Yamato: The New Adventures… (Sequel to "Final" Yamato in Episode type format)
By Erwin Stevens
EPS 7 – Future Echoes/Epilogue Part 2
The infinity that is space, a world filled with serene light, uncountable stars in the deep darkness and with dying and forming stars abounds with many life forms. Yes, space is alive. The entire universe, our galaxy, and even the many solar systems are filled with many such life forms. They are filled with many that love, aspire and fight in war, and there are others that are peace loving. Many forms of life are in the universe, and they live scattered throughout its cold vastness.
The speck that makes up our Earth is one such place, where wars have come, and have gone, leaving their mark. A solar system named "SOL" resides in a mere corner of the infinity of space, and so does the huge galaxy known as the Milky Way, where the SOL system resides. It is one of seventy such systems located here in the mere tip of this galaxy and in this solar system that nine planets orbit the single life-giving star. Living on the third one, an insignificant body called Earth is an advanced civilization known as human kind.
As we left the stasis crew, the ship from the future races to SOL and the stasis crew gathers at the hospital, Seth and Nathaniel spending their last few hours together with their friends. They had gone out on the town as the uncertain time stream continues to shift and adjust. The Major who had come from three months ahead with the Clouds had died in the Hospital and the ship vanished without a trace. The Clouds from the far future had arrived in its stead, finding the Yamato, and comes to Earth to return Avatar’s body, on board the Yamato, bringing a dire warning of impending doom to Earth against a new enemy who is set on Destroying Earth.
But no one seemed to notice the changes of time unfold around them.
"A toast," A voice had said, "To the bravest men and women in the EDC and the newest sensation. May they have profitable careers, long lives and welcome home!"
"Thank you all." Nathaniel and Seth replied simultaneously, holding up the beer mug before they all downed it as a cheer echoed the bar. Laughter followed as conversation resumed and they stood drinking, clearly welcomed by the personnel in the bar.
Back on the Clouds, at the same moment, Ihsss and her crew sat on the bridge as they went over the plan and checklist discussed with Earth forces. They filled in Veloxa, Thyrac the Insectoid Helmswoman and Navigator, Voloxa the Insectoid Engineer and Kwai Mao, the Weapons' Defense operator. The three who stayed to oversee the repairs to the ship while the Captain, First Officer, Communications Officer and Doctor went ashore to negotiate with Earth Defense Command.
"So that's it, they set charges on Tritium mine and one blast should globally destroy Aquarius?" Thyrac asked, "It's that easy?"
"Looks that way, or at least have the Earth Defense Forces hit it with their Wave Cannon." Ihsss replied, "They need to have at least one hundred and twenty seconds to setup and blast it though, not possible in the middle of fifty plus Cybertron Ships, possibly more by now that are on planet and the now probably several legions of robotic solders on planet. I think the charges the team sets on the mine will be sufficient to affect the whole planet's destruction."
"How much explosive did they calculate that it would take?"
"Approximately twelve, 500 pound charges set in multiple locations." Ihsss replied, "After the Earth forces set it and they evacuate, everyone will draw back, us and the EDC Forces from the planet's location within fifty parsecs. The planet will have an explosion equivalent to a Reverse Super Nova of a dwarf Star."
"Tritium implosion?" Voloxa gasped.
"It will implode the planet and into a black hole. It is theoretical Physics." Felonious responded quietly, "It will destroy everything in this sector, but better that than the Cybertron War Machine attacking Earth."
"What happens if the Cybertron are not destroyed?" Veloxa asked suspiciously.
"That will be sucked in the back hole, trapped forever in another time, space or dimension." Felonious replied, "The remaining ones will be destroyed by the Earth forces. If we destroy the planet here, the Cybertron will lose the war in the future."
"The odds are about seven thousand, two hundred and fifty one to one." Felonious quoted, and there were grins, "For success. I think those are pretty good, personally.
"So when do they report here?" Veloxa asked and Ihsss met the Helmswoman's bug-like features.
"In a couple of days we are departing Earth, bound for Aquarius." She replied, "If they pull this off, we win back home, and we can return to our own time."
"If we do that, there is a guarantee that we have sealed the fate of the Cybertron and possibly can go home quicker." She said, "I do appreciate your readiness and volunteering for the mission."
"Sounds dangerous, but I'm all for that." Felonious said, "But we could always stay too."
"And rewrite history with our presence on our respective home worlds?" Ihsss asked, "I know I can't return home, but most of you can."
"Rather stay in space, we have had too many fun adventures together, it wouldn't be the same." Kwai chimed in, and Ihsss grinned to nod politely.
"I agree." Veloxa replied with a smug grin and Thyrac nodded his head.
"You have my thanks for your loyalty." Ihsss declared happily, "Repair stations please."
"Aye, Captain." They all said and the group broke up and went to their posts leaving Ihsss in the center seat, contemplating the plan. Inside, she was a bit uneasy for what they faced before them. She wondered about the mission and her home world, who no doubt knew of their adventures. Ihsss also wondered if it would make a difference, so she and her daughter and many others from her planet could return home.
"Let's hope we are successful." Ihsss murmured, and glanced at the busy bridge, standing to walk toward Felonious who lay on the deck, his furry head in a small compartment as he repaired circuits of a nearby console for the science station. Kneeling, she assisted him.
It is on Earth that a groups of twenty-four Marine Commandos stand around on the tarmac of the airfield on a partially cloudy morning. It is here they wait for their new commander, Major Aquilera to arrive by Jeep for inspection. They have all been gathered for an impossible mission to destroy Aquarius, the legendary water planet that gave Earth life and the same planet that almost destroyed their home, after being utilized by the Dinguil Empire. They will be aiding the strange visitor who arrived on Earth from the future. Together they will keep a new cybernetic enemy from the future, from altering the present time to change history, so they may win the galactic war in the future.
As the morning carried on, the Marines stand in groups, talking, laughing and being raunchy, as all Space Marines are in the service. They are not aware that not far away that, a lone officer stands on the curb side, waiting for the jeep and a young Sergeant who would drive him to the airfield on this cool morning. The young officer, his given name Seth was assigned after the victory against the Dinguil Empire, awakened from cryogenic stasis during that war. He is assigned to this task of the destruction of Aquarius, with his best friend to protect Earth against the Cybertron Invasion of Earth and the universe, six hundred years from the future to change time and win the Galactic war that now rages in the future.
The assignment is up to the youthful Major, and his two buddies from the other stasis project. He now carries his orders out by order of the EDC Commander, having gone to the briefing with the team that would be going to the legendary water planet with him. He now goes to the airfield and carries a leather briefcase with him that contains the orders that were hand written by General Singleton personally, and handed to him by Commander Mitty Mc Donald, the General's aide.
"Yo, Major Aguilera?" A voice called out and he managed to turn his head to the green jeep that had rolled up at the curb-side and to a young brunette Sergeant who sat at the wheel named Nicole Williams, his guide from day one since his awakening from stasis. He smiled at the familiar accent, signifying she is from New Jersey.
"Aye." He replied, returning her salute as she stood up in the seat.
"Hop in. I am here to take you to the airfield." She told him and he grinned, managing a nod. He walked toward the jeep and he silently climbed aboard, but not without examining the young woman in silence.
Sergeant Williams is about nineteen years old, having finished school early and enlisted in the Earth Defense Command which is the equivalent military for this time. She, unlike him, is clad in the gray and green uniform of the EDC Armed Forces. She stands about five three in height, has a dark complexion, and dark eyes. Her brunette hair spills down to her shoulders in a ripple of curls. She worked hard in the last two years, moving quickly in the ranks to Sergeant. The young woman is rather attractive to the young Major.
As the jeep sped off from the curb, she drove quickly, turning onto the main street and away from the Headquarters building. He sat in silence, holding on for almost dear life, as she darted through the traffic of vehicles on the street. Turning his head he glanced down at the briefcase on his lap that contained the envelope containing his orders. Opening the case, he withdrew the envelope, a simple manila envelope. Emblazoned on the flap, is the seal of the Earth Defense Command that seals it. The seal itself shimmered in the light.
"So they got you ready to go to Aquarius Major?" The young woman asked, and he glanced sideways at her. He showed his astonishment that she knew about the mission, even though it was supposedly kept Top Secret Clearance. There had already been a lot of scuttlebutt floating around Headquarters about it, and for the last month. Most of it was speculation of the assignment and what they were about to face. The young Major and the twenty-four raiders that would be taking on the most difficult mission Earth had ever done, short of the Iscandar mission eight years ago by the Star Force. He nodded his head silently.
"The mission is already in progress, and we ship out today." He told her, "Ready to rock and roll, so to speak. Keep in mind that it was supposed to be top security, how the hell did you know so much about it anyway?"
"Well sir, it has been a hot topic in headquarters and on Earth for months. It has been mostly scuttlebutt and rumors for the last month." She said, "Don't worry, the project is still secure, most of the data said was rumors and not correct anyway."
"You know, Major." she started to say, "I hope you and the others succeed at your task."
Major Aguilera smiled at the sentiment, glancing at the surrounding as the jeep continued to dart through traffic. The buildings loomed overhead around them and many people walked the street, uniformed and not. It had been his benefactor for a while now, his home away from home since he had been awakened here than San Francisco, of the new century they were in.
As he sat in the seat, Major Aguilera turned over the envelope several times before he broke the seal and pulled the documents from within the envelope. He broke one regulation, breaking the seal before arriving aboard the ship or his destination for Command. He broke another by examining the orders before he reached his command. The young Major looked them over, before he read them in silence, as they made their way through the byways of Federal City/New Tokyo. As he read, Seth became only partially conscious of his surroundings, absently returning salutes as they passed other uniformed personnel. The orders were compelling, hand-written by the General himself, and handed personally to him by Commander Mitty McDonald, General Singleton's dynamic and beautiful Aide.
Sergeant Williams glanced over in his direction and gasped as he read the papers on his lap, realizing that he was looking over the orders that would send him and his team into harm's way. The new officer was reading them far before the scheduled opening when they were on board ship and headed toward Aquarius. He had broken at least three regulations by doing this and she had grimaced at his action.
"I guess he wants to brush up, before he gets to the team." She thought, shaking her head at the young officer who already had shown her some unorthodox methods of command. He had been trained and went to OCS where he was commissioned as a lowly Ensign back in the twenty-first century. A year later after hard work, he earned JG Lieutenant where he volunteered as command for the stasis project. Since his awakening, he had been working hard even in the EDC.
Nicole did not realize that he was using everything he had learned to get by, to assimilate this century, and serve in this military. She wondered if he was as good as everyone had said he was, having served with honor and distinction in the EDC.
He was reading as they approached the airfield, and the jeep stopped at one of many gates where two guards, surrounded by a fortified conscript of armor, machine gun nests and other heavily fortified positions are set up. Seth focused mainly on the assignment at hand, scanning the papers, reading the lines several times. He focused on the word destroy and clear clearly in the handwritten ink of the Commander's handwriting. Seth was so engrossed in the papers and the assignment that he had to look up at the nudge of the Sergeant beside him. He glanced up at the guards at the gate, returning their salutes formally.
"We're here Major." The young Sergeant told him, and he glanced at her to only nod slightly in reply.
"Identification, Major." The one guard said, and he nodded pulling his wallet. The Major flashed the encoded identification card that had served him well. Quickly, the trooper scanned it and he nodded returning to the two troopers in the jeep. He glanced in the door, at the youthful Lieutenant who stood there watching. Eyeing the Major, returning the hard glance the officer, he also saluted making him nod silently.
"Thank you sir!" The trooper replied and he quickly handed back the identification, the officer returning the salute. Sitting back, he nodded to the young woman, his guide who sat beside him, and the jeep sped off.
The Major quickly put the documents in the briefcase and he watched as they approached the concrete tarmac of the airfield where the Clouds sat on its massive landing legs. He stood up in the jeep as it approached the ship, nodding to the guards who saluted, parting to let the vehicle pass them by. When it came to a stop, he hopped out and paused as he stared at the massive ship. Seth peered at the streamline hull and her many battle-scars. He, at first, did not acknowledge the young woman beside him. The Major grimaced, when he realized that he had forgotten military courtesy to his youthful guide.
"Thank you Sergeant… for the lift." He told her formally, returning her salute.
"My pleasure, Major Aguilera." She replied, smiling in amusement. He grinned, nodding only in reply.
"You know we have not been formally introduced, my name is Seth." He told her, "And you may call me that, when we are out of the range of other."
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Seth." She replied, "I am Nicole, Nicole Williams."
"Likewise, Nicole." He replied with a smile, and a nod.
"You'll do it sir, just believe and it will happen." Nicole told him in an encouraging tone, "A few of the others and I, in my lodge, are routing for your team." She told him with a smile, "We look forward to your glorious return too."
"Thanks Nicole." He replied walking toward the ship that loomed on the tarmac, like a vicious reminder of what he had to do after the mission. Major Aguilera moved along the ship, making the inspection, and a couple of things he wanted to check before they lifted off. He noted a couple of things he would mention to Commander T'Larra, noting the vicious battle scars as he inspected the ship.
As he did so he returned the salutes of the guards who were are posted around the ship. Behind him, the youthful Sergeant watched him from the jeep, frowning at his quick inspection of the ship that would take them for the battle of Aquarius. She had sensed his intensity, as he read the documents on his lap and the determination in his eye when he walked toward the ship.
"What the devil is he looking for, I wonder?" She thought to herself and managed a shrug at the antics of the new officer who had come from centuries of the past.
Major Aguilera had read the tactics he had briefed the team on many times and adjusted it one more time, knowing by intelligence, that it was going to be harder getting the hell out of there than going in to land on Aquarius. Here, he would be picked up by the Clouds and they would detonate the planet, turning it into a reverse Tritium black hole.
Around him, the guards watched the Major silently, and after a few minutes, the guards realized what he was doing. They watched as he made a full sweep, multiple times, around the ship and after a moment, they glanced at each in silence, an expression of disbelief on their faces. A low mutter rippled through them. They knew who he was and why he was here, getting his orders directly from the Commander's office. They did not know he would be doing an inspection of the ship before it lifted off to its victory, or demise. The Major glanced around at his surroundings and let out a breath before he walked toward the team, assembled on the airfield that he is assigned to lead who now stand in front of the Star Cruiser.
"Attention! Fall in!" A voice shouted, and the team fell into neat rows of the ranks quickly. A mass salute followed as the Major approached the twenty-four commandos, his team that hopefully would pull off the impossible. Major Aquilera, the Commander of the first group stepped forward, holding the salute until the Commander nodded his head.
"Everyone here, and accounted for?" The Major asked, and the Nathaniel nodded.
Seth quickly walked the rows with the Lieutenant Commander and Lieutenant Minazaki, who inspected his troopers, standing outside the massive Star Cruiser Magellanic Clouds. He nodded in approval to the fighting group that had had been assigned to fight with him.
The young Lieutenant beside him holstered an Astro-Automatic at his side and shouldered an AR-262 sniper rifle with electronic silencer, preferred sniper weapon of the day. He hefted it well on his wiry frame, his shaved head only showing a hint of the sandy blond hair that he had, and his brown eyes twinkled in the light. Manual eyed the Commander’s patched and scarred face, seeing the smile on his face as the two men walked the ranks carefully. Both were impressed by the sight before them. Nathaniel had been surprised by the spit and polish, the pride of professionalism that stood before him. The Major nodded his head in approval, despite the concerned and worried expression he had on his face. Also he tried to keep a positive attitude, despite the sour mood that he had right now, because of his feeling about the mission itself.
"You are a bunch of bad asses." He exclaimed, "Damn, I'm proud to be in the same service as all of you guys. We're going to kick some fucking ass." The young Lieutenant who was the second in command grinned openly at the comment, motioning to the group. At the end of the line Major Aguilera backslapped Sergeant Major Parry. He shook his hand warmly.
“Ready to go, Sergeant Major?” He said positively, and beside him The Lieutenant Commander chuckled as did the Lieutenant second in Command.
"Ready to go kick ass, sir." Manual replied, "Ready to die for Earth and go out in a blaze of glory, if it comes to that."
"Let's hope that is not necessary, I am hoping to bring everyone back safely. It was told to me that there would be a wild party in our honor, so let's snap to and prepare our equipment and ourselves for the mission when we board the Magellanic Clouds. They are all yours Lieutenant, make Earth proud…"
He walked away from the group and they watched as he made another round about the Star Cruiser. The Major had a feeling, one of dread that he could not put his finger on, and he decided to make doubly sure they would return to Earth after this mission, victorious.
They all stared at their commander, wondering what he was looking for as he made his way around the ship. Manual frowned especially, knowing his old friend well that if there was something on his mind, he knew it would be checked and rechecked. Lieutenant Commander Miller watched him too, glancing uncertainly as Manual.
"There are too many damn variables still to be calculated in… I don't know why I am having this damn feeling, but if we don't make it back, Earth is doomed." Seth thought to himself, "So we'd better be sure and on top of our game plan."
"… See fellas, you made a good impression, that's one on you and I am proud you made that impression." Kino told the group, "It shows pride and your dedication to the service." The Lieutenant walked down the row with three cigars for each man, handing them to them. He walked to the Major and he snapped to, saluting as he handed him three cigars too. Manual caught the Major and Commander’s look of confusion, holding the cigars in his hand. They both watched as each man put them in a breast pocket or in the bag they had on the ground. Nathaniel glanced in question at the young Lieutenant as he examined the cigars.
"Don't worry it is tobacco, its synthetic with a mix of seaweed." The Lieutenant said, "We don't smoke'm until the fat lady sings and the battle is won. It is our victory dance sir." Here the Major laughed loudly, as did Manual who had overheard the comment. Nathaniel laughed too. Their laughter suddenly became solemn, as he was reminded of somewhere else he heard of that custom. Taking the gifts he shoved it in pocket and noted Manual had taken his and put it in his pocket too, a large beaming smile on his face even though he smoked one of the extra one, in a cloud of smoke. Kino tossed Manual another.
"A you were, Sergeant Major!" Kino snapped, "The fat lady has not sang and the battle is not won. Finish that cigar and remember to only smoke'm when we win the day. Here though… if you must smoke." Kino tossed a pack of Lucky Strikes to the Sergeant Major who smiled, nodding.
"Doo-Rah Lieutenant." Manual replied with a nod, a smile brightening his face as he puffed on the cigar, amused by the custom. The youthful Major realized it was the movie back in 1996, called Independence Day that he heard that custom and he laughed again.
"Thanks Lieutenant." He replied, grinning at the young officer who nodded.
"My pleasure, Major." Kino replied, and Nathaniel smiled broadly.
"All right let's get to this." The Major said with a sigh, and the Lieutenant looked up, his smile becoming a puzzle frown with the sudden drop in mood by the superior officer. Kino suspected there was a lot on the Major’s mind and his superior officer was not comfortable with the plan what was to go down.
"All right team, pick up your bags and report aboard the Clouds. Head to our assigned billeting and remember that it is going to be cramped with normal operations with the ship. If you have any issues, bring it to me or the Major and we will work it out." The harried Lieutenant ordered, and he motioned, "This is not a transport, so go easy on the ship and her stores. Move out. You have fifteen minutes, smoke'm if you got'm."
"Yeaaa!" The group said fiercely, and they raised their arms as they hefted their space bags. Together the Marine detachment walked toward the ship nearby, lining up at the gantry that belonged to the massive Space Cruiser preceding the massive airlock hatch. They stood around as they pulled smokes from their pocket or chew. Even in this century tobacco had a very predominant and key role in its presence in the century. The Major looked on, waving his hand to a soldier who held out a pouch of 'Lucky Strikes ™' from his pocket, offering to him.
"I don't smoke cigarettes like that, but thanks… Please carry on." He told the soldier, who nodded, and turned to walk toward the gantry of the massive Star Cruiser Class Starship. Manual joined Seth and Nathaniel at their side and was going to shoot the breeze for a moment, but both men turned as a voice called out their names.
The voice belonged to Amy Pantstingle, who had called out to him. He watched as she approached on the run, followed by Melinda Morris, Angie Miller-Stethem, Amanda Garcia, even Emily Aguilera-Montgomery and Denise Watson.
Amy, Amanda, and Denise embraced Manual, Seth and Nathaniel, putting Hawaiian leis around their necks. The three men laughed and smiled affectionately at the young women.
"We're here to give you a top brass send off." Amy declared, stepping back to smile pleasantly at the two men, their friends, who were going on this dangerous mission.
"Nice." Nathaniel replied, nodding, "With thanks."
"Very nice." Manual told Amanda, smiling gently, "I was hoping for at least a send of like this."
"Me too, Sergeant Major." Seth replied, turning to the young women, and he nodded, "It is appreciated."
"Take it easy and keep the home fires burning for us. We'll be back soon." Manual exclaimed as he hefted his bag on his shoulder, "I love you Amanda. Do not worry there will not be any heroics. It will certainly not be by me, the Commander or the Major here." With that, the Sergeant glanced at the face of Emily, and then to the others, their eyes brimming with tears.
Amanda gasped at the statement and stared at him. "I-I love you too, Manual." She stammered surprised, but they had become lovers in the last few months together. The young Warrant Officer lunged to embrace him again, their lips touching, before stepping back and regarding her now best friend in the world and her love who stood before her.
"You promise me, no heroics, keep your fricking head down next to the Major, the Commander and the Lieutenant!"
"Relax Amanda, I will." Manual told her, and she shook head.
"Promise me." Amanda grumbled, "Damn it."
"I will and promise." He told her and Amanda nodded formally, turning to the Major. He returned the glances of the members of the team who were smiling and the former stasis members, his friends.
Stepping back Manual and Amanda sheepishly smiled at each other and the group stood watching. He turned to walk toward the gantry of the Star Cruiser, toward the other troops who had paused to watch the touching scene. Sergeant Major Parry had paused as Nathaniel stood on the concourse with Angie. He stared warmly into her eyes.
"I have to tell you something and that goes for everyone present from the Bellbrook group." He began and she peered at him with a questioning stare.
"I-I apologize… and I am deeply sorry that I did not say goodbye so many years ago." He stammered, "If I would have known what I know now, I would have found a way to stay put, and stay in touch with you all."
It was the only sentiment he had after so long away from her, the only apology he could give her for losing touch with them and for not taking action to pursue her. Angie gasped at his statement her brown eyes peering into the blue eye of the young officer.
Turning, Major Aquilera embraced his wife, kissing her passionately, and Commander Miller followed suit with his. They both held their wives, laying on the most passionate kiss ever seen by the others.
Nathaniel embraced his wife warmly as well. He held her as they passionately kissed. They broke after fifteen minutes. There were whistles and catcalls from the troops on the gantry and the surrounding guards and pilots from the nearby hangar who watched the touching scene. There was sporadic applause all around them. The others were grinning openly, at the warm display of affection.
"Woo hoo… the Commander and Majors got a girl!" A shout called, "Hubba, Hubba! Holy shit They’re babes!" The stasis group laughed openly at the comments.
"Shit men, both are lookers!" Another voice said aloud,
"Good one Sir!"
"She's better than that Alsatian woman with the triple F hooters!" Both the Major and Emily herself blushed, as they turned their heads realizing they were on display in front of everyone. The Commander also laughed. Both actually did not care, just glad what was said had come out, and after all those many years apart. He stepped back quickly, blushing red as a ripe tomato and thankfully she was too.
"Okay, okay." Manual said, "Shows over fellas, lets get cracking." The young Sergeant Major grinned, shooing the team toward the gantry.
"I understand and this isn't goodbye again… I'll be here waiting for you and your victorious team… That I promise." Emily said with a smile. She turned to Manual. "Promise me to look after him Sergeant. I couldn't stand to lose Seth. Please be safe out there and no heroics either."
Manual grinned broadly, "You have my promise me’ lady." With that, he bowed formally. She gave up and laughed, embracing the Sergeant Major.
"Don't worry Emily, everyone, I am not planning to get myself killed, and I will see you when I return." Seth told the group and they were smiling, but tears were showing on Amy, Melinda, Denise, Emily and Amanda's faces. Angie was solemn as she stood there.
"I'll see you round, I'll be waiting." She said lustily and he grinned as he turned to regard the smiling Sergeant.
"Coming skipper?" Manual asked smiling, and Seth nodded, hefting his own bag on his shoulder. He waved at the young women, and one by one they entered the ship that stood silently on the cement tarmac. Nathaniel nodded to his wife, and kissed her on the head.
“Love you Angie.” He told her as he hefted his bag and followed the others to the ship. Emily and Angie both stared silently at the ship, long and hard, and she had ignored the others who stood beside her. They had spoken to her twice and she did not hear them. Denise placed her hand on her shoulder, and she turned her head to regard her friends.
"Hey, you OK?" Denise asked and she glanced at Emily who regarded her friends standing on the gantry. They scanned the surroundings before shaking hands, stepping toward the doors of the Space Cruiser. Angie, Amanda, Melinda, Denise and Emily stood there watching.
"Yeah, I just have a funny feeling I am not going to see them again." Emily declared quietly, trying to fight the tears that welled up in her eyes.
Emily did not know what she was looking at, only to know that feeling was very strong within. Denise also looked at the massive Star Cruiser that sat on the tarmac and she too found herself heavy with emotion and tears welling up in her eyes. She quickly wiped the tears from her eyes. Amanda, Melinda and Amy were in the same state.
"Don't worry, with Manual on the job, and led by the Lieutenant, Seth and even Nathaniel, We can only hope they will all come back." Denise said, peering at the massive Star Cruiser, and shaking her head as she placed her hands on Emily's shoulders. "Besides when they do, we are going to have a wild party in their honor."
Emily smiled, as did the others, a smile appearing on their faces.
"We have been summoned back to Central Hospital on the double." Denise said, "So let's move. It might be our release from medical." Emily nodded but she kept glancing to the ship as they walked off and she shook her head, wiping the tears from her face. Melinda was weeping as she stared at the ship, as was Amy.
"Damn it, you had better come back." Emily said, fighting the tears, "I do not want to be alone in this century."
Stepping into the gantry, and passing through the hatch, the twenty-four marines saluted Ihsss T'Larra and Felonious Purrtz who stood inside as they passed them.
"Is this it?" Ihsss asked, and Major Miller nodded in reply.
"This is it, Captain T'Larra." He said, "It is with our thanks."
"Do me a favor, and win." Ihsss declared solemnly with a nod of her reptilian head, "So we can all go home."
“That is the idea, Captain.” Seth said, as he motioned to the Lieutenant.
“Get everyone billeted, remember we are guests on the ship and supplies are limited. We have to take it easy on her. Any problems, let me know or the Major.” The Lieutenant said and there were nods by the members of the team.
Ihsss turned to touch the wall intercom.
"Stand by to take off." She ordered into the intercom, "Close gantry and prepare of lift off. Secure ship for space detail."
Outside the massive Star Cruiser the gantry lifted and folded neatly into the side of the ship. A low hum sounded on the Tarmac as ground personnel moved back. The engines rumbled and smoked as thrust was applied and slowly the ship moved upward. There was a cheer by the men around the ship as it rose up into the sky, higher and higher. On the bridge, Ihsss sat in the command chair.
"Take us up in a twenty-five meter climb." Ihsss ordered, "Full thrust." The ship rose higher and faster as it moved forward to climb into the sky. Down in their quarters, the team was strapped in after securing their gear. Nathaniel and Seth winced at the pressure as they sat strapped in, and the ship rose up into the sky. The pressure eased off a moment later.
Sitting on the bridge, the Insectoid helmsman and the bridge crew worked at their consoles to pilot the ship. There was a quiet rumble as the ship began to shake, passing through Earth's atmosphere. Outside, the nose and skin of the ship glowed red as the friction of gravity intensified upon its surface. The bridge crew remained at their seats as the ship passed into orbit. Ihsss, seated in the command chair, managed a smile. She was never affected by the passage into gravity, landing and taking off from many worlds they had visited in their travels. She was smiling openly, impressed by the smooth handling of her ship through Earth's thin atmosphere, and how well her crew maintained control of the ship.
Veloxa turned to Ihsss when the console beeped accusingly at her. "Orbit velocity achieved," Veloxa said, "Orbit accomplished."
"Make one orbit and head toward the Earth task force outside the SOL System." Ihsss ordered, "Make for impulse speed, fifteen space knots, for Earth sector only after we orbit once."
"Aye, Captain." Veloxa said, touching the console.
"Inform Earth Defense Command of our departure and making all speed to get underway to the fleet."
"Aye." Hi’Mthsss said, touching the buttons on her console but Ihsss hardly heard her slurred words, reporting their status. She was nervous of this battle to come and wondered if this tactic was going to work. It had been planned by the human Major, who had come from a time long passed. He is an unusual person to the reptilian woman, never seen anyone like him ever in her travels that had come through time and space. He was quite intelligent for someone who had come from the winds of history to be in charge and understand the mechanics for technology such s stasis. Even more unusual, that he would be able to make adjustments to a battle plan, when he was clearly not from the current military or current day. She wondered about him.
Outside her crew had seen the touching scene between the Sergeant Major, the Commander and the Major with the young women who embraced them. She smiled at the sight of the three of them, who both laid a passionate kiss on their lips. Ihsss wondered about the rest of the stasis group, who had defied history, the odds, and time itself.
She understood the concept of love even though it had been a long time. Here she thought of her family back home on her planet. People she loved that were butchered, after being separated by the green group of her race all because their skin color was different from theirs. She wondered if she could change history one day and take the same risk to save her family. It was worth a shot.
"Captain, one orbit achieved." Veloxa said, turning to glance at Ihsss who was deep in thought.
"Captain?" Veloxa said, glancing at Felonious who looked up from his console.
"Ihsss?" He asked and she shook her head with a snort and turned her head to regard her crew. "I'm fine. Break orbit and make fifteen knots."
"Aye." Veloxa said, "Leaving Earth's orbit."
The sound of the engines could heard on the bridge as the ship thrust forward and it moved from the safe orbit of Earth into the stars of open space.
"We are free and clear to navigate." Thyrac announced beside her, "Plotting course to join their fleet." The ship turned smoothly to avoid the moon, and continued into the depth of space.
"Very well." Ihsss' said, "Departure angle on viewer."
"Aye… Switching to departure angle on viewer…" Veloxa replied as he hit the switch and the blue glow of Earth moved way as they left orbit into deep space.
"Switch the viewer, to standard ahead."
"Standard ahead, aye," Thyrac replied, and the familiar stars appeared on the screen.
"Long Range Sensors indicate fleet moving at one, eight zero, mark four." Felonious replied, the hum of the sensors echoing across the bridge, "They are three sectors over from SOL… Sector four."
"Very well, prepare to warp to their location, and upon arrival, match course and speed." Ihsss replied, "But give them a wide berth, we don't want to crowd them."
"Making parallel course, one, eight, zero mark four." Thyrac announced, his claw-like hands dancing across the console.
"I will make my speed, fifteen space knots when we come along side after warp." Veloxa added and she turned to not to Ihsss, "Engaging course."
"Don't warp until we have reached the outer planets of this system." Felonious cautioned, "We don't want to be warping until we plotted this system. We might warp into a star or a planetary body."
"Very well." Ihsss replied, "Continue exit trajectory to the edge of the solar system."
Outside in space the ship moved rapidly toward the edge of SOL, where the fleet from Earth, the task force assigned as the diversion slowly moved toward Aquarius. On board the ships, the crews manned their positions, ready for battle as seasoned veterans were called with the new recruits to face this new enemy. The Clouds moved at medium speed, dodging and darting through the asteroid belt near Jupiter, the whole time as Felonious plotted the system, navigating the destination warp point to the Earth fleet.
In the quarters he sat alone at the table as he worked on his laptop, writing a personal letter to Angie who stayed on Earth. He yawned and stretched, having stood up from the table. Glancing at the chronometer on his wrist he glanced at the time. Major Miller stood in the spacious interior of the room. It is here he moved slowly, fluidly, as he practicing the motions of Aikido and Tai Chi in order to relax himself of his anxiety. He slept fitful that night, but plagues with dreams of his wife, and the others.
The next morning the Major appeared in his athletic gear and he greeted the other Marines who now stood on the flight deck. They stood in formation and he returned the salute of the young Lieutenant with a nod. The Major nodded, sensing the group's readiness.
"Today is preparation for the mission at hand, and equipment final check." He ordered, "Let' get to a good workout and a bit of practice." The others grinned as they stood there, "Begin."
For an hour they worked out on the flight deck, sparring in martial arts, exercising and toning up. They also sat on the floor the reviewed the mission objectives and the battle points in which they would be attacking.
Commander Miller did not take part, he busily supervised the preparation of the drop ships that would be taking them to Aquarius, in which would be their rides to return to the Clouds, despite the odds and the diversion of the Armada they were apart of.
Ihsss happened to be walking by when they were sparring martial arts, with the first officer, Felonious and they paused to watch the humans in contest. Both strangers to Earth, they glanced at each other in confusion, heading toward the airlock door and into the bay. They thought there was battle happening aboard their ship and their intention was to stop it.
"What is going on here?" Ihsss demanded and the group stopped to meet the look of the reptilian Captain. They sensed her genuine snap of anger and glanced at each other as they stood in groups. The Lieutenant grinned and he held up his hand as he approached Ihsss and Felonious.
"We're… It's just a little sparring Commander." He told her, and she frowned. He explained it quickly to the young reptilian who knew about hand to hand combat. It is one of the things they learned in her military, including flight and ship handling. She gasped aloud and smiled widely.
"Oh, you are exercising, I did not know you did hand to hand combat too… Please carry on then." Ihsss replied, finally recognizing the exercise gear and she stepped back to watch them. A few minutes later the Marine group took a break, downing water and sat in a group as the young Lieutenant Commander stood in front of them, reviewing the mission briefing on readiness of the drop ship taking the team to Aquarius.
Ihsss listened in, smiling as she nodded in agreement with the plan. She grimaced when he mentioned the team would be split, and they would be evacuating to the Whirlwind instead of her ship. On the transport behind Ihsss, they had brought aboard the pinch that would make the pulse happen. Ihsss herself examined the device and she grimaced with the use of such a device. She then realized what he was up to and she shook her reptilian head.
Ihsss thought back to the discussion when they had brought the EMP aboard, rolling it up the steep ramp by three uniformed specialists on a cart. They brought it aboard a few hours before they were to take off and join the fleet bound for Aquarius. She had grimaced then, and still disapproved of the use of this device. She glanced at the young Major who stood with Lieutenant Kino Minazaki who had a clip board, and the men both nodded when seeing the cart.
"Ah good, it came." He said with a chortle, "Mark it off the list."
"What came?" Ihsss asked, stepping forward to face the men beside her feline first officer, Felonious Purrtz, "What's this equipment and what is it for?"
The Major nodded a silent greeting to Commander T'Larra and her feline First Officer, Felonious.
"EMP pinch." He said, "Our guarantee of making it out alive."
"If that is what I think it is, it will disrupt the whole sector maybe two, we'll be helpless for several minutes before we can recover you. It might take the Cybertron down twenty minutes, but it will take us at least ten to restart even on emergency restart." Ihsss said, "I don't think you should need that if you set the charges right?"
"I want a guarantee of elimination, when that planet goes it will reverse the whole sector into black hole." The Major said, "It will be last resort action to assist getting us the hell out of the sector before we blow the planet. As soon as your ship is active, recover us and deploy it. I'll blow it. We need to be in Warp as soon as you are able."
"There is no guarantee that the black hole will be limited to one sector." Ihsss said, "I don't like the idea of cutting it close in a race with an enemy armada to recover and get blasted on fifty to one." She complained, "Using that puts my ship and crew at risk, and your recovery too."
"It is going to be much harder getting out, than landing on that damn planet Captain T’Larra." Commander Miller said, pointing to the map on the screen. "Especially if we are compromised even before we get started. Things will get really ugly if our cover is blown, and make it more difficult to set those charges. I don’t know if I can fly in a shit-storm of enemy craft."
The reptilian Commander grimaced but she nodded in agreement at the sentiment. They were going against all the odds, and trying to be covert would be difficult. She wondered if it would be the same thing when they got to the second part of their mission.
"That will be for sure." Ihsss said, "If that happens, the Clouds will step in and start a ground assault and come down to evacuate all personnel."
"We will have to take a whack at plan two." Seth said, "The Earth ships will have to use the Wave gun and take a beating for one hundred and twenty seconds and hit the mine from above."
"At fifty to one?" Ihsss gasped, "That's crazy, and they will be helpless as they change back over and have to power up for a Warp,"
"However, if everything goes according to plan and we stay covert and as we are leaving, we will set off the EMP and knock out the fleet just long enough for us to detonate." Seth said, "Our first priority will to stay covert."
"Then we can take a whack at phase two of your brilliant strategy." Ihsss complimented, making the human Major smile, nodding to her formally.
"Bah, it's not brilliant. It was the EDC tacticians that came up with the plan. I have been modifying it to make sure the damn thing will work, and I just go to make sure that it happens." He replied, "But you have my thanks."
"Let's get started then." Ihsss suggested, "We will be rendezvousing with your fleet within a couple of hours now. We will warp until we get there, using standard warp capability. Our engines that allow us warp speed are not working or we'd be there faster."
Major Miller nodded with a smirk, thinking of Star Trek when she mentioned Warp Engines. Here, he managed a chuckle as he turned to the board that had been brought with them, specifically for their briefing. He went on with the briefing, and he nodded to the reptilian Captain's helpful tactical suggestions. The intercom whistled and it echoed through the landing bay.
"Bridge to Captain." The voice said, and Ihsss walked toward it, hitting the button. It was the feline first officer.
"Warp completed, and we have reached rendezvous point Alpha, the Earth fleet is ten Mega meters from our position." Felonious replied, "Sector three one six. We have signaled the fleet and moving in at fifteen knots coming along the S.S Essex."
"Very well, keep me informed, I'll be on the bridge in a moment." Ihsss replied, hitting the button. Turning she regarded the Space Marines of the EDC Force.
"We have reached your fleet." Ihsss told them, "We will be heading to the planet and at drop point in twenty hours. From there we will prepare to attack."
"Very well." The Major replied, nodding, "We'll be ready."
"Hear that team?" He prompted, "Let's have a weapons check and all equipment checked out. We drop in twenty hours."
"You heard the man, let's get cracking." Manual said stiffly, and he nodded as equipment crates and cases were brought out. They were promptly opened and inspected. Sergeant Major Perry hefted a SN-34 Astro-machine gun, with pulse clips and he began checking the sights and the clips.
As the Lieutenant circulated among the group, he glanced many times over at the Major, who likewise made his way to the group, assisting as needed. He engaged in shooting the breeze with the Sergeant Major. Little did his second-in-command know, is that he already checked out his equipment that he would use on the mission. He did not know that the Major wore an equivalent of, what they called in his age, a Kevlar Vest under his tunic. The Commander stood on the ship, and remembered the words of Emily about 'no heroics' and he wore the vest to guarantee he would survive for the second part of the mission ahead. The part of the mission in which would be more dangerous than their landing on Aquarius.
He checked out the Astro-automatic pistol, he carried as a side-arm and the sniper rifle that he would be using to eliminate as over watch when they landed on Aquarius. He did it all in his quarters and other small arms he would carry with him.
"I hope like hell we can pull it off too." Seth muttered. He thought of the plan, keeping it in his head, going every aspect of it in his head, over and over. He paced the office he occupied, back and forth as he moved his hand with each thought. The Major closed his eyes letting the images of Emily fade from view as he stood in the exact center of the office.
Outside the ship plowed along through space, surrounded by Task force Two from Earth. The Clouds, Commanded by Ihsss T'Larra sat in the command chair, directing the bridge crew, keeping the ship on a steady formation as the radar crews kept their eyes on their consoles for any sign that the enemy had picked up their presence.
"Incoming coded message from Command on the Aircraft Carrier, Essex." Hi’Mthsss reported, "It is to all ships, they are requesting two way visual and split screen for all Commanders to sit in on the final briefing before attack."
"Very well." Ihsss replied, "Switch over and put it all on main viewer."
Hi’Mthsss clicked the switch and the view screen all became split with the heads of the Commanders of the Task Force two ships.
"First please introduce yourselves." A voice said, and everyone had a surprised look on faces when Ihsss' face popped up on the screen. Each one introduced themselves.
"Captain Ihsss T'Larra." Ihsss said, "Magellanic Clouds."
"This is just a pep talk, before we attack in t-minus eighteen hours from now. Welcome to Magellanic Clouds who will be joining us as the drop vessel for Alpha teams on the Aquarius surface." There was a murmured welcome by everyone on the screen.
"How we are going to play this, is to be a distraction for the Cybertron, as the Clouds uses its cloaking device in order to covertly sneak in, orbit and drop the two squads that will be landing on the surface." A voice said, a chart appeared on the screen showing the ships and the pattern used by the task force.
"Our ships will form a perimeter around Aquarius while fighter teams and the ships provide cover for the drop ship." The Admiral said, "When complete, an EMP will be used and when everyone is active again on emergency start, the fleet will immediately warp out of the sector to a safe distance, the sector will become a Tritium imploded black hole."
"What happens if we cannot restart that quickly, and it is blown?" A voice asked, "We will be sucked into the black hole right?"
"Affirmative." The Admiral replied, "Major Aguilera?"
Major Aguilera face popped on the screen, and Ihsss managed a toothy smile as she peered at the screen.
"Major Aguilera." Seth said into the speaker.
"Major Aguilera is the one who is in charge of the drop and can answer all questions." The Admiral said, "He is the one who suggested the EMP and has modified the original plan for the drop. He is in operational control of his team."