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Rated: E · Serial · Sci-fi · #2278264
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)
By Erwin Stevens & N.A Miller

EPS 4 - The Departure for Destiny!

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 aspire, love, 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.

It starts out in the quarters of Lieutenant Commander Miller, and his first day after accepting command of a commando group that will be heading to Aquarius. As he sat up in his bunk, it is 0400 in the morning and he rose early, starting his day early to meet his team on the airfield. Here the young officer of the past dressed quickly in his uniform and turned to gather up the papers into the briefcase that was personally handed to him by General Singleton. It is the day of reckoning for the young officer of the past, where he would be asked to stand forth to again defend Earth. The same way he had, two hundred years ago during turbulent times, that he would volunteer for stasis and end up like the secondary group in the future two hundred years. He then with the only other survivor of his stasis group be assigned to a Destroyer Class ship to fight in the Dinguil Campaign, earning him and Angie their baptism of fire in the new military. All a year before the secondary group would be found in the remnants of the Presidio of San Francisco California.

“Jesus, not too long ago.” He thought, and managed a grimace before he shook his head. Here the officer of the past continued packing his gear in the duffel bag, and when he was done would tote it toward the door. He then gathered up the papers and the envelope that continued his new orders, also putting it with his gear.

“Okay ready to go.” He thought as he grabbed his bags and moved them into the living space, near the entry door to his shared quarters. He turned and went to the kitchen to grab him a cup of coffee from the dispenser and as he sipped it, the young officer of the past hit the button on the console in the kitchen to check his voice mail.

“No messages.” The computer said and he frowned.

He had hoped for a cancellation, halfheartedly, but realized this was deadly serious, that if Earth did nothing it would be lost along with everyone who survived from previous wars. The mission had been specific, and the data clear, the bugles had called and he went forth to fight.

Thinking back, the officer remembered that he volunteered for the service when war broke out, two hundred years ago, having joined up after college. The same bugles he had heard then for the same type of voluntary service to fight for his country. The only difference in this service, however, he had family and friends then, and had not lost anything except a few years of his life while in service. That was not the case here in this new time, however, it was completely opposite.

"Come on Miller, you gotta focus.” He thought, and managed a grimace when he sensed a mood drop. He shook his head to clear thoughts and focused on the present what was at hand. His new mission to help defend Earth. He went over the plan, step by step, running though every moment that would happen on Aquarius from their launch, travel to the planet, landing, attack, and retreat after the job would be done. He went over any and all contingencies that might happen. He knew they had a job to do, and a tough one to be sure.

“And we are ready.”

Again Nathaniel shook his head and put down the empty coffee cup and grabbed his hat as he walked to the door that would exit the shared quarters he was billeted in with. He picked up the two bags at the door and hit the button to open to the door, stepping toward it. As he did so, he paused and gazed at the plush quarters they had assigned him for his time at Headquarters.

“It will probably be the last time I see this place, this mission being a suicidal one.” He thought, and frowned as he turned toward the door. He exited into the corridor outside, and the doors slid shut behind him.

“But it's a job we all have to do...” He mused, “Even assimilation of a new century for all of us.”

He walked down the corridor to a lift and was taken to the street level at Federal city. He put down his gear as he waited for the jeep that would take him to the airfield.

"Yo, Commander Miller…?" A voice called out and he managed to turn his head to the green jeep that had rolled up at the curbside and to a young brown-haired Sergeant who sat at the wheel named Nicole Williams, his guide from day one since his awakening from stasis. He smiled at the familiar accent, signifying she is from New Jersey.

"Aye…." He replied, returning her salute, as she stood up in the seat.

"Hop in. I am here to take you to the airfield." She told him and he grinned, managing a nod. He walked toward the jeep and he silently climbed aboard, after putting in his gear, but not without examining the young woman in silence first.

Sergeant Williams is about nineteen years old, having finished school early and enlisted in the Earth Defense Command that is the equivalent military for this time. She, unlike him, is clad in the gray and green uniform of the EDC Armed Forces. She stands about five three in height, has a dark complexion, and dark eyes. Her brunette hair spills down to her shoulders in a ripple of curls. She worked hard in the last two years, moving quickly in the ranks to Sergeant. The young woman is rather attractive to the young Lieutenant Commander.

As the jeep sped off from the curb, she drove quickly, turning onto the main street and away from the Headquarters building. He sat in silence, holding on for almost dear life, as she darted through the traffic of air vehicles on the street.

“Jesus a little fast aren't we sergeant?” He thought, as he gripped the roll bar of the jeep. He was about to ask her to slow down, but decided to keep his mouth shut instead. He glanced a down at the briefcase on his lap that contained the envelope containing his orders and decided to occupy his mind instead of showing fear for the wild ride he was getting to the airfield. Opening the case he withdrew the envelope, a simple manila envelope, and emblazoned on the flap is the seal of the Earth Defense Command sealing the pouch that contained his orders. The seal itself shimmered in the light. He turned it over in his hand several times before he put his hand on it.

"So they got you ready to go to Aquarius sir?" The young woman asked, and he glanced sideways at her. He showed his astonishment that she knew about the mission, even though it was supposedly kept at 'Top Secret Clearance'. He did not know there had already been a lot of scuttlebutt floating around Headquarters about it for the last month. Most of it was speculation of the assignment and what they were about to face. The young Lt. Commander and the twenty-four raiders that would be taking on the most difficult mission Earth had ever done, short of the Iscandar mission eight years ago by the Star Force. Everyone was wondering what the mission would be as it was prepared and the raiders took off from the airfield, even as it was being transmitted to the fleet that would be escorting the Clouds, and his team to Aquarius. He nodded his head silently to the young Sergeant.

"The mission is already in progress, and we ship out today." He told her, "Ready to rock and roll, so to speak. Keep in mind that it was supposed to be top security, how the hell did you know so much about it anyway?"

"Well sir, it has been a hot topic in headquarters and on Earth for a month. It has been mostly scuttlebutt and rumors though." She said, "Don't worry, the project is still secure, most of the data said was rumors and not correct anyway."

"You know, Commander." she started to say, "I hope you and the others succeed at your task."

Lieutenant Commander Miller smiled at the sentiment, glancing at the surroundings as the jeep continued to dart through traffic. Around him, the buildings loomed overhead around them and many people walked the street, uniformed and not. He was reminded of the many people that walked the streets of San Francisco while he was training in the Presido there for stasis.

As he sat in the seat, the young officer turned over the envelope several times before he broke the seal and pulled the documents from within it. He broke one regulation, breaking the seal before arriving aboard the ship or his destination for Command. He broke another by examining the orders before he reached his command. He looked them over, reading them in silence, as they made their way through the byways of Federal City/New Tokyo. As he read, Nathaniel became only partially conscious of his surroundings, absently returning salutes as they passed other uniformed personnel. The orders were compelling to the young officer of the past, handwritten by the General himself and handed personally to him by Commander Mitty McDonald, General Singleton's dynamic and beautiful Aide.

Sergeant Williams glanced over in his direction and gasped as he read the papers on his lap, realizing that he was looking over the orders that would send him and his team into harm's way. The new officer was reading them far before the scheduled opening when they were on board ship and headed toward Aquarius. He had broken at least three regulations by doing this and she had let out a gasp.

"I guess he wants to brush up, before he gets to the team." She thought, shaking her head at the young officer who already had shown her some unorthodox methods of command.

Nicole only knew from what she had read that he was from the past, and had attended OCS in the twentieth century, where he was commissioned as a lowly Ensign. A year later after hard work, he earned JG Lieutenant where he volunteered as command for the stasis project and since his awakening from stasis, had been working hard even in the EDC. He is, as she had read, an honest to god hero for his bravery during the war with the Dinguil Empire. She did not realize that he was using everything he had learned to get by, to assimilate this century, and serve in this military. The young woman did not know there was something he was going to add into this assignment. It would be thanks to a fast ship and a brave crew that he knew would succeed at this mission.

He was reading as they approached the airfield, and the jeep stopped at one of many gates where two guards, surrounded by a fortified conscript of armor, machine gun nests and other heavily fortified positions are set up. Nathaniel focused mainly on the assignment at hand, scanning the papers, reading the lines several times. He focused on the word destroy and clear clearly in the handwritten ink of the Commander's handwriting.

The Commander was so engrossed in the papers and the assignment that he had to look up at the nudge of the Sergeant beside him. He glanced up at the guards at the gate, returning their salutes formally.

"We're here Lieutenant Commander." The young Sergeant told him, and he glanced at her only nodding slightly in reply.

"Identification, Sir..." The one guard said, and he nodded pulling his wallet. Nathaniel flashed the encoded identification card that had served him a year now on board the Heavy Cruiser. Quickly, the trooper scanned it and he nodded returning to the two troopers in the jeep. He glanced at the door, at the youthful Lieutenant who stood watching. Eyeing the Lieutenant Commander, returning the hard glance the officer, he also saluted making him nod silently.

"Thank you sir…!" The trooper replied and he quickly handed back the identification. Nathaniel nodded as he returned the salute.

Sitting back, he motioned to the young woman, his guide who sat beside him, and the jeep sped off. Here the officer of the past put the documents in the briefcase as the jeep sped toward the Clouds that sat on the tarmac. He stood up in the jeep as it approach the ship and nodded to the guards who saluted, parting to let the vehicle pass them by. When it came to a stop, he hopped out and paused as he stared at the massive ship. The officer of the past peered at the streamline hull and her many battle-scars. He, at first, did not acknowledge the young woman beside him. When realizing his mistake he managed a grimace.

"Thank you for the lift, Sergeant." He told her formally, returning her salute.

"It is my pleasure, Commander Miller." She replied, smiling in amusement. He grinned, nodding only in reply.

"You know we have not been formally introduced, my name is Nathaniel." He told her, "And you may call me that, when we are out of the range of others."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Nathaniel." She replied, "I am Nicole, Nicole Williams."

"Likewise, Nicole…" He replied with a smile, and a nod.

"You'll do it sir, just believe and it will happen." Nicole told him in an encouraging tone, "A few of the others and me in my lodge are routing for your team."

She smiled,

"We look forward to your glorious return too."

"Thanks Nicole." He replied and nodded.

He turned to walk toward the ship that loomed on the tarmac, like a vicious reminder of what he had to do after the mission. Lieutenant Commander Miller moved along the ship, making the inspection, and a couple of things he wanted to check before they lifted off. He noted a couple of things he would mention to Captain T'Larra, noting the vicious battle scars as he inspected the ship. As he did so, he returned the salutes of the guards who were are posted around the ship.

Behind him, the youthful Sergeant watched him from the jeep, frowning at his quick inspection of the ship that would take them for the battle of Aquarius. She had sensed his intensity, as he read the documents on his lap, and saw the determination in his eye when he walked toward the ship.

"What the devil is he looking for, I wonder?" She thought to herself and managed a shrug at the strange moody antics of the new officer who had come from centuries of the past.

The young woman did not know that he planned to split the team, luring the enemy to an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, that would help the team escape. Nathaniel had read the tactics many times as he had briefed the team on many times and adjusted it one more time, knowing by intelligence, that it was going to be harder getting the hell out of there than going in to land on Aquarius. Here, he would be picked up by the Clouds and they would attempt the trip through time and space after he detonated the planet, turning it into a reverse Tritium black hole.

Around him, the guards watched the Lieutenant Commander silently, and after a few minutes, the guards realized what he was doing. They watched as he made a full sweep, multiple times, around the ship and after a moment, they glanced at each other in silence, an expression of disbelief on their faces. A low mutter rippled through them. They knew who he was and why he was here, getting his orders directly from the Commander's office. They did not know he would be doing an inspection of the ship before it lifted off to its victory, or demise.

Nathaniel glanced around at his surroundings and let out a breath before he walked toward the team, assembled on the airfield and who stand in front of the Star Cruiser.

"Attention! Fall in!" A voice shouted, and the team fell into neat rows of the ranks quickly. A mass salute followed as the Lieutenant Commander approached the twenty-four commandos, his team that with hope, pull off the impossible. A youthful Lieutenant, his second in command, Kino Minezati stepped forward, holding the salute until the Lieutenant Commander nodded his head.

"Everyone here, and accounted for Lieutenant?" He asked, and his second in command nodded.

He quickly walked the rows with the Lieutenant Commander, who inspected his troopers, standing outside the massive Star Cruiser Magellanic Clouds. He nodded in approval to the fighting group that he had had been assigned to fight on this mission with him. The young officer beside him holstered an Astro-automatic at his side and shouldered an AR-262 sniper rifle with electronic silencer, preferred sniper weapon of the day. He hefted it well on his wiry frame, his shaved head only showing a hint of the sandy blond hair that he had, and his brown eyes twinkled in the light.

Kino eyed the Lieutenant Commander's patched and scarred face, seeing the smile on his face as the two men walked the ranks carefully. Both were impressed by the sight before them. Nathaniel had been surprised by the spit and polish, the pride of professionalism that stood before him. The officer of the past nodded his head in approval, despite the concerned and worried expression he had on his face. He also tried to keep a positive attitude, despite the sour mood that he had right now, because of his feeling about the mission itself.

"You are a bunch of bad asses." He exclaimed, "Damn, I'm proud to be in the same service as all of you guys. We're going to kick some freaking ass."

The young Lieutenant, who is the second in command, grinned openly at the comment, motioning to the group. At the end of the line, Miller back slapped Sergeant Major Parry. He shook his hand warmly.

"Manual, you old dog, ready to go?" He asked and the Sergeant Major snapped to attention, smiling broadly.

"Ready to go kick ass, sir." Manual replied, "Ready to die for Earth and go out in a blaze of glory, if it comes to that."

"Let's hope that is not necessary, I am hoping to bring everyone back safely. It was told to me that there would be a wild party in our honor upon our return, so snap to and prepare our equipment and ourselves for the mission when we board the Magellanic Clouds."

He turned to Kino.

"They are all yours Lieutenant, make Earth proud…"

He walked away from the group and they watched as he made another round about the Star Cruiser. The Lieutenant Commander had a feeling, one of dread that he could not put his finger on, and he decided to make doubly sure they would return to Earth after this mission, very much victorious. He walked toward the ship and the team of twenty-four commandos all stared at their commander, wondering what he was looking for as he made his way around the ship for probably the twelfth time.

Manual frowned especially, knowing his old friend well, but knew if there was something on his mind, it would be checked and rechecked.

"There are too many damn variables still to be calculated in… I don't know why I am having this damn feeling, but if we don't make it back, Earth is doomed." Nathaniel thought to himself, "So we'd better be sure and on top of our game plan."

"… See fellas, you made a good impression, that's one on you and I am proud you made that impression." Kino told the group, "It shows pride and your dedication to the service."

The Lieutenant walked down the row with three cigars for each man, handing them to them. He walked to the Lieutenant Commander, who had returned to the group, and he snapped to, saluting as he handed him three cigars too. Manual caught Nathaniel's look of confusion, holding the cigars in his hand. They both watched as each man put them in a breast pocket or in their bag on the ground. Nathaniel glanced in question at the young Lieutenant as he examined the cigars.

"Don't worry it is tobacco, its synthetic with a mix of seaweed." The Lieutenant said, "We don't smoke them until the fat lady sings and the battle is won. It is our victory dance sir."

Here the Lieutenant Commander laughed loudly, as did Manual who had overheard the comment. Their laughter suddenly became solemn, as he was reminded of somewhere else he heard of that custom. Taking the gifts he shoved it in pocket and noted Manual had taken his and put it in his pocket too, a large beaming smile on his face even though he smoked one of the extra ones, in a cloud of smoke. Kino tossed Manual another.

"As you were, Sergeant Major!" Kino snapped, "The fat lady has not sang and the battle is not won. Finish that cigar and remember to only smoke'em when we win the day. Here though… if you must smoke." Kino tossed a pack of Lucky Strikes ™ to the Sergeant Major.

"Doo Rah Lieutenant…" Manual replied with a nod, a smile brightening his face as he puffed on the cigar, amused by the custom. The youthful Lieutenant Commander realized it was the movie back in 1996, called Independence Day that he heard that custom and he laughed again. One of the last movies he had seen before stasis.

"Thanks Lieutenant." He replied, grinning at the young officer who nodded.

"My pleasure... Lieutenant Commander..." He told him and Nathaniel smiled broadly.

"All right let's get to this." He replied, and the Lieutenant looked up, his smile becoming a puzzle frown with the sudden drop in mood by the superior officer. Kino suspected there was a lot on the Lieutenant Commander’s mind and his superior officer was not comfortable with the plan what was to go down.

"All right team, pick up your bags and report aboard the Clouds. Head to our assigned billeting and remember that it is going to be cramped with normal operations with the ship. If you have any issues, bring it to me or the Lieutenant Commander, and we will work it out." The harried Lieutenant ordered, and he motioned, "This is not a transport, so go easy on the ship and her stores. Move out. You have fifteen minutes, smoke'em if you got'em."

"Yeaaa…!" The group said fiercely, and they raised their arms as they hefted their space bags. Together the Marine detachment walked toward the ship nearby, lining up at the gantry that belonged to the massive Space Cruiser preceding the massive airlock hatch. They stood around as they pulled smokes from their pocket or chew. Even in this century, tobacco had a very predominant and key role in its presence in the century. The Lieutenant Commander looked on, waving his hand to a soldier who held out a pouch of Lucky Strikes™ from his pocket, offering to him.

"I don't smoke cigarettes like that, but thanks… Please carry on." He told the soldier, who nodded, and turned to walk toward the gantry of the massive Star Cruiser Class Starship. Manual joined Nathaniel at his side, to shoot the breeze for a moment, but both men turned as a voice called out their names.

The voice belonged to Amy Pantstingle, who had called out to him. He watched as she approached on the run, followed by Melinda Morris, Angie Stethem, Amanda Garcia, even Emily Montgomery and Denise Watson. They embraced Manual and Nathaniel, putting Hawaiian leis around their necks. Both men laughed and smiled affectionately at the young women. Turning, the young Lieutenant Commander smirked as Amanda embraced Manual one more time and planted a very heated and passionate kiss on his lips. They held it an unusually long time before they broke, staring lovingly in each other's eyes for a long time.

"We're here to give you a top brass send off." Amy declared, stepping back to smile pleasantly at the two men, their friends, who were going on this dangerous mission.

"Nice." Nathaniel replied, nodding, "With thanks."

"Very nice..." Manual told Amanda, smiling gently, "I was hoping for at least a send of like this."

"Me too Sergeant Major..." Nathaniel replied, turning to the young women, and he nodded, "It is appreciated."

"Take it easy and keep the home fires burning for us. We'll be back soon." Manual exclaimed as he hefted his bag on his shoulder, "I love you Amanda. Do not worry there will not be any heroics. It will certainly not be by me or the Lieutenant Commander here."

With that, the Sergeant Major glanced at the face of Emily, and then to the others, their eyes brimming with tears. Amanda gasped at the statement and stared at him.

"I-I love you too, Manual." She stammered surprised, but they had become lovers in the last few months together, starting after Seth's wake. The young Warrant Officer lunged to embrace him again, their lips touching, before stepping back and regarding her now best friend in the world and her love who stood before her.

"You promise me, no heroics, keep your fracking head down next to the Lieutenant Commander, and the Lieutenant!"

"Relax Amanda, I will." Manual told her, and she shook head.

"Promise me." Amanda grumbled, "Damn it."

"I will and promise." He told her and Amanda nodded formally, turning to the Lieutenant Commander. He returned the glances of the members of the team who were smiling and the former stasis members, his friends.

Stepping back Manual and Amanda sheepishly smiled at each other and the group stood watching. He turned to walk toward the gantry of the Star Cruiser, toward the other troops who had paused to watch the touching scene. Sergeant Major Parry had paused as Nathaniel stood on the concourse with Emily. He stared warmly into Lieutenant Montgomery's eyes.

"I have to tell you something and that goes for everyone present from the Bellbrook group." He began and she peered at him with a questioning stare.

"I-I apologize… and I am deeply sorry that I did not say goodbye so many years ago, and had my heart on my sleeve for you Emily." He stammered, "If I would have known what I know now, I would have found a way to stay put, or stay in touch with you all. I should have gone a little further with you, for both of our sake back then. After all those years, I realized that I fell in love with you, and I am sorry we did not take that next step."

It was the only sentiment he had after so long away from her, the only apology he could give her for losing touch with them and for not taking action to pursue her. Emily gasped at his statement her brown eyes peering into the blue eye of the young officer.

"I know, but… I-I… I love Seth. I loved him since our beginning into stasis, you weren't there but he was." She stammered, tears appearing in her eyes as she shook her head, and yet she placed her loving arms around him.

"Thank you for clarifying that Nathaniel, I certainly missed you. After all these years, I am astonished but pleased to see you again. You have become q1uite a handsome young man, despite your injury."

"As we all were." Melinda chimed in, and the group nodded. Amanda was grinning openly.

Stepping forward, Emily leaned forward, and a moment later, the Lieutenant Commander and Emily embraced as their lips touched in a rousing kiss in front of everyone. They held it for almost ten minutes. There were whistles and catcalls from the troops on the gantry and the surrounding guards and pilots from the nearby hangar who watched the touching scene. There was sporadic applause all around them. The others were grinning openly, at the warm display of affection. He turned and gave Angie an even more passionate one.

"Woo hoo… the Lieutenant Commanders got a girl!" A shout called, "Hubba, Hubba! Holy shit she's a babe!"

The stasis group laughed openly at the comments.

"Hell he has two... good job sir!" Another catcall sounded and there was more laughter. This time both Angie and Emily blushed deeply.

"Shit man, they're lookers!" Another voice said aloud,

"Good one Sir!"

"She's better than that Alsatian woman with the triple F hooters!" Both the Lieutenant Commander and Emily herself blushed, as they turned their heads realizing they were on display in front of everyone. Both actually did not care, just glad what was said had come out, and after all those many years apart. He stepped back quickly, blushing red as a ripe tomato, but he was thankful both women were too.

"Okay, okay." Manual said, "Shows over fellas, lets get cracking."

The young Sergeant Major grinned, shooing the team toward the gantry.

"I understand and this isn't goodbye again… I will be here waiting for you and your victorious team… That I promise." Emily said with a smile and she turned to Manual. "Promise me to look after him Sergeant Major. I could not stand to lose him too after Seth. Nathaniel, please be safe out there and no heroics either."

Manual grinned broadly, "You have my promise me' lady."

With that, he bowed formally. She gave up and laughed, embracing the Sergeant Major.

"Don't worry Emily, everyone, I am not planning to get myself killed, and I will see you when I return." He told the group and they were smiling, but tears were showing on Amy, Melinda, Denise, Emily and Amanda's faces.

Angie was solemn as she stood there. Nathaniel talked quietly to Emily but deep down he pondered if he should tell them what he planned. That he was going to take a one-way ticket to save Seth's life and in fact switch positions with him in order for him to live. The Lieutenant Commander shook his head slightly, clearing the thought from his head. He planned to bring him safely through the incident at the memorial, even though his self at that moment worked aboard his ship in dry dock.

"I'll see you round, I'll be waiting." She said lustily and he grinned as he turned to regard the smiling Sergeant Major.

"Damn it, I'm going to bring back Seth and take care of this once and for all, and right a wrong." Nathaniel thought, hatching the plan in his head, hopefully with the assistance of the Star Cruiser and her gallant crew.”

He shook his head slightly.

“It was wrong for Seth to die the way he did, and he did not know you were living when he did it. I did not know how much you loved him and it would be only fitting if you were both together. When I return home, it will be with Seth along with me coming home, damn it, or at least living if I save his life.”

He had hatched the plan after Seth's death and already asked the Cloud's crew for help in this matter. Even though it was just not feasible, and enough reason to risk time and space just for one man. He knew there would be serious consequences if he attempted what he planned and failed. The Lieutenant Commander had several plans, contingency plans to make sure he succeeded in his task.

"Coming skipper?" Manual asked smiling, and Nathaniel nodded, hefting his own bag on his shoulder. He waved at the young women, and one by one, they entered the ship that stood silently on the cement tarmac. Emily stared silently at the ship, long and hard, and she had ignored the others who stood beside her. They had spoken to her twice and she did not hear them. Denise placed her hand on her shoulder, and she turned her head to regard her friends.

"Hey, you OK?" She asked and she glanced at Emily who regarded her friends standing on the gantry. They scanned the surroundings before shaking hands, stepping toward the doors of the Space Cruiser. Angie, Amanda, Melinda, Denise and Emily stood there watching.

"Yeah, I just have a funny feeling I am not going to see them again." Emily declared quietly, trying to fight the tears that welled up in her eyes. She did not know what she was looking at, only to know that feeling was very strong within. Denise also looked at the massive Star Cruiser that sat on the tarmac and she too found herself heavy with emotion and tears welling up in her eyes. She quickly wiped the tears from her eyes. Amanda, Melinda and Amy were in the same state.

"Don't worry, with Manual on the job, and led by the Lieutenant and even Nathaniel, We can only hope they will all come back." Denise said, peering at the massive Star Cruiser, and shaking her head as she placed her hands on Emily's shoulders. "Besides when they do, we are going to have a wild party in their honor."

Emily smiled, as did the others, a smile appearing on their faces.

"We have been summoned back to Central Hospital on the double." Denise said, "So let's move. It might be our release from medical." Emily nodded but she kept glancing to the ship as they walked off and she shook her head, wiping the tears from her face. Melinda was weeping as she stared at the ship, as was Amy.

"Damn it, you had better come back." Emily said, fighting the tears, "I do not want to be alone in this century."

"Say, where's Angie?" Denise mused.

"Hey, Captain Stethem, you coming or what?" A voice shouted, and all saw one more bag on the tarmac. Angie glanced at the others as she moved toward it, returning the salute of the Lieutenant who stood waiting for her. Hefting the bag, she glanced at the others who stared in astonishment.

"What the fuck? Angie, no…!" Melinda shouted, "Oh my god… Please no!"

She cast a look at them, who took a step toward her, but was restrained by Denise who had returned the questioning look by Melinda. The dark skinned woman gasped and yet she nodded in reply, reading the serious look quickly. The others cast a speculative glance in surprise. Denise, Amy and Amanda were just as stunned.

"I'll explain in a few minutes." Denise promised, turning to raise her arm into the air and wave wildly at the trio that stood on the gantry. They wildly waved back to the waving young women, who laughed loudly at them and their friends who they hoped to see again in a few weeks, victorious.

A half hour ago, before their arrival at the airfield, they sped to the airfield via air car from Central Hospital and EDC Headquarters. As Denise piloted the car, Angie stared out the window of the air car, staring at the rapidly passing scenery of the city passing them by. They were on their way to the airfield to give a brass and emotional send off to their friends, who would be taking on the mission to Aquarius. They sat in the car, holding Hawaiian leis on their laps, laughing and talking a mile minute about life so far in the twenty-third century and what they experienced serving in the military. Angie had not been listening, her gear already on the Tarmac ready, after briefly going to the Headquarters early that morning. She had spoken to General Singleton and his aides about volunteering for the mission, that was about to depart in a few hours. She had been approved for the assignment change.

Now that was over, and Angie had to decide how to tell her friends about her volunteering for the Aquarius mission. She had her reasons, and the young woman could not quite come out and tell them what truly was happening to her. Denise piloted the craft smoothly, and the others did not notice her silence at first. They spoke her name several times and she did not answer. They finally turned and regarded her in silent surprise

"Something is amiss." Amy murmured, "Something has got her down, or just pissed off."

"For sure…" Melinda whispered back.

"I'd better tell Denise and the others that I am leaving with the team." Angie thought, "She won't understand, as General Singleton and the others did. I certainly shocked them."

She turned her head when the air car stopped and pulled into a space near the landing field. As the group vacated the vehicle, they stood at the edge of the landing field, watching as two Astro-fighters streaked up into the sky. All had a smile on their faces at the sight, and cast a speculative glance to the fighting line at the many planes of several types that were parked on the field.

"Wow look at the lines on that fighter, what a sweet sight." Melinda mused, "I can't wait till we get to that part of the training. I know I am going to have fun with that."

"Me too…" Emily agreed.

"Denise, can you come over here for a moment?" Angie asked, interrupting the chatter between her friends. They all looked at each other and Denise nodded. They actually were surprised to hear Angie speak, after the car ride and her brooding silence, in which they had wisely left her alone.

"Sure Angie, what's up?" Lieutenant Watson asked, and she walked toward her.

"Stand fast, the rest of you." Angie exclaimed sharply, "It will only be a moment."

Denise's eyebrows rose when she snarled at the group and nodded sharply to the young Captain. They stood speaking in low tones on the other side of the parked air vehicle.

"I'm going on the assignment with Lieutenant Commander Miller, and Sergeant Major Perry." She whispered, "I volunteered and General Singleton said it was okay."

"You're what!" Denise gasped, staring at Angie's hard and determined look on her face.

"If this is a joke, you can see I am not laughing."

"I can't be without him, the Lieutenant Commander and I had a slight life change here, and we have to be together." She stammered, making Denise raise her eyebrows.

"He said to stay on Earth." Denise said, "Why are you volunteering for a possible suicide mission. What do you mean you volunteered and you have to be with him? You are not making sense."

"I-I…" Angie began, tears forming in her eyes, swooning slightly, pausing to wipe her eyes, "I'm preg…nant."

Her voice seemed to fail and she cleared her throat.

"It's his Denise, it is Nathaniel's. I have to be with him, he is planning not to come back!"

"Oh my god… Does anyone else know? H-how do you know, no way…! He would not do that… Would he?” Denise’s flurry of questions assaulted her all at once, and Angie stepped back.

“Angie that is no reason to get killed with him, if his mission is to get himself whacked in a suicide mission. You should stay on Earth, besides if he does come back, he will still have you here and your kid to have together. He needs you here, and alive!"

"I know." Angie said, "The trouble is that he doesn't know and I have to tell him in person, even if I take on the mission and stay on the ship. At least he might reconsider his plan and return with the others."

"You can't be serious."

"I am deadly serious." Angie whispered, glancing at the others for a moment as they moved toward them, "Do me a favor and don't tell them until I am gone, keep it to yourself. That goes for the General's office, they don't even know."

"Oh my god…" Denise whispered, embracing her friend, "You should stay here with us, I don't want you to go. Give me one good reason why I should agree to this."

"I want to go, and I will see to their safety, being their eyes and ears on the ship." Angie promised.

"You can't guarantee that, if he has already made up his bloody mind." Denise said, almost shouting and she calmed down.

"I know. Don't worry I am not going to be on the ground with him." Angie said, "If something happens, remember we care about all of you, but I couldn't stand to be alone and with our child. It would tear me apart."

"You won't be. You will have us." Denise replied hotly, and she saw the flushed face of her friend, reaching out to grasp her arm. She fell silent as Melinda and the others clustered around them.

“What's going on?” The dark-skinned officer asked, and Angie glanced at Denise who nodded slowly in understanding. “Everything alright?”

“Nothing. It's cool, Angie had something important to tell me in regards to our reactivation and release from Medical.” She lied, “We better get going.”

The group glanced at each other as Angie and Dense led the way to the airfield and through the gate, carrying good chair and the leis in their hands. Miss Watson had lied to the others, understanding what Angie was talking about and not wanting to alarm them before it was time to explain her departure with the Clouds. Amy and Melinda were silent as they followed, suspecting something was happening and being kept from them, in which they would be correct. The group ran toward the gathered troops on the airfield a moment later.

Shaking her head Denise cleared the images of their discussion, meeting the questioning look of Melinda as she held out her arm to hold her back. Nodding, Melinda had seen the sad look on her teammate's face but had read the look on her face, understanding immediately what was happening. The young woman and her friends were horrified at the look she had given them as Angie ran to the ship, with the Lieutenant close behind. Denise stood with Amanda, Amy and Melinda and she told them what was happening. They were astonished by the news and had gasped openly.

“Then let's give them a top brass send off!” Amy suggested and raised her arm as the others as they waved to the departing ship and troops bound for Aquarius.

Manual and Nathaniel both stared at the silent young woman who stood before them. Both ignored the salute by the Captain, as she held the bag on her shoulder. She grimaced at the expression and his response. She produced a yellow slip, that they both recognized, as a command orders slip. He took it and both scanned it quickly. The Lieutenant Commander and Lieutenant nodded to her after a moment in understanding. She embraced him with a pleased smile. Standing at the gantry, Manual, Angie and Nathaniel stood at the door and turning their heads, raised their arms to wave at the departing young women. The group waved back once more before they walked away from the Star Cruiser that was about to depart for battle.

Stepping into the gantry, and passing through the hatch, the twenty-four marines saluted Ihsss T'Larra and Felonious Purrtz who stood inside as they passed them.

"Is this it?" Ihsss asked, and Lieutenant Commander Miller nodded in reply.

"This is it, Captain T'Larra." He said, "It is with our thanks."

"Do me a favor, and win." Ihsss declared solemnly with a nod of her reptilian head, "So we can all go home."

She studied the young woman who stood diligently at his side.

"What is this?" Ihsss asked, "I thought it was only twenty-four Space Marines, and since when did it get co-ed, as you humans call it."

She read the hard look of the young Captain, and she sensed something different about the young woman that she could not put a finger on.

"I see. Please." Ihsss motioned to the young woman, placing a hand on her shoulder for a moment as she nodded to her, "No offense young Captain… uh-mm..."

"Captain Angie Stethem." She prompted, and Ihsss nodded.

"Welcome aboard the Magellanic Clouds. She told her, "Although, I am puzzled why you are here."

"Thank you." Captain Stethem replied with a smile and a quick nod of her head. She took up a flanking position at the Lieutenant Commander's elbow.

“To answer your question Commander T'Larra, there was a duty shift, authorized by the Command Staff." He glanced at Angie who was smiling.

"There is something I want to discuss privately, however, Lieutenant Commander."

She motioned him to the bulkhead and glanced at the others who were being billeted on board her ship. She nodded her head to the young officer.

"And what is that Captain." He asked, and she motioned further away with Felonious. He glanced at Manual who took a step toward him.

"Carry on with the loading procedures and billeting. Assist the team getting squared away and their gear stored." The Lieutenant Commander ordered and Manual nodded, turning to direct the others down the corridor.

Angie held back and he motioned to her. "It's okay, we will be billeted together." He told her, "Carry on and give any help you can to that Lieutenant, uhm… What's his name?"

She smiled, giggling quietly.

"Lieutenant Kino Minezati?" She prompted with a big smile and nodded, reading his serious look.

"Aye, sir."

Standing near the bulkhead, the young Captain watched as he stood there with Felonious and Ihsss. She turned, but repeatedly glanced as they stood taking.

Ihsss told the Lieutenant Commander that she had approved the action he suggested before and the crew had approved and volunteered to undertake the task of his plan of time. It would ambush an ambush, but it would also possible even or better the odds that were clearly stacked against them. The Cybertron had changed time, and this time they were going to correct those changes, putting an advantage for Ihsss and her crew going home sooner than expected.

He grinned at the young reptilian captain and nodded.

"I'll see to my team, and my thanks Ihsss." He told her and the young reptilian nodded, glancing at his teammates who had watched the exchange.

"Thank you and please do… Lieutenant Commander…" Ihsss said, as he passed her, to join the others down the corridor.

She watched him go and nodded to Felonious who was grinning. They were going to leap time again, and right a wrong and beat the odds that were against them. Both Clouds' officers admired the Lieutenant Commander, the bravest man they had met from another time, a different century, and a different era.

"Stand by to take off." Ihsss said into the intercom, "Close gantry and prepare of lift off. Secure ship for space detail."

Outside the massive Star Cruiser, the gantry lifted and folded neatly into the side of the ship. A low hum sounded on the Tarmac as ground personnel moved back. The engines rumbled and smoked as thrust was applied and slowly the ship moved upward. There was a cheer by the men around the ship as it rose up into the sky, higher and higher. On the bridge, Ihsss sat in the command chair.

"Take us up in a twenty-five meter climb." Ihsss ordered, "Full thrust."

The ship rose higher and faster as it moved forward to climb into the sky. Down in their quarters, the team was strapped in after securing their gear. Nathaniel and Angie winced at the pressure against their bodies as they sat strapped in, and the ship rose up into the sky. Both remembered their first time in space, in which they had defended Earth on a rushed catch up learning, and having to learn the ropes the hard way. They grimaced as they sat in their seats, both holding hands. Nathaniel glanced at Angie who was smiling.

"I hope like hell we don't have to go through that again." The Captain thought, already switching into the green and black uniform of the Space Marines. Angie sat beside a man she had been a friend to also a stasis member comrade, and now whom she had fallen in love with.

Sitting on the bridge, the Insectoid helmsman and the bridge crew worked at their consoles to pilot the ship. There was a quiet rumble as the ship began to shake, passing through Earth's atmosphere. Outside, the nose and skin of the ship glowed red as the friction of gravity intensified upon its surface. The bridge crew remained at their seats as the ship passed into orbit. Ihsss, seated in the command chair, managed a smile. She was never affected by the passage into gravity, landing and taking off from many worlds they had visited in their travels. She was smiling openly, impressed by the smooth handling of her ship through Earth's thin atmosphere, and how well her crew maintained control of the ship.

Veloxa turned to Ihsss when the console beeped accusingly at her. "Orbit velocity achieved," Veloxa said, "Orbit accomplished."

"Make one orbit and head toward the Earth task force outside the SOL System." Ihsss ordered, "Make for impulse speed, fifteen space knots, for Earth sector only after we orbit once."

"Aye, Captain." Veloxa said, touching the console.

"Inform Earth Defense Command of our departure and making all speed to get underway to the fleet."

"Aye…" Hi'Mthsss said, touching the buttons on her console but Ihsss hardly heard her slurred words, reporting their status. She was nervous of this battle to come and wondered if this tactic was going to work.

Both knew, along with her crew that it had been planned by the human Lieutenant Commander, who had come from a time long passed. He is an unusual person to the reptilian woman, never seen anyone like him ever in her travels that had come through time and space. He was quite intelligent for someone who had come from the winds of history to be in charge and understand the mechanics for technology such s stasis. Even more unusual, that he would be able to make strong adjustments to a battle plan, when he was clearly not from the current military or current day. She wondered about him.

Ihsss thought of his words and she cocked her head. His flared fanatical opinion was a bit overwhelming and yet she wondered if they did that, they could actually right the wrong he spoke of. Her crew had seen the touching scene between the Sergeant Major and the Lieutenant Commander with the young women that embraced them. She smiled at the sight of both of them, who both laid a passionate kiss on the two men's lips. The reptilian Commander wondered about the rest of the stasis group, who had defied history, the odds, and time itself.

"It certainly would right a wrong that happened, and bring together and home a lost soldier who was a brave man with a young woman who loved him." Ihsss thought, understanding love and admiring that emotion.

She understood the concept of love even though it had been a long time. Here she thought of her family back home on her planet. People she loved that were butchered, after being separated by the green group of her race all because their skin color was different from theirs. She wondered if she could change history one day and take the same risk to save her family. It was worth a shot. He had suggested it and his notion put the hook in her. The reptilian Captain also wondered what was up with the young human female Captain, who had joined the party on what could be a suicide mission. She did not know of the secret that she held, which would hold in the balance life or death of a certain young officer.

"Captain, one orbit achieved." Veloxa said, turning to glance at Ihsss who was deep in thought.

"Captain…?" Veloxa said, glancing at Felonious who looked up from his console.

"Ihsss…?" He asked and she shook her head with a snort and turned her head to regard her crew.

"I'm fine. Break orbit and make fifteen knots."

"Aye…." Veloxa said, "Leaving Earth's orbit."

The sound of the engines could heard on the bridge as the ship thrust forward and it moved from the safe orbit of Earth into the stars of open space.

"We are free and clear to navigate." Thyrac announced beside her, "Plotting course to join their fleet."

The ship turned smoothly to avoid the moon, and continued into the depth of space.

"Very well…" Ihsss' said, "Departure angle on viewer."

"Aye… Switching to departure angle on viewer…" Veloxa replied as he hit the switch and the blue glow of Earth moved way as they left orbit into deep space.

"Switch the viewer, to standard ahead."

"Standard ahead, aye," Thyrac replied, and the familiar stars appeared on the screen.

"Long Range Sensors indicate fleet moving at one, eight zero, mark four." Felonious replied, the hum of the sensors echoing across the bridge, "They are three sectors over from SOL… Sector four according to the charts they uploaded to us."

"Very well, prepare to warp to their location, and upon arrival, match course and speed." Ihsss replied, "But give them a wide berth, we don't want to crowd them."

"Making parallel course, one, eight, zero mark four." Thyrac announced, his claw-like hands dancing across the console.

"I will make my speed, fifteen space knots when we come along side after warp." Veloxa added and she turned to not to Ihsss, "Engaging course."

"Don't warp until we have reached the outer planets of this system." Felonious cautioned, "We don't want to be warping until we've plotted this system. We might warp into a star or a planetary body."

"Very well..." Ihsss replied, "Continue exit trajectory to the edge of the solar system."

Outside in space the ship moved rapidly toward the edge of SOL, where the fleet from Earth, the task force assigned as the diversion slowly moved toward Aquarius. On board the ships, the crews staffed their positions, ready for battle as seasoned veterans were called with the new recruits to face this new enemy. The Clouds moved at medium speed, dodging and darting through the asteroid belt near Jupiter, the whole time as Felonious plotted the system, navigating the destination warp point to the Earth fleet.

In the quarters shared with the young Captain named Angie Stethem: Lieutenant Commander Miller stood in the spacious interior of the room. It is here he moved slowly, fluidly, as he practicing the motions of Aikido and Tai-Chi in order to relax himself of his anxiety.

Captain Stethem, as he moved smoothly in the complex motions, had turned over from the bunk where she was laying and watched in perplexed silence. Angie had never seen anything so beautiful, the motions smooth and graceful, not knowing he had once been a martial artist long ago. He did not tell her many things since their awakening, reunited with each other way back a couple of centuries ago. There had been no time. She smiled when he finished the form but thought back to when it had begin for them all, both groups.

It had been a mad rush to get them ready for stasis, even during their training. Then the unthinkable happened a terrorist bomb destroyed the chamber with everyone in it after Angie and Nathaniel were placed first in their chambers. Here they slept as the an explosion ripped through the chamber, as the other ten people, techs and scientists were slaughtered in violent carnage, She also remembered the nightmare later after awakening, still partially ill, they had been reactivated to duty, rushed through catch up learning and assigned to a Destroyer that had escorted the Yamato against the Dinguil Empire.

Here Nathaniel and Angie had earned their place in the EDC, both showing extraordinary bravery and excellence at the jobs they were learning. She remembered being shot twice as Nathaniel had been, taken back to Earth where they were both laid up healing, having protected many of their shipmates from a sneak attack by the Dinguil ships, rescuing them and taking them aboard quickly for medical attention. In that time, after given several promotions for their excellent performance of duty, they had only a few minutes in the last few months to talk and catch up. They had become lovers, finding comfort in each other's arms, not knowing at that time of the secondary stasis group that would be found in a few months.

When they both learned of the secondary stasis crew, both of them were ordered to lay low, assigned to obscure positions which would not overly identify them as the first stasis group found in the EDC at San Francisco. But that changed when Seth had been killed at the memorial. Now, her love was going on a mission that could lead to his death, and Angie did not want to lose him, not then, or even now.

She shook off her memories and peered at the young officer as he finished the form, smiling at its very complex beauty of motions. The young woman had come with him in good faith, not wanting to be alone, desperately having something she needed to tell him, and volunteering for this mission was the only way in which she could accomplish that. She cleared her throat quietly and he turned and met her gaze.

"What is that? What the hell are you doing?" She asked, having to ask the question because she had never seen something like that before in her travels. The young officer frowned at her before straightening, lowering his hands.

"Sorry, did not mean to wake you." Nathaniel told her lamely, and she shook her head quickly. He had reacted to her frown, sensing her disapproval of what he was doing and had immediately stopped doing the exercises.

"No, you didn't... I wasn't sleeping." She informed him, "I had a bit of a headache and I thought if I could close my eyes for a bit, it might go away. Anyway what is that you are doing?"

"Oh, it's just the forms from martial arts, I learned a long time ago." He said, "It is the forms, from Aikido and Tai Chi, it is rather relaxing."

"Oh." Angie replied, "Well heck, you should have told me, I could gave you a back massage to relax you, Hun."

Here, the young woman hopped off the top bunk bed, landing solidly on the floor and hitched her butt on his bunk. She smiled at him and yet the Lieutenant Commander grimaced at the smile. He is still unsure what and why she was here with him, even though they had served together aboard a Destroyer during the Dinguil War. This mission could be a suicide mission and he did not understand why she had chosen to die at his side, if they all were killed trying to destroy Aquarius. She reached out and touched his shoulders, gripping them as she rubbed them briskly. He managed a quiet smile at the massage.

"I'm glad to see you are here Angie." He told her, "But I don't think you should have come with me on this mission. You are working in the Headquarters on Earth, and doing your part being safe. This might be a suicide mission we are on, and where the whole task force may not come back. It does not make sense for you to needlessly risk yourself."

"I volunteered." She said, "The Commander remembered my service against the Dinguil, and I just cannot let you and Manual get yourself clobbered without me. You cannot leave me alone now despite we have been together through hell and back. I thought my place would be better at your side, at least to give moral support, my council and my outstanding computer skills to be your eyes while your team is on the ground. You need me, and I really need you right now."

"You're crazy." The Lieutenant Commander told her, and yet she shook her head, "I wanted you all to survive and you are crazy to risk yourself needlessly. You would have lived longer if you stayed on Earth."

Nathaniel paused, sensing the anger in his tone and he closed his eyes to calm down.

"Jesus there is no need to be angry." He thought, and frowned.

"Sorry babe."

He then thought about her reply and her statement. The officer managed a frown.

"You really need me right now? What do you mean you really need me right now? Are you that horny? Jesus…"

She grinned at the second part of his question, sensing he was trying to make humor.

"Of course, but that's not why I have come." Angie countered and he stood waiting for her explanation.

"Nathaniel, what you and I did... went together through some hell times with training, then stasis and that war that we got pushed into." She started, "You and I did something together by chance and it was very good. Something happened, in which I don't want you to do anything crazy or lose you right now."

Angie had replied with a serious look on her face, and reading the expression on her face had made him become silent. He realized she was talking about their brief encounter in the sack after almost dying, bravely assisting the injured in space, then on the ship when an explosion happened where he charged into the blaze. The two times he had been shot in the line of duty, saving his shipmates and Angie as the Dinguil continued their sneak attacks on the ship. When he was finally found, by the medical personnel, he was taken to Sick bay, later transferred to a medical ship bound for Earth and home. He grimaced at the young woman, shaking his head.

“That doesn't tell me why you have come with me Angie.” He said solemnly.

"I came with you because… I really have fallen in love with you." Angie declared solemnly, "You know that, and you, ya big goof ball, my now love of my life. I-I… am…" She met his frowning face, as her voice trailed off, but quickly cleared her throat. "I'm Preg…nant Nathaniel…"

The Lieutenant Commander gasped loudly, so loud that it echoed the room. He stared at her dumbfounded, unable to speak, astonished her revelation.

"If you re wondering and trying to say no, I can guarantee that it's yours. You are the father and I did not want to be… alone without you, so I volunteered. If you go, I go, for this mission and support what you are planning to do, but not if it is your plan to not come back to me."

He let out a gasp again, and it again was so loud, it echoed the whole room. Nathaniel stared at Angie who nodded her head multiple times. Her look said it all.

"Oh my, good god…!" He exclaimed loudly, as she stood up and he moved in to embrace the young woman, putting his loving arms around her. Nathaniel held her tightly as she literally sobbed into the arm of his uniform making it wet.

"Jesus, I love you." Angie told him and he gasped again, stepping back to regard the loving gaze she cast upon him.

"I-I love you too Angie, I-I didn't know." He stammered, "You could have told me over subspace, in a private transmission you know."

"Yes but it would have been decoded by the ship's communicator and logged. It would not have been private." Angie replied, making him grimace but finally nod in agreement with her.

She managed a shrug as he embraced her, holding her tightly against him. The Lieutenant Commander fought back the silent emotion as he held her, not wanting to tell her what he planned after the mission to Aquarius. He did not want to let her know that it was a one-way ticket, in which he would not return, and what he would be doing with the Clouds. He would save a hero and switch places with him, only to be still safely on Earth at Headquarters with her. He sensed that she already seemed to know what he planned, and wanted to keep him safely within her arms.

"Jesus. How long are you along then?" He asked, and she moved back to look into his one eye. Behind her, a buzzer sounded, and he looked up at the door with a grimace, before she could answer. Angie turned her head too.

"Come!" He said sharply and the doors opened, allowing Doctor Fallora Platt to enter with the young reptilian Commander. Behind them, the youthful Lieutenant, his second in command and Sergeant Major Parry entered behind them. The Lieutenant Commander smiled, despite the unwelcome intrusion.

"Lieutenant Commander, we have to talk." Fallora Platt said, waving a tentacle at him, "You sly human."

Nathaniel eyed Ihsss who was beaming with delight with a huge smile on her reptilian features. The Lieutenant Commander noted the same expression of shock and surprise, on the faces of his second in command and friends he was leading.

"Then pull up a bulkhead Doc, Captain T'Larra, Sergeant Major, Lieutenant, Doctor, Felonious… me casa is your casa." The Lieutenant Commander said with wide-stance and low bow. He was grinning ear to ear at them.

They all stood near the bulkhead for a moment, until Manual hitched himself on the table. Kino stood next to him, all with smiles on their faces. They had been told by Falora about Angie and had all come to call him on his decision to let her stay on or not. He had the deciding factor of overruling them, being in charge of the mission.

"We must really return Captain Stethem to Earth immediately. We have changed course and will be rendezvousing with the S.S. Hilo." Ihsss said, "Falora here, examined the records sent from Earth, and scanned her unknowingly during a routine visit to sickbay after she came on board. He had a suspicion and discovered she is pregnant!"

Lieutenant Commander Miller glanced at the beaming faces of Manual and Kino who stood nearby and both, handed together, a whole box of cigars, which he took and glanced at it with a grin.

"The fat lady has not sung yet." He said deadpan, and there was a chuckle from the two soldiers from his group. Ihsss and Falora glanced at them, unsure what he meant by that.

"In this case, the fat lady has sung, and this is your victory dance." Kino told him, putting a cigar in his mouth, as did Manual.

Kino turned to offer a cigar to Ihsss and Falora who looked at it distastefully. Manual pulled out his lighter, lighting the end up making it glow bright orange. The Sergeant Major lit the end of Kino's cigar and then to the Lieutenant Commander who bit off the end and nodded. He glanced at Ihsss, Falora and Felonious who shook their heads.

"No thanks, we don't smoke if that's what you are doing, not like that. Anyway, we requested a Destroyer to meet us from Earth and transfer her over, and evacuate her from the ship. Your command has agreed to this move because they were improperly informed and the orders have been rescinded for Captain Stethem. She is to return to Earth immediately." Ihsss declared, "I don't know what you were trying to pull by allowing her to come with you, but I… we just can't allow something to happen to her on your mission. It wouldn't be…"

He silenced her with a wave of the hand.

"I already know the situation, Captain T'Larra." Nathaniel replied, "I did not know until just a few minutes ago. I have talked it over with her and we both are in agreement with the request you made, and the orders that are to return her to Earth."

"Hot damn, you are going to be a dad Nathaniel!" Manual said, "May I say congratulations, even though it is kind of a distraction from our mission."

"Congratulations!" Kino chortled and Ihsss hugged him warmly.

"Way to go." Felonious said, smiling toothily at him.

"Yeah it's a big surprise, even for me." He replied, "Not to worry, I have already given orders to supplement the sent orders from Headquarters."

"H-how did you know?" Ihsss asked suddenly, and the human Lieutenant Commander shrugged.

"I have been in close contact with the EDC. It is per my orders given to me that I report every move and distance to Aquarius." He said, "My laptop has a transceiver in it. Sorry, I should have told you that."

"No, I understand, you have to report and do paperwork too." Ihsss replied with a smile, "I can bet this made a lot more for you."

Nathaniel laughed and he nodded.

"So how long have you known Angie anyway?"

"We have known each other a long bloody time. He said, "We met a long time ago when I ended up in Ohio. We were classmates in the same Junior High, then later High School for three years. We lost contact after I returned west, where you know the rest, Wilcox with you and Amanda. We met again in the late nineteen nineties, when I stumbled across her in the mission for stasis, four or so years after I joined the service."

Angie smiled at Nathaniel and the group.

"Jesus, you went through two hundred years to get to this point?" Kino asked and he shook his head, "That's a long time."

"I was surprised to meet him again." Angie told the group. "Also very pleased, He had changed a lot from the geeky boy he once was."

"Were we ever that young?" Manual joked and there was a ripple of laughter by everyone. Even Ihsss and Falora had chuckled, remembering back on their respective planets a long time ago, before the Cybertron came and changed everything.

"We will be meeting up with the Hilo." Ihsss said, "In an hour."

"Outstanding." Nathaniel replied solemnly, "We will be ready. The EDC Command has a full report already."

"Also if you are still up for that ride after the mission, I'm all for it." Ihsss said, "The crew is willing to take the risk with you and your god's speed to us all."

"What is she talking about?" Angie demanded, "I said to not do anything crazy. I won't leave if you are going to do something crazy."

The reptilian Commander grimaced when she sensed she had said the wrong thing, but she had been clear to offer the trip into the past as Nathaniel had requested. He and Clouds crew would right a wrong by the Cybertron, in order to save a life.

"It is okay, Angie." He told her, "It isn't crazy, it's the most sensible damn thing I ever thought of, and it's going to work. You just have to trust me, but for now, this is an order. Please gather your gear, report to the Hangar deck when its time and transfer to that tin can so you can return to Earth. I will see you later, just trust me."

Manual and Kino were grimacing.

"What is she talking about, sir?" He asked and the Lieutenant Commander shook his head,

"Encoded orders, I am not at liberty to discuss them at this moment, you will know when I am ready."

"I refuse to go sir." She replied, "I want to stay here with you. Please Nathaniel. Remember what Amanda and Emily told you guys, no heroics."

Her eyes filled with tears and he could see her distress but he shook his head.

"Angie." He said, his tone silencing her, "Please. You have our kid to look after, best you return to Earth. Do not worry I will be back, as I promised. I am not going to do any heroics and get myself killed."

Ihsss glanced at the Captain who was shaking her head. A thump hit the ship and it threw everyone to the deck. Another one threw them hard against the bulkhead nearby and onto the deck. A whistle sounded on the intercom on the wall.

"Bridge to Captain… Red Alert… the ship is under attack!" The voice was the helmsman.

Another strike threw everyone to the deck again as the klaxon sounded in the corridor. The hatch opened and smoke permeated the air. Everyone ran out, Nathaniel motioned her back. He grabbed a fire device and fought the flash fire that appeared in the hall with the other Marines throughout the ship. Manual and Kino ran out too, all charging the flames that filled the corridor. There was a rumbling of the main guns as they fired back at the enemy and the lurch as missiles were fired at the target that was attacking.

Meanwhile as the firefight continued, Nathaniel bravely assisted the ragtag crew to put the fire out and save the ship. The battle outside raged for several minutes as the Cloud's main turret lanced out with the lethal beams and they struck the shields of the Cybertron. Torpedoes and missiles were launched, making an explosion of mushrooms sprout from the enemy vessels before each disappeared in a flash.

When it was over, Ihsss on the bridge, called condition yellow that would keep the crew on alert while the ship remained ready, and slowly made its way toward the sector for their rendezvous with the Earth Destroyer that would take Angie home. Nathaniel turned to his lover as she motioned for him to come to her. He nodded, walking toward her as she took his hand and led him of the doorway of their quarters. She embraced him after the door closed behind them. Lieutenant Commander Miller met her look silently and he grimaced as he stood before her, watching her slip her arms inside her tunic.

Outside the ship in space, the ship continued on its course, heading across sectors and star clusters to approach the fleet massing at the sector outside Aquarius. By this time, the legendary water planet was well over ninety parsecs from SOL and Earth. Their escort, to take Captain Stethem back to Earth, would be meeting them at least three sectors away from their current position. Until the rendezvous happened, the couple stood in their assigned quarters staring into each other's eyes.

"If you are going to do something crazy…" Angie said, "At least make love to me before you hit Aquarius, and you plan to not return."

He stared at Angie in astonishment, clenching his jaw when he realized he was found out and it finally turned into a smile as he stepped further inside their quarters. Manual and Kino were outside fighting the remnants of the fire and had smiled as he walked toward her. They cast an amused glance at each other. She had been perceptive by his response to Nathaniel's second in command and the Sergeant Major, suspecting that what he planned would keep him from returning to Earth, if not right away. He had another agenda, in which he would be risking time and space with the Cloud's crew.

Inside their quarter's he spilled the beans what he planned and she stared at him with tears in her eyes. Angie nodded to him as she stripped off her tunic, revealing her 22C breasts under a sports bra. She pulled off the trousers and lay back in the bunk. Angie sat up motioning to him, putting her hand over his mouth, making him grin, as he began stripping off the uniform. The Lieutenant Commander flipped up the boots into his hands, a maneuver he saw done a long time ago by a comedian named Steve Martin. It made her laugh. He put them on the floor, quickly stripping down to his boxers. She opened her arms as he dove into the bunk and Angie giggled quietly. They made out, kissing and holding each other. He decided to tell her everything.

"I plan to ambush an ambush and save Seth's life for Emily's sake." He told her, "Magellanic Clouds is already on Earth at that time you were all attacked, If I play this right, I will surprise attack the Cybertron and hopefully change that event. He will survive and we will still be on Earth and all of us, unharmed. This timeline will cease to be, but I will be smart and put a note to myself, and a standing order to meet you all at that bar where we will all had dinner. We still will be contracted for the assignment, but if we do this right, we will have won the fight."

Angie gasped loudly when he mentioned Seth and Emily and his plan to save his life. The plan that would make sure he survives for her sanity and have a little happiness of her own in this century.

"That sounds complex do you think it will work?"

"I hope so, we will save Seth and Emily won't be alone." He told her, and Angie nodded, tears in her eyes for the sacrifice he would make for their friends.

"We will have won the fight, the explosives will already be set before the Cybertron get there and all we have to do is to make it go boom!"

"You won't know about my child though, will you?" She asked, "Do me a favor and put it also in an order, ordering me to Medical. I want you to know quickly."

He nodded quietly at her request, and stared into her eyes.

"Meanwhile, do me." She told him lustily, "For the next hour my love."

He grimaced as they both lay back in the bunk. An hour later, Angie and Nathaniel lay together in the bunk, holding each other tightly, snuggling against each other, and both smiling after a lengthy love making session. He placed a hand on her abdomen, and he glanced at her and she read his look quickly.

"I am a two months pregnant Nathaniel." She told him, "Doctor Sane does not know, but Falora knew right way. I am hoping it is a girl, a daughter for you to be driven crazy when she starts dating. It will keep you young."

Here he laughed, and held Angie warmly against him.

"Or maybe a boy, so he can serve like his old man and be a hero of Earth too. Keep up being a sexy stud image, and a chip off the old block." Nathaniel countered. Angie laughed this time, and narrowed her eyes.

"Oh no…!" Angie replied sternly, "Whatever the sex, they will not serve. I want them alive and well, if you are going to leave me here alone."

"Don't worry Angie I am not going to leave you alone, if this works. If not, I have a plan 'B', a plan 'C' and even a Plan 'D'." He told her solemnly, "I am not going to needlessly get myself killed, but if it happens, where I have to sacrifice, know that I love you dearly and always will."

Angie glanced at him with her mouth open. A look of fear appeared on her face.

"You really are serious!" She gasped, "You're not coming back!"

The young woman stared at him.

"Please don't lie to me, and try to candy coat it. Tell it to me straight."

"I have been working on this since Seth died and I learned about the Clouds and her crew." He replied, "I want and I will succeed. I swear it. If it happens, and if it the only way to save his life, then I am willing to sacrifice for him. This timeline will cease if I am successful, and we will both still be together in the new timeline, unharmed, as a family. I am working on alternate contingency plans, just in case though."

A whistle sounded from the intercom nearby, and it interrupted the Lieutenant Commander's thought on the subject.

"Captain Stethem, report to hangar deck one in fifteen minutes, acknowledge." A voice hissed, and Nathaniel recognized it as Hi'Mthsss T'Larra, the youthful communicator who operated the Communications Station on the bridge, Ihsss' own daughter.

Nodding, they both rose from the bunk, and she moved to the intercom to punch the button.

"Acknowledged…" She replied starkly, and turned, quickly catching the blue and dark blue uniform of the Space Corps of Earth.

"I'd rather go back in the green and black one, Nathaniel." She told him and he shook his head.

"It would be tasteful when you board the Destroyer to be your proper rank. After all, that is the assignment you will resume when you arrive home." He told her and she thought about it, shrugging slightly, frowning at him distastefully. After dressing, pinning on her ranking insignia and the rope marking her as an aide to the General, she walked toward the Lieutenant Commander to embrace him warmly.

"Please succeed at your task, but do me a favor and come back." She told him, "So we can be a family. As Emily told you guys, No heroics… But bring Seth back safely where ever you are going to find him."

"I will do my best." He said, "I don't know how it is going to play out and I hope it won't come to that."

He walked with her down the corridor, carrying her gear to the airlock that entered the hangar deck. Nathaniel kissed her warmly, his arms around her as they said goodbye. The Lieutenant Commander peered into her eyes and returned the smile on her face as he watched her board a transport that would be used take her across open space. He stepped on board with her for a moment.

"Do me a favor and do not mention it to anyone what I plan, it is a surprise." He told her and Angie grinned broadly, but she also nodded. "That goes for our kid too! I will try my best to see you on Earth, I promise you. However, if not make it, be sure he/she knows all about me. What I did for their safety, and for Earth."

"You can count on that." Angie told him, "Damn it, I love you…"

The young woman had tears in her eyes as she stared at Nathaniel, "Why can't you let me stay?"

She already knew the answer, however, and wished it were not as severe that it supposedly was.

"I love you more than you will ever know, but for now, farewell..." He droned, embracing the young Captain before he stepped off the transport. The hatch closed behind him. He put on a helmet and the ship roared off the deck, across the expanse of space to enter the small dock of the Destroyer of Earth who silently slid up along side.

When they landed, Angie smiled at the young humanoid who piloted the ship, the hatch opening to allow her to exit. The young Captain stepped off the transport, regarding the Captain of the Destroyer who approached through the nearby airlock.

"Captain Stethem?" He said and she saluted, nodding to him. He motioned to the crew member nearby. He grabbed her bags and she was led to the airlock nearby. As the hatch closed, the outer door opened and the transport that brought her here departed and returned to the Clouds.

"All are aboard." He said, after picking up a phone nearby, "Head for Earth."

Outside the Destroyer's engines howled as it turned sharply, and the sleek ship moved among the stars. Angie moved to a view port and she saluted the Clouds that moved off into space, among the stars, disappearing in a flash as it warped.

"God speed Clouds." The Captain said, joining Angie at the view port and he motioned to her, "Report to the bridge Ms. Stethem."

She turned her head and nodded to him.

Walking behind the Captain, she disappeared through the hatch and into a corridor. Making her way to the elevator, she found herself quickly catapulted upward and the doors snapped open to reveal the bridge. Captain Hilo Tamazuki stepped on the bridge behind her, and he moved to the center seat. Walking forward she found a seat at the front console, to stand next to it. The crew glanced at her, eyeing the gold braid she wore on the uniform. There was a low murmur of distrust on the bridge.

"Captain Stethem is an aide to General Singleton." The Captain told his crew, "That being, she is to be treated with the up most respect. All military courtesy is still in force, I remind you. She reports directly to the Commander, so I want a good clean trip home."

"Aye, sir..." A choruses of voices replied, as she smiled and took her seat next to the Helm and Navigator.

"Make for best speed home." Captain Tamazuki ordered, "Set course to one eight five degrees, for entry to Pluto space."


There was a roar as the ship's engines howled and the ship lumbered through the star filled blackness of space, turning on its course to head to Earth. On board the ship, there was tension as the ship prepared for its next step in its journey.

"All hands, prepare for Warp." A voice on the loud speaker said and all preparations were made for the ship to power up. The crew throughout the ship buckled her down and fastened themselves in as there was a hum and the ship disappeared as it warped into the SOL sector around Pluto Base. When it arrived, Task force 1 was on hand patrolling the region of the outer solar system.

"Helm, set course zero, nine, five and maintain course for entering solar system." The Captain said, and the Helmsman nodded.

"Pluto Base confirms our entry code and our flight pattern into SOL." The Communications officer reported, as he turned to regard the Captain and the First Officer.

"Make top speed to Earth." The Captain ordered, and the helm hit the throttle making the ship catapult forward through the solar system at over twenty space knots. Angie glanced at the brave crew of the ship, and then back to the Captain who nodded to her in silence. They warped again to sector seventeen at Saturn Station where Battle Group 4 linked up with the Destroyer, and they were escorted to Earth.

Back on the Clouds, Nathaniel sat in the quarters assigned to him and Angie for the short time together. He took up the tunic top of the black and green uniform that was issued to her and he held it. He grimaced as he held it, staring at the view port as the stars moved past and as the Clouds quickly made top speed to the Earth Fleet that slowly approaches the Sector where Aquarius lies. As they approached, the Battle group of the Cybertron, masses as an armada to attack Earth and the Cloud's target they are to destroy, hoping to win the battle ahead.

At this moment, Nathaniel is deep in thought, thinking of the startling news that Angie had laid on him. It would be soon that he would be a parent, but hard to believe that it really happened.

"I don't believe it." The Lieutenant Commander thought, shaking his head in silence, "This is going to mess up the plan I designed and put to Captain T'Larra. It just made everything so damn complex."

The grizzled officer found himself torn from leaving her alone by sacrificing himself, and coming back with Seth to this time and place. He really did not know he wanted to do at this point and here he grimaced as memories flooded his brain of their time in space. He grimaced realizing that he had been a hero to Earth by saving many lives for Earth and shot as he rescued his comrades on the other ships that had been destroyed by the Dinguil. The officer grimaced, and shook his head to clear the images, and turned to the porthole where the stars raced by them as they headed toward the EDC battle group just outside of the sector where water planet known as Aquarius now resides in orbit around a red giant star He was in the middle of cosmic thoughts, of what would happen and the surprise he would get in the other timeline if he was successful, in addition to his mission at Aquarius, to save the universe too.

“I have a job to do...” He murmured solemnly, “And I swear I will bring you back Seth. We're going to win, and do this cleanly without sacrifice.”

The Lieutenant Commander grimaced at the idle thoughts and turned to nearby table where he walked toward and sat at to open his laptop. Written on a notepad, lying between the top and the keyboard, in Angie's handwriting, were the words "I love you, and god speed Nathaniel."

He smiled and his laughter echoed his quarters.

Turning on the unit, he began dictating into the log file he had been keeping since their awakening from stasis, and in it, he mentioned Angie's child. He also reported their status, which printed, neatly on the screen after dictating it. Reading it, he managed a smirk and he turned his attention to the door as a buzzer sounded.

"Who is it?" He asked annoyed, looking up from the table he had made into a makeshift desk, and where he filed his report that would be sent to EDC Headquarters. The hatch opened revealing Kino Minezati, his second in command who held a bottle and three glasses.

"What is on your mind, Lieutenant?" He asked sourly, "You caught me at a bad time."

"Oh nothing, I just brought a glass of cheer with me." Kino replied with a smile, and with a clink of the glasses followed as he sat them down on the desk. It was followed by a thump as he put down the flask. Lieutenant Commander Miller looked at the flask sourly.

"Illegal booze on board ship is against regulations, you know that." The Lieutenant Commander said solemnly and Kino merely shrugged. A moment later, the buzzer sounded again, and Sergeant Major Perry entered, nodding quickly to the young officers.

"Attention all hands, stand by for Warp." A voice said, and the Sergeant Major and the Lieutenant held on to the table as they felt the ship disappear into warp space. The Lieutenant Commander frowned, as the youthful officer poured a shot into the glass.

"Jesus, get that shit out of here." He snarled tiredly, "I have a lot of paperwork to do and I need to rest."

"Come on Lieutenant Commander you need this and tell us what the plan is." The Lieutenant asked, “I cannot allow you to jeopardize this mission or allow you harm in any way. I have to report to the EDC as you do, and I have to report this behavior and agenda you have cooking. The drink is for your recent situation."

"You are at liberty to do so. It is nothing. You and the team will be returning to the Whirlwind and evacuating immediately from the sector. The Clouds and I will return right behind you, just as I said."

"…By splitting the team?" Kino asked, "Remember what Ms. Montgomery asked, and Miss Stethem… no heroics."

"There won't be." He told them, "Just relax and do this by the numbers. We are going to win. I have a good feeling about this. We are splitting the team, so I can stop the Cybertron by dropping an EMP, an Electromagnetic Pulse which should give us fifteen minutes to get the hell out of there."

He eyed the shot glass and he picked it up, sloshing the brown contents in the glass.

"Oh, what the hell…" Nathaniel muttered, opening his mouth, and thrust the contents into his mouth. The Lieutenant Commander managed a grin as the alcohol burned his mouth and throat as he managed to swallow quickly.

"Ah, a little bit of the old fashioned booze, I do believe we called Kentucky Bourbon, or a little bit of 'Jack'" He intoned, tapping the glass on the table.

"Another round…?"

"Bet your ass. Good idea Lieutenant." He replied, "You're right, I did need it."

Kino poured another shot and he held up a glass, Manual following suit.

"So you would be coming back and not sacrificing yourself after all. You're just giving us a chance to warp out of there." Kino declared, after eyeing the report that he was given by Nathaniel. Manual also read as Kino scanned the document.

"Exactly, and we will be right behind you." He replied with a serious tone, "Making sure for a clean break."

"For Angie, and your child," Kino stated, as he lifted the glass, and the Lieutenant Commander grinned, "If anything happens, I will personally see they know what happened."

"With thanks." Nathaniel replied, "It is Captain Stethem to both of you, though, please do not forget that."

"Aye, Sir..."

Together the trio stood drinking shots, and the Lieutenant Commander glanced at his wrist.

"After this, dismissed for the night… I have to finish my reports and we got a lot of traveling and training to do." He ordered, "I will see you tomorrow gentleman. Muster on the flight deck for calisthenics and inspection at zero, six hundred."

"You got it." Kino and Manual replied together, nursing their drinks as they shot the breeze for several minutes, mostly on baby names. There was great laughter, despite the sour mood the Lieutenant Commander seemed to be in now.

The Lieutenant and Sergeant Major both sensed it that there was more to this tactic change that he was leading on, and their Commander was not about to budge to tell them what was on his mind. It was dangerous, this mission. Nathaniel knew it, and so did Kino and Manual. There was always the possibility of something going wrong when it came to the EMP. A few minutes later, they exited his cabin, leaving him alone. He dropped into his bunk with a sigh, trying to close his eyes, only to see disaster looming in his future in the way of this mission.

The next morning the Lieutenant Commander appeared in his athletic gear and he greeted the other Marines who now stood on the flight deck. They stood in formation and he returned the salute of the young Lieutenant with a nod. The Lieutenant Commander nodded again in approval, sensing the group's readiness.

"Today is preparation for the mission at hand, and equipment final check." He said, addressing the group, "Let’s get to a good workout and a bit of practice."

The others grinned as they stood there,


For an hour, they worked out on the flight deck, sparring in martial arts, exercising and toning up. They also sat on the floor the reviewed the mission objectives and the battle points in which they would be attacking. Ihsss happened to be walking by when they were sparring martial arts, with the first officer, Felonious and they paused to watch the humans in contest. Both strangers to Earth, they glanced at each other in confusion, heading toward the airlock door and into the bay. They thought there was battle happening aboard their ship and their intention was to stop it.

"What is going on here?" Ihsss demanded and the group stopped to meet the look of the reptilian Captain. They sensed her genuine snap of anger and glanced at each other as they stood in groups. The Lieutenant grinned and he held up his hand as he approached Ihsss and Felonious.

"We're… It's just a little sparring Commander." He told her, and she frowned.

Kino explained it quickly to the young reptilian, describing it as hand to hand combat training. Ihsss perked up when he mentioned it, and she realized it is the same thing that she had learned in her military. She gasped aloud and smiled widely.

"Oh, you are exercising, I did not know you did hand to hand combat too… Please carry on then." Ihsss replied, finally recognizing the exercise gear and she stepped back to watch them.

A few minutes later, the Marine group took a break, downing water and sat in a group as Lieutenant Commander Miller stood in front of them, reviewing the mission briefing. Ihsss listened in, smiling as she nodded in agreement with the plan. She grimaced when he mentioned the team would be split, and they would be evacuating to the Whirlwind instead of her ship. On the transport behind Ihsss, they had brought aboard the pinch that would make the pulse happen. Ihsss herself examined the device and she frowned upon the use of such a device. Ihsss thought back to the discussion when they had brought the EMP aboard, rolling it up the steep ramp by three uniformed specialists on a cart. They brought it aboard a few hours before they were to take off and join the fleet bound for Aquarius. She had grimaced then, and still disapproved of the use of this device. She glanced at the young Lieutenant Commander who stood with Lieutenant Kino Minezati who had a clipboard, and the men both nodded when seeing the cart.

"Ah good, it came." He said with a chortle, "Mark it off the list."

"What came?" Ihsss asked, stepping forward to face the men beside her feline first officer, Felonious Purrtz, "What isss this equipment and what is it for?"

The Lieutenant Commander nodded a silent greeting to Commander T'Larra and her feline First Officer, Felonious.

"EMP pinch." He said, "Our guarantee of making it out alive."

"If that is what I think it is, it will disrupt the whole sector maybe two, we'll be helpless for several minutes before we can recover you. It might take the Cybertron down twenty minutes, but it will take us at least ten to restart even on emergency restart." Ihsss said, "I don't think you should need that if you set the charges right?"

"I want a guarantee of elimination, when that planet goes it will reverse the whole sector into black hole." The Lieutenant Commander said, "It will be last resort action to assist getting us the hell out of the sector before we blow the planet. As soon as your ship is active, recover me and I will blow it. We need to be in Warp as soon as you are able."

"There is no guarantee that the black hole will be limited to one sector." Ihsss said, "I don't like the idea of cutting it close in a race with an enemy armada to recover and get blasted on over fifty to one." She complained, "Using that puts my ship and crew at risk, and your recovery too."

"It is going to be much harder getting out, than landing on that damn planet Captain T’Larra." Lieutenant Commander Miller said, pointing to the map on the screen. "Especially if we are compromised even before we get started. Things will get really ugly if our cover is blown, and make it more difficult to set those charges."

The reptilian Commander grimaced but she nodded in agreement at the sentiment. They were going against all the odds, and trying to be covert would be difficult. She wondered if it would be the same thing when they got to the second part of their mission.

"That will be for sure." Ihsss said, "If that happens, the Clouds will step in and start a ground assault and come down to evacuate all personnel."

"We will have to take a whack at plan two." Nathaniel said, "The Earth ships will have to use the Wave gun and take a beating for one hundred and twenty seconds and hit the mine from above."

"At over fifty to one…?" Ihsss gasped, "That's crazy, and they will be helpless as they change back over and have to power up for a Warp,"

"Nothing else to be done…" He replied, "Unless one person sets them off, but that is a suicide mission if they aren't recovered."

"However, if everything goes according to plan and we stay covert and as we are leaving, we will set off the EMP and knock out the fleet just long enough for us to detonate." Nathaniel said, "Our first priority will to stay covert."

"Then we can take a whack at phase two of your brilliant strategy." Ihsss complimented, making the human officer smile.

"Bah, it's not brilliant. The EDC tacticians came up with the plan. I have been modifying it to make sure the damn thing will work, and I just go to make sure that it happens." He replied, "But you have my thanks."

"Oh no, the other plan… It is the one where the ship warps into time and space to change history?" Ihsss replied gently, and he raised his eyebrows, smiling brightly as he bowed slightly.

"Still not brilliant, but you still have my thanks Captain." He told her and it was the reptilian Captain’s turn to smile.

"When you get there, and find the focal point and still succeed, I sense you won't be coming back." Ihsss said, "Captain Stethem was very unhappy that you even considered that option. Is there ANY other alternative to that?"

"No Ihssss…" He replied, "There cannot be two of me in one time, and if I am killed there, to protect my comrade that I do so willingly. My sacrifice for him is a fair exchange, and the many people who be sent and probably die in the attack on Aquarius from that point will be greatly reduced. The battle will be won with a reduced cost of life. I won't be wearing my dog tags or anything to identify me to the others at the memorial."

"Oh…" Ihsss replied, picking up the meaning, and was grinning.

"He is very wise, and very brave." Ihsss thought and just embraced him, despite the surprised look on his face as she held him.

"That is a hell of a planet you come from." Ihsss said, and she stepped back, seeing his grin.

"Not too bad. Despite it is not my time." He told her and she nodded,

"Let's get started then and as you humans say, fracking win this battle." Ihsss suggested, "We will be rendezvousing with your fleet within a couple of hours now. We will warp until we get there, using standard warp capability. Our engines that allow us warp speed are not working or we would be there faster. They were damaged by the attack when we arrived in your solar system by the Cybertron."

Lieutenant Commander Miller nodded with a smirk, thinking of Star Trek when she mentioned Warp Engines. Here, he managed a chuckle as he turned to the board that had been brought with them, specifically for their briefing.

"Damn too bad there wasn't a 'Scotty' in this time, but Voloxa is pretty close to that character." He thought, "And Felonious, a 'Mister Spock'."

Here merely nodded to Ihsss who grinned at him, listening in as he went on with the briefing, and he nodded to the reptilian Captain's helpful tactical suggestions.

The intercom whistled and it echoed through the landing bay.

"Bridge to Captain..." The voice said, and Ihsss walked toward it, hitting the button. It was the feline first officer.

"Captain here…"

"Warp completed, and we have reached rendezvous point Alpha, the Earth fleet is ten Mega meters, as measured on Earth, from our position." Felonious replied, "Sector three one six. We have signaled the fleet and moving in at fifteen knots coming along side of the S.S Essex."

"Very well, keep me informed, I'll be on the bridge in a moment." Ihsss replied, hitting the button. Turning she regarded the Space Marines of the EDC Force.

"We have reached your fleet." Ihsss told them, "We will be heading to the planet and at drop point in twenty hours. From there we will prepare to attack."

"Very well..." The Lieutenant Commander replied, nodding, "We'll be ready."

"Hear that team?" Manual prompted, "Let's have a weapons check and all equipment checked out. We drop in twenty hours. You know the drill… assholes and elbows."

The Lieutenant nodded as equipment crates and cases were brought out. They were promptly opened and inspected. Sergeant Major Perry hefted a SN-34 Astro-machine gun, with pulse clips and he began checking the sights and the clips. As Kino circulated among the group, he glanced many times over at the Lieutenant Commander, who likewise made his way to the group, assisting as needed. He engaged in shooting the breeze with the Sergeant Major.

Little did his second-in-command know, is that he already checked out his equipment that he would use on the mission and he did not know that the Lieutenant Commander wore an equivalent of, what they called in his age, a Kevlar Vest under his uniform tunic. Nathaniel remembered the words of Emily and Angie about 'no heroics' and he wore the vest also to guarantee he would survive for the second part of the mission ahead. The part of the mission in which would be more dangerous than their landing on Aquarius. He had spent two hours in his quarters, before the team awoke, to check out the Astro-Automatic pistol he would carry as a side arm and the sniper rifle that he would be using to eliminate as over watch when they landed on Aquarius.

"I hope like hell I can pull it off too." Nathaniel muttered, "So I can see Angie and our kid again in the other time line."

He thought of the plan, keeping it in his head, going every aspect of it in his head repeatedly. Nathaniel paced the office he occupied, back and forth, as he moved his hand with each thought. He closed his eyes letting the images of Angie and their child fade from view as he stood in the exact center of the office.

Outside the ship plowed along through space, surrounded by Task Force Two from Earth. The Clouds, Commanded by Ihsss T'Larra sat in the command chair, directing the bridge crew, keeping the ship on a steady formation as the radar crews kept their eyes on their consoles for any sign that the enemy had picked up their presence.

"Incoming coded message from Command on the Aircraft Carrier, Essex." Hi'Mthsss reported, "It is to all ships, they are requesting two way visual and split screen for all Commanders to sit in on the final briefing before attack."

"Very well…" Ihsss replied, "Switch over and put it all on main viewer."

Hi'Mthsss clicked the switch and the view screen all became split with the heads of the Commanders of the Task Force two's ships. Introductions went around and there was a gasp as Ihsss' reptilian face appeared on the screen a moment later.

"Captain Ihsss T'Larra." Ihsss said, "Magellanic Clouds."

"This is just a pep talk, before we attack in t-minus eighteen hours from now. Welcome to Magellanic Clouds who will be joining us as the drop vessel for Alpha and Baker teams on the Aquarius surface."

There was a murmured welcome by everyone on the screen.

"How we are going to play this, is to be a distraction for the Cybertron, as the Clouds uses its cloaking device in order to covertly sneak in, orbit and drop the two teams that will be landing on the surface." A voice said, a chart appearing on the screen showing the ships and the pattern used by the task force.

"Our ships will form a perimeter around Aquarius while fighter teams and the ships provide cover for the drop ship." The Admiral said, "When complete, an EMP will be used and when everyone is active again on emergency start, the fleet will immediately warp out of the sector to a safe distance, the sector will become a Tritium imploded black hole."

"What happens if we cannot restart that quickly, and it is blown?" A voice asked, "We will be sucked into the black hole right?"

"Affirmative…" The Admiral replied, "Lieutenant Commander Miller?"

Lieutenant Commander Miller's face popped on the screen, and Ihsss managed a toothy smile as she peered at the screen.

"Lieutenant Commander Miller, on-line..." He said into the speaker.

"Commander Miller is the one who is in charge of the drop and can answer all questions." The Admiral said, "He is the one who suggested the EMP and has modified the original plan for the drop. He is in operational control of his team."

"Commander Miller, Captain Yamagata, here." The image said, "SS Nauru."

"Go ahead."

"What is the distance you will detonate the planet?" He asked, "And how many minutes after the EMP Pulse."

"I will detonate the EMP after the ships are clear of Aquarius airspace and headed to the drop ship, the Clouds." He replied, "Will detonate charges and destroy planet after the fleet is clear, fifteen mega meters from the planet."

"Once the planet goes into imploded black hole, it will draw in everything in sector. All enemy ships will be taken from the sector." Nathaniel said, "The fleet should be clear before I detonate. Do not worry about the Clouds… We will be right behind the fleet. I will be handling the detonation myself."

"One man to detonate… It sounds dangerous." A voice said, as other voices echoed across the channel.

"I didn't know that." Ihsss thought and had grimaced at the notion. The reptilian Captain wondered what else he had planned for the drop and the mission. It was bad enough using an EMP, and having to restart on emergency restart. Time would be crucial to recover him then warp out after they detonated the planet. It would be close, no matter how it was played, or done. There was a possibility that he could be sucked into the black hole and killed. She hoped he had timed it perfectly in order to beat the odds.

Shaking her head, Ihsss peered at the screen as the young officer of the past filled in the battle group the details to the drop and their status. She hardly heard the information, deep in thought to what was to come as they traversed time and space.

Commander T'Larra then remembered his mission after this one and realized it did not matter as time was about to change thanks to this officer to save a friend from the jaws of death itself. He would survive and the young Lieutenant Commander was still on Earth, alive and well, as a time line became non-existent as they knew it.

"Swweet Krishnah." Ihsss murmured, "How much more complex can this be?"

Even she did not know.

When the briefing ended, Ihsss got up from her chair and stepped into the lift, leaving the bridge. She was on her way to see the the Terran Commander, to inform him that a time had changed on the restart after the pulse detonation. As the lift hummed as it plummeted downward and then stopped on level six. The doors opened and she stepped off and turned the corner into the hallway. Ihsss stood outside his quarters and composed herself before she hit the buzzer on the door. Even with this change in time, she wondered if the timeline would truly be adjusted and this timeline would sync or combine with the timeline they were changing.

The reptilian Captain touched the buzzer again on the wall.

"Come!" A voice replied, and the doors opened allowing her to enter.

Looking at the Lieutenant Commander, who sat at his desk in front of his laptop, she noted that he was worked on the daily paperwork associated with his command.

He greeted her with a smile and a nod.

"Captain T'Larra, what can I do for you?" He asked and she grimaced, as she walked toward the table that was a makeshift desk.

“Just want to let you know, we can't get ship systems up in ten minutes, even with the swift work of the engineering officer.” Ihsss said formally, "After you detonate the pulse, you must restarted in fifteen minutes or less. The Earth Fleet is going to withdraw, and we will warp out as soon as you are aboard. Detonate the planet and we can get to our little rendezvous with fate."

“What changed Commander?” He asked.

“The problem is the startup procedures for all systems, there is no guarantees they will come up smoothly at first. We will try to maintain emergency systems when you detonate the pulse, but the main systems might take longer. Once restarted, we're going to be moving toward the Earth Fleet, and get out of range. When you get the transport systems up, move your tail and fly toward us, we'll have a homing beacon if we are cloaked. You will still be in range of the enemy fleet and there is no guarantee they will be off-line for the same amount of time. No sense of getting yourself killed and don't gamble your life on the Cybertron Fleet being immobilized for the same time.”

“I know that Ihsss.” He said, “You can count on it, and do not have to tell me twice... I'll be there with bells on.. I will rig a little surprise for the Cybertron, JUST in case they get too close for comfort.”

"The Earth fleet is going to give them hell, as you earthlings like to put it. I do not want any surprises, just get the… HELL, as you humans say… out of there." Ihsss said, “And we can take a whack at the extended plan.”

The reptilian Commander had said it with a smile and the Lieutenant Commander laughed, nodding twice.

"Excellent sentiment... We'll make you human yet." He intoned, "I'll see you after the mission. Do not worry Captain T'Larra. I can definitely take care of myself. I am a tough bastard and very hard to kill."

Ihsss grimaced before she nodded, managing a toothy grin. However, his comment surprised her too. She knew he had served in the last war Earth had endured before stasis for the two teams, having requested information about him and what she had had read, getting quite far in her research, that he had served excellently. The reptilian Captain was not sure that he was he right man from Earth for the job when she had met him the first time, (having her doubts because he was from a different time) and had made that point to General Singleton and his staff. However, as she read the EDC provided documentation, after requesting it, and of his service in the twentieth/twenty-first century, she learned of his exploits that included stasis. The reptilian Captain quickly learned that he was one hell of an officer, a maverick, taking well to the military. She got a clear picture of what kind of man he was, confirming it by getting to know him personally.

"He is just damn brave for taking part in the battles, when peace broke down in his century and later volunteering for something like stasis." Ihsss thought, "Maybe he is the right man for the job, he certainly gets results, even if they are unorthodox methods."

Ihsss did not know that he had risked himself to save many lives during serving on the Destroyer that had fought with Yamato in the Dinguil War. Many people died out of the nine ships that accompanied her, even though a few had escaped. She did not know that he had personally went out into the fire, to get as many wounded as he could inside to the ship's sickbay, before the Dinguil had sneak attacked the wounded left in space.

"All right, Lieutenant Commander." Ihsss replied after the long silence, "We'll be moving toward the rendezvous point, Beta three, and will warp out after you come on board and detonate the planet. You'd better ready your team, we drop in now six hours."

"We'll be ready Commander."

Lieutenant Commander Miller turned back to his laptop and he quickly typed out his letter, one that would be sent to Angie who had returned to Earth, a final letter to his young love that he sent home to Earth. It was sort of a last will in testament in which he gave specific instructions. He also wrote a letter to his child, that he or she would read when they were older, and understand why he was not with them if his mission failed. Nathaniel realized this was real time and hardly the TV show Star Trek, his favorite episode called The City on the Edge of Forever. Here, he knew they would die if he messed up, and nothing in the universe could stop it. He knew that he must not fail in his mission and be on his absolute A-Game to succeed.

"It sure is damn close to that Trek episode." He thought, and pondered the outcome if he did succeed, keeping focused on finishing the Aquarius mission and then changing fate of the entire universe. He focused positively on his mission to save his friend and change time, as they knew it, for the whole universe too.

"I will succeed, damn it." He swore, "Emily does not deserve to be alone, not now, not ever, on a bloody mistake of someone else on Earth. "

He peered at the image of himself in the screen of his laptop, with gritted teeth.

"You will succeed." He murmured and nodded as he read the screen, checking his words carefully to the very thoughts he was having. Nathaniel told her that he loved her, and would see her soon. Every hour, however, as the planning continued for the second part of the mission came closer together, he realized that there was just no way to avoid what clearly had to be done, and to come. He was definitively ready.

It is on board the Clouds, as the time clicked down to four hours before attack time, the Lieutenant Commander stood up and stretched, before gathering the equipment that he would be taking with him. He hefted the same sniper rifle as the as the Lieutenant, his aim to provide successful over watch for his team. A moment later, he walked toward and through the doors into the hallway, making his way quickly through the passages toward the hangar deck where his team now gathered. As he walked through the corridor, he shouldered the rifle as he passed many of Ihsss' ragtag crew, made up of several different races through the galaxy, displaced by the Cybertron in the future. They stared at the human Lieutenant Commander in astonishment, moving aside to let him pass. There was the sound of applause, as the he passed, and Nathaniel managed a grimace as he walked through the corridor. When he reached the hatch to the Hangar Deck, he stepped through it and into the cavernous bay here. Standing on the deck, his team is assembled, bearing the gear that they readied for themselves a few hours ago. Two landing craft were prepared for the drop, both teams loading the gear into each one.

A moment later, the intercom whistled.

"Captain to Hangar Deck..." Ihsss said quickly, "Commander Miller?"

Nathaniel walked quickly to the wall, and to the intercom, where he hit the button "Lieutenant Commander Miller, online."

"I’m just going to wish you and your team good luck. We will see you in a few hours, with some great news."

"Thanks Captain." Nathaniel replied, smiling slightly, "We will see you at rendezvous point Baker, three one two. Hangar, deck out."

Lieutenant Commander Miller walked toward the drop ship in which he and his team would be leaving within the hour. He assisted the loading of the crafts, and the gear that would be used by his team when they reached Aquarius airspace. Especially for the one he would be piloting, bearing the EMP that would allow them a clear break, hopefully to return to the drop ship and the Destroyer Whirlwind that would be taking his team clear of the danger zone.

"Okay team, let's saddle up and prepare to launch. We got a job to do." The Lieutenant Commander ordered.

"Yeaaaa…!" The Marines replied fiercely, gathering their stuff and prepared for launch. They charged the transport and they took their seats. Behind them the Lieutenant Commander and Lieutenant stood before each other and shook hands. Manual put his hand on top of theirs as the trio stood for a moment together.

"I'll see you on the surface and good luck to us all." Perry said with a serious undertone.

"Damn straight, we're going to win." Kino said with a grin and Manual nodded.

"I only wish Angie was here."

"Don't get all distracted now, you'll see her again." Manual said sarcastically, "Damn officers and your women."

Both men regarded the deadpan expression of the Sergeant Major and they laughed.

"Ready…. HUT! HUT! Yeeeoooo…!"

The men broke and they ran to their transports readying themselves for the battle to come. Nevertheless, deep down inside Nathaniel knew something was about to go wrong, in which he could not put a finger on it.

Continued in Episode 5 – Attack!
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