forms of life are in the universe, and they live scattered throughout its cold vastness.



The speck that makes up our Earth is one such place, a place where wars have come, and have gone, leaving their mark. A solar system named "SOL" resides in a mere corner of the infinity of space, and so does the huge galaxy known as the Milky Way where the SOL system resides. It is one of seventy such systems located here in the mere tip of this galaxy and in this solar system that nine planets orbit the single life-giving star. Living on the third one, an insignificant body called Earth is an advanced civilization known as human kind. 



It is on Earth that a group of twenty-four Marine Commandos stand around on the tarmac of the airfield on a partially cloudy morning. It is here they wait for their new commander, Major Miller, to arrive by Jeep for inspection. They have all been gathered for an impossible mission to destroy Aquarius, the legendary water planet that gave Earth life and the same planet that almost destroyed their home, after being utilized by the Dinguil Empire. They will be aiding the strange visitor who arrived on Earth from the future. Together they will keep a new cybernetic enemy from the future, from altering the present time to change history, so they may win the galactic war in the future.



 As they wait, they stand in groups, talking, laughing and being raunchy, as all Space Marines are in the service. They are not aware that not far away that, a lone officer stands on the curb side, waiting for the jeep and a young Sergeant who would drive him to the airfield on this cool morning. The young officer, his given name Nathaniel, was pulled from his assignment aboard the Heavy Cruiser from which he had been assigned after the victory against the Dinguil Empire. He is assigned to this task of the destruction of Aquarius, after his best friend had died at Hero's Hill protecting the others after an ambush by the Cybertron Death Squad that had been dropped there.



The assignment is up to the youthful Commander, and he carries his orders out by order of the EDC Commander. He had gone to a briefing with the team that would be going to the legendary water planet with him. He now goes to the airfield now wearing a green trimmed in black uniform belonging to the Space Marines instead of the blue, dark blue uniform of the Space Corps. He sports the equivalent rank of Major on his collar, signifying his command of the mission.  He carries a leather briefcase with him that contains the orders that were hand written by General Singleton personally, and handed to him by Commander Mitty Mc Donald, the General's aide. Orders that were originally Seth's in which he would haves to perform the task of destroying Aquarius.



"Yo, Major Miller?" A voice called out and he managed to turn his head to the green jeep that had rolled up at the curb-side and to a young brunette Sergeant who sat at the wheel named Nicole Williams, his guide from day one since his awakening from stasis. He smiled at the familiar accent, signifying she is from New Jersey.



"Aye." He replied, returning her salute as she stood up in the seat.



"Hop in. I am here to take you to the airfield." She told him and he grinned, managing a nod. He walked toward the jeep and he silently climbed aboard, but not without examining the young woman in silence. Sergeant Williams is about nineteen years old, having finished school early and enlisted in the Earth Defense Command which is the equivalent military for this time. She, unlike him, is clad in the gray and green uniform of the EDC Armed Forces. She stands about five three in height, has a dark complexion, and dark eyes. Her brunette hair spills down to her shoulders in a ripple of curls. She worked hard in the last two years, moving quickly in the ranks to Sergeant.  The young woman is rather attractive to the young Major.



As the jeep sped off from the curb, she drove quickly, turning onto the main street and away from the Headquarters building. He sat in silence, holding on for almost dear life, as she darted through the traffic of vehicles on the street. Turning his head he glanced down at the briefcase on his lap that contained the envelope containing his orders. Opening the case, he withdrew the envelope, a simple manila envelope. Emblazoned on the flap, is the seal of the Earth Defense Command that seals it shut. The seal itself shimmered in the light.  



"So they got you ready to go to Aquarius Major?" The young woman asked, and he glanced sideways at her. He showed his astonishment that she knew about the mission, even though it was supposedly kept Top Secret Clearance. There had already been a lot of scuttlebutt floating around Headquarters about it, and for the last month. Most of it was speculation of the assignment and what they were about to face. The young Major and the twenty-four raiders that would be taking on the most difficult mission Earth had ever done, short of the Iscandar mission eight years ago by the Star Force. He nodded his head silently.



"The mission is already in progress, and we ship out today." He told her, "Ready to rock and roll, so to speak. Keep in mind that it was supposed to be top security, how the hell did you know so much about it anyway?"



"Well sir, it has been a hot topic in headquarters and on Earth for months. It has been mostly scuttlebutt and rumors for the last month." She said, "Don't worry, the project is still secure, most of the data said was rumors and not correct anyway."



"You know, Major." she started to say, "I hope you and the others succeed at your task."



Major Miller smiled at the sentiment, glancing at the surrounding as the jeep continued to dart through traffic. The buildings loomed overhead around them and many people walked the street, uniformed and not. It had been his benefactor for a while now, his home away from home since he had been awakened here than San Francisco, of the new century they were in.



As he sat in the seat, Major Miller turned over the envelope several times before he broke the seal and pulled the documents from within the envelope. He broke one regulation, breaking the seal before arriving aboard the ship or his destination for Command. He broke another by       examining the orders before he reached his command. The young Major looked them over, before he read them in silence, as they made their way through the byways of Federal City/New Tokyo. As he read, Nathaniel became only partially conscious of his surroundings, absently returning salutes as they passed other uniformed personnel. The orders were compelling, hand-written by the General himself, and handed personally to him by Commander Mitty McDonald, General Singleton's dynamic and beautiful Aide.



Sergeant Williams glanced over in his direction and gasped as he read the papers on his lap, realizing that he was looking over the orders that would send him and his team into harm's way. The new officer was reading them far before the scheduled opening when they were on board ship and headed toward Aquarius. He had broken at least three regulations by doing this and she had let out a gasp.



"I guess he wants to brush up, before he gets to the team." She thought, shaking her head at the young officer who already had shown her some unorthodox methods of command. He had been trained and went to OCS where he was commissioned as a lowly Ensign back in the twenty-first century. A year later after hard work, he earned JG Lieutenant where he volunteered as command for the stasis project. Since his awakening, he had been working hard even in the EDC and an honest to god hero, for his bravery during the war with the Dinguil Empire.



Nicole did not realize that he was using everything he had learned to get by, to assimilate this century, and serve in this military. There was also something she did not know he was going to add for this assignment, thanks to a fast ship and a brave crew. What he planned was not part of the itinerary and would be passing through the realm of space and time. It is personal mission he would be undertaking before he could come home, and relax. The officer was going to attempt to change time and save a life, foiling the small victory for the Cybertron, of one person who should have not have died.



He was reading as they approached the airfield, and the jeep stopped at one of many gates where two guards, surrounded by a fortified conscript of armor, machine gun nests and other heavily fortified positions are set up. Nathaniel focused mainly on the assignment at hand, scanning the papers, reading the lines several times. He focused on the word destroy and clear clearly in the handwritten ink of the Commander's handwriting. Nathaniel was so engrossed in the papers and the assignment that he had to look up at the nudge of the Sergeant beside him. He glanced up at the guards at the gate, returning their salutes formally.



"We're here Major." The young Sergeant told him, and he glanced at her to only nod slightly in reply.



"Identification, Major."  The one guard said, and he nodded pulling his wallet. The Major flashed the encoded identification card that had served him a year now on board the Heavy Cruiser. Quickly, the trooper scanned it and he nodded returning to the two troopers in the jeep. He glanced in the door, at the youthful Lieutenant who stood there watching.  Eyeing the Major, returning the hard glance the officer, he also saluted making him nod silently.



"Thank you sir!" The trooper replied and he quickly handed back the identification, the officer returning the salute. Sitting back, he nodded to the young woman, his guide who sat beside him, and the jeep sped off. The Major quickly put the documents in the briefcase and he watched as they approached the concrete tarmac of the airfield where the Clouds sat on its massive landing legs. He stood up in the jeep as it approached the ship, nodding to the guards who saluted, parting to let the vehicle pass them by. When it came to a stop, he hopped out and paused as he stared at the massive ship. Nathaniel peered at the streamline hull and her many battle-scars. He, at first, did not acknowledge the young woman beside him. The Major grimaced, when he realized that he had forgotten military courtesy to his youthful guide.



"Thank you Sergeant, for the lift." He told her formally, returning her salute. 



"My pleasure. Major Miller." She replied, smiling in amusement.  He grinned, nodding only in reply.



"You know we have not been formally introduced, my name is Nathaniel." He told her, "And you may call me that, when we are out of the range of other."



"It is a pleasure to meet you, Nathaniel." She replied, "I am Nicole, Nicole Williams."



"Likewise, Nicole." He replied with a smile, and a nod.



"You'll do it sir, just believe and it will happen." Nicole told him in an encouraging tone, "A few of the others and I, in my lodge, are routing for your team." She told him with a smile, "We look forward to your glorious return too."



"Thanks Nicole." He replied walking toward the ship that loomed on the tarmac, like a vicious reminder of what he had to do after the mission. Major Miller moved along the ship, making the inspection, and a couple of things he wanted to check before they lifted off. He noted a couple of things he would mention to Commander T'Larra, noting the vicious battle scars as he inspected the ship.



As he did so he returned the salutes of the guards who were are posted around the ship. Behind him, the youthful Sergeant watched him from the jeep, frowning at his quick inspection of the ship that would take them for the battle of Aquarius. She had sensed his intensity, as he read the documents on his lap, and the determination in his eye when he walked toward the ship.



"What the devil is he looking for, I wonder?" She thought to herself and managed a shrug at the antics of the new officer who had come from centuries of the past.



The young woman did not know that he planned to split the team, luring the enemy to an electro-magnetic pulse, or EMP, that would help the team escape. Major Miller had read the tactics he had briefed the team on many times and adjusted it one more time, knowing by intelligence, that it was going to be harder getting the hell out of there than going in to land on Aquarius. Here, he would be picked up by the Clouds and they would attempt the trip through time and space after he detonated the planet, turning it into a reverse Tritium black hole. 



 Around him, the guards watched the Major silently, and after a few minutes, the guards realized what he was doing. They watched as he made a full sweep, multiple times, around the ship and after a moment, they glanced at each in silence, an expression of disbelief on their faces. A low mutter rippled through them. They knew who he was and why he was here, getting his orders directly from the Commander's office. They did not know he would be doing an inspection of the ship before it lifted off to its victory, or demise. The Major glanced around at his surroundings and let out a breath before he walked toward the team, assembled on the airfield that he is assigned to lead who now stand in front of the Star Cruiser.



"Attention! Fall in!" A voice shouted, and the team fell into neat rows of the ranks quickly. A mass salute followed as the Major approached the twenty-four commandos, his team that hopefully would pull off the impossible. A youthful Lieutenant, his second in command, Kino Minezati stepped forward, holding the salute until the Major nodded his head.



"Everyone here, and accounted for?" The Major asked, and the Lieutenant nodded.



He quickly walked the rows with the Major, who inspected his troopers, standing outside the massive Star Cruiser Magellanic Clouds. He nodded in approval to the fighting group that had had been assigned to fight with him. The young officer beside him holstered an Astro-Automatic at his side and shouldered an AR-262 sniper rifle with electronic silencer, preferred sniper weapon of the day. He hefted it well on his wiry frame, his shaved head only showing a hint of the sandy blond hair that he had, and his brown eyes twinkled in the light. Kino eyed the Major's patched and scarred face, seeing the smile on his face as the two men walked the ranks carefully. Both were impressed by the sight before them. Nathaniel had been surprised by the spit and polish, the pride of professionalism that stood before him. The Major nodded his head in approval, despite the concerned and worried expression he had on his face. Also he tried to keep a positive attitude, despite the sour mood that he had right now, because of his feeling about the mission itself.



"You are a bunch of bad asses."  He exclaimed, "Damn, I'm proud to be in the same service as all of you guys. We're going to kick some fucking ass." The young Lieutenant who was the second in command grinned openly at the comment, motioning to the group. At the end of the line Major Miller backslapped Sergeant Major Parry. He shook his hand warmly.



"Manual, you old dog, you're well." He said and the Sergeant Major snapped to attention, smiling broadly.



"Ready to go kick ass, sir." Manual replied, "Ready to die for Earth and go out in a blaze of glory, if it comes to that."



"Let's hope that is not necessary, I am hoping to bring everyone back safely. It was told to me that there would be a wild party in our honor, so let's snap to and prepare our equipment and ourselves for the mission when we board the Magellanic Clouds. They are all yours Lieutenant, make Earth proud…"



He walked away from the group and they watched as he made another round about the Star Cruiser. The Major had a feeling, one of dread that he could not put his finger on, and he decided to make doubly sure they would return to Earth after this mission, victorious.



They all stared at their commander, wondering what he was looking for as he made his way around the ship. Manual frowned especially, knowing his old friend well that if there was something on his mind, he knew it would be checked and rechecked.



"There are too many damn variables still to be calculated in… I don't know why I am having this damn feeling, but if we don't make it back, Earth is doomed." Nathaniel thought to himself, "So we'd better be sure and on top of our game plan." 



"… See fellas, you made a good impression, that's one on you and I am proud you made that impression." Kino told the group, "It shows pride and your dedication to the service."  The Lieutenant walked down the row with three cigars for each man, handing them to them. He walked to the Major and he snapped to, saluting as he handed him three cigars too. Manual caught Nathaniel's look of confusion, holding the cigars in his hand. They both watched as each man put them in a breast pocket or in the bag they had on the ground. Nathaniel glanced in question at the young Lieutenant as he examined the cigars.



"Don't worry it is tobacco, its synthetic with a mix of seaweed." The Lieutenant said, "We don't smoke'm until the fat lady sings and the battle is won. It is our victory dance sir." Here the Major laughed loudly, as did Manual who had overheard the comment. Their laughter suddenly became solemn, as he was reminded of somewhere else he heard of that custom. Taking the gifts he shoved it in pocket and noted Manual had taken his and put it in his pocket too, a large beaming smile on his face even though he smoked one of the extra one, in a cloud of smoke. Kino tossed Manual another.



"A you were, Sergeant Major!" Kino snapped, "The fat lady has not sang and the battle is not won. Finish that cigar and remember to only smoke'm when we win the day. Here though… if you must smoke."  Kino tossed a pack of Lucky Strikes to the Sergeant Major who smiled, nodding.



"Doo-Rah Lieutenant." Manual replied with a nod, a smile brightening his face as he puffed on the cigar, amused by the custom. The youthful Major realized it was the movie back in 1996, called Independence Day that he heard that custom and he laughed again.



"Thanks Lieutenant." He replied, grinning at the young officer who nodded.



"My pleasure, Major." He told him and Nathaniel smiled broadly.



"All right let's get to this." He replied, and the Lieutenant looked up, his smile becoming a puzzle frown with the sudden drop in mood by the superior officer. Kino suspected there was a lot on the Major’s mind and his superior officer was not comfortable with the plan what was to go down. 



"All right team, pick up your bags and report aboard the Clouds. Head to our assigned billeting and remember that it is going to be cramped with normal operations with the ship. If you have any issues, bring it to me or the Major. and we will work it out." The harried Lieutenant ordered, and he motioned, "This is not a transport, so go easy on the ship and her stores. Move out. You have fifteen minutes, smoke'm if you got'm." 



"Yeaaa!" The group said fiercely, and they raised their arms as they hefted their space bags. Together the Marine detachment walked toward the ship nearby, lining up at the gantry that belonged to the massive Space Cruiser preceding the massive airlock hatch. They stood around as they pulled smokes from their pocket or chew. Even in this century tobacco had a very predominant and key role in its presence in the century. The Major looked on, waving his hand to a soldier who held out a pouch of 'Lucky Strikes ' from his pocket, offering to him.



"I don't smoke cigarettes like that, but thanks… Please carry on." He told the soldier, who nodded, and turned to walk toward the gantry of the massive Star Cruiser Class Starship. Manual joined Nathaniel at his side and was going to shoot the breeze for a moment, but both men turned as a voice called out their names.



The voice belonged to Amy Pantstingle, who had called out to him. He watched as she approached on the run, followed by Melinda Morris, Angie Stethem, Amanda Garcia, even Emily Montgomery and Denise Watson. They are the team for the second stasis project that had recently been awakened, in addition to his shipmate Angie who had been a part of his stasis project. They embraced Manual and Nathaniel, putting Hawaiian leis around their necks. Both men laughed and smiled affectionately at the young women.



Turning, the young Major smirked as Amanda embraced Manual one more time and planted a very heated and passionate kiss on his lips. They held it an unusually long time before they broke, staring lovingly in each other's eyes for a long time.



"We're here to give you a top brass send off." Amy declared, stepping back to smile pleasantly at the two men, their friends, who were going on this dangerous mission.



"Nice." Nathaniel replied, nodding, "With thanks."



"Very nice." Manual told Amanda, smiling gently, "I was hoping for at least a send of like this."



"Me too, Sergeant Major." Nathaniel replied, turning to the young women, and he nodded, "It is appreciated."



"Take it easy and keep the home fires burning for us. We'll be back soon." Manual exclaimed as he hefted his bag on his shoulder, "I love you Amanda. Do not worry there will not be any heroics. It will certainly not be by me or the Major here." With that, the Sergeant glanced at the face of Emily, and then to the others, their eyes brimming with tears.



Amanda gasped at the statement and stared at him. "I-I love you too, Manual." She stammered surprised, but they had become lovers in the last few months together, starting after Seth's wake. The young Warrant Officer lunged to embrace him again, their lips touching, before stepping back and regarding her now best friend in the world and her love who stood before her.



"You promise me, no heroics, keep your fricking head down next to the Major, and the Lieutenant!"



"Relax Amanda, I will." Manual told her, and she shook head.



"Promise me."  Amanda grumbled, "Damn it."



"I will and promise." He told her and Amanda nodded formally, turning to the Major. He returned the glances of the members of the team who were smiling and the former stasis members, his friends.



Stepping back Manual and Amanda sheepishly smiled at each other and the group stood watching.  He turned to walk toward the gantry of the Star Cruiser, toward the other troops who had paused to watch the touching scene. Sergeant Major Parry had paused as Nathaniel stood on the concourse with Emily. He stared warmly into Lieutenant Montgomery's eyes.



"I have to tell you something and that goes for everyone present from the Bellbrook group." He began and she peered at him with a questioning stare.



"I-I apologize… and I am deeply sorry that I did not say goodbye so many years ago, and had my heart on my sleeve for you Emily." He stammered, "If I would have known what I know now, I would have found a way to stay put, and stay in touch with you all. I should have gone a little further with you, for both of our sakes back then. After all those years, I realized that I fell in love with you, and I am sorry we did not take that next step."



It was the only sentiment he had after so long away from her, the only apology he could give her for losing touch with them and for not taking action to pursue her. Emily gasped at his statement her brown eyes peering into the blue eye of the young officer. 



"I know, but… I-I… I love Seth. I loved him since our beginning into stasis, you weren't there but he was." She stammered, tears appearing in her eyes as she shook her head, and yet she placed her loving arms around him, "Thank you for clarifying that, I certainly missed you. After all these years, I was astonished, but glad to see you."



"As we all were." Melinda chimed in, and the group nodded. Amanda was grinning openly.



Stepping forward, Emily leaned forward, and a moment later the Major and her lips touched in a rousing kiss in front of everyone. They held it for almost ten minutes. There were whistles and catcalls from the troops on the gantry and the surrounding guards and pilots from the nearby hangar who watched the touching scene. There was sporadic applause all around them. The others were grinning openly, at the warm display of affection.



"Woo hoo… the Majors got a girl!" A shout called, "Hubba, Hubba! Holy shit she's a babe!" The stasis group laughed openly at the comments.



"Shit man, she's a looker!" Another voice said aloud,



"Good one Sir!"



"She's better than that Alsatian woman with the triple F hooters!" Both the Major and Emily herself blushed, as they turned their heads realizing they were on display in front of everyone. Both actually did not care, just glad what was said had come out, and after all those many years apart.  He stepped back quickly, blushing red as a ripe tomato and thankfully she was too.



     "Okay, okay." Manual said, "Shows over fellas, lets get cracking." The young Sergeant grinned, shooing the team toward the gantry.



"I understand and this isn't goodbye again… I'll be here waiting for you and your victorious team… That I promise." Emily said with a smile. She turned to Manual. "Promise me to look after him Sergeant. I couldn't stand to lose him too after Seth. Nathaniel, please be safe out there and no heroics either."



Manual grinned broadly, "You have my promise me'lady." With that, he bowed formally. She gave up and laughed, embracing The Sergeant Major.



"Don't worry Emily, everyone, I am not planning to get myself killed, and I will see you when I return." He told the group and they were smiling, but tears were showing on Amy, Melinda, Denise, Emily and Amanda's faces. Angie was solemn as she stood there. Nathaniel talked quietly to Emily but deep down he pondered if he should tell them what he planned. That he was going to take a one-way ticket to save Seth's life and in fact switch positions with him in order for him to live. The Major shook his head slightly, clearing the thought from his head. He planned to bring him safely through the incident at the memorial, even though his self at that moment worked aboard his ship in dry dock.



"I'll see you round, I'll be waiting." She said lustily and he grinned as he turned to regard the smiling Sergeant.



"Damn it, I'm going to bring back Seth and take care of this once and for all, and right a wrong." Nathaniel thought, hatching the plan in his head, hopefully with the assistance of the Star Cruiser and her gallant crew. "It was wrong for Seth to die the way he did, and he did not know you were living when he did it. I didn't know how much you loved him and it would be only fitting if you were both together. When I return home, it will be Seth along with me coming home, damn it, or at least living if I save his life."



He had hatched the plan after Seth's death and planned to ask the Cloud's crew for help in this matter. Even though it was just not feasible, and enough reason to risk time and space just for one man. He knew there would be serious consequences if he attempted what he planned and failed. The Major had several plans, contingency plans to make sure he succeeded in his task.



"Coming skipper?" Manual asked smiling, and Nathaniel nodded, hefting his own bag on his shoulder. He waved at the young women, and one by one they entered the ship that stood silently on the cement tarmac. Emily stared silently at the ship, long and hard, and she had ignored the others who stood beside her. They had spoken to her twice and she did not hear them. Denise placed her hand on her shoulder, and she turned her head to regard her friends.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



"Hey, you OK?" Denise asked and she glanced at Emily who regarded her friends standing on the gantry. They scanned the surroundings before shaking hands, stepping toward the doors of the Space Cruiser. Angie, Amanda, Melinda, Denise and Emily stood there watching.



"Yeah, I just have a funny feeling I am not going to see them again." Emily declared quietly, trying to fight the tears that welled up in her eyes.  She did not know what she was looking at, only to know that feeling was very strong within. Denise also looked at the massive Star Cruiser that sat on the tarmac and she too found herself heavy with emotion and tears welling up in her eyes. She quickly wiped the tears from her eyes. Amanda, Melinda and Amy were in the same state.



"Don't worry, with Manual on the job, and led by the Lieutenant and even Nathaniel, We can only hope they will all come back."  Denise said, peering at the massive Star Cruiser, and shaking her head as she placed her hands on Emily's shoulders. "Besides when they do, we are going to have a wild party in their honor."



Emily smiled, as did the others, a smile appearing on their faces.



"We have been summoned back to Central Hospital on the double." Denise said, "So let's move. It might be our release from medical."  Emily nodded but she kept glancing to the ship as they walked off and she shook her head, wiping the tears from her face. Melinda was weeping as she stared at the ship, as was Amy.



"Damn it, you had better come back."  Emily said, fighting the tears, "I do not want to be alone in this century."



"Say, where is Angie?" Denise mused.



"Hey, Captain Stethem, you coming or what?" A voice shouted, and all saw one more bag on the tarmac. Angie glanced at the others as she moved toward it, returning the salute of the Lieutenant who stood waiting for her. Hefting the bag, she glanced at the others who stared in astonishment.



"Angie, no!" Melinda shouted, "Oh my god… Please no!" She cast a look at them, taking a step toward her, but she was restrained by Denise who had returned the questioning look by Melinda. The dark skinned woman gasped and yet she nodded in reply, reading the serious look quickly. The others cast a speculative glance Denise too in surprise.



"I'll explain in a few minutes." Denise promised, turning to raise her arm into the air and wave wildly at the trio that stood on the gantry. They wildly waved back to the waving young women, who laughed loudly at them and their friends who they hoped to see again in a few weeks, victorious.



A half hour ago, before their arrival at the airfield, they sped to the airfield via air car from Central Hospital and EDC Headquarters. As Denise piloted the car, Angie stared out the window of the air car, staring at the rapidly passing scenery of the city passing them by. They were on their way to the airfield to give a brass and emotional send off to their friends, who would be taking on the mission to Aquarius.



They sat in the car, holding Hawaiian leis on their laps, laughing and talking a mile minute about life so far in the twenty-third century and what they experienced serving in the military. Angie had not been listening, her gear already on the Tarmac ready, after briefly going to the Headquarters early that morning. She had spoken to General Singleton and his aides about volunteering for the mission, that was about to depart in a few hours. She had been approved for the assignment change.




Now that was over, and Angie had to decide how to tell her friends about her volunteering for the Aquarius mission. She had her reasons, and the young woman could not quite come out and tell them what truly was happening to her. Denise piloted the craft smoothly, and the others did not notice her silence at first. They spoke her name several times and she did not answer. They finally turned and regarded her in silent surprise



"Somethings amiss." Amy murmured, "Something has got her down, or just pissed off."



"For sure." Melinda whispered back.



"I'd better tell Denise and the others that I am leaving with the team." Angie thought, "She won't understand, as General Singleton and the others did. I certainly shocked them." She turned her head when the air car stopped and pulled into a space near the landing field.



The group vacated the vehicle and stood at the edge of the landing field, watching as two Astro-fighters streaked up into the sky. All had a smile on their faces at the sight, and cast a speculative glance to the fighting line at the Astro-fighters and other aircraft of several types that were parked on the field. 



"Wow look at the lines on that fighter, what a sweet sight." Melinda mused, "I can't wait till we get to that part of the training. I know I am going to have fun with that."



"Me too." Emily agreed.



"Denise, can you come over here for a moment?" Angie asked, interrupting the chatter between her friends. They all looked at each other and Denise nodded.  They actually were surprised to hear Angie speak, after the car ride and her brooding silence, in which they had wisely left alone.



"Sure Angie, what's up?" Lieutenant Watson asked, and she walked toward her.



"Stand fast, the rest of you." Angie exclaimed sharply, "It will only be a moment." Denise's eyebrows rose when she snarled at the group and nodded sharply to the young Captain. They stood speaking in low tones on the other side of the parked air vehicle.



"I'm going on the assignment with Major Miller, and Sergeant Major Perry." She whispered, "I volunteered and General Singleton said it was okay."



"You're what!" Denise gasped, staring at Angie's hard and determined look on her face.



"If this is a joke, you can see I am not laughing."



"I can't be without him, the Major and I had a slight life change here, and we have to be together." She stammered, making Denise raise her eyebrows.



"He said to stay on Earth." Denise said, "Why are you volunteering for a possible suicide mission. What do you mean you volunteered and you have to be with him? You are not making sense."



"I-I…" Angie began, tears forming in her eyes, swooning slightly, pausing to wipe her eyes, "I'm preg…nant." Her voice seemed to fail and she cleared her throat. "It's his Denise, it is Nathaniel's. I have to be with him, he is planning not to come back."



"Oh my god… Does anyone else know? H-how do you know? No way! He wouldn't do that… Would he?” Denise’s flurry of questions assaulted her all at once, and Angie stepped back.



“Angie that is no reason to get killed with him, if his mission is to get himself whacked in a suicide mission. You should stay on Earth, besides if he does come back, he will still have you here and your kid to have together. He needs you here, and alive!"



"I know." Angie said, "The trouble is that he doesn't know and I have to tell him in person, even if I take on the mission and stay on the ship. At least he might reconsider his plan and return with the others."



"You can't be serious."



"I am deadly serious." Angie whispered, glancing at the others for a moment as they moved toward them, "Do me a favor and don't tell them until I am gone, keep it to yourself. That goes for the General's office, they don't even know."



"Oh my god…" Denise whispered, embracing her friend, "You should stay here with us, I don't want you to go. Give me one good reason why I should agree to this."



"I want to go, and I will see to their safety, being their eyes and ears on the ship." Angie promised.



"You can't guarantee that, if he has already made up his bloody mind." Denise said, almost shouting and she calmed down.



"I know. Don't worry I am not going to be on the ground with him." Angie said, "If something happens, remember we care about all of you, but I couldn't stand to be alone. It would tear me apart."



"You won't be. You will have us." Denise replied hotly, and she saw the flushed face of her friend, reaching out to grasp her arm. Melinda and the others clustered around them.



Shaking her head Denise cleared the images of their discussion, meeting the questioning look of Melinda as she held out her arm to hold her back. Nodding Melinda saw the sad look on her teammate's face but had read the look on her face too, understanding immediately, as the look told he what was happening. The young woman and her friends were horrified at the look she had given them. Angie ran to the ship, with the Lieutenant close behind.



Manual and Nathaniel both stared at the silent young woman who stood before them. Both ignored the salute by the Captain, as she held the bag on her shoulder. She grimaced at the expression and his response. She produced a yellow slip which they both recognized, a command orders slip. He took it and both scanned it quickly. The Major and Lieutenant nodded to her after a moment in understanding. She embraced him with a pleased smile. Standing at the gantry, Manual and Nathaniel both stood at the door and turning their head they both raised their arms to wave at the departing young trio. The group waved back once more before they walked away from the Star Cruiser that was about to depart for battle. 



Stepping into the gantry, and passing through the hatch, the twenty-four marines saluted Ihsss T'Larra and Felonious Purrtz who stood inside as they passed them.



"Is this it?" Ihsss asked, and Major Miller nodded in reply.



"This is it, Captain T'Larra." He said, "It is with our thanks."



"Do me a favor, and win." Ihsss declared solemnly with a nod of her reptilian head, "So we can all go home." She studied the young woman who stood diligently at his side.



"What is this?" Ihsss asked, "I thought it was only twenty-four Space Marines, and since when did it get co-ed, as you humans call it." She read the hard look of the young Captain, and she sensed something different about the young woman that she could not put a finger on.



 "I see. Please." Ihsss motioned to the young woman, placing a hand on her shoulder for a moment as she nodded to her, "No offense young Captain… Uhmm,"



"Captain Angie Stethem." She prompted, and Ihsss nodded.



"Welcome aboard the Magellanic Clouds. She told her, "Although, I am puzzled why you are here."



"Thank you." Captain Stethem replied with a smile and a quick nod of her head. She took up a flanking position at the Major's elbow.



To answer your question Commander T'Larra, yes, there should be, but there was sudden and strange change of duty stations." He glanced at Angie who was smiling. "There is something I want to discuss privately, however, Captain." He told her and she glanced at him in genuine surprise.



"And what is that Major?" She asked, and he motioned her over to the nearby bulkhead with Felonious. He glanced at Manual who took a step toward him.



"Carry on with the loading procedures and billeting. Assist the team getting squared away and their gear stored." The Major ordered and Manual nodded, turning to direct the others down the corridor.



Angie held back and he motioned to her. "It's okay, we will be billeted together." He told her, "Carry on and give any help you can to that Lieutenant, uhm… What's his name?" He began and she smiled, giggling quietly.



"Lieutenant Kino Minezati?" She prompted with a big smile and nodded, reading his serious look. "Aye, Major."



Standing near the bulkhead, the young Captain watched as he stood there, described the situation that happened and the murder of his friend, who had died in service of Earth. He suggested time travel and the right to attempt to right a wrong that happened for the sake of the love and loneliness of a young woman. He asked if the Clouds would be capable of such a jump, making Ihsss and Felonious wince and grimace at the suggestion. Nathaniel painted a very vivid picture of the situation and what had happened. He had shown them several good reasons why he wanted to attempt it, and a few good reasons why it would be feasible; despite it was for one man.



"You want to do what?" Ihsss asked, peering at the Major like he was crazy, "That would never work we would tear time up if we changed one bit of history that happened already. It would not be feasible for just one man." Felonious gave the Major the lecture of the Paradox.



"The hell with all that, it's for one man and for an incident that should never have happened. It is also for the love of a young woman who should have died but was given the grace of life over a mistake. I don't think its right, and if we have that capability to change history to the positive, I am up for some crazy shit for trying."



"We can make such a jump but it is so unethical." Ihsss said in a soothing voice, "We could destroy time and we would all not be able to go home. I don't want to stay in this century more than I have to."



The Major realized she was a firm believer of not trying the wild and crazy, even if it were a great plan and could be executed without destroying the time stream. He realized that the Captain of the Clouds was not going to go for it or listen to reason. She was very conservative in her judgment and the activities of her ship.



"…Keep up this crazy stuff and you will destroy yourself, you understand?" Ihsss was saying and she put a hand on the Major's uniform, making him look up to nod slightly. He had not heard a word that she had tried to tell him.



"I know it's hard to lose someone, I watched a civil war on my planet and my family butchered." Ihsss said, "I understand your loss, but it can't be done with a lot of risks, and one is us getting home.



"Damn it, I had to try." The Major said warmly, hefting his bag and saluting.



"Thanks for at least listening to the idea." He told her, "Please excuse me, as I see to my team."



"Thank you and please do… Major." Ihsss said, as he passed her, to join the others down the corridor.



"Stand by to take off." Ihsss said into the intercom, "Close gantry and prepare of lift off. Secure ship for space detail."



Outside the massive Star Cruiser the gantry lifted and folded neatly into the side of the ship. A low hum sounded on the Tarmac as ground personnel moved back. The engines rumbled and smoked as thrust was applied and slowly the ship moved upward. There was a cheer by the men around the ship as it rose up into the sky, higher and higher. On the bridge, Ihsss sat in the command chair.



"Take us up in a twenty-five meter climb." Ihsss ordered, "Full thrust." The ship rose higher and faster as it moved forward to climb into the sky. Down in their quarters, the team was strapped in after securing their gear. Nathaniel and Angie winced at the pressure against their bodies as they sat strapped in, and the ship rose up into the sky. Both remembered their first time in space, in which they had defended Earth on a rushed catch up learning, and having to learn the ropes the hard way. They grimaced as they sat in their seats, both holding hands. Nathaniel glanced at Angie who was smiling.



"I hope like hell we don't have to go through that again." The Captain thought, already switching into the green and black uniform of the Space Marines. Angie sat beside the man she had been a friend to, a stasis member comrade, and now whom she had fallen in love with.



 Sitting on the bridge, the Insectoid helmsman and the bridge crew worked at their consoles to pilot the ship. There was a quiet rumble as the ship began to shake, passing through Earth's atmosphere. Outside, the nose and skin of the ship glowed red as the friction of gravity intensified upon its surface. The bridge crew remained at their seats as the ship passed into orbit.  Ihsss, seated in the command chair, managed a smile. She was never affected by the passage into gravity, landing and taking off from many worlds they had visited in their travels. She was smiling openly, impressed by the smooth handling of her ship through Earth's thin atmosphere, and how well her crew maintained control of the ship.



Veloxa turned to Ihsss when the console beeped accusingly at her. "Orbit velocity achieved," Veloxa said, "Orbit accomplished."



"Make one orbit and head toward the Earth task force outside the SOL System."  Ihsss ordered, "Make for impulse speed, fifteen space knots, for Earth sector only after we orbit once."



"Aye, Captain." Veloxa said, touching the console.



"Inform Earth Defense Command of our departure and making all speed to get underway to the fleet."



"Aye." Hi'Mthss said, touching the buttons on her console but Ihsss hardly heard her slurred words, reporting their status. She was nervous of this battle to come and wondered if this tactic was going to work. It had been planned by the human Major, who had come from a time long passed. He is an unusual person to the reptilian woman, never seen anyone like him ever in her travels that had come through time and space. He was quite intelligent for someone who had come from the winds of history to be in charge and understand the mechanics for technology such s stasis. Even more unusual, that he would be able to make adjustments to a battle plan, when he was clearly not from the current military or current day. She wondered about him.



Ihsss thought of his words and she cocked her head. His flared fanatical opinion was a bit overwhelming and yet she wondered if they did that, they could actually right the wrong he spoke of. Her crew had seen the touching scene between the Sergeant Major and the Major with the two young women that embraced them. She smiled at the sight of both of them, who both laid a passionate kiss on the two men's lips. Ihsss wondered about the rest of the stasis group, who had defied history, the odds, and time itself.



"It certainly would right a wrong that happened, and bring together and home a lost soldier who was a brave man with a young woman who loved him." Ihsss thought, understanding love and admiring that emotion.



She understood the concept of love even though it had been a long time. Here she thought of her family back home on her planet. People she loved that were butchered, after being separated by the green group of her race all because their skin color was different from theirs. She wondered if she could change history one day and take the same risk to save her family. It was worth a shot. He had suggested it and his notion put the hook in her.



The reptilian Captain also wondered what was up with the young human female Captain, who had joined the party on what could be a suicide mission. She did not know of the secret that she held, which would hold in the balance life or death of a certain young officer.



"Captain, one orbit achieved." Veloxa said, turning to glance at Ihsss who was deep in thought.



"Captain?" Veloxa said, glancing at Felonious who looked up from his console.



"Ihsss?" He asked and she shook her head with a snort and turned her head to regard her crew. "I'm fine. Break orbit and make fifteen knots."



"Aye." Veloxa said, "Leaving Earth's orbit."



The sound  of the engines could heard on the bridge as the ship thrust forward and it moved from the safe orbit of Earth into the stars of open space.



"We are free and clear to navigate." Thyrac announced beside her, "Plotting course to join their fleet." The ship turned smoothly to avoid the moon, and continued into the depth of space.



"Very well."  Ihsss' said, "Departure angle on viewer."



"Aye… Switching to departure angle on viewer…" Veloxa replied as he hit the switch and the blue glow of Earth moved way as they left orbit into deep space.



"Switch the viewer, to standard ahead."



"Standard ahead, aye," Thyrac replied, and the familiar stars appeared on the screen.



"Long Range Sensors indicate fleet moving at one, eight zero, mark four." Felonious replied, the hum of the sensors echoing across the bridge, "They are three sectors over from SOL… Sector four." 



"Very well, prepare to warp to their location, and upon arrival, match course and speed." Ihsss replied, "But give them a wide berth, we don't want to crowd them."



"Making parallel course, one, eight, zero mark four." Thyrac announced, his claw-like hands dancing across the console.



"I will make my speed, fifteen space knots when we come along side after warp." Veloxa added and she turned to not to Ihsss, "Engaging course."



"Don't warp until we have reached the outer planets of this system." Felonious cautioned, "We don't want to be warping until we plotted this system. We might warp into a star or a planetary body."



"Very well." Ihsss replied, "Continue exit trajectory to the edge of the solar system."



Outside in space the ship moved rapidly toward the edge of SOL, where the fleet from Earth, the task force assigned as the diversion slowly moved toward Aquarius. On board the ships, the crews manned their positions, ready for battle as seasoned veterans were called with the new recruits to face this new enemy. The Clouds moved at medium speed, dodging and darting through the asteroid belt near Jupiter, the whole time as Felonious plotted the system, navigating the destination warp point to the Earth fleet.



In the quarters shared with the young Captain named Angie Stethem: Major Miller stood in the spacious interior of the room. It is here he moved slowly, fluidly, as he practicing the motions of Aikido and Tai Chi in order to relax himself of his anxiety. Captain Stethem, as he moved smoothly in the complex motions, had turned over from the bunk where she was laying and watched in perplexed silence.  Angie had never seen anything so beautiful, the motions smooth and graceful, not knowing he had once been a martial artist long ago. He did not tell her many things since their awakening, reunited with each other way back a couple of centuries ago. There had been no time. She smiled when he finished the form.



It had been a mad rush to get them ready for stasis, even during their training. Then the unthinkable happened a terrorist bomb destroyed the chamber with everyone in it after Angie and Nathaniel were placed first in their chambers. They could only watch as the carnage swept through the chamber as the other ten people, techies and scientists were slaughtered. They watched helplessly as they drifted off. Then later, after awakening, still partially ill, they had been reactivated and rushed through catch up learning to be assigned to a Destroyer that had escorted the Yamato against the Dinguil Empire. Here Nathaniel and Angie had earned their place in the EDC, both showing extraordinary bravery and excellence at the jobs they were learning. 



They had only a few minutes, in the last few months, to talk and catch up. They had becoming heated lovers after he had showed his bravery many times for the service of Earth. Angie did not want to lose him, not then, and even now. She had something she needed to tell him, and volunteering for this mission was the only way in which she could accomplish that. She did not want to be alone. The young man, whom she had fallen in love with, was his stasis comrade and a classmate from her old school a long time ago. It had been a long time apart where decades passed, having left when he was a freshman in their High School called Bellbrook. They were reunited when the stasis project had come around in 2001. Then it was centuries as they slumbered in their chambers. Otherwise duty and their assignments seemed to get in the way of their personal lives.



"What is that? What the hell are you doing?" She asked, having to ask the question because she had never seen something like that before in her travels. The young officer turned his head and nodded his head.



"Sorry, did not mean to wake you." Nathaniel told her lamely, and she shook her head quickly. He reacted to her frown, sensing her disapproval of what he was doing. The Major grimaced at her reaction.



"I wasn't sleeping." She informed him, "I have a bit of a headache and I thought if I could close my eyes for a bit, it might go away. Anyway what is that you are doing?"



"Oh, it's just the forms from martial arts, I learned a long time ago." He said, "It is the forms, from Aikido and Tai Chi, it is rather relaxing."



"Oh." Angie replied, "Well heck you should have told me, I could gave you a back massage to relax you, Hun."



 Here, the young woman hopped off the top bunk bed, landing solidly on the floor and hitched her butt on his bunk. She smiled at him and yet the Major grimaced at the smile. He is unsure what and why she was here with him, even though they had served together aboard a Destroyer during the Dinguil War. This mission could be a suicide mission and he did not understand why she had chosen to die at his side, if they all were killed trying to destroy Aquarius. She reached out and touched his shoulders, gripping them, rubbing them briskly. He managed a quiet smile at the massage.



"I'm glad to see you are here Angie." He told her, "But I don't think you should have come with me on this mission. You are working in the Headquarters on Earth, and doing your part being safe. This might be a suicide mission we are on and where everyone might not come back. It does not make sense for you to needlessly risk yourself."



"I volunteered." She said, "The Commander remembered my service against the Dinguil, and I just cannot let you and Manual get yourself clobbered without me. You can't leave me alone now despite we've been together through hell and back. I thought my place would be better at your side, at least to give moral support, my council and my outstanding computer skills to be your eyes while your team is on the ground. You need me, and I really need you right now."



"You're crazy." The Major told her, and she shook her head, "I wanted you all to survive and you are crazy to risk yourself needlessly. You would have lived longer if you stayed on Earth." Nathaniel paused, sensing the anger in his tone and he closed his eyes to let himself calm down.



"Jesus there is no need to be angry." He thought, and the Major frowned, "Sorry babe."



He then thought about her reply and her statement. He managed a frown.



 "You really need me right now? What do you mean you really need me right now? Are you that horny? Jesus…"  She grinned at the second part of his question, sensing he was trying to make humor.



"Of course, but that's not why I have come." Angie countered and he stood waiting for her explanation.



"Nathaniel, you and I did went together through some hell times with training, then stasis and that war that we got pushed into." She started, "You and I did something together by chance and it was very good. Something happened, I don't want you to do anything crazy or lose you right now."



Angie replied with a serious look on her face, and she silenced him with a look when he began to protest. He then realized she was talking about their brief encounter in the sack after almost dying to bravely assist those injured in an explosion where he charged into the blaze.



 "Because… I really have fallen in love with you." Angie declared solemnly, "You know that, and you big goof ball, my now love of my life. I-I… am…" She began and met his frowning face, as her voice trailed off. She cleared her throat. "I'm Preg…nant Nathaniel…" 



The Major gasped loudly, so loud that it echoed the room. He stared at her dumbfounded, unable to speak, astonished her revelation.



"If you re wondering and trying to say no, I can guarantee that it's yours, you are the father and I did not want to be… alone without you, so I volunteered. If you go, I go, for this mission and support what you are planning to do, even if it is your plan on not to come back to me." He let out a gasp again, and it again was so loud, it echoed the whole room. Nathaniel stared at Angie who nodded her head multiple times.  Her look said it all.



"Oh my, good god!" He exclaimed loudly, as she stood up and he moved in to embrace the young woman, putting his loving arms around her. Nathaniel held her tightly as she literally sobbed into the arm of his uniform making it wet.



"Jesus, I love you." Angie told him and he gasped again, stepping back to regard the loving gaze she cast upon him.



"I-I love you too Angie, I-I didn't know." He stammered, "You could have told me over subspace, in a private transmission you know." 



She managed a shrug as he embraced her, holding her tightly against him. The Major fought back the silent emotion as he held her, not wanting to tell her what he planned after the mission to Aquarius. He did not want to let her know that it was a one way ticket in which he would not return, and what he would be doing with the Clouds. He would save a hero and switch places with him, only to be still safely on Earth at Headquarters with her. Angie, he realized, already seemed to know. He did not know they had made a child when they had sex not long ago in this new century. Nathaniel was clearly disturbed and startled, not knowing what he would do now when it came to the choice he was going to make.



"Jesus. How long are you along then?" He asked, and she moved back to look into his one eye. Behind her, a buzzer sounded, and he looked up at the door with a grimace, before she could answer. Angie turned her head too.



"Come!" He said sharply and the doors opened, allowing Doctor Fallora Platt to enter with the young reptilian Commander. Behind them, the youthful Lieutenant, his second in command and Sergeant Major Parry entered behind them. The Major smiled, despite the unwelcome intrusion.



"Major, we have to talk." Fallora Platt said, waving a tentacle at him, "You sly human."



Nathaniel eyed Ihsss who was beaming with delight with a huge smile on her reptilian features. The Major noted the same expression of shock and surprise, on the group he was leading. 



"Then pull up a bulkhead Doc, Captain T'Larra, Sergeant Major, Lieutenant, me casa is your casa." The Major said with wide-stance and low bow, grinning ear to ear at them. They all stood near the bulkhead for a moment, until Manual hitched himself on the table. Kino stood next to him, all with smiles on their faces. They had been told by Fallora about Angie and had all come to call him on his decision to let her stay on or not. He had the deciding factor of overruling them, being in charge of the mission.



"We must really return Captain Stethem to Earth immediately. We have changed course and will be rendezvousing with the S.S. Hilo." Ihsss said, "Fallora here examined the records sent from Earth, and scanned her unknowingly during a routine visit after she came on board. He had a suspicion and discovered she is pregnant!"



Major Miller glanced at the beaming faces of Manual and Kino who stood nearby and both, handed together, a whole box of cigars, which he took and glanced at it with a grin.



"The fat lady has not sung yet." He said deadpan, and there was a chuckle from the two soldiers from his group. Ihsss and Fallora glanced at them, unsure what he meant by that.



"In this case, the fat lady has sung, and this is your victory dance." Kino told him, putting a cigar in his mouth as did Manual. Kino turned to offer a cigar to Ihsss and Fallora who looked at it distastefully. Manual pulled out his lighter, lighting the end up making it glow bright orange. The Sergeant Major lit the end of Kino's cigar and then to the Major who bit off the end and nodded.



"No thanks, we don't smoke if that's what you are doing, not like that. Anyway, we requested a Destroyer to meet us from Earth and transfer her over, and evacuate her from the ship. Your command has agreed to this move because they were not informed either and the orders have been rescinded for Captain Stethem. She is to return to Earth immediately." Ihsss declared, "I don't know what you were trying to pull by allowing her to come with you, but I… we just can't allow something to happen to her on your mission. It wouldn't be…" He silenced her with a wave of the hand.



"I already know the situation, Captain T'Larra." Nathaniel replied, "I did not know until just a few minutes ago. I have talked it over with her and we both are in agreement with the request you made, and the orders that are to return her to Earth."



"Hot damn you are going to be a dad Major!" Manual said, "May I say congratulations, even though it kind of a distraction from our mission."



"Yeah it's a big surprise, even for me." He replied, "Not to worry, I have already given orders to supplement the sent orders from Headquarters."



"H-how did you know?" Ihsss asked suddenly, and the human Major shrugged.



"I have been in close contact with the EDC. It is per my orders given to me that I report every move and distance to Aquarius." He said, "My laptop has a transceiver in it. Sorry, I should have told you that."



"No, I understand, you have to report and do paperwork too." Ihsss replied with a smile, "I can bet this made a lot more for you." Nathaniel laughed and he nodded. 



"So how long have you known Angie anyway?"



"We have known each other a long bloody time. He said, "We met a long time ago when I ended up in Ohio. We were classmates in the same Junior High, then later High School for three years. We lost contact after I returned west, where you know the rest, Wilcox with You and Amanda. We met again in 2001, when I stumbled across her in the mission for stasis, a couple of years after I joined the service."



Angie smiled at Nathaniel and the group.



"Jesus, you went through two hundred years to get to this point?" Kino asked and he shook his head, "That's a long time."



"I was surprised to meet him again." Angie told the group. "Also very pleased, He had changed a lot from the geeky boy he once was."



"Were we ever that young?" Manual joked and there was a ripple of laughter by everyone. Even Ihsss and Fallora had chuckled, remembering back on their respective planets a long time ago, before the Cybertron came and changed everything. 



"We will be meeting up with the Hilo." Ihsss said, "In an hour."



"Outstanding." Nathaniel replied solemnly, "We will be ready. The EDC Command has a full report already." 



"Also if you are still up for that ride after the mission, I'm all for it." Ihsss said, "The crew is willing to take the risk with you and your god's speed to us all."



"What is she talking about?" Angie demanded, "I said to not do anything crazy. I won't leave if you are going to do something crazy." 



The reptilian Commander grimaced when she sensed she had said the wrong thing, but she had been clear to offer the trip into the past as Nathaniel had requested. He and Clouds crew would right a wrong doing by the Cybertron, in order to save a life.



"It is okay, Angie." He told her, "It isn't crazy, it's the most damn sensible thing I ever thought of, and it's going to work. You just have to trust me, but for now, this is an order. Please gather your gear, report to the Hangar deck when its time and transfer to that tin can so you can return to Earth. I will see you later, just trust me." Manual and Kino were grimacing.



"What is she talking about, sir?" He asked and the Major shook his head,



"Encoded orders, I am not at liberty to discuss them at this moment, you will know when I am ready."



"I refuse to go sir." She replied, "I want to stay here with you. Please Nathaniel. Remember what Amanda and Emily told you guys, no heroics." Her eyes filled with tears and he could see her distress but he shook his head.



"Angie." He said, his tone silencing her, "Please. You have our kid to look after, best you return to Earth. Don't worry I will be back, as I promised. I am not going to do any heroics and get myself killed. "



Ihsss glanced at the Captain who was shaking her head. A thump hit the ship and it threw everyone to the deck. Another one threw them hard against the bulkhead nearby and onto the deck. A whistle sounded on the intercom on the wall.



"Bridge to Captain… Red Alert! The ship is under attack!" The voice was the feline First officer.



Another strike threw everyone to the deck again as the klaxon sounded in the corridor. The hatch opened and smoke permeated the air. Everyone ran out, Nathaniel motioned her back. He grabbed a fire device and fought the flash fire that appeared in the hall with the other Marines throughout the ship. Manual and Kino ran out too, all charging the flames that filled the corridor. There was a rumbling of the main guns as they fired back at the enemy and the lurch as missiles were fired at the target that was attacking.



 Meanwhile as the fire fight continued, Nathaniel bravely assisted the ragtag crew to put the fire out and save the ship. The battle outside raged for several minutes as the Cloud's main turret lanced out with the lethal beams and they struck the shields of the Cybertron. Torpedoes and missiles were launched, making an explosion of mushrooms sprout from the enemy vessels before each disappeared in a flash.



When it was over, Ihsss on the bridge, called condition yellow that would keep the crew on alert while the ship remained ready, and slowly made its way toward the sector for their rendezvous with the Earth Destroyer that would take Angie home. Nathaniel turned to his lover as she motioned for him to come to her. He nodded, walking toward her as she took his hand and led him of the doorway of their quarters. She embraced him after the door closed behind them. Major Miller met her look silently and he grimaced as he stood before her, watching her slip her arms inside her tunic.



Outside the ship in space, the ship continued on its course, heading across sectors and star clusters to approach the fleet massing at the sector outside Aquarius. t is the legendary water planet that by this time was well over ninety parsecs from SOL and Earth.  Their escort, however, to take Captain Stethem back to Earth, would be meeting them at least three sectors away from their current position. They both stood in their assigned quarters staring into each others eyes.



"If you are going to do something crazy…" Angie said, "At least make love to me before you hit Aquarius, and you plan to not return."



He stared at Angie in astonishment, clenching his jaw when he realized he was found out and it finally turned into a smile as he stepped further inside their quarters. Manual and Kino were outside fighting the remnants of the fire and had smiled as he walked toward her. They cast an amused glance at each other. She had been perceptive by his response to Manual and Kino, suspecting that what he planned would keep him from returning to Earth, if not right away. He had another agenda, in which he would be risking time and space with the Cloud's crew.



Inside their quarters he spilled the beans what he planned and she stared at him with tears in her eyes. Angie nodded to him as she stripped off her tunic, revealing her 25C breasts under a sports bra. She pulled off the trousers and lay back in the bunk. Angie sat up motioning to him, putting her hand over his mouth, making him grin, as he began stripping off the uniform. The Major flipped up the boots into his hands, a maneuver he saw done a long time ago by a comedian named Steve Martin. It made her laugh. He put them on the floor, quickly stripping down to his boxers. She opened her arms as he dove into the bunk and Angie giggled quietly.



"I plan to ambush an ambush and save Seth's life for Emily's sake." He told her, "Magellanic Clouds is already on Earth at that time you were all attacked, If I play this right, I will surprise attack the Cybertron and hopefully change that event. He will survive and we will still be on Earth and all of us, safe and sound. This timeline will cease to be, but I will be smart and put a note to myself and a standing order to meet you all at that bar where we will all had dinner. We still will be contracted for the assignment, but if we do this right, we will have won the fight."



"That sounds complex do you think it will work?"



"I hope so, we will save Seth and Emily won't be alone." He told her, and Angie nodded. "We will have won the fight, the explosives will already be set before the Cybertron get there and all we have to do is to make it go boom!"



"You won't know about my child though, will you?" She asked, "Do me a favor and put it also in an order, ordering me to Medical. I want you to know quickly." He nodded quietly to her request, and stared into her eyes.



"Meanwhile, do me." She told him lustily, "For the next hour my love." He grimaced as they both lay back in the bunk. An hour later, Angie and Nathaniel lay together in the bunk, holding each other tightly, snuggling against each other, and both smiling after a lengthy love making session. He placed a hand on her abdomen and he glanced at her and she read his look quickly.



"I am a two months pregnant Nathaniel." She told him, "Doctor Sane does not know, but Fallora knew right way. I am hoping it is a girl, a daughter for you to be driven crazy when she starts dating. It will keep you young." Here he laughed, and held Angie warmly against him.



"Or maybe a boy, so he can serve like his old man and be a hero of Earth too. Keep up being a sexy stud image, and a chip off the old block." Nathaniel countered. Angie laughed this time, and narrowed her eyes.



"Oh no!" Angie replied sternly, "Whatever the sex, they will not serve. I want them alive and well, if you are going to leave me here alone."



"Don't worry Angie I am not going to leave you alone, if this works. If not, I have a plan 'B', a plan 'C' and even a Plan 'D'." He told her solemnly, "I am not going to needlessly get myself killed, but if it happens, where I have to sacrifice, know that I love you dearly and always will." Angie glanced at him with her mouth open. A look of fear appeared on her face.



"You really are serious!" She gasped, "You're not coming back!" Angie stared at him, "Please don't lie to me, and try to candy coat it. Tell it to me straight."



"I have been working on this since Seth died and I learned about the Clouds and her crew." He replied, "I want and I will succeed. I swear it. If it happens, and if it the only way to save his life, then I am willing to sacrifice for him. This timeline will cease if I am successful, and we will both still be together in the new timeline, safe and sound, as a family. I am working on alternate contingency plans, just in case though." A whistle sounded from the intercom nearby, and it interrupted the Major's thought on the subject.



"Captain Stethem, report to hangar deck one in fifteen minutes, acknowledge." A voice hissed, and Nathaniel recognized it as H'Mthsss T'Larra, the youthful communicator who manned the Communications Station on the bridge. Ihsss' own daughter. Nodding, they both rose from the bunk, and she moved to the intercom to punch the button.



"Acknowledged." She replied starkly, and turned to quickly catch the blue and dark blue uniform of the Space Corps of Earth.



"I'd rather go back in the green and black one Nathaniel." She told him and he shook his head.



"It would be tasteful when you board the Destroyer to be your proper rank. After all, that is the assignment you will resume when you arrive home." He told her and she thought about it, shrugging slightly, frowning at him distastefully. After dressing, pinning on her ranking insignia and the rope marking her as an aide to the General, she walked toward the Major to embrace him warmly.



"Please succeed at your task, but do me a favor and come back." She told him, "So we can be a family. As Emily said, No heroics… But bring Seth back safely where ever you are going to find him."



"I will do my best." He said, "I don't know how it is going to play out and I hope it won't come to that."                                         



He walked with her down the corridor, carrying her gear to the airlock which entered the hangar deck. Nathaniel kissed her warmly, his arms around her as they said goodbye.  The Major peered into her eyes and returned the smile on her face as he watched her board a transport that would be used take her across open space.  He stepped on board with her for a moment.



"Do me a favor and do not mention it to anyone what I plan, it is a surprise." He told her and Angie grinned broadly, but she also nodded. "That goes for our kid too! I will try my best to see you on Earth, I promise you. But if not make it, be sure he/she knows all about me. What I did for their safety, and for Earth."



"You can count on that." Angie told him, "Damn it, I love you…" Angie had tears in her eyes as she stared at Nathaniel, "Why can't you let me stay?" She already knew the answer, however, and wished it was not as severe that it supposedly was.



"I love you more than you will ever know." He droned, embracing the young Captain before he stepped off the transport. The hatch closed behind him. He put on a helmet and the ship roared off the deck, across the expanse of space to enter the small dock of the Destroyer of Earth who silently slid up along side.



When they landed Angie smiled at the young humanoid who piloted the ship, the hatch opening to allow her to exit. The young Captain stepped off the transport, regarding the Captain of the Destroyer who approached through the nearby airlock.



"Captain Stethem?" He said and she saluted, nodding to him. He motioned to the crewman nearby. He grabbed her bags and she was led to the airlock nearby. As the hatch closed the outer door opened and the transport that brought her here departed and returned to the Clouds.



"All are aboard." He said, after picking up a phone nearby, "Head for Earth."



Outside the Destroyer's engines howled as it turned sharply, and the sleek ship moved among the stars. Angie moved to a view port and she saluted the Clouds that moved off into space, among the stars, disappearing in a flash as it warped.



"God speed Clouds." The Captain said, joining Angie at the view port and he motioned to her, "Report to the bridge Ms. Stethem." He said, and she turned head to nod to him.



 Walking behind the Captain, she disappeared through the hatch and into a corridor. Making her way to the elevator, she found herself quickly catapulted upward and the doors snapped open to reveal the bridge. Captain Yamazuki stepped on the bridge behind her, and he moved to the center seat. Walking forward she found a seat at the front console, to stand next to it. The crew glanced at her, eyeing the gold braid she wore on the uniform.  There was a low murmur of distrust on the bridge.



"Captain Stethem is an aide to General Singleton." The Captain told his crew, "That being, she is to be treated with the up most respect. All military courtesy is still in force, I remind you. She reports directly to the Commander, so I want a good clean trip home."



"Aye, sir." A choruses of voices replied, as she smiled and took her seat next to the Helm and Navigator.



"Make for best speed home." Captain Yamazaki ordered, "Set course to one eight five degrees, for entry to Pluto space."






There was a roar as the ship's engines howled and the ship lumbered through the star filled blackness of space, turning on its course to head to Earth. On board the ship, there was tension as the ship prepared for its next step in its journey.



"All hands, prepare for Warp." A voice on the loud speaker said and all preparations were made for the ship to power up. The crew throughout the ship buckled her down and fastened themselves in as there was a hum and the ship disappeared as it warped into the SOL sector around Pluto Base. When it arrived, Task force one was on hand patrolling the region of the outer solar system.



"Helm, set course zero, nine, five and maintain course for entering solar system." The Captain said, and the Helmsman nodded.



"Pluto Base confirms our entry code and our flight pattern into SOL." The Communications officer reported, as he turned to regard the Captain and the First Officer.



"Make top speed to Earth." The Captain ordered, and the helm hit the throttle making the ship catapult forward through the solar system at over twenty space knots. Angie glanced at the brave crew of the ship, and then back to the Captain who nodded to her in silence. They warped again to sector seventeen at Saturn Station where Battle Group Four linked up with the Destroyer, and they were escorted to Earth.



Back on the Clouds, Nathaniel sat in the quarters assigned to him and Angie for the short time together. He took up the tunic top of the black and green uniform that was issued to her and he held it. He grimaced as he held it, staring at the view port as the stars moved past and as the Clouds quickly made top speed to the Earth Fleet that slowly approaches the Sector where Aquarius lies. They approach the Battle group of the Cybertron, massing as an armada to attack Earth and the Cloud's target they are to destroy, hoping to win the battle ahead. 



At this moment, Nathaniel is deep in thought, thinking of the startling news that Angie had laid on him. It would be soon that he would be a parent, but hard to believe that it really happened. 



"I don't believe it." The Major thought, shaking his head in silence, "This is going to mess up the plan I designed and put to Captain T'Larra. It just made everything so damn complex."



He thought about it, managing a grim smile, in the back of his head about their relationship that happened when they were on the Base. He had traversed a fire to rescue several of EDC personnel, only to have the building explode after he had got most of them out.  She had screamed loudly, and tried to charge the rubble, shouting for him only to be met with several minutes of silence. It was not until he emerged wounded from the smoke only to be tackled by her. She had covered him with a flurry of kisses on his face, just like the Destroyer they had both been on during the Dinguil War a year ago. He had risked himself many times, to save several of the shipmates, and get them inside, taking several hits to his body.



After his recovery from his recent heroics, Angie had taken him to her quarters, and they had passionate love making session. The young woman had been thankful he was alive and well after such an ordeal. She had thought he had have died saving the day, and with his bravery to save others. Angie had decided to take him as a lover, even if it was a one-night stand, thankful that she would not be alone without him. That had been several months ago.



"I hope this time travel trip to save Seth is and can be one cleanly, and without sacrifice as I have a family now." He thought, "Hard to believe, but it happened, and would only be proper."



The Major grimaced at the idle thoughts and turned to nearby table where he walked toward and sat at to open his laptop. Written on a notepad, lying between the top and the keyboard, in Angie's handwriting, were the words "I love you, and god speed Nathaniel." He smiled and his laughter echoed his quarters.



Turning on the unit, he began dictating into the log file he had been keeping since their awakening from stasis, and in it he mentioned Angie's child. He also reported their status which printed neatly on the screen after dictating it. Reading it, he managed a smirk and he turned his attention to the door as a buzzer sounded. 



"Who is it?" He asked annoyed, looking up from the table he had made into a makeshift desk, and where he filed his report that would be sent to EDC Headquarters. The hatch opened revealing Kino Yamazaki, his second in command who held a bottle and three glasses.



"What is on your mind, Lieutenant?" He asked sourly, "You caught me at a bad time."



"Oh nothing, I just brought a glass of cheer with me." Kino replied with a smile, and with a clink of the glasses followed as he sat them down on the desk. It was followed by a thump as he put down the flask. Major Miller looked at the flask sourly.



"Illegal booze on board ship is against regulations, you know that." The Major said solemnly and Kino merely shrugged. A moment later, the buzzer sounded again, and Sergeant Major Perry entered, nodding quickly to the young officers.



     "Attention all hands, stand by for Warp." A voice said, and the Sergeant Major and the Lieutenant held on to the table as they felt the ship disappear into warp space. The Major frowned, as the youthful officer poured a shot into the glass.



     "Jesus, get that shit out of here."  He snarled tiredly, "I have a lot of paperwork to do and I need to rest."



     "Come on Major you need this and tell us what the plan is." The Lieutenant asked, I cannot allow you to jeopardize this mission or allow you harm in any way. I have to report to the EDC as you do, and I have to report this behavior and agenda you have cooking. The drink is for your recent situation."



     "You are at liberty to do so. It's nothing. You and the team will be returning to the Whirlwind and evacuating immediately from the sector. The Clouds and I will return right behind you, just as I said."



     "By splitting the team?" Kino asked, "Remember what Ms. Montgomery asked, no heroics."



     "There won't be." He told them, "Just relax and do this by the numbers. We're going to win. I have a good feeling about this. We are splitting the team, so I can stop the Cybertron by dropping an EMP, an Electromagnetic Pulse which should give us fifteen minutes to get the hell out of there."



     He eyed the shot glass and he picked it up, sloshing the brown contents in the glass.



     "Oh, what the hell…" Nathaniel muttered, opening his mouth, and thrust the contents into his mouth. The Major managed a grin as the alcohol burned his mouth and throat as he managed to swallow quickly.



     "Ah, a little bit of the old fashioned booze, I do believe we called Kentucky Bourbon, or a little bit of 'Jack'" He intoned, tapping the glass on the table.



     "Another round?"



     "Bet your ass. Good idea Lieutenant." He replied, "You're right, I did need it." Kino poured another shot and he held up a glass, Manual following suit.



     "So you would be coming back and not sacrificing yourself after all. You're just giving us a chance to warp out of there." Kino declared, after eyeing the report that he was given by Nathaniel. Manual also read as Kino scanned the document.



"Exactly, and we will be right behind you." He replied with a serious tone, "Making sure for a clean break."



     "For Angie, and your child," Kino stated, as he lifted the glass, and the Major grinned, "If anything happens, I will personally see they know what happened." 



"With thanks." Nathaniel replied, "It is Captain Stethem to both of you, though, please do not forget that."



     "Aye, Major."



     Together the trio stood drinking shots, and the Major glanced at his wrist.



     "After this, dismissed for the night. I have to finish my reports and we got a lot of traveling and training to do." He ordered, "I will see you tomorrow gentleman. Muster on the flight deck for calisthenics and inspection at zero, six hundred." 



     "You got it." Kino and Manual replied together, nursing their drinks as they shot the breeze for several minutes, mostly on baby names. There was great laughter, despite the sour mood the Major seemed to be in. They both sensed it that there was more to this tactic change that he was leading on, and their commander was not about to budge to tell them what was on his mind. It was dangerous, Nathaniel knew it, and so did Kino and Manual. There was always the possibility of something going wrong when it came to the EMP. A few minutes later, they exited his cabin, leaving him alone.  He dropped into his bunk with a sigh, trying to close his eyes, only to see disaster looming in his future in the way of this mission.



     The next morning the Major appeared in his athletic gear and he greeted the other Marines who now stood on the flight deck. They stood in formation and he returned the salute of the young Lieutenant with a nod. The Major nodded, sensing the group's readiness.



"Today is preparation for the mission at hand, and equipment final check." He ordered, "Let' get to a good workout and a bit of practice."  The others grinned as they stood there, "Begin."



For an hour they worked out on the flight deck, sparring in martial arts, exercising and toning up. They also sat on the floor the reviewed the mission objectives and the battle points in which they would be attacking. Ihsss happened to be walking by when they were sparring martial arts, with the first officer, Felonious and they paused to watch the humans in contest. Both strangers to Earth, they glanced at each other in confusion, heading toward the airlock door and into the bay. They thought there was battle happening aboard their ship and their intention was to stop it.



"What is going on here?" Ihsss demanded and the group stopped to meet the look of the reptilian Captain. They sensed her genuine snap of anger and glanced at each other as they stood in groups.  The Lieutenant grinned and he held up his hand as he approached Ihsss and Felonious.



"We're… It's just a little sparring Commander." He told her, and she frowned. He explained it quickly to the young reptilian who knew about hand to hand combat. It is one of the things they learned in her military, including flight and ship handling. She gasped aloud and smiled widely.



"Oh, you are exercising, I did not know you did hand to hand combat too… Please carry on then." Ihsss replied, finally recognizing the exercise gear and she stepped back to watch them.  A few minutes later the Marine group took a break, downing water and sat in a group as Major Miller stood in front of them, reviewing the mission briefing.



 Ihsss listened in, smiling as she nodded in agreement with the plan. She grimaced when he mentioned the team would be split, and they would be evacuating to the Whirlwind instead of her ship. On the transport behind Ihsss, they had brought aboard the pinch that would make the pulse happen. Ihsss herself examined the device and she grimaced with the use of such a device. She then realized what he was up to and she shook her reptilian head.



Ihsss thought back to the discussion when they had brought the EMP aboard, rolling it up the steep ramp by three uniformed specialists on a cart. They brought it aboard a few hours before they were to take off and join the fleet bound for Aquarius.  She had grimaced then, and still disapproved of the use of this device. She glanced at the young Major who stood with Lieutenant Kino Minezati who had a clip board, and the men both nodded when seeing the cart.



"Ah good, it came." He said with a chortle, "Mark it off the list."



     "What came?" Ihsss asked, stepping forward to face the men beside her feline first officer, Felonious Purrtz, "What's this equipment and what is it for?"



     The Major nodded a silent greeting to Commander T'Larra and her feline First Officer, Felonious.



"EMP pinch." He said, "Our guarantee of making it out alive." 



     "If that is what I think it is, it will disrupt the whole sector maybe two, we'll be helpless for several minutes before we can recover you. It might take the Cybertron down twenty minutes, but it will take us at least ten to restart even on emergency restart." Ihsss said, "I don't think you should need that if you set the charges right?"



     "I want a guarantee of elimination, when that planet goes it will reverse the whole sector into black hole." The Major said, "It will be last resort action to assist getting us the hell out of the sector before we blow the planet. As soon as your ship is active, recover me and I'll blow it. We need to be in Warp as soon as you are able."



     "There is no guarantee that the black hole will be limited to one sector." Ihsss said, "I don't like the idea of cutting it close in a race with an enemy armada to recover and get blasted on fifty to one." She complained, "Using that puts my ship and crew at risk, and your recovery too."



     "It is going to be much harder getting out, than landing on that damn planet Captain T’Larra." Major Miller said, pointing to the map on the screen. "Especially if we are compromised even before we get started. Things will get really ugly if our cover is blown, and make it more difficult to set those charges."



     The reptilian Commander grimaced but she nodded in agreement at the sentiment. They were going against all the odds, and trying to be covert would be difficult. She wondered if it would be the same thing when they got to the second part of their mission.



     "That will be for sure." Ihsss said, "If that happens, the Clouds will step in and start a ground assault and come down to evacuate all personnel."



     "We will have to take a whack at plan two." Nathaniel said, "The Earth ships will have to use the Wave gun and take a beating for one hundred and twenty seconds and hit the mine from above."



     "At fifty to one?" Ihsss gasped, "That's crazy, and they will be helpless as they change back over and have to power up for a Warp,"



     "Nothing else to be done."  He replied, "Unless one person sets them off, but it's a suicide mission."  



"However, if everything goes according to plan and we stay covert and as we are leaving, we will set off the EMP and knock out the fleet just long enough for us to detonate." Nathaniel said, "Our first priority will to stay covert."



     "Then we can take a whack at phase two of your brilliant strategy." Ihsss complimented, making the human Major smile, nodding to her formally.



     "Bah, it's not brilliant. It was the EDC tacticians that came up with the plan. I have been modifying it to make sure the damn thing will work, and I just go to make sure that it happens." He replied, "But you have my thanks."



     "Oh no, the other plan. It is the one where the ship warps into time and space to change history?" Ihsss replied gently, and he raised his eyebrows, smiling brightly as he bowed slightly.



     "Still not brilliant, but you have my thanks Captain." He told her and it was the reptilian Captain’s turn to smile. 



     "Let's get started then." Ihsss suggested, "We will be rendezvousing with your fleet within a couple of hours now. We will warp until we get there, using standard warp capability. Our engines that allow us warp speed are not working or we'd be there faster."



 Major Miller nodded with a smirk, thinking of Star Trek when she mentioned Warp Engines. Here, he managed a chuckle as he turned to the board that had been brought with them, specifically for their briefing. He went on with the briefing, and he nodded to the reptilian Captain's helpful tactical suggestions. The intercom whistled and it echoed through the landing bay.



"Bridge to Captain." The voice said, and Ihsss walked toward it, hitting the button. It was the feline first officer.



"Captain here."



"Warp completed, and we have reached rendezvous point Alpha, the Earth fleet is ten Mega meters from our position." Felonious replied, "Sector three one six. We have signaled the fleet and moving in at fifteen knots coming along the S.S Essex."



"Very well, keep me informed, I'll be on the bridge in a moment." Ihsss replied, hitting the button. Turning she regarded the Space Marines of the EDC Force.



"We have reached your fleet." Ihsss told them, "We will be heading to the planet and at drop point in twenty hours. From there we will prepare to attack."



"Very well." The Major replied, nodding, "We'll be ready."



"Hear that team?" He prompted, "Let's have a weapons check and all equipment checked out. We drop in twenty hours."



"You heard the man, let's get cracking." Manual said stiffly, and he nodded as equipment crates and cases were brought out.  They were promptly opened and inspected. Sergeant Major Perry hefted a SN-34 Astro-machine gun, with pulse clips and he began checking the sights and the clips. 



As the Lieutenant circulated among the group, he glanced many times over at the Major, who likewise made his way to the group, assisting as needed. He engaged in shooting the breeze with the Sergeant Major, who was his old school mate of long ago. Little did his second-in-command know, is that he already checked out his equipment that he would use on the mission. He did not know that the Major wore an equivalent of, what they called in his age, a Kevlar Vest under his tunic. Nathaniel remembered the words of Emily about 'no heroics' and he wore the vest to guarantee he would survive for the second part of the mission ahead. The part of the mission in which would be more dangerous than their landing on Aquarius.



He checked out the Astro-automatic pistol, he carried as a side-arm and the sniper rifle that he would be using to eliminate as over watch when they landed on Aquarius. He did it all in his quarters and other small arms he would carry with him.



"I hope like hell I can pull it off too." Nathaniel muttered, "So I can see Angie and our kid again." He thought of the plan, keeping it in his head, going every aspect of it in his head, over and over. He paced the office he occupied, back and forth as he moved his hand with each thought. The Major closed his eyes letting the images of Angie and their child fade from view as he stood in the exact center of the office.



Outside the ship plowed along through space, surrounded by Task force Two from Earth. The Clouds, Commanded by Ihsss T'Larra sat in the command chair, directing the bridge crew, keeping the ship on a steady formation as the radar crews kept their eyes on their consoles for any sign that the enemy had picked up their presence. 



"Incoming coded message from Command on the Aircraft Carrier, Essex." Hi’Mthss reported, "It is to all ships, they are requesting two way visual and split screen for all Commanders to sit in on the final briefing before attack."



"Very well." Ihsss replied, "Switch over and put it all on main viewer."



Hi’Mthss clicked the switch and the view screen all became split with the heads of the Commanders of the Task Force two ships.



     "First please introduce yourselves." A voice said, and everyone had a surprised look on faces when Ihsss' face popped up on the screen.  Each one introduced themselves.



     "Captain Ihsss T'Larra."  Ihsss said, "Magellanic Clouds."



     "This is just a pep talk, before we attack in t-minus eighteen hours from now. Welcome to Magellanic Clouds who will be joining us as the drop vessel for Alpha and Baker teams on the Aquarius surface." There was a murmured welcome by everyone on the screen.



     "How we are going to play this, is to be a distraction for the Cybertron, as the Clouds uses its cloaking device in order to covertly sneak in, orbit and drop the two teams that will be landing on the surface." A voice said, a chart appeared on the screen showing the ships and the pattern used by the task force.



     "Our ships will form a perimeter around Aquarius while fighter teams and the ships provide cover for the drop ship." The Admiral said, "When complete, an EMP will be used and when everyone is active again on emergency start, the fleet will immediately warp out of the sector to a safe distance, the sector will become a Tritium imploded black hole."



     "What happens if we cannot restart that quickly, and it is blown?" A voice asked, "We will be sucked into the black hole right?"



     "Affirmative." The Admiral replied, "Major Miller?"



     Major Miller's face popped on the screen, and Ihsss managed a toothy smile as she peered at the screen.



     "Major Miller, here." Nathaniel said into the speaker.



     "Major Miller is the one who is in charge of the drop and can answer all questions." The Admiral said, "He is the one who suggested the EMP and has modified the original plan for the drop. He is in operational control of his team."



     "Major Miller, Commander Tarazuki, here." The Captain said, "SS Nauru."



     "Go ahead."



     "What is the distance you will detonate the planet?" He asked, "And how many minutes after the EMP Pulse."



     "I will detonate the EMP after the ships are clear of Aquarius airspace and headed to the drop ship, the Clouds." He replied, "Will detonate charges and destroy planet after the fleet is clear, fifteen mega meters from the planet."



     "Once the planet goes into imploded black hole, it will draw in everything in sector. All enemy ships will be taken from the sector." Nathaniel said, "The fleet should be clear before I detonate. Don't worry about the Clouds… We will be right behind the fleet. I will be handling the detonation myself."



     "One man to detonate… It sounds dangerous." A voice said, as voices echoed across the channel.



     "I didn't know that." Ihsss thought and had gasped quietly, "But what bout Captain Stethem and their kid she's going to have?? He'll be killed and never see it."



     Ihsss wondered what else he had planned for the drop and the mission. It was bad enough using an EMP, and having to restart on emergency restart. Time would be crucial to recover him then warp out after they detonated the planet. It would be close, no matter how it was played, or done. There was a possibility the Major could be sucked into the black hole and killed. She hoped he had timed it perfectly in order to beat the odds. Shaking her head, Ihsss peered at the screen as the young Major filled in the battle group the details to the drop and their status. She hardly heard the information, deep in thought to what was to come as they traversed time and space.



When the briefing ended, Ihsss got up from her chair and stepped into the lift, leaving the bridge. She was on her way to see the Major, to express her worry about the drop onto Aquarius. The lift hummed as it plummeted downward and then stopped on level six. The doors opened and she stepped off and turned the corner into the hallway. Ihsss stood outside his quarters and composed herself before she hit the buzzer on the door.



     "Come!" A voice replied, and the doors opened allowing her to enter. Looking at the Major, he sat at his desk in front of his laptop as he worked on the daily paperwork associated with his command. He greeted her with a smile and a nod.



     "Captain T'Larra, what can I do for you?" He asked and she grimaced, walking toward the table that was a makeshift desk.



     "I'd like you to reassign someone else to detonate the planet." Ihsss told him, "You have a child on its way, and it is not a good idea if you get yourself killed if this does not go right. Please assign one of your team to do it, as you are not expendable, even though you seem to think so."



     "There is no one qualified who knows that pinch except the Lieutenant and I." Major Miller replied, "There is no time to fully train them on it and if I could, it would take a week. Don't worry, I am fully aware what will happen and have modified it to focus the pulse away from the task force. It will detonate and the pulse will go directly at Cybertron for maximum effect. I am not looking to get killed and know exactly what I am doing."  



     "Okay Major." Ihsss said, "After you detonate the pulse, you must be aboard in ten minutes. The fleet is going to withdraw, and we'll warp out as soon as you are aboard. Detonate the planet and we can get to our little rendezvous with fate."



     "Count on it, I'll be there with bells on." Nathaniel replied, "Best to setup a diversion too, so I will rig a little surprise for the Cybertron too."



     "The Earth fleet is going to give them hell, as you earthlings like to put it. I don't think it is necessary to have any surprises, just get the… HELL, as you humans say… out of there." Ihsss said with a smile and the Major laughed, nodding twice.



     "Excellent." He intoned, "I'll see you after the mission. Don't worry Captain T'Larra. I can definitely take care of myself. I am a tough bastard and very hard to kill. I have been shot at already and wounded in the line of duty and still managed to survive."



     Ihsss grimaced before she nodded, but his comment surprised her too. She knew he had served in the last war Earth had endured. The reptilian Commander had requested information about him and what she had had read, not getting very far in her research, that he had served excellently.



Ihsss was not sure that he was he right man from Earth for the job (having her doubts because he was from a different time) and had made that point to General Singleton and his staff. She read the EDC provided documentation, after requesting it, and his service in the twentieth/twenty-first century. The Commander learned of his exploits which included stasis. She quickly learned that he was one hell of an officer, a maverick, taking well to the military. She got a clear picture of what kind of man he was, confirming it by meeting and getting to know him personally.  



     "He is just damn brave for taking part in the battles, when peace broke down in his century and later volunteering for something like stasis." Ihsss thought, "Maybe he is the right man for the job, he certainly gets results, even if they are unorthodox methods."




  Ihsss did not know that he had risked himself to save many lives during his service on the Destroyer that had fought with Yamato in the Dinguil War. Many people died out of the nine ships that accompanied her, even though a few had escaped. She did not know that he had personally went out into the fire, to get as many wounded as he could inside to the ship's sickbay, before the Dinguil had sneak attacked the ship.



     "All right, Major." Ihsss replied after the long silence, "We'll be waiting at the rendezvous point, Beta three and ready to warp out after power up when you detonate the EMP Pulse. As you detonate the planet, we will warp immediately. You will have ten minutes to get to us. Ready your team, we drop in now six hours."



     "We'll be ready Commander."



     Major Miller turned back to his laptop and he quickly typed out his letter, one that would hopefully be sent to Angie who had returned to Earth. It would be a final letter to his young lover who he had sent home to Earth, sort of a last will in testament in which he gave specific instructions.



     He paused as he read the screen, checking his words carefully to the very thoughts he was having. Nathaniel told her that he loved her, and would see her soon. Every hour, however, as the planning continued for the second part of the mission came closer together, he realized that there was just no way to avoid what clearly had to be done, and to come.



It is on board the Clouds, as the time clicked down to four hours before attack time, the Major stood up and stretched, before gathering the equipment that he would be taking with him. He hefted the same sniper rifle as the as the Lieutenant, his aim to provide successful over watch for his team. A moment later, he walked toward and through the doors into the hallway, making his way quickly through the passages toward the hangar deck where his team now gathered.



     As he walked through the corridor, he shouldered the rifle as he passed many of Ihsss' ragtag crew, made up of several different races through the galaxy, displaced by the Cybertron in the future. They stared at the human Major in astonishment, moving aside to let him pass. There was the sound of applause, as the Major passed, and he managed a grim smirk as he walked through the corridor. More applause quickly followed him, as walked onward down the corridor toward his destination. 



     When he reached the hatch to the Hangar Deck, he stepped through it and into the cavernous bay here his team is assembled, bearing the gear that they readied themselves. Two landing craft were prepared for the drop, both teams loading the gear into each one. A moment later, the intercom whistled.



     "Captain to Hangar Deck." Ihsss said quickly, "Major Miller?"



     Nathaniel walked quickly to the wall, and to the intercom, where he hit the button "Major Miller, online."



     "I’m just going to wish you and your team good luck. We will see you in a few hours, with some great news."



     "Thanks Captain." Nathaniel replied, smiling slightly, "We will see you at rendezvous point Baker, three one two, in two hours. Hangar, deck out."



     Major Miller walked toward the drop ship in which he and his team would be leaving within the hour. He assisted the loading of the crafts, and the gear that would be used by his team when they reached Aquarius airspace. Especially for the one he would be piloting, bearing the EMP that would allow them a clear break, hopefully to return to the drop ship and the Destroyer Whirlwind that would be taking his team clear of the danger zone.



     "Okay team, let us saddle up and prepare to launch. We got a job to do." The Major ordered.



     "Yaaaa!" The Marines replied fiercely, gathering their stuff and prepared for launch. They charged the transport and they took their seats. Behind them the Major and Lieutenant stood before each other and shook hands. Manual put his hand on top of theirs as the trio stood for a moment together.



     "I'll see you on the surface and good luck to us all." Perry said with a serious undertone.



     "Damn straight, we're going to win." Kino said with a grin and Manual nodded.



     "I only wish Angie was here."



     "Don't get all distracted now, you'll see her again." Manual said sarcastically, "Damn officers and your women."



     Both men regarded the dead-pan expression of the Sergeant Major and they laughed. "Ready…. HUT! HUT! Yo!!"



     The men broke and they ran to their transports readying themselves for the battle to come.



Continued in Episode 5 -- Attack!




Yamato: The New Adventures… (Sequel to "Final" Yamato in Episode type format)

By Erwin Stevens


EPS 5 - Attack


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. Many forms of life are in the universe, and they live scattered throughout its cold vastness.



The speck that makes up our Earth is one such place, where wars have come, and have gone, leaving their mark. A solar system named "SOL" resides in a mere corner of the infinity of space, and so does the huge galaxy known as the Milky Way, where the SOL system resides. It is one of seventy such systems located here in the mere tip of this galaxy and in this solar system that nine planets orbit the single life-giving star. Living on the third one, an insignificant body called Earth is an advanced civilization known as human kind. 



It is far from Earth, that a battle is about to begin, on board the Star Cruiser Class Starship from the future that a team of twenty-four Space Marines ready themselves for battle. Their mission is to eliminate the Cybertron, a new war machine from the future that uses the legendary water planet as a base. They had returned to change time, eliminating the allies that would come together and defeat them in the present. It is far before the war had started in the future time before the Earth ever had a chance to explore space to meet the many races found in the universe.



It is on board the Clouds, as the time clicked down to four hours before attack time, the Major stood up and stretched, before gathering the equipment that he would be taking with him. He hefted the same sniper rifle as the Lieutenant, his aim to provide successful over watch for his team. A moment later, he walked toward and through the doors into the hallway, making his way quickly through the passages toward the hangar deck where his team now gathered.



     As he walked through the corridor, he shouldered the rifle as he passed many of Ihsss' ragtag crew, made up of several different races through the galaxy, displaced by the Cybertron in the future. They stared at the human Major in astonishment, moving aside to let him pass. There was the sound of applause, as the Major passed, and he managed a grim smirk as he walked through the corridor. More applause quickly followed him, as walked onward down the corridor toward his destination. 



     When he reached the hatch to the Hangar Deck, he stepped through it and into the cavernous bay here his team is assembled, bearing the gear that they readied themselves. Two landing craft were prepared for the drop, both teams loading the gear into each one. A moment later, the intercom whistled.



     "Captain to Hangar Deck." Ihsss said quickly, "Major Miller?"



     Nathaniel walked quickly to the wall, and to the intercom, where he hit the button. "Major Miller, online."



     "Just going to wish you and your team good luck and we will see you in a few hours, with some great news."



     "Thanks Captain." Nathaniel replied, smiling slightly, "We will see you at rendezvous point Baker, three, one, two, in two hours. Hangar deck, out."



     Major Miller walked toward the drop ships in which he and his team would be leaving within the hour. He assisted the loading of the crafts, and the gear that would be used by his team when they reached Aquarius airspace. Especially for the one he would be piloting, bearing the EMP that would allow them a clear break, hopefully to return to the drop ship and the Destroyer Whirlwind that would be taking his team clear of the danger zone.



     "Okay team, let us saddle up and prepare to launch. We got a job to do." The Major ordered.



     "Yaaaa!" The Marines replied fiercely, gathering their stuff and prepared for launch. They charged the transport and they took their seats. Behind them the Major and Lieutenant stood before each other and shook hands. Manual put his hand on top of theirs as the trio stood for a moment together.



     "I'll see you on the surface and good luck to us all." Perry said with a serious undertone.



     "Damn straight, we're going to win." Kino said with a grin and Manual nodded.



     "I only wish Angie was here."



     "Don't get all distracted now, you'll see her again." Manual said sarcastically, "Damn officers and your women."



     Both men regarded the dead-pan expression of the Sergeant Major and they laughed. "Ready…. HUT! HUT! Yo!!"



     The men broke and they ran to their transports readying themselves for the battle to come. As they stepped onto the transports, the twelve Marines in each strapped themselves in, or stored their gear. Each Marine has a vest on and a helmet. Both are equipped with a camera, their armor worn over their uniform has sensors to allow monitoring of the vital functions. Lieutenant Kino Minezati walked toward the station where he stared at multiple screens. One was vitals of each of the soldiers including his, and the other was web cam quality pictures from the camera in their helmets. 



     “Let’s see what we can see here.” Kino chortled, taking a seat in front of the console. He scanned the panel quickly, watching the monitors as the vitals were relayed. He checked each web cam. The Lieutenant frowned at the distorted view on the screen.



     “Corporeal Hicks, check your cam for me.” Kino said sharply, “We’re not getting a clear picture.”



     The youthful Corporeal reached up to tap the cam and the Lieutenant shook his head. He rammed his head into a nearby bulkhead next to his seat. The image cleared, and the Lieutenant gave him the thumbs up hand signal.



     “We are going down into hell, boys and girls, ready to kick some robotic ass.” A voice said, “Time to get it on…” A young soldier walked the row of seats, helping his fellow Marines get strapped in and check the equipment. “It’s a one way ticket into the depths of hell, Straight down.”



     “You got that right.” Another voice chimed in, and they reached out to high-five the Private who walked the row.



     “Relax boy, it’s a bot hunt.” Manual said solemnly, “But it will be good to get some trigger time finally, and act like a Marine, rather than sitting on our sorry asses.”



     “I am all for that Sergeant Major.” Another voice said. He turned to regard a youthful, female Hispanic Marine known as Rodriguez by her colleagues in the service.



     “Let’s take our seats, and get this party started.” The Lieutenant declared, turning to the console, and taking up a headset.



     “Test, Test.” He rapped and the others held up their hands with a ‘thumbs up sign.’


     “We’re ready, Lieutenant.” Sergeant Major Perry told him. 



     On the second transport, at the same moment, Major Miller sits at the console, the same as did his second in Command on the first transport. The young officer sits watching the vitals of his team and the web cams from their helmets. He nodded in approval. Both teams were ready.



Nathaniel then turned his head to meet the gaze of middle-aged Gunnery Sergeant with short white colored hair, a fair complexion, a big nose, and brown eyes who stood next to him. It was his secondary Squad leader, Norman Jeevers. Strangely to the Major, he looked like the TV personality from his century, Norman Fell, the actor. His face was almost identical to the actor of the past. He had stepped up beside him, reporting his status as he did his duty readying the team.  



     “We’re all set, Major…” He reported with a snide tone, and a wrinkling of the nose, as he nodded to Nathaniel who sat in the chair. The young officer was flabbergasted, and it took him a moment to respond without chuckling under his breath.      



     “Very well, get strapped in Gunny, and prepare for lift off.” The Major instructed, nodding his head formally.



     “Aye, sir.” The Gunnery Sergeant replied.



     “This is Gray Wolf, Alpha Team, ready to depart.” The Major said into the headset.



     “Desert Fox, Baker Team, is also ready to depart.” Lieutenant Minezati reported.



     “Stand by, delivery boys.” Ihsss said, sitting in her command chair. Turning it, she faced Hi’Mthss, her daughter, who sat at the Communications Console.



     “Inform the Earth Fleet we are ready.” Ihsss said, “Both teams are loaded and ready to go, “Notify Whirlwind that they should be on station for pick-up of Baker Team.”



    “Aye, Captain I will tune to the combat channel as stated in briefing.” Hi’Mthss said with a smile, “It will be my pleasure…”  



     “Hi’Mthss, just…” Ihsss snapped at her and her daughter fell silent, curbing her levity for the situation.



     “I am already on it, Captain.” She said tersely as she turned to her console, “This is Dark Angel. Delivery Boys are ready to depart. You may start your diversionary attack.” Hi said quickly into her headset, and there was a crackle.



     “Golden Eagle to all stations, move ahead and start attacks. Launch all fighters, and give them hell boys and girls.”



Outside in space, the fleet of ships engines flared as they all moved slowly forward into range of Aquarius, meeting the fleet of Cybertron that hovered above the blue glow of the water planet. Laser beams sprouted in force at the Cybertron and a mushroom of explosions erupted from the hulls of several vessels. Other ships, in the first attack were obliterated, as Astro-fighters swarmed from the two carriers at the enemy. They attacked full force, blasting a hole through the smaller protective ships. On the other side, the ships of the Cybertron fired back as Robot fighters swarmed from the openings from their carrier. Astro fighters and robotic fighters swarmed in a vicious dogfight, many disappearing in silent flashes.



Chatter echoed over the speaker as the battle progressed. “… Fighter come on your six, I have him! Watch out for that Dreadnought… “



The Cloud’s weapon’s rumbled as they attacked the enemy too, destroying the smaller interceptor and escort ships which are on the outer ring of the battle group of the Cybertron. 



“Wow, look at that, a hole opened up for the Clouds,” A voice cracked over the speaker.  



     Outside the ship, the Clouds’ it hovered in the stars of space, turning its main gun to target another Cybertron Destroyer and fire. The energy streaked toward it, striking its hull, causing two massive explosions there. Debris floated freely from the metallic hull, floating freely in space. 



”Golden Eagle to Dark Angel, you are cleared disengage and approach the target.” A voice said.



“Captain, we are cleared to approach using that hole they opened up. They are urging us to make haste.” Hi’Mthsss reported, turning to flash a toothy grin on her reptilian features at her mother who sits in the Captain’s chair.



Ihsss sat on the bridge as the Clouds weapons rumbled as lasers erupted from the barrels, missiles from their launchers and torpedoes from their tubes. Many smaller ships continued to vanish in a flash of light, and pulse laser fire erupted taking down the fighters from the Cloud’s weapons as they approached an EDC Cruiser.



“Confirmed, there is a hole for us to enter, starboard ten degrees.” Felonious reported.



“Engage cloaking device, and head for the hole.” Ihsss ordered, “Ahead half speed… Secure weapons. One three five, mark five.”



“Inform the fleet, Dark Angel is moving in.” Ihsss said, standing up from the bridge chair, nodding to Veloxa who had hit the cloaking device. Outside, in the stars of space, the Clouds vanished and slowly moved forward under impulse engines only.



Hi’Mthsss, at the communications console, nodded and spoke rapidly over the combat channel, her voice slurred by the other voices and static.



“Set shields at maximum.” Ihsss ordered, “Keep clear of any dogfights and get through to Aquarius to release the delivery boys.”



“Sweet Kwisnah.” Ihsss muttered, “What a fricking harsh battle.”



“Roger that.” Veloxa said calmly, her hands dancing over the controls making the ship bank and dodge fighters that swarmed around them like angry hornets. Flames erupted nearby as another Astro-fighter vanished in a silent explosion. More Astro-fighters and enemy ships swarmed past them as the Clouds managed to slip through the hole opened by the fighters, the Battle Cruiser Class Starships, and Destroyers near them who rapidly fired at the enemy fleet.



“This is control.” Ihsss said, hitting the intercom switch, “Delivery boys, stand by for launch and good luck.”



Sitting on the transport, the Major smiled as he peered at the battle that he managed to tune in on the console view screen, along with the overlapping battle transmissions echoing on the speaker. He casually hit the intercom switch.



“Thanks Ihsss.” Major Miller said into the headset as he sat in the chair on the transport. “For everything…”



     “I’ll see you all at the rendezvous point, and the others on Earth.” She beamed, “You have all my hopes, gentleman…”



“Open Airlock.” The Major ordered, “Team two, stand by to launch!”



The massive doors of the airlock opened, and a rapid roar of decompression from the hangar deck could be heard on the transports by the combat teams.



“Alright, punch it!” Major Miller ordered and the engines of the transports roared as they ignited, thrusting the ships forward from the airlock, rocketing them into the silent stars of space. Both transports banked and plummeted toward the atmosphere of Aquarius, the skin of the tank-like transports turning red as the friction rubbed against the ships.



“We have reached atmosphere, stay sharp, we have fighters coming in.” The voice of the Warrant Officer piloting the ship said, “We are banking to clear and going to make a sharp turn… Hang on!”



The transports both banked and disappeared further into the planet’s atmosphere. They evaded the robotic fighters that approached, who headed for the Astro-fighters who streaked in to attack them. Both ships banked a hard right, away from the action, as they plummeted further into the atmosphere of the legendary water planet toward the surface. Both transports opened up with laser fire, and missiles, taking out more fighters that swept in as they approached the water. 



“We’re clear for the moment, Sir.” Warrant Officer Clark finally reported, and there was a relieved sigh.



Below them, the green country side of the planet could be seen amidst the blue waters of Aquarius. The transports descended further into the atmosphere and the bright star that Aquarius now orbits shines dimly on the surface of the planet. The transports shifted left and right in the sky, as they dipped sharply downward toward the largest land mass. They stayed in the clouds before descending, their presence masked from the fighters that streaked past them.



“Send coded message to the Clouds, we have successfully penetrated the atmosphere, and we are proceeding toward the landing sight about fifteen nautical miles west of the Tritium Mine.” Major Miller ordered. Staff Sergeant Christopher Fallon nodded from his place sitting at his console. His hands moved across the console before him, and he spoke rapidly into the headset. After a moment, there were two beeps as they received a response from the Clouds. Major Miller nodded at the sound of the beeps.



“They acknowledged.” He said, “Drop us to one thousand meters to the surface of the planet.”



“Aye, sir.” The Warrant Officer replied, moving the stick and the crafts dipped sharply toward the water. As the two transports moved across the blue sky toward the mine, they stayed low against the water to avoid any radar by the Cybertron and avoiding contact visually by the fighters that streaked across the sky above them.



“Activate ECM and jam the radar.” Major Miller instructed with a nod, and the co-pilot of the craft nodded as he hit the switch that fortunately for them, worked.



The Cybertron, sitting at their detection equipment on the landmass near the mine, peered in confusion at the static of the radar screen that was suddenly scrambled, masking the Troop Transport’s presence.



“Approach cautiously, and land at coordinates fifteen, by ten, by thirty-five, which is approximately ten miles from the mine, we should both run along the ground to approach target. Team two, break, and go to landing coordinates eighteen, by fifteen, by twenty-two. Run south toward the mine, we will run north after landing.”



Darting left and right, above the waves of the sea on Aquarius, the transports continued their approach. They ripped across the sky toward the shore, a few meters below them and banking slightly upward to avoid the mountains.



“Feet dry, Major.” The Warrant Officer pilot reported.



“Are there any signs of surface units?” The Major asked, and the Radar operator shook his head when the young officer of the past glanced at him. 



“You have your orders, Team Two. Set down at coordinates, and make you way south along the ground toward the mine. Avoid being in the air as much as possible and all air patrols.”



“Copy that.” Kino said, as the second transport peeled off to the right, and banked gracefully away to the left as it continued on its new course toward the other end of the land mass where the mineshaft was located.



“Approaching coordinates, Major, in fifteen minutes…” A voice said, and Nathaniel looked up, nodding his head. 



The ship moved along dodging and darting, as fighters approached. The transport’s weapons fired, quickly knocking them down until they were clear. The transport banked again.



“Cease fire.” He replied, “Come in nice, steady, and easy, to the landing coordinates.”



Outside, the transport’s retro-jets fired as it slowly down, sinking slowly to the ground. It landed with a thud and the tank-tracks began to turn as it began to slowly move on its projected course toward the many entrances of the Tritium Mine.



“Inform the Clouds we landed beautifully, and we are now merrily moving right along.” The Major ordered.



“Aye, Sir.” The radio operator replied.



“Team two has landed and is now under way toward the mine from the south, sir.” Private Lang said, “They have light resistance, but they are moving right along.”



“Very well,” the Major said, hitting the switches on the console, glancing at the radar screen and the operator who worked next to him at the console.



The transport moved slowly along the ground, moving across the green hills and through the open long brush of several fields and toward the forest that would provide them cover as they stealthily would approach the mine from the north.



     “Sir, sensors indicate a patrol ahead, five mega meters away.” The radar operator reported.



“Hold up here for a moment, Warrant Officer Clark.” Major Miller ordered, “We have company. Remember we want to keep this covert.” The transport stopped with a sharp jolt and a youthful Lance Corporeal named John Baxter manned the radar console.



“Send coded message to Team two, encountered Cyberton positions, five miles from target. Dig in and hold transport position and go on foot to target.” The Major quickly added.



     “Power off, power off.” Baxter urged quietly.



     “Power is off.” Warrant Officer Clark replied, and the engines both fell silent as a group of Cybertron drones ships and soldiers moved close by. Thankfully, they were ignored. The Major grimaced as he pointed to the door casually. It opened slowly, landing in a clearing of patchy dirt and green grass.



“We will go on foot from here.” Major Miller said, “We will probably run into more patrols as we close in from this distance. How far are we from the mine entrance?”



“We are approximately five, point three nautical miles from the entrance. We will setup cloaking system and camouflage netting.” Warrant Officer Clark replied.



“Dig in our position.” The Major ordered.



“Copy that.” John Baxter said, and on the console in front of him, he hit a switch.



Outside, the transport slowly dug in using the massive drills that appeared from the smooth skin of the ship and the weight of the transport sank into the smooth earth around them. The side doors opened, allowing the group to muster outside and work quickly to put up the netting and other concealment of the ship. Several soldiers dug foxholes and the Warrant Officer sat in the chair at the main console. Behind her, the Major appeared with his helmet, sporting a sniper rifle and pistol at his side. 



“Let’s head out and see what we can see, the mine is not far from here.” He said and they moved out.



A few minutes later, crouching low on the nearest hill, the Major with the Sergeant and two men had field glasses raised as they peered into the distance. Lucky there were hills that surrounded them, making for better concealment of their position. A large number of Cybertron ships and personnel surrounded the mineshaft, waiting for any attacks upon their position.



Gunnery Sergeant Jeevers whistled sharply, as he peered through the field glasses.



“Looks like there is a lot of company down their, sir.”



“Yeah… No kidding, Gunny.” The Major replied, "A heap of serious trouble it looks like, that’s for sure.”



“So what’s the plan, sir?” the Gunnery Sergeant asked.



”Well, we can’t fight our way in force with that sheer number of enemy like that and we don’t have a lot of options here.” The Major said solemnly, “The mission still has to remain covert, and we just can’t wait and find another entry into the mine. We don’t have a lot of time to wait on action or the Cybertron will launch the offensive against Earth. We are going to have to attack now, I mean shoot crap and go with a covert mission with a small group of six to infiltrate the shaft or Earth is doomed.”



“Sounds like a bad position all around, sir.” Jeevers replied.



“And with those six, there will be no way for them to return to the surface of Aquarius from the mine to extract.” The officer grumbled, shaking his head, “Who is it that I order to die?”



Major Miller sat at moment and peered at the perimeter of the shaft. As he pondered, he stared at the Cybertron ships, and personnel who sat in the middle of it. Around them many ships took off and landed as they were being fueled with Tritium energy from the mine. The young officer grimaced as he glanced up at the afternoon sun sinking in the sky. He realized he had no choice in the matter and he made a snap decision. Six of the team had to die in a sacrifice play unless things drastically changed for the better.



“Alright, I guess that is the plan we’re going to go with Gunny.” The officer said, “I’ll select six for the infiltration with Kino right away during the strategy brief before we lose our chance to destroy Aquarius.”



“Right, sir.” Jeevers replied and he nodded.



“Let’s get the hell out of here. We can’t do much hanging around here.” Major Miller said, “Let’s get back to the transport and rally the men for a strategy brief.”



The sentry rustled a bush with her foot. Everyone froze. Looking through the sniper scope the Major peered at the clearing. A Cybertron had turned and was scanning the perimeter at the forest. The officer’s finger was on the trigger in a heartbeat as it walked toward the trees. Gunnery Sergeant peered through the field glasses.



“Jesus, here it comes.” The Sergeant breathed quietly as both watched the robotic soldier walk toward the trees. It stopped at the perimeter of the forest, and it stood there for a long moment, turning its head left and right, scanning the forest many times. The four Marines were on a hill, just adjacent to the clearing, and the sentry had knocked a rock loose that had rolled down the leaf covered floor for a short distance. After many minutes, the Cybertron robot finally walked away, back to the fueling station where a ship landed.  



“We’re clear. Now, go quietly!” Major Miller whispered sternly, and motioned with his hand. One by one they retreated back to the transport.



Meanwhile, on board the SS Whirlwind, Nova sat at the radar console and peered at the screen as the ships continued to fight and many more Cybertron vessels approached and fighters.



     “The Clouds have made contact, and has informed us that the delivery boys have been deployed and have landed. Both teams have dug in five miles from the mineshaft.” Homer announced, “They can’t approach any more, without risking detection. They need us at rendezvous point at time.”



     “We’ll be there.” Yamasaki replied frostily as there was a cheer on the bridge of the Destroyer and on many other ships, as Homer relayed it to the flag ship. Especially on the Aircraft Carrier Essex and George Washington that sat in the middle of the protective ring of ships around it, many Dreadnoughts and Battle Cruisers with many escort ships around them.



     “Sir, we are getting hammered pretty hard.” A voice said, “Should we pull her back a bit, and stay within the ring of ships?”



     “Keep firing and maintain position.” Captain Yamasaki ordered, “Launch another barrage of rockets.”



     From the destroyer’s second deck, from the rocket launcher, projectiles appeared and streaked from it. A few more explosions rocked a nearby Dreadnought that was taking a pounding by the Earth fleet but maintaining itself from its destruction. Behind them, Cybertron ships approached from the rear.



     Sitting on the command deck aboard the carrier, Admiral Jesse Sampson stood next to the Captain’s chair. He stared at the view screen as lasers shot out from the ship’s guns and struck fighters that came toward them.



     “We have Cybertron approaching from the rear quarter Admiral!” A voice said on the bridge of the Aircraft Carrier. Ships suddenly exploded and disappeared in a flash as ships appeared from warp. More Earth ships appeared from the nearby sector.



     “Incoming message, sir from Golden Eagle…” Homer said, glancing at the console in surprise, “Task Force Six reporting their arrival and wondering if this is a private party, or anyone can join.” His tone indicated humor in it, relaying the message over the battle-com.



     Another cheer erupted on the bridge of the Destroyer as Astro-fighters streaked from the two carriers of Task Force Six. More Cybertron ships showed explosions erupting from their hull like mushrooms, despite the shields they had up around their vessels. Both fleets continued to hammer each other.



     “Incoming message.” Homer relayed, “A coded message from Rear Admiral Fox commanding Task Force Six. They are going to take up a flanking position on the other side of Aquarius and try to draw in the Cybertron in, to allow everyone to pull back out of the sector.”



     “There are reinforcements on the Cybertron side coming up from the planet.” Nova reported, “Task Force Six is engaging.”



     All hell began to break loose as the two sides clashed and Task Force Five moved in closer to the planet. Task Force Six hammered on the reinforcements that rose up from the planet. They disappeared in flashes of light and explosions hammered smaller ships as they two were destroyed. Debris from the battle floated through the stars of space.



     Seated on the Destroyer, Nova peered at her screen as the ship’s weapons continued to rumble and fire at the enemy ships. Nova sat at the console on board the Whirlwind, as she monitored the battle on her scopes. She managed a grimace at the module, clicking the switches on her console as explosions rocked the Destroyer.



     “Radar indicates there are still more ships approaching from the surface.” Nova declared grimly, “I wish the Marine group would hurry up.”



     “Homer, get in touch with the landing group and get an update and position.” The Captain ordered, “And relay to the Battle Group.”






     “The fleet is starting to move out, sir.” Homer announced, “All planes have been recalled, Captain.”



“They are finally getting out of here.” Captain Yamazaki said with a snarl, “About time. Our diversionary mission is complete… Let the Clouds handle the rest of their part of the mission.”



“Yes, sir.” A voice said, making both Wildstars grimace.



Outside in space, the fleet began to move out, and away from the Cybertron that was decimated about the water planet. Nova gritted her teeth as she watched her scopes.



     “Helm, prepare to move out, ten space knots.” The Captain ordered, “Follow in with the Task Force and lead ship.”



     “Aye, Captain.” Came the reply and Nova managed a smile at Derick, her husband, who had made the announcement. Derick nodded his head at her, a grim expression on his face.



     Slowly but surely, the task forces moved out and continued firing at the Cybertron, as they moved back and away from the water planet. Their duty and diversion completed for the Clouds who now waited for the transports to return to their ship.




Meanwhile, the Marine forces on the planet readied themselves to move in toward the mineshaft. They had packs full of explosives, twelve five hundred pound charges between two groups, in which were radio controlled to detonate from a receiver. They just had to get there, slip in the mine and covertly drop the charges that would destroy the planet completely. It would be a daunting task as they scouted ahead to see a legion strength of Cybertron Robots guarding the shaft, all comers for assault.



First, both groups dug in their positions, in the north and south of the target, securing twenty-five feet around the carrier with removable mines and claymores that could easily be used against robotic targets.



As they worked, they kept a watch for any drones from the Cybertron who currently have landed on the planet and use it as a base. A few minutes later, they stood in a group as a holographic relay was setup on both sides, to relay the meeting between the groups for the strategy meeting on how to take the mineshaft.



“Alright, gather around. This is how the group is going to deploy.” The Major said, kneeling in a circle of his men, as he drew in the sand as they began a quick strategy brief.



“First of all, what we are up against is a large force guarding the main shaft on Aquarius and at the mine.” He said solemnly “Both teams are going to head to the main shaft and dig in on both sides taking up an observation position for over watch. Perry and I will set as a sniper over watch. A team of six will infiltrate the shaft to set the explosives and when complete return to the surface for extraction. We need to completely eliminate Aquarius or Earth is doomed as the Cybertron’s first target according to the Cloud’s Captain.”



     The Major drew two lines out from the center circle to a couple of smaller circle.



“After we set the explosives, we are going to extract to five meters west and east to the transports.” The Major said, “I will trigger the pinch as soon as we are clear of the Aquarius atmosphere. By the time they know we are there, it will be too late and we will be clear of the ground forces. Team two will head for the Whirlwind that will be waiting one sector over. The Clouds and I will be right behind you. Corporeal Stewart and Private Fishburn, you both will assist Warrant Officers Jones and Clark, for monitoring and radar during this phase of the mission.”



“Roger that.”  Came the chorus and Nathaniel nodded.



“Alright, form up and prepare to move out. Standard L-formation and silent, prepare your squads Jeevers and Perry.”



“Aye, sir.” The Sergeants replied with a smile and they motioned to the group. Major Miller nodded to his youthful second in command’s holographic image.



“When we get there, you are going to take Lange, Rodriguez, Stark, Bills, and Keller with you into the mine, Lieutenant.” The Major said, “Manual and I will be on over watch to eliminate any sentries and resistance to keep you from the mineshaft.”



“I know that, Major.” Kino replied with a nod, “Don’t worry I know how to lead my men into a hot zone.”



“Excellent.” Nathaniel replied, nodding to the live and holographic members standing in the clearing. “all right let’s move out folks, and get this done.”



Quickly In an ‘L’ formation, they stealthily approached the mine shaft main entrance and peeked over a small hill at the even larger group of Cybertron that gathered around the entrance. There was a low murmur by the group. The grizzled Major unslung his sniper rifle and he peered through the scope, gathering more intelligence on the Cybertron who seemed oblivious to their presence at the moment. There was one that seemed to be gazing out toward them and the Major’s finger found the trigger. He prepared to take the Cybertron soldier out of the equation, if it sounded the alarm, making everyone wise to the Marine’s positions.



“We’re ready, Major.” Gunnery Sergeant Jeevers said with a snide tone, and the grizzled Major managed a nod.



“Hold fire, unless given orders.” He told the group, “No exceptions.”



A few minutes passed, Major Miller smiled as he saw a flash of light on the far side where Kino and his group now positioned themselves. Kino and his group peeked in from the other side of the main shaft, both groups taking cover and remaining hidden to the many scouts and ships that raced around the open perimeter of the ancient mineshaft. He peered at now four legions that guarded it, while many ships of every size are landing here to refuel.



“Good, Kino and his group are right across from us.”

The Major told his group and there were smiles on their faces.



Before them, the clearing is about fifty feet in diameter. It is littered with ancient buildings and towers around the holes in the ground and sloughs where the ore was dumped as it was processed by the smelters located in this clearing. The clearing itself has long since been abandoned by the ancient people who once lived on Aquarius. It is now used by the enemy of the future, who had come to change time and win a war they were losing in the future. The universe had banned together to fight against them, far into the future and succeeded to drive back the Cybertron.  



Both groups looked on in silence, and held their positions, refraining from engaging this large body of the robotic enemy. The ships continued to fuel without intervention by the Marines and only a few sentries walked near those fueling stations.



“Kino to Team one. It looks like we have a lot more company out there skip. More than you initially saw.” Kino said over the channel, “I don’t think we will be able to sneak past that many Cybertron as you planned at the briefing. I can bet even if we were able, there might be so many Cybertron below ground it might be a hell of a fight to plant the explosives. We might be trapped and not be able to get the hell off this rock. So I think we need another plan.”



“I actually agree, Lieutenant. We’re still not going to engage that many enemy conscripts even in a diversionary tactic to allow us to get team of six through.” Nathaniel said into the mic. “Our new plan is to wait a moment. I sent two men to scout nearby for an alternate entry point.”



“An alternate entry point?” The Lieutenant asked.



“Yes, I suggest you scan and do the same. There has to be an air vent for the inhabitance of this planet a long time ago who worked the mine. If we can’t take that many enemy we’ll have to use it as a different entry point.”



“Great idea, sir… I’m on it.” Kino motioned to his soldiers, making hand signs and they both nodded silently. As they stealthily moved through the undergrowth, the Lieutenant shook his head when they motioned to their rifles.



“Don’t return fire unless you are discovered, only eliminate the pursuant and don’t let the others know you are here. Get back here quickly, and leave no traces.” The Lieutenant said quietly.



“Right, sir.” The one soldier whispered, motioning to the young woman who was standing next to him. They disappeared into the brush.


Kino motioned to two others who took their places, providing cover watch to make sure they were not discovered.



After a few minutes, with team one, Nathaniel turned as two soldiers slid back into the clearing. They both had a smile on their faces.



“You found something?” The Major asked, and they nodded. They stepped up toward the map that the Major held in his hand and they pointed at it.  



“There is an airshaft three clicks southeast of here.” A private known as Lance stated, “Only three or four Cybertron guarding it.”



“Good, that’s our target and entry point.” Nathaniel told the two scouts.



“Kino, we found an entry point three clicks southeast of our position.” Nathaniel whispered, “Any luck on your end?”



“Still waiting, Major.”  He replied, “Wait, standby-one.”



Kino’s two man recon team returned, smiling as they walked toward him and saluted.



“We found a shaft five clocks northwest from here, Lieutenant.” The one soldier said, “Cybertron resistance is only three or four guarding it.”



Kino nodded and turned to his map, and quickly used an instrument to calculate the distance. He nodded to the recon team.



“Great work.” He murmured, and he motioned toward the edge of the brush where the others stood watching.



     “We found a similar entry Major, five clicks northwest.” The Lieutenant said, “I think it’s the airshaft you wanted us to look for.”



     “Aye, that’s your target, Kino.” The Major replied.



“Well, compared to your entry point that is a longer distance from the main shaft where we place most of our explosives. Suggest when we make our way underground to the main shaft from point of entry, that we should secure and hold the main shaft.” Kino reported.



     “We can’t do that, extract will have to be the way we came, and we launch from the air vents. There are too many Cybertron located at the main shaft, a legion could be placed underground and we could be cut off from escape. We’d be cut off and be destroyed with the planet.”  The Major explained, “Besides, we don’t know how many Cybertron are underground. We need to get some reconnaissance before we move into the shafts but we don’t have the time. There are too many eddies and shafts of off the main one and little man power to cover it all.”



     “That’s why I brought plenty of floaters.” Kino replied, “They are automated drones that have a camera and infrared for dark areas. We can set them and watch as they probe the shafts and get to the main shaft.”



     “Good, first we should take our troops and move to the airshafts, take and hold before we start poking around underground.”



“Roger that.” Kino whispered, turning his head to a Sergeant who stepped back and crouched, signaling to be quiet.



A hum echoed the clearing as a drone came close to their position, hovering for a moment then moving back to the center of the clearing. Kino let out a silent breath as did everyone present.



“I think they’re getting wise, skipper.” Kino said into the mic, “We just had a drone investigate and almost compromise our position.”



“Move everyone to the air shaft, no traces and do it quietly. Signal when you are in position.”



“Aye, Major. You got it.” Kino replied, “Sergeant Major rally your men, and prepare to move out, L-formation, no traces.”



“You got it Lieutenant.” Sergeant Perry replied with a smile and motioned to the men.



“Alright, I will contact you in a half-hour.” The Major said, “When we make contact, use sub frequency and scrambled.”



“Right. Contact in a half hour,” Kino replied, “Squad Baker out.”



“Squad, form up into L-formation, no traces.” Major Miller told the men and the group all gathered up their gear. They moved out in the proper formation to the southeast.



As they moved swiftly through the forest, along a makeshift trail, they heard a hum that seemed to be following them. Looking up, the group saw a Cybertron drone blinking as it was overhead. The hum of the suspensor fields, holding it up in the air, crackled around them. It is the size of a basketball with many knobs and lights covering it.



Major Miller put up his hand, and then motioned to a nearby Corporeal who took up point, then to the drone. He made a throat cutting gesture. A shot rang out, a flash, sparks and a crash. The smoldering drone unit landed in the canopy, bouncing once, then landed onto the ground. It was buried quickly, to conceal the smoke.



“Did anyone notice?” Sergeant Jeevers whispered, and there was a shake of the head by each member.



“Keep watch, we are only two clicks from the shaft entry.” The Sergeant whispered, “It seems we are clear, Major.” 



“Let’s move in to the shaft perimeter and take out all the robots at once.” The Major told them, “It ensures that none of them can call for assistance.”



“Good idea.” Jeevers said, and he passed it on to Sergeant Major Perry via text, who said they would try the same tactic.



The group moved toward the shaft, two clicks from their position, and each soldier took aim at a robotic soldier who stood in the open. There were only a half dozen or less in the clearing around the airshaft the next time they checked the status of the clearing. The Cybertron, in their arrogance, must have thought no one would detect such an opening to use it for a military operation. Major Miller gritted his teeth, as he peered through the sniper scope.



“Steady.” He told them, “Ready, and now.”



Shots rang out, all the robotic enemy fell at once. With smiles on their faces, the Marines moved in and they took up defensive posture around the opening. They began booby-trapping the perimeter and waiting for an ambush as they prepared to for the next phase of the operation.



The shaft was located in a simple five foot diameter clearing with a single building in the middle of the forest. The ancient building was designed as a trapezoid, and colored a strange deep purple color. The Major frowned in silence as he approached it, motioning for his men to take up positions around the building. He moved to the building and he motioned to the control, a handprint and a keypad with a small screen above it.



“Nice work, we have the shaft.” The Major complimented, “Stand by for phase two and for underground operations.”


“Aye.” A chorus of voice replied.



“Lang how’s that door coming?” The Major asked, watching as the enlisted technician worked on the door, pulling off the panel and flipping wires on the back side of the panel.



“I think I got it.” Lang reported, as he had the panel open and strange alien-like wires flashed as they were connected to the keypad and console on the back side of it. A moment later, the hatch opened.



“Ready the floaters.” Sergeant Jeevers ordered, and they moved to the bag. He and his assistant prepared six floater units, programmed with an interior map of the mine, taken from a spectro-analyzer from the fleet in space. They released two and they disappeared into the gloom of the vertical airshaft.



“Okay, we got word from the Clouds that the fleet pulled back and the Whirlwind waits for us in the next sector with Taskforce five. The Clouds waits cloaked orbiting the planet, ready to pick us up.” Jeevers reported, listening to the headset of the radio that Koalitz carried on his back.



“Excellent.” The Major replied, “Inform Team Two, on a coded frequency that we are on our own, and the fleet waits for the signal and destruction of Aquarius.”



“Aye, it is already done Sir.” Jeevers reported, in that snide, irritating tone, and it so reminded Nathaniel of Mr. Roper, from the Three’s Company TV Show, two hundred years ago. He managed a grin.



Turning the Sergeant and his assistant released three more floaters. The Major motioned for soldiers to take up position flanking on either side of the airshaft as the floaters disappeared down into it.



“Just in case our position is compromised, and units come to the surface.” The Major told his team. On the portable console screen, the floaters moved through the dark shafts, high and out of range of any detection devices for the robotic enemy. It also stayed out of the prying eyes from Cyberton Patrols they saw located in the shaft.



“Damn.” Nathaniel muttered, as he saw a large body of Cybertron in the darkness, highlighted by night vision mode.



“Nah, that’s not too many, but according to the spectro-graph there are many tunnels in that mine that branch off that we did not scan and Cybertron could be hiding.” Corporal Hicks said, “We’re in better shape than you think, Sir.”



“Let see what the floaters see.” Nathaniel suggested, “Lieutenant Minezati can see this right, what we see and we can see his floaters?”



“Yes sir, he can.” Jeevers said quietly.



“Strange that he didn’t send any comments about it via radio.” Nathaniel mused, and managed a shrug.  



“Team one to Team two, come in please.” He said, and there was a crackle.



“Team two here.” Kino replied, “Go ahead skip.”



“What is your status?”



“We took the shaft, Major.” Kino said solemnly, “We tried that tactic and it worked perfectly, all by the numbers. We are currently setting booby-traps around the airshaft against any Cybertron in the area who come to investigate why the sentries here are not responding.”



“Excellent.” The Major replied, “Did you get the floater data we just sent you and your group?”



 “Yea, it doesn’t look good.” Kino replied, “It looks like I have Cybertron on my end too and if we enter it’s a sure ambush from all these unmarked tunnels. We don’t have the manpower or the time to recon them all.”



“I know the feeling Lieutenant.” He replied, “I’m going to proceed into the shafts as soon as possible, and take a shot and shoot crap. We have to take a crack at these bastards before they fortify.”



“That’s foolish. Shouldn’t we leave a sentry, at the door, heavily fortified?”



“Negative, make it look like you never were there, and go underground.” Nathaniel repeated, “We don’t have much time till they are fully refueled. Our raid decimated quite a few of their fleet, but they could be rebuilt in a few days, as machines don’t require sleep and going full steam.”



“I see your point.” Kino replied, “I’ll clean us up, and set to enter in fifteen minutes.”



“Set for underground operations, and demolition.” Jeevers said, “Stand by to repel into the shaft.”



On the Lieutenant’s end, the Major listened to the same orders being given to his twelve raiders, currently waiting for infiltration into the shaft like the Major’s team. Both teams face the same unknown odds against them in both places at the mineshaft air vents.



A few minutes later as ropes and pulleys were set, a floater was programmed to lower itself down into the shaft. Night vision visors were activated and sentries watched for any activity in the mine. Private Sparks watched the screen on the console, as each floater descended into the air shaft.



“So far it looks clear, but I see a heat signature not far off though.” He told the group.



“Prepare to enter the mine.” Major Miller ordered, “Steady, quietly and set to open up a full barrage of strafing as we repel downward. When we will drop in the center and everyone scatter to the shadows.”



“Roger that.” A choruses of voices replied as lines were rigged and slowly in the dark, the Marines silently lowered themselves into the shaft to the ground.



“Hold up. There’s a patrol coming toward the shaft.” Rodriguez warned and stepped back, leading with her weapon.



Quickly, the Marines took up positions in the shadows, their weapons aimed at the Cybertron Patrol who marched into the light from a nearby tunnel. The lines that were used by the Marines were quickly tied off to some metal machinery inside the mine. The group of Cybertron stood there a few minutes as they scanned the dirt floor and the surroundings carefully, as-if alerted by the Marines.



 When they didn’t sense anything they marched out into the darkness into a nearby tunnel, their heavy footsteps echoing in the tunnel. The Major and company let out a breath they had been holding in, almost sure they were going to be detected by the Cybertron, but wasn’t.  



“Did they detect us you think?”



“Hard to say Major, they might be getting wise if they have been trying to contact the surface patrol. We’d better hurry before a large patrol comes back.” Jeevers suggested and the Major, pondering a moment, had nodded in agreement.  



Major Miller held up the sniper scope and peered through it.  He put his finger to his lips and withdrew into the shadows as heavy footfalls approached again. This time two dozen Cybertron appeared in the dim light and they all stood around, peering around the surroundings. Their attention seemed to be focused on the disturbed dirt for a long period of time before they disappeared into the darkness.



“Jesus, I’d better be careful what I wish for, right?” Nathaniel muttered sarcastically, and there were grins by the others in his group. The Major signaled with a wave of his hand, and the group slowly made their way through the shaft, keeping to the sides as they kept out of sight of the enemy as they advanced.  



Meanwhile, the youthful Lieutenant and company were crouched on the corners also silently watching as Cybertron appeared into the light of the air vent of the ancient mineshaft, as-if alerted by the presence of the Marines. Kino held his breath as Sergeant Major Perry took over watch and peered through the sniper scope. His finger was poised on the trigger, his attention on the face of the Lieutenant who could say yea or nay to opening up and eliminating the soldiers. Kino held out his hand, thumbs up Perry would let the Cybertron live, thumbs down he would eliminate the guard.



“Come on Lieutenant.” Manual thought urgently, “I have the solution.” He whispered, and Kino grimaced sharply.



The Lieutenant turned to meet the Sergeant Major’s expression with a hard one of his own. He finally signaled a silent ‘thumbs up’ signal and the guard disappeared into the darkness. The Marines let out a silence exhale, and slowly Sergeant Major Perry nodded to the Lieutenant as he brought his weapon up to his face, peering down the tunnel leading away from the light of the air vent.    



“That was too close, Lieutenant.” Perry whispered, and Kino managed a nod.



“Way too close.” He replied, “Activate night vision, and heat recognition vision on your visors.”



“Right, sir.”



Two guards on either end kept a look out down the shaft as they could hear the footfalls of the Cybertron robots walking the shaft somewhere.



“Move out.” Kino said, “Stay out of the center of the shaft.”



As they walked toward and down the shaft, they could hear footfalls ahead in the darkness. The group scattered into the shadows as a Cybertron soldier appeared out of nowhere, confronting a young Corporal named Sarah Perkins who was not fast enough to dive into the shadows. They young human and cyborg stared at each other for a second before she reached down, pulling her bayonet and thrust it forward, The young woman struck the Cybertron in its forehead and there was a spark as a short circuit followed, making it dropped its weapon. It discharged when it clattered on the sandy floor of the mine. The ricochet of the shots echoed in the mine, causing a minor shift of dirt from the ceiling of the shaft, and sent the Marines again ducking into the shadows.



“Shit!” Perry mumbled, and everyone scattered as heavy footfalls came their way.



The Marines held their positions near the walls in the shadows, all with night vision goggle on, their weapons ready to fire. The Cybertron Robots stood in the tunnel, and they silently used their scanners, panning a view through the interior of the mineshaft.



“All right, reaaaddy…” Perry mumbled, “Now…!”



Laser fire erupted all around the Cybertron. The robots sparked and jolted as they were cut to pieces by the Marine’s fire. More Cybertron showed up at the passages around them, cutting them off, and screams from a couple of the Marines echoed through the tunnel as their fire struck them before the Cybertron were again decimated.



“Shit! Who got it…?” Perry grumbled and motioned to the others to watch the tunnels as everyone was accounted for.



     “Medic! Over here!” A voice said, and the young Medic named Lance Corporal George Phillips, moved toward the injured soldier who lay bleeding on the dirty floor of the mine. The Medic grimaced as he knelt beside the soldier.



“I say, it rather doesn’t look good Sergeant Major.” George said, and met Perry’s nod with motion with his hand. The medic quickly patched the side of the soldier who is still living.



     “The others are dead, Sergeant Major.” A soldier reported, “The smoke dissipated through the shaft above us.” He continued.



     “Okay, move out.” Kino whispered, “Condition red. How many were killed George?”



     The Medic shook his head. “Two were hit right between the eyes, and are certainly dead. They didn’t have a chance. The other was wounded in the shoulder.”



     “Damn it.” Kino muttered, and he looked down at the sensor scanner in his hand that showed the tunnel. “We go that way. How we get at it is by moving along the edge of the tunnel, if possible, and stay clear of the center of the shaft. We don’t want any more surprises, activate two more floaters and send them behind and ahead of us. Strip that body of every piece of equipment and even take the dog-tags.”



     “Right, Sir.” A soldier replied.



     The injured soldier coughed, and spat blood onto the floor. Kino put a finger to his mouth motioning for him to be quiet. Heavy footfalls thundered down the passage, as another patrol approached.



     “Line up and against the passage walls, keep it quiet.” A soldier put his hand over the injured man’s mouth as he coughed up blood.  A moment later there was a single shot, the injured human soldier became stiff, as he fell limply in the others arms.



     “Bastard!” A shout said and a Marine soldier drew his pistol. A single shot rang out, hitting the Cybertron who killed their wounded comrade. He was gunned down instantly. Kino and the others returned the fire, a firefight quickly started.



     “Surrender humans, you are outgunned and surrounded.”



     “Up yers, robo-dick.” A voice said, and there was laughter by the Marines that echoed the shaft. The robots paused, trying to compute the insult. The fire fight continued as laser fire streaked across the chamber.



     “Yay Jen!” A voice called across the chamber, and there was sprinkled applause.



     “Shhh.” Kino chided, and he held up his weapon, as the Cybertron scanned the chamber. Kino’s shot hit a robot with a lethal beam and it sparked, flaming out brightly.



     “That does not compute.”



     “Compute on this!” Another voice said, and a hand was raised to give the middle finger. There was another burst of laughter by the Marines, male and female, as they remained hidden behind the equipment in the shaft. A shot rang out by the Cybertron, aimed at the soldier’s hand, but missed it as he quickly put down his hand.



     “You are surrounded, surrender.” The Cybertron repeated. More shot were exchanged as they fought hard, and explosions shook the shaft as a Marine threw a grenade.



     “Oh no they’re not.” A voice said and Kino glanced at his men, as there automatic weapon shots were fired and the smell of acrid smoke filled the chamber. The laser by the Cybertron ceased.   



“What the hell?” Kino exclaimed as he peeked out from behind the equipment with his men.  The young Lieutenant looked at the Major who stood in the opening, over the bodies of the Cybertron in which he had felled with a rapid fire of gunshots. Major Miller held the Cybertron he had nicked and with a bayonet he thrust it through the chest of the enemy. The Major’s arm was bloody through the tunic of his uniform, but at the moment, no one seemed to notice.



“Major!” Kino said, as he motioned to the remains of his men, and only eight stood up.



“Anyone order a rescue, with extra cheese?” He said and there was a sprinkled chuckle.



“Alright, let’s clean this mess up.” Major Miller said solemnly, “Strip those bodies of everything useful. Take care of anyone woundgued.”



“Aye.” A voice said, and there was activity in the shaft.



“I thought you were in trouble when you didn’t return call, so I came looking.” He said, and Kino shook the Major’s hand.



“Major, you’re wounded.” Kino gasped, spying the blood on the tunic. “You’re bleeding man. Let me get the Med…”



“I don’t have time to bleed.” The Major said firmly, holding his rifle in front of him. “Mind your team.”



“You got what’s left of my team out of a jam, I owe ya one.”



“Forget it.” He said, “How bad are the wounded?”



“We can make it Major.” A strong reply spoke up, and he glanced at the Sergeant and others who stood around in the chamber. He silently counted only nine left in the team, out of twelve that belonged to the Lieutenant after the Major had thankfully bailed them out.



“Alright, the way is clear for the moment, I cleared it on the way. Let’s set these explosives and get the hell out of here lads.” The Major said formally, “Let’s move out, the other team is dug in near the main shaft. Remember we need to keep this covert as possible.”



“YEA!” The Marines said with a blood thirsty cheer, and as a group they packed the extra gear, running fearlessly down the mineshaft. They ran into the straggling Cybertron units from the side shafts, taking them out in force without an interruption of their advancement toward the main shaft. Also as they moved through the shaft, they hid the explosives, rigging the shaft to blow by remote.



They soon reached the shaft, and the groups stood on either side, watching the dozen of Cybertron who stood on the ground floor of the mine.



“Sergeant Perry, Let’s take those mothers out.” Nathaniel ordered, “I’ll take right.”



Shots rang out, and one by one the Cybertron fell. An acrid smell of smoke filled the tunnel, as laser fire lanced out as the robots shot into the gloom, missing the Marines as they took out the group of Cybertron in the shaft.



Gunfire rippled through the shaft, striking two Cybertron, who burst into flames in the middle of the chamber.



“There are more Cybertron on the way, Major.” Jeevers said, “We have some serious company coming down into the shaft.”



“Not anymore we don’t.” Major Miller said firmly, “Hand me that bopper gun.” He rose up, grabbing an RPG and he took aim, as a shot struck him in his vest. The Major let out a battle cry as he charged, leveling it quickly to shoot it off. An explosion followed as rubble, rock and robot parts were crushed under the tons of soil that fell inward on the mine floor. He held his weapon up as Cybertron appeared in the gloom and he led with it, firing two shots.



“That won’t hold them. Let’s get off of this hellhole fellas.” Kino said, after placing the explosives. They ran in two different directions, the team went to the waiting transport on the far end, closest to the main shaft, while the Major went the other way, and to the other waiting transport containing the EMP pulse generator. He knew he had a job to do, and to save the planet Earth by the destruction of Aquarius. It was rigged to blow thanks to his team and the few who had sacrificed themselves in the battles to stop the enemy.



He paused, holding his revolver as he hit a Cybertron guard point blank, making the head completely break off and roll onto the floor of the mineshaft.  Nathaniel continued to charge down the mine, shooting all the way, until he reached the airshaft. He pivoted and led with his weapon taking out two Cybertron soldiers at the entry point of the Marines before quickly scaling the ropes to the surface.



When he reached the surface, the Major crouched at the building as he heard a hum as Cybertron guards appeared from the edge of the woods that surrounded the clearing. He placed an eye in the scope and one by one began picking them off, as they shot back. Drones raced into the clearing, only to be gunned down. They sparked and smoked as they struck the ground. He dodged, as shots ricocheted off the wall and crouching, he returned the fire. Another Cybertron fell as he ran to the nearby path, heading toward the transport bringing them here. 



A few minutes later, the Major ran on board the ship in a hurry, glancing only once at Warrant Officer Clark and Corporeal Jones who assisted her.



“Get ready to get the hell out of here, Warrant Officer.” The Major said. The Warrant Officer and Corporeal Jones exchanged a look at each other, both bolting to the transport and to their places.



“What about the others?” She asked.



“They are on the other transport which will be leaving the sector on Whirlwind.” He replied, “You two will be joining them when we reach orbit. There will be a brief rendezvous. I will also be setting off the EMP when we reach orbit too.”



“Yes sir.” Warrant Officer Clark replied subserviently, and he nodded.



“Power up…” He ordered and Warrant Officer Clark nodded.


“Nominal, sir.” She replied as the hatches closed. Cybertron outside approached the transport and hit the booby traps. Massive explosions followed.



“Hit it!” The Major exclaimed and the ship’s engines thundered as both transports streaked up into the sky, moving higher and higher. Robotic drones moved toward them to intercept. On the First transport, the weapons were fired as they rocketed toward orbit, destroying and shooting down the drones that approached. Corporal Jones manned one weapon as did the Major on the other, leaving the top turret to automation. Weapons fired from both transports. All hell was breaking loose as the ships continued to climb around them.  The second transport similarly was engaged and destroyed multiple air targets before thundering off into the sky.



Back on the Whirlwind, Homer sat at his console turning abruptly when he heard a beep from it. He only glanced at it once to smile, letting out a whoop of joy that echoed across the bridge, making the others turn.



“The transports have lifted off Captain!” He said gleefully. Nova and the others cheered as they clustered around the Communications Station.



“Wolfpack to Whirlwind.” A voice said, and Homer hit the button. Nova recognized the deep voice as the Major’s, standing beside Derick and Homer.



“Whirlwind here, Wolfpack.” Homer’s voice said icily.



“We are inbound toward you and running into resistance but should be in orbit momentarily.” The Major said over the crackling speaker, “Fireworks ready to detonate, will be on station shortly.”   



“Roger that Wolfpack. We’ll start timers when you detonate.” Everyone could hear the fire from the firs transport as it fired at the Cybertron, having left its mic open.



Both transports hit more aircraft as they streaked along the surface of Aquarius and upward into the sky. On the transport containing the Major, the Corporal and the Warrant Officer, the ship spun as it banked toward the sky.



“Thirty thousand feet.” Clark said.



“Keep climbing.”



An explosion rocked the transport as it was hit, and threw everyone to the deck.



“We’ve been hit.”



“Hit the boosters.” Major Miller ordered, and the Warrant Officer nodded as the ship streaked even faster into orbit. Ships from the surface rose up toward them on their way to intercept them and take them prisoner.



“We’ve hit orbit.”



“Magellanic Clouds, Wolfpack here, standby for the pulse.” The Major said into the microphone.



“Roger that.” Ihsss said, “We have company coming for you guys.”



“We’re moving toward you.” Nathaniel reported.



The smoking transport limped toward the Clouds, followed by the other one. The first transport eliminated the craft that intercepted the Major and his party.



“Transport two… Head for the Whirlwind.” Major Miller said, “Don’t worry about us, we’ll hit the pulse and then eliminate the planet. Standby to transfer personnel though.”



The Major nodded to Clark and the soldier with her, who suited up in their Environmental suits. The Major did too. They opened the hatch and the rush of decompression pulled at their suits. Both the Warrant Officer and Corporeal both floated freely into space. They paused, however.



“Get the hell out of here! Get to the transport.” Major Miller exclaimed, waving his hands at the two. The two disappeared into the gloom toward the second transport that rocketed up close to them, allowing them to quickly reach their airlock.



“We’re here.” Warrant Officer Clark said over the speaker, “Blow that thing and get the hell out of their Major!” She begged and there was a pause.



“No, get the hell out of here!” The Major shouted over his headset, turning to the EMP aboard his transport, “I am charging the EMP pulse for buildup and detonation!”



“But if you hit it, you’ll be defenseless sir!” A voice replied over the channel, and yet the Major smiled.



“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine, obey your orders. I’ll be going aboard the Clouds which will nearby for pickup.”  



“Aye, sir! Understood… but…” A voice said, but the second transport already was in motion, rocketing from orbit toward the Whirlwind that had moved into the range of Aquarius.



The Cyberton’s vessels, still in range of the EDC Destroyer, continued to hammer at the ship and their fire had hit the rear and its hangar deck. Under fire, the transport trying to dock, had continued to head toward the rear of the battered Destroyer. Smoking, after being hit twice itself, the battered ship landed with a crash in the Hangar after clipping the entry of the hangar doors of the EDC Destroyer. It spun in through the doors.



On the transport, the crew of Marines hung on for their very lives. The ship hit the deck hard, and became a twisted mass of metal as it rolled twice on the deck. Shrapnel and damage ripped through the rear of the ship as damage control crews tried to dodge when it finally came to a smoldering stop. Inside the twisted remains, both Marine groups were stunned and dazed as the hangar fire was fought.



Outside in space, the Destroyer turned sharply as it limped away from Aquarius. It prepared for warp, despite the damage to the ship, pulling back two sectors where Taskforce Five stood on station, to protect its flank, if Cybertron was able to get away from the Aquarian destruction.



“Send a Medical team, to Hangar deck!” A voice shouted over the loud speaker, as an explosion rocked the back of the Destroyer. Damage control parties continued to fight the fire, as the Marines on the remains of the transport, were escorted off one by one. Many were injured moderately with damage but there were no fatalities. All were evaluated by the medical team and Nova worked with the team and Doctor Sane looking after the Marines. Another explosion rocked the Destroyer in the back as a wall of flames shot out from the battered Hangar doors of the ship. Doctor Sane was also the first to run to the wall intercom, where he had been working to treat the Marines that sat around the deck, being examined by the medical team. He hit the switch with a determined fist. 



“Let’s go.” Sane shouted, “We have the transport aboard and everyone is safe. All except the Major, who is on route to the Clouds.”



The Captain turned to Derick Wildstar who sat beside the pilot of the ship and he nodded silently to the youthful officer. Derick glanced at the pale young woman beside him, suddenly reminded of Kitano when they were aboard Yamato when they had come home and after the Comet Empire War they had been victorious against. He had piloted the ship on their maiden voyage for the next voyage taking them to Iscandar at the distress message of his brother and Queen Starsha.



“Stand by for Warp.” The Whirlwind’s Captain shouted, as laser fire grazed the back of the ship. A few moments later, it disappeared as it warped.



Back on the first transport, the Major gritted his teeth and hit the button after a loud hum radiated on the transport while powering up the EMP. He watched as the counter of orange numbers counted up, reaching the max number of five hundred. They were ready for the pulse.



“Activating EMP.” He said into the speaker, “Stand by.” He hit the switch, and there was a beep.



A moment later, there was a surge as a blast radiated outward near the planet, and everything suddenly shut down in the way of power. On the bridge of the Star Cruiser, and other EDC ships there was a surprised gasp by all. Power systems failed as they went dark through the entire sector. They had already been expecting it and had set up a counter, for reboot purposes of all systems and already reinitializing all systems. All Cybertron that hovered in front of Aquarius, on the surface, or anywhere in the region went dark and drifted freely in the cold depths of space.



“EMP pulse detected, Captain!” Felonious reported.



“Start the timers, and reset all systems. Prepare for emergency power up to warp the hell out of here when we recover the transport.” Ihsss said



“Aye, Captain.” Felonious said, “Counters already activated, we are on emergency power, and we will be rebooted in about six and a half minutes.”  



On the transport, The Major hit the reset button that regulated manually the oxygen supply aboard the tank-like ship. He struggled toward the panels inside the transport, hitting the reset button on the computers, and waited as the power came up and began booting everything.



Five minutes elapsed, as system began beeping at him, and he groaned as a shock made the transport shudder. It was hit by an explosion of an engine panel caused by the damage before. Nathaniel slammed his hand on the button and the engines sputtered and sparked as they reignited. The ship streaked blindly toward the rear of the Clouds, now visible, drifting nearby. The Major hit the switch for the navigation and the HUD switch glowed as the system was activated. He quickly piloted the ship toward the Clouds, knowing they did not have a lot of time before the Cybertron would be rebooted too and resume operation. He had to get the hell out of there, damn quick, before they were destroyed one hundred to one odds against them.



On the Clouds Felonious had his furry head in the sensor module and smiled when saw the transport’s engine spark and begin moving toward them, out of control at first, but just moving. He managed a toothy grin on his feline features. He let out a loud feline whoop.



“It looks like Major Miller is still with us!” Felonious observed, “We have an incoming transport, Captain T’Larra! Out of control and blind, it seems.”



“Good. Prepare to recover transport.” Ihsss said, with a toothy grin on her reptilian features.



“Engineering to Bridge, power systems are on their way up!” Voloxa said, “No damage to the ship. She should have enough to move now!”



“Open the Hangar Bay doors.” Felonious ordered.



“Hangar Bay doors opening.” Kwai reported as outside the hatch opened for the transport that approached the Cruiser. Streaks of lasers ripped past the hull of the Clouds.



“Get us out of here helm!” Ihsss ordered, “Full possible speed!”



Veloxa turned to the console and her hands struck the buttons on the panel with her claw-like hand appendages. Outside in space the ship lurched as it slowly moved away from Aquarius. The crew anxiously looked up at the view screen, at the planet that hovered in the background and the large Cybertron Fleet that had stopped advancing, now starting to show life.



“Where’s that damn transport?” Ihsss exclaimed.



“The transport has taken damage, Captain. It’s barely able to maintain a steady line for the Hangar Bay doors.” Kwai reported.



“Get him in quick, the Cybertron will be up by now on power.” Ihsss ordered sharply, and there was a nod by Felonious.



On the transport, smoking as the smaller Cybertron ships, now actively fire at it: The Major held the flight control of the smoking transport, trying to hold it steady to bring it safely into the Hangar Bay of the Magellanic Clouds. Several times he tried to approach the Clouds, drifting too far left or right. He had to circle the Cruiser many times trying to keep the damaged vehicle steady as it approached the main mother ship.



“It’s just no good, I can’t hold her.” The Major stammered into the headset, “She’s breaking up… better leave me here.” The ship began to shimmy wildly. He peered into the HUD as the ship drifted toward the edge of the Hangar doors of the Clouds, smoking, crackling as systems began to fail.



“No way, Major. I’ll get you in, you can count in it.” Voloxa said, standing in the hangar, “Bring it hard right. I am on the Deck, can you see me? I have the signal paddles.”



Voloxa waved his arms and on the ship, the Major smiled, seeing the red glow of the paddles that urged his on to bank to the right.



“I see you, Voloxa.” The Major said sharply.



“Good, bring it hard right.” Voloxa ordered.



The officer of the past made the wounded ship bank slightly right and Voloxa smiled.



“A little more… good… You’re okay, bring it home.” He coached, “Add power… power!”



The Major felt a lurch of the ship, knocking him to the deck. An explosion hit the ship as laser fire struck it again by the Cybertron weapons.



“Oh the hell with this shit!” He exclaimed sarcastically, and got up from the seat to run toward the airlock.



The Major jettisoned himself into space, and hit the thrusters on his suit to catapult himself toward the Clouds. There was an explosion to follow as the transport finally disintegrated. The explosion threw him toward the Cloud’s hull with shrapnel as it struck the hull off the main ship with dull thud.



“Major!” Ihsss exclaimed.



There was a gasp by everyone, including Voloxa.



“Major Miller?” Hi’Mthsss said into her headset, “Come in please.”



There was nothing but silence for several minutes and a look of fear appeared on the faces of the Clouds. Hi’Mthsss sent the same message multiple times as she tried to get ahold of the young soldier of the past who had thrown himself willingly into space after an alarm sounded on the transport.



“H-he’s gone.” H’Mthsss stammered, “I am not receiving a signal!”



Ihsss raced to the console next to her daughter, and took up the headset. She touched the button on the console, and then another, switching channels.



“Ihsss to Miller. Come in please.” The reptilian Captain said many times, with no response. “Where in space are you?”  



“Felonious… scan for the Major and the debris for any life signs.” Ihsss ordered, “Is there even a life sign out there?”



“Clouds, I am ok.” Nathaniel said after a moment, “I am undamaged.” There was a breath of relief on the bridge.



“Where are you?” The reptilian Captain asked, and out in space the suited figure smiled, despite the burns on his suit.



“Open airlock… uh port side.” He said, as he clambered to the side of the Clouds, “Open the airlock, I am leaking air.”



The airlock slid aside and allowed him to enter. He hit a button to close it behind him and there was a roar as fresh oxygen flooded the chamber. Here he removed his helmet, staggering slightly as he fell aside onto the built in seat inside the airlock. The Major turned to pull himself up and made his way to the inside airlock door, opening it. Here he limped from within into the Hangar Deck Level of the Cruiser. Falloria was at the airlock in a heartbeat as the Major struggled toward the intercom.



“Is he aboard?” Ihsss asked, “Hangar deck? Is he aboard?”



“Affirmative.” Falloria said, hitting the button as he glanced at the burned space suit of the Major. “He’s pretty banged up, Captain.”



“Noted, doctor. Okay, helm, warp us out of here!” Ihsss exclaimed, “Jump us to sector beyond and Major if you can hear me, hit the control and blow it!”



“Visual.” Ihsss ordered, as the view screen on the bridge switched to the stars of spaced and was magnified to the blue ball of Aquarius where the Cybertron fleet now hovers there, now showing signs of life. Laser fire streaked through space at the Clouds.



The Major, remembering the mission had gasped and he typed in the code quickly on the keypad of his suit arm.



“So long assholes.” He muttered, before slamming his hand on the button on the arm of his suit. A beep followed as an explosion in space followed. Aquarius disappeared and vanished in a flash of multi-colors. A moment later, Major Miller passed out on the deck into a lapse of unconsciousness. Little did they know that a piece of shrapnel had pierced his suit and his body, wounding him. The suit had sealed after penetration. He lay on the deck as Fallora stood over him, shaking his massive head as he scanned him with a hand-held scanner.


On the bridge, the crew worked feverishly as the planet suddenly disappeared.



“Explosion detected, Captain!” Felonious said happily, “Stand by for shockwaves.”



A ribbon of a shockwave and debris floated freely toward the Clouds and the fleet across from the place where Aquarius now once hovered. Flashes of secondary explosions appeared in the background off space for a moment. When the flashes finally subsided, that a multi-colored glow seemed to surround the sector where Aquarius once had once been, as black hole formed, caused by a reverse Tritium explosion caused by the reaction of the explosives used. It had done exactly as had been predicted. The Cybertron mostly had been destroyed on the planet, and the fleet that was in orbit or in the sector around Aquarius had been drawn into the black hole, taking them to a different dimension of space. 



Down in the Hangar deck, on the Whirlwind, Kino and a few of the others stood at the windows of the ship, and had watched as the planet disappeared in a flash. They let out a cheer. There were handshakes among the crew of the Whirlwind, backslapping and lots of laughter.



“Holy shit… YOU DID IT MILLER!” Kino exclaimed, as there was a cheer by the Marines and the crew of the Whirlwind who all gathered at the porthole, staring at the discolored portion of space, as planetary debris was hurled at all the ships.



“Sensors indicate a black hole one sector over, we are on the extreme edge of the sector, and it seems to be growing larger.” Sandor said, “That was the result the Major suspected would happen when they destroyed Aquarius!”



“Simply incredible!” Derick gasped, as the crew chattered on the bridge.



The view screen of the Whirlwind was locked on the sector ahead, and magnified on the black hole that swirled in the background of space. A strange glow of plasma seemed to surround the area of space. They turned to the Captain who was watching in stunned silence.



The cheers became an ominous respectful silence as the thought of the first transport and the Star Cruiser Class Starship of the future came to mind. They had lost contact, and they equally were the ones who had finished the job and had pulled off the destruction of Aquarius.



“Oh my god… The Clouds and the Major…” Nova exclaimed aloud, “Tell me you have them, Homer?” 



“I am already trying to make contact.” Homer said, “There is some sort of radiation interference making contact difficult.”



 Nova’s face showed utter horror upon it, realizing the jest of the situation and the truth of the matter. Something dreadful had just happened and they had lost their new friends.



“Don’t worry. We lost contact with the Clouds as soon as the explosion happened when it was triggered.” Sandor explained, “It was surge of radiation from the tritium explosion. We have full power now on sensors and no contact right now. That does not mean they did not warp. They’d be undetectable during a warp anyway.”



 “Keep trying to make contact.” The Captain ordered, “Regular intervals.”



“Aye, Captain.”



The Whirlwind had seen the detonation of the planet but had remembered some honest to God Heroes who had stayed in range to accomplish the impossible. Nova tied to focus on the radar screen, in an attempt to make radar contact with the Star Cruiser while Homer tried to make Communications contact. She hardly heard Homer as he spoke rapidly into his headset trying to raise the Star cruiser from the future, with no result.



“Whirlwind to Dark Angel!” He said, “Come in please.”



“Whirlwind to Dark Angel! Respond!” Homer exclaimed again, “Come in please.”



Fifteen minutes elapsed before Homer turned toward the Center seat on the bridge. And he met the Captain’s questioning expression with a silent shake of his head.



“We have no response sir!” Homer said with an exasperated breath.



“Keep trying Homer!” The Captain ordered, and the young Communicator kept talking into his headset, as he switched channels.



As the EDC ships waited and watched for any signs of the Clouds, they only heard the ominous silence and seen the stars of space around them. Kino, Warrant Officer Clark, and Jones, along with Manuel went to the bridge, stepping off the lift as it opened there. The crew turned, flashing a smile at the four Marines and here, the Captain moved to greet them with his bridge crew who clustered around them.



“Welcome aboard the Whirlwind!” He intoned, “You are heroes. You all did an outstanding job!” The Captain moved to stand before the Marines to salute. They returned the salute formally. He put out his hand, shaking their hand warmly.



“It wasn’t all us… we had help from the Major too. He went on a different transport to set off the EMP and the explosives to win the day.” Manual reminded him and the others had a look of pensiveness on their faces. He was right to remind them that it was a team effort and their victory, sweet and somewhat sour that it was, wasn’t just the Marines in front of them who did the deed. It had been a precision operation by the Taskforces, the Landing crew and the Star Cruiser Class Starship from the future and the strange crew who staffed her. Everyone had done their part and had succeeded in the end result.



“Is there any word from the Clouds, Sir?” Manual asked.



“Negative.” The Captain replied, “We lost contact with the Clouds when Aquarius blew. I have a suspicion they probably sustained damage and are not able to contact us right away. There is no way to tell for sure though. I’m sorry. All we can do it hope.”



“Oh my god.” Manual gasped, closing his eyes to look away, fighting the emotion that he suddenly felt overwhelming his whole body. “What about Angie?”



“Damn, we just don’t know yet.” The Captain said softly to himself, “And all we can do is wait here in space for another few hours just to be sure before we abandon search. There’s got to be something more to be done, damn it.”  The Captain smiled and nodded, despite the Sergeant Major’s grim frown.



“Homer, inform the battle groups that we recovered the Marine team and will form up with them in a half hour.” Captain Yamasaki ordered, and the communicator turned to nod his head.



“Yes, Sir!” He said happily, speaking into his headset.



“Damn, be there Clouds.” Manual grumbled, “After what we all went through, it’s not fucking fair!”  



“Steady, Sergeant Major.” Kino said, grimacing as he heard his grumble. The mood on the bridge dropped slightly with the mood of the four Marines, the Heroes who had destroyed Aquarius. Kino, Warrant Officer Clark and Jones watched as the Sergeant Major stormed off the bridge, the elevator doors closing behind him on the lift. No one tried to stop him, allowing him to retreat off the bridge in a huff. They could hardly blame him for the reaction given. They missed their friend too and only could wish that his demise was not true at all.




Meanwhile on the Magellanic Clouds, the ship travels at high velocity speed through the stars of space. On board, the space suited figure of the Major has been recovered after ejecting from his damaged transport toward the Clouds who barely cleared in warp when the young officer from the past hit the control to destroy the planet. Now on the bridge, the Captain, Ihsss T’Larra commands the vessel as it heads to the coordinates it will use to traverse time into the past on the mission, suggested by Nathaniel who remains unconscious in sick bay.



As Major Miller lies on the bed, he slowly groans as he opens his eyes. The young officer’s vision slowly focusing on the familiar face of Falloria Platt, the willowy Elowan ship’s doctor who now stands over him as he lies on the examination bed.  



“Welcome back.” Fallora said as the Major groaned, covering his face with his hand.



“Ughhhh, someone tell the guy with the hammer, to lay off.” The young officer grumbled, and he glanced at the smiling face of the Elowan ship’s Doctor.



“Let me guess, we’re on the Clouds?” The Major asked.



     “Yes, and on course toward Earth, to the coordinates in which we will be jumping through time.” Falloria told him.



     “I thought we were already there.” He said, shaking his head, “Good to know though.”



     “We will be arriving in a few hours at the jump coordinates.” Falloria said, “We are maintaining radio silence, making it look like we were destroyed, just in case there are still Cybertron out there.”



Nathaniel sat up but the doctor touched his arm with a warning touch.



     “Are you sure you are in any shape to do this?” the Doctor asked, “I know what you plan and you have been through a lot. You should rest until we get to the destination coordinates and even the time you specified.”



“We don’t have a lot of time to get this done.” The Major said, “When we get to Earth, of the past, I need to get to the dock yards, or at least send a communication to myself.”



“Hidden instructions?” Falloria replied, concerned, but the Major shook his head.



“I gave a promise, I would be back and this way there is a chance to keep my promise. I need to be successful and bring back someone more important than life itself.” He said, “I need to be at the memorial on Earth at a certain time, and I can’t be wasting it trying to convince myself that I am me. We only have one shot at this.”



“I don’t understand.” The doctor said, and the Major turned and grimaced.



“I don’t either, Doc, but it’s something I have to do to save the universe.”



The doctor said nothing, his mouth open, just about to the floor with the sentiment of what must be done and what the Major had in mind.



Back on Earth, Amy, Amanda, Melinda, Emily and Denise all celebrated with the EDC staff as the radio message of Aquarius’ destruction was radioed back to Earth. They poured champagne into glasses as the stasis crew looked out over the city, sipping the superb liquid from them.



Angie had been staring out at the waters of the sea when she sensed the Commander’s aide walking toward her. Turning her head, she met the impassive stare of Mitty as she came toward her. She held a dispatch in her hand, a report from the Taskforce that was now on their way home, bearing the Yamato group and Marine team that took on the task to destroy Aquarius.



“Excuse me, Captain.” Mitty said touching the arm of Angie, as the others standing with her turned. She silently handed the report to Angie, who with shaking hands looked down at it. She scanned the report, and her hands dropped to her side, the report slipping from her grasp. The others saw her swoon, dropping the glass of champagne, and collapse onto the deck. Her head hit the ground with a thud and she lay motionless.



“Medics!” Mitty shouted, “Get them now.”



The stasis crew rushed to her side, Melinda grabbing the dispatch to scan it. Her hands shook, as tears filled her eyes. 



“What is it Mel?” Amy asked, as the trio with her, looked over at the dark-skinned woman.



She learned Nathaniel had gone missing after the explosion of Aquarius, and was assumed dead with the Clouds. She handed Amy the dispatch and her best friend had scanned it.



“Oh my god…” Amy whispered, scanning the dispatch “No. It cannot be so. Not like that.”



Emily, Denise and Amanda clustered around Amy as they looked over her shoulder, gasping. They turned as medics arrived. The medics placed Angie on a stretcher, reviving her with smelling salts and she opened her eyes. A crazy look appeared there. She started screaming. She didn’t stop. She wasn’t the same afterward.



Continued – Episode 6, Victory