But back on Earth, at the same moment, Denise Watson opened her eyes in the room and focused upon the sterilized interior of the darkened room. 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 told them and pulled a 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 Yakima, 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 Federal City 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 catching on the jam with a form hand to steady herself. 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?"
“Us!” A shout said, as Amy, Melinda, Amanda, and Manual ran into the room, and they stood in front of them. Denise gasped, and unflustered, ran toward them, embracing each one, unflustered by her partial nudity in the gown she wore. Emily also embraced them as there was chatter throughout the room. Sane and McDonald stepped back grinning as they saw the touching reunion of old friends, Sane reminded of the Star force, which had gone out on many battles to save Earth.
“Mind if I come in?” Seth asked, and Emily turned, gasped, and ran to embrace him warmly, kissing passionately, hungrily. He held her warmly, kissing her back.
“Seth is that you?” Emily whispered, “My dearest love.”
“It is me, Em.” He replied.
A low chatter echoed through the room as Emily and Seth both stepped aside and peered lovingly into each other’s eyes.
“H-how can you be alive?” Seth asked, “I heard you were killed with Denise.”
“They mixed up our records with others from a previous war in this year and when we came into Central Hospital and were switched. If it wasn’t for a savvy tech, seeing our moving hands, we’d be embalmed or cremated by now.”
“I am so glad to see you, and happy you are alive.” He said, holding her warmly, “If it wasn’t for a stranger I’d be dead too.” She peered at Seth in amazement and glanced at Sane who nodded his head.
“In any case, both of you, welcome to the…” He started to say.
“The twenty-third century…” They chimed in and Seth looked at them I amazement, “You already knew?”
“Thanks to Doctor Sane, but I am still confused, what the hell happened? How did we get here so far into the future?”
“Maybe I can answer that.” Mitty replied and the room fell into a respectful silence.
“It seems you all have been left in stasis longer than proposed, due to a malfunction and terrorist bomb that decimated the chamber.” Mitty replied, “According to the black box and records we found in the vault the project was scrapped due to two losses of two teams. They apparently didn’t know that a few of you survived the initial explosion.”
“Oh… so that’s why.” Melinda said wearily, “So what happens to us?”
“Yea, we are stuck in a new century with nothing.” Amy added, “I hope you can bring us up to speed.”
“That is dependent on you all.” Mitty replied, “We will require you to be sent to the Space Academy to bring you all up to speed, to at least conform to military, and our social standards.”
“Excellent.” Amy replied, “I’m in for that, Commander McDonald, count me in.”
“I’m in for that.” Melinda said.
“Us too.” Manual replied, taking up the hand of Amanda in his, putting a loving arm around her.
“We’re back!” Emily breathed, and Denise nodded.
“All except for you, Seth and the Sergeant Major though, your training will be done while you are in the field. You have an assignment off planet with a combat group outgoing, next month, training is at sixteen hundred Thursday of this week.”
“You guys are being assigned?” Emily gasped, and Seth nodded.
“You guys didn’t mention that!” Emily shouted.
Amanda glanced at Manual, a frown on her face.
“Don’t forget me too…” A voice rumbled, and they turned to see Angie Stethem and Lieutenant Command Miller standing in the door. Mitty gasped seeing them together.
“Angie.” Melinda breathed, and Amy smiled. Manual and Amanda had frowned at first, but then also smiled nodding a silent greeting to Angie from the first stasis project. Denise was astonished to see Angie, as was Emily. They both had gasped loudly.
“I don’t believe it.” Denise said, “Angie Stethem, You were in stasis too? Since when? It was another stasis project?”
“Yes, a year before yours.” Angie replied, and nodded to Emily and Denise, “We’ll talk later. I promise.” Her tone indicated caution on the subject and Denise nodded, as did Emily.
“But before I go any further, I’d like you to meet someone.” Angie said. “May I present my new husband, Lieutenant Commander Miller, Space Corps, and second officer of the U.S.S. Kosheo.”
There was an astonished silence, by everyone, including Mitty and even Doctor Sane.
“What the heck? You’re married!? You actually did it?” Melinda asked, and Amy gasped. Amanda showed surprise and Manual laughed.
Angie held up her hand, and there on the finger was a silver ring with a diamond set. The Lieutenant Commander held up his hand with the matching ring.
“We did it this morning.” Angie said, and there was a cheer.
“Congratulations!” Mitty chortled happily and embraced Angie and Nathaniel warmly. “I am happy for you both.”
Congratulations rounded the room, and it was Amanda who stepped back distastefully, when the name finally hit her, and she frowned, thoroughly astonished.
“Wait, I know you, you were at Wilcox!” She stammered.
“Yea he was.” Manual said, stepping forward and he backslapped Nathaniel.
“Congratulations Commander.” He said, and shook his hand. Seth did the same thing, before turning to Emily. He put his arm around her.
“Thank you all.” Angie said, and Nathaniel managed a slight nod.
“Me too.” He rumbled, as conversation echoed through the room. Many questions bombarded the young officer by Emily, Denise, Manual, and the others.
“Alright everyone, geeze, let me tell you.” Nathaniel laughed, and held up his hands. The room fell silent.
He filled them in briefly what happened after Bellbrook, and his misadventures returning to California. He turned to Manual and Amanda.
“Amanda and Manual were at the same High School in California. At Wilcox.”
“Yes.” Amanda replied, still stunned by his face and his entrance.
“I was a senior when he was a sophomore.” Manual said, “Glad to see you turned out, Ghost rider.”
Nathaniel laughed and nodded, “Me too buddy, you are looking well.”
The Lieutenant Commander turned and picked up a champagne bottle, and popped it. “I think this is time for a drink.”
“This is so against regulations,” Sane intoned, as the staff of the ward gathered, and Commander McDonald, “But since this is a special occasion I will make this one allowance.”
“Here is to the happy couple, Angie and Nathaniel, may you both find happiness in your new home and century.” Mitty intoned, and glasses were raised.
“Hear! Hear!” Seth said, “To the happy couple!” The group repeated and they raised their glasses to all drink.
There were handshakes and cheers through the room, as Emily turned and tossed Seth a look.
“It looks like we’re next.” Seth suggested, “How bout it Em? Before I get my ass shot off in the combat group that’s outgoing.”
Emily gasped, blushing slightly, and tears forming in her eyes as Seth took up her hand in his and knelt before her. She nodded silently. There was a gasp that rippled through the room, as everyone turned, Seth held up a box and he opened it. Emily stared at the sparkling ring.
“Yes. I will, Right now!” Emily said, and Seth nodded, embracing her warmly.
Seth glanced at the grizzled Commander, his face patched and the scar still angry and his face mutilated by the structural beam that smashed is container in stasis and cut his face the way it did.
“Please Nathaniel, be my best man.” He intoned, and there was a yelp by all.
“It will be an honor.” Nathaniel replied, and Angie smiled, holding her husband tightly.
Another gasp rippled through the room and there was an excited ripple through the room. A cheer echoed through the room as he champagne flowed freely.
“Did someone send for a pastor?” A voice asked, and Mitty motioned him in.
“Please come in Pastor Murray.” Mitty said, “This couple would like to get married.”
“I am Pastor Donald Murray, my rank is Colonel for the Earth Defense Corps, but you don’t have to salute.” He intoned solemnly, “I ask you in the spirit of the union of and in the sight of god, are you sure?”
“We are.” Seth replied, and Emily joined him as they stood before the pastor. Manual glanced at Amanda who gasped, and motioned to her. She shook her head. He frowned.
“Why dear, I love you and I want you to be my wife.” Manual whispered, “Be with me always and spend the rest of our lives together. Before we are all going to be killed, and not come back, the chances are not good for this mission babe. I want you to be my wife so when I return we can be together.”
Amanda smiled warmly, as she kissed him.
“I know, I love you too, but not till after.” She said, “I’m not ready for that yet, and I couldn’t bear the stress of losing my newlywed husband if you were to be killed.”
“I understand, but if we are married, we will be united, and you get benefit extras that will help you cope and survive without me here.” He said, “Chances are slim for return. We are facing an armada, of a new enemy has come up and there is a ship from the future has come to warn us of the impending attack on Earth. Seth and I are probably going to be sent to our deaths, but if we succeed we will save Earth.” Amanda nodded.
“I’m sorry, I just can’t.” Amanda murmured, and he frowned.
“Alright, Honey.” Manual replied, kissing Amanda warmly on her lips.
Meanwhile, Seth and Emily, followed by Sane, Mitty, Nathaniel and Angie stepped forward. They stood at the familiar places in the wedding party.
“We have come together at the invitation of Emily Montgomery and Seth Aquilera to celebrate the uniting in Christian love, their hearts and lives. This is possible because of the love God has created in them, through Jesus Christ.”
The Pastor paused.
“Jesus said, I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. This abundant life, for many people, is an impossible dream, yet God wants us all to have this abundant life and proved His love for us by giving His Son, that we might have this life.”
Here Pastor Murray nodded.
“Another way that God provides for this "full" life is creating those who will love us. Seth has found such a one in Emily hearts and spirits were drawn together before today by the Lord of all creation. Two lives are not united by ceremony, but only in the power, love, and grace of God.”
“Seth and Emily are here to publicly declare that because of Jesus Christ's love, they too can truly love one another. As God demonstrated His love in Jesus, our Lord, Seth and Emily will demonstrate this God given love by giving themselves to one another and one for the other.”
“They have not reached this place alone. Each has been given life by their parents. These, who gave to them life love, provision, are and will be, a vital part in their continued lives. Their love has borne fruit in Seth and Emily. Love and respect for these will continue as they grow in their own love made possible by their parents.”
The uniformed priest turned to the group that surrounded Emily and Seth. He grimaced slightly, motioning to the group.
“Who then has prepared this woman for marriage to this man?” The pastor asked.
Sane spoke up, "Since her parents are no longer living, I will."
Emily, Seth, Nathaniel and Angie stepped toward the Pastor. Sane and Mitty took up a position behind them.
The pastor turned to the couple. “Emily and Seth, no other human ties are more tender, no other vows are more sacred than these you are about to assume. You are entering into that holy estate which is the deepest mystery of experience, and which is the very sacrament of divine love.”
“Seth, will you have Emily, to be your wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony; will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only for her so long as you both shall live?”
Seth stood straight, and glanced at Emily, who smiled. "I will."
“Emily, will you have Seth to be your wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony; will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only for him so long as you both shall live?”
Emily gigged, and nodded. "I will."
“It is with hope that you find happiness together, and be reunited in your time of need and turmoil, to have a long and happy life together.” The pastor intoned, “May you find such a life, and such happiness together always.”
“Seth, please take Emily by her right hand.”
“Please repeat your vows to your beloved.” Pastor Murray instructed.
“I Seth, take you as my wife, to have you and be with you till death do we part, and promise to uphold, be faithful and love you until our time together ceases.”
“I Emily, as your betrothed, take you as my husband, till death do we part, and promise to uphold, be faithful, and love you until our time together ceases.”
The Pastor smiled and nodded, turning to Seth. “Seth, what symbol do you bring as a pledge of that sincerity of your vows?”
Pastor Murray turned to Emily, “Please remember, a ring is more than a symbol of your marriage. It is a seal of the vow you have made to one another. The circle of the ring is, as far as human eye can see, a perfect circle--with no beginning or end--so God too, has perfect love for you and wants you to love one another in His grace--never, never ending. This ring is made of precious metal. You also are precious in God's sight and now in the life of Seth Aquilera. When you are absent one from another, the presence of the ring reminds you to be faithful and to fulfill your vows to Seth.”
The pastor took in a breath.
“Rings have historically been the sign of authority--used to seal documents and proclamations. You now accept this authority in your life.” He intoned.
The pastor turned to Emily. “You may now place your ring on his finger.”
Emily, what symbol do you bring as a pledge of that sincerity of your vows?
"A ring." She replied, smartly.
The pastor turned to Seth, “Major Aquilera, this ring is a seal of Emily’s vow to you. She presents this to you as a token of her submission to you in Jesus Christ. This is a symbol of leadership and privilege. God has placed you as head of the family. You must lead in worship, works and fellowship. As the weaker vessel she depends upon you for strength.”
Pastor Murray turned to Seth, nodding. “You may now place your ring on your Bride's finger.”
“For as much as Seth and Emily have consented in holy wedlock, and have thereto confirmed the same by giving and receiving each one a ring; by the authority committed unto me as a minister of the Church of Jesus Christ, I now declare you husband and wife, according to the ordinance of God, and the laws of the military code of the Earth Defense Command; in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.”
Pastor Murray raised his hand, opening the bible in his one hand and he motioned to them and they knelt together before the pastor who waved it over the couple.
“Let us hear this prayer, in John four, Verse seven to twelve.”
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love.”
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us.”
The couple rose to their feet and both grinned as they glanced at each other. Seth moved toward Emily and embraced her warmly, holding her in his arms.
“With abiding confidence and deep affection, we send you forth in life's journey together. May it be an adventure in peace, in joy and in love!” Murray told them and nodded.
With that said, The pastor turned and closed the bible, raising both hands before the gathered group, including the hospital ward staff, other patients, the stasis crews, and Commander McDonald.
“You may kiss the bride!” Colonel Murray instructed, and Seth grinned, as he leaned over to embrace Emily, their lips hovering and they met touching tightly, passionately, hungrily together.
There was a cheer by everyone present. Five minutes elapsed. There was a pause. Ten minutes elapsed. There was another pause and a shuffle. A low chuckle rippled through the group.
A moment later, they broke and there was laughter, as Emily fanned herself.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you Mr. & Mrs. Aquilera.
Applause thundered through the room, as cheers and words of congratulations for the couple moved through the crowd. Seth turned to Emily, and she blushed, smiling.
“I love you Emily, always.” Seth said, and he turned to Angie and Nathaniel who stood nearby.
“Thanks Nathaniel, Angie.” He said, “For being there for us.”
“You are welcome.” Lieutenant Commander Miller replied, nodding, “Welcome to Marriage. May you both have a long life together, and many children. But for right now, Seth we’re wanted at sixteen hundred at headquarters. It appears the meeting was moved up.”
“Understood.” He replied, “Do I have a little time to be with my new wife?”
“Yes, please, by all means.” He replied, as he turned to Angie, taking up her hand.
“We have a little time together, beloved Angie.” Nathaniel told her, and he embraced her.
“I know. You got a job to do.” Angie said, “Just promise me, you will return and not get your ass shot off, your ass belongs to me, remember that.”
“I know.” He said, “I am not planning to get myself killed by this enemy. I will return, I promise, and will keep Seth and Manual safe.”
Amanda heard him and gasped, but nodded. “Thanks, you were a pain in the ass, but you are really a nicer person now than before Commander.”
“Was I?” The Lieutenant Commander replied, and laughed. Emily also had heard Nathaniel and walked toward him, smiling as she took up his hands.
“I heard your comment, I’ll hold you to that Commander.” Emily told him and he nodded.
“Don’t thank me yet.” He intoned, “We still have one mission to go, and it’s not going to be a piece of cake, there is a lot at stake, and with god’s help we go to fight, and will probably fail. All we can do is hold on for dear life and give it our best.”
“What does that mean?” Emily asked, glancing at Angie who was stunned by his mood change, and shook her head, shrugging as she watched her husband walk to Commander McDonald and Seth to chat with them formally. Emily did not know what to make of the comment, as did Angie or realize what was truly at stake for the sake of Earth.
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 hours ago 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' Akron, 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’Mthsss 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.