The day started out like any other. I was attending a birthday party at my friend Bruce’s home. His son Derrick was turning eight years old and my nephew Jerry was in his class. I had been invited along because I was like an uncle to Derrick. I been away for the past five years and was home on vacation, so I took the invitation as a sign. After arriving to the party I found I was not the only one who been away far too long. I found friends I had not seen in a long time. And well the party went from being a birthday party and became a class reunion.
I met Bruce in the fourth grade when I was transferred to the South Christian Academy by my parents. Even though I didn’t know him, he welcomed me into his group of friends. The group bonded and stayed good friends all the way through high school. However, after high school ended we had nothing to keep us together and we separated. Plus the school we attended shut down so we had nothing to bring us together again.
The school shutting down left many of its graduating class without a reunion and that included ours. So the birthday party became our informal reunion. Kim was back from his tour with the Marines. Sara was a youth pastor married and had a son in the same class as Derrick. As I mingled with my former classmates a most terrible thing happened. This terrible thing would change the very fabric of our lives.
Tom was running late for the birthday party. As he drove to Bruce’s house, he turned on news radio. He always listened to news radio as a distraction and today was no different. Usually the story was about someone breaking into a home or the president’s new plan. However, today’s story was quite different. On the station reporters were saying the world was under attack. An alien force had moved in over Washington D.C. and commenced to bombing it and no survivors had been heard from. As Tom listened he thought, this cannot be possible. No way were aliens real.
Continuing to listen he became more captivated by the story. To the point he finally believed it. Accepting the truth of the story he decided he needed to warn people. Thus he stepped on the gas in his truck, nearly to the point of crashing into other cars to reach Bruce’s house in time. When he came into the driveway, he did not let off the gas forcing people to jump out of the way. His truck only coming to a stop because he hit Tony’s car.
Bruce, Bill and Julian were the first ones to his door. He could hear them saying, “Are you okay Tom?”
Tom finally let out a word. “Attack.”
Bill said, “What?”
“Attack, we are under attack.”
Bruce said, “No way man.”
“Listen to the radio.”
Bruce reached in and turned up the volume. A crowd gathered around to listen to the message. The announcer said, “A huge force of unknown origins has come out of the sky and started bombarding our large cities. They have decimated most of our large cities and have issued only one message. The message was:
Surrender or Die!.”
“It is unknown at this time if this message will be answered. The President is feared dead and the Vice President hasn’t been seen since the bombardment first began. Our only hope relies on our military at this time.”
The announcer continued talking as I turned and left. I was headed for the weapons I knew Bruce kept. I knew we needed to arm ourselves if we were going to survive. But Bruce and a bunch of others beat me to them. When I finally made my way through to the front of the group, I saw Bruce had taken on the role he always played, barking out orders.
He said, “Kim you take the front. Julian you take the back. Michael you take the side. We need to get everyone inside, Bill that’s your job.
I took the orders to heart heading out to get people to safety. My brother had already started for the car when I caught up with him. He said “Bill we need to leave.”
“No, it is safer inside if you go in now.”
“Safer, how is that safer.”
“We have weapons. Do you have any at home?”
“Then this is about as safe you can get.”
“Ok, I trust you. Kids we need to get inside.”
“Thanks, bro” as I turned to find others.
Many people left before I could stop them. However, a small group listened to me heading back to the house. One of them was Sara’s husband taking his son inside. As I went to get more people I saw Sara was trying to get her doubtful mother out of the chair. Who was saying “ain’t no aliens coming, it’s just a hoax.”
I walked up saying “ya need to get inside.”
Her mom continued “Why is that Bill? Aliens!”
Sara looked at me with frustration on her face. She then did something I never knew she had in her. Grabbing her mother’s chair she flipped her over. Saying “Get up MOM, let’s get inside.”
As she was speaking an explosion went off behind me. It must have been the house, but something knocked me out.
Waking up I found my friend Kim’s head sitting next to me. It must have been what hit me in the back. Others probably would have fainted from the sight, but I had grown accustomed to horror during my time in the military.
As I looked around I saw people running around like chickens with their head's cut off. I tried getting up, but my back ache from the pain. My will to live finally allowed me the strength to push myself off the ground.
Climbing to my feet I saw the reason for the chaos. Storming Bruce’s home was a group of alien soldiers. Who were shooting people left and right of me. They sort of looked like the mythical Yeti.
I saw my friends were fighting back, but proving useless against the soldiers. However, this did not stop me from trying. I took off running hitting the closest alien with a quarterback sack. He never saw it coming.
After sacking the alien I grabbed his rifle firing in the direction of another alien about to shoot Sara. Hitting him I turned to fire again, but this proved useless because after firing the shot I became a target.
I tried to find cover to no avail and the last thing I remembered was four blasts hitting me from each side and slipping into unconsciousness.
As I was sleeping in an unknown place, a sound awoke me. In the distance, I kept hearing “Bill wake up, you need to get up.”
Hearing this voice brought me to consciousness. As I reached it, I saw before me a beautiful pink alien. Well, she must be alien to be so pink. She said, “Hi, I’m glad you are finally awake.”
“I said who are you?”
“That’s a beautiful name you have. Who are you again?”
“Thanks, for the compliment. I am Xantra of Lyria.”
“Lyria never heard of it. Where is Lyria?”
“To answer your question, we are about four days away in hyperspace. Three days off from the moon we are going to mine.”
“You don’t know where you are, do you?”
“Not really the last thing I remember was being shot four times.”
“You’re aboard a Hurrean slave ship,” she said.
“A slave ship, headed for the moon of Astra. You were captured by the Hurrean Conglomerate; a group of slavers and merchants spreading death, destruction throughout the galaxy.
“How do you know this?”
“Because it is what they did to my people. We have been fighting them for the last three years.”
“Has it worked for the Lyrians?”
“Not yet, but we hope one day.”
“Me too. But my question now is. What we going to do about this?”
“We are going to escape.”
“Escape, is there a way off the ship?”
“Yes, there is a way off the ship.”
“Then why haven’t you tried it?’
“For the simple reason, that I am not really here.”
“What? I can see you clear as a day."
“It’s an impression of me, I am projecting to your mind. I did not think your species could receive messages, but I had to try. Searching all over the ship, you were the only one I could contact.”
“Makes me special huh?”
“You would not believe it.”
“So you’re using telepathy to talk to me right?”
“Telepathy, yes that is what you call it.”
“Why use telepathy on me, why not escape yourself?”
“Because I am in restraints.”
“Restraints, similar to your handcuffs, but for the entire body.”
“Well that is great. What now?”
“I need you to wake up and rescue me.”
“How am I supposed to do that?”
“Well in about ten minutes a guard I made a suggestion to, will be in your cell. I could not suggest to him to free me because they are wired to never help my kind. However, a suggestion to help you was easier.”
“Well sounds good, but one problem, I’m not awake for real.”
“He will take care of that. Afterwards take the portable he is caring.”
“What is a portable?”
It is a small rounded looking device fitting in the palm of your hand. It used for medical purposes or to wake a prisoner.”
“Ok, see you soon.”
I awoke with the greatest headache I ever had. It was one of those headaches that make you want to put a drill to your head just to get to the pain. I laid there on the floor surrounded by my friends. There were Matt, Rex, Bruce, Julian, Tom, Sara and Ryan.
Looking up I saw standing over me was the alien guard. He was looking at me with a blank look on his face. I grabbed the weapon from his holster, then yanked what appeared to be the portable from his hand.
Firing the pistol as I did because he was starting to return to reality. The sound of the shot was heard as a wisp leaving the weapon. I hurried to wake the rest not knowing what kind of surveillance the cell had. After forcing Rex awake I pressed the weapon in his hand continuing on to the rest. As I did, he set himself up by the door entrance. Finally waking my friends we had a short show and tell about where we were. Quickness was the key because if we were going to survive we needed to act real quick. While I spoke to my friends the door swung open.
In stepped a big guard pointing his weapon at us. He was speaking in a language I did not understand. Just as he made it all the way in Rex pulled the trigger. The shot went through the guards head, but not before a shot left his weapon. It missed me barely, save for poor Tom who took it to the heart. Sara screamed a little and I knew we needed to go.
I grabbed the key device off the first guard, Bruce getting the second one. And we set our plan into motion. Rex and Julian covered us while Bruce and myself unlocked the cells. Sara and Matt enter each cell waking the prisoners. I went from cell to cell until landing at Xantra’s. Entering it I found she was accompanied by about twenty other Lyrians. And she was more beautiful in person.
They were all fully awake which must be why, they been restrained. I asked Xantra “how do I get them off.”
She replied in English “Run the key over them.”
It worked and she was free. I yanked off her restraints continuing on to her crew. As I did Sara entered the cell, then jumped back. She was not expecting aliens. I said “they are friends and will help us escape.”
She shook her head acknowledging my words, but fear still shown in her eyes. She turned and left, leaving me to finish my work.
Commander Batea stood on the bridge as he always did when he did a run. He been running slaves for the Hurrean Conglomerate for the past 3,600 cycles as a Commander. Now he was going to retire after this load. He had been skimming profits from slaves by counting them as dead on arrival. Really putting them off in a secret compartment until after he delivered his load. The administrator found out a few hundred cycles ago, but had settled for half to keep his mouth shut. So he just hid more to keep up the amount. But as he stood at his favorite spot the alarms sounded.
A technician spook saying “sir we have a breakout in the slave quarters.”
“How is that possible they are all tranquilized? Lyrians. Send every man down there to stop them. The technician got on the horn calling for all guards to get to the prison cell. Commander Batea thought to himself, I hate Lyrians.
When the last restraint snapped of I heard a fire fight outside the cell. I been so engrossed in my duty I failed to notice it. Guards had been raining from every side trying to pin us in. However, the Lyrians were using their telepathy to get them to turn on one another.
Stepping out the door I saw Xantra was about to take one to the back. So I rushed her, knocking her to the floor. She smiled at me saying “thanks” and rolling out from under me. She said “we need to get to the engine room.”
I said “no we need to organize some.”
“Cannot, if we do not take the room we will die.”
She had a serious look on her face saying this, so I listened yelling for everyone to follow us. The whole group pretty much followed us. The Lyrians grabbing the fallen guard’s weapons along the way. Reaching the engine room Xantra took charge of her men sending them in using Lyrian military terminology. The fire fight for the engine room lasted for about one minute. However, when it was done twelve Lyrians were dead with two wounded. Xantra walked in over her dead commanders heading for the console. You could hear things were happening as she pushed buttons. Looking up to me she said “now we can organize and get off this ship. And by the way it will explode in a half hour.”
I looked at her with fear in my eyes, but said nothing. I turned heading out to the hall to tell my people what to do. They were my people because I felt responsible for their lives after saving them.
“Commander Batea they have overunned the engine room dropping us out of hyperspace and setting the self-destruct sequence.” Said the technician.
How could it be that on his last mission he would lose his ship. He turned to the technician saying “abandon ship.”
He then went about his duties, he needed to get word to the Hurrean Command or even Astra. However, every time he tried to get a signal out nothing happened. So he did the only thing he could do. Leave a message for whoever found the debris field. He sat down as his men ran about trying to save themselves. His men were the drudges of the Misteren Command and well he lost most of them in the assaults on the slave compartment and engine room. Being poor soldiers they probably would not make it off alive. He began to talk “the prisoners have escaped led by a human. He is quite ferrous in combat, and my guards were unable to stop him. He is accompanied by Lyrians we found on Earth. We believe they helped him escape. If anyone can hear this please come to our help. My ship will self-destruct in less than a half cycle. I fear we will not survive.”
He leaned into the desk pulling out his service piece, sticking it in his mouth. As he pulled the trigger he dreamed of his beautiful home.
I walked out into the hall finding about three hundred people. No one could hear me until I screamed “Be quiet.”
A hush fell over the group, and I said, “I know you don’t know me, but you have followed me thus far. So I ask you to follow me off this ship. These pink aliens,” pointing to the Lyrians, “were prisoners like you. They hate our captors as much as you and want to escape. They have agreed to help fly us off this ship, but we must first fight our way to the transports. They have lost too many people to continue to lead the fight. So we must protect them allowing them to fly us away. Therefore I stand before you asking for volunteers to lead the way.”
About fifty people stepped forward including my friends.
“Oh, by the way,” I warned. “You want to get on a transport because this ship is going to explode.”
A cry rang out through the group, and many more volunteered, but I needed no more volunteers. I said to my volunteers “We need to take the hangar and give these people covering fire so they can get to the transports. We will split into five teams, Bruce, Team 1 leader, Julian, Team 2 leader, Rex, Team 3 leader, Xantra, Team 5 leader and I will lead team 4. Team 5 will cover the rear and be first onto the last transport. Let’s go then.”
I turned leading the way. They must have agreed with my strategy. because they followed me towards the hangar. As we got closer to the hangar, you could tell many were scared. However, many of these men must have been soldiers because they acted like they knew their job.
After arriving at the hangar I did a visual of a room. I sent Team 1 to cover us from the crates on the left. As they made a run for it, the aliens not getting on one of the transports started firing at them. About five of them went down.
So I sent in the next team led by Julian. His team made their way to the boxes on the right side of the hangar. They had more cover losing only one person.
Rex’s team had the more challenging trudge forward to the first transport. However, they had plenty of cover fire to keep the aliens down. As Rex lead his team an alien threw a grenade hitting a box bouncing past Rex. The seven men behind Rex were not so lucky because it landed in the middle of them. They died instantly.
Seeing Rex’s team go down I moved out. My team played follow the leader as I lead them to the second transport. My entire team made it to the transport just as we heard firing coming from outside the hangar. The fifth team was having to cover the crowd against overwhelming odds.
Making it to the second transport I gave the go ahead signal and the stampede began. Most made it to a transport, but some were taken down by stray fire. I realized half way through it the aliens were trying to escape as well. They gave up finally when the alarms began to blast louder. Giving the civilians the chance to leave on the transports.
After everyone not in my volunteers was onboard a transport. I sent team five while we covered their exit. Team 1, then team 2 followed by team 3. My team was the last and I saw Rex standing in the doorway waving for me to come. I almost made it to the transport, but a shot grazed my side making me hit the floor. Rex jumped out of the transport and started to drag me to my feet. He took a shot to his back then. I grabbed him and climbed up on the ramp dragging him behind me.
When we made it into the transport I heard Xantra yelling over the intercom that she needed help up front to fly. I yelled for anyone with flight experience to join her up front. One guy raised his hand saying his name was “Jon,” and that he flew helicopters.
I said, “Get up front and help her.”
Jon took off running to the cockpit. As I lay there bleeding from my side, Matt reached down to take care of my wounds. I said, "No. Take care of Rex’s wound, I’m fine."
Matt said, “No, you’re not, fine. I need to take care of you.”
A man said, “I’ll do it. You take care of the other guy. I’m Doug, by the way. I was a medic in the Air Force so I know what to do.”
“Thanks Doug,” I said as he pushed on my side. I screamed a little. He said “Well, it looks ok for now, but we’ll still need to clean this up.”
As he was saying this Xantra was shaking the ship in all different directions. She seemed to be doing a good job, but as I thought this, we were hit by something. However, this did not stop her from going into hyperspace because within seconds of being hit everything flashed.
When Jon reached the cockpit, the alien told him to sit down. She seemed to be trying to drive the ship while turning everything on. When he sat down, she said, “Grab the handles and pull back.”
He grabbed the controls pulling them back forcing the ship off the ground. As they left the hangar, many of the alien soldiers left alive were still firing at them. They had no effect on the ship allowing them to leave. Xantra said, “The reason I called you up here is because I need two people to jump this transport into hyperspace. See those switches over on your right side? They are the ignition switches for the hyper drive. When I say go, will both push at the same time.”
Just as they were about to push the switches the huge ship exploded and a small piece of it hit the side of our ship, but this did not stop Xantra from yelling “Now!”
The ship entered hyperspace forcing the stars to flash by. The alien said, “The name ‘s Xantra, by the way.”
He said, “Jon.”
“Well I am glad we survived it”
All of a sudden, the ship started to jerk. Xantra said, “The hyper drive is failing. I need to get back to the engine room. Stay here and watch these controls. I will intercom you if I need anything. Press the blue button to intercom me back.”
He said, “Okay, got it.”
As Doug was finishing up patching my wounds Xantra came back saying, “We’re in hyperspace, but we were hit before we entered. The controls are a little wonkee and I need to fix the engines.”
I said, “Okay, what do you need to fix the engines?"
She replied, “A little help.”
I said, “Anyone here can fix engines?”
Two men raised their hands, so I asked, “Names?”
The first one said, “Ralph Morris” and the second said “Jack Ronson.”
Pointing at Xantra I said, “Follow her and she will get you started fixing the ship.”
As they were leaving another man whom I could tell was an officer popped up saying “Hold on a minute. Where are we going?”
I said, “Your name?”
He said, “Captain Arthur Lewis, US Army Logistics.”
I said, “We are going to that alien’s world. She has invited us to stay because Earth is under alien control. And she could use our help because her people have been fighting the same race which took Earth for three years now. If we work with them we can get our revenge for Earth.”
“How do we know we can trust her?” He replied.
“Well I don’t know. But they did help us escape.”
“So that could have been a ploy to get us to their world.”
“I don’t know, but this is not the time for arguing. Right now we need to fix this ship in order to survive. So I will address your concerns after we look at the wounded.”
He said, “Roger that” in a snide way. He didn’t press the issue any further. Not because of what I said, but rather because the others were looking at him weird.
Matt continued to work on Rex, but this was to no avail. Matt kept saying, “I can’t stabilize Rex.”
So I went over to sit next to Rex and grabbed his hand hoping my energy would force him to survive, but knowing full well it would not.
Rex opened his eyes and asked, “We make it?”
I said, “Yes. Yes we did.”
He said, “Good at least part of my gamble paid off, and yawl will survive.”
I laughed at this because he always was a good gambler and hardly lost. He said, “When you beat those bastards, find my father and tell him I love him.”
I said, “I will and I’m proud of you.”
Then he died.
I kept mumbling how I was proud of him as I struggled to my feet. I left the room so no one could see me cry but, Sara followed me out wanting to comfort me. As I went into the room which must have been the galley, she followed me in. When she got to my side, I was crying.
I said “It’s all my fault! Their deaths are my fault. Your husband’s death is my fault.”
This made her tear up some, but she hugged me. She then said, “No. Both died because of those aliens, not because of you. So don’t take this pain on yourself.”
I said, “But I failed them.”
She said, “You didn’t fail them and God has a plan for us now.”
I said, “What plan?”
She said, “Well we now have a ship. So we can use it to take this war to them.”
As she was saying this Xantra came by the room. She said, “I temporarily fixed the hyper drive, but we need to set down. My new world is over five days away, which is too far away. However, I know a place not far from here where we can set down.”
I said, “Okay, whatever you think is right.”
She turned, heading towards the cockpit. I looked back at Sara and left the room.
Xantra made it back to the cockpit and sat down in her seat. Jon asked, “How is the engine?”
She replied, “It needs some work. So we have to set down. Bill has given me the go-ahead to land at a place I know. So I am going to plot a course to it.”
As she was plotting the course, he asked her, “Where are we going?”
“To an old Lyrian base I once went to. It was abandoned years earlier during our war with the Hurreans. It doesn‘t have much there, but hopefully some parts to fix the ship were left behind.”
“Cool a base; well at least we’ll have some ground beneath us. All of this space flying has got me nervous.”
“There I have plotted the course. What were you saying?”
“It is going to take us twelve hours to get there.”
“How do you know what an ‘hour’ is?”
“When I read Bill’s mind, I learned his terminology.”
“You can read minds?”
“No just Bill’s mind.”
“Good I didn’t know how to respond to that.”
“Let’s make an announcement then about the time.”
She reached up for the intercom.
After speaking to Xantra, I headed back to the corridor. I found everyone had returned to the corridor. I said, “We will be landing shortly on an unknown planet. So we must be prepared for anything. I’m placing myself as the commander of this group for now. Once we establish we’re safe we can discuss who will be the leader."
Captain Lewis spoke up saying, “I don’t think so. Most of these men here are military and since I’m the highest rank, I’m their commander.”
I looked at him and said, “You have followed me so far and have I led you astray? No, so all I ask is for you to follow me a little longer. If that doesn’t settle you, then what will? When I rescued you from your cell, you were nothing. You were just wasting away there to become a slave, but I risked my life to free you, so give me a chance. If you don’t like it, we will settle it later.”
He said, “I don’t see it that way and want to settle it now.”
He went for his weapon, and Bruce stuck his to his head saying, “He is in command for now. Got it!”
Captain Lewis almost pissed his pants. He was just a paper pusher, and we showed him we weren’t pushovers. He mumbled “okay” and sat down.
I said, “Okay now that’s settled,”
As I started to speak Xantra came over the intercom.
“We will be landing in about twelve hours. So sit back and enjoy the ride.”
I said, “Well I guess we are going to be here for a bit so let's settle in people. Julian check the galley to see if there is any food in it. Bruce go get Xantra and Jon from the cockpit. I think it‘s time we all got to know one another.”
As Bruce left Captain Lewis tried to get up. I pointed my gun in his direction saying, “Captain sit down and enjoy your life for a bit.”
By the time Xantra and Jon got to the corridor Julian had taken it upon himself to start passing out, what I guessed to be military rations. He handed me a ration pack and I ripped off the top. I ate it greedily because I was quite hungry. I then asked Julian if he found anything to drink. He said, “Well, in the kitchen they have a water tap. You want me to get some?”
I said, “Don’t move I’ll get it.”
I left the room heading to the galley where I found a jug and six glasses in the cabinets. I pulled them out, filling a glass and took a sip of water. The water was quite good and must have been from Earth. I filled the jug from the tap then walk back to the area. I handed out the six glasses and said, “We’ll just have to share the glasses.”
I poured some water in each and after emptying the jug I went back for some more. Returning from filling the jug, I filled the glasses again and said, “Well now, that we have food and water let’s get to know one another. I’ll go first.”
“My name is William Tucker. I served in the Army for two years working in intelligence. I was honorably discharged after I injured my knee and went back to school and getting two degrees. I work for the State Department as an analyst in Washington D.C. However, I was not in D.C. when the attacks began because I was on vacation. Lucky thing too because it’s probably been leveled to the ground. The first thing I remember after the attack on earth was waking up on that ship.. If you didn’t already know, the ship we were on was a Hurrean Slave Ship. We were all bound for a mining planet. I glad we all survived and most of my friends as well. I hope to get to know well enough to call you friend.
The second to speak was Xantra. “My name is Xantra Demeter and I am a Lyrian. I’ve already told Bill I’m a Lyrian, but I failed to mention I am one of the top Lyrian officers.”
“My father was a great general in charge of Lyrian forces. My brother followed him into service. However, over three years ago the Hurreans came to our homeworld and conquered it. My brother, my mother and myself, plus a group of two thousand Lyrians escaped from the planet in a few ships. We landed on a planet we now call New Lyria. It is a remote planet off the beaten hyperspace routes. My brother was the highest ranking person to escape so he has taken command of our civilization. Those Lyrians which flew off with the rest of the prisoners were my crew and will be taking the rest of your people to New Lyria.
“My crew and I were shot down over Earth when we tried to warn your people of an attack. They fired first and took us down, but I have no ill will towards you.”
Captain Lewis spoke next saying, “My name is Captain Arthur Lewis and I’m from Syracuse, New York. After graduating from Yale I joined the army. Been working in Army Logistics for the last two years at Fort Polk. When the base was attacked I was off base at my house. I rushed back to defend it, but was attacked and captured. I hope we plan on getting revenge for our friends because I can’t stand that we lost.”
Lieutenant Jon Lloyd said, “Name is Lieutenant Jon Lloyd. I’m from Charleston. I have been a helicopter pilot in the army for the last three years. My helo was shot down just outside of Alexandria and I was subsequently shipped to the ship.”
After Jon finished his introduction everybody else gave some sort of story who they were and what they did. My friend Julian Russell ex-Marine from Lumberton spoke about his career and his family. My friend Matt Casper spoke of his medical training and his mom. Ryan Bell spoke of his career in computer science and how lucky he was that he knew what happen to his family. My friend Bruce Jasper whose home we went to cried a little talking about his son and wife. Sara Williams talked about her youth ministry and her family. We meet Airmen Ralph Morris, Warrant Officer Mary Harper, Sergeant Greg Wainwright, Airmen Doug Reese, Staff Sergeant Mason, Private Lauren Aarons, Corporal Jessica Hauser, Private Bryan Larsen, Private Whitney Kasey, Specialist Jack Ronson and Specialist Nikki Mazola all military captured at Fort Polk. The other three people with us were Sergeant Bob Humble from the Lake Charles Police Department, Two Step Master a gangster from the streets of New Orleans, and Phillip Lawrence a school teacher at Fort Polk. Each person with a fascinating tale to be told, but would take up too much time to tell.
After everyone finished their stories I spoke up saying, “Since we are finished getting to know each other. I would like to talk about our situation here. We are stuck on this ship for the next twelve hours. We have nothing to do with our time. I imagine most of us are quite tired, I know I am. So here is what I suggest. We all take a small nap to pass the hours. Jon, Xantra, Julian and myself will stay awake to make sure the ship stays in the air. Everyone else is ordered to get some rest finding anyplace you can sleep.”
As I said this Bruce walked over saying, “Bill you’ve been shot and well you need rest. How about I take over for six hours while you sleep?”
Matt walked up. “I agree with him Bill,” he said.
I said, “Okay, I’ll sleep, but I need you to search the cargo bays with Xantra for the parts she needs, to fix the ship. It would also be good to know what we got in the way of supplies.”
Bruce said, “Me and Julian will do that then.”
“Okay, then I’m going to get some sleep.”
I walked over to Xantra telling her that Bruce and Julian would be joining her. After speaking with her, I left the room walking into the galley shutting the door falling asleep pretty quick.
Muztagh Zuran had enough with his life working as a slave. He had been at this mining base for too long now and was not going to take it anymore. He needed to escape, because if he stayed here any longer, he was going to die. He had been planning a breakout for the last six hundred cycles. Squirreling away anything for his breathing apparatuses he was making.
He and his best friend Xonidian were going to breakout together until he was sold at a slave auction. Now he was alone on this planet, not really alone, but alone with no friend. He could take someone else with him, but who. He looked over the people sitting in his shelter and decided he would take Gaetan. Gaetan was not much of a talker, but he was good in a fight. Now he needed to assess whether he would go. Walking over to Gaetan he tapped him on the foot. Gaetan jumped up slamming Muztagh to the floor. He said “Muz oh it is you. Sorry, what do you need?”
“Gaetan, are you tired of this place as much as me?”
“You know I am.”
“Well I am going to escape tonight. Do you want to go?”
Gaetan thought about it because Muz was always getting himself into trouble, but he was quite smart. He probably had a good plan. Finally answering he said “I do. What do we need to do to escape?”
“First we need to get rid of these collars. I have something for that.”
Muz pulls out a portable he been hiding for about seventy cycles. Gaetan looks at it saying “You had it all along? Where?”
Muz points to the watering hole and Gaetan turns up his nose saying. “Good place they never check those.”
Muz places it on his neck and the collar clicks off. He then does it to Gaetan. After Gaetan’s collar falls off he tells him the plan. A transport would be arriving in the next hour and will take them off world. All they needed to do was hide in Eisen barrel. Gaetan asked “how we going to breathe?”
Muz pulled out the two apparatuses saying “with these.”
Gaetan looks at them saying “what, you made breathers.”
“Yep and they will help us escape.”
After telling Gaetan the plan, they launched operation runaway. They snuck their way past their shelter guard and almost made it to the warehouse, when a guard spotted them as he was coming around the corner. Before he could aim a weapon their way or give off an alarm. Gaetan had wrapped his big arms around him crushing him to death, which was quite impressive to Muz. After killing the guard they dragged him under a pile of scrap. Hoping he would not be found till the next day.
After a good amount of time they made it to the warehouse just as the transport landed. This forced them to rush into the warehouse hoping no one saw them. No guard was in sight inside so they dragged the nearest empty barrel to pile going out. After removing the identification of a good barrel, they dragged it out of the way. They made it in the barrel just in the nick of time because the transport crew was coming into the building.
Clipping on their breathers they waited for the inevitable. After long period of waiting, they finally moved the barrel. He could hear the guards talking as they rolled past them. And a few moments later they were placed inside the transport and the uncomfortable silence began.
I awoke to Julian banging on the door. He entered saying, “We didn’t find the parts she needs and well, we’re about to come out of hyperspace.”
“Why didn’t you wake me after six hours?”
“Matt said we shouldn’t, so you could heal better.”
“Alright, but don’t do it again. Wake everyone up so we can prepare for the landing.”
I walked back into the corridor a few minutes later saying, “Okay we’re about to land. We don’t know what’s down there. So when we land, don’t anyone get off this ship before I say.”
Andy sat there staring at the walls as they closed in on him. He couldn’t wait to get off this ship. While everyone else slept the trip away, he had been staring at the walls. He tried many different things to get his claustrophobia off his mind. He tried humming to himself as well as counting sheep, but nothing helped. So when Bill announced the ship would be landing soon he was quite happy. He thought he could do this, it was only a little longer and he would be free.
As I was speaking I noticed Andy fidgeting a little bit, but I thought nothing of it. I continued my speech by saying, “Okay. When we land we will be breaking up in groups to search the base. I want each of us prepared for resistance. However, I believe there will be none. Still we need to prepare. The groups are as followed: Julian will lead Bruce, Mary and Bob. Jon will lead Nikki, Eric, and Bryan. Captain Lewis will lead Greg, Doug and Lauren. Matt will lead Andy, Phillip, and Whitney. Xantra will lead Jack and Ralph. That leaves Jessica, Sara and Two Step for me. Is that clear?”
Everyone agreed in some fashion and I spoke to Julian asking “Did you find any weapons?”
He replied, “Yes we found a crate of rifles plus a few other goodies.”
“Good. Pass out the rifles to everyone.”
Julian pointed at Captain Lewis saying, “What about him?”
I looked and said, “Him too.”
Julian left returning with the box behind him and started passing out the rifles. As he was about to pass one to me, the engine room exploded.
Jon sitting in the cockpit with Xantra, had learned many over these past twelve hours which were quite interesting. One of things was her race matured at a faster rate than humans and a Lyrian child would reach adulthood after six years. She was only eight years old. Even though they aged fast, they still lived almost as long as a human.
Another interesting fact was they had telepathy power and could communicate with each other, but it was rare for them to be able to communicate to other species. The fact Bill could understand them was quite rare, but she told Jon. “It didn’t mean Bill was smarter, just his brain chemistry was different.”
As Jon thought over the things Xantra spoke of during the past hours she said “dropping out of hyperspace.”
As they dropped out an explosion rocked the transport. The transport started to tumble to the right forcing him to grab for the wheel. Xantra screamed “don’t let go or will die.”
Jon held on with all of his might. Xantra finally pushed the right button and the stabilizers started to work. The transport entered the atmosphere of a beautiful forest world. Xantra said “welcome to Planet Wald. We’re about ten minutes south of the base. Hopefully this transport will land good.”
While she spoke Jon looked at his hands they were bleeding. He must been holding real tight to the wheel.
I had been far enough away from the wall when the engine gave way. However, Andy, Phillip and Bryan had not been so lucky. Andy took pretty much the full force of explosion and his body parts were scattered throughout the corridor. Phillip’s left leg was missing at the kneecap and well Bryan took some metal to the back. These were the serious injuries. Others sustain some kind of burn or cuts from the explosion. Whitney was screaming and those next to her grabbed her forcing her to the floor. Matt and Doug went into action quick trying to stop Bryan and Phillip from bleeding to death. As the chaos lessen I felt the transport landing on the ground. A minute later Xantra came into the corridor taking one look and turning around. I was still holding my top shirt on Bryan’s wounds when she returned. She was caring what looked to be a med kit and I wondered where the kit was while Rex died, but I put this out of my mind.
After she set the kit down she said, “With these portables you can scan areas of the bodies to locate wounds. Here is how they work.”
She pushed a couple buttons in front of Matt and Doug showing them. She scanned Bryan saying, “His wounds look bad and he might do better if we used Meta.”
Matt asks, “What is Meta?”
“Meta is in this round object here. It is a fast acting healing substance used in the battlefield, quite expensive.”
She pulled out the piece of metal in his back and squirted some Meta on it. The wound started to close pretty quickly, but Phillip screamed in pain so I didn’t notice. She said, “This stuff here is very good, and it keeps the soldiers in fighting condition.”
After squirting Bryan she scanned Phillip. She said, “His wound looks bad, but...”
She then squirted some of the Meta on his leg. What happened next was quite miraculous skin started to form over the bloody stump. Before we knew it, it was completely healed. The medicine must have produced a relaxant affect as well because he eased down on the floor like he was in no pain.
I said, “Wow that was miraculous”.
She said, “Nope, just good science, but in very short supply. I used most of it on his leg.
By the time we were done helping Phillip and Bryan things had calmed down. I formed a plan in my mind of how we could do it. People were still a little bit scared, but this did not stop me from issuing orders. I said, “I know we had some excitement and we lost someone. However, this doesn’t pull from our mission, we need to patrol this area. Everyone who isn’t a medic or mechanic get ready to go with your group.”
Whitney was sprawled out of her mind and Mary step up to me and said “I know we need to scout, but she is in no condition.”
I really felt for her I had just lost a friend to, but we needed people to search the building. However, as I looked over at her I knew it would be a waste of time to have her on our patrol. I said “ok, she doesn’t have to go. Matt watch her. By the way Jon, you will be leading Nikki, Eric and Bryan.”
He said, “Okay.”
I said, “Everyone else, you know your groups. Julian’s team will patrol the outside. Jon and Captain Lewis will patrol the hangar. My team will patrol the main building. Divvy up the search areas and be careful. Okay, take the ramp down and let’s move out.”
Julian hit the button and it started to drop.
The searched revealed much about this old base. One thing it revealed was whoever left it left it in a hurry because things where thrown about everywhere like no one had anytime to place them in their proper place. The second this was we would be able to leave this place. Captain Lewis team found a lot of old ship parts in their search of the hangar.
However, my team found the best of thing of all, a place to live. Because us, staying in that transport with all of the damage was just not going to work. We found enough living quarters for all of the people and a communal bathroom with weird toilets. Kind of reminded me of the Japanese toilets. However, this would not stop us from taking over the building.
After the search we met up in the corridor of the transport. As I walked into the room I could see all of the sad faces. Whitney was the saddest of them having lost her friend Andy.
I spoke saying, “I got good and bad news. The good news is the transport will be flyable again. The bad news is, we don’t know how long we will need to fix it.”
As I said this, the group started to stir and Captain Lewis spoke up saying “How is that good news at all?”
“Listen. I know it is bad, but we have our lives and it can be repaired. So have some faith that we will fix it. However, I’m not here to discuss the ship, but rather our situation. We have three things we need to do before the day ends. The first is we need to bury our dead. The second is we need to move our operations from the ship to the base. Finally we need to find spaces for everyone. Xantra will be working out the power issues we need fix to live at the base. Ralph, Ryan and Jack will join her. Everyone else will join me in burying our friends.”
After speaking those words most followed me to help bury the dead. I asked some of the guys to help me carry Rex off the ship. Others went about picking up Andy of the floor of the ship. It was a bloody job, but someone had to do it.
As we carried Rex down the ramp people stop in condolences. I knew some of them hated me, but them showing respect to the dead showed me how human they were.
We carried him over to a little tree inside the fence and I said, “Well I didn’t think to ask for a shovel.”
Bruce said, “Be right back.”
He went over to the hangar and grabbed a piece of metal bringing it back. It was a crude shovel, but after taking turns, we dug the hole. We set Rex in the hole, we then set Andy on top of him, knowing it was wrong. Nevertheless, we hoped they would find peace together.
Sara spoke a few kind words over them and said a little prayer. Then it was to me to commemorate Rex. I started by saying, “Rex and me met when I first transferred to South Christian. He was in a higher grade, but he befriended me all the same. We spent many of weekends as a child at each other homes. This lasted all the way through adulthood. No matter where we lived we still hung out at least once a year. His death is a blow to us because his gambles always paid off. So I hope he finds his lucky hand. Wherever he is.”
After speaking I was followed by Whitney saying some sad words about Andy. She said, “Andy saved my life back on Earth. During the attack on the base I was almost killed, but he pulled me down saving my life.”
After speaking these words, she cried to herself and placed her head into Mary’s shoulder then ran away. Without her, we finished burying the two men little by little.
After burying them I set about assigning positions and quarters.
I made Captain Lewis my second in command, Julian the security chief, Matt head medical personnel, and Greg the supply officer. I told Julian to set up a four man guard rotation for every four hours so we could guard the transport and base. After assigning positions I gave out room assignments.
I gave Captain Lewis the single room on the second floor while Xantra got the master bedroom with the bathroom on the third floor. Everybody else had to bunk with someone. However, this matter little because they each had their own bed. I on the other hand decided to be the bigger man and sleep in one of the offices on the first floor. It had a couch in it so I would be ok. With giving everyone their room assignments we went about bringing in the supplies from the transport.
A few hours later I was just finishing up with the last crate of food supplies in the dining room. After leaving it I went to look for Xantra and found her leaving a room, wiping her hands, in the front of the building. I guess it was the power room because the lights had just flickered on right before I saw her. She said “Well we got power and water filtration which should last us awhile. The generators run off solar power, so along as the sun shines, we are good.”
She turned, walking towards the dining room and I said. “Thanks for doing that, I gave you the big room upstairs. So just move in when you are done eating.”
She replied. “You did not have to give me the big room, but I do appreciate it. In the morning I will get to work on the transport so we can leave this place.”
I said “cool” and followed her into the dining room.
While eating dinner I had learned from Greg about some spare uniforms he found in one of the supply crates. So after eating I asked him to pass them out.
After everyone got theirs I picked up mine heading for the shower. What I found was a bathroom full of people washing off their grime. So I decided to see if Xantra would let me use her shower. I knocked on her door and she was still dressed in her dirty uniform. I said “I came to ask you to use your shower, but I see you haven’t used it yet. So I will come back later.”
She said, “No come in, you can use it first.”
“I don’t want to make you wait, I’ll wait.”
“No go ahead, I’m going to take a long one, so waiting is no problem.”
I stepped into the room, heading to the shower. When I got in the bathroom I took off my clothes then looked at my burn side in the mirror. I thought to myself, it needs to be cleaned good so it won’t be infected.
I stepped into the shower turning it on. The hot water poured from its spout. It was quite refreshing. I wondered how we got hot water, and I would ask Xantra later. As I was cleaning my wound I heard the door open, then the shower door open, in stepped Xantra naked. I was surprised at first, but that didn’t stop me. As she kissed me, sticking her arms towards me I shuttered a little, but as she wrapped her arms around me I went with it. I stopped kissing her and leaned down saying to her “I love you”, which she already knew.
The kiss turned into passionate sex which we took from the shower into the bedroom and did for the next few hours. Afterwards we sat there in silence and look into each other’s eyes finally falling asleep.
The transport finally arrived at the location and Muz could not wait to get out of the barrel. He and Gaetan been stuck in here for over three cycles and it was a tight fit. This would have been fine except Gaetan smelled very badly.
As the transport came to a stop he heard the crew coming to the rear to unload the barrels. He knew they were closest to the door so would be unloaded first. A little time went by and they were picked up rolling towards something. As they bumped along they came to a walkway. Well, Muz thought it was a walkway. As they came to a stop, he heard voices.
“Okay here is the barrel I swiped for you, I hope this covers my debts.”
“You are sure the barrel if full of Eisen.”
“Yes, it came straight from Kushuh.”
“Good, get it aboard, but if I find, you have cheated me. You know what happens?”
“Yes, Eimhin I do.”
“All right then. Get it aboard!”
The barrel moved forward onto the ship, when it finally came to a stop. Muztagh heard a door closing and figured they were in a cargo bay. However, he would wait a bit before they tried to escape. As Gaetan squirmed for the hundredth time he decided enough was enough they needed to leave the barrel. They clicked the latch on the lid pushing it off and each stumbled out one by one. The barrel had made their bodies cut a lot of circulation so the first thing that happen was them both hitting the floor with a wop. As the pain ensued from the crashing to the floor they just laid there.
Finally, Muz pushed through the pain standing up. He helped drag Gaetan up as well. Getting to the door of the cargo bay they looked out both ways. Finding no one was coming around. So if they rushed they would be off the ship before it took off. As they made their way out of the cargo hold down the hall to the right, after taking a few hundred steps Muz saw they were in trouble. Out the window he could see the stars flashing by, which meant the ship was in hyperspace. As he was thinking this he heard a noise. The crew was coming and they needed to hide. As they tried to find a hiding place back in the cargo bay they were cut off by the crew. They turned running the other way and again they were cut off. Somehow the ship’s crew had pinned them in.
The big burly one said “Do not try any funny business or I will hurt you.”
Gaetan not wanting to go back to being a slave struck out. He almost made it when by them when the skinny one with the blade, sliced off his head.
Then the crew turned their weapons toward Muz. He said “Take me please do not kill me.”
The crew rushed him, pinning him to the floor and dragged him through the ship. As they dragged him through the ship he felt every bump along the way. Finally after hitting every hole he was in front of the captain.
The captain said, “What are you doing on my ship?”
Muz pushed through the fear saying. “Sir I just wanted to escape my hell, I did not mean to end up on your ship.”
“Well you are here and from my account you have cost me a barrel of Eisen.”
“I know sir, but all I can do is apologize.”
“Apologize! This means nothing to me. I need repayment for my merchandise.”
“How can I repay you?”
“Well I do need another slave unless you know some way for me to make money?”
Muz knew he was in a tight spot and needed to pretend to be helpful until he could escape again. Subsequently he thought of his last assignment where he had been stationed on Planet Wald at a forward observatory base. If he could convince them to go there, they would find enough stuff to purchase his freedom or maybe he could run to the mines hiding out..
He said, “I know a place where you can get many military computers and equipment. The best thing is the place is empty, because we left it in a hurry.”
“No place like that exists. If it did then someone has already found it.”
“No really. It was remotely located off normal hyperspace routes. We used it to observe the Hurreans and when they launched an attack we left it. We wanted to warn our people, but our ship malfunction making us late to the party. Our transport had no defensive weapons and we surrendered pretty quickly being sent to Kushuh. I am the first to leave there, so it still must be abandoned.”
“Well alright, give us the coordinates, but if you’re lying will kill you.”
“I know,” Muztagh said giving them the coordinates. Afterwards they carried him off the bridge and locked him in a small room.
A New Home
Arthur awoke that morning around 6 am . Well, he thought it was 6 am because he always awoke at that time. Pulling on his pants and his shirt he headed out of his room. About halfway down the stairs he ran into Specialist Mazola. She was coming off her shift guarding the transport. He said “good morning specialist.”
She replied “good morning sir” and stopped in the middle of the stairs. She then said “sir, what is to become of us. I know Bill has a plan. But what is yours?”
He looked at the specialist lying to her face saying “Well I got a good one just need time to implement it.”
“Thank you sir; that was all I needed.” Saying this she continued to bed. Finishing the stairs Arthur went in the dining room to eat breakfast. There he found Lieutenant Lloyd and Sergeant Mason already eating breakfast. After grabbing a meal pack he sat down next to them saying “hi.”
As he opened his meal pack, Sergeant Mason said, “Hey. Listen to what Lieutenant Lloyd just told me sir. Tell him sir.”
Lieutenant Lloyd spoke up saying, “I was just telling Sergeant Mason what Xantra told me about her people. They have the ability to communicate between minds. However, they cannot communicate with ours except for Bill.”
Arthur joked on his food for a second then said. “Are you telling me Lieutenant, the man leading us, is communicating with an alien telepathically?”
“Yes sir, he is.”
“Well that makes me afraid. How do we know the alien is manipulating him?”
“Sir, she never said she could influence him, but I didn’t ask her.”
“What do you think of this Sergeant Mason?”
“Captain, I don’t know about alien manipulation, but I believe you should be leading us as senior member of the military. Some of these civilians may have been former soldiers, but you are the highest ranking officer.”
Jon said “I don’t disagree with you Sergeant, but I believe they have done the best job they could so far.”
As they were speaking, one of the civilians walked into the dining room. Arthur said, “We’ll speak of this later.”
Ryan had spent the last few hours of his guard shift doing what he did: explore the technology. Xantra had shown him how to change Lyrian text into English when they were getting everything running. So when he turned on the computer in the security room it took no effort to change to English. As he perused through the text files he found something interesting.
The base had a defensive system, with shield generators and weapons. He logged into one showing the shield generator and ran a test. Sure enough it read like it was working. He then ran the weapon system aiming at things through the computer screen. He didn’t fire it in case it was inoperable due to non-maintenance.
He couldn’t believe it, here he was across the universe playing around with alien tech. Something any nerd would dream of doing. So when Two Step came in the room telling him his shift was over, he hadn’t wanted to leave. Yet, he was quite hungry and would grab something to eat. Afterwards he would visit Xantra and ask about the weapons.
As he walked into the dining room he saw the idiot Captain and Sergeant was eating with Jon. They hushed their voices as he entered. He wondered what they were saying and shut up about, but he was too busy to care. He needed to talk to Xantra after grabbing a meal he headed to Xantra’s room.
I awoke the next morning to the sight of a beautiful woman lying next to me and couldn’t believe I had made love to her last night. Not wanting to wake her, I eased myself out of bed heading to the bathroom. When I returned she was already awake, lying there on the bed. She said, “Come back to bed.”
Climbing back under the sheets I pulled her to me and kissed her. As we started to make love, someone started pounding on the door. Xantra said “just a second” and I grabbed my pants, putting them on as I went to answer the door. I opened it to find Ryan standing with a portable in one hand and a meal in the other.
He said, “Bill I’m sorry, I was looking for Xantra.”
Xantra said “In here Ryan. Come on in.”
She must have been a faster dresser than me because by the time he entered she had on all her clothes. As I reached down for my shirt she asked Ryan “Why you need to see me?”
He sat on the bed placing the food on it saying “I found something interesting in the computer last night. I believe it is a defensive system built for the base.”
Xantra replied, “Well I did not know this base had one, but they could have put it in since I was here.”
I said, “We have a defensive system, that’s cool.”
She said, “Even more cool is it might have some of the parts we need to fix the ship. However, I prefer to leave it operational at the moment just in case. So I will scrounge the hangar first for the parts.”
Ryan said, “Well I’m glad I could make your day, and since I did what I needed to do, I’m going.”
As he left the room I turned to Xantra saying, “You want to finish?”
She kissed me on the lips yanking off my shirt and we went back to it.
We came down to the dining room about two hours later. Most everybody was up now and I saw Captain Lewis was set off to the side talking with Sergeant Mason. Jon was with them to, but he looked like he was just making small talk. Greg handed me a meal and I sat with Xantra. Matt came and sat down next to us saying, “Well Phillip and Bryan are both awake. I just brought them both a meal and they said they feel fine. Though I think Phillip is still a little depressed about losing his leg.”
I said “Well. We need him to start interacting with people whenever he feels up to it. We don’t want him to get further depressed from loss of human interaction, because it might kill him.”
Glancing over at Xantra, Matt replied, “I’ll tell him. So what did you two do last night?”
I looked at him saying, “How did you know?”
“Ryan’s my roommate, remember?”
“Oh. So you know then. Don’t tell anyone.”
“Too late I think everyone knows already.”
I looked over and saw Bruce giving me a thumbs up. I went to droop my head, but I decided against it. Nope, no one was going to make me ashamed again. I stood up and began speaking to everyone
“Hi, everyone,” I started.
They all said hi back in some way, I then started to talk about the subject on everyone’s mind. I said, “Well we had a good night last night - some better than others, but this don’t change much.”
I got a giggle out of some and I continued.
“The biggest challenge today is finding out what we need to fix the transport. The second is finding how much supplies we have.
Greg, Whitney, and Two Step will account for all of our supplies not related to the dining room, security or med bay. Sara and Bob will go count all of our food calculating how long our supply will last. Matt and Doug will look over the medical supplies.
Finally everyone not on guard duty will give Julian and Jessica their weapons. Xantra was able to get the armory opened last night and will store them there. We won’t need them while we are in this place. Once the weapon collection is done we will all meet in the hangar bay so Xantra can give us instructions on what we need to fix the ship.”
After saying all of this I sat down and gave Xantra a long kiss.
After searching through the aircraft hangar for about three hours Bruce came running over to me. He said “Bill and Xantra you got to see this.”
Xantra turned to him asking, “What did you find?”
He said “Just follow me.”
He directed us towards the right side of the building. As we stepped into the office which occupied that side we found he had moved a bunch of junk of a hidden door in the floor. I was quite excited at this, but then he said, “There is more down below.”
As we entered the basement I saw the room was lighted. And Bruce said, “This looks to be a cavern connected to something, those lights you see are just luminescent rocks.”
“Cool I never would have guessed that. Have you searched through it very far?”
“Not yet, I came to get you when I found it.”
I turned to Xantra.
“Xantra what do you think of this?
“Well I guess they were mining down here.” She pointed at a car which looked like a small subway car, saying. “The car there is a mining vehicle to move ore back and forth. It doesn’t do us any good unless...”
She jumped in the car and started to look around. You could hear her pulling off hatches and such. She said, “Finally! I found what I needed.”
“What did you find Xantra?”
She exclaimed “The engine in this car is compatible with the transport,” she exclaimed. “However, it is only a small piece of it, but it put us a bit closer to getting it to work.”
“It’s a start,” I said.
She climbed out of the car saying, “We’ll need to break it down and carry it piece by piece out of here. I‘ll get started if you can get me some helpers.”
I said, “I’ll get you the help.”
I climbed back up to the hangar calling the rest of the people to come and help us carry some things to the transport. We worked hard and took a break for lunch an hour later, finally finishing up around dinner time.
As everyone else went to get cleaned up I went to talk to Greg about our supply. I found him in a office down the hall from the security room he was going through a box. He said, “Hey, guess what we found?”
“Oh just a little taste of home.”
“Really, what you find?”
He said, “Some books, mp3s, an ereader, some computers, and other things.”
“Do the electronics work?”
He said, “Yeah we tested them.”
“Wow they must have taken them as spoils of war.”
He replied “don’t know, but there is about thirty items in the box.”
I said “cool, you know what I have an idea. We give each person something from the box so they have a little taste of home.”
He replied “I like that.”
I said “good let’s do it, make me up a list of names on that pad of paper so I can draw them. Will do it after dinner.”
He said “ok” and I walked out of the room to clean up.
After dinner I spoke up to the group asking. “Is everyone here?”
They replied “yes” and I said, “Good, because I have a treat. We are about to give away a little taste of home to everyone. We have some books, mp3’s, an ereader, computers and other things. We will have a draw for each of the items. Greg hand me the paper and the hat from the box.”
After he handed me the paper and hat I tore the names into pieces, placing them in the hat. I then said as “I draw your name, come forward to collect one item.”
“The first name is Jon. Come pick your item Jon.”
As he rummaged through the box he pulled out a Mp3 player. He said, “I hope it has some good songs.”
I reached in the hat again and said “Bruce you’re next.”
Bruce chose one of the computers in the box.
After Bruce went, Ryan was chosen. He jumped at the chance to get the second computer.
Captain Lewis followed them and got an ereader. Jessica was picked next getting the last Mp3 player. Bob got a yo-yo. Mary choose a book. Julian was called next taking a pad and pens stating he wanted it because he does a lot of writing. Jack got a lighter. Ralph chooses a glove and ball. Whitney picked up a hairbrush. Nikki took a book. Doug took a ball. Matt took some needle and thread. Sergeant Mason grabbed the pocket knife. Lauren took a flashlight. While Two Step saw a harmonica and took it. Greg grabbed a book. I chose the playing cards leaving Bryan and Phillip a bag of marbles and a book. Xantra didn’t want anything.
After everyone got their taste of home they began to play with them. Sara was sitting next tom and said, “I’ve open this computer and found it has a pretty good selection of games, and music.”
I said, “Great.”
She replied “I feel guilty about looking at another person’s computer and calling it my own.”
I said “Well that is because you have kindness in your heart,” I said, “but they won’t need it anymore.”
She said, “Well I see your point, but I still feel some guilt.”
After saying this she kissed me on the cheek and hugged me.
I said, “Enough of this guilt I think we should find a way to lift our spirits. And oh I think I have it.”
I looked down at the computer to surf the music files and click on the file with country music on it. I found it and hit play all. The first song to pop up was a favorite of mine by Lonestar, “Amazed.”
I stood up leaning down to Sara saying, “May I have this dance?”
She grabbed my hand and stood up. She put her arms around me and we drifted softly to the song. While we did this others stood up and followed our example. Before long most of us were dancing. The song ended and when the next song popped up, everybody got into it.
It was by Tracy Bird’s “Ten Rounds.” As this one played I said to Sara, “You feel better?”
She said, “I feel better.”
Bruce then asked her to dance and I sat down next to Xantra. Xantra asked me, “What were you doing?”
I said, “Dancing.”
“What is that?”
“You don’t have it on your world?”
“You do have music right?”
“Yes, but not like this and nothing what you call dancing.”
“Well it is a way for us to express ourselves.”
Just as the song ended a new slow song came on. I asked Xantra, “Do you want to dance?”
She said “yes,” taking my hand. I lead her out on the dance floor and we danced. She experienced trouble at first, but she got the hang of it as we went along. After the song ended she stayed with me dancing. The dancing went on for a few hours lifting everybody’s spirit.
Eventually, the computer died and I thought of how I would find a way to recharge it because we needed music. When most people hear music it livens a situation. It gives people the heart to go on. I believed that in order for our morale to stay up, we needed to have music to hear.
After the computer died completely, Sara picked it up and headed for her room saying, “Goodnight Bill.”
I said goodnight to the rest as Xantra and I went to our room. After exiting the bathroom I found Xantra was already under the blanket. She lifted it up to show me she was naked and I sat down next to her kissing her on the lips. She then slowly pulled my shirt off, then the rest of the clothes and we made love. Even though we hadn’t showered that day, if we had, after what we did that night, we would have needed another.
As she fell asleep I sat there stroking her hair and thought about how lucky I was at that moment.
Administrator Perdan paced back and forth behind the communication techie.
He said, “Try them again.”
Techie replied “Trying again sir.”
A little time passed then the techie said, “No sir, still not answering.”
Perdan could not believe it, Commander Batea was still not answering hails. He was two cycles late to Astra with his new cargo of slaves. Batea was always one to play loose with his cargo so when he did not show up on time Perdan thought nothing of it. However, when he was cycles behind schedule like he was now, something must truly be wrong.
The problem was that Perdan failed to report him which was a gross conflict of duty. He might get him fired or worse - ex communicated from the clan. Nevertheless he needed to report this to the Hurrean command. Therefore he looked at the techie and said, “Put the Hurrean command in my office.”
The techie looked back in fear because he knew what it meant to contact them. He then turned saying, “Placing Hurrean command in your office sir.”
Perdan turned and walked into his office. The first words he heard were, “Why have you contacted me?”
“We have a situation sir.”
“What is the situation Administrator Perdan?”
“General we have lost contact with a slave ship. It was due to arrive two cycles ago, but we have not had contact.”
“Why am I hearing about this now?”
“Sir, Commander Batea has a reputation of being late and I thought it not best to contact you if he was to show up a cycle late.”
“Well you were wrong Administrator Perdan, because now I have to waste one of my war vessels to go look for him.”
“Yes, sir I know, but maybe his ship has just had a malfunction and he is unable to contact us.”
“We’ll hope that is the case Administrator Perdan, because if we lost an entire ship full of slaves to either a disaster or pirates, this will be the last time you’re an administrator.”
“Yes General, I understand.”
As the general hung up Perdan’s stomach twisted into knots, knowing this would be his last day as an administrator. He and Batea had been skimming the profits for quite a while now so he would be set up real nice once he got off the planet. However, he needed his code discs from his house. Leaving his office he gave his staff the run around hoping he could make it home in time to escape.
As he was running to his home he noticed the guards were already there. They must be trying to prevent him from leaving until his clearance could be revoked. Lucky thing though, they did not know about the secret entrance he built into his home. He climbed in gathering up all of his precious things plus any money he could find. He grabbed the code discs heading for the secret entrance. Sneaking by the guards again he jumped into the first transport he could find blasting off this moon for the last time.
After getting off the line with Administrator Perdan, General Heras called the local guards to stake out his home. He knew men like Perdan and was sure all they thought about was money. So rather than face the music, he knew he would run at the first chance.
After he’d alerted the local guards, he got on the comm to Captain Rostra. He ordered him to take the Tueur out to find Commander Batea’s lost slave ship. He hated to pull anyone off the defensive line, but a crop of slaves that valuable needed to be found. After ordering the ship out, he went back to the bath he was interrupted from.
The ship crashed about five days ago and so far life on this planet had been quite pleasant. The base had running water which allowed us to take showers. Ryan had been playing around with the defensive systems until Xantra pulled some parts from it. The weapons still worked, but not the shield generators. So we were here without any protection except for our guard duty.
Xantra and I had started a relationship. Many others had begun pairing off as well. We didn’t know if this would be the last place we lived or if we ever get off this planet. So we made the best out of what we had.
People spent their free time working on things. Bruce and a few of the guys explored the downstairs area to see where it would take them. However, it was quite expansive so they hardly got anywhere. Others played card games or read books.
Even Phillip and Bryan were starting to interact with the group. Phillip was limited in what he could do, but we made him head of the kitchen. He did fine at this job. Bryan was better off than Phillip, his wounds healed rather quickly and he could do pretty much anything.
So things were going well until this morning when Phillip informed me, we were getting short on food. This left me in the position of sending people outside the fence surrounding our base and into the jungle. Hopefully we would find some type of food we could eat. It pained me to venture out, but I decided everyone not working on the ship or doing guard duty needed to go out.
About fifteen people was available for reconnaissance so I decided we should split into four groups. My group would only have three. However, before we left Xantra stopped us. She handed me one of the portables and said, “This portable can be used to locate edible food.”
I asked, “How can it do that?”
She said, “It’s simple. It will buzz when it finds a compatible food. Just place the portable over it like this and purple means good everything else is not. Yellow means do not eat or touch. Hold out your arm Bill.”
She then stuck me with the device.
I said “Owww! What the... ?”
She said, “I had to get the portable configured to your biochemistry.”
She clicked a few buttons on each and they all registered our biochemistry. She said, “Now these portables will know what you can and cannot eat.”
I said, “Ok now assignments are as follows, Team One will be heading north, Team Two will be heading south, Team Four will be heading west and Team Three will be heading east with me. So when we respond to each other, respond with those designators. Okay after we get rifles and communicators we can go. Everyone else, you know your jobs.”
After everyone got a rifle and communicators from the armory we left the fenced area. Stepping outside of the fence brought about the fear of the unknown. However, I recovered from this quickly.
Heading east with my group, I yelled to the others.
“Bring back any food you find!”
As we headed east I let Jessica take point and I took rear. We had been walking for about thirty minutes when the portable started to buzz. Heading in the direction the signal was pointing we came upon a stream. Then we realized the food was across it. The food looked like a bunch of bananas hanging from a tree. There were many outcroppings of these banana-like fruits. However, it would be impossible to swim across the stream without losing some of the fruit.
Some members of our group may have thought this stream wasn’t that wide and they could swim across it. However, I cautioned against this, just in case the water had a fast undertow.
Where I lived back in Texas, there was a stream many people thought they could master. But it killed them.
As we scanned the stream, Jessica turned to me and said, “I can do this I’m a very good swimmer.”
I said, “You may be good, but your life is my responsibility. Plus we may lose some of the fruit when you swim across. So I decided we should look for another way across.”
She said “ok, whatever you think Bill.”
After agreeing with me, our group headed up stream for about twenty minutes. When we found a tree lying across both banks, we knew we were lucky. It was small, but I thought we could shimmy our way across.
I sent everyone else over first, so I could cover our backs. Then it was my turn. I started to shimmy my way across the log. As I approached the other side I saw to my right a big green thing headed my way. I struggled to get to the other side faster and just as I was almost there it came out of the water and almost bit me. However, before it could bite me, its head explode.
I looked over and saw Jessica had her rifle pointed at it. The creature looked almost the same as an alligator, but was a little different. However, its head was gone so we would never know.
I climbed onto the bank saying “thanks” and laid there. As I did this I noticed the creature’s body was still there. The water must have been shallow so I told Sara to grab me a stick that way I could push the body to the bank.
She grabbed a big stick strong enough to push the creature. I climbed back out on the log and shoved the body towards the bank. As I got back to the bank they had pulled the body out of the water. I ran the portable over it and saw it registered purple so the meat would be edible.
I pulled out the rope I put in the backpack in case of emergency and told everyone to grab some logs from the woods. We tied them together to form a stretcher and strapped the gator to the stretcher heading for the bananas.
The bananas were a good twenty minutes’ walk from the log. After getting to the tree we scanned them with the portable and they registered bright purple. There wasn’t any ground level so one of us was going to have to go up. I being afraid of heights was glad when Jessica volunteered to climb the tree and get some down for us.
After scrambling up there she knocked the first bunch to the ground. I took one of the bananas of the bunch and peeled it. I was wary of this, not because I disbelieved Xantra, but rather I hated bananas. However, when I took a bite of it, it tasted more like a cross between an apple and orange.
Sara took the next bite and she liked it too. After we both took a bite I yelled up to Jessica that she should knock more to the ground because they were quite good. After knocking about five more bundles she scrambled down the tree landing in a crouched position. I gave her a piece of the fruit which she gobbled up saying, “Damn better than a banana. This is like a cross between an apple and orange.”
Sara said, “I know I’m sure glad it doesn’t taste like a banana. I believe we should call it an orange banapple or banapple for short.”
As they were speaking I said “the others are hungry so we need to get our stuff and head back to the base.”
After we stuffed our bags full of fruit and placed the rest on the stretcher we turned towards the log heading for home.
It was quite a heavy load, so we struggled to carry the food, but we persevered. As we came to the log we stopped and made a plan to cross. I decided Jessica would be first, then Sara. After telling them the plan I threw the bags over the stream quite easily, but it took us forever to wiggle the stretcher across the log.
After finally getting across the stream we continued towards the base. As we got closer to the ship I was able to contact Julian and call his team back. By the time we got back to the fence it was after lunch time. However, Phillip had a fire going in the dining room for the food. So we dragged in the stretcher and Bruce went about pulling the gator off and carving it up.
I thought this was going to be one good meal.
As his team headed west Jon took lead which was a first for him. He had always been a helicopter pilot so he never really led anybody, but Bill’s trust in him strength his resolve. He liked the guy even though Captain Lewis thought he was leading them down a path of destruction.
Leading his team east he wondered if this portable was ever going to beep. Just as he finished his thought, it started to go crazy.
Purple beeps where everywhere, but he didn’t think it had anything to do with food. So when he the wolf like creatures surrounding his people his fear became reality.
The first wolf launched an attack at Nikki forcing Jon to fire at his friend. He missed her barely hitting the thing in the head, but he had no time to celebrate because a second wolf hit Sergeant Mason.
Mason knocked off the first one easily, but the second proved a little crazier and went for his throat. Before Jon knew it attack were coming in all directions as soon as they killed one another came.
The battle lasted mere minutes, but by the time it was done Nikki was dead. Sergeant Mason had a piece of his right shoulder missing where a wolf had taken a bite out of him and Bryan was up a tree.
Jon saw only one way to fix this situation and that was to get everyone back to the base. He picked up Nikki in his arms carrying her and Bryan helped Sergeant Mason who was limping. Jon hadn’t noticed earlier, but Mason had a big claw marks in his right calf. Turning away from their mission, they headed back to give the bad news.
Captain Lewis and his team headed north, but found nothing in the first hour until they found a stream. As they followed it, it began to grow wider until it became a massive lake. And by the lake there was a massive open field with many different types of creatures.
One of the creatures was goats, not like the goats you see every day on a farm, but rather like the goats that reside in the mountains. Private Aarons stopped Captain Lewis from approaching them saying, “If I’m right, these goats will be real hostile. Their kin on Earth are.”
He thanked her, but ignored her advice continuing to walk towards the creatures. He never really listened to privates back home and now why should he. As he got closer, instead of them running away they charged him. The first one missed him, but the second one hit him hard in the stomach. He landed on the ground.
As he lay on the ground, he saw them charging him again until two shots rang out. As he heard the shots both creatures fell to the ground.
Sergeant Wainwright was the first to get to Captain Lewis, saying “sir that was foolish, you could have gotten yourself killed.”
Captain Lewis turned saying “That is Captain to you Sergeant!”
Wainwright replied, “yes sir” promptly and clicked his heels together.
By this time Captain Lewis said, “At ease and thanks for saving me.”
Wainwright smiled and said “it wasn’t me, but the girl, sir. She is a pretty good shot. Took down both beasts by herself,”
“Well that’s pretty good” the Captain said and turned to her. He added, “Thanks Private for the assist.”
She said, “No problem sir, been hunting all of my life. My father is, no I mean, was into it a lot.”
Captain Lewis said, “Well he sure trained you well.”
“Yeah he did” She said and pulled a knife from her boot.
She leaned down to each of the two goats she killed, slitting their throats.
“Well now that’s done all we have to do is carry them back to base.”
Captain Lewis said “I’ll take one and Sergeant Wainwright will take the other. We’ll stop along the way and exchange loads.”
With this they turned and headed back to base.
When I got back from the bathroom, I found Julian and Jessica working in the kitchen, getting our food ready for lunch. They had set up the food shish kabob style. First they stuck gator, then fruit, then gator again. It was quite magnificent the way they did it.
After making the kabobs they handed them to Bruce who was placing them over the grill. Phillip had stepped aside when Bruce asked to cook.
As I walked over to the counter Julian said “Wait a minute and some of the food will be ready.”
I said, “Cool deal Julian. Anything is better than those rations we‘ve been eating. I can’t believe we are grilling on another planet. Too bad we don’t have any sauce to cover the meat with.”
“Kinda reminds me of sitting in the backyard cooking sausages and hamburgers with Liz and Derek.” Bruce said.
He whimpered a little, but Jessica reached her arm around him and said, “I know hon.”
This surprised me, because she looked like the mean military type. But pain does affect us all.
The conversation went on for a few more minutes, but finally the food was ready. I took some for me and Two Step who was on guard duty. Julian would bring the rest of the guards their lunch. I only grabbed Two Steps because I wanted to socialize with him. Try to see where his loyalties lied.
As I got closer to security I heard him singing a little tune. It was a catchy little thing. However, he stopped singing it when I walked up on him. I said, “What you whistling?”
“Nothing, just a little tune my momma taught me.”
“Well I’m glad you are handling this so well.”
“It isn’t that I’m handling it, it’s that I know it can’t be changed.”
“Well I brought you some lunch; hope it’s better than the rations.”
“Me too Bill.”
Having nothing else to say I headed back to the dining room. Just as I sat down I heard screaming. Jon and his team were returning with casualties. Sergeant Mason was hurt pretty badly and Nikki was dead.
Matt was on guard duty at the time and jumped right in trying to take care of Sergeant Mason the best he could. However, he was just one man. Xantra grabbed the last of the Meta and poured it over Sergeant Mason’s leg which stopped the bleeding.
As Xantra did this Captain Lewis and his team walked in carrying what look to be goats. When Captain Lewis saw Nikki he dropped his goat to the ground running over to her. He had been having a semi personal relationship with her. He held her in his arms and screamed to the top of his lungs. He was overcome with rage and rushed Lieutenant Jon. He hit him in the face and said “How could you let her die? You no good for nothing officer!”
Just as he was about to punch Jon again, I stepped in between them. He said, “This is more your fault than his.”
Then he lunged at me, I stepped right and let him fall. Not wanting to get in a fight, I walked away. Nevertheless, his attack this time worked and he got me to the ground. However, I surprised him when I jumped up with a precision he did not expect from a chubby man. When he threw the next punch I countered it. Then he kicked some dust into my eyes, but this only slowed me down. Once he approached me again, I grabbed him pulling him to the ground. We rolled around punching at each other wildly. I took him by surprise when I slapped him across the eyes with the back of my hand. This blinded him for a second, but it was all I needed to flip him into an arm lock which broke his arm. He responded with the hardest punch he could do to my nuts. However, this did not faze me and the next position I put him in was the sleeper hold.
Then the lights went out. I stood up from Captain Lewis after putting him in the choke hold. And the next thing I did I knew was wrong, but he deserved it. So I kicked him as hard as I could in the nuts.
Afterwards I fell to the ground. Lying there for a second to catch my breath, I saw Doug. He ran over to check on me. I refused his help telling him to check Captain Lewis first.
As Doug was checking the Captain out, he started to wake. I pulled my pistol out.
A lot of people yelled at me not to do it but I yelled back, “Just wait!”
I stuck the gun right up to the Captain’s face, making sure I was the first thing he saw. He looked up at me with fear in his eyes. You could tell he was in a lot of pain. I said to him, “I could have killed you when I put you to sleep, but I didn’t. You know why?”
He shook his head no. I said, “The reason why is because I need you, not because you’re a great soldier. But rather, you’re a human being. Human beings are in short supply on this planet. I know you’re hurting from what happen to Nikki, so I won’t kill you. We all need to work together to get off this planet. However, if you ever attack me again,”
I then shot the ground next to him. And I pressed my hot barrel into his heart.
“I won’t miss your heart. Take care of him Doug”
Then I stood up.
I yelled, “Everybody gather around now! I know it has been hard and we have lost people to death or injuries. However, we need to stick together in order to survive. Captain Lewis seems not to understand this and has fought me at every turn. I am a man trying to keep the human race alive. I guess I’ll have to resort to some drastic measures to do this. So my first measure is to punish Captain Lewis. His punishment is three days locked in the cargo bay. Afterwards he can return to his original position, if he can take my orders.
“Julian take him away and make sure the guards know not to interact with him.”
As Julian took him away he tried to struggle but the others just let him get dragged out of the building. Some looked at me in horror, but others knew I had to do it. I left the hall and entered the dining room again to get some more food. Others followed me, but some did not.
After Eric woke up from his drug induced coma he was told the news by Airman Reese. Reese said, “Captain Lewis and Bill got in a fight when you came in Sergeant. Bill beat him down and placed him under house arrest. However, the way he put the Captain under arrest don’t sit well with me. He kicked him the nuts and shot his weapon next to him. Afterwards he placed the hot barrel into the Captain’s chest giving him a burn scar. So that is why I’m telling you this Sergeant. So we can right this wrong.”
Eric knew right away what needed to happen. He and Captain Lewis had been formulating a plan over the last few days on how to take control of this situation. Bill’s treatment of Captain Lewis made it all the more urgent. So he ordered Airman Reese to gather key personnel. People he knew that had problems with Bill. Airman Reese stopped him saying, “One of the people on your list is performing guard duty right now in the security room.”
“Who is it Airman?”
“Private Aarons, Sergeant.”
“Leave her there. We’ll pick her up on the way first, but then we get the rest.”
After a half hour everyone was there: Lieutenant Lloyd, Airman Reese, Bob Humble, Private Kasey, Private Larsen, and Specialist Ronson. Total people in this little rebellion numbered eight, but Eric figured he could get the rest to follow when the command changed. However, he knew that some of them might need to be left on this planet. He asked Specialist Ronson, “How far is the alien from fixing the ship?”
“Just one more piece is needed and she has it there already. I can probably put it in, but I might need her to talk me through it.”
“Okay, good then. Here is the deal. People, we are in a bad situation here. Our commanding officer has been placed under arrest by civilians who have no business doing that. So my thought is that we take back the control these civilians so love. Who made them the ones to tell us what to do? Yes, they may have facilitated our escape. That doesn’t give them the right to lead us; especially including that man who is either dumb or under the control of that alien. So are you with me?”
Lieutenant Lloyd said, “No way man, I’m not going to help a man who hates me. And what makes you Sergeant; think you can lead us on an alien planet? I will not stand for….”
Doug hit him with a portable knocking him out. He said, “He’ll be out for a few hours so we can do this.”
Eric asked, “Anymore unbelievers?”
No one else moved to join Lloyd, so Eric said “Well that leaves seven of us, but it will still work. The Captain and myself have been formulating a plan to take this base. It was a two prong plan, but I will need to move it to three. The first prong will be to take security. Once we take security this will lead to the second prong; to capture Bill and that alien in their room. Once they are captured the third prong will be a go. That is the insertion into the ship taking out the guards holding Captain Lewis. Once we have the ship and the hostages we can fix the ship leaving this planet for Earth.
“Does this sound good soldiers?”
They all replied “Yes Sergeant!”
Eric continued, “Specialist Ronson, Bob, and Private Larsen will be the third prong. Me, Airman Reese, Private Kasey, and Private Aarons will be the first and second prong. We will pick up Private Aarons when we launch the first prong. How you might ask is simple. Private Kasey will go see Private Aarons as a pretense to get her ready. Once they’re in position we will go. We will capture Sergeant Wainwright who we know won’t join us. Afterwards Private Kasey and myself will launch the second prong upstairs. Airman Reese will be our backup in case something happens. While Private Aarons keeps up appearances for the rest. Everyone got it?”
“Alright let’s do this.”
Private Kasey walked down the hall like nothing was up. When Sergeant Wainwright asked what she needed she said, “Just here to visit Lauren, Greg.”
He said “okay,” and she entered the room. Private Aarons was surprised to see her, but knew a plan was in place. When Kasey gave the code word Ares she knew it was a go.
She got up not having much to put on because she had always been prepared for this. Outside she heard a commotion like Sergeant Wainwright was having a fire fight with her team. He called for her help and she ran out like she was there to help him. He said, “I don’t know what has gotten into them, but they came around the corner way too quick to be friendly. They fired at me and well you know the rest.”
She said, “Yes I do.”
As he turned to look around the corner she slit his throat. He never knew what hit him.
Sergeant Mason appeared and asked “Why did you do that Private?”
“Sir it was the best thing, he would have fought us long after this day.”
“Very well, but don’t do it again Private, stay here with Airman Reese unless we call you.”
With that the second prong started.
Sara had been in my room for about an hour after she wandered in because she was having a bad night. So Xantra and myself sat with her as she cried about her husband and children. I didn’t know what she felt because all I lost were siblings and my mother. However, I could try to feel what she lost through my own sense of loss. So when she spoke of how she wanted to leave this life to join her family. I said to her, “Sara, I know you hurt. We all hurt, but talking of suicide will not help them. They are in a better place. You know this. Every time you say a prayer to God, you place your faith that your family is with him.”
With my saying that, she cried a little more, mumbling, “I know, but it is so hard.”
As she was about to say something else the door opened, and in stepped Sergeant Mason. He looked angry, ready to pop someone. He said, “Stay where you are or you will be hurt.”
I said, “What’s going on Sergeant?”
“I can’t let you keep running this place. You are out of control.”
“Out of control Sergeant? Really, what would make you say that?”
“Your treatment of the Captain for one thing and your inability to do anything without someone getting hurt.”
By this time Xantra had enough, but before she could do anything Whitney hit her on the head. But as she was about to hit Xantra again I screamed, “Stop! Stop, I’ll do what you say.”
He said “good” and I reached down looking at Xantra’s head. She was out cold, but not injured bad.
Julian was busy minding his own business when he heard on the comm system ‘Ares’ and he knew something was up. No one was supposed to use the system and Ares was no word he knew. So when he saw three forms approaching the transport he yelled out to them. He said, “What are you doing out here?”
No one answered. He said it again
“What are you doing out here?”
Still no one answered. When he saw the rifle appear, he knew they were trying to take the ship for themselves. He fired a warning shot and hit the button to close the door. As the door shut he heard them screaming outside. They must have been real angry because they pounded on the door like it was made of glass. After a few minutes of this they stopped. They must have set to try unconventional methods, Julian thought.
Ryan went to the cockpit to watch out for them when he saw what they were doing Julian heard him and yelled back, “We got to stop them!”
After yelling, Ryan walked back with his portable. He said, “I have an idea, but it might not work.”
He plugged it into the door panel and clicked a few buttons. He said, “Julian when I click this next button, whoever is touching the panel will be shocked. That’s the good news; the bad news is the door will open. So be ready to shoot.”
Julian nodded his head, aiming his rifle out the door. When Ryan hit the button, they heard screaming and the door slid open. But Julian never hesitated; he let off as many shots as he could. Ryan tried to jump out of the way, but took one to his shoulder.
Though they tried to fight back, Julian had hit both of the men left standing by the door, forcing the fight to end. When it was over, he looked out. He saw the attackers had been Jack, Bryan, and Bob. Well what was left of Bob. He took most of the shots point blank.
Bryan was hit in the kneecap and he was out of commission. This left Jack knocked out from the voltage.
In that instant Julian knew what had happened. Captain Lewis’ people were making a power play. Julian needed to act fast or they would take over. He pulled in Bryan, screaming at the top of his lungs while Ryan dragged in Jack. After they tied up the traitors they opened the door to Captain Lewis’ cell. Julian screamed at him saying, “Your plan didn’t work!”
Captain Lewis looked up, laughing to himself.
“The plan to take over!”
“Prove it, you loser.”
“I don’t have to prove it, I already have proof. Just the fact these men attack us is proof. So you are going to tell me the plan.”
“No and just try to make me.”
“I don’t have to Captain,” he said as he stepped on Bryan’s missing kneecap. He added, “Because if you do not tell me, I’m going to kill these men one by one and then you.”
“You wouldn’t! You were a soldier.”
“No I was a Marine. Big difference is we have to do what is necessary to finish the job. I don’t want to kill them, but if you don’t tell me I’ll have no choice.”
Captain Lewis looked at Private Larsen and then Specialist Ronson knowing he could not let them die. He said, “Ok, give me the comm. All I have to do is say we are in control. It has to be me.”
Julian held the comm to his face and he spoke saying, “Sergeant we are in control so prepare to leave.”
Sergeant Mason answered.
“Roger that sir we just need to wake the alien to fix the ship.”
“Right Jack told me that.”
All of a sudden you could hear a gunshot go off and Sergeant Mason came on the comm again.
“Okay, whoever is threatening Captain Lewis get on the horn.”
“Julian here. What do you want?”
“Let the Captain go or I will kill Bill. I just shot Sara in the leg.”
As he was speaking a warning beacon sounded throughout the ship. Sergeant Mason asked, “What is that?”
Ryan replied, “We have incoming.”
As he spoke he heard a door swing upon and all hell broke loose.
As Eimhin’s ship came out of hyperspace above the planet his second in command stated, “Captain, the planet has life on it. The Lyrian lied to us. What do you want to do about this?”
“Well first thing I want you to do is to scan and find the majority of life. Then I want you to prep the tubes and lasers for an assault. If we can get the majority of them we won’t have much of a fight.”
“Doing that sir. I count most of them are in the tall building. Only a few are in transport. However, the transport does seem to have weapons.”
“Lock one on the building then the transport.”
“Very well sir. Both are locked and ready.”
“Let them fly second.”
The missiles left the tube heading for their targets.
Bruce and Matt went downstairs when they heard gunshots, but they were unable to move the door no matter how hard they tried. Finally giving up, they decided to go upstairs to tell Bill what was going on. Communication devices were limited so they would have to tell him in person. However, as they got closer to the door they could hear yelling going on inside. Then a shot rang out and they heard Sergeant Mason say that he shot Sara.
This made Bruce angry because he cared for her not as a girlfriend, but as a sister. He hit the door with all of his might knocking down whoever was in front of it.
The door swung open hitting Whitney straight in the back and knocking her down. This startled Sergeant Mason long enough for me to pull the pistol I had hidden under my pillow. I fired one shot which went straight through his head. He never saw it coming. As he slumped to the floor Whitney tried to let off a shot. However, Xantra must not have been as hurt as I thought and stopped her from doing this.
When she was finished with Whitney she looked a little like a jig saw puzzle. As the tussle ended we heard and felt an explosion. The radar station took the full brunt of the attack, but a lot of the ceiling came down. So I yelled to everyone we had to get to the bottom floor.
Picking up Sara and rushing down the stairs was not good for me. However, my adrenaline helped me through it. As I reached the lower floor I heard Captain Lewis yelling to whoever it was at the security station to stop firing. As they did, another explosion rocked the base.
After hearing Ryan say ‘incoming,’ Julian told Captain Lewis to settle this later. We were under attack. Captain Lewis agreed with him and Ryan said, “We need to get inside now. I need to get the weapon systems online.”
Julian said, “Let’s go then.”
Captain Lewis pointed at Bryan and Jack asking, “What about them?”
Julian said, “They’ll have to wait.” And he left the transport.
But as they left the transport, the top of the building exploded. They barely made it to the hangar when the ship went up. Captain Lewis thought about the two men left inside, but there was nothing he could do for them now. As they came to the front entrance, whoever was inside opened fire on them. Captain Lewis yelled “Stop firing! It’s the Captain.”
As When they stopped, another explosion hit the building. Even though the building was hit the men inside complied with his orders. They came out showing it was Private Aarons and Airman Reese. Captain said, “Ryan has to get the guns online, help him now.”
As Private Aarons complied he heard banging on the door. He spoke to Airman Reese saying, “Help us move this desk out from the door.”
As they moved the desk they heard the cannon come alive, firing at whatever was attacking them.
As I came out of the door I heard Ryan yell that he hit whatever had been attacking us. This brought some joy to me because when I saw Captain Lewis I was quite mad. The first thing I did was set Sara down allowing Bruce to pick her up and carry her to the med bay. Matt had been carrying Whitney and continued to carry her there.
Airman Reese followed them to the bay and I said to Captain Lewis, “Look what your power play has cost us. If we had not been fighting, we still might have an intact base. Now we have a ragtag base and a destroyed ship.”
The transport was still blazing and could be seen for miles. I continued, “So now my question to you: Do you want to fight humans or aliens?”
He looked at me.
saying “Aliens,” he said.
“Then let’s mount up, because we are going to war.”
As Eimhin got up from his busted command chair he was quite angry. Those pests shot his precious ship out of the sky! Now here he was stuck on a planet with no way off because he destroyed the only other flight-capable ship.
His first officer stirred and he reached down pulling him out of the mess. The rest of the crew appeared dead, so it mattered little if he left them for now. What he needed to do was to get off this ship and take the base. Because if he did it now, he might have a chance to call his old buddy in the Hurrean command to pick him up.
As he stepped out of the ship he heard footsteps in the distance. Whoever it is, they must have the same idea about this ship, he thought.
So now it was going to be a battle of wills to see who the better man in combat was.
Me and Captain Lewis and I settled our differences for the moment allowing us to go to war together. As we entered the forest where the ship crashed we fanned out. A total of eight was all we had to work with because people were either dead, injured, or busy helping the injured. This coup had almost cost us the planet, but hopefully it wouldn’t cost us a way off this planet.
As we approached the ship I decided we would leap frog to our objective. I sent Bruce, and Jessica first. Then Julian and Mary, then Xantra and Two Step went. Captain Lewis and I followed close behind. As we came closer to the ship I saw movement on the portable; we had two bogeys. We spread our formation out to take them from different sides.
That was when all hell broke loose.
Muztagh awoke in the storage room where he had been thrown to find the door open. The last thing he remembered was the ship being hit, then crashing to the ground. As he stepped out of the room he heard a fire fight taking place outside. He knew he needed to help whoever was out there. He had learned at least that much over this trip.
Eimhin and his team were ex Hurrean Guard, some of the best Hurrean soldiers of whom Muztagh had ever heard.. So whoever was out there, hopefully Lyrians, they needed his help.
He found one of the crew dead on the floor with his weapon still in his holster. Grabbing it, he took off for the exit. As he came out of the hatch he found the second in command crouched behind the ship. But the second never saw it coming as Muztagh pointed his pistol at him firing the shot and killing him instantly.
The glee he received from this was short lived when a shot rang by him, forcing him to step back inside the ship. As he did so he fell backwards, knocking himself out of the fire fight for the moment.
Arthur was listening to Bill give orders when he saw an alien appear at the hatch. He saw it shoot at something so he fired at him. The alien fell backwards which took him out of Arthur’s line of fire. Arthur look down at the portable hoping to get the signal of the other alien, but he could not find him. So he stepped in the direction of the ship in the hope that he could flush him out. As he made it to the edge of the cover a rustle in the bushes startled him. However, instead of being an alien, it was some kind of animal. Or so he thought as he continued hearing the noise in the bushes. So he turned away and never thought another thought about it.
Eimhin was lying in the bushes. He had taken cover when he caught up with one of the aliens. But the alien he saw was quite different from the other aliens he had seen while on duty. However, this did not stop him from pulling the trigger on him. And when the alien passed him, he snuck up behind and fired a shot through his head at point blank range.
One down, seven to go.
He turned, skulking towards the other aliens who seem to be good at diversions. They were all trying to flush him out, he thought. But they had another thing coming to them because he would not fall for it. As he snuck over to where the apparent leader was giving orders, he reached down in his boot and pulled out his knife. He positioned himself to cut the guy’s throat, but another alien must have been watching his back. Because when he went to cut the throat a hand caught his, pushing him back towards the brush. As he tried to stop it he pulled out a firearm. He aimed his weapon at the assailant and started firing. It worked; the assailant took one to the chest. He stumbled back out into the brush as a shot rang by.
As I watched Mary struggling with the alien who tried to kill me I tried to shoot it. However, she blocked my way. As I was moving to get a cleaner shot I heard the blast and saw the alien run. I took a shot at it, missing it. I would have tried again, but I was little preoccupied with Mary. As I got to her I knew she was in the throes of death because her eyes glistened as she coughed up the last of her breath and blood. Seeing that I could do nothing for her I continued after the alien in the brush. I screamed to the rest of my companions to follow me as I stumbled about trying to wipe the picture of her death from my mind.
Muztagh finally situated himself when he saw Eimhin running through the brush. He knew he could help whoever was out there, but they might kill him. However, he was not going to let them die while he still had a breath in his body.
He ran to the left hoping to cut Eimhin off. As he did he ran smack dab into someone else. Whoever it was, they stood firm. In fact the person was solid enough that they knocked him to the ground when he collided with them. As he rolled to his side looking up, he found Xantra Princess of Lyria standing over him. She looked at him with fear in her eyes. She started pulling her weapon towards him.
He quickly gave her the sign of obedience that he learned so many years ago. She reached down picking him up saying, “What are you doing here?”
“I was kidnapped by the Hurreans you are fighting.”
“So you do not help them?”
“No my princess I do not.”
“Good. Help me send this one to his death.”
“My pleasure my princess.”
After showing his obedience, they continued on their way to catch the final Hurrean.
Eimhin kept up his running as he fired behind them, hoping to get away. However, as he ran he noticed those trailing him kept getting further behind. He thought this might be because they lacked his physical strength, so he continued to run faster leaving them far behind. But just as he thought he might get away, two shots hit him in the chest.
Falling to the ground in a thud, Eimhin couldn’t feel his arms. How was it he survived all those wars to die here on an unknown planet? This could not be it! But then his killers were turning him over. And he saw before him the little twerp who first brought him here and another Lyrian.
As they stood over him, he growled the best he could, trying to show he was unafraid to die.
Then the other Lyrian aimed her weapon….
I heard the shot ring out through the forest and I hoped it was the end of the Hurrean. Xantra had contacted me using her telepathy earlier. She had a fellow Lyrian with her. Also they were about to take the Hurrean down. The Hurrean was the alien that had tried to kill me but I had not known it was a Hurrean at the time.
I slowed my team down as Xantra requested and they were able to catch him. As I stepped out of the brush I saw her and another Lyrian standing over the Hurrean. She introduced the other Lyrian saying, “This is Muztagh. He used to be stationed here. Those Hurreans in the ship captured him after escaping a slave camp. He was forced to tell them the location for his survival.”
Muztagh bowed to me saying, “Greetings earthling Xantra has told me much about you. She says you can share our telepathy.”
I said, “It seems only to work with Xantra, but I have not put it to the test.”
“Well in the coming days I hope we can try.”
Xantra broke up our conversation saying, “Let’s get a look at this ship.”
We turned ourselves in a direction heading towards it, ready for anything.
Perdan landed on the Hurrean home world three cycles after his removal as administrator. He left the transport he’d stolen in the open docks, hoping no one would notice. As he got closer to the bank he became more excited than he been for the last three cycles. Here he was about to make the biggest withdrawal of his life.
As he entered the bank he noticed that no one was looking in his direction, which was a good thing. So he stepped in front of the console and slid in his chip.
Just as he suspected, all the money was there. He was a rich man now. Nobody could stop him. But as he gathered up the money from the console, something strange happened. He felt a sharp pain in his back. As he turned to see what the pain was, he came face to face with the General. He was holding the handle of the knife he’d just thrust into his back.
The General kissed him on the head as he slid out the blade.
That was the last thing Perdan saw as he drifted off to a beautiful dream of enjoying his wealth.
Tueur searched for days before finding Commander Batea’s ship. It was scattered throughout the Glizen Sector. Captain Rostra ordered a full scan of the wreck in the hope that he might find some intact memory sticks. Those sticks might tell him what had happened. However, after days of search they had only found mostly burned memory sticks. Though Rostra knew this would be probably pointless, he set his best techie to work on it.
Just now the techie contacted him. He said, “Captain, you need to hear this. I got a good transmission out of a damaged stick we found yesterday.”
Rostra said, “Play it.”
A second later he heard this:
the prisoners have escaped led by a human. He is ….. in combat, and my guards were unable to stop him. He is accompanied by ……. we found on Earth. ……… If anyone can hear this please ……… help. As Rostra heard the recorded words he said, “We need to contact the General.”
The techie said, “We need to leave this sector first Captain.”
“Why do we need to leave?”
“Well, the area is full of radiation which is why we never heard the call for help. Somehow the radiation blocks signals. So if we want to contact the General we need to leave sir.”
Rostra got on the comm saying, “Flight officer make for Astra so we can contact the General.”
As the ship jumped into hyperspace, Rostra left the techies’ work area for his cabin. As he did, he thought about humans. They might be species the Hurreans needed to study. After all, if one human could take a prison ship while in hibernation sleep, then what could a thousand do?
He would tell the General of this as soon as he got in comm range.
After a month of fixing the Hurrean ship we were finally going to leave this planet. However, some of us were going to stay. The ship could not handle all of us and we did not want to suffocate on the way to New Lyria.
Julian, Jessica, Doug, Ralph, Muztagh, and Whitney were staying on Wald - which we learned was the planets name. Muztagh would be helping Julian and Ralph rebuild the base.
In regards to Whitney and Doug, I decided they should be pardoned for their betrayal. However, in the case of Lauren she was put on trial. I defended her, but she was found guilty of murder. I had even put Whitney and Doug as jurors, but she was still found guilty.
We hanged her on a beautiful Sunday morning burying her next to my friend Rex. Some may say we had no right, but justice must be everywhere, even without a government.
We let Jon have some sleep in the back so he could take over later, giving me and Xantra plenty of sleep time together. She began the countdown: 3.… 2.… 1.… lift off.
And we were on our way.