“Okay, we got word from the Clouds that the fleet pulled back and the Whirlwind waits for us in the next sector with Taskforce five. The Clouds waits cloaked orbiting the planet, ready to pick us up.” Jeevers reported, listening to the headset of the radio that Koalitz carried on his back.
“Excellent.” The Major replied, “Inform Team Two, on a coded frequency that we are on our own, and the fleet waits for the signal and destruction of Aquarius.”
“Aye, it is already done Sir.” Jeevers reported, in that snide, irritating tone, and it so reminded Nathaniel, on board the transport, of Mr. Roper, from the Three’s Company TV Show, two hundred years ago. He managed a grin.
Turning the Sergeant and his assistant released three more floaters. The Major motioned for soldiers to take up position flanking on either side of the airshaft as the floaters disappeared down into it.
“Just in case our position is compromised, and units come to the surface.” The Major told his team. On the portable console screen, the floaters moved through the dark shafts, high and out of range of any detection devices for the robotic enemy. It also stayed out of the prying eyes from Cybertron patrols they saw located in the shaft.
“Damn.” Seth muttered, as he saw a large body of Cybertron in the darkness, highlighted by night vision mode.
“Nah, that’s not too many, but according to the spectra-graph there are many tunnels in that mine that branch off that we did not scan and Cybertron could be hiding.” Corporal Hicks said, “We’re in better shape than you think, Sir.”
“Let see what the floaters see.” Seth suggested, “Lieutenant Minazaki can see this right, what we see and we can see his floaters?”
“Yes sir, he can.” Jeevers said quietly.
“Strange that he didn’t send any comments about it via radio.” Seth mused, and managed a shrug.
“Team one to Team two, come in please.” He said, and there was a crackle.
“Team two here.” Kino replied, “Go ahead skip.”
“What is your status?”
“We took the shaft, Major.” Kino said solemnly, “We tried that tactic and it worked perfectly, all by the numbers. We are currently setting booby-traps around the airshaft against any Cybertron in the area who come to investigate why the sentries here are not responding.”
“Excellent.” The Major replied, “Did you get the floater data we just sent you and your group?”
“Yea, it doesn’t look good.” Kino replied, “It looks like I have Cybertron on my end too and if we enter it’s a sure ambush from all these unmarked tunnels. We don’t have the manpower or the time to recon them all.”
“I know the feeling Lieutenant.” He replied, “I’m going to proceed into the shafts as soon as possible, and take a shot and shoot crap. We have to take a crack at these bastards before they fortify.”
“That’s foolish. Shouldn’t we leave a sentry, at the door, heavily fortified?”
“Negative, make it look like you never were there, and go underground.” Seth repeated, “We don’t have much time till they are fully refueled. Our raid decimated quite a few of their fleet, but they could be rebuilt in a few days, as machines don’t require sleep and going full steam.”
“I see your point.” Kino replied, “I’ll clean us up, and set to enter in fifteen minutes.”
“Set for underground operations, and demolition.” Jeevers said, “Stand by to repel into the shaft.”
On the Lieutenant’s end, the Major listened to the same orders being given to his twelve raiders, currently waiting for infiltration into the shaft like the Major’s team. Both teams face the same unknown odds against them in both places at the mineshaft air vents.
A few minutes later as ropes and pulleys were set, a floater was programmed to lower itself down into the shaft. Night vision visors we activated and sentries watched for any activity in the mine. Private Sparks watched the screen on the console, as each floater descended into the air shaft.
“So far it looks clear, but I see a heat signature not far off though.” He told the group.
“Prepare to enter the mine.” Major Aguilera ordered, “Steady, quietly and set to open up a full barrage of strafing as we repel downward. When we will drop in the center and everyone scatter to the shadows.”
“Roger that.” A choruses of voices replied as lines were rigged and slowly in the dark, the Marines silently lowered themselves into the shaft to the ground.
“Hold up. There’s a patrol coming toward the shaft.” Rodriguez warned and stepped back, leading with her weapon.
Quickly, the Marines took up positions in the shadows, their weapons aimed at the Cybertron Patrol who marched into the light from a nearby tunnel. The lines that were used by the Marines were quickly tied off to some metal machinery inside the mine. The group of Cybertron stood there a few minutes as they scanned the dirt floor and the surroundings carefully, as-if alerted by the Marines.
When they didn’t sense anything they marched out into the darkness into a nearby tunnel, their heavy footsteps echoing in the tunnel. The Major and company let out a breath they had been holding in, almost sure they were going to be detected by the Cybertron, but wasn’t.
“Did they detect us you think?”
“Hard to say Major, they might be getting wise if they have been trying to contact the surface patrol. We’d better hurry before a large patrol comes back.” Jeevers suggested and the Major, pondering a moment, had nodded in agreement.
Major Aguilera held up the sniper scope and peered through it. He put his finger to his lips and withdrew into the shadows as heavy footfalls approached again. This time two dozen Cybertron appeared in the dim light and they all stood around, peering around the surroundings. Their attention seemed to be focused on the disturbed dirt for a long period of time before they disappeared into the darkness.
“Jesus, I’d better be careful what I wish for, right?” Seth muttered sarcastically, and there were grins by the others in his group. The Major signaled with a wave of his hand, and the group slowly made their way through the shaft, keeping to the sides as they kept out of sight of the enemy as they advanced.
Meanwhile, the youthful Lieutenant and company were crouched on the corners also silently watching as Cybertron appeared into the light of the air vent of the ancient mineshaft, as-if alerted by the presence of the Marines. Kino held his breath as Sergeant Major Perry took over watch and peered through the sniper scope. His finger was poised on the trigger, his attention on the face of the Lieutenant who could say yea or nay to opening up and eliminating the soldiers. Kino held out his hand, thumbs up Perry would let the Cybertron live, thumbs down he would eliminate the guard.
“Come on Lieutenant.” Manual thought urgently, “I have the solution.” He whispered, and Kino grimaced sharply.
The Lieutenant turned to meet the Sergeant Major’s expression with a hard one of his own. He finally signaled a silent ‘thumbs up’ signal and the guard disappeared into the darkness. The Marines let out a silence exhale, and slowly Sergeant Major Perry nodded to the Lieutenant as he brought his weapon up to his face, peering down the tunnel leading away from the light of the air vent.
“That was too close, Lieutenant.” Perry whispered, and Kino managed a nod.
“Way too close.” He replied, “Activate night vision, and heat recognition vision on your visors.”
Two guards on either end kept a look out down the shaft as they could hear the footfalls of the Cybertron robots walking the shaft somewhere.
“Move out.” Kino said, “Stay out of the center of the shaft.”
As they walked toward and down the shaft, they could hear footfalls ahead in the darkness. The group scattered into the shadows as a Cybertron soldier appeared out of nowhere, confronting a young Corporal named Sarah Perkins who was not fast enough to dive into the shadows. They young human and cyborg stared at each other for a second before she reached down, pulling her bayonet and thrust it forward, The young woman struck the Cybertron in its forehead and there was a spark as a short circuit followed, making it dropped its weapon. It discharged when it clattered on the sandy floor of the mine. The ricochet of the shots echoed in the mine, causing a minor shift of dirt from the ceiling of the shaft, and sent the Marines again ducking into the shadows.
“Shit!” Perry mumbled, and everyone scattered as heavy footfalls came their way.
The Marines held their positions near the walls in the shadows, all with night vision goggle on, their weapons ready to fire. The Cybertron Robots stood in the tunnel, and they silently used their scanners, panning a view through the interior of the mineshaft.
“All right, reaaaddy…” Perry mumbled, “Now…!”
Laser fire erupted all around the Cybertron. The robots sparked and jolted as they were cut to pieces by the Marine’s fire. More Cybertron showed up at the passages around them, cutting them off, and screams from a couple of the Marines echoed through the tunnel as their fire struck them before the Cybertron were again decimated.
“Shit! Who got it…?” Perry grumbled and motioned to the others to watch the tunnels as everyone was accounted for.
“Medic! Over here!” A voice said, and the young Medic named Lance Corporal George Phillips, moved toward the injured soldier who lay bleeding on the dirty floor of the mine. The Medic grimaced as he knelt beside the soldier.
“I say, it rather doesn’t look good Sergeant Major.” George said, and met Perry’s nod with motion with his hand. The medic quickly patched the side of the soldier who is still living.
“The others are dead, Sergeant Major.” A soldier reported, “The smoke dissipated through the shaft above us.” He continued.
“Okay, move out.” Kino whispered, “Condition red. How many were killed George?”
The Medic shook his head. “Two were hit right between the eyes, and are certainly dead. They didn’t have a chance. The other was wounded in the shoulder.”
“Damn it.” Kino muttered, and he looked down at the sensor scanner in his hand that showed the tunnel. “We go that way. How we get at it is by moving along the edge of the tunnel, if possible, and stay clear of the center of the shaft. We don’t want any more surprises, activate two more floaters and send them behind and ahead of us. Strip that body of every piece of equipment and even take the dog-tags.”
“Right, Sir.” A soldier replied.
The injured soldier coughed, and spat blood onto the floor. Kino put a finger to his mouth motioning for him to be quiet. Heavy footfalls thundered down the passage, as another patrol approached.
“Line up and against the passage walls, keep it quiet.” A soldier put his hand over the injured man’s mouth as he coughed up blood. A moment later there was a single shot, the injured human soldier became stiff, as he fell limply in the others arms.
“Bastard!” A shout said and a Marine soldier drew his pistol. A single shot rang out, hitting the Cybertron who killed their wounded comrade. He was gunned down instantly. Kino and the others returned the fire, a firefight quickly started.
“Surrender humans, you are outgunned and surrounded.”
“Up yours, robo-dick.” A voice said, and there was laughter by the Marines that echoed the shaft. The robots paused, trying to compute the insult. The fire fight continued as laser fire streaked across the chamber.
“Yay Jen!” A voice called across the chamber, and there was sprinkled applause.
“Shh.” Kino chided, and he held up his weapon, as the Cybertron scanned the chamber. Kino’s shot hit a robot with a lethal beam and it sparked, flaming out brightly.
“That does not compute.”
“Compute on this!” Another voice said, and a hand was raised to give the middle finger. There was another burst of laughter by the Marines, male and female, as they remained hidden behind the equipment in the shaft. A shot rang out by the Cybertron, aimed at the soldier’s hand, but missed it as he quickly put down his hand.
“You are surrounded, surrender.” The Cybertron repeated. More shot were exchanged as they fought hard, and explosions shook the shaft as a Marine threw a grenade.
“Oh no they’re not.” A voice said and Kino glanced at his men, as there automatic weapon shots were fired and the smell of acrid smoke filled the chamber. The laser by the Cybertron ceased.
“What the hell?” Kino exclaimed as he peeked out from behind the equipment with his men. The young Lieutenant looked at the Major who stood in the opening, over the bodies of the Cybertron in which he had felled with a rapid fire of gunshots. Major Aguilera held the Cybertron he had nicked and with a bayonet he thrust it through the chest of the enemy. The Major’s arm was bloody through the tunic of his uniform, but at the moment, no one seemed to notice.
“Major!” Kino said, as he motioned to the remains of his men, and only eight stood up.
“Anyone order a rescue, with extra cheese?” He said and there was a sprinkled chuckle.
“Alright, let’s clean this mess up.” Major Aguilera said solemnly, “Strip those bodies of everything useful. Take care of anyone wounded.”
“Aye.” A voice said, and there was activity in the shaft.
“I thought you were in trouble when you didn’t return call, so I came looking.” He said, and Kino shook the Major’s hand.
“Major, you’re wounded.” Kino gasped, spying the blood on the tunic. “You’re bleeding man. Let me get the Med…”
“I don’t have time to bleed.” The Major said firmly, holding his rifle in front of him. “Mind your team.”
“You got what’s left of my team out of a jam, I owe ya one.”
“Forget it.” He said, “How bad are the wounded?”
“We can make it Major.” A strong reply spoke up, and he glanced at the Sergeant and others who stood around in the chamber. He silently counted only nine left in the team, out of twelve that belonged to the Lieutenant after the Major had thankfully bailed them out.
“Alright, the way is clear for the moment, I cleared it on the way. Let’s set these explosives and get the hell out of here lads.” The Major said formally, “Let’s move out, the other team is dug in near the main shaft. Remember we need to keep this covert as possible.”
“YEA!” The Marines said with a blood thirsty cheer, and as a group they packed the extra gear, running fearlessly down the mineshaft. They ran into the straggling Cybertron units from the side shafts, taking them out in force without an interruption of their advancement toward the main shaft. Also as they moved through the shaft, they hid the explosives, rigging the shaft to blow by remote.
They soon reached the shaft, and the groups stood on either side, watching the dozen of Cybertron who stood on the ground floor of the mine.
“Sergeant Perry, Let’s take those mothers out.” Seth ordered, “I’ll take right.”
Shots rang out, and one by one the Cybertron fell. An acrid smell of smoke filled the tunnel, as laser fire lanced out as the robots shot into the gloom, missing the Marines as they took out the group of Cybertron in the shaft.
Gunfire rippled through the shaft, striking two Cybertron, who burst into flames in the middle of the chamber.
“There are more Cybertron on the way, Major.” Jeevers said, “We have some serious company coming down into the shaft.”
“Not anymore we don’t.” Major Aguilera said firmly, “Hand me that bopper gun.”
He rose up, grabbing an RPG and he took aim, as a shot struck him in his vest. The Major let out a battle cry as he charged, leveling it quickly to shoot it off. An explosion followed as rubble, rock and robot parts were crushed under the tons of soil that fell inward on the mine floor. He held his weapon up as Cybertron appeared in the gloom and he led with it, firing two shots.
“That won’t hold them. Let’s get off of this hellhole fellas.” Kino said, after placing the explosives. They ran in two different directions, the team went to the waiting transport on the far end, closest to the main shaft, while the Major went the other way, and to the other waiting transport containing the EMP pulse generator. He knew he had a job to do, and to save the planet Earth by the destruction of Aquarius. It was rigged to blow thanks to his team and the few who had sacrificed themselves in the battles to stop the enemy.
He paused, holding his revolver as he hit a Cybertron guard point blank, making the head completely break off and roll onto the floor of the mineshaft. Seth continued to charge down the mine, shooting all the way, until he reached the airshaft. He pivoted and led with his weapon taking out two Cybertron soldiers at the entry point of the Marines before quickly scaling the ropes to the surface.
When he reached the surface, the Major crouched at the building as he heard a hum as Cybertron guards appeared from the edge of the woods that surrounded the clearing. He placed an eye in the scope and one by one began picking them off, as they shot back. Drones raced into the clearing, only to be gunned down. They sparked and smoked as they struck the ground. He dodged, as shots ricocheted off the wall and crouching, he returned the fire. Another Cybertron fell as he ran to the nearby path, heading toward the transport bringing them here.
A few minutes later, the Major ran on board the ship in a hurry, glancing only once at Commander Miller and Corporeal Jones who assisted him.
“Get ready to get the hell out of here, Commander.” The Major said. The Lieutenant Commander and Corporeal Jones exchanged a look at each other, both bolting to the transport and to their places.
“What about the others?” She asked.
“They are on the other transport which will be leaving the sector on Whirlwind.” He replied, “You two will be joining them when we reach orbit. There will be a brief rendezvous. I will also be setting off the EMP when we reach orbit too.”
“Yes Major.” Commander Miller replied and he nodded.
“Power up…” He ordered and Commander Miller nodded.
“Nominal, sir.” She replied as the hatches closed. Cybertron outside approached the transport and hit the booby traps. Massive explosions followed.
“Hit it!” The Major exclaimed and the ship’s engines thundered as both transports streaked up into the sky, moving higher and higher. Robotic drones moved toward them to intercept. On the First transport, the weapons were fired as they rocketed toward orbit, destroying and shooting down the drones that approached. Corporal Jones manned one weapon as did the Major on the other, leaving the top turret to automation. Weapons fired from both transports. All hell was breaking loose as the ships continued to climb around them. The second transport similarly was engaged and destroyed multiple air targets before thundering off into the sky.
Back on the Whirlwind, Homer sat at his console turning abruptly when he heard a beep from it. He only glanced at it once to smile, letting out a whoop of joy that echoed across the bridge, making the others turn.
“The transports have lifted off Captain!” He said gleefully. Nova and the others cheered as they clustered around the Communications Station.
“Wolfpack to Whirlwind.” A voice said, and Homer hit the button. Nova recognized the voice as the Major’s, as she stood beside Derick and Homer.
“Whirlwind here, Wolfpack.” Homer’s voice said icily.
“We are inbound toward you and running into resistance but should be in orbit momentarily.” The Major said over the crackling speaker, “Fireworks ready to detonate, will be on station shortly.”
“Roger that Wolfpack. We’ll start timers when you detonate.” Everyone could hear the fire from the first transport as it fired at the Cybertron, having left its mic open. Both transports hit more aircraft as they streaked upward into the sky.
“Thirty thousand feet.” Miller said.
An explosion rocked the transport as it was hit, and threw everyone to the deck.
“We’ve been hit.”
“Hit the boosters.” Major Aguiilera ordered, and the Commander nodded as the ship streaked even faster into orbit. Ships from the surface rose up toward them on their way to intercept them and take them prisoner.
“We’ve hit orbit.”
“Magellanic Clouds, Wolfpack here, standby for the pulse.” The Major said into the microphone.
“Roger that.” Ihsss said, “We have company coming for you guys.”
“We’re moving toward you.” Nathaniel reported.
The smoking transport limped toward the Clouds, followed by the other one. The first transport eliminated the craft that intercepted the Major and his party.
“Transport two… Head for the Whirlwind.” Major Aguilera said, “Don’t worry about us, we’ll hit the pulse and then eliminate the planet.”
“We’re coming along side!” A voice said, Seth recognized it as the Lieutenant, “Transfer over your personnel!”
The Major nodded to Miller and the soldier with him, who suited up in their Environmental suits. The Major did too. They opened the hatch and the rush of decompression pulled at their suits.
“Alright you guys get going. I’ll blow the damn thing when you two are clear with the second transport and the Whirlwind. Don’t worry, I don’t have a death wish, I’ll be right behind you with the Clouds.” Major Aguilera exclaimed, waving his hands at the two. Both men nodded and disappeared into the gloom of space, hitting the thrusters on their suits and rocketing across the stars toward the second transport.
“I’m here.” The Lieutenant Commander said as the airlock was opened on the second transport. Both men disappeared inside of it. A voice crackled over the speaker. The second transport headed toward the Whirlwind’s direction, with Cybertron in close proximity.
“Blow that damn thing and get the hell out of there Major!”
“Roger, power-up complete, I’m going to hit it!” The Major shouted over his headset, turning to the EMP aboard his transport that hummed and beeped at him.
The Cybertron’s vessels, still in range of the EDC Destroyer, continued to hammer at the ship and their fire had hit the rear and its hangar deck. It had also hit the transport trying to dock, causing it to spin out of control as an explosion pummeled the ship’s exterior. Smoking, after being hit twice itself, the battered transport landed with a crash in the Hangar after clipping the entry of the hangar doors of the EDC Destroyer. It spun in through the doors.
On the transport, the crew of Marines hung on for their very lives as the ship hit the deck hard, and became a twisted mass of metal as it rolled twice on the deck. Shrapnel and damage ripped through the rear of the ship as damage control crews tried to dodge when it finally came to a smoldering stop. Inside the twisted remains, both Marine groups were stunned and dazed as the hangar fire was fought. The roll cage built in to the interior of the ship had saved their lives, except for the Commander who had disappeared in the mass of twisted wreckage that literally had ripped the craft in half.
Outside in space, the Destroyer turned sharply as it limped away from Aquarius. It prepared for warp, despite the damage to the ship, pulling back two sectors where Taskforce Five stood on station, to protect its flank, if Cybertron was able to get away from the Aquarian destruction.
On the Destroyer, there was a klaxon alarm echoing throughout the ship, and a voice echoed on the loudspeaker.
“Crash on the Hangar Deck, Crash on the Hangar deck.” It said, “Everyone turn two and fight that fire!”
“Medical team, report to the Hangar deck!” A voice shouted over the loud speaker, “Fire and crash on the Hangar deck! All hands turn to and fight the fire!”
An explosion rocked the back of the Destroyer as damage control parties continued to fight the fire. On the transport, the Marines were escorted off one by one by the Medical team. Many were injured moderately with the damage but every Marine had been accounted for, including the Commander who lay unconscious of the deck, having been miraculously thrown clear from the other half of the transport. All were evaluated by the medical team, led by Sane and Nova in a field triage center. Another explosion rocked the Destroyer in the back as a wall of flames shot out from the battered Hangar doors of the ship. Doctor Sane was also the first to run to the wall intercom and here he hit the switch with a determined fist.
“Let’s go.” Sane shouted, “We have the transport aboard and everyone is safe. All except the Major, who is on route to the Clouds.”
The Captain turned to Derick Wildstar who sat beside the pilot of the ship and he nodded silently to the youthful officer. Derick glanced at the pale young woman beside him, suddenly reminded of Kitano when they were aboard Yamato when they had come home and after the Comet Empire War they had been victorious against. He had piloted the ship on their maiden voyage for the next voyage taking them to Iscandar at the distress message of his brother and Queen Starsha.
“Stand by for Warp.” The Whirlwind’s Captain shouted, as laser fire grazed the back of the ship. A few moments later, the engines roared as it disappeared into warp space.
Back on the first transport, the Major gritted his teeth and hit the button after a loud hum radiated on the transport while powering up the EMP. He watched as the counter of orange numbers counted up, reaching the max number of five hundred. They were ready for the pulse.
“Activating EMP.” He said into the speaker, “Stand by.” He hit the switch, and there was a beep.
A moment later, there was a surge as a blast radiated outward near the planet, and everything suddenly shut down in the way of power. On the bridge of the Star Cruiser, and other EDC ships there was a surprised gasp by all. Power systems failed as they went dark through the entire sector. They had already been expecting it and had set up a counter, for reboot purposes of all systems and already reinitializing all systems. All Cybertron that hovered in front of Aquarius, on the surface, or anywhere in the region went dark and drifted freely in the cold depths of space.
“EMP pulse detected, Captain!” Felonious reported.
“Start the timers, and reset all systems. Prepare for emergency power up to warp the hell out of here when we recover the transport.” Ihsss ordered.
“Aye, Captain.” Felonious said, “Counters already activated, we are on emergency power, and we will be rebooted in about six and a half minutes.”
On the transport, The Major hit the reset button that regulated manually the oxygen supply aboard the tank-like ship. He struggled toward the panels inside the transport, hitting the reset button on the computers, and waited as the power came up and began booting everything.
Five minutes elapsed, as system began beeping at him, and he groaned as a shock made the transport shudder. It was hit by an explosion of an engine panel caused by the damage before. Seth slammed his hand on the button to ignite the boosters and the engines sputtered and sparked as they re-ignited. The ship streaked blindly toward the rear of the Clouds, now visible, drifting nearby. The Major hit the switch for the navigation and the HUD switch glowed as the system was activated. He quickly piloted the ship toward the Clouds, knowing they did not have a lot of time before the Cybertron would be rebooted too and resume operation.
He had to get the hell out of there, damn quick, before they were destroyed one hundred to one odds against them.
On the Clouds Felonious had his furry head in the sensor module and smiled when saw the transport’s engine spark and begin moving toward them, out of control at first, but just moving. He managed a toothy grin on his feline features. He let out a loud feline whoop.
“It looks like Major Aguilera is still with us!” Felonious observed, “We have an incoming transport, Captain T’Larra! Out of control and blind, it seems.”
“Good. Prepare to recover transport.” Ihsss said, with a toothy grin on her reptilian features.
“Engineering to Bridge, power systems are on their way up!” Voloxa said, “No damage to the ship. She should have enough to move now!”
“Open the Hangar Bay doors.” Felonious ordered.
“Hangar Bay doors opening.” Kwai reported as outside the hatch opened for the transport that approached the Cruiser. Streaks of lasers ripped past the hull of the Clouds.
“Return fire!” Ihsss said, as torpedoes were launched at the Cybertron, and they struck the ships causing them to explode in an energy burst. Lasers erupted from the main turret of the Clouds and the lethal beams struck the ships as well.
“Secure the weapons and cease fire. Get us out of here helm!” Ihsss ordered, “Full possible speed!”
Veloxa turned to the console and her hands struck the buttons on the panel with her claw-like hand appendages. Outside in space the ship lurched as it slowly moved away from Aquarius. The crew anxiously looked up at the view screen, at the planet that hovered in the background and the large Cybertron Fleet that had stopped advancing, now started to show life.
“Where’s that damn transport?” Ihsss exclaimed.
“The transport has taken damage, Captain. It’s barely able to maintain a steady line for the Hangar Bay doors.” Kwai reported.
“Get him in quick, the Cybertron will be up by now on power.” Ihsss ordered sharply, and there was a nod by Felonious.
On the transport, smoking as the Cybertron ships, now actively fire at it: The Major held the flight control of the smoking transport, trying to hold it steady to bring it safely into the Hangar Bay of the Magellanic Clouds. Several times he tried to approach the Clouds, drifting too far left or right. He had to circle the Cruiser many times trying to keep the damaged vehicle steady as it approached the main mother ship.
“It’s just no good, I can’t hold her.” The Major stammered into the headset, “She’s breaking up… better leave me here.” The ship began to shimmy wildly. He peered into the HUD as the ship drifted toward the edge of the Hangar doors of the Clouds, smoking, crackling as systems began to fail.
“No way, major. I’ll get you in, you can count in it.” Voloxa said, standing in the hangar, “Bring it hard right. I am on the Deck, can you see me? I have the signal paddles.”
Voloxa waved his arms and on the ship, the Major smiled, seeing the red glow of the paddles that urged his on to bank to the right.
“I see you, Voloxa.” The Major said sharply.
“Good, bring it hard right.” Voloxa ordered.
The officer of the past made the wounded ship bank slightly right and Voloxa smiled.
“A little more… good… You’re okay, bring it home.” He coached, “Add power… power!”
The Major felt a lurch of the ship, knocking him to the deck. An explosion hit the ship as laser fire struck it again by the Cybertron weapons.
“Oh the hell with this shit!” He exclaimed sarcastically, and got up from the seat to run toward the airlock.
The Major jettisoned himself into space, and hit the thrusters on his suit to catapult himself toward the Clouds. There was an explosion to follow as the transport finally disintegrated. The explosion threw him toward the Cloud’s hull with shrapnel as it struck the hull off the main ship with dull thud. A low tone and static cracked over the intercom’s main speaker.
“Transport destroyed, Captain!” Felonious reported and sharply turned his head to stare in alarm at the Captain.
“Major!” Ihsss exclaimed.
There was a gasp by everyone, including Voloxa.
“Major Aguilera?” Hi’Mthsss said into her headset, “Come in please.”
There was nothing but silence for several minutes and a look of fear appeared on the faces of the Clouds. Hi’Mthsss sent the same message multiple times as she tried to get a hold of the young soldier of the past who had thrown himself willingly into space after an alarm sounded on the transport.
“H-he’s gone.” Hi’Mthsss stammered, “I am not receiving a signal!”
Ihsss raced to the console next to her daughter, and took up the headset. She touched the button on the console, and then another, switching channels.
“Ihsss to Aguilera. Come in please.” The reptilian Captain said many times, with no response. “Where in space are you?”
“Felonious… scan for the Major and the debris for any life signs.” Ihsss ordered, “Is there even a life sign out there?”
“Clouds, I am ok.” Seth said after a moment, “I am undamaged.” There was a breath of relief on the bridge.
“Where are you?” The reptilian Captain asked, and out in space the suited figure smiled, despite the burns on his suit.
“Open airlock… uh port side.” He said, as he clambered to the side of the Clouds, “Open the airlock, I am leaking air.”
The airlock slid aside and allowed him to enter. He hit a button to close it behind him and there was a roar as fresh oxygen flooded the chamber. Here he removed his helmet, staggering slightly as he fell aside onto the built in seat inside the airlock. The Major turned to pull himself up and made his way to the inside airlock door, opening it. Extreme pain radiated from his back area and legs and he staggered from the airlock into the Hangar Deck Level of the Cruiser. Falora was at the airlock in a heartbeat as the Major struggled toward the intercom. He fell to the deck in the middle of the Hangar deck as the medical team was there to greet him.
“Is he aboard?” Ihsss asked, “Hangar deck? Is he aboard?”
“Affirmative.” Falora said, hitting the button as he glanced at the burned space suit of the Major. “He’s pretty banged up, Captain.”
“Noted, doctor. Okay, helm, warp us out of here!” Ihsss exclaimed, “Jump us to sector beyond and Major if you can hear me, hit the control and blow it!”
“Visual.” Ihsss ordered, as the view screen on the bridge switched to the stars of spaced and was magnified to the blue ball of Aquarius where the Cybertron fleet now hovers there, now showing signs of life. Laser fire streaked through space at the Clouds.
The Major, remembering the mission had gasped and he typed in the code quickly on the keypad of his suit arm.
“So long assholes.” He muttered, before slamming his hand on the button on the arm of his suit. A beep followed as an explosion in space followed. Aquarius disappeared and vanished in a flash of multi-colors.
A moment later, Major Aguilera passed out on the deck into a lapse of unconsciousness. Little did they know that a piece of shrapnel had pierced his suit and his body, wounding him. The suit had sealed after penetration. He lay on the deck as Falora stood over him, shaking his massive head as he scanned him with a hand-held scanner.
On the bridge, the crew worked feverishly as the planet suddenly disappeared.
“Explosion detected, Captain!” Felonious said happily, “Stand by for shockwaves.”
A ribbon of a shockwave and debris floated freely toward the Clouds and the fleet across from the place where Aquarius now once hovered. Flashes of secondary explosions appeared in the background off space for a moment. When the flashes finally subsided, that a multi-colored glow seemed to surround the sector where Aquarius once had once been, as black hole formed, caused by a reverse Tritium explosion caused by the reaction of the explosives used. It had done exactly as had been predicted. The Cybertron mostly had been destroyed on the planet, and the fleet that was in orbit or in the sector around Aquarius had been drawn into the black hole, taking them to a different dimension of space.
Down in the Hangar deck, on the Whirlwind, Kino and a few of the others stood at the windows of the ship, and had watched as the planet disappeared in a flash. They let out a cheer. There were handshakes among the crew of the Whirlwind, cheers, massive celebration and lots of laughter.
“Holy shit… YOU DID IT Aguilera!” Kino exclaimed, as there was a cheer by the Marines and the crew of the Whirlwind who all gathered at the porthole, staring at the discolored portion of space, as planetary debris was hurled at all the ships.
“Sensors indicate a black hole one sector over, we are on the extreme edge of the sector, and it seems to be growing larger.” Sandor said, “That was the result the Major suspected would happen when they destroyed Aquarius!”
“Simply incredible!” Derick gasped, as the crew chattered on the bridge.
The view screen of the Whirlwind was locked on the sector ahead, and magnified on the black hole that swirled in the background of space. A strange glow of plasma seemed to surround the area of space. They turned to the Captain who was watching in stunned silence.
The cheers became an ominous respectful silence as the thought of the first transport and the Star Cruiser Class Starship of the future came to mind. They had lost contact, and they equally were the ones who had finished the job and had pulled off the destruction of Aquarius.
“Oh my god… The Clouds and the Major…” Nova exclaimed aloud, “Tell me you have them, Homer?”
“I am already trying to make contact.” Homer said, “There is some sort of radiation interference making contact difficult.”
Nova’s face showed utter horror upon it, realizing the jest of the situation and the truth of the matter. Something dreadful had just happened and they had lost their new friends.
“Don’t worry. We lost contact with the Clouds as soon as the explosion happened when it was triggered.” Sandor explained, “It was surge of radiation from the tritium explosion. We have full power now on sensors and no contact right now. That does not mean they did not warp. They’d be undetectable during a warp anyway.”
“Keep trying to make contact.” The Captain ordered, “Regular intervals.”
The Whirlwind had seen the detonation of the planet but had remembered some honest to God Heroes who had stayed in range to accomplish the impossible. Nova tied to focus on the radar screen, in an attempt to make radar contact with the Star Cruiser while Homer tried to make Communications contact. She hardly heard Homer as he spoke rapidly into his headset trying to raise the Star Cruiser from the future, with no result.
“Whirlwind to Dark Angel!” He said, “Come in please.”
“Whirlwind to Dark Angel! Respond!” Homer exclaimed again, “Come in please.”
Fifteen minutes elapsed before Homer turned toward the Center seat on the bridge. And he met the Captain’s questioning expression with a silent shake of his head.
“We have no response sir!” Homer said with an exasperated breath.
“Keep trying Homer!” The Captain ordered, and the young Communicator kept talking into his headset, as he switched channels.
As the EDC ships waited and watched for any signs of the Clouds, they only heard the ominous silence and seen the stars of space around them. Kino, Warrant Officer Jones, Commander Miller along with Sergeant Major Perry went to the bridge, stepping off the lift as it opened there. The crew turned, flashing a smile at the three Marines and the Space Corps Officer who stood here. The Captain moved to greet them with his bridge crew who clustered around them.
“Welcome aboard the Whirlwind!” He intoned, “You are heroes. You all did an outstanding job!” The Captain moved to stand before the Marines to salute. They returned the salute formally. He put out his hand, shaking their hand warmly.
“It wasn’t all us… we had help from the Major too. He went on a different transport to set off the EMP and the explosives to win the day.” Manual reminded him and the others had a look of pensiveness on their faces. He was right to remind them that it was a team effort and their victory, sweet and somewhat sour that it was, wasn’t just the Marines in front of them who did the deed. It had been a precision operation by the Taskforces, the Landing crew and the Star Cruiser Class Starship from the future and the strange crew who staffed her. Everyone had done their part and had succeeded in the end result. Time had been rewritten from what it was, when Seth had been saved from certain death by the Cybertron Death-squad on Earth.
“Is there any word from the Clouds, Sir?” Manual asked.
“Negative.” The Captain replied, “We lost contact with the Clouds when Aquarius blew. I have a suspicion they probably sustained damage and are not able to contact us right away. There is no way to tell for sure though. I’m sorry. All we can do it hope.”
“Oh my god.” Manual gasped, closing his eyes to look away, fighting the emotion that he suddenly felt overwhelming his whole body. “What about Emily?”
“Damn, we just don’t know yet.” The Captain said softly to himself, “And all we can do is wait here in space for another few minutes to sure before we abandon search. There’s got to be something more to be done than just this, damn it.”
“Homer, inform the battle groups that we recovered the Marine team and will form up with them in a half hour. We have engaged in rescue operations to assist the Clouds when contact is re-established, if they survived.” Captain Yamasaki ordered, and the communicator turned to nod his head.
“Yes, Sir!” He said happily, speaking into his headset.
“Damn, be there Clouds.” Manual grumbled, “After what we all went through, it’s not fucking fair!”
The crew waited anxiously for any word from the Clouds, which would never come, as the ship itself was hurled several light years and many sectors over after being hit by the shockwaves by the explosion from Aquarius.
As for the Magellanic Clouds, the ship travels at high velocity speed through the stars of space. On board, the space suited figure of the Major has been recovered after ejecting from his damaged transport toward the Clouds who barely cleared in warp when the young officer from the past hit the control to destroy the planet. Now on the bridge, the Captain, Ihsss T’Larra commands the vessel as Seth remains unconscious in sick bay. The ship’s damage is under way, as the damage was severe. The ship makes ten knots, on course back toward the Task Force’s position, but barely making headway at this speed. Space suited figures float freely as they work, feverishly repairing the ship and their plan to return Seth to Earth before they will attempt to return home to their own time.
Seth had fallen after being hit with shrapnel from the explosion that had thrown him against the bulkhead of the cruiser, and barely managing to climb inside the airlock before he succumbed to his injuries. The last thing the Major remembered was the explosion and the cruel hardness of the bulkhead of the ship. A moment later he was standing in front of Emily, dreaming as he held her warmly on an Earth beach, spending their promised honeymoon together and beginning their new life together after being married before the mission started.
As Major Aguilera lies on the bed, he slowly groans as he opens his eyes, the warm feelings faded and darkness filled in around him as the dreamlike state euphoria faded away, and a cool chill makes his body tingle. The young officer’s vision was blurry at first, but slowly focused on the familiar face of Falora Platt, the willowy Elowan ship’s doctor who now stands over him as he lies on the examination bed.
“Welcome back.” Falora said, managing a smile, as the Major groaned, covering his face with his hand. Seth’s bed beeped and chirped as he lays there, showing his vitals in an electronic read out.
“How are you feeling?” Falora asked.
“Uhh, someone tell the guy with the hammer to lay off.” The young officer grumbled, and he glanced at the smiling face of the Elowan ship’s Doctor.
“It was touch and go for a while there, and we were not sure if you were going to recover.” He said, “But I am glad you are awake.”
“Let me guess, we’re on the Clouds?” The Major asked.
“Yes, and on course toward Earth. We are on partial main power, and making ten knots.” Falora told him, “We’ll be arriving in a few days at Earth to drop you off, unless we can get the main engines on line to warp there.
“Have you been in contact with the Earth fleet?” Seth asked, and he shook his head.
“Our damage was severe and it shorted out the radio and the antennas.” He said, “We’ll get a message to them as soon as it is repaired.”
Seth tried to sit up but the doctor touched his arm with a warning touch as he lay back with a thud.
“Now just lay there and be happy you are alive.” the Doctor snarled, “You have been through a lot. You should rest until we get to Earth. I have something to also tell you before you find out on your own.”
“What?” Seth asked, and the Doctor frowned.
“How long have I been out, and what happened?”
Seth tried to sit up and tried to move his legs and found he could not.
“Doc, what the hell is wrong with me?” Seth asked, “I can’t move.” Falora had a grim look on his willowy face.
“I wanted to tell you first, you were severely injured, and are paralyzed, major.” He said, “I didn’t want you to move, and I did what I could to remove the shrapnel from your back, but it lacerated your spinal cord. I used what I knew in medicine to help you, and even then I was not able to get it all, being too close to the cord. You need to not move, and just lay there, or you won’t walk again.”
“What the hell?” Seth stammered, as he lay back. He felt an incessant tingling in his legs, and toes.
“I can’t feel anything, and there is nothing but a tingle in my back and legs.” Seth complained, and Falora nodded. “I know, I tried my best, but your surgeons on Earth might be able to help you better than I. I have never worked on a human before. I had to consult what I learned from Earth anatomy books I found while on Earth.”
Seth tried to move and could not; he fought to move as much as he tried. Finally he lay back and swooned, fatigued and tired.
“Just relax and lay there and heal for now.” The Doctor said, “If you need anything, just holler and I will assist you or one of my staff will assist you.”
“Can you give me a minute doc?” Seth asked, and the Doctor nodded.
“It’s not like I am going anywhere, but I just have to mull this over, and kind of come to terms with it.” Seth said his mind in turmoil at not being able to move.
“Emily won’t understand and accept this.” He thought, “If they knew I was severely injured like this they should not have saved my life. So there is one way out. Better die a Hero than a zero.”
“I’ll be in the next room.” The Doctor replied, “If you need anything, holler and I or my staff will come.”
Falora left the room into his office. A few minutes of silence followed, until a loud gunshot echoed the room.