Alix activated the outside video display. She watched two of the ships separate from the rest and come in for a strafe run, low and fast. Her face turned white as pictures from there history were coming back in life. “Oh god, how did they find us? How did the Caninoids find us?”
John’s head spun around at the name of there race’s long time enemy. As he watched the ships approach his thoughts raced. There, floating in the display were ships of a design there long dead elders thought there children would never lay eyes on in real life again. In the back of his mind something nagged at him, filing it away for later he got back to business. The display in front of Alix turned to static as shots pounded into them, the ship shuddered from the impact of energy. John smiled as the controls came to life, and the boards let up the more with every hit.
“Engines engaged.” reported Orian.
He started the ship on a steep ascent now that he had more then enough power.
Alix turned to him and exclaimed. “John, I don’t know how you did it! You must explain it to me when this is over with.” She turned back to the weapons board. Now it was fully functional. The inertial compensators were online. She could barely feel there shoots any more. How they must be puzzled as to why they were still in one piece, let alone there shields getting stronger with each hit she thought. What they saw however was that the power to there screens was unchanged. They did not even detect there shielding.
All weapons were now fully charged, and going into reserve. “Fire the weapons; you now have a nonstop supply as long as they keep hitting us.”
Alix grinned and put her hands on the controls. “I knew there was a price. What about there shields?”
“What about there shields?”
Everything in the visual display was turning the darkest, deepest electric blue. Must be how the shield got its name. Alix took aim and let go with a full charge from all banks of the weapons capacitor. They felt the weapons release of the massive energy charge as they discharged towards there preys. That only made her heart beat quicken. Two of the shoots missed the target from there array. The rest landed square on the ships belly as she saw it start its turn. The ship turned into a ferry ball of flame to fall towards the ground.
Alix was amazed, it went through there shields and armor as if they had none. “Oh yeah, I think Mikey likes it.”, she said.
Orian announced, “Blue shield discharge imminent.” Out from the skin of the Silver Hawk came the discharge emitters. They were being hit so much that they could not use up the energy fast enough.
He found himself only angered that his comrade had fallen before he could witness his victory. He came around to bear his forward weapons array on his target. His targeting system could not get a lock however. Through his cockpit, all he could see is a big glowing ball of blue energy. He double checked to make sure his combat video feed was being transmitted. He squeezed the trigger, at this range he could not miss; bolt after bolt of energized plasma was absorbed into the blue ball. He could not understand why his prey’s shields did not weaken at every hit. Before his eyes, it started to discharge into the clouds all around him. He was only more puzzled when that started to damage his ship, and could only think. ‘How?’ His shields where still at full power. He flew strait at them at attack speed. As he got close, the energy discharges engulfed his ship and reacted with the his shields. He Looked puzzled as the cockpit exploded from the inside with energy, frying him to a crisp.
As the turret turned to follow the next target it lost it suddenly. She looked to the display, and watched the light show engulf the last six enemy ships, and then watched them tumble to the ground to explode in a ball of fire. “What in the heavens have you done John?”
John turned to watch and smiled. “Orian, disengage the Blue shield. It works it really works! I just have a few bugs to work out.”
Orian announced over the loud speaker. “Blue shield shut down in progress.” From outside the ship, now above the clouds a ring of energy shoot out from them and disappeared into the clouds, dissipating like a ring of water from a splash.
“Blue Shield powered down. Excess energy dissipated.”
“Alix, take over the controls, I’m going to go check on Merva and Joan.”
Alix punched up the navigation controls over to her panel. “What is our heading?”
John put his paw to his chin, a habit of his when he was thoughtful. “We need to rethink and regroup. We should park at a high orbit. We need not advertise our presence any longer; engage the cloak before the air force comes after us.”
“Too late for that John, we have about five FA-114 Falcon attack jets on an intercept course.”
John grinned as a mischievous thought came to him. “Alix, I want you to do something for me. Make sure the targeting video is recording. Slow down and let the jets chase us for a few klicks, then turn on the cloak. We can head into orbit then.”
“Sure, that’s not a problem. That would even be fun.”
John got up from his seat and left the cockpit to go to the main cabin, leaving her to handle things. John was talking to himself as he walked up to Merva’s side. “It works, it really works!”
John looked at Merva to follow the tubes and wires with his eyes that were all over her arm. There was a mask over her face that covered most of it from his view. The med bed covered the rest of her body. Joan sat on her knees on the floor next to the bed. She stared wide-eyed at John as he padded up beside her. He looked over the readouts that told him Merva was not on the road to recovery.
“Everything will be all right now. We have played our hand, and found theirs wanting. Now we know who is really behind it all. Though we also found out that it is much worse then we ever imagined.”
Joan recovered from her stupor. It was either his tone of voice, or his rambling. “You risked your lives to save this woman.”
“Merva was drugged, tortured and who knows what else. Our med bed has repaired some of the damage to her body. We will repair the damage to her mind. Even if she was not a part of our team when they abducted her, she is a very dear friend of mine. I would go to the ends of the earth and face the devil himself for her.”
John laid his paw gently onto Merva’s hand, “Everything is going to work out.” John frowned at the bedside monitor, as if it was its fault she was not getting any better. Her vital signs were slowly falling. There was no time to take her to the only place that has better facilities. By the signs it looked like they did not have time for that.
Captain Marlow was now close enough to the UFO to see it with his own eyes. “My god, what is that.” He said to himself, to his wing. “Can anyone get a target lock on it?” Everyone had the same negative reply. When he got within 500 klicks from it all his instruments went haywire. Even his artificial horizon was saying he was in a tail spin. “Is anyone having instrument malfunctions?” He got all positive replies. “Keep your distance everyone no less then 600 klicks from the target.” His and everyone else’s instruments went back to normal operation as soon as they cleared 500 klicks. “Just what is that thing? It must give off so much RFI that it plays havoc on our instruments.” All his wing men gave affirmative comments. They all had there onboard cameras recording the spectacular event they all witnessed. Suddenly before his very eyes that got wider as he could not believe them, the ship started to waver, like things do in the heat on the ground. It then just faded away, it disappeared off there radar at the same time it disappeared from there vision. “What in the name of god just happened?” There was so much chatter over the plane to plane radio that he could not follow any of it. Two of his wing men started to waver in there formation. “Pro Joe, White Frost, line it up!” They were two of his newest additions to his wing. “Everyone, back to base, I’m putting in for leave for us all as soon as we are debriefed.”
They left there uninvited escort behind and cleared the atmosphere. Alix put them into a synchronous high parking orbit. When they entered orbit they uncloaked to conserve resources. They were on the opposite side from the international space station.
Alix decided to see why it had gotten so quit. Joan had ended up lying beside John on the deck. Both of them were asleep. Alix smiled over at them, and then glanced at the bedside screen to check Merva’s vitals. She was happy to see Merva had leveled off, and had stopped her declining health. That was a good sign, though she was still not out of the woods yet. She stepped over Joan to reach the control screen in the back hall and looked over Merva’s progress. Orian had found a way to stunt the toxin in her blood and had induced a stasis field over her to give them more time. Orian was in the process of formulating a biotech antitoxin for her. She estimated it would be completed in a few hours. Orian also needed to run some tests on it before introducing it into her blood stream. Alix let out a sigh of relief, progress indeed! She looked down at her legs to see them shaking. The tension had started to take its toll on her as well. She joined them in rest to lie on her side beside Joan on the deck. She would rough it just like the old days she thought.
Steve stood up suddenly, his chair rolling on its wheels to hit the back wall then it ricocheted half way back. As he read the incoming report from Orian, his eyes got real wide. His knees started to get week as the impact of what he read hit him. He started to sit, but the chair was not there, he fell to the ground with a thump. "How could this be? After all these centuries how could they have found them?”
The computer informed. "Unable to follow command, please follow proper syntax.”
Steve was in such shook, he had not realized he had said his thoughts out load. He got back up slowly, using the chair to help him up. "Computer, open the exit.” He walked out of the open door, it closed behind him. "Diana, I need a beer! Make that two or three.”
“Steve what’s wrong? You’re white as a ghost!”
John woke to find Merva looking into his eyes. Her hand was over his paw as she patted it. She said through the mask, “You are so sweet John; I’ve never met anyone like you. To sit there at my bedside to watch over me, and care so much as you do. I knew you would come back for me. I knew you could do it. I felt so strong in my hope that I was able to stand up to them.”
“It was the least I could do for one such as you.” John felt a little embarrassed and could not help but to yawn and stretch. He moved as he did so he could stretch between the bed, Joan, and Alix. “Orian, what time is it?”
“Seven thirty two AM PST.”
“Orian, what is Merva’s condition?”
Joan had started to stir beside them. Her eyes wide in panic with an intake in breathe until she remembered where she was. She remained still so she could listen.
“Toxin has been neutralized; she needs rest so her body can recover. The nanobots I introduced into her blood stream drained her to repair the damage.”
“How are you feeling Merva?”
“I’m feeling very tired, and worn out. I feel so much love from you, John. What you must have risked to rescue me once more.”
“You are one of the team now, team members don’t get left behind. Maybe we will even be lucky enough to have Joan join our team. She was indispensable in helping us locate you.”
Joan was up on one arm so she could watch them. Her interest perked when she heard her name, she had to ask. “Join your team?” Her disbelief could be heard.
When Merva slumped back into her pillow she was smiling even wider, so he gave her hand a lick. Merva giggled. She turned her head to say, “You remind me of a big house cat at times.”
They looked into each others eyes for a few minutes. His were unlike a panthers, instead of brown round pupils they were slit like a cat’s and green. Merva’s were brown. John told her everything that happened sense her disappearance. How Joan helped, and who she was.
“So, right now we are in a high synchronous orbit opposite the space station. With our long ago enemies again after us, we need to think of a new strategy.”
A look of stunned surprise came over Merva. “What Enemies?”
“When our ancestors left our home world to colonize another in the hopes of leaving our past behind us, it was a new hope, a chance to start over. Now we are pretty sure, if they were able to find us this far out on the rim, our home world could be lost, our people slaves, or maybe even destroyed. I don’t know how they found us way out in this backwater system. The fact remains they did. We don’t know in what numbers or anything other then they are using the same fighter designs that are in our history logs. I don’t know what significance that holds just yet.” John let out a sigh and laid his head down beside hers, his chin on his paws. Merva, her eyes never leaving his as they became huge right in front of her as his face got closer to hers. The mask over her face blocked her view of all of him but his eyes. To her at that moment there was nothing else in the world but him, and his eyes. “I want you to know how close you came to dying today. Just a few hours ago you were slipping over the edge, holding on by one finger. We are so lucky to have you back with us. I want you to get some rest now.” He gently nuzzled her tear streaked cheek, and then sat up. “Orian, give her something to help her relax.”
Merva smiled down at them past the edge of the bed, Alix still slept and John sat up on his hind quarters, his forelegs strait down, just like a cat would sit. His head was just a little above hers. Merva reached up and rubbed his chin.
John’s chin stretched out and up, and rumbled like a chain saw. “You do that so well, but you really should rest. Now lie down and go to sleep.”
Merva was still watching him, then her head turned face up, and her eyes slowly closed. He turned back to his sleeping sister; his heart felt like it was tearing apart. Alex’s eyes opened and he could see the same thing in hers that were in his. With a shallow cry he fell into her arms, they hugged each other tightly, there bodies shaking in grief, and relief.
Joan was afraid to interrupt, but that was not like her. “You mentioned me joining some kind of team?”
Steve and Diana sat side by side, holding hands. They watched the news together. The top story was about an attack on some poor retired business man’s mansion. How it had ended with millions in damage. They talked about so much damage and how little lose of life there was. Questions why they had guards and why they were so well armed. Why there bodies were scattered about and most had no bullet wounds. The ones that had died of bullet wounds from the same guns found on the other guards. The others were only unconscious. Preliminary reports say that the only deaths reported were from friendly fire. Pictures of the Silver Hawk were being shown, and they said it was everything from a new military vehicle, to a UFO from another planet was being speculated.
“This is Connie Chin reporting today’s headlines. In our top story today we will tell you everything we could find out about what some claimed to be a flying saucer. This footage your about to see was supplied by an anonymous person or persons. This is no hoax. I was there. You can see me with our cameraman in the bottom front of this shoot. Even though no news agency was able to deliver any of there own footage, some one was able to.”
Steve turned the channel once more.
“Today we are discussing if we are truly alone after all? Debates from our five guests will start after a short break.”
The news casters also thought it odd that the only video footage they were able to get was from an eye witness that sent in the tapes anonymously. Then after that report was another from a different state where what looked to be the same ship, and all kinds of speculations on that had happened earlier in a down town street in front of a restraint. It was about how the two different sightings description of the ship were the same in every detail. This video also from an armature eye witness tape sent in anonymously. Even though you could see plenty of TV station van’s on the scene. They all reported technical difficulties for there lack of any footage. They showed the police shooting the ship in question with there hand guns. No damage could be seen on the smooth mirror finish of the hull. By now it was being repeated on all stations, the same thing over and over. It had started with just one top story, but when the second incident was reported, it was like there was an earth quake and California had fallen into the ocean. It could go on for days like that.
Steve came out of his stunned silence. “Well done John, well done. Well there is no backing out of this mess now. He got the public awareness of this event so now they will be able to later integrate. That must be what he has planed. In doing so means the Caninoids will be in a higher risk of discovery.” He murmured to himself, Diana promptly ignored him. He got up slowly and went back into the secret room, there local headquarters. He had a feeling his life was about to be turned upside down any second now. There were still no further reports from John.
Orian woke them with her ascending alarm. John and Alix woke at about the same time. Joan awoke when she heard John’s voice. Merva stirred but did not wake.
“Orian status report.”
“Steve is asking, and I quote, ‘What the frell is going on?’”
“Patch me through to Steve. Connect me in the bridge.”
John checked on Merva once more and she was doing much better. “It won’t be long before you will be up and about.” He murmured to her before joining Alix in the cockpit. “Thank you Joan for all your help.”
She smiled and nodded to John. He nodded back then turned to continue on his way to the bridge. Alix was already working on the message to there clan. Her claws were busy pushing the buttons embedded in the control panel. John sat in the back seat and faced the communications station.
“Orian patch me through.”
“I’m here to serve my lordship.”
John rolled his eyes, maybe I should delete that sarcasm algorithm some day, he thought.
"John, what in the name of Diablo are you doing? Just what do you think you’re up to?”
"I'm going to talk to the elders about this but I plan on revealing our race to the planet. That is our next stop in fact.”
Steve glared at the screen that has John’s face on it. “What? Have you lost your mind! Come out of hiding, more like you already have.”
“I really don’t think we had a choice.”
Steve was silent for a few minutes. "John, have you lost your marbles?”
“Yes I’m sure I have. My plan is that we will declare ourselves an independent nation. We will point out how we have been among the humans for centuries and we have done nothing to them. If things go array we are prepared to defend ourselves, but we don’t want that known. That would only cause them to fear us even more. I'm afraid that our old enemy may have agents planted in important places. Now that they have shown themselves to us, it is time for us to move to the next step. As soon as Merva gets better we are going back to our home base. I am to have a council meeting called so I can inform them of this new danger in person. The risk involved is worth there help in eliminating our old enemies who are hiding among them. That is why we are coming out of the wood work. I also hope to be the one chosen to be our emissary to the humans. I have a request for you Steve?”
John told him quietly, “I want you as my number one.”
“Oh what a relief that is.” Steve said sarcastically. “That is just what I wanted all my life, the public’s eye.”
"You know it is what I must do. I have thought through our options. The time has come for us to reveal ourselves.” John could tell Steve was upset about this, and he tried to best to comfort him. “You know very well we could not stay hidden for much longer. Sooner or later some one would find us. We must make the first move. We need to be holding the ball on this. It is better this way Steve. Trust me. This is the best for us all.” John waited for Steve to reply, he watched him in the monitor, his face going through subtle changes.
Steve glared down at John’s face in the monitor. His hands were clinched in fists of frustration. “Did it have to be during my life time?” He knew the price he would have to pay, that his friends and family would have to pay. “You know I will be by your side, but nothing says I have to like what you’re doing.”
A slight smile had come to John’s face. “Of course Steve, even so there is no one I would rather have at my side.”
"Then things are as bad as I have dreaded. I'll be in contact. Steve out.”
The communications link beeped, and the screen went blank, letting John know that the transmission had ended. John turned to Alix, who was still sitting beside him. They made eye contact and she nodded her head. John sighed, feeling the weight on his shoulders get heavier. "Orian, open a channel to home base.” The communications link beeped. "Lieutenant Commander John Knight.” It beeped to let him know he had been identified. "I need to setup a meeting of the council of elders; it is of the utmost urgent matter. Orian, attach the video of our dogfight, and Alex’s report then send it.” Orian beeped in acknowledgment. John stretched and got out of his chair. “I’m going to check on Merva again, keep an eye on things sis.”
She purred. “Yes sir, Roger Wilcox, over and out.”
John snorted as he went through the doorway. She could not even get that cliché right. The door closed behind him. He padded over to Merva’s bedside and read the displays. She was doing much better, thanks to their emergency medical computer. He brushed the hair from her face; the mask still covered everything below her eyes. He had been so worried, now the relief was about to overflow from him. Tears ran freely down his furry cheeks. One dripped onto her face, and her eyes fluttered open. Their eyes met, and held each other’s gaze with the other. “I’m glad to see you’re getting much better, and to have you back with the living. We have some catching up to do while you have been out.” John told her all about what has been happening while she was unconscious, all about there enemies from a long ago past, and how they all thought they were left behind in the past and why. Everything he had not had a chance to tell her before. Merva’s eyes got really wide, and then she cried. Her grip tightened around his paw.
“How can they be back after so many centuries?”
“I don’t know, but I’m sure we will find out soon enough.”
Merva looked him up and down like she was just noticing something. “What are you wearing?”
John smiled and answered, “This is my uniform.”
“Why do you have a uniform?”
John unconsciously brushed it off. “Well I belong to a space federation. I went through star fleet training and earned it. Believe it or not, I’m a lieutenant commander. Alix is a lieutenant.”
“Fleet, what fleet?”
“Well our fleet may only be a few ships, but it is the only fleet in this part of space.”
Merva looked him up and down while she absorbed it all; he waited patently for her to say something. “So much has happened so fast. I have wanted to ask you about that.” She smiled under the mask. “So that is why Alix allows you to boss her around.”
John shook his head. “In a few more hours you well be will enough to be taken off the monitor, and the breather.” He brushed her hair back again, smiling down at her, “I’ll keep you company until then.” They chatted about old times, reliving fond memories.
Before he knew it the monitor beeped for his attention. “Ah, good it is time.” She watched him push his paw pad against the screen. She was unable to follow what he was doing because of the pain killers. “There, OK, now the breather.” He gently lifted it off her face and let it be sucked back into the self cleaning storage unit. “There, much better.”
She smiled up at him. “Yes, much better.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Oh, I’m feeling kind of tired, I could use some more rest.”
He tucked her in, and pulled the covers to her chin. “Then I’ll dim the lights and let you rest, rest well.”
“I will John.”
“Joan, would you please keep an eye on her?”
John got up and went back to join Alix. She was playing Diablo II LOD on the navigation monitor. “You know that is not really designed for that.”
Alix jumped in her seat, swiped a key that switched it back to the navigation screen, to show that no course was plotted, she spun around in her seat. “I did not even hear you come through the door!”
“I noticed that, don’t worry about it, I know you must be getting bored just sitting up here, waiting. It is not like we are using navigation just now with Orian monitoring our orbit.”
“How is she?”
“She is off the vitals monitor and breather. She is doing much better. She is tired and going to try to sleep some more.”
Alix smiled. “That’s good, I’m glad she is better. For too long we could not even be sure she was going to make it.”
“That must have been the longest day of my life. Remind me to thank the designers of that EMC.” He patted her on the shoulder and smiled down at her then moved to sit beside her.
“You do the same for me and I will.”
John got back into the pilot seat he put his hand-paws on top of one another on his chest and stretched out his legs. He stared at the stars on the other side of the main view port for a few minutes with a very thoughtful expression on his face. “If the Caninoids are here, why aren’t they in force? Why are they using attack craft designed centuries ago? There are so many questions, so few answers. Orian, send a remote probe and find debris from there wreckage, and bring it up for analyses.”
“As you command my master.”
From under the Silver Hawk a small door opened and the probe was launched. It looked like a micro space shuttle. Looks is all they shared with one though.
John shook this head again, and thought about reprogramming a few of her personality algorithms. He looked over Orian’s damage report. The repairs made by the drones, and unfinished repairs, the later was blank. He smiled to himself, and thought, my designs work so well. I bet after others hear of them, everyone will want them. I’ll be the envy of my clan.
John thought of something as he read the report on NASA. “Orian, match us with the Colombia’s orbit. I see they should be just entering it on there way to the ISS.”