"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.
“We have them, Mother… err… Captain.” She announced and grimaced.
"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."
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 the 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 wispy 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." Falora 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," Falora 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." Falora 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." Falora 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 Falora shook his willowy head. His large compound eyes showed a deep troubling expression.
"We have him sedated." Falora 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?" Falora 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." Falora 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." Falora began and Ihsss chuckled, nodding her large reptilian head. She had a big toothy grin on her face, as she regarded the willowy doctor 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," Falora 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’Mthsss turned to the console and picked up her headset. "Magellanic Clouds, Hi’Mthsss 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’Mthsss turned her head and nodded to her mother.
"Put it through." Ihsss instructed and Hi’Mthsss 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 as a questioning look and frown appeared 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’Mthsss 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 kellies, 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."