Doctor Platt was on his feet in an instant, and ran into the room. A pool of blood started to circle the table and a smoking revolver was in Seth’s hand. Blood splattered the room around them. Falora was aghast at the mess, and the fact for Seth’s rash action.
“Sickbay to Bridge!” Falora said, hitting the intercom with a shaking appendage.
“Ihsss here.” The reptilian Captain replied.
“You’d better get down here.” Falora said, his tone unnerved, “You’d better hurry.”
“Doc?” Ihsss asked, and standing on her bridge, she glanced at the view screen. A look of upheaval and horror suddenly overcame her senses and she grimaced.
“Felonious, come with me.” Ihsss said, “Veloxa. You have the con.”
Ihsss and Felonious ran to the turbo-lift and the doors snapped closed.
A few moments later, the reptilian Captain and feline First Officer ran into the Sickbay, as Felonious worked over Seth covered in his blood as he tried to revive him. He had the laser cutter, as Seth’s vitals beeped on the monitor, and then stopped. They had to perform CPR multiple times to keep him alive as they tried to seal the wound, and remove the shell that was lodged in his chest.
“Oh my god.” Ihsss murmured, and looked away. Felonious grimaced, and both moved to the Doctor’s side who worked with his staff over the body of the human they had rescued.
“What happened here?”
“He tried to terminate himself.” Falora said, “I left the room and forgot to remove his pistol with me. I didn’t think he would have done such a foolish thing. His wound to his back and paralysis he was experiencing because of it was only temporary!”
“Oh my God.” Felonious murmured, staring at the blood that dripped and pooled on the floor of the Sickbay.
Ihsss stepped up and her hand was also on the body of Seth as they tried to stop the blood that poured form the human’s body. Seth’s heart stopped three times as they were in the process of saving his life.
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.
Emily 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 now brought the Yamato crew, and the Marines back to Earth after their mission. Seth was to follow on the Clouds and transfer to the Whirlwind when they were in range. Mitty had a look and pensive expression on her face. She grimaced as she stood there, facing Emily.
The young Lieutenant Aguilera-Montgomery saw the look and a questioning expression appeared on her face.
“What is it Commander?” She asked, as Mitty handed her the report that was sent from the Taskforce. Emily took the report and scanned it, her eyes showed surprise as she read the report.
“I’m sorry.” Mitty murmured, and turned her head away as tears formed in her eyes.
Emily suddenly swooned, and she fainted onto the deck, dropping the glass of champagne. Her head hit the ground with a thud and she lay motionless. The dispatch fluttered to the ground and lay gently beside her.
“What the hell? Medics!” Mitty shouted, “Get them now.”
The stasis crew rushed to her side, Melinda knelt beside her, rolling her on her back, and putting her hands on Emily’s heart. Her hands shook, as tears filled her eyes. Melinda took up the dispatch, and the report and she scanned it. Her hands shook.
“What is it Melinda?” A voice asked, “What’s wrong?”
Angie, Denise and Amanda clustered around Amy as they looked over her shoulder, gasping. They turned as medics arrived. The medics placed Emily 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.
It is on board the Earth ship, the Space Destroyer Whirlwind, however, that Sergeant Major Perry stands alone in his quarters. As he stares out from a porthole at the stars of space, his gaze also falls upon the other ships that surround them in the convoy heading for Earth. The mission is complete now and as he watches the stars, he thinks of the past few hours and days and to the mission they have just completed. It had been a hard mission, harder than anything he had ever done in his entire military career. Harder than even stasis, being placed in and recovered and having to catch up learn into the new century in which they found themselves. They had to destroy a planet, and had succeeded to do so.
“But at what cost.” The Sergeant Major thought, thinking of five people from the Commando group and countless others that would not be coming home after a diversion that allowed them to be deployed to Aquarius undetected, thanks to the Clouds, a ship from the future.
“We might have won the day, but with not without cost and death aplenty.” Sergeant Major Perry thought, continuing to stare at the stars through the porthole on the ship. Here he shook his head, limping as he walked as he moved toward the nearby table in his quarters where he sat at the table. It is covered with papers, compliments of the Lieutenant who was in charge of the group as second in command.
“It won’t be long now and we’ll be home to a Hero’s welcome.” Manual thought, “But some party that will be without the real heroes who did he deed. God knows we certainly paid for this party with our dearest blood.”
As Sergeant Major Perry also stood in his quarters, his mind is filled with cosmic thoughts, thinking of his lost friends. It is here that he almost had forgotten about the meeting he still had to do back on Earth with Lieutenant Aguilera-Montgomery and the others in the stasis group who had seen them off on this mission. She is the Major’s wife, lover and companion from his stasis group, the very one whom he had promised to bring back the Major intact from this mission. But now, all he would be doing now was take the personal effects of the Major to her and have to explain why her lover had not come home. Why he was killed on this mission instead, all because of the explosion of Aquarius and miscalculation that had cost them their lives.
“Oh yea, I almost forgot about that.” Manual mused, “Jesus, what a meeting it will be too, an emotional one at that. There will probably be shouting, resentment, frustration, anger, and hatred. It will be all for nothing for something that happened on a mission that was against the odds anyway.”
He shook his head in silence, groaning as he paused to take a sip from a flask at his belt, letting the Kentucky Bourbon sting his throat as it went down. The alcohol seemed to steady him, and it was a far better solution than Sane’s injected relaxants that had a tendency to upset his stomach. He managed his turn his head and scan the empty room before turning his attention back to the porthole. Here he managed to shake his head negatively, suddenly disgusted by the death and destruction around him.
“Hah shit.” The Sergeant Major muttered, as he stood angrily in frustration, grabbing his hat, and headed for the door of his quarters. As he stepped through the hatch into the corridor, he turned to limp alone down the center of it, heading for the galley where he would get a cup of coffee, passing and ignoring many of the crew of the Destroyer, who greeted him warmly.
“Sergeant Major!” A voice said sharply, and Manual startled, looked up from his pensive thoughts.
“Sir!” He replied sharply, nodding his head. It was the Lieutenant, the second in command for this mission, who had been put in charge and sent to the Whirlwind with the men while the Major set off the EMP. He had his group, while the Major directly led the group with Sergeant Jeevers as his squad leader in two groups.
The Sergeant Major blearily stared at the pensive expression on his face and immediately sensed something was up.
“Just so you know, when we get back to Earth, there will be an inquiry by the council.” He told him, “Those assholes on the council want an explanation it seems for the loss of ships and personnel, even though we won the war. Make sure you have your Class A uniform ready, put on your saddle and report to the sawdust ring. You, Jeevers, the Lieutenant Commander and I are on the hot-seat with about twenty other Commanders. It seems the families are pushing their rights and made it a totally political battle at Headquarters to for the EDC to accept responsibility for the loss of those at Aquarius. The Council is blaming the military for blatant incompetence and not doing our job, though we were engaged with overwhelming odds.”
“What? Why the hell are they putting us in the hot seat Lieutenant?” Manual asked, “We did the job. We had our hands full. There was nothing anyone could do any differently, on the ground and in space.”
“I know, but it seems they think it could have been done better and cleaner than it was. It’s a political game now, son. They are looking for scapegoats, not heroes.” Kino replied, “I was just giving you a heads up, when we land at Earth in a few days. Things are going to seem chaotic. Just relax and give them a full statement of your report as you were there. And be happy where they place you in the end for your contribution. You did good work Sergeant Major. You can fight with me anytime.”
“Aye, Aye.” Manual replied, “Thanks, Lieutenant.” Manual grimaced as he watched the Lieutenant depart.
“As if my morale is not low enough already, it just got totally worse.” He muttered, “Great, just fucking great.”
“And the hits keep oooon coming.” The Sergeant Major murmured as he hobbled toward the galley, supported by a cane he held in one hand.
When he finally arrived, the galley was empty, save one other person who was in here. He immediately went to the dispensary and he took a cup, seeking out a strong cup of coffee to drink to stay focused, despite seventy hours of no sleep since pulling back from Aquarius. There was just too much on his mind to sleep now and too much paperwork that was now required from him to back up the statement of the Lieutenant to the council on Earth.
Manual, as he limped toward the large bay window, stood before it a moment later, and it is here that he gazed at the stars before taking a chair. (Which he turned and straddled in the same gesture like certain Commander from a distant TV Show called Star Trek: The Next Generation.) The Sergeant Major took a determined sip of the rotgut coffee with a grimace, thankful for the stimulant as he let the stars sooth his troubled mind. He tried to consciously decipher what was going on and what they were about to go through back on Earth.
“Hell. It isn’t my fault for the Major or the others dying. He had done his duty as he saw fit and made a command decision where he saw to his crew first.” Manual muttered, “That’s the sign of a good officer. He saw to his men first and took the responsibility for us for his own actions. So why are the Lieutenant and I being made responsible for this and going to get screwed for what happened? That makes no sense. It’s the military, people die, that’s part of the job. There should be no place for politics here, not now, not ever, not for what we just went through. I can understand the grieving families, but to force the council and EDC to accept responsibility for winning a war? Ridiculous…”
Looking from side to side, Manual pulled out a flask, pouring a bit of the contents into the now empty coffee mug and took a hit of the Kentucky Bourbon that stung his throat as it went down hard. He took another sip of the liquid in his cup, turning his attention back toward the stars of space. A lot of images and thoughts whirled through his head as he sat there. He shook his head, trying to clear the unwanted images of hell they had gone through.
“Excuse me, Sergeant Major?” A woman’s voice asked, and he turned to see Nova standing at the hatchway. She frowned at him as he took another shot from the cup, emptying the contents. The liquid burned his throat. He remained silent, meeting her gaze with a questioning expression.
“The Captain needs to see you on the bridge.” She said, and he nodded slightly, rising to his feet. Manual took out his flask and took a determined gulp from it. The young woman frowned seeing the flask. He let out a silent exhale of exasperation.
“Alright, let’s go Ms. Wildstar.” He replied, and hobbled toward her.
“Is that alcohol?” She demanded, “You know that’s against regs.”
“Yea… it is, so sue me. Tell it to my draft board.” He replied sharply, “Because I don’t give a flying…”
Manual stopped cold, blearily staring at the startled young officer. He quickly realized that he had reared up and bit her head off. It was not her fault that the Major and the Clouds were destroyed. She had not had caused the inquiry coming up, or caused the many losses of manpower from the two task forces that took on the Cybertron as a diversion to make the drop onto the planet. He realized snapping at her was unnecessary at best and the Sergeant Major backtracked immediately.
“Sorry.” He murmured, and turned his attention back to the view port.
The young woman’s mouth dropped open at the sharpness and insubordination in his tone. But she stepped up toward him, placing her hand on his shoulder.
“Steady, Sergeant Major.” She told him as the young Lieutenant shook her head in disgust, smelling the bourbon, “Believe me, I understand.”
Nova did understand why he was drinking. It was to forget. Yet, with all the bloodshed they had seen through the years among the Star Force, she wondered why they were not all boozers and having mental problems too.
“Come with me, now, please.” She said sharply, and motioned for him to follow her through the hatch.
“Where to… Lieutenant?” He snarled, “Captain’s quarters for a Captain’s Mast?”
“No, being drunk I will ignore that, but you have a message at the Communications console on the bridge.” Lieutenant Wildstar stated sharply, “But we shall speak of this incident later. Not for disciplinary action with the Captain. Talking helps and you always have a friendly ear who will listen.”
“Thanks, Miss Wildstar.” He murmured, and she smiled, nodding her head in acknowledgement.
Manual muttered under his breath, followed her to the hatch, stepping through it, and down the corridor toward the nearest lift that would take them to the bridge of the Space Destroyer. As they boarded the lift he leaned partially against the wall. Nova glanced at him in silence.
“I would suggest you do not get too close to the Captain, and let him know you have been drinking.” Nova suggested, “It would smash your career with a court-martial on your record. He pretty much goes by regs. I am willing to overlook it if you continue on coffee and get sober by twenty-three hundred hours. It is approximately twenty-two-twelve.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Manual said, “I have a right to get stinking drunk, after having to watch my comrades get chopped to pieces, and then my best friend killed by a miscalculation.
“Yes, but twenty stayed alive and countless others.” Nova replied tersely, “Or have you forgotten. You still are Heroes, and they will always forget that at first, but in the end you will be acknowledged for your deed.”
“I have not forgotten, but I was charged to protecting the Major.” Manual replied hotly, “Now I have to face an emotional friend on Earth, to give her the effects, and explain to her what happened after the mission was supposedly in the bag. Some mission this was… NOT!
“I totally understand your pain, but for the moment, just trust me and take the call.” Nova said gently, seeing the pain in his eyes, an almost intense look there. Nova was reminded of someone else, who had taken her advice and did his duty well. Manual nodded as he entered the waiting lift to the bridge and managed to step dexterously out onto it without staggering.
“Sergeant Major Perry, reporting, sir.”
The Captain and the others stared at the rumpled uniform of the Sergeant Major, and the haggard look about him. They managed a grim glance between themselves.
“Jesus, you look awful Sergeant Major.” Captain Yamazaki told him with a grimace, “You need to see Doctor Sane. You need to get some sleep.”
The comment made the Sergeant Major frown as he turned toward the communicator.
“I’ve heard that a lot lately out of the crew.” He said, “I will when the paperwork and other stuff is completed, sir. Count on it.”
“If you are having trouble sleeping, Doctor Sane can help you with a knock-out drop.” The Captain suggested and Manual merely nodded his head.
“Play the message, Homer.” The Captain ordered, and at the console, Homer hit the button.
“This is Ihsss’ T’Larra of the Magellanic Clouds, We are inbound currently toward Earth, and will be arriving at eighteen hundred hours on the twenty-first at Pluto Station. We request a rescue ship to rendezvous with us and immediate transport to Earth for Major Aquilera who is in critical condition. The Clouds is outbound to jump coordinates 12,12,345 no later the twenty-fifth, to return to our own time. We are calculating our jump at this time.” The message abruptly faced in a sea of static.
“Helm, Change course and inform Big Boy of the message, and the rendezvous request.” The Captain ordered, “And relay that to Earth.”
On Earth, General Singleton read the dispatch personally, and he grimaced solemnly.
“Alright!” A voice said, as a cheer echoed through the headquarters.
“Dispatch the Furze to Pluto.” He ordered, “The Clouds will be there soon.”
“Yes Sir.” A voice replied, and Singleton turned to glance at the monitor of the SOL sector.
“And god speed, Clouds.” He muttered, as celebration rounded the room.
Meanwhile on board the Clouds, Major Aguilera sat in the sick bay, unconscious as he was prepared for transfer to the rescue ship that sped toward the edge of the Sol Galaxy and waited for the Clouds to arrive. On the bridge, Ihsss commanded the ship, and the course was plotted to the jump point into the computer that would return them to the future.
The reptilian Captain was deep in thought as she sat in her chair, and contemplated a hair-brained idea that she was formulating. She was wondering if it would really make a difference for them to leave, and wondered what would happened if they just stayed in the present.
They could hardly go home and catch up on their planets, most of them decimated by the Cybertron who had lost the Galactic war in the future. Ihsss and her daughter could hardly return to their home-world, the same political conditions present on their planet still existed and her people were in the middle of a civil war.
“There could be a lot of repercussions from our staying though, we could all return to our planets here, but it would overwrite history and our timelines of our existence.” She thought, and grimaced, weighing all the options.
“Excuse me, Captain. We are entering the Sol sector.” Veloxa reported, half turning as he managed a nod.
“We have company it seems.” Felonious said, as he placed his head into the viewer of the sensor module. The scanners hummed and echoed across the bridge.
“Visual.” Ihsss turned, “Slow to ten space knots, and activate cloaking.”
“Cloaking device engaged.” Kwai said, as outside, the ship disappeared, leaving silence and the stars of space behind. On the screen before them was a lone ship, and the crew grimaced when they recognized it as Cybertron. A low groan echoed across the bridge.
“Sir, there is no power emanations from it.” Felonious replied, “It’s drifting.”
“Approach cautiously, it might be a trap.” The Captain ordered.
“Shields up, stand by weapons, target missiles for one barrage.” Ihsss replied, “Let’s eliminate it from being an issue.”
A moment later, Kwai turned to nod her head, as she pulled the handle of the handle with the trigger on it for the missiles. It beeped when she pulled it.
“Ready, Captain.” Kwai stated.
Missiles erupted from the Cruiser, as the ship suddenly came to life and turned on them. Cybertron torpedoes struck their shields. They answered with missiles and their attack struck the Cybertron many times. An explosion followed a moment later, the Cybertron ship disappeared as it left only the silent stars of space and debris behind.
“Whoa!” Ihsss gasped, as she turned her head, away from the flash that happened by the Cybertron.
“We’re clear Captain.” Felonious reported, checking the scanners, “There is nothing within three sectors in distance around us. We can make the jump anytime.”
“U.S.S. Fury is entering the sector.” Felonious reported, “They are requesting to come along side, Captain.”
In space, a large white ship, designed as a hospital carrier appeared in the background of space. It was very large, about six city blocks large as measured on Earth, and the lines were very sleek. A big Red Cross was painted on the side, near the forward section of the ship. Lights blinked, and the ship slowly wallowed toward them. It stopped along side and the only motion was a single ship that appeared from the airlock on the bottom aft section, rocketing and streaking out into space, turning toward them.
“All stop, helm.” Ihsss ordered, “Open the airlock to allow their transport to land.”
The doors of the Hangar deck opened slowly, and the transport landed. On the hangar deck, Seth’s unconscious form was placed in a cryogenic chamber and wheeled down to the deck where it was placed inside the transport.
A medical team was on board as it stepped off the transport, and glanced at the clear cover of the cry tube from which Seth lie. He was battered, and bloody covered in dried blood from his recent stint from his injuries which Doctor Platt had saved his life. Doctor Renee Draconic managed a nod to the ship’s doctor Falora as the willowy surgeon handed her a disk.
“I did what I could for him, but I think he’s in better hands if he was taken back to Earth.” Falora said, and Renee nodded.
“We’ll take it from here, and you have our thanks for looking after him.” She said, and saluted.
Falora glided to the intercom as the airlock closed and depressurized, the transport exited the hanger into the stars of space.
“Transfer complete.” He reported and closed the channel, “God speed Furze and god speed Major.”
On the bridge, Ihsss nodded to Veloxa.
“Hangar deck closed and pressurized.” Felonious reported. Ihsss noted that was her cue.
“Take us home Veloxa.” She said, “Warp now.”
The Furze powered up, and it sped off toward Earth, at Maximum speed, loaded with the team on board that monitored Major Aguilera, keeping him in suspended animation until they could return to Earth and heal him of the damage that was inflicted upon his person.
“Alright, make the computations, and power up, ready for time warp computations.” Ihsss ordered, “Engineering, ready your engines. Engage the computer systems.”
On the bridge, there was a stream of busy activity on the bridge as the crew began to prepare the ship for the jump through space and time.
"Computers are engaged, we have targeted the time as twenty-six, fifty two, approximately a a half hour from our departure from the first place.” Felonious said, “All systems ready.”
“Engineering to Bridge.” A voice said, Ihsss turned to the console when hearing Voloxa’s accented voice on the speakers.
“Bridge.” Ihsss replied, hitting the button.
“Full power is ready, Skipper.” He replied, “I don’t know how long I can give you the power though.”
“Just do your best, Voloxa.” She replied, “Keep it coming as long as you can.” With that, she closed the channel, turning to the Helm and Navigation consoles.
“All right, Thyrac, Plot course, head for the jump point and take us to our home time.” She said, “Voloxa, Engage engines for jump.”
On the bridge there was a hum as the engines began power up and a ticking, as the indicator began operating, the blip of the ship tracking among the indicator lines of the simulated waves that made up the invisible waves of time they were about to jump.
“If we had our warp engines, this would be a hell of a lot easier.” Felonious grumbled, as Ihsss glanced at him, seated in her chair. She managed a toothy grin and a nod of agreement.
“Warp!” Ihsss commanded, and outside the ship glowed as it disappeared into the warp space, literally leaping out of time and out of space.
Back on Earth, however, Emily Montgomery, at this very moment, sat in her quarters alone as an incessant knocking and use off the buzzer echoed the room for several minutes. Someone was at the door, and desperately she tried to ignore it for several minutes as she had just staggered through it herself, after three days being AWOL. She was in a tremendous amount of trouble right now, having ignored her limited duty at headquarters assigned to her, having gone absent without leave with no authorization and right now she really didn’t give a damn.
As she stood there, she held the bottle, taking hits from it, thoroughly intoxicated from the Sake she drank from it. She wanted to just die right now, drinking since she had received the transmission from Headquarters that Seth had been killed in action and the ship from the future with all hands had been lost. She was numb right now from the pain of the death around her, but not the anguish of remembering those deaths. Death was all around her, having seen much in her travels and duty in the EDC and witness of two years prior as they were placed in stasis two hundred years ago.
They had seen a lot of time as friends, having spent stasis together, both witnesses to the carnage that happened when a bomb detonated in the chamber after hyer team had been put in stasis. It had erupted in a massive explosion, fire, smoke, and shrapnel ripping through the chamber as it killed everyone in the area, covering the chambers around them. Emily and the others had just been placed in stasis, a few moments before the bomb had detonated, and as they watched in utter horror, at the carnage outside, both realizing as the chamber was being torn apart, they would be the only survivors of their project. As they drifted off into a nightmare driven sleep, which they both would not wake up for the next two hundred years, dreams and images of the horror show they had seen before them firmly burned into their mind making for a disturbed sleep.
“Death seems to be nothing new for us.” She thought, “You’re dead, and I am alone, that’s a fact. I really don’t want to live without you.” Emily said, “There is just one way out.”
She turned blearily to the door, placing her Astro-Automatic on the table next to the console. A grim reminder what she was about to do and what was about to happen.
“Right now I just want to be numb and unconscious.” The youthful Lieutenant of the past thought to herself, “… and left alone.” The buzzer sounded again a pounding on the metal door.
“And who the fuck is at the door?” The last part of it she had yelled, turning to the console and slammed her hand on the metal tabletop.
Outside she could hear the insistent voices of her friends who had been rejoined with her after the long period of stasis in which they had been thrown out of time and space, literally. A knock sounded again on the door, if not an incessant pounding on the hatchway to her Lieutenant Watson’s quarters. The brunette woman, their friend managed a grimace at the sound.
“Emily! Open the damn door!” A voice said, “We know you are in there, damn it!”
The young woman recognized the voice, as Melinda and grimaced angrily as she staggered to her feet, blearily wobbling to the controls on the console that opened the door. Here she reached for the pistol on the table, taking aim at the door as she hit the control. She suddenly felt strangely, as the alcohol caught up with her, and her hand began to shake as she took aim as her friends rushed in and saw her.
“Em! Hell no…!” Melinda shouted, as they rushed toward her. The young woman’s hand shook as a single shot echoed in the room and the blackness of unconsciousness filled around her. Everyone dodged, and Ms. Aguilera-Montgomery crumpled to the deck, as her Astro-Automatic fell with a thud to the ground.
“What the hell?” The dark skinned young woman breathed, as she moved to her friend’s side, kicking the pistol away.
”It is okay, she unconscious, but now disarmed.” She told her friends who clustered around Melinda and their friend. Kneeling, the dark skinned young woman began examining her for any wounds. She found the gunshot to the left shoulder, and blood seeping from it. She ripped the uniform tunic, exposing the wound, and putting pressure against it with a piece of the tunic of her uniform. She placed a hand on her chest, and felt the strong heartbeat there.
“Jesus, she’s been hit in the shoulder near the neck!” Melinda shouted in alarm, “Den, you and the others check the bathroom for smelling salts and the other rooms to see if anyone else is here. Amy, call security, let them know we located Lieutenant Aguilera for the medics, get them over here stat. Also, someone find a first aid kit!”
“Aye.” Amy replied, as she ran to the nearby communicator. She contacted the hospital and Doctor Phillips after calling the medics who were on their way after disconnecting.
Meanwhile, Melinda held Emily in her arms, holding pressure on the shoulder wound. Luckily, Emily’s hand had been shaking from the overload of alcohol and had not hit anything vital except her shoulder when she pulled the trigger, trying to take her own life. Her hands had been shaking bad enough to keep her from her original aim of her heart in the dead center of her chest.
“No-one else is here.” Lieutenant Watson reported, as Amanda and Angie joined them. Denise handed Melinda a bottle of smelling salts. Amy brought the medical kit, while the others brought kerchiefs, antiseptic and rubbing alcohol.
“Great idea, Denise!” Melinda said, “Maybe we can figure out what the hell is going on.”
“Someone guard that damn door.” Angie said, as Amanda nodded, taking position near the entrance, “Until the medics and the doctor gets here.”
“I’m on it.” Amanda replied sharply and stood there watching, drawing her pistol and watching the hallway outside.
Meanwhile, as Emily lie on the floor, wounded, her blood seeped into the rug, the strong smell of alcohol reeked from her breath, body and clothes. Melinda grimaced at the sight of the blood as did everyone else. They had not expected her to try and shoot herself, trying to kill herself. They understood why she did it, however, and her reasoning behind the attempt. Now they were looking after her.
“Jesus, is she alright?” The question came from Amanda who looked on in question, like the others as Melinda and Angie worked on her. They were concerned for the young woman, their friend who lay wounded on the floor.
“Come on, wake up Em! I need to talk to you and you need to be coherent.” Here, she slapped her face. A moment later, they waved smelling salts under her nose and Emily’s eyes flew open abruptly.
“Get that shit outta my face.” She slurred, cursing her breath.
Relieved chatter rounded the room as Lieutenant Aguilera lay on the floor, staring up at the ceiling only for a brief moment before trying to get up. The young woman lifted her hand, feeling the bottle in it, and she grimaced, sitting up trying to take a determined swig, only to find it empty. The contents had sloshed out onto the floor, mixing with her blood that now covered the shag carpeting. They pushed her back and put a hand on her chest to keep her in a laying position.
“Hey, why are you holding me down on to the fl…” Emily slurred, as she placed a free hand on the wound on her shoulder. Feeling the wet, she pulled it back, blearily staring at the blood there. She gasped.
“Emily lay still. Melinda told her sharply, putting a hand on her chest, “You’ve been shot.”
Lieutenant Aguilera-Montgomery, turned her head staring at Melinda at the others as she struggled, making her wound bleed more. After a moment she grimaced, finally feeling the pain in her shoulder, and placed a hand on it, staring at the blood on her hand.
“Melwinda.” She slurred, “H-how’s it g-going? How’s about a b-e—elt?” Here she burped and she giggled then began to cry.
“Oh my god, she’s drunk off her ass.” Angie observed, “Thank god for that. She’s at least relaxed and not feeling the pain. I can bet its execrating.”
We’d better sober her up, quickly before Commander Mc Donald gets here, and she has to go up and stand before the General for being AWOL.”
Amy glanced at her. She turned as two burley men appeared at the door, one carrying a box and the other a stretcher, both of them had the Red Cross band on their sleeves. They were followed by two more men who took up positions outside followed by a third.
The third man at the door flashed an ID.
“Colonel Douglas Reynolds, EDC Security.” He told Amanda and she saluted, stepping aside to allow him to enter, “I understand you have located Lieutenant Aguilera?”
“We have sir.” She replied, “But there has been a complication, that she tried to take her life tonight.”
“Oh my god.” He whispered, as he stepped further into the room seeing the pool of blood on the floor and the splatters on the wall. The prone figure of Emily lie on the floor still with the EMTS working over her body and his eyes caught the ricochet of the small arms fire from her Astro Automatic where it struck the wall.
“Sweet Jesus.” Colonel Reynolds murmured, as he moved toward the two EMTS being assisted by Melinda and Denise. He grimaced seeing Emily laying there, awake, and blood covering her as they patched up the wound in her shoulder and neck. They were trying to control the excessive bleeding that poured from the wound on both sides.
“Will she survive?” The Colonel asked, and an EMT looked up from his work, glancing down at the young woman before nodding.
“Unknown sir, she’s lost a lot of blood.” He replied, “We’ll have her out of her and at Central Hospital in a few minutes.”
“Carry on.” He said, and the EMTs nodded.
Meanwhile, Commander Mitty Mc Donald, the General’s aide was off-duty and walked down the hall toward Denise and Emily’s quarters. As she walked in their quarters, she started at the two security men posted outside her door. Muttering a curse the young woman ran toward the door, and was proceeded to be blocked by the security men.
“Sorry Commander, this is a crime scene.”
“What do you mean a crime scene?” She said, flashing her ID.
“Lieutenant Aguilera and Watson lives at this address and Emily Aguilera-Montgomery tried to commit suicide here tonight.” The guard said, “The block is on lock-down.”
“I don’t care if the block is on full red alert and there is a battle out here, outside her door. I want in her quarters.” Mitty replied gruffly, “I carry the authority of the General Staff…”
“Guards, Pass her on authority alpha.” A voice said, “My responsibility but no one else.” Mitty glanced at the door at the prone figure of the colonel who had stood inside the door, hearing the exchange and had briefly appeared at the door.
As she entered, her eyes trailed around the inside of hell, at the quarters that belonged to Lieutenants Watson and Aguilera-Montgomery. Blood splattered the walls; a ricochet mark of the discharge from her pistol still was on the wall. With the hole where the shell had lodged as it had went through Emily’s body, and ended up making a hole in the wall. A pool of blood was visible on the carpeted floor, under the prone figure of the young woman who lay calmly on the carpet as two EMTS worked over her body. Her head turned to the galley where Amy made coffee, while Denise and Melinda assisted the EMTS; Amanda helped Amy by relaying the platter of coffee to Emily.
“What the hell happened here?” Mitty gasped, and she felt cold fear instead of anger and just was eager to find out what was happening. Emily as she lay there moaned as she was restrained by Melinda and Denise, giggling with each try at patching her wound.
“I-is this how ya get a drink around here?” Emily slurred, and they shook their heads.
“Be quiet Emily, and hold still.” Melinda warned, pushing her back onto the floor. Angie talked quietly with Colonel Reynolds as he questioned her on what happened here tonight.
“Attention on deck!” Mitty shouted, “What in God’s name is going on here?” The Commander exclaimed sharply, as she stood three steps into her quarter’s galley.
“Emily is drunk, Commander.” Denise said, “We’re trying to sober her up. Doctor Phillips and Nurse Proficient are on their way here. The EMTs here are doing their best to patch her up just a little bit.”
“I can see that, as well as two security personnel outside the door.” Mitty told the group, and there was a grimace.
“Where the hell did you find her?” Mitty asked, “Or do I want to know.”
“No, we found her here, clearly intoxicated, on the floor passed out when we came over here. She was about to commit suicide, she had a pistol.” Melinda replied with a nod.
“Dear Lord.” Mitty muttered, and walked into the room further.
“Besides finding here, drunk and suicidal, what else did you come for?” The message and question was clear. They were intruding in their quarters but the four had been tracking Emily per orders for the last three days. They had followed her, this far and found her in Denise and her quarters.
“We were bringing a message to her, some great news to tell her that might have snapped her out of her funk, Commander, about the Clouds. We tried telling her but we can’t tell her while she’s like this.”
“The Clouds!?” Mitty exclaimed, “What news is that Miss Montgomery? They found debris, bodies or what…?”
“No actually, the Major and the ship are alive and well, and have dropped Seth’s unconscious form on the rescue ship Furze, who is inbound for Earth and should be here in a few hours. The Whirlwind received the message and forwarded it to Earth Headquarters.” She replied, “They posted the wrong conclusion to Seth’s condition.
“Holy shit! T-there alive?” Mitty gasped.
“Does the Commander know?” The Commander asked, and then thought about it. Something didn’t make sense to her.
“We don’t have that information Commander.” Angie replied, “According to Sergeant Major Perry and the Whirlwind, they received the message, and it didn’t give details.”
Angie handed Mitty the dispatch taken from and forwarded from the Whirlwind to Headquarters. She scanned the message several times and a frown appeared on her face.
“This is damn peculiar.” Mitty said. She turned her head to the Doctor and his mechanical nurse beside him who stood in the doorway, Doctor Jeremiah Phillips and Nurse Perfection, who worked with Doctor Sane in his Earth bound office.
“Come on in Doc.”
“I hear you have a bit of a drunk… officer.” He said with an amused tone, “And a gunshot wound?”
“So drunk she was passed out on the deck when we got here, after trying to shoot herself.” Melinda said looking disapprovingly at Emily who still on the floor a they force fed her coffee.
Doctor Phillips examined her quickly, shaking his head. He nodded at the bandage wound for the gunshot wound.
Phillips pulled off the bandage and saw the gunshot wound to her shoulder. He gritted his teeth. It leaked and oozed blood, a mottled purple and black color from cauterization around the edges.
“Dear god.” Amy muttered, and held Emily firmly.
“Don’t worry.” Phillips said with a smile. “It was a clean strike, there is no shell lodged in it. It went all the way through. I can sew it up and it should heal itself. We got to transport her to the hospital. We have to get this bleeding stopped first or at least controlled.”
“Thanks doc.” Mitty said, smiling as he began to work. He motioned to the nurse for a sterilizer and she handed it to him. There was a low hum as he placed it over the wound.
“We have to stabilize her and stop this bleeding Nurse.” The Doctor said, “Laser suture applicator.” The nurse placed it in his hand. There was another hum as the wound was sutured shut, making for a thin line across where the wound had been.
“Can I ask what and the hell is she drinking like this for anyway?” Mitty asked, and most of them shook their heads or shrugged, except for Emily who grimaced silently.
“I think it was because of the initial dispatch declaring Major Aguilera dead at first.” Angie said, “It surely affected all of us when we learned of it. This makes up for that stunning news, her trying to rub herself out.”
“After I get done, we’ll work on the alcohol drunkenness. I brought B-Twelve with me and a couple of anti-hangover remedies to help too.” Phillips said, “We need her coherent for duty without issues, to explain herself.”
“Agreed Doctor.” Colonel Reynolds said, as he took a determined sip of the coffee brought to him by Amy.
Doc Phillips walked toward Emily who was now seated upright and who was drinking black coffee. He pulled out his kit and he withdrew an injector. Phillips rolled back her sleeve and put the injector to her skin. He pushed it and it made a hiss as it injected the chemicals into her body.
“Ow. What’s that?” She complained, flinching at the injection on her skin.
“It is just a little B-twelve, to counteract the alcohol.” Phillips said, with a smile. They poured her another cup of coffee.
“I don’t want another cup of this stuff.” Emily complained and yet her friends shook their heads. They handed her another cup and they forced her to drink. The new dispatch lie discarded on the table near her cup.
As Emily drank cup after cup of coffee the others stood around the living room and shot the bull. They could not believe the message they had received from the Furze who was approaching Earth and preparing to land at Central Headquarters.
An hour elapsed and after several trips to the head, Emily returned to drink some more. Phillips handed her some tablets which she took with a questioning frown. She started to show signs of sobering, starting with twinge in her head.
“What’s this doc?” She asked, blearily and he shook his head.
“It’s Asprin.” He told her with a chuckle, “For when your hangover starts. I didn’t say you weren’t going to have one.”
“Oh.” Emily said sarcastically, “Is that what it is?” She felt the pain starting in her head, however, starting at the temples. Her eyes fell upon the dispatch, and she took it up holding it in her hand as the others looked over at her.
“Feeling better?” Melinda asked and the young brunette-haired woman merely groaned as she met the smile of her friend.
“You should have left me alone.”
“Sorry, we can’t do that.” Angie replied, “Not for a friend who needs us.”
“That’s not going to help her for her going AWOL for three days.” The Colonel said, shaking her head, “Might as get a crack lawyer though and make a fight of it. You were out of your head. I think you can prove emotionally instability and stress.”
“Yea Probably… Say what is this dispatch doing here?” Emily asked, and Denise and the others all stopped and they were smiling.
“Just read.” Denise said and the others murmured. Mitty was grinning. Emily took up the dispatch and read, almost dropping her coffee cup, as she fell back into her chair. She let out an excited gasp.
“Seth is alive? How can… Where is… He’s alive! I don’t believe it!” She shouted, extremely pleased by the news. Her mind began to whirl as she began thinking for a moment and frowned playfully. She realized what had happened and he was wounded. Where he would be spending a few months healing form his wounds. She was led out to the Hospital, and her arm immobilized as she lay in the room. A few days later, Seth was wheeled in, after major surgery for his back and the damage repaired.
As Angie, Denise, Melinda, and Amy stood in the room, with Emily they watched the immobile form of Seth who lies in the room. He was on oxygen as he was placed there, and everyone waited and watched, hoping that he would soon awake.
When Commander Miller, Sergeant Major Perry arrived at the hospital, having been relayed the message they entered the room silently, having come from the space port after landing. Angie had gasped, seeing her husband and yelped as they turned, rushing to embrace him as they entered. Angie covered Nathaniel with kisses and on the lips as they held it for a long time.
“Welcome home, husband.” She said, as he smiled and they held hands, peering lovingly into each other’s eyes.
He kissed her passionately, hungrily, an almost longing desire. He missed her that much.
“God I love you.” Nathaniel told her, and she grinned, returning the embraces and caresses by him.
“I missed you so much and I got a lot to tell you.” Angie said, “I got something very important to tell you, honey.” Angie said lovingly and he frowned playfully.
“You do?” He asked, and she nodded.
“Okay, what.” Nathaniel asked, and she smiled, giggling quietly.
“I’m pregnant Nathaniel.” She replied, “I’m going to have our child.” The commander’s mouth dropped open as his eyebrows arched in pure astonishment. He put his hand on her belly, and she nodded.
“We are, you are?” He asked, stammering and he let out a woop, making everyone turn.
“Hey I’m going to be a dad!” He shouted and there was a yelp as gasps surrounded the room.
“Hey! Hey!” Amy said, as a cheer echoed the room.
“Far out!” Melinda said, as she embraced Angie.
Congratulations circulated the room and chatter echoed the room and conversation about baby names.
Amanda had been out of the room when she heard the commotion, and as she ran toward the room, she entered, frowning as she recognized Manual who stood with Nathaniel.
“Manual!” Amanda yelled, as she cried loudly and embraced her boyfriend warmly, “I don’t believe it. Welcome home!”
“Heard you were here, and thought I would stop by.” Commander Miller said, “How is Seth?”
“Still unconscious in a coma.” Angie said uncertainly, “The Doctors did surgery on his back and he should be fine, but he has not had any signs of awakening yet.
Doctor Sane entered the room, with Derick and Nova Wildstar. Sane examined Seth carefully, checking the stitches and the delicate needle-work that was used to patch up the Major. They had refrained from using the laser suture, and did it the old fashioned way. It would leave a scar, but had been too delicate for the laser device.
Emily watched all night, for a time until she fell asleep. Most of the crew was off for the moment as hearings by the Council were underway, where Commanders and the Marine team leaders were in the hot seat. They had to justify their actions, because of a lawsuit for misconduct of the armed forces and the losses of family members during the mission to Aquarius, also having to justify the losses of a few pilots and ships during the battle.
The Commander, Sergeant Major, Lieutenant all stood on the stand as they gave their report, being grilled by a crack lawyer and questioned thoroughly by the council.
Three days they deliberated, and the Council had returned the verdict that there was no other way to perform the battle, and had deemed the Commanders and the Marine crews clear of the charges of misconduct during the battle. That was a relief for everyone involved but still everyone wondered about their friend who lay in the hospital.
Five weeks elapsed, and Emily was awakened by a groan by Seth. Immediately she shook off the sleepiness, jumping to her feet, grabbing her robe and immediately was over in a flash to the bedside as Seth shook his head and slowly opened his eyes. Emily’s eyes filled with tears as she stood there and as Seth focused on the room, they focused on the familiar face of his wife who stood before him.
“Seth?” She gasped, whimpering and fighting back the tears of emotion she felt to see her husband alive and well after having tried to kill himself. Seth’s eyes focused on Emily and he grimaced, as she took up his hands.
“It’s me, Emily. Are you awake yet? Do you know where you are and who I am?”
“Emily.” He said slowly, “Lieutenant, EDC and my wife. I must be dreaming, I think I am home on Earth at Federal Hospital.” He murmured, as he closed his eyes briefly.
“Yes.” She said, weeping openly, “Welcome home, my love. You are home on Earth and in the hospital.”
Together they stayed in the room together, until the others showed up as a big surprise awaited them all. Seth was back from the dead, alive, and well, recovering after his ordeal of almost five weeks. They clustered around the bed, as cheers of mirth and conversation of welcome echoed the room. Seth still out of it lapsed in and out of sleep as the meds caught up with him. But everyone was happy he was alive.
Hours later, they turned as newly married, Mister and Missus, Manual and Amanda Perry entered the room. As The newlywed couple joined Nathaniel, Angie and Emily at the bed beside Seth, they grinned as they stood watching Seth turn his head to grimace. Both held up their hands, revealing the rings they wore, marking them as a married couple.
“You guys did it?” Melinda gasped, seeing the rings and the couple nodded. “Congratulations.”
“Yea congrats you guys and about time.” Amy said, embracing Amanda.
Emily smiled and she laughed, as chatter rounded the room. Sane and Nova were surprised by the news, as was the Star Force crew who had come to lend moral support for Seth who lay healing in the hospital.
The next day, Seth was a little stronger and more coherent, and he sat chatting with the group as they sat in his room the next day. They all prepared to return to duty, now that the hearings were over. Seth had written out a statement and it was hand-carried by Emily to the Council for his two cents into the hearings of what he knew about the mission to Aquarius.
He and Emily chatted quietly in the room when they were alone, catching up on their relationship that was beginning for them as a married couple and preparing for the honeymoon that had been promised by Seth to prelude their long life together.
Time was safe, as the Major of the future had been a memory, having changed time and the total event been rewritten in the blink of an eye thanks to the ship from the future. But little did everyone know as they spoke the S.S. Magellanic Clouds headed back toward Earth of the present, having skipped returning to the future, six hundred years.
On the bridge, Ihsss sat in the Command chair as her ship approached the new world of the Earth in the year 2208 AD. As the ship, approached, Ihsss nodded to Hi’Mthsss who hit the buttons on her console. Static echoed at first and then the chatter of the EDC forces.
“S.S. Magellanic Clouds, to Space port central.” She said, “Permission to enter standard orbit around your planet.”
“This is Earth control, permission granted, Clouds, and welcome back.” The voice said, as Ihsss nodded to Veloxa.
“Alright, standard orbit Veloxa.” The reptilian officer ordered, and the ship outside in space assumed orbit around the planet.
“Make one quarter impulse. Standard orbit.” The bug-like helmsman said, and beside him Thyrac was looking at the navigation beacons for the ground.
“I have pinpointed the landing coordinates from last time.” Felonious said.
“Very well.” She replied.
“Earth Control, the Clouds requests landing at Federal City field.” Hi’Mthsss said, and there was a pause.
“Permission granted and welcome home.” The voice said, and Ihsss grinned.
“With thanks.” She replied, “Cloud confirms, we are starting our descent now.”
The ship left orbit and it slowly descended into the atmosphere of the blue ball known as Earth. The ship’s nose turned red as the friction rubbed against the skin of the ship, but soon they were through and the blue sky of the planet was around them.
“Not too quickly.” Ihsss said to the helmsman.
“Righto.” He chortled, as the ship descended. A few minutes later, it landed on the Tarmac of Earth and lowering the huge landing legs that it came to rest upon when it landed.
“We are powering down.” Veloxa said, “And we are complete.”
“Prepare to depart.” Ihsss ordered, but glanced at Hi’Mthsss who was already informing the Earth control of their landing. Outside the ship, there were no guards taking up station around the Clouds like before. Mitty and General Singleton had arrived at the field with their limited bodyguards and stood waiting with their top science people as the hatch opened, allowing Ihsss to appear with her crew.
Ihsss saluted the General, holding the salute until it was returned.
I present you the Space Cruiser Class starship, S.S Magellanic Clouds, My officers and crew request asylum...as citizens and would like to join Earth Defense Command, of Earth forces. “It will be a pleasure.” General said, putting out his hand and Ihsss took it, as the crew lined up and stood at attention. Ihsss turned to her crew, nodding and there was a cheer by all hands. “My friends we have come home.” Ihsss murmured and she managed a toothy grin. The crew cheered again, as the ground crew of Earth mingled with the ragtag crew. Science personnel came to study the ship, and Ihsss nodded as they were led to the Headquarters where they would begin processing as becoming citizens of Earth. They were home for good and never would they wander through space, unless ordered by their new military on their new home. End