by N.A Miller
A Sequel to the Final Yamato Movie from Voyager Entertainment (7 part mini series)
|Yamato: The New Adventures... (Sequel to "Final" Yamato in Episode type format) ' Written with permission of Voyager Entertainment|
By Erwin Stevens & N.A. Miller
The infinity that is space, a world filled with serene light, uncountable stars in the deep darkness, and dying and forming stars, abounds with many life forms. Yes, space is alive. The entire universe, our galaxy, and even the many solar systems are filled with many such life forms. They are teeming with people who love, aspire, and fight in wars. Others are peace-loving. Many forms of life are in the universe, and they mostly live in peace, scattered throughout its cold vastness. One such place is the speck that makes up the Earth. It is a place where wars have come and gone, leaving their mark. It is in a standard class M solar system, known as "SOL," where eleven planets orbit the single life-giving star. Living on the third one, the insignificant body called Earth, is an advanced civilization known as humankind.
The story starts outside of the 'SOL' Solar System in the middle of deep space, however: It is where a relic of war floats freely in space, alone and derelict, carried by the solar winds as it travels farther away from its point of origin. The hulk and derelict are the remains of the bridge and amidships section of the Space Battleship Yamato, a ship destroyed during the last conflicts for Earth and SOL. The ship had been sacrificed when the Dinguil traveled to Earth for conquest and used the legendary planet Aquarius to prelude their invasion. Aquarius, according to legend, is a planet that gave Earth life and its seas.The enemies of the Earth had failed in their plan to flood the Earth and destroy the planet, however. The enemy was destroyed with the help of the Gamelans, and the Yamato Space Battleship sank in the remaining waters after breaking the water column that flooded Earth.
As a derelict, the bridge section of the ancient ship spun freely as it tumbled against the stars of space. It is a permanent memorial for those sacrificed on the last mission to protect Earth. However, there is only one body that remains on board and it is he alone who triggered the wave gun. The body of Captain Abraham Avatar, Commander of Yamato, still sits in his captain's chair, his hand still gripping the wave-triggering device. His duty is done.
Even after a year, as the bridge continues to tumble through the cold oblivion of space, it now does not do so unobserved. A huge green swirling anti-matter vortex has opened up, and appearing from within it, a streamlined vessel, a Star Cruiser Class Starship named the S.S Magellanic Clouds, arrives from the future.
Sitting on the bridge of her ship, Ihsss T'Larra, a young reptilian woman called a Thyrnn, is the Commander of the Clouds, a Star Cruiser Class Starship of the future. As the young reptilian Captain slumped over in the command chair, she managed a groan, before slowly opening her green eyes and focusing on the smooth, darkened metal of the bridge's ceiling bulkhead. The reptilian woman sits dazed from the wild ride they have just unknowingly taken through time and space. Slowly, she managed to sit up in her chair from her slumped-over position and shook her large head before turning her head to cast a quick gaze at the silent bridge of her ship. She and her crew are one of many other races throughout the galaxy who staff this compact Space Cruiser Class Starship. They were all refugees from the evil war machine of the Cybertron Empire, which had enslaved the universe in the future. Captain T'Larra herself is a rather unique individual. She is a large, very beautiful reptilian female, with a trim, muscular body and a standard bone structure, unlike a human, with two forward-set emerald green eyes. She has a long, graceful neck with grayish scales on her tan and white-colored body. The only difference between a human and an Ihsss would be that Ihsss' people have long tails and would be considered to resemble reptilian creatures on Earth.
At first glance, the bridge of her ship is currently chaotic-looking. Many bodies lay on the deck, wounded from the battle against the Cybertron Empire before they had been thrown through time and space. They would be thrown light-years from their original position and through time, to six hundred years into the past. The futuristic starship had come from a century where a huge galactic war in the known universe was raging into its twentieth year, where everyone was a combatant. This even included Earth, until its destruction and the entire known universe was conquered by a cybernetic war machine called the Cybertron Empire. It would be where many planets would fall, until the universe combined its forces, pushing back Cybertron to halt their evil conquest in its tracks. However, for the ship and crew of the Clouds at this very moment, they unknowingly now find themselves in the year 2208 AD, a year and a half after the Yamato had been destroyed, its crew returned to Earth from space after the Dinguil campaign fought by Earth forces.
"What happened? Where are we? " thought the reptilian captain, and slowly she panned her gaze to each station on the bridge.
At each position, her friends, refugees from the war in their time, staffed the semi-lighted bridge of her ship. Felonious Purrrtz of the feline race slumped over the console of the science station. An Insectoid race's Veloxa Bzzzarti and Thyrac Antillean sprawl across the Helm and Navigation positions. Kwai Mao of the humanoid race is lying on the deck next to the weapon's defense station, and Hi M'thss, the captain's daughter, slumps partially in her chair, about to fall to the deck. Outside, her ship spins uncontrollably through the black void of space.
"Report!" the reptilian Captain shouted sharply, and slowly, Felonious Purrrtz, the feline Science Officer, rose up from a slumped position over his console.
He shook his furry head, quickly clearing his disorientation and brushing his long grayish-silver fur from his golden eyes as he panned a quick check at the semi-lighted bridge. His paw-like hands danced quickly over his console, moving with blinding speed, checking all systems and clicking the many switches on the panel. The feline officer's face grimaced a moment later.
"It appears we are on emergency power, captain." He announced, after a moment, "All systems are out." If Voloxa is still with us in engineering, we'll have power back in a few moments. "
Ihsss nodded, as she glanced in his direction.
"Is everyone all right?" The reptilian captain asked, panning a worried look at the bridge to her long-standing friends. Each one made a move to acknowledge her question, the ones who were living, and she managed another slight nod. The reptilian Captain then turned her attention to the navigator, Thyrac Antillean. A moment later, the bridge lights clicked on, making it bright, and the systems beeped as they restarted.
"Auxiliary power restored, Captain. It appears that Voloxa is still with us. " Felonious said, and Ihsss turned, flashing a toothy smile at him. A low hum echoed across the bridge as the ventilators began to work, clearing the bridge of smoke.
"All decks are under damage control... uh...Report it to the bridge. " The reptilian captain said into the intercom, "Report to weapons control."
She hit a switch located on the arm of her chair to close the channel.
"Veloxa, activate the forward view screen so we can see where the heck we are," Ihsss ordered.
Veloxa, the Insectoid Navigator, sat at her console, and she turned, hitting the control with her claw-like fist. At first, gray static appeared on the screen before it flickered, and once again the stars of space appeared there. Ihsss managed a smile, extremely happy to see the stars of space again, but it quickly faded as she realized her ship was spinning out of control.
"Helm, keep the thrusters at station keeping, and bring us all to a halt."Snapped the Captain, and the helmsman quickly hit her controls.
Outside the ship, small blue jets thundered from the ports in the hull, and their Star Cruiser straightened itself before it wallowed slowly to a stop. Thyrac Bzzzarti, the ship's navigator, sat busily over the computer monitor, and on the screen, complex equations scrolled across it as he fed data into it. After a moment, the insect navigator turned, meeting the reptilian captain's questioning look. On the screen, the white cloudy material of the Milky Way hovered in front of them.
"Navigator, what's our posi?" Ihsss asked as she peered at the view screen, perplexed.
"We're approximately one million light-years from our last position, Captain." He said, "Whatever that vortex did to us, it threw us off course and we currently sit in uncharted space for our records."
Felonious, hearing this, put his furry face into the sensor module, and after a moment, he straightened up with a strange frown. The sound of the sensor units hummed as he scanned the area around them.
"The galaxy ahead is a class M star cluster, approximately ninety-thousand astronomical meters in diameter, has a trillion solar mass, and is approximately made up of two hundred billion stars." He announced, "The length of the central bar is approximately twenty-five thousand light-years. There are seventy major systems in this part of the galaxy. A class M type solar system lies ahead of us. "
"Class M?" Ihsss mused, "Is it well defined? Where can we find a planet to gather the needed materials to make repairs in flight? "
"Aye, eleven planets, one major star, planets ranging from two to nine on the habitation scale." Felonious' whiskers twitched when he read the data. "We are on the extreme edge of its border. The outer planets are not habitable; they seem to have been blasted into rubble. There are nine planets of all distinguishable size. "
He paused as data streamed on the console screen.
The second galaxy in this area is a little larger, approximately two hundred thousand astronomical meters in diameter, and is rated as class K. It has a double nucleus and approximately thirty-one major solar systems. " The Science Officer said, finishing his initial report.
Ihsss grimaced and then sighed.
"Are there any records of any contact or habitable planets in this area?"
The feline science officer shook his head.
"No record of habitual systems in this area... or contact from any ships from our respective cultures." He announced, and the reptilian Captain managed another grim nod.
"Excuse me, Captain, the damage control is completed." Kwai interrupted, and Captain T'Larra swiveled her chair toward the humanoid woman. She had heard the worried tone in her voice.
"Go ahead." She prompted, and even nodded to, the young humanoid.
"We sustained minor damage to all decks. Any major damage is in the engineering section and the starboard nacelle. The rest of the damage was caused by overloads and power burnouts. " She announced, "Casualties were light. We ended up with a few, but there were still six who were killed. Engineering reports say we are now on auxiliary power and full power will be restored in about three hours. In summary, skipper, we are extremely fortunate. "
"That's for sure, Kwai," Ihsss muttered to herself and grimaced. “What was that phenomenon that we passed through, Fel?"
"Unknown. I only know that it was comprised of pure anti-matter energy, and when it exploded, that it seemed to be a warp of types, opening up a hole in the space-time continuum. " He reported, "According to our sensors and the recorders, we have been thrown through time and space." To where is uncertain, and I am analyzing the data from them for an approximate fix.
"Better find out quickly, and have everyone keep an eye out for the Cybertron."Ihsss' ordered, "We don't need to be caught vulnerable like this."
"Aye, captain," a chorus of voices replied around her.
She swiveled her chair toward the weapon defense console.
"Kwai, stand down on red alert, but maintain yellow alert." She ordered, "Hi 'Mthss, anything on the communications channels?"
At the communications station, Ihss's daughter sat in her chair as she worked on her console. Unlike her mother, she is lighter brown in color and has the same body structure, but the only difference is that she had crystal blue eyes rather than green like her mother. She rapidly hit the controls even before being ordered to and quickly scanned all frequencies for anything that resembled the chatter of the Alliance in their time. She grimaced as she sat there working before turning her head to meet her mother's gaze.
"Negative." Hi replied, "It is very strange. The normal channels are static."
"Yes."The young reptilian replied, turning to let her fingers dance over the console in front of her, switching channels at will, with a vain hope of contact with someone.
Behind her, at the helm, Veloxa, the insect-like helmsman, turned away from her post, attention distracted by a young humanoid that held a very thin wafer board. She took it, and scanned it quickly, to sign her name while, behind on the viewscreen, the derelict Yamato floated undetected in front of them. No one seemed to notice the ship as it drifted in front of them.
Meanwhile, Hi 'M' thss sat at her console, punching the seek button as she scanned the frequencies of communication. Several times, static echoed through the earpiece of her headset. Here, she scanned other channels and gasped when faint voices echoed over them. At first, she felt a wave of relief but frowned when figuring out that it was not their home base that she listened to on her headset. Her hands danced quickly over the console, getting a fix on a directional indicator on the console. The reptilian communicator glanced at the screen, at the Milky Way Galaxy ahead of them, and then back to her console. A look of confusion appeared on her face.
"Mother, err..." Captain, I am picking up radio chatter in this area. Hi announced, "It is not on the usual channels. I picked it up as I tried to get a hold of the council via subspace messages with no luck. It's very faint, coming from the solar system ahead of us. "
Felonious and Ihsss both turned to face her, and they had a look of astonishment on their faces. They could not believe what they had just heard.
"What do you mean, radio chatter?" Felonious asked, walking to join her at her console. He put the sounds on the small speaker on the console, and Ihsss quickly joined him too. Both listened intently to the chatter at her console.
"Cybertron..."?" Felonious asked, and Hi'Mthss shook her head.
“No it's from the solar system ahead of us.” She said, hitting the button to clear the crackle of white noise that cracked on the speaker. "It is in a low-level band."
A voice echoed across the bridge, along with static between certain parts of it, making it seem fragmented and splotchy.
"Today's evening news, September sixth, twenty-two..." The voice said, "Today the crows... all over the world are in the wild... for the anniversary of the victory of the defeat of the Comet... who surrendered as they attacked our forces." I knew it had happened one year after I recovered from the deadly radiation of the planet... and I went to Iscandar to receive the... from Queen Starsha. Iscan... Today will mark the eighth of these great events and the last of those who will work to maintain the pea... The crew... that... journey will be the focus of the celebration. In other news, is the planet in jeopardy?
"Hi'Mthsss." Ihsss, said quickly, and made a throat-cutting gesture and her daughter hit the silencer. The bridge was silent. The captain turned her head to the others on the bridge, who stared at the communications station, having listened in amazement to the transmission they had just heard.
"The defeat of the Comet Empire occurred in the latter part of the twenty-third century," the Captain explained.
"It might be too late." Felonious replied, "What I analyzed from the data on the recorders is that the vortex was not a flux to speedily take across the universe, it was a conduit to another time. If the data from communications holds up, we are in the twenty-third century. "
"Excuse me, Felonious, the anniversary of the Comet Empire's defeat is when a lot of enslaved planets were freed, when Trelana of Telezart helped the humans of Earth fight the evil empire long ago." Hi'Mthsss said, "I have localized the direction of the broadcasts to the solar system ahead of us, about 5 metric units ahead in the center of it."
"Good work Hi, Mthsss. " Her mother complimented, "Now we need to get a fix on where we are exactly."
"This jump makes me uncomfortable, skipper." The feline science officer announced, walking back to his station, "I have a bad feeling about this. This could be a trap set by Cybertron, knowing our mission to stop them if we jumped into a new time. "
Captain T'Larra joined Felonious at his station, but as she stood there, she turned to her daughter at the Comm station also.
"Hi'Mthsss... continue to monitor the traffic and record it for analysis with linguistics. " The reptilian Captain instructed, as her daughter worked over the console. I'hsss stood staring at the view screen in confusion.
Strange wormhole caused by anti-matter echoes from a seemingly inhabited solar system....What is next... " She muttered as she stood next to the science station.
"We have been transported to another time. I just confirmed the displacement through the vortex using the recorders and the broadcast as a reference. Felonious replied, "And I have a fairly good idea of where we might be in the year 2208 A.D., but we had better be cautious. Our next move could be a disaster if we move recklessly in this new time period. I strenuously recommend caution. Any change could destroy everything we know for future events and could destroy time as we know it. "
"Caution?" Ihsss snickered, "Well, Cybertron came here looking for conquest and to change time, so I do believe that thought won't stop them. If we only knew where they could be and what we were looking for, perhaps we could plan our next move. "
"Well, one focal point has to do with Aquarius." Felonious said, "They have an unlimited source of energy. If we can destroy that planet here, we can stop them from winning the war and stop the bloodshed in our own time. They held it in our time and were unstoppable. But that can't be all of it to complete our mission here. We won't be able to stop them alone if that's what you mean."
"Yes, one ship against that planet would be a futile gesture." Ihsss mused, "Anything else we are missing here?"
"It also has to do with Earth and the human homeworld. Remember, they destroyed it first because they had the most powerful weapon known to the universe that could destroy planets with its use. If Earth is there, we have to contact them and warn them of the impending danger. "
"Then we have double jeopardy, protecting Earth and destroying Aquarius." The reptilian Captain said, "However, that seems like a logical place to start and where our duty lies. But how do we make contact, and make them believe us? "
"I don't know." Felonious countered, "There has to be a point that could make them listen. I don't know what happened in this time frame or events in what appears to be the years after they destroyed the Comet Empire, so it is hard to make an analysis."
The science officer and captain turned to Hi'Mthsss who worked at the Communications station a moment later. When the young reptilian had looked up from her console and saw the derelict ship Yamato in front of them, she let out a startled gasp. It drifted ominously nearby and was outlined by the huge white cloud of the Milky Way Galaxy.
"Captain!" She shouted, and quickly Ihsss returned to her chair. She peered at the screen only briefly.
"What the... Holy Kriznar...! " (author's note: Holy Cow!)
She found herself gasping in loud amazement and yet her response was swift.
"Kwai, sound red alert, raise the shields and all hands to battle stations!"
The klaxon alarm blared over the speakers, and several crews appeared on the bridge. Fifteen minutes later, everyone had the ship manned and ready, waiting for the battle to start. Captain T'Larra sat in the command chair, scanning the bridge, and then turned to the viewscreen. She now sat waiting as the crew worked hard to identify the ship on the screen.
All eyes, including the young communicator, were glued to the screen. The familiar humming noise of the sensors echoed across the bridge.
"The ship is derelict." Felonious declared solemnly, and the crew breathed a sigh of relief.
Maintain alert. " Ihsss instructed, "Whose ship is it?"
Felonious shrugged when she glanced at him.
So far, no match has been found., however, I am also scanning strange concentrations of recent battle radiation from the derelict. There seems to also be a chemical composition that is illogical for a derelict to have. " Felonious reported.
Ihsss swiveled the chair. "Explain,"
"Well, starting with the radiation, the levels indicate there had been a fight here recently. The derelict is the source of the radiation and it is leaving a trail through space from the solar system ahead of us," Felonious said, pointing to the display. "There is also a low level of nitrogen and oxygen present, though the ship appears to have been compromised by the vacuum of space."
The science officer turned to the young communicator.
"Hi 'Mthsss You said the directional indicator said that the broadcast was from ahead in the solar system. "
Hi'Mthss turned and nodded her head slightly.
"Is there any life on board?" Ihsss asked, hopefully.
"Negative Captain." Felonious replied solemnly, "We are doing full scans. The radiation might be interfering with our scans though. "
"Tachyon energy was used back in the twenty-first, mid-twenty-second century by most cultures that had any sort of space travel. It is a precedent for the current methods of the warp engine. It was very efficient for the day, and it radiated a lot of power, but it was unpredictable. " Voloxa said as he appeared on the bridge.
"I thought you were below." Felonious said with a smile, "Nice work on keeping us afloat, Voloxa. Tis to your work."
The engineer grinned smugly, but he kept his eyes on the view screen.
"That ship has been around probably for a few centuries, and what it used to be was a fine piece of work, as an engine goes. It is a waste, if you ask me, that someone would destroy a piece of hardware like that. "
"I think we should investigate." Ihsss said thoughtfully, "Take a little closer look. Would the radiation it's emitting damage or harm us in any way? "
Felonious shook his furry head as he peered at the screen.
"I don't think so, skipper." He replied, “Our ship can withstand it, and our environmental suits. There should be no problem.”
"I think a spacewalk is in order and have a feeling that is going to tell us a lot about what happened here."
"Agreed." Felonious replied, and nodded to the engineer, who grinned broadly.
"Helm thrusters ahead, slow." Ihsss cautioned, "Approach it slowly and watch for any debris."
Outside, the blue flames of the thrusters flashed from the ports and slowly the ship began to move.
Sitting at her console for communications, Hi'Mthsss studied the ship for a moment and shook her head before turning back to the console in front of her. Something kept making her glance at the screen every few minutes, as her mind whirled with memories.
"There is something familiar about that ship." She thought, "I have seen that structure before."
She had turned back to her console but constantly glanced at the screen and the Science Officer. Something about the derelict was intriguing to her, something very old that she had learned long ago. Especially when it came to the Comet Empire and the Yamato having freed many planets from their tyranny.
"Felonious, what are the proportions of the nitrogen and oxygen levels?" Ihsss asked, and the feline science officer hit the switch on his console and figures flashed on the screen.
"73 percent oxygen, 20 percent nitrogen," Felonious declared, "low levels, but breathable."
"What happened to them?" Captain T'Larra asked, "That is one powerful weapon to destroy a ship like that, and that one of considerable size." Could it be a pulsar weapon? Like the vessels we encountered a while back, or could it already be that Cybertron got to her? "
"I don't think so, Captain." He replied solemnly, "Analysis data is coming in and it looks like the battle damage from them was self-inflicted, but that's hard to tell unless we board it for a closer inspection."
"Maintain scans, and everyone stay alert for any Cybertron Patrols."
Everyone worked on the bridge, and Hi'Mthss also worked at communications, listening to low-level broadcasts from ahead in the solar system. It was transmissions that puzzled her and something about them had triggered a memory. Hi'Mthsss seemed to daydream back to her school when she and many of the crew were still on their home world.
“Damn it, that ship out there is familiar, " Hi'Mthss grumbled and turned her head to peer at the screen, for now, the fiftieth time. She snapped her head and stared long and hard at the view screen when the answer finally came to her.
"Holy Kriznar!" The young communicator thought, and here she gasped openly as she peered at the screen. There was a legend drifting on the screen, one she had learned about while she was in school, a few years after the Comet Empire was defeated. Her gasp had been loud, and it had echoed across the bridge, making everyone on the bridge look at her.
"Yamato...?" Hi breathed, remembering the lessons long ago while living on her home world. It had been a lesson about a ship from far away that had single-handedly defeated the Comet Empire, with the help of Trelana of Telezart, freeing many enslaved planets of this war machine. All eyes focused on her.
"What's wrong, Hi?" Felonious asked.
"That ship has a name, and I know who it belongs to." She said, "It was a study back home on our home world. That is the Earth ship Yamato, the ship that destroyed the Comet Empire. "
Hi' Mthss touched a button on her screen and a ghost image of the ship was outlined on both ends of the derelict. She pointed at it in stunned silence as a low murmur echoed across the bridge of the Star Cruiser Class Starship. Voloxa had gasped too, having heard the name while on his one home planet when in school himself for engineering, as did Thyrac and Veloxa, his mate.
Ihsss turned to the science officer.
"That radiation trail... Felonious... " She asked, her face showing a grimace, "You said there is a visible radiation course?"
The science officer turned, hitting a button, and a line appeared on the screen from the derelict into the Sol galaxy that lay ahead of them.
"Origin is course one, eight, three, distance, one point, one light-year." The feline Science Officer answered, "Confirmed, it is still leaving a hot and visible trail from the solar system ahead of us."
"Do you think Cybertron got to her first?" Ihsss' countered, "Do you think Earth is still there?"
"It seems so, Captain." Felonious replied solemnly.
"The radio signals I have intercepted are a news base of the New Tokyo/Federal City." Hi'Mthsss reported, "There is no doubt Earth is there. I am certain of that, and have confirmed the origin of the signals multiple times."
"Hi, M'thss..." Felonious said, "What are the coordinates you have that might list the location of Earth? Those transmissions I mean."
"What is it, Fel?" asked the Captain, who turned her chair to him.
"I want to test a theory." He said, "It may hopefully show the focal point we are looking for at this time. Good work Hi Mthsss. Is there any more additional data to add here?"
“Well, the only information we learned was that the home base region was called Earth, and the group was called Star Force." Hi said, "The system was called SOL, in the Milky Way, coordinates two, seven, seven by one, three, three. They are the only group who fought the Comet Empire, and it is because Trelana warned them that they came to help. It was her power that initially defeated the Comet Empire. "
"Thyrac..." Felonious said, turning to meet the questioning gaze of the Insectoid, "Please pull up the star charts we have of this region for our current time."
"Aye..." He replied, and his claw-like hand touched the button nearby.
Turning Felonious dialed in the coordinates and they appeared on the screen in the form of a yellow dot.
"Now, I'm calculating our position," Felonious stated, and a red dot appeared. The feline officer moved the two together and they formed an orange dot.
"You mean we are at the Milky Way?" Ihsss gasped, and a low ripple of conversation rippled around the bridge.
"It appears so, Captain." Felonious replied, "We might not be at the focal point in history where Earth has been destroyed already. We might be further back before it was destroyed by Cybertron. In my opinion, there are two possibilities: we could be hearing an echo from space, or we really are here at the Milky Way in the year 2208 A.D.”
"The ship was not destroyed after they defeated the Comet Empire, were they?" Felonious asked, and Hi M'thss shook her young reptilian head.
"No..." The Communicator replied, "I don't know when the ship was destroyed, but according to history, the ship did return home after that battle. Trelana sacrificed herself and returned the Emperor of the Comet Empire to the cosmos. The fate of it, however, is uncertain after that. "
"Something must have happened between then and now. Could the time stream have been altered, and the Earth ship destroyed by Cybertron in this century?"
“Well, if the data analyzed holds up, the Comet Empire was defeated in the year 2201, approximately. It has been about seven earth years since that battle occurred. Apparently, Earth has endured many more battles against other enemies since that time.”
"Helm keeps his approach steady but not too fast."
Veloxa turned her chair to face the reptilian Captain, with a big grin on her insect-like features.
“Bring us within one thousand *kelicans of the derelict, courses three, one, and five. Thyrac, raise the navigational deflectors. " (Footnote: kelicans = meters on Ihsss' planet)
"Aye, navigational deflectors up." Veloxa reported, "Continuing approach."
The insect-like helmsman's claw-like hands danced across the console.
"Kwai maintain yellow alert status. Hi 'Mthsss, you assist Felonious in the investigation, providing all the data you know about Yamato's background. Voloxa and Felonious will be going on a spacewalk to examine the ship up close. "
The ship became a hive of activity as Ihss stared at the screen and then down at the chair's console before hitting a switch.
"Boarding parties, report to airlock five in fifteen *taro." The reptilian captain ordered, "Full damage control and engineering teams." Footnote Taros = minutes on Ihsss Homeworld)
Outside the ship, the jets of blue appeared on the hull, and the cruiser continued to make its way to the derelict. They had no idea of the find they were about to discover aboard the derelict, a hero of Earth.
A New Adventure
The story picks up approximately one and a half years after the final mission of the Earth ship, Yamato:
Meanwhile, on Mars, Derek Wildstar, formerly of the Yamato crew, sits in the assigned quarters for him and his new wife, Nova. They came to Mars not more than a half year ago, transferring there a few weeks after returning from the final mission of the Space Battleship Yamato.
Once again, this crew saved Earth from destruction by the Dinguil Empire that threatened their home with the use of a legendary planet known as Aquarius, who in legend gave Earth life. They had all paid a high price for peace this time, paying dearly with the blood of their comrades who died on board the Yamato on its final mission, again to save Earth. It is also hard for the others in the ranks of the Yamato crew to cope, especially for Derek, who lost his best friend, Mark Venture, and his mentor, Captain Avatar, who seemed to be resurrected from the dead many years after the first mission to Iscandar. It still hurt the young chief to remember his friends, whom they had buried on Hero's Hill before the final mission of Yamato, and the many more who had been buried when they recently arrived home. He realized that he and his wife had seen enough bloodshed to last a lifetime, and it is all he seemed to have from his time in space were those memories.
However, as Chief Wildstar thought of his friends, he also remembers the first time they were brought together for the first mission. How they had taken the Yamato and traveled out to Iscandar to get the Cosmo DNA. He remembered how young they were and how many adventures they undertook as they fought many battles against the Gamelans. Also, to deal often with the anxiety, stress, and fear everyone has of not succeeding on their mission.
The chief thought of Conroy, Hardy, Lance, Orion, Sgt. Knox, Sparks, and even Royster. They are all gone now, having perished while on their adventures together. They included, on top of the names, innocent bystanders like Starsha of Iscandar, a heroine of Earth, Astra, her sister, Wildstar's own brother Alex, and his niece (Alex and Starsha's daughter) Sasha, who sacrificed themselves to save Yamato. Even Trelana of Telezart, who loved Mark Venture, had died to save Earth by taking on the evil Prince Zordar of the Comet Empire. She had sacrificed her planet first to slow the Comet Empire down, allowing the Yamato to reach home first before the Empire arrived on Earth. Trelena then sacrificed her life, returning Zordar to the cosmos using her mystical powers. Three wars happened shortly after, with the Bolar, the Black Empire, and Dinguil war, the last one. So many more died in service to Earth. The Yamato crew had won all of their battles, however, and Earth was now at peace.
Derick shook his head and cleared the images, silently staring at the stars through the viewport. He could not help thinking of his friends, the many who had perished during the many adventures of the Yamato. He stared at the stars, almost imagining Mark and Trelana reuniting with the others, their crewmate who had perished on Yamato. He imagined seeing them running across the landscape and taking her into his arms as he kissed her passionately. Old lovers are reunited after their separation by death. Wildstar smiled openly at the thought, then reality came back into focus.
“But we have accepted an assignment to Mars. This is our final assignment in space before we return home to permanent places on Earth. " He thought and grimaced.
Derick and his wife, Nova, were among the few who had gone to the planet Iscandar and had survived all the missions together aboard the Yamato. During that time, they had fallen in love with each other and had finally married after the ship's final mission and destruction. They did it at the urging of Captain Avatar before he too sacrificed himself to break the water column from Aquarius that flooded Earth. His idle thoughts were suddenly interrupted, however, when the door chime sounded. The sound had made him jump slightly, and he felt an overwhelming dread encompass his senses. Walking to the nearby console, he hit a switch.
“Come...” Wildstar shouted sharply, and the doors opened obediently to allow the entry of his very pale and drawn wife, with an Earth Defense trooper steadying her by the arm.
"Nova?" he asked, his voice and tone indicating a question more than a statement.
Derick stepped forward toward her.
"What happened?" he asked, directing his question toward the trooper.
"She's all right, chief." The trooper replied, "She collapsed while on duty, and I have been ordered by the infirmary, Doctor Hill, to escort her back to quarters."
Wildstar managed a smile and a slight nod.
It turned into an alarmed expression, however, when the trooper's hand slipped from her arm and he let go of her on accident. Nova stumbled forward, but Wildstar's reflexes were like lightning as he lunged forward to catch her in his arms.
"Great catch, chief." The trooper remarked, smiling at the couple.
"Thank you." Wildstar politely told him and smiled broadly as the young soldier saluted before exiting their quarters.
Alone, he stared at his wife, and his eyes carried a deep concern.
"Nova, are you all right?" He asked, and she smiled.
"Derek, I'm fine, really, and you do not have to worry about anything." She told him, "I'm fine, and so is the baby."
He held her tightly, shaking his head as her statement seemed to hover in the air for a few seconds. Derick had not realized what she had said and just held his new wife firmly, shushing her as he stared at her lovingly in quiet concern.
“You shouldn't be working so hard. This has been the third day of extra...”
He fell abruptly silent when her statement had sink in, making him gasp quite loudly.
It had been a jolt for Wildstar. Her statement had felt like someone or something had slapped him very hard upside the head. He just stared at her with a surprised face, standing in the center of the room of their quarters. He could not believe what he thought he had heard,
"Wait, what?" Wildstar managed to stammer, choking, "W-what was that, Nova?"
She lovingly stared at her husband, her eyes twinkling, and giggled quietly with mischievous mirth.
“I said, I'm fine and so is the baby. Derek, I'm pregnant and you're going to be a father. "
She giggled quietly again, as he peered at her with his mouth hanging open.
"ME?" " He choked, after a full five minutes. "A father...? Are you sure? "
Nova was nodding her head, but she was also biting her lower lip, trying not to laugh at his new expression. Wildstar's face still showed astonishment, but there was a smile forming there. It took him several minutes to digest the information, and he finally grabbed her up into his arms, letting out a yelp of joy.
"Hot Damn, I'm going to be a dad!" He shouted, lifting her up, and as Derick held her, he spun her around in a loving embrace. Nova giggled and laughed as they held each other.
However, Wildstar could not get the provocative question that his inner soul kept asking out of his head.
"When...?" His inner voice asked, "When?"
Derick realized that it had not been long after their marriage that they had done the deed.
"When...?" His mind was coaching, and now it was his turn to blush, doing so very deeply. He remembered when they were married and what happened afterward.
"We made love on the beach after we got married. That's when!" He thought, answering the question, and managed a grimace at the revelation.
"Derick, are you alright?" Nova asked, and he just stared at her.
He thought of the memories of the first mission and suddenly found himself back on the Yamato. They were engaged with the first mission to Iscandar, and had stood in the observation port of the ship. It had been when Nova had been wishing on the Volton Star and had been just after one hell of a trip through the red star. They had just used the wave gun to destroy a huge flare and barely managed to avoid the plasma cloud sent by the Gamelans to destroy them. Here, he laughed and made fun of Nova for wishing on the star that almost killed all of them.
Derick thought of his teasing and started to wonder if wishes could come true after all.
“Had it come true? All of this time together has become a reality now. They had fallen in love, married, and now parenthood. " He asked himself. He shook his head in stunned silence.
"Derek, are you sure you are all right?" She asked, her face showing deep concern. She lifted his chin and met his eyes, staring deeply into them, madly in love with her husband, whom she had fallen for what seemed like a lifetime ago for both of them.
"Uh... Yeah...." He replied, "Everything is terrific!"
Wildstar embraced her and just held her. Nova began to laugh, and Derick followed suit. He just held her, putting his hand on her stomach, and peered into her eyes.
"I'm three months along, Derick."
Here, Wildstar nodded dumbly, but still smiled.
"Jesus, time for a big adjustment." He thought, and he moved to kiss his wife. He was completely stunned by her news but extremely happy too, despite his dour mood a few moments ago.
The chime on the door sounded a moment later, interrupting their romantic moment.
The couple had both turned their heads toward the door, glancing at each other before he released his wife and walked toward the console where the door control was located.
“I wonder who that could be. It's quite late for visitors. "
Nova frowned, shrugging her shoulders.
“Come...” He commanded, and he hit the button on the console, making the door slide open.
Two uniformed officers appeared outside the door, clad in the familiar Earth Defense uniforms, and they stepped through the open doors, entering the room. The couple gasped when they saw them.
"Why is it Sandor and Dash..." Nova stammered, staring at the two men who had served with them onboard the Space Battleship Yamato.
“Sandor... Dash...!" The couple exclaimed together, rushing toward their friends.
Derick greeted them with a hearty handshake and Nova kissed both of their cheeks. Sandor and Dash both sputtered a bit and coughed uncomfortably, making the couple laugh.
"Derek, Nova," Sandor replied, grinning.
"Hey chief, how's it going?" Dash exclaimed, as he warmly back-slapped his former commander. Derick laughed loudly at the two men, putting a hand on Sandor's shoulder.
“It's been a long time since the last mission Sandor. What brings you and Dash to my neck of the woods?" He asked.
Here the technician grinned slightly, as did his former second-in-command, Dash.
Sandor stepped toward the couple formally,
"We're here to deliver these to you personally," He exclaimed, and he pulled out a rather large envelope from the jacket he wore over his uniform.
"What's this?" asked Wildstar, as Sandor held it out in front of him in both hands.
"It appears we had some interesting activity while you both were away," the technician replied, "It is your hand written orders from the Earth Defense Commander himself. It seems that we made an exciting new discovery in the US Sector of the Earth Defense Command and the Earth Defense Commander needs you back at headquarters immediately. He is reactivating the Star Force again for another adventure into space. "
Nova and Derick glanced at each other, and their stares of disbelief panned to Dash and Sandor. Wildstar accepted the envelope with a rather passive look on his face, until he stared at the flap and noted that it had the Earth Defense Seal on it.
“If it has the seal of the EDC on it, it must be important.” He thought, realizing that it was the only second time that he had received orders in this manner.
Here the young chief broke the seal, and from the envelope he pulled the papers from inside it. Quickly, his eyes scanned them and his face showed astonishment as he read. Beside him, his wife saw the grimace and picked up immediately that something was very wrong.
"What is it, Derick?" asked Nova, and he turned his head, meeting her questioning look. Her eyes widened at the haunted expression she saw there.
“Uh, Sandor, the commander knows this is our last assignment and we're out of the service after this assignment. I don't think we can take on this mission." Wildstar replied as he silently handed the papers to Nova.
“We have a bit of news ourselves.” Wildstar began, but fell silent when his wife let out a startled gasp.
"Derick..." Nova started to say, but fell abruptly silent. She had covered her mouth with her hand as she stared in awe at her husband and their two shipmates.
"I did not know that, but orders are orders. Commander Singleton needs you both back urgently." The technician urged. “You both need to grab your gear and come with us to the shuttle that is waiting for you.”
"Well, you certainly have my attention now, Sandor. What's going on?"
“First and foremost, the information I am aware of is classified, and I cannot reveal it to you until we return to Earth and visit the Commander's office. But, what I can tell you now, is that it is about a discovery that has made a link between Aquarian Technology and our past, two hundred or so years ago."
Nova, at first hearing the news, let out a gasp and glanced at her husband as the technician had said it, prompting him to respond quickly.
"Aquarius...?" He breathed.
"You got it." Sandor said “You'd better start packing, the Commander is waiting for us with the rest of the Star force. It will be a mission of vital importance and he wants the finest crew to embark on it as soon as we land and are briefed.”
Wildstar considered for a moment what he and Nova were being asked to do: they were being asked to once more head out into space after the crew had dispersed, and without Yamato to take on a mission into deep space. Inside, he wondered,how they would do without the aging ship that had brought them through seven wars unscathed and back home. He also wondered how much more bloodshed there would be in the name of peace.
Derick turned to his wife and motioned to her.
"Honey, we need to talk.” He told her, “Privately please?”
Nova followed him to the bedroom and the door shut behind them.
"Nova, for this mission, I want you to stay on Earth. You have our child and should not risk yourself out there on the mission." He stated, and Nova glared icily at him.
"Oh no, I am going. If you go, I go, Derick."
He frowned at her stubborn attitude.
Quickly, she put her hand over his mouth.
"We are not going to discuss this, Derick." She said coldly, "If you go, I go. I will stow away as I did last time if you go out on the mission without me.”
Derick managed a smile behind her hand and quietly chuckled.
He remembered when they went out to face the Comet Empire, under his command, and Nova, for that mission, had smuggled herself on board. He sensed the determination in her voice and smiled behind her hand. He nodded as he embraced his wife and kissed her passionately.
“Alright Nova, Alright.” Derick soothed, and met her determined look with a grin.
“Just promise me that you will not overtax yourself and risk you and our child.”
Nova smiled and nodded as he pulled down two duffle bags from the closet.
“I'll pack our gear and be out there in fifteen minutes.” He told her and she nodded. His wife returned to the front room. Derick followed in the fifteen minutes, putting the bags in the entry way of their quarters. Sandor and Dash briefed them on the non-classified materials as they walked toward the transport that would take them to the starport. They laughed and joked as the train took them to the station and none realizing that an armada now masses as Aquarius.
Requiem of the Past
Meanwhile on Earth, just as a portion of the Yamato crew speeds home to join their friends before a new mission: A lone soldier stands in the waiting room of the commander's office at the EDC Headquarters.
Seth Aguilera, formerly of the United States Army in the 20th Century, has just arrived here minutes ago at the Headquarters of the Earth Defense Command. He is coming here at the request of the EDC Commander himself, Charles Singleton, and it is for a meeting that would decide his new fate and future in the EDC. A day that the young officer had dreaded since the beautiful and dynamic Aide, Commander Mitty McDonald, informed him of the time and date of the meeting that would decide his fate in the EDC. Now he is here, waiting to be seen, and stands in the foyer before a large sectional mirror as he peers at the image of himself in the large panels. The uniform he wears is dark green, trimmed in black as it is cut to fit, and on his collar is the familiar silver bar of a First Lieutenant in the Space Marine Corps. A sight that was certainly welcomed by the young officer of the past, making him nod impressed at the reflection in the mirror.
"Today, either I am active again in the current military or discharged as a private citizen." Seth thought to himself, checking himself one more time before glancing at his surroundings.
Here the young officer peered at the large foyer. It is a large, open room with exposed beams, plush furnishings, and four sitting areas on a thick brown shag carpet. At the center of these carpeted sections, a tiled walkway leads to the large onyx desk that sits at the center of them. The room, to the young officer, reminds him of a waiting area just like this one, where he and the eleven "volunteers" had gathered at a doctor's office in the Presidio of San Francisco back in his own time. The same place that they were checked out two hundred years ago, and cleared for the project of cryogenic stasis.
Seth began thinking back to his recovery and awakening to many nurses and doctors who stood around him as he was examined in an plush hospital bed He remembered the last two months when he would recover from stasis and it being extremely hard for him. He in those two months had been told ofr his loss of seven people from his stasis personnel and told of the time shift in which he and his crew had ended up, two hundred years in the future. He realized that he had lost more than just his friends, but other ones and family which he would never see again. His whole world had changed, turned literally upside down in the process of stasis and having jumped two hundred years, instead of five years as programmed.
Seth shook his head sadly, as if to clear the memories and thoughts his now lost love who had been reported killed in stasis, Emily Montgomery. He thought of her beauty, charm, wit, loving embraces, and also her great personality. The same quality that he had fallen in love with, and the same quality that she had fallen for, brought them very close in the two years before they were placed in stasis in the same project.
"And she will never know the fantastic changes in two centuries." He thought, "What a waste. God, I wish I was with her right now and we were in a better place together. "
The young officer remembered that day when he had gone to the funeral, after awakening, and he personally oversaw the burials to put seven of his crew to rest. He also remembered the fan fair that had been accompanied by the bodies of his friends. They were taken to a place called "Hero's Hill," a place that had unanimously been decided upon by the Earth Defense Command HQ, the Federal Hospital staff, and the former Star Force members to put them to rest there. Many people would come in droves to watch the funeral of the seven people from the 20th century, all here also to see the two-hundred-year-old man who was said to be attending this funeral. The event seemed to be like yesterday, despite it being only two months ago.
Seth watched in grim silence at the fanfare around him, as he stood at the memorial waiting for the funeral to begin for his lost comrades. He desperately tried to ignore the questions from the press, who shouted at him and ignore the flashes of the cameras in his face for the last hour. The young officer grimaced when he turned his head when the first coffin appeared with the six pallbearers around it, who carried it into the memorial. It was the first of seven coffins to come here for burial. In the background, the song that Seth recognized as 'In Pace' was being played over the loudspeakers.
"From Hamlet... Nice and appropriate. " Seth managed to murmur as the other coffins appeared behind them.
Here he gazed at the six pallbearers carrying each coffin, all draped with the EDC flag and the U.S. flag over them. As the coffins approached, the crowd fell silent, and the only sound was the booted footsteps of the pallbearers, echoing on the granite walkway. Hats were removed as the caskets passed through the crowd, some in uniform saluted the caskets, and the press cameras flashed all over the memorial. All eyes were focused on the young officer of the past who had stepped forward, saluting the flag that draped over the coffins too. A low murmur of mixed reactions rippled across the crowd.
Back in the Federal Hospital, the stasis crew who had recently awakened now occupy two rooms. It is here they stay and recover, and all are unaware of the memorial service for their friends. They were not told by the EDC staff that their seven friends had died while in stasis and were just now learning of their adventure through time. The group had already been welcomed by the staff of the hospital and already allowed to assimilate themselves to the events of the future as catch up while recovering.
As Melinda Morris lay in her bed next to Amy Pantstingle, she flipped the channels on the monitor, and it had been the one channel she had flipped to that she stared at the picture of the crowd that had gathered at the memorial that drew her interest. The same memorial that Melinda, Amy, and even Amanda and Manual had seen a short distance from the city when they were awakened in Federal Hospital.
"Hey, something is going on out there," Melinda said, glancing at her friend, who had been engrossed in her tablet that showed the history of Earth on it. Here the dark-skinned woman had pointed at the window where Hero's Hill Memorial appeared on the hill outside of town. The two women had glanced at each other and then back to the monitor, watching it in stunned silence as the camera's focus was on the caskets, moving back to the crowd, then to the Yamato crew. It was held on the Earth Defense Commander, Charles Singleton a moment later, who stood in dress uniform at the podium across from the newly excavated graves. The pair listened to the dialog that followed as the cameras panned slowly across the seven graves then back to the caskets being carried by six people on each of them.
“...It appears the seven chambers belong to a unit that was placed in them over two hundred years ago. A stasis project that the Earth Defense Command Science community has called a miracle of science." The first reporter said as the camera panned right.
It is quite a gathering for something so strange. I guess it is only proper, though they are hardly the first citizens like the Yamato crew who have served Earth. We have word that five of these people from the past are still living, despite this burial. They are still listed at the Federal Hospital in critical but stable condition. The EDC has neither commented nor released the names or photos of those individuals.
A camera fell on the stone-cold gaze of Lieutenant Aguilera, who was watching the caskets pass by him and held he salute as they did so. He dropped his hand a moment later.
"This young man was one of the survivors, right?" asked the second reporter, and the first one nodded.
“Yes, according to what I know, this man is the leader of the group I discovered.” The first reporter said, "He is here to personally oversee these burials."
Next door, there was a yelp and footsteps, as Manual and Amanda, donned in robes, rushed over to their room from next door.
"Hey, are you watching the memorial on TV?" Amanda asked, "It seems we're famous TV celebrities."
"Ssshhhh..." Melinda replied in annoyance, as she waved her hand.
"We have word that the caskets are approaching their final resting place." The reporter stated formally, "Let's go live to action."
On the screen, the camera panned to the crowd, to Commander Singleton, and then to many others who had come to the memorial to witness this funeral. Standing with Seth, the Yamato crew stood looking on.
"It seems the Yamato crew is also on hand." A reporter commented, "The Earth's finest citizens who saved Earth from the Gamelan attacks, rushed to Iscandar to get the Cosmo DNA nine years ago, and defeated the Comet Empire eight years ago.
Cameras blinked across the granite surface of the memorial, as all eyes were trained on a young Lieutenant Aguilera, who stood alongside Doctor Sane, the Yamato crew, and several others. Melinda nudged Amy when she saw the young officer, and she smiled widely. She recognized their stasis leader as he stood there, clad in the dress uniform, looking sharp, despite the heavily bearded face and shaved head.
"Oh my god," Melinda murmured, "That's Seth!"
"He's alive too!" Amy exclaimed, and there were low murmurs among the stasis crew gathered in the room. They saw Seth salute the caskets as they passed him, holding military honors. They smiled, glad to see him alive and well, looking sharp in the uniform of the Earth Defense Command.
"... Who we are seeing now is the leader of the stasis group, a man named Lieutenant Aguilera. One of the stasis members who has been beneficial, helping to identify the project that used the water of Aquarius in the technology used for his time. A power source and the same waters that Yamato had stopped from flooding Earth and defeated the Dinguil Empire over it a year ago.” A reporter said
"Oh my god," Melinda said, tears forming in her eyes when she realized what she was seeing before their eyes. "I can't believe it, it's a funeral? Our friends are dead.?"
"My God, it appears so." Amy gasped, watching the caskets on the screen. "This cannot be. When the hell did this happen?"
"It is for your friends," A voice said, and they turned to see Lieutenant (JG) Yakamori, a young nurse standing in the door, "You are the ones they mentioned, are you not?"
It was very apparent that everyone was watching in the city.
"Well... yes ma'am, we are..." Melinda replied, meeting the look of the young nurse standing in the door.
"It is their funeral." She said, "The entire Yamato crew, the hospital staff, and Earth Defense Command unanimously decided to put them to rest there. Hero's Hill Memorial is a place where the Yamato crew buried many of their friends in service to save the Earth. Your friends are being given the same honors."
The nurse smiled quietly as she paused, then nodded.
“You are all legends and heroes. You are much admired for your courage by the staff at Federal Hospital and the EDC.”
“Well... thanks,” Amy replied, glancing at Manual, who was holding Amanda in his arms. Melinda, Amy, Amanda, and Manual were speechless at this information given to them. All eyes in the room, and on Earth were tuned into the funeral for their friends. They noted the young nurse watched with them.
At the memorial, Nova, her husband, Derick, Sandor, and the Yamato crew had all watched the young officer hold the salute as the flag-draped caskets passed by him. He lowered his hand a moment later, a murmur from the crowd echoing the memorial when Seth stepped forward and fell in step behind the caskets. He turned sharply to the left, after stepping forward, and followed behind the last of the caskets headed to the gravesite.
"What the hell is he up to?" Sane whispered to Nova and Derick, just as astonished as everyone present had been.
Seth ignored the murmurs as he walked behind them.
When they arrived, he took his place front and center in front of the seven graves that had been dug here. The pallbearers and even the crowd murmured uncertainly. A grimace appeared on their faces, one of them glancing at Commander Singleton, who watched impassively. Seth glanced at the Earth Defense Commander and he nodded once, understanding what the young Lieutenant wanted to do.
"Pallbearers attention," Seth shouted, and the six people at each casket, still holding them, turned and straightened. Let's give them a bit of close-order here. Sidestep left, at the half step.”
The pallbearers held the casket and, with one step, moved it to the side of the graves in one smooth, precise motion. Nova and the others smiled at the precision, beauty, and elegance of the motion.
"Company halt," Seth shouted, as each casket was positioned over the graves.
The pallbearers held the caskets steady over the graves.
"Caskets..." Down... " Seth ordered, and the pallbearers obeyed, sitting them all smoothly on the units that would place them into the graves.
"Dress right, left, close intervals, "Seth shouted, and the group stood at attention, as one arm was an arrow, and they slid into close formation rank. The young officer nodded.
"Eyes... FRONT!" Seth shouted, as heads snapped forward and they faced the mirror of the three other people who had carried the casket.
"Render the flag to honors," Seth ordered. The pallbearers turned to the coffin, and quickly each flag was removed from the caskets where they were neatly folded. The flag was then passed to the first person at the head of each casket.
"Company, left face," shouted the young Lieutenant. The company present turned and Seth nodded.
The echo of the command went down the line.
Neat rows of the formation of pallbearers walked from the side of the caskets, and they walked toward Seth on either side of the caskets to stand behind the graves.
Company Halt, " The group of forty-two people clear of the caskets, with a row between each group of them.
Seth spun to face the left.
"Company... Left Face." He snapped out the command and the compliment present complied.
Neat rows faced the Commander, who stood impressed at the podium. The Lieutenant of the past turned from his place, and he took a place on the left side of the formation.
"Close ranks and stand at ease." Seth snapped and the rows neatly filed in close as the forty-two people stood in a loose formation beside the graves.
Nova had her hands on her face, and there were smiles from the Yamato crew for the excellent demonstration by the pallbearers. There was polite applause from the crowd also. Everyone watched as Commander Charles Singleton stood at the podium, dressed in his formal best.
"We are gathered here to pay respects to our honored dead. We welcome home, with open arms, our lost sons and daughters of Earth who have returned to us after two centuries. " The Commander stated, "We welcome home Emily Montgomery, Denise Watson, Doug Woolard, Christina Cook, Shirley Carnelli, Edward McKee, and Katherine Lewis."
He paused as he panned to look at the many faces in the audience.
"These people are the true spirit of honor and dedication. They are also the ultimate sacrifice so others may live. They will also be honored as earth's finest citizens in the face of adversity, trial, and recognition for their performance of duty. "
When the Commander finished, there was the eerie wail of bagpipes being played as the caskets were readied to be lowered into the graves. The song was a familiar one, Amazing Grace, and there was a low murmur among the audience for the solemn notes here at the memorial. A few minutes passed, and the memorial was silent.
"Honors... HUT! Salute! " A soldier shouted, and the company mass saluted, as the coffins were lowered slowly into the grave.
In the hospital room, Amanda, Melinda, and Amy wept openly as they raised their hands in salute. Manual held a crisp salute, his face as hard and unmoving as Seth's was as he stood at the memorial. At the memorial, Nova, bleary-eyed, turned to salute, as did the other Yamato crew. As she held the salute, the seven coffins were lowered into the graves. In both places, there was a moment of silence from which there could be some reflection among the living stasis crew on their friends. They all remembered the good times, after the rocky start, of working as a team. They learned to trust each other and each other's idiosyncrasies, which helped them communicate and work better together. Now that was over, and all they had were memories.
“RETURN SALUTE!” Seth said sharply and the entire company lowered their hands.
It was over.
"And now we are five," Amy murmured, as she stood in the room, lowering her hand, and beside her, Melinda turned her head, managing a slow nod at her revelation.
"Thank you, Seth." She murmured, as she turned to Amanda, Amy, and Manual, who sat near their beds, in silence.
At the memorial, Seth turned to the pallbearers and the others present. He peered at the youthful faces before him and grimaced at how young many were in the ranks of this new military. He wondered how well he would function, being a dinosaur in comparison to the military service he had enlisted for, two hundred years ago. He shook his head slightly.
"Company… Dismissed…!" Seth shouted, as the forty-two people who had brought these seven caskets, marched out in the same order they had come.
Seth turned, as cameras clicked, and press cameras flashed around him. The camera shopwig the entire event panned and showed the stunned reaction of the crowds. He turned as Derick and Nova approached him. Wildstar's wife hugged the young man, kissing him gently on the cheek.
"That was very sweet and honorable of you." Nova said, "You are quite a person to take charge like that and give an excellent demonstration. You are going to excel in this military."
"Yeah. I agree." Derick said, "You are off to a good start, keep it up, get well and I hope to serve with you someday."
Little did anyone of them know, that they would be serving together in the next few weeks ahead, and where a new battle plan would take shape as news from abroad in the universe would tell them of a war machine that was headed their way. Earth would have to fight again to maintain the peace, just as it had before many times, and with so much loss that was involved with it. The young officer only grimaced at the compliments and watched as the couple departed with a group of the Yamato crew who had come to the funeral.
Abruptly, Seth's memories faded and once again he was in the futuristic waiting room at the EDC Commander's office. Here the officer shook his head and his eyes focused once more on his image in the mirror. He frowned at it as he abruptly turned away from it.
"Jesus. That was almost two months ago." The young officer thought, and he grimaced, shaking his head in silent disbelief. He glanced at the chronometer on his wrist and frowned at it. A half-hour had passed quickly, for which he was thankful.
"In an hour, it is either yes or no." Seth thought happily, "Reactivation to duty, or release into the future as a civilian."
Here, he stopped abruptly from the alcove, into the outer waiting room. Seth, being so engrossed in his memories, had not noticed the enlisted soldier walking toward him. They bumped into each other and the youth snapped instantly to attention.
"Excuse me, sir!" The voice said as Seth returned his salute sharply. He smiled at the motion, letting out a sharp exhale.
"Sorry. Please carry on." Seth instructed as the youth lowered his hand. The Lieutenant of the past quickly stepped back and allowing the enlisted soldier to continue walking down the tiled walkway.
"Just like old times," Seth murmured, as he managed a slight grin peek through. The young Lieutenant of the past felt a boost of confidence by the encounter and the military courtesy shown to him. He turned and walked toward the center of the waiting room. He walked with hollow echoing steps toward the huge onyx desk that sat in the center of the room. Seth walked purposely toward it and soon stood before two young women, an Ensign of the Space Service and a young Second Lieutenant from the Space Marines Corps who are assigned to work behind it. He saw them rise immediately, when they saw him approaching, and he raised his hand to return their salutes. The young women at the desk had not been expecting such a person to arrive on their watch.
"First Lieutenant Aguilera, U.S. Army…?" The young ensign asked and he nodded silently.
"Outstanding sir, the Commander is expecting you. Please follow me."
With that, she moved from the inner section of the desk and started down the nearby hallway.
Seth showed surprise that he was being led to the office and not asked to wait.
"Wait, I thought my appointment was at fourteen-thirty hours," Seth questioned, his tone indicating surprise, but he moved in one step behind her as they walked the plush, but brightly lit hall.
As the youthful Ensign guided him, Seth had was peered at his chronometer confused. His eyes then moved from his wrist to the back of the young woman who guided him. His eyes examined her from the top of her head to her long brown hair that draped to an attractive shoulder length and down her curves of her body clad in the form fitting uniform. He grinned slightly at the beauty before him.
"Wow!" He murmured, "What a babe, I think I am going to like the future after all. At least some things have not changed."
The young woman, named Crystal, however, had felt his gaze burning into her, and inside she was wondering what he is looking at. The young woman then realized it was she, the young officer was watching. When she overheard his comment, she decided to have some fun with him and quickly whirled on him.
"Excuse me, sir?" Crystal asked, in mock annoyance.
"What? Err… Nothing…" He replied quickly, waving his hand at the young woman.
Crystal turned, nodding slightly.
"I thought so." She murmured, chuckling quietly under her breath, as the two officers resumed the short walk down the hallway. The young woman smiled at him as she pointed to the doors.
"Here it is, Lieutenant." She told him, "And the answer is yes, if and when you get back after your choice of what you want to do."
Seth met her gaze with a shocked look and Crystal winked at him before turning to leave. He felt the flush rising over his collar and managed an amused smirk.
"Now I know I am going to like the future…" He thought, just staring at her as she departed and he let out a sharp breath,
Seth turned his head when he heard her giggle and winked at him again as she blew him a kiss.
"Thanks for the compliment Lieutenant." She mouthed the words, then smiled at him.
He smiled back at her, and nodded his thanks to her. Seth then turned to the double doors that were clearly marked by a sign next to it. 'Charles Singleton, Commanding General EDC'
"I guess it must be important if they are going to see me early." He thought. He raised his hand to knock but before he could, however, the doors opened slowly. The young officer gasped in surprise.
"Please come in Lieutenant." A woman's voice called from inside the room. Here, Seth stepped toward the doors quickly and passed through them into the EDC General's office.
As Lieutenant Aguilera entered, he peered at the office in silence. It is a sinister, but Spartan furnished office that sprawls out in front of three bay windows overlooking the city. A carved, stone desk sits in the corner, facing the door with two tables connecting it on either side. Around the office are the same furnishings as the outer office that decorates the room.
Seven people sit facing the door, Five men and two women sit on either side of the Commanding General who sat in the center at his desk. Lieutenant Aguilera grimaced as he walked in three more steps and he turned sharply to the right to face the group. He snapped instantly to rigid attention and raised his hand in an old-fashioned salute to the EDC Commander, his aide, and the other officers sitting at the tables.
"First Lieutenant Seth Aguilera, U.S Army, reporting as ordered, SIR!" He said, holding the salute until the Commander returned it. An amused smile appeared on the other faces as the officer of the past dropped his hand, and remained at attention.
"Welcome Lieutenant... Aguilera, is that right?" Defense Commander Singleton's voice boomed.
"Yes sir!" Seth replied briskly and another flash of grins appeared all around.
"Stand at ease."
The 20th-century officer relaxed, with his hands behind his back.
"First let me introduce the officers who will be in this debriefing." He said, motioning to the left side. "Seated on my left… is Captain Kitano, USS Mercy, my aide, Commander Mitty McDonald, whom you know. Captain Marsha Winters, USS Farragut. On my right is Lt General Stone, His aide, Captain Stethem and Captain Chandra, USS Discovery.”
General Singleton them motioned to a young chief who sat at a desk adjacent to the right hand table and in front of him was a device found in the courtroom.
“Chief Jordy Venture will be taking minutes.”
Seth acknowledged the officers with a nod.
"We summoned you here today for a debriefing session, on the recent events of your stasis project and to possibly get you moving forward to your adjustment into the new century."
He paused, studying his aide after she whispered in his ear.
"However, it has been brought to my attention that your debriefing was partially taken care of while in Federal Hospital by one of my staff members, therefore we will dispense with the formalities. This debrief is to determine your future in the EDC or out and out release from service."
Inside, Seth felt a little uneasy at the thought.
"If you accept this service and your commission, we have need of your valuable abilities immediately in the Earth Defense Command. If accepted, this assignment will return you to active duty status and orders will be issued assigning you to your first command within the EDC. There is a rank increase with this post to Major with the assignment. It is a mission you do not have to accept, however, and you can also pass on it for another. It is a dangerous assignment that will be a security team of two platoons of Space Marines for an upcoming mission.
The new Major was very flabbergasted by General Singleton's statement, realizing it was an assignment and a promotion they were offering him. He stared astonished at the beaming smiles of the group sitting behind the desk and tables.
"Lieutenant, I caution you to choose wisely before you do. If you are not up for the assignment, best to speak up now and we'll find you something more suited to your... er... talents..."
"I choose the danger, the assignment and you can count on me, sir."
"I have nowhere to go in this century anyway, might as well take the assignment and keep busy." Seth thought to himself, and only nodded his thanks to the people in the room. He was reminded of a promise to someone special and one that he could not keep because she had died in stasis. His smile became a grimace. Singleton, and his aides, and the other officers sitting behind the tables, had grinned in delight by the acceptance of the rank and assignment by the young officer. They did not know anything more than was in his service record or reported by the science council to the EDC Commander about stasis. Seth was just another officer, one from a different place and time.
"Outstanding." Singleton boomed, "I welcome you back."
"Welcome back, Major," Kitano said.
"Welcome back sir." Chief Venture said, leaning to offer his hand from across the table.
There were murmurs of welcome and congratulations from the other officers as they shook hands with Seth also.
"Congratulations," Mitty said, stepping from the table and she glanced at the General who nodded. She first embraced him, planting a kiss on his cheek before pulling out the blue box that bore the seal of the EDC on it. Behind him, the doors had opened and several officers and high-ranking ones all filed in to stand near the doors.
"Lieutenant Aguilera is now activated to duty into the Earth Defense Force, and is now recovered fully to resume his duties." Singleton said, "Following regulations, we hereby welcome him to the ranks of the EDC and authorize his promotion to Major with all the full rights and privileges they bear. We wish him well for his new Command and Godspeed."
Seth peered at the young aide, as she reached up, and unpinned the silver bar from his collar. She opened the box and in them were a pair of gold oak leaves, that even in this time, would have marked him as the rank of Major if he would have been promoted to the rank back in his century.
She pinned them to his collar as Seth bent down and smiled at him warmly.
"Welcome back, sir." She whispered and stepped back.
"Hand salute!" Mitty shouted and the company saluted him as cheers and applause echoed the chamber a moment later.
"Thank you all." the Major murmured, as he remained at attention.
Outside the office, however, Seth did not know that the stasis crew stared uneasily at the crowd as they sat on a bench in the hallway They all wondered what was going on as they glanced at each other.
Inside the office, Seth returned the salutes formally and returned the round of shaking hands with the murmured words of wisdom for the new Major. He murmured a subdued thanks to the other officers who had gathered for the ranking ceremony. General Singleton cleared his throat and Seth looked up to meet his solemn look.
"Company dismissed as soon as the congratulations peter out." Singleton's voice boomed, as people filed out, "We must continue another debrief here. Doctor Sane, if you please."
Seth flashed a grin at Doctor Sane, whom he noted to be on hand, and who leaned out of the doors motioning to the hallway a moment later.
"Hiya Doc." Seth started to say but fell silent as the four stasis members stepped into the room a moment later. The young Major's breath caught when he recognized them.
"This way please," Sane told the four as they shuffled slowly into the office.
Melinda, Amy, and Amanda were first to see him and bolted to embrace the Major as he stood at attention. Melinda and Amy kissed Seth on the cheek on both sides, making him flush slightly. He peered at them in silent astonishment.
Seth had stepped back and peered at the strange-looking features of his friends, the long unnatural hair that draped to mid-back level, making them hard to recognize from what he remembered. He grinned at Manual, who had his head shaved already and looked sharp in the EDC Space Marines uniform. The Major also noted the ranking insignia on their collars. A gold bar on Melinda's uniform marked her as a Second Lieutenant, wearing the unfamiliar green and gray Armed Forces uniform of the EDC. His head turned to Amy who wore the unfamiliar blue and trimmed dark blue uniform of the Space Corps and she had a gold bar on her collar marking her as an Ensign. Manual and Amanda both wore uniforms like him, the green and black of the Space Marines. Amanda sported a pin of three stripes up, marking her as enlisted. Manual wore a similar pin three stripes up, one down. They had been given their ranks from the twentieth century to clearly identify them with others in the EDC and it was mostly for medical staff who worked over them.
"Amy? Melinda? Amanda, Manual?" He asked, and they all nodded as the three women hugged him again and Manual back slapped him.
"You all look terrific!" He told them, "A sight for sore eyes."
They clustered about him laughing, joking, and chatting over old times. Several questions assaulted the young officer from all sides by all hands present but he waved his hands, making them quiet down.
"It's alright, quiet down." He said soothingly, and he felt the hand of Melinda who placed it on his shoulder.
"Where are we, Seth?" Melinda asked, "What is this all about? Where are we really?"
"Yeah, What IS this all about?" Amy asked, "We awoke in a hospital, but haven't been told much other than we would be debriefed today, almost two months being laid up and prodded like guinea pigs."
"It seems we all took a little trip," replied the young Major, "A little detour to what the chambers were programmed for."
"Yea, we saw you on TV a month or so ago." Amanda added, "Are the others, besides all of us, dead?"
Seth grimaced and realizing they had seen something happen over a month ago that was supposed to be kept from them. He did not know what to say to them in response to the direct questions.
"Seth you are not saying much. Is there something you are not telling us?" Amy asked, and he glared at her, shaking his head.
"I was thinking,"
"I can answer that!" General Singleton's voice boomed. Their heads turned as Sane motioned to the group to the four chairs that were provided for them. The group stood in a row and snapped to attention.
General Singleton's voice had thundered and echoed the office before Major Aguilera could reply. Seth actually was glad for the intervention.
Manual was first to raise his hand in a crisp salute and the others glanced at him silently as they followed suit. They had, as Seth had, held it until the General replied with the same salute. They stood at attention, a bit nervous about the meeting the General for the first time.
"Stand easy. You are among friends."
Commander McDonald smiled, as did the others when the group stood with their hands behind their backs. Singleton nodded to Sane who smiled broadly.
"We have summoned you four here for debriefing and it is we, this panel, who will answer all questions on your location, and what happened to you." He thundered, "This is a debriefing session to that cryogenic assignment you were in, and a meeting to possibly place you into the Earth Defense Command, based on the files recovered from your place of cryogenic storage. Or you an choose out and out release from service into civilian life here in the twenty-third century."
Murmurs of delight rippled through the gathered group.
"Major Aguilera!" General Singleton said sharply and Seth snapped to instant attention.
The other stasis volunteers stared in wonder at the rank change and then realized Seth had been going through the ceremony a moment ago in the office.
"Major?" Melinda breathed quietly.
Sane shushed her and motioned to the General.
"It is alright he will explain later." The doctor murmured to the party and they nodded.
"SIR…!" Seth exclaimed, snapping into instant rigid military attention.
"You are not needed for this meeting, and you may leave." Singleton's voice boomed, "I just thought you would want to see your friends before we start the meeting."
The young officer nodded, smiling broadly.
"Thank you General, that was very thoughtful." He said, "Will I be able to see them before I go on my assignment?"
Singleton nodded. "Of course,"
"Thank you, SIR." The Major told him, snapping off a salute. He smiled at his friends who stared at him.
Quickly, the twentieth-century officer stepped forward, turning sharply to his right, and headed toward the doors as they opened slowly. He paused in front of Doctor Sane, who had stepped forward to stand next to his friends.
"It's okay. I will see you all later." He whispered to the group as they clustered around him and their questions rippled and echoed through the room.
"It's cool, these people will answer all questions and so will the wisdom of Doctor Sane for what they miss."
He paused, meeting their smiles, grinning at the flush and modest look on the Doctor's face.
"Oh yes, Doctor Sane… Can you do me a favor and bring my friends to Hero Hill later? I'll be there waiting for them."
The doctor met his look for a moment and nodded, a huge smile appearing on his face.
"It will be my pleasure, Major Aguilera. I will be coming up there later anyway, to meet my friends and it is my honor to guide them." He replied as he snapped off a salute and Seth, laughing, waved off a casual salute.
"Thanks, doc." He told him and glanced at his four friends. "I'll see you three later."
Seth nodded, as he turned to the door, and without another word walked through them. Both the huge, walnut, doors thudded hollowly as they closed behind him. They were alone with the debriefing panel gathered here in the office. The four stasis members remained at attention.
They glanced at Doctor Sane who nodded and had motioned to the chairs provided.
"It's alright, you'll see him later, and he will meet you later at a place with my friends."
They relaxed and faced the tables provided on either side of Singleton's office.
"Please take your seats and we will start the debriefing," Kitano said, and quickly each of the remaining stasis personnel took the seats provided, sitting down in the huge chairs, with high backs, made of an absorbent plastic. For the next hour they were debriefed, and heartily welcomed into the twenty-third century. As for the stasis crew, they were completely flabbergasted by the information they were given and the debrief also included the memorial service for their friends. The panel asked each of them questions and the stasis crew responded. In turn they asked some back, and the panel responded. An exchange of information between the group to better educate and bring them up to speed more than they were learning while in the hospital.
Remembrance of the Fallen
As for Seth, he moved off from the Earth Defense Commander's office, through the foyer, and toward the main hallway. He grinned at the young Ensign, Crystal who smiled at him.
"So… when do you get off duty?" Seth asked, "Maybe I can buy you dinner."
Crystal grinned and glanced at the other young woman who had turned her head, smiling at him too.
"You guys never cease to amaze me." Crystal declared sharply, in mock annoyance "We're much more than just pieces of meat!"
Seth grimaced and raised a hand off the desk, sensing hostility among the lower ranks.
The young woman smiled at him, as she waved her hand and quickly scribbled down a number on a scrap of paper. He took it, thrusting it into his pocket.
"I am just kidding Major." Crystal told him, “Call me, I would be honored for your company at dinner.”
Seth nodded and returned her smiled. He also returned her salute and turned to head toward the doors that would exit the waiting room for General Singleton's Office. As he left, the young women peered at him briefly in silence.
"Oh god, he is a dream." Sam observed, “He is really a hot looking guy for someone from two centuries in the past. I wonder if he had anyone and is taken by any of the others in stasis...”
"Yeah, he's not bad for someone who has been through hell, and back for the last two centuries…" The young woman commented as she watched him leave, "Just like the other two before them, a year ago…”
The look on the young woman's face had been one of sympathy, as she watched the young Major go. She was lucky not to have said that in front of him, and neither her counterpart that sat at the desk. It would have informed him of something that had been kept from his group for a short time since their awakening. There was another stasis group out there.
Meanwhile, Seth walked from the Headquarters building and down to the corner of the two main streets. As he stood there, he tried to gather his bearings, and navigate himself to the main gate from Headquarters without the young Sergeant who had been his guide since he was released from the Central Hospital. Quickly, he found signs and familiar landmarks but quickly took a wrong turn to find himself near the airfield and docks adjacent to the airfield. Seth watched impressed as two Astro-fighters thundered into the sky.
"Wow, nice lines on that bird." He commented to himself, "If that's the kind of stuff this new military flies, I am going to enjoy my service in this century."
Turning, he adjusted his bearings before turning to walk toward what appeared to be the main drag. Here he paused, finding himself lost again.
"Major?" A voice asked and he turned his head to a jeep occupied by the young sergeant who had been his guide since release from the hospital.
"Are you lost? Hop in I know the way, and what you are looking for. This base got to me too when I first arrived here."
"Thanks," Seth replied, relieved at the intervention. They drove off and took two turns, soon arriving at the main gate. The guards at the post saluted as they passed, opening the gate and allowed them to leave. Driving along, he took in the futuristic New Tokyo, nodding impressed by the tall buildings and futuristic designs. It certainly was not as it was in his century, but he did call it home for now. The Major smiled at the trams overhead enclosed in glass tubes, reminding him of the monorail in Disneyland back in his century. The Air tram service reminded him of Star Trek, something his best friend back in his century had so been into from TV in his century.
"This is amazing!" He thought, "Emily and the others would have killed if she had this in San Francisco. Hell, they would have loved to see New Tokyo even in this century."
"So how long have you been assigned here in New Tokyo Sergeant?" Seth asked, making small talk.
"I have been here a couple of years, but I still occasionally get lost." She told him, "My name is Marla, by the way, sir. You can call me that when we are outside the ears of others."
He grinned slightly.
"I'll do that." He replied, "I’m Seth, nice to meet you Marla. Since we never were properly introduced to each other."
The officer heard her laughter and managed a grin.
"That's for sure. I wasn't exactly expecting someone your age for being in stasis for two hundred years." She told him and he nodded. "You look like you are about twenty."
"Twenty-sh…" He replied, and here he laughed. "Sheesh, it seems like a lifetime ago."
"Did you have a family when you were in the twentieth century?"
"I had three siblings, all brothers." He replied, and let out a sigh, "They are still working to tell me what happened to them. I was supposed to meet them after stasis, on leave. I never got that chance."
"I'm sorry." Marla replied, "I did not mean to pry."
"No, you're fine." Seth replied waving his hand, "I often miss them, as we were very close."
Turning his head, he took in the surroundings in silence until they reached the road that went out to Hero's Hill where the Yamato crew buried their comrades and now the stasis personnel. As the jeep came to a stop, he turned his head to meet her smile.
"We walk from here." She announced suddenly, "Ready?"
The young Marine officer nodded to the sergeant and both hopped out of the jeep. Quickly they found the path easily that led to the sea and curved to the memorial. Together Seth and his young guide followed it up toward the huge obelisk, standing as a marker to the memorial.
As the young officer walked up the hill, he turned his head and stared at the horizon, at the beautiful scene of a glorious sunset before him. Suddenly, Seth was confronted with a memory of long ago, when he and Emily sat together through many glorious sunsets like this one, on North Beach of San Francisco. They both had stared together at the spectacular fiery red, burnt orange, and mauve-colored sky, along with mixed lavenders and gold in the sunsets they watched there, two hundred years ago. The young man suddenly realized that this one sunset that his young love would not be sharing in, and inside, his stomach heaved as he thought of his lost, new love. The pain of her death still haunted him like an open wound and many things in the future still reminded him of her. It made his existence harder and harder as the days progressed since their burial.
"She's dead and that's a fact." He murmured, "I cannot undo what is. I thought it would not be so hard to get over, but I guess not."
Seth shook his head, remembering his lost love and tears welled up that he wiped away quickly. Major Aguilera stood with the young guide beside him at the memorial, staring at a gorgeous sunset, but in a strange time and place. One that had rescued the remaining stasis volunteers from a literal hell of being in cryonics and reminding him often of the fact they were out of time and place
"Remember your friends, remember them positively and share those good times." A voice said, and the Major grinned slightly, remembering hearing that from someone else knew very well. An old friend whom he did not know was a part of this century also, thanks to another stasis project, one year before his project.
“Jesus, I wish you were here Emily,” Seth thought and shook his head silently.
It was several minutes before he could force his gaze away from the scene, and turn it to the memorial itself.
As he did so, he walked away from the railing near the sea wall, and managed a few more steps up the path on the hill toward the center of the memorial. As it spread out before him, the young officer still found it an amazing sight every time he saw it. It is a huge memorial, built in a circular design and made of granite. The whole area is green and overgrown, with several trees, several thick shrubs under the trees, and several grassy areas. A huge stone obelisk stands in the center of the memorial and a statue of Captain Abraham Avatar stands directly beside it, staring off out to the sea. Lining the grassy area, under the statute, are the many graves of Yamato's crew who were buried here after their missions to save Earth.
Seth stared at the obelisk and then panned away from it, his gaze moving to the statue of Avatar that stood under it. It then moved to the surroundings around the memorial itself. He walked with Marla toward the obelisk and toward the graves of the Yamato crew. The young officer did not stop, however, he walked right past the graves and only glanced up at the statue of Avatar to snap off a salute to it and the EDC flag that fluttered in the breeze from a pole next to it.
"Only proper," He thought, "They died saving Earth."
Sergeant Marla McGivers followed him closely and she followed suit. The young woman when she had arrived at the memorial had gasped openly at the famed memorial, this being her first time coming here since her starting an assignment here. She peered at the many graces of the Star Force crew as they littered the large grass area under the memorial and status. Seth continued on his way past it and only twenty-five feet past the Yamato graves, his destination,
Here lies the stasis members graves that line the perimeter of the memorial grounds, surrounded by pillars lined with chain. Exhaling sharply, his long stare panned across the section and to each tombstone where a familiar name and face were carved in the smooth granite surface. He casually glanced at the names, as he had several times before, carved in Old English Text, and inscribed on each tombstone.
'Emily Montgomery', 'Denise Watson', 'Doug Woolard', 'Christina Cook', 'Sherry Carnelli', 'Edward McKee', and 'Katherine Lewis'.
Seth's gaze stared at the faces carved on the tombstones as well, as he walked along the line of them. When he got to the end, the young officer stopped at the farthest one, at Emily Montgomery's grave.
"Well Em, Here I am again. I thought I would stop by to say goodbye for a while." He whispered and held his hand on her tombstone as if he could gain strength from her.
Here, he thought of the young woman, her long brown, curly hair, brown eyes, round face, and her sweet kisses.
"It looks like I have been reactivated to duty, assigned to a new mission, and heading out into space on a classified project. I probably will see you soon babe, if the mission is as it sounds. It seems like it is a suicide mission."
He paused, fighting back the pain of heartache in his chest that sounded like a piston engine in his chest, and he could hear the blood in his ears.
"You would never believe how much Earth has changed. We made it almost two hundred and five years past the end date of the project, making it into the twenty-third century now. Earth seems to have advanced so much and I wish you were here with me. It's no fun to share this alone."
He shuddered with the brisk sea breeze and glanced at the surroundings.
"Whatever happens, I may see you soon, and wherever I go and do, I still will always love you."
From his jacket, he withdrew a long-stemmed red rose with a shaking hand and placed it at the foot of her tombstone on the ground. He then placed his fingers to his lips, kissing and then placing them on the cold stone mouth of the granite face carved on the tombstone.
“I'm sorry for your loss, Major.” Marla said, “I-I didn't know there were people killed in your project. If you need me i'll be right over there, to give you some privacy.”
He knelt at Emily's grave in which he prayed. He prayed for strength and resolve and wished he was with her in death. He remained in silent prayer for many minutes and did not look up when the Yamato crew had arrived at the memorial. As the Star Force members walked together, clustered in a small group toward the memorial, It consisted of Stephen Sandor, Derick Wildstar, Nova Forrester-Wildstar his wife, Dash Jordan, who arrived from Mars with them, Thomas Orion, Christopher Eager, Homer Glitchman, Cory Conroy, and the Chief Toragawa.
When they had arrived the parked next to the jeep that had brought Seth and Marla to the memorial. The crew as they walked further into the memorial was confused by the jeep and the probability that someone was here at the memorial. They spotted Seth in prayer before Emily's tombstone and Marla near the Yamato graves as they approached.
"Who is that?" asked Derick, exchanging a look with Nova, who managed to shrug. The group stared at the officer, at the dark shaved hair, bearded face, and dark eyes. Miss Forrester-Wildstar had not recognized him as they had walked up to the memorial or the young enlisted woman who panned a look at the Yamato graves in stunned silence.
"Attention on deck!" Marla shouted and Seth looked up at the group from the graves where he had been kneeling in silent prayer.
Derick, who led the group, took a step toward the officer, nodding to the Major who stood several feet from the graves that were located under the obelisk and statue of Avatar. Here, he turned his head and acknowledged the young Sergeant with him. She saluted sharply.
"Carry on." Nova told her quietly, "Relax it's a social call."
“Yes ma'am.” Marla replied sharply, and walked toward Seth who had stood up.
Derick walked toward Seth and Marla, followed by the Yamato crew members.
Seth peered at Nova as she raised her hand in greeting.
"Nice to see you again, Lieutenant…" She said sharply
Nova saw the gold oak leaf on his collar.
"Excuse me, Major."
Nova smiled, as she stood beside her husband. Seth recognized her and nodded a silent greeting to her and the Star Force crew who gathered here today.
"Oh, Hey Chief… How's it going?" He replied listlessly. He motioned to the young Sergeant who had walked to his side in silence, She was in awe by the presence of the famous crew that she had only read about while in school and training in the EDC.
"May I present Sergeant Marla Mc Givers. My intrepid young guide."
The young sergeant smiled at Seth.
"It is nice to meet you, Sergeant," Derick told her, "First time to the memorial?"
“Yes Chief.” She replied, "I never thought I would see the graves for the Yamato crew in person. I read about your exploits in school and I never thought I would meet anyone from the Yamato. It is an honor to meet you all."
Derick and the others grinned at the young woman.
"So Seth, you were promoted, when did this happen?" Nova asked.
"I just was reactivated today. Not my idea though." Seth replied casually, "I am assigned to the combat group that is going to Aquarius with all of you. General Singleton is eager to get this group formed, briefed, and dispatched to the water planet without delay."
"Outstanding... It appears we're all shipmates." Derick said, "We're the Command crew."
"What about your friends?" Nova asked, "Are they going too?"
"No. Sargent Parry, myself and two groups of Space Marines will be going. The rest will stay here on Earth."
However, before Seth could reply further, a voice interrupted them.
"Ah, so you have come!" a voice exclaimed, and the Star Force members turned to meet the wide grin of Doctor Sane who walked toward him. He had two young ladies that Nova recognized at the stasis members who were left from Seth's project, and who were currently recovering in the hospital. The Star Force smiled and laughed as he approached, amused by his entry.
"Just like Doctor Sane to make an entrance with beautiful ladies on each arm," Homer commented and more laughter cycled through the group.
Amy and Melinda colored slightly, as they met everyone's gaze, and smiled largely when they met Seth's smiling face. Both of the young women broke from the Doctor's arms and rushed toward him. Amy was first on him, as she embraced Seth first and Melinda followed suit. Both of them kissed the young Major on the cheeks and he blushed making everyone present laugh when he blushed. Behind them, Amanda and Manual were close behind and even Amanda embraced the Major as well. Seth returned the hugs and handshakes by his comrades in arms.
As they stood there, they bantered between the five of them, all glad to see each other, and so soon after the debriefing that welcomed them into the twenty-third century.
Seth noted the uniforms and how good they looked in them, despite the change of centuries. He noted Melinda wore a green and gray uniform of the EDC Armed forces, sporting a single silver bar on her collar, marking her as a First Lieutenant. Amy sported a blue and dark blue trimmed uniform of the Space Force. On her collar was double bars marking her as Lieutenant. Amanda and Manual both wore the uniform like his, the black and green of the Space Marines. Amanda sported a silver bar with a red spot in the center, marking her as a Warrant Officer. Manual sported stripes, three up and three down, marking him as a Sergeant Major.
Their questions assaulted the Major from all sides and he motioned to them to be quiet as he explained what happened and everything he knew on top of what they had found out in the debriefing. He did not hold back that they were left there on the pretense of a terrorist bomb that had ripped through the chambers after they had been placed in the chambers and that it collapsed the chambers. They were assumed lost by the military.
"...All I know that the bomb destroyed the support crew and equipment in the chamber. When it collapsed the chamber, it made us look like we were lost by the explosion. That's what the black-box indicated when the science council of the EDC and I examined it. Other than that, they don't know any more than that event.”
“What about our families?” Melinda asked, “You know our families would have kittens if they received the telegram indicating we were lost.”
“I know.” Seth replied, ““Look, I know its going to be tough.” Seth began, “We all lost everything but we must assimilate and stay focused. They are looking into your files and the information before 2199 that was partially lost, maybe they can tell each of us what happened to our families.
He met the stunned expressions of all hand, smiling as he peered at them.
"So this is where everyone is buried?" asked Melinda, turning to pan a silent glance across the memorial. "We saw this on TV. I did not know it is such a large place."
"You saw all of that," asked Seth and the dark-skinned young woman bobbed her head, a smile peeking through despite her pensive expression.
"It was very sweet what you did for everyone," Melinda told him and managed a grim nod. Amy, Manual, and even Amanda had nodded in agreement with the sentiment. They still wanted answers, to understand what happened, which as a leader he just could not provide because even he didn't have all the answers himself.
"With thanks, I didn't know what else to do." Seth said listlessly, "Doctor Sane suggested we put them here and after what he described to me, this is a very special place. A place of honor and resolve. Many of the Doctor's crew-mates are buried here, and he thought it was only fitting."
Melinda hugged him warmly, peering into his dark eyes.
"It's alright. I understand." She told him, "If you don't know anything more than you just told us, I won't hold it against you. We are here, and it is totally a blindsided amazing feat, despite what we went through."
"Yeah, that's for sure Melinda." He thought to himself, "But how many lives had to pay the price for the idiocy of a failed but partially successful project?"
Seth's thoughts had been of the people whom he had watched being shredded inside the chamber where the stasis containers were located. The scientists, security, and everyone had been slaughtered by the massive explosion that destroyed the chamber. In addition to the seven people who would not survive stasis because of the damage that had been inflicted on their chambers causing them to fail. He grimaced despite it, as he faced Melinda and the others.
They heard the cheers and laughter nearby, as Yamato crew members carried on and the stasis crew had turned to watch the Star Force crew-member's banter in curiosity. Derick Wildstar stood with his wife in the middle of the group and his arm around her waist. He put up his arm to get their attention.
"...Well, here is news that you probably do not know and the announcement is official!" He shouted, "I'm going to be a father!"
There was a gasp by all hands, and a moment later, a cheer echoed through the memorial. More banter followed as there were handshakes, and hugs by the group for the young couple, their shipmates that stood before them. Nova blushed very deeply as her husband held her around the waist. Sane had yelped the loudest when had heard the announcement.
"What!" He asked as he walked toward them, "You are…?"
Nova had smiled at Sane who was shaking his head in disbelief.
"The Mars doctor sent the records." Nova said, "Your office should have them by now!"
There was laughter and cheers by the Yamato crew who celebrated this happy event. Meanwhile, the stasis group only looked on in confused silence as the congratulations rippled through the group. No one noticed that Sane, of course, had stepped away from the group and stood in front of the statue of Avatar to stare up at it. He nodded before he turned as if the statue spoke to him.
"Star force! Fall in!" He shouted and the Yamato crew gathered at the graves quickly.
The stasis group stood there watching as the remaining Yamato crew fell into neat ranks. Sane turned to the stasis crew.
"You guys too. Don't be strangers we are honoring your friends too."
Manual motioned to his friends and they took up a position on the side of the Yamato crew, making up an L-shaped formation. Nova looked around for the young Major and saw he was nowhere to be found. He had wandered off to the sea and stood alone staring out at the blue water, feeling the stiff wind that hit his face. He turned to sprint back to the formation when he turned his head, seeing Nova wave to him. He nodded to Sergeant Mc Givers who had hung back from the group, and she stepped forward to join them too.
"Crew Atten-hut!" Seth shouted and the stasis crew listlessly snapped to attention.
Sane stood in the formation.
"Once again we have gathered here, and honor you Captain Avatar, and those who lay to rest here in the name of peace. We honor you, the one hundred and fifty-six of the Yamato crew who lay here at rest. In addition, the seven from the stasis project, who died and their deaths will never be in vain. All of you shall live forever, and be remembered forever. Pray for the swift response of Yamato. Pray for the quick response of stasis crew two-fourteen."
There was a short silence as each member of the two groups stared at the graves and remembered their friends.
"Prayer finished." Sane shouted, "Salute!"
Stiffly, the members of the stasis crew raised their hands in salute, the old-fashioned one compared to the salute across the chest as the Yamato crew had done. They held the salute, each one remembering their respective groups and their time together as comrades in arms.
"Return Salute!" Sane bellowed and they all dropped their hands in unison.
Afterward, the crew of both worlds broke off into small parties, where cups were distributed among them, and Avatar's spring water freely poured. Here they also included the stasis crew, treating them as they would fellow crew aboard the ship.
As the stasis group sat in silence, they listened to the stories flow from the Yamato crew and the stasis crew joined in uncertainly at the laughter and banter that followed. Seth and the others were just trying to be polite and trying to fit in, even though this is a new place, time and military for the group. The members of the stasis crew had little choice of options to be in this century, save death, and had ultimately accepted service over the release. They really had nowhere to go in this century except for New San Francisco to find a new home in this place and time. They knew they could not go home to where they were from because most of it was still open land with nothing remaining prior to the planet bombs that decimated the planet in 2199.
The stasis crew decided unanimously to make a go of it in the service and see what they could see here. They would have a fresh start in a new century among several generations that had survived prior to the holocaust that decimated Earth.
An hour elapsed as the groups sat at the memorial. Unnoticed, however, that Seth had moved off, slipping again away from the groups, and he found his way to the sea wall, a considerable distance from the main memorial. As Seth sat at the seawall, he did so alone, staring off at the fading sunset, the ocean, and the darkening sky where the beginning stars of night began to twinkle brightly in the sky. The Major just sat listening to the thunder of the ocean that boomed in the distance, as waves struck the shore, making a fine cool mist swirl about him as he sat deep in thought.
His mind was on the memory of Emily, and the beginning of a new day in an alien century from which he found himself.
“A day without my love and companion.” Seth reminded himself and here he managed a sigh as he peered upward at the sky above him.
"Excuse me, Major. Please come back and partake of the conversation." A voice said, and a moment later, he felt a hand placed on his shoulders. Seth surprised by the presence, half-turned to regard Lieutenant Nova Wildstar standing over him.
"I want to be alone. I just don't feel like being sociable right now Lieutenant, with apologies to your friends of course." He replied dully, "But a nobler part of me lies there at those graves."
Nova glanced at the memorial in pain.
"I know your pain, and understand." She said quietly, "I lost a good man here on the last mission, Mark Venture. He was my first love as was she to you. He died protecting us all on Yamato, in the line of duty. Remember that, she died in the line of duty for your project."
Here, Nova paused and shuddered briefly, feeling pain before continuing.
"Even worse for Derick, myself, and the others, that Avatar, who was as a father to us all had to die again, our original Captain of the Yamato. We thought him dead, coming home from our very first mission to Iscandar, a heartbreak to us all. You are not to blame for something that happened centuries ago, and because of something that tended to malfunction. You are blameless, you should forgive those who left you there and forgive yourself for the ones you lost in transit”
"I know. I read about your exploits." He replied, dully.
"Then, we are the same, you and I. Your team and the Star Force are the same." She continued, "What you need to do is to forgive yourself for what penance you feel is necessary. You must face it and just accept the loss. You have to remember them for who they were and move on."
Nova paused, seeing his astonishment and he glanced up to meet her smiling face. She nodded to the young Major.
"Very wise, Miss Wildstar." He admitted gravely, as he grimaced.
"Now you see." She said, "Now you need to forgive yourself and find renewal... It is in yourself to find it but we can help you along the way. You will have support to accomplish your goal."
Seth watched her walk back up the walkway toward the group, mingling back to the party in which they had come, paying their respects to their lost comrades. As she did so, the young Major exhaled sharply, seeing a gleam on the other side of the memorial that caught his eye, caught by the fading sunlight on the horizon. Seth's gaze moved from the metal gleam, then to Nova several times before he realized it was the barrel of a weapon.
"Holy shit! A gun barrel," Seth breathed, seeing a shadowy figure in the scrub bushes with what appeared to be a rifle of some sort. The Major realized that the shooter was taking aim at the young wife of Derick Wildstar.
"Oh no you don't... I don't think so." He thought, drawing his Astro-automatic pistol, leaping over the pillar, and charging toward the party.
"Get down." Seth shouted, "Shooter in the bushes!"
The Major's voice seemed muffled as he charged the young woman and the group who sat at the memorial. Startled, the other stasis crew, and Yamato crew, looked up in astonishment at Seth charging toward them. Both groups noted his weapon was drawn and slowly rose to their feet in confusion. Seth seemed to be traveling in slow motion as Derick Wildstar, her husband's gaze bounced between the young Major and his wife.
"Nova…! GET DOWN…!"' Seth was shouting, running full speed at young Nova Wildstar. She had paused to turn in astonishment, as Derick finally interpreted his words and his warning to his young wife. Derick sprung instantly into action, moving toward the Major who charged toward his wife, A single shot rang out as Seth leaped into action.
"AHHHHHHHH…!" Seth yelled as he lunged across the path of Nova and the shooter. Seth felt two shots strike him, as he knocked Nova clear and the sound of a ricochet echoed across the memorial. Nova had only felt the wind of Seth's body, as he flew in front of her as the shots rang out. She had been close enough to see him stiffen as he gasped and a splatter of blood hit her directly in the face as the rounds passed through him. It had been almost in slow motion when the warm blood struck her in the face and the inert body of the young Major had hit the cement walkway with a loud, hollow thud.
"Success…!" Seth thought as he rolled twice, pulling the trigger twice as two of his shots streaked across the memorial and struck the figure in the bushes, causing it to spark and fall out onto the cement walkway. Everyone turned, seeing the robotic creature fall from the bushes as smoke billowed over the memorial like a thick blanket. Everyone ducked down behind the memorial tombstones, drawing their pistols as the fire began to streak across the memorial.
"Ambush!" Derick shouted, "Take Cover!"
Seth lay on the cement as the pain overwhelmed his senses. His action had been swift, and he had saved the young woman named Nova Forrester-Wildstar. Now a firefight ensued as bolts streaked across the memorial with careless abandon. Seth lay on the walkway for a minute before he forced himself to move, crawling toward a nearby tombstone, to crouch behind it. He returned the fire, the smoke billowing across the memorial as his shots struck several of the robots that had been transported to ambush them at the memorial. Across the streaks of laser fire, Seth glanced at Derick, Nova, and the others who were across from him behind several other tombstones. Nova was still stunned by what had happened a moment ago and grimaced when she felt a warm trickle run down her cheek and face. Idly reaching up, she wiped the liquid from her face and peered at her hands. It was blood.
"Oh my god…!" Nova gasped, and the others, especially her husband, turned horrified when they saw the blood on her face.
"Derick!" She stammered and promptly fainted.
"What the hell?" Derick gasped, as he slowly lowered her onto the ground. The young officer stared at the blood in horror, a surge of adrenaline rushing through his body.
"Nova…!" He said, "NOVA!"
The young woman lay motionless, as he crouched next to her.
"Doctor Sane," Wildstar exclaimed, "Nova has been hit!"
Sane was beside her in a heartbeat.
"What the..." Sane gasped, staring wide-eyed at the blood on her tunic and her face as the laser fire continued to streak around them in all directions. Seth mortally wounded, crouched by the tombstone he was at, blindly returning the fire as was everyone else present, and no one noticed he had been injured.
"Damn, pinned down in a crossfire." Derick thought, watching as automatic laser fire streaked past, "This is not exactly what I had in mind."
His gaze moved to the Major and didn't notice that blood covered his tunic, then back briefly to his wife beside him.
"How is she, Doctor Sane?" Wildstar asked, and he looked up to meet the astonished expression of the Doctor who examined her.
"She is just fine." Sane soothed, "She just fainted. This is not her blood, Wildstar. Your wife and child are still okay."
He pulled her unconscious body closer to the tombstone.
"Then where is that blood coming from?" Derick asked and he glanced about the memorial.
"It's not hers, Wildstar..." Sane began as Nova opened her eyes, jolted by the smelling salts, and turned her head. She looked at the young Major nearby, as laser shots streaked across the wide expanse. Seth held his wound, blood seeping through his fingers. Nova saw the wound, startled to see it, and reminded that it was almost like Mark Venture's wound on the last mission.
"Derick." She whispered and Sane put her hand on her shoulder.
Wildstar turned to meet her gaze.
"Nova…" He breathed, his pistol shots echoing the memorial.
"Seth..." She began, but her voice caught, as emotion overwhelmed her very soul.
She pointed at the young Major of the past. Seth turned his head as she pointed and met her gaze. Miss Wildstar saw the expression on his face and he nodded twice to her. She could see the intensity in his eyes as held the wound on his side, covering his tunic and hand. Nova pointed at Seth and the two men beside her turned to peer at the him The two men gazed upon him and both saw the bloody wound with raised eyebrows. Before either of them could do anything though, the young Major made a decision and nodded only once to them as they saw the look in his eye and realized what he intended to do.
"This is the only way." Seth thought, "It will break this stalemate."
"Oh my god…" Nova said as she, Sane, and her husband exchanged astonished glances, realizing what he was about to do.
"Don't do it Major. Please, Seth." Nova Wildstar thought, and yet Seth, without warning, rolled over a tombstone with gritted teeth. He charged out into the line of fire.
"FREEEDOOOM…!" His piercing battle cry echoed over the memorial, and it made everyone turn in astonishment. The robotic soldiers seem to pause when they saw the human jump the tombstone, and without fear, charged toward them. They pointed their weapons and started firing. The others, startled by the cry, watched in astonishment as Seth charged through the now thick smoke. A moment seemed to hang there as they watched him do so as if it were in slow motion.
"What the fuck?" Manual exclaimed as Seth charged the guns, opening up on them with his pistol. He watched as Seth dodged, pivoted, and dropped two of the robots. He pivoted again, missed by one bolt but another struck his arm. Amy and Melinda screamed again, as they saw the shot strike their friend. Drawing their pistols, they also returned fire and started dropping the robots.
"No Major Aguilera, NO! Get down." Wildstar shouted, but Seth did not listen as he ducked, weaved, his finger rapid firing on the trigger of his pistol. Nova and the others watched as Seth took two more hits, dropping to his knees only briefly before he continued firing his weapon. Two more robots sparked and fell smoking into the memorial. They saw him drop to his knees for a second when shots struck him again and he rolled as three more missed him as he came up firing to destroy his attackers.
"No!" Melinda shouted, as everyone suddenly realized what was happening. Manual had stood up, again, from another tombstone and slowly made his way toward Seth to no avail. He was promptly pinned down by the fire that streaked across the memorial.
"I am not going to let him get clobbered!" Manual shouted, "Damn it, give him some cover!"
He rose as he shot off two rounds and bolts continued to strike his friend several times. His shots only landed two hits before he managing to advance to another tombstone. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain as a shot struck him full in the shoulder and it threw him back. He let out a yell as he hit the grass behind the tombstones and from their places, a startled Yamato crew watched in horror. Amanda and one of the Yamato crew pulled Manual back behind the safety of a granite tombstone.
Several minutes elapsed as a cloud of thick smoke now masked the fire and their position as one by one the young Major fought, dropping the enemy one by one. He had taken out over a dozen of the Cybertron, one by one with his pistol and a sharp bayonet from centuries past. A sudden silence over-shrouded the memorial after a moment as the young Major knelt on one knee in the now silent memorial. Thick smoke billowed around him and the only sounds were the sparking of the robot's components. Five minutes elapsed as the Yamato crew and the stasis members peeked out from behind the tombstones, the sound of the rustling trees and ocean hitting the shore the only sounds around them. Confused looks appeared on their faces, as they came out and carefully swept the memorial with their pistols drawn.
Across the memorial, slumped against a nearby pillar, Seth gathered himself as the pain he felt was unbearable. He staggered to his feet, and he walked only a few steps before he leaned against another pillar lining the walkway. Astro-fighters rocketed overhead and troops came running toward the memorial. Derick looked up at the Astro-fighters and the troop carriers that landed nearby, smiling when he saw them. He turned to regard his wife and a couple of others.
"It's over," Wildstar said to his wife. "Nova, are you alright?"
She slowly opened her eyes, meeting her husband's loving eyes.
"I'm okay Derick." She whispered, "I did not get hit. Find Seth though… oh please, find him… He saved my life."
"Don't worry we will." Promised her husband, but he stayed beside her.
"You just rest," Sane instructed, and he was on his feet as a silent wind whipped across the memorial, clearing clear the smoke that covered it like a fog. He quickly moved about the memorial, finding the other Yamato members. He found Dash, Conroy, Eager, and Homer. He found the chief and Thomas Orion. He then found each stasis member, except for Seth. He saw to any wounded of the groups and had them moved to a central spot as he waved to the medics that had run from the transport toward them.
"Over here." Sane shouted, "We need a medic here."
Sane worked over them, tending to a couple of the Yamato crew who had been unfortunately clipped by the gunfire, and Manual who had taken one in the shoulder. Amy, Melinda, and Amanda had been fortunate to duck when the fire had started, but each one had returned the fire too, earning a kill or two to their credit also.
As the wind blew away the smoke, Melinda's eyes darted to the bushes, as did the others standing over Manual who lay on the ground. Amanda assisted the medic and Sane who tended his wound. She put a pressure bandage on it, having ripped her uniform sleeve to tend to him until help arrived. All of them were shaken by their first baptism of fire and wondered what was happening. It had been several minutes as they watched their friend helping the medic before realizing who it was that had broken the stalemate and had won the battle here today.
Melinda gasped as she glanced at Amy, even the Yamato crew.
"Oh shit... Seth…" gasped the dark-haired woman, and she bolted into the still smoke laden memorial. Amy who went with her.
"SETH!" Melinda shouted as she drew her Astro-automatic and carefully walked through the memorial, passing the many sparking Cybertron who littered the cement walkway.
Another landing craft ripped across the memorial and landed nearby. Another platoon of Marines appeared, followed by a young officer leading them, shouting orders.
"Damn... a little late," Derick muttered under his breath and he met a smile from Nova who also had chuckled at the sentiment.
Derick stood as the officer approached and saluted.
"Is everyone all right?" The officer asked, and Wildstar walked toward him.
"There are a few wounded, Lieutenant, but everything has been secure." Derick told him, "We were ambushed by a new enemy. There might be more out there, you need to deploy your men to the perimeter."
"A new enemy…?" The officer asked and Wildstar managed a nod. He motioned to the Lieutenant and led him to a semi-whole robot that lay sparking on the deck. It was human-like with a single red laser eye, with a shiny metal body.
"We kept a few of the whole ones to show the general staff." Derick said, "Not much left of a few of them, it seems a few exploded in a self-destruct, trying to take us with them when they went down."
Derick also filled him on the events that had led up to the incident and ambush, unable to give any explanation other than what they were doing there. He managed a shrug in response to the the questions by the Lieutenant because plainly Derick really didn't have an answer for him. No one had expected these creatures of the future to be here, and no one knew of their insane plot to change history.
Meanwhile, as Wildstar talked with the Lieutenant from Headquarters, Melinda had been shouting for Seth, and walked to the far side of the memorial. Amy had taken the closer side, but there was no sign of him. They could barely see, with the thick smoke still clearing by the wind, and Melinda becoming more panicked as they continued their search. It was here that Nova realized what had happened, and what had been done. Seth had given himself to save her and the others. She watched as Melinda walked through the smoke that billowed across the memorial and on the other side was Amy. The young women were getting frantic now as they called Seth's name and got no answer. That changed, however, when Melinda finally saw the shadow of her friend through the smoke and a wave of relief fell upon her. He sat on the ground, slumped against a post that lined the walkway.
Melinda bolted toward him when she saw him.
"Oh my God..!" The young woman exclaimed, moving to his side, and knelt beside him.
She saw the blood that covered his uniform and that pooled around him.
"OVER HERE!" Melinda shouted, and Amy ran from the other side of the memorial, as did the medic. They both knelt beside Seth, looking horrified at their wounded friend, who lay bleeding on the ground.
"Doctor SANE…!" The medic shouted, and a few moments later, the doctor was at his side with Nova. The good doctor had smiled when seeing him at first, but it quickly faded becoming a grimace when Seth fell backward.
"Oh my god," He murmured quietly as Nova gasped loudly.
"Is he alive, Doctor Sane?" She asked as Seth opened his eyes slowly.
"Fortunately for him, yes, but not for long Nova, we must get him to the hospital at once." Sane replied, "He has already lost quite a bit of blood."
Sane began to examine the young officer, noting the hole in his chest, just below the breastbone of the rib cage. He put pressure on the wound with a jacket before glancing at the surprised medic. The young kid had a look of total panic on his face, if not horror at the amount of blood that he was seeing.
"He must be new." Sane thought and grimaced at him.
He placed a hand on his shoulder to get the youth's attention.
"Give me your medical bag,"
Silently the medic handed him the bag and Sane pulled out the contents as he began applying compression pressure bandages on the Major who lay on the ground. The Yamato crew cycled toward Sane and stood looking on helplessly at the young Major of the past who was dying before their eyes. The officer who had come with the Marines had motioned to a young Corporal, who had the radio, and reported on their status. As he did that, the medics helped Manual and a couple of Yamato crew to the rescue ship and it rocketed off into the sky as Seth remained laying on the cement walkway in a pool of his own blood.
A loud engine, and warm wind echoed across the memorial as another transport, with a medical team came in to land. As the front opened, the team rushed out from the landing gate in the front of the ship that opened and moved to the surrounding area of the memorial Sane grimaced at the Lieutenant who stood nearby and nodded to him, thankful for the team.
"What's going on Doctor Sane?" asked the doctor who had come with them, "What have you got?"
"This man needs immediate attention, and can be moved out of here!" Sane replied, "Be careful, he is sutured together, and if they break we will lose this man."
Melinda, Amy, and the few remaining Yamato crew clustered around Seth as he lay here bleeding profusely. Amy wept as did Melinda, staring in wonder at their comrade and leader of their group.
"...He's hit in the mid-chest, and I think it has nicked the heart. Also, he has several hits to the mid-abdomen." Sane said, "I was trying to stabilize him. This does not look very promising but at the moment, until I can examine him more, I would make him as comfortable as we can."
Sane worked with the team as they prepared to move him, without breaking open the sutures that were holding his life in the very balance. Sane glanced up from his work at the young women, and even at Nova who was teary-eyed. He smiled.
"Don't look so worried, he will be OK. I do not think he is in that bad shape. I have seen much worse." Sane said but managed a grimace as he glanced at his patient.
"How can he be alright Doctor Sane?" Nova asked, fighting back the tears. Sane found that he did not have an answer for them, one that would comfort them in believing that Seth would be alright.
"Don't tell them yet." He instructed Nova, "I don't know how bad the damage is, it could be much worse. I really can't say for sure right now."
Nova heard his tone and gasped as he grimly frowned at her questioning look. He nodded slowly to her and she gasped again, tears filling her eyes.
Seth, lying on the ground, stared up absently at the blue sky above him, already knowing he was wounded badly. He had been shot in the abdomen and chest. The young officer knew it had done more damage than the Sane actually had found, and he already knew he did not have long to live.
Strangely, to the young Major, he was not afraid of dying and could almost see his friends who waited for him and his family, wherever they are. He knew would be with Emily soon too, unaware she was still alive in this century by a mistake that had put her and one other as deceased. They were alive, and just unconscious almost autopsied by the doctor in the morgue. Here, the young Major relaxed on the ground, feeling his life ebbing away, and yet he managed to turn his head. He spied a couple of people who walked up the hill, staring in astonishment at the action they had missed. Quickly, the two young women stared at the mess made by Seth, and the Yamato crew. They had both gasped in total astonishment.
"Attention!" Dash said, spying on the pair and immediately snapped to attention. He quickly saluted Commander Mitty McDonald, Singleton's Aide, and Angie Stethem, a member of the first stasis group. Derick and Nova grimaced at the pair as they stood waiting for the next transport out of here.
"As you were," Mitty said, staring at Doctor Sane who had his hands against Seth's body, and his hands covered with blood.
"Sorry Commander." The doctor said coldly, "We have evacuated all but one of the wounded, and my hands are the only thing keeping this man alive right now. Please forgive my discourtesy if I do not salute."
Mitty nodded and looked over Amy's shoulder.
"What the hell? Major Aguilera?" The young aide stammered, noting the looks around her and the pool of blood that surrounded Seth’s body as he lay there dying. "What happened here?"
"He risked his life and saved us all," Derick said, as Mitty glanced at him. The young chief nodded slightly.
"He is an honest to god, red-blooded, Hero," Derick said and yet Commander McDonald just stared at him, purely horrified by the sight. Melinda turned, regarding the young woman beside the aide for Singleton, and her face showed alarm as she stared in astonishment at the familiar face there.
"Angie Stethem?" She thought and shook her head. "Nah… it cannot be."
Amy glanced at Melinda, her schoolmate from Bellbrook, and saw the astonished look on her face.
"What's wrong?" She asked, and Melinda pointed to the young Captain who stood beside the Commander, who was an aide to Stone. Whom they had met a few hours ago in their debriefing this morning.
"This is going to sound weird, but she reminds me of Angie," Melinda whispered to Amy and her friend glanced at the ash-blond woman in silence. A frown appeared on her face, as she shook her head, but the familiarity was there, making her unable to take her eyes off her.
"Nah... It just can't be." Amy replied, "She is long dead unless there was another stasis group or something. A good resemblance though, it could be the daughter of a daughter you know, same family."
Melinda sensed that could be true but managed to shake her head.
"No, I am almost sure that is Angie." Melinda thought, studying the familiar face carefully. Angie's face, to Melinda and Amy, was much leaner than she had remembered Angie to be and her ash blonde hair was long and darker. She was still a bit heavy-set, but very muscular and built up, obviously by the military service she had served as they did. Melinda and Amy noted she was dressed in the same uniform, as Commander McDonald, in the Earth Defense Command, Armed Forces. She sported silver double bars on her collar, marking her as a Captain, and the gold braid on her uniform. They remembered her at the debriefing this morning.
Melinda and Amy exchanged a glance.
“I remember now, she was at the debriefing, an Aide to General Stone.”
“I thought the name sounded strangely familiar.” Amy murmured, and both just could not believe their eyes. Their friend was really here, from school a long ago, in a mid-western states called Ohio.
"Angie? A-Angie Stethem? Is that you?" Melinda blurted out suddenly and the young woman turned to stare at her.
Angie had indeed been in stasis, in a first group that had been put in a year before Melinda and Amy's group. Their team had suffered sabotage rather than a terrorist bomb, set by a paid spy that had infiltrated the group, and everyone but Angie and another had been killed in the process. The explosion had killed the saboteur, eliminating him from destroying the chambers of those already placed in stasis. Both teams had been placed in stasis separately and kept secret from each other for security reasons and had not known of the other. Angie had glanced up when hearing her name, and turned to look at the two women who stood nearby Sane and Nova. At first, they did not look familiar to her and she frowned at them.
"Huh? What?" She replied, and stared at the two women's faces as they peered at her. Her gaxze moved from Melinda's face them to Amy, narrowing her eyes for a moment before they became wide and tear-filled.
"Oh my god, I don’t believe it!" Angie said, and both of the women moved to embrace her warmly. She began to weep warmly, as she held her friends from a place long ago, and a different century.
"Doctor we've lost a pulse." The medic cried out. Sane's head, as well as everyone who remained here, turned in alarm. The doctor's resolve was immediate, and his fist struck Seth's chest in frustration.
"Come on Major." He said, "We can't let you die like this." Seth exhaled a sharp breath in response.
"No pulse Doctor…" The medic's heavy voice told him, as the Major exhaled sharply again.
"Come on, another one like that, Major." Sane snapped, and again, his fist struck Seth’s chest. The Doctor began doing CPR compression on the Major’s chest, over his heart, just as another rescue craft landed at the memorial. It was the longest agonizing moment they had ever encountered when the medic had announced that the young officer's heart stopped. It was like standing in slow motion, and they clustered around him. A faint heartbeat thumped in Seth's chest, followed by a ragged breath.
"Okay, we have something." Doctor Sane announced, "His pulse is probably over two hundred beats a minute. We have to board that rescue craft as soon as possible and get him into surgery!"
A litter arrived, and four men from the team sent at Sane's request, lifted Seth gently onto the stretcher. They quickly double-timed him to the rescue craft's ramp that had lowered to allow Sane, the medic, and others on the team to enter. Melinda followed, wanting to go with him like the others, but she was held back by a medical tech.
She stood back and watched the craft take off, the wounded evacuated to the hospital.
"You are all to board this one and after you land at headquarters, you are instructed to report to the Commander's office upon landing." The Lieutenant said, nodding to the Commander, Angie, and the others as they walked toward the waiting transport. As Melinda walked toward it, she was jabbering a mile a minute, as was Amy with Angie. She was glad to see her schoolmate and startled that she was really here. The Yamato crew joined the four stasis members and yet they paused to stare in silent awe at the still smoking memorial before they too boarded the transport that waited for them.
"This is a hell of a way to start a mission," Homer said.
"Yeah, that's for sure," Orion replied and Melinda nodded in silence, pausing to stare at the rescue craft that carried their friend, heading toward the city and barely alive.
She entered the landing craft with the Yamato crew, the Commander, Amy, and a few other medical personnel. They all were being taken back to the base for debriefing, despite the Yamato crew and stasis crew who had technically been off-duty during this attack. On the transport, Melinda and Amy laughed and joked with Angie, catching up on old times, during those turbulent times of centuries past. They introduced her to Amanda and the trio sat around exchanging stories the whole time until they landed. They were glad to see each other again, despite it being over two hundred years in a different place and even a different time.
To be continued...
Episode 2: Death and Resurrection of History's Heroes
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