by N.A Miller
A Sequel to the Final Yamato Movie from Voyager Entertainment (7 Part Mini Series)
|Yamato: The New Adventures… (Sequel to "Final" Yamato in Episode type format)|
By Erwin Stevens & N.A Miller
EPS 5 - Attack
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 is far from Earth, that a battle is about to begin, on board the Star Cruiser Class Starship from the future that a team of twenty-four Space Marines ready themselves for battle. Their mission is to eliminate the Cybertron, a new war machine from the future that uses the legendary water planet as a base. They had returned to change time, eliminating the allies that would come together and defeat them in the present. It is far before the war had started in the future time before the Earth ever had a chance to explore space to meet the many races found in the universe.
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. He felt something was going to go wrong and all hell was about to break loose, deep down inside. The young officer of the past was still uneasy about the strategy given to them and having to modify to make it work, despite the odds they were about to break out of and expect to gloriously defeat. He knew if they failed, the end of Earth was apparent, a planet of slaves, or totally obliterating the planet to keep it from the new enemy massing on Aquarius, as Ihsss had indicated that happened.
“But that is one future.” He thought, “If time is fluid as they say, there are many outcomes for the fate of Earth.”
Grimacing and shaking his head of the negative thoughts, he stepped toward and boarded the transport. There were two teams of twelve Marines in each, busily strapping themselves in, or storing their gear. Each Marine has a vest on and a helmet. Both are equipped with a camera, their armor worn over their uniform has sensors to allow monitoring of the vital functions. On his transport, Lieutenant Kino Minezati walked toward the station where he stared at multiple screens. One was vitals of each of the soldiers including his, and the other was webcam quality picture from the camera in their helmets.
“Let’s see what we can see here.” Kino chortled, taking a seat in front of the console. He scanned the panel quickly, watching the monitors as the vitals were relayed. He checked each web cam. The Lieutenant frowned at the distorted view on the screen.
“Corporeal Hicks, check your cam for me.” Kino said sharply, “We’re not getting a clear picture.”
The youthful Corporeal reached up to tap the cam and the Lieutenant shook his head. He rammed his head into a nearby bulkhead next to his seat. The image cleared, and the Lieutenant gave him the thumbs up hand signal.
“We are going down into hell, boys and girls, ready to kick some robotic ass.” A voice said, “Time to get it on…”
A young soldier walked the row of seats, helping his fellow Marines get strapped in and check the equipment.
“It’s a one way ticket into the depths of hell, Straight down.”
“You got that right.” Another voice chimed in, and they reached out to high-five the Private who walked the row.
“Relax boy, it’s a bot hunt.” Manual said solemnly, “But it will be good to get some trigger time finally, and act like a Marine, rather than sitting on our sorry asses.”
“I am all for that Sergeant Major.” Another voice said. He turned to regard a youthful, female Hispanic Marine known as Rodriguez by her colleagues in the service.
“Let’s take our seats, and get this party started.” The Lieutenant declared, turning to the console, and taking up a headset.
“Test, Test.” He rapped and the others held up their hands with a ‘thumbs up sign.’
“We’re ready, Lieutenant.” Sergeant Major Perry told him, “You can bet your ass, house cat and cowboy hat on that one.”
There was a brief ripple of laughter from the group around them, their spirits lifted by the obvious humor of the Sergeant Major who was from the past in another time and place, over two centuries.
On the second transport, at the same moment, Lieutenant Commander sits at the console, the same, as did his second in Command on the first transport. The young officer sits watching the vitals of his team and the web cams from their helmets. He nodded in approval. Both teams were ready. Nathaniel then turned his head to meet the gaze of middle-aged Gunnery Sergeant with short white colored hair, a fair complexion, a big nose, and brown eyes who stood next to him. It was his secondary Squad leader, Norman Jeevers. Strangely, to The young officer , he looked like the TV personality from his century, Norman Fell, the actor. His face was almost identical to the actor of the past. He had stepped up beside him, reporting his status as he did his duty readying the team.
“We’re all set, Major…” He reported with a snide tone, and a wrinkling of the nose, as he nodded to Nathaniel who sat in the chair. The young officer was flabbergasted, and it took him a moment to respond without chuckling under his breath.
“Very well, get strapped in Gunny, and prepare for lift off.” The Major instructed, nodding his head formally.
“Aye, sir…” The Gunnery Sergeant replied.
“This is Gray Wolf, Alpha Team, ready to depart.” The Major said into the headset.
“Desert Fox, Baker Team, is also ready to depart.” Lieutenant Minezati reported.
“Stand by, delivery boys.” Ihsss said, sitting in her command chair. Turning it, she faced Hi'Mthsss, her daughter, who sat at the Communications Console.
“Inform the Earth Fleet we are ready.” Ihsss said, “Both teams are loaded and ready to go, “Notify Whirlwind that they should be on station for pick-up of Baker Team.”
“Aye, Captain I will tune to the combat channel as stated in briefing.” Hi'Mthsss said with a smile, “It will be my pleasure…”
“Hi'Mthsss, just…” Ihsss snapped at her and her daughter fell silent, curbing her levity for the situation.
“I am already on it, Captain.” She said tersely as she turned to her console, “This is Dark Angel. Delivery Boys are ready to depart. You may start your diversionary attack.”
Hi had said it quickly into her headset, and there was a crackle.
“Golden Eagle to all stations, move ahead and start attacks. Launch all fighters, and give them hell boys and girls.”
Outside in space, the fleet of ships engines flared as they all moved slowly forward into range of Aquarius, meeting the fleet of Cybertron that hovered above the blue glow of the water planet. Laser beams sprouted in force at the Cybertron and a mushroom of explosions erupted from the hulls of several vessels. Other ships, in the first attack were obliterated, as Astro-fighters swarmed from the two carriers at the enemy. They attacked full force, blasting a hole through the smaller protective ships. On the other side, the ships of the Cybertron fired back as Robot fighters swarmed from the openings from their carrier. Astro fighters and robotic fighters swarmed in a vicious dogfight, many disappearing in silent flashes.
Chatter echoed over the speaker as the battle progressed. “… Fighter come on your six, I have him! Watch out for that Dreadnought… “
The weapons of the Clouds rumbled as they attacked the enemy too, destroying the smaller interceptor and escort ships which are on the outer ring of the battle group of the Cybertron.
“Wow, look at that, a hole opened up for Dark Angel,” A voice cracked over the speaker.
Outside the ship, the Clouds’ it hovered in the stars of space, turning its main gun to target another Cybertron Destroyer and fire. The energy streaked toward it, striking its hull, causing two massive explosions there. Debris floated freely from the metallic hull, floating freely in space.
”Golden Eagle to Dark Angel, you are cleared disengage and approach the target.” A voice said.
“Captain, we are cleared to approach using that hole they opened up. They are urging us to make haste.” Hi’Mthsss reported, turning to flash a toothy grin on her reptilian features at her mother who sits in the Captain’s chair.
Ihsss sat on the bridge as the Clouds weapons rumbled as lasers erupted from the barrels, missiles from their launchers and torpedoes from their tubes. Many smaller ships continued to vanish in a flash of light, and pulse laser fire erupted taking down the fighters from the Cloud’s weapons as they approached an EDC Cruiser.
“Confirmed, there is a hole for us to enter, starboard ten degrees.” Felonious reported.
“Engage cloaking device, and head for the hole.” Ihsss ordered, “Ahead half speed… Secure weapons. One three five, mark five.”
“Inform the fleet, Dark Angel is moving in.” Ihsss said, standing up from the bridge chair, nodding to Veloxa who had hit the cloaking device. Outside, in the stars of space, the Clouds vanished and slowly moved forward under impulse engines only.
Hi’Mthsss, at the communications console, nodded and spoke rapidly over the combat channel, her voice slurred by the other voices and static.
“Set shields at maximum.” Ihsss ordered, “Keep clear of any dogfights and get through to Aquarius to release the delivery boys.”
“Sweet Kwisnah…” Ihsss muttered, “What a fracking harsh battle.”
“Roger that.” Veloxa said calmly, her hands dancing over the controls making the ship bank and dodge fighters that swarmed around them like angry hornets. Flames erupted nearby as another Astro-fighter vanished in a silent explosion. More Astro-fighters and enemy ships swarmed past them as the Clouds managed to slip through the hole opened by the fighters, the Battle Cruiser Class Star ships, and Destroyers near them who rapidly fired at the enemy fleet.
“This is control.” Ihsss said, hitting the intercom switch, “Delivery boys, stand by for launch and good luck.”
Sitting on the transport, the young officer smiled as he peered at the battle that he managed to tune in on the console view screen, along with the overlapping battle transmissions echoing on the speaker. He casually hit the intercom switch.
“Thanks Ihsss.” Lieutenant Commander said into the headset as he sat in the chair on the transport. “For everything…”
“I’ll see you all at the rendezvous point, and the others on Earth.” She beamed, “You have all my hopes, gentleman and ladies…Peace for us all...”
“Open Airlock.” The Major ordered, “Team two, stand by to launch!”
The massive doors of the airlock opened, and a rapid roar of decompression from the hangar deck could be heard on the transports by the combat teams.
“Alright, punch it!” Lieutenant Commander ordered and the engines of the transports roared as they ignited, thrusting the ships forward from the airlock, rocketing them into the silent stars of space. Both transports banked and plummeted toward the atmosphere of Aquarius, the skin of the tank-like transports turning red as the friction rubbed against the ships.
“We have reached atmosphere, stay sharp, we have fighters coming in.” The voice of the Warrant Officer piloting the ship said, “We are banking to clear and going to make a sharp turn… Hang on!”
The transports both banked and disappeared further into the planet’s atmosphere. They evaded the robotic fighters that approached, who headed for the Astro-fighters who streaked in to attack them. Both ships banked a hard right, away from the action, as they plummeted further into the atmosphere of the legendary water planet toward the surface. Both transports opened up with laser fire, and missiles, taking out more fighters that swept in as they approached the water.
“We’re clear for the moment, Sir.” Warrant Officer Clark finally reported, and there was a relieved sigh. Below them, the green countryside of the planet could be seen a midst the blue waters of Aquarius. The transports descended further into the atmosphere and the bright star that Aquarius now orbits shines dimly on the surface of the planet. The transports shifted left and right in the sky, as they dipped sharply downward toward the largest land mass. They stayed in the clouds before descending, their presence masked from the fighters that streaked past them.
“Send coded message to the Clouds, we have successfully penetrated the atmosphere, and we are proceeding toward the landing sight about fifteen nautical miles west of the Tritium Mine.” Lieutenant Commander ordered.
Staff Sergeant Christopher Fallon nodded from his place sitting at his console. His hands moved across the console before him, and he spoke rapidly into the headset. After a moment, there were two beeps as they received a response from the Clouds. Lieutenant Commander nodded at the sound of the beeps.
“They acknowledged.” He said, “Drop us to one thousand meters to the surface of the planet, then to two hundred meters.”
“Aye, sir...” The Warrant Officer replied, moving the stick and the crafts dipped sharply toward the water. As the two transports moved across the blue sky toward the mine, they stayed low against the water to avoid any radar by the Cybertron and avoiding contact visually by the fighters that streaked across the sky above them.
“Activate ECM and jam the radar.” Lieutenant Commander instructed with a nod, and the co-pilot of the craft nodded as he hit the switch that fortunately for them, worked. The Cybertron, sitting at their detection equipment on the landmass near the mine, peered in confusion at the static of the radar screen that was suddenly scrambled, masking the Troop Transport’s presence.
“Approach cautiously, and land at coordinates fifteen, by ten, by thirty-five, which is approximately ten miles from the mine, we should both run along the ground to approach target. Team Two, break right and go to landing coordinates eighteen, by fifteen, by twenty-two. Run south toward the mine, we will run north after landing.”
Darting left and right, above the waves of the sea on Aquarius, the transports continued their approach. They ripped across the sky toward the shore, a few meters below them and banking slightly upward to avoid the mountains.
“Feet dry, Major…” The Warrant Officer pilot reported.
“Are there any signs of surface units?” Nathaniel asked, and the Radar operator shook his head when the young officer of the past glanced at him.
“You have your orders, Team Two. Set down at coordinates, and make you way south along the ground toward the mine. Avoid being in the air as much as possible and all air patrols.”
“Copy that.” Kino said, as the second transport peeled off to the right, and banked gracefully away to the left as it continued on its new course toward the other end of the land mass where the mine shaft was located.
“Approaching coordinates, Commander… in fifteen minutes…” A voice said, and Nathaniel looked up, nodding his head.
The ship moved along dodging and darting, as fighters approached. The transport’s weapons fired, quickly knocking them down until they were clear. The transport banked again.
“Cease fire.” He replied, “Come in nice, steady, and easy, to the landing coordinates.”
Outside, the transport’s retro-jets fired as it slowly down, sinking slowly to the ground. It landed with a thud and the tank-tracks began to turn as it began slowly moving on its projected course toward the many entrances of the Tritium Mine.
“Inform the Clouds we landed beautifully, and we are now merrily moving right along.” Nathaniel ordered.
“Aye, Sir…” The radio operator replied.
“Team two has landed and is now under way toward the mine from the south, sir.” Private Lang said, “They have light resistance, but they are moving right along.”
“Very well,” The young officer said, hitting the switches on the console, glancing at the radar screen and the operator who worked next to him at the console.
The transport moved slowly along the ground, moving across the green hills and through the open long brush of several fields and toward the forest that would provide them cover as they stealthily would approach the mine from the north.
“Sir, sensors indicate a patrol ahead, five mega meters away.” The radar operator reported.
“Hold up here for a moment, Warrant Officer Clark.” Lieutenant Commander ordered, “We have company. Remember we want to keep this covert.” The transport stopped with a sharp jolt and a youthful Lance Corporeal named John Baxter operated the radar console.
“Send coded message to Team two, encountered Cybertron positions, five miles from target. Dig in and hold transport position and go on foot to target.” The Commander quickly added.
“Power off… power off…” Baxter urged quietly.
“Power is off.” Warrant Officer Clark replied, and the engines both fell silent as a group of Cybertron drones ships and soldiers moved close by. Thankfully, they were ignored. Nathaniel grimaced as he pointed to the door casually. It opened slowly, landing in a clearing of patchy dirt and green grass.
“We will go on foot from here.” the Lieutenant Commander said, “We will probably run into more patrols as we close in from this distance. How far are we from the mine entrance?”
“We are approximately five, point three nautical miles from the entrance. We will setup cloaking system and camouflage netting.” Warrant Officer Clark replied.
“Dig in our position.” Nathaniel ordered.
“Copy that.” John Baxter said, and on the console in front of him, he hit a switch.
Outside, the transport slowly dug in using the massive drills that appeared from the smooth skin of the ship and the weight of the transport sank into the smooth earth around them. The side doors opened, allowing the group to muster outside and work quickly to put up the netting and other concealment of the ship. Several soldiers dug foxholes and the Warrant Officer sat in the chair at the main console. Behind her, the young officer appeared with his helmet, sporting a sniper rifle and pistol at his side.
“Let’s head out and see what we can see, the mine is not far from here.” He said and they moved out.
A few minutes later, crouching low on the nearest hill, the young officer with the Sergeant and two men had field glasses raised as they peered into the distance. Lucky there were hills that surrounded them, making for better concealment of their position. A large number of Cybertron ships and personnel surrounded the mine shaft, waiting for any attacks upon their position. Gunnery Sergeant Jeevers whistled sharply, as he peered through the field glasses.
“Looks like there is a lot of company down their, sir.”
“Yeah… No kidding, Gunny…” Nathaniel replied, "A heap of serious trouble it looks like, that’s for sure.”
“So what’s the plan, sir?” the Gunnery Sergeant asked.
”Well, we can’t fight our way in force with that sheer number of enemy like that and we don’t have a lot of options here.” Nathaniel said solemnly, “The mission still has to remain covert, and we just can’t wait and find another entry into the mine. We do not have a lot of time to wait on action or the Cybertron will launch the offensive against Earth. We are going to have to attack now, I mean shoot crap and go with a covert mission with a small group of six to infiltrate the shaft or Earth is doomed.”
“Sounds like a bad position all around, sir.” Jeevers replied.
“And with those six, there will be no way for them to return to the surface of Aquarius from the mine to extract.” The officer grumbled, shaking his head, “Who is it that I order to die?”
The Lieutenant Commander sat at moment and peered at the perimeter of the shaft. As he pondered, he stared at the Cybertron ships, and personnel who sat in the middle of it. Around them, many ships took off and landed as they were being fueled with Tritium energy from the mine. The young officer grimaced as he glanced up at the afternoon sun sinking in the sky. He realized he had no choice in the matter and he made a snap decision. Six of the team had to die in a sacrifice play unless things drastically changed for the better.
“Alright, I guess that is the plan we’re going to go with Gunny.” The officer said, “I’ll select six for the infiltration with Kino right away during the strategy brief before we lose our chance to destroy Aquarius.”
“Right, sir…” Jeevers replied and he nodded.
“Let’s get the hell out of here. We can’t do much hanging around here.” The officer of the past instructed, waving a hand, “Let’s get back to the transport and rally the men for a strategy brief.”
The sentry rustled a bush with her foot. Everyone froze. Looking through the sniper scope the young officer peered at the clearing. A Cybertron had turned and was scanning the perimeter at the forest. The officer’s finger was on the trigger in a heartbeat as it walked toward the trees. Gunnery Sergeant peered through the field glasses.
“Jesus, here it comes.” The Sergeant breathed quietly as both watched the robotic soldier walk toward the trees. It stopped at the perimeter of the forest, and it stood there for a long moment, turning its head left and right, scanning the forest many times. The four Marines were on a hill, just adjacent to the clearing, and the sentry had knocked a rock loose that had rolled down the leaf-covered floor for a short distance. After many minutes, the Cybertron robot finally walked away, back to the fueling station where a ship landed.
“We’re clear. Now, go quietly!” Lieutenant Commander whispered sternly, and motioned with his hand. One by one, they retreated to the transport.
Meanwhile, on board the SS Whirlwind, Nova sat at the radar console and peered at the screen as the ships continued to fight and many more Cybertron vessels approached and fighters.
“The Clouds have made contact, and has informed us that the delivery boys have been deployed and have landed. Both teams have dug in five miles from the mine shaft.” Homer announced, “They can’t approach any more, without risking detection. They need us at rendezvous point at time.”
“We’ll be there.” Yamazaki replied frostily as there was a cheer on the bridge of the Destroyer and on many other ships, as Homer relayed it to the flagship. Especially on the Aircraft Carrier Essex and George Washington that sat in the middle of the protective ring of ships around it, many Dreadnoughts and Battle Cruisers with many escort ships around them.
“Sir, we are getting hammered pretty hard.” A voice said, “Should we pull her back a bit, and stay within the ring of ships?”
“Keep firing and maintain position.” Captain Yamazaki ordered, “Launch another barrage of rockets.”
From the destroyer’s second deck, from the rocket launcher, projectiles appeared and streaked from it. A few more explosions rocked a nearby Dreadnought that was taking a pounding by the Earth fleet but maintaining itself from its destruction. Behind them, ships approached from the rear. Sitting on the command deck aboard the carrier, Admiral Jesse Sampson stood next to the Captain’s chair. He stared at the view screen as lasers shot out from the ship’s guns and struck fighters that came toward them.
“We have Cybertron approaching from the rear quarter Admiral!” A voice said on the bridge of the Aircraft Carrier. Ships suddenly exploded and disappeared in a flash as ships appeared from warp. More Earth ships appeared from the nearby sector.
“Incoming message, sir from the Golden Eagle…” Homer said, glancing at the console in surprise, “Task Force Six reporting their arrival and wondering if this is a private party, or anyone can join.”
His tone indicated humor in it, relaying the message over the battle-com and another cheer erupted on the bridge of the Destroyer as Astro-fighters streaked from the two carriers of Task Force six. More Cybertron ships showed explosions erupting from their hull like mushrooms, despite the shields they had up around their vessels. Both fleets continued to hammer each other.
“Incoming message…” Homer relayed, “A coded message from Rear Admiral Fox commanding Task Force Six. They are going to take up a flanking position on the other side of Aquarius and try to draw in the Cybertron in, to allow everyone to pull back out of the sector.”
“There are reinforcements on the Cybertron side coming up from the planet.” Nova reported, “Task Force Six is engaging.”
All hell began to break loose as the two sides clashed and Task Force Five moved in closer to the planet. Task Force Six hammered on the reinforcements that rose up from the planet. They disappeared in flashes of light and explosions hammered smaller ships as they two were destroyed. Debris from the battle floated through the stars of space. Seated on the Destroyer, Nova peered at her screen as the ship’s weapons continued to rumble and fire at the enemy ships. Nova sat at the console on board the Whirlwind, as she monitored the battle on her scopes. She managed a grimace at the module, clicking the switches on her console as explosions rocked the Destroyer.
“Radar indicates there are still more ships approaching from the surface.” Nova declared grimly, “I wish the Marine group would hurry up.”
“Homer, get in touch with the landing group and get an update and position.” The Captain ordered, “And relay to the Battle Group.”
“The fleet is starting to move out, sir.” Homer announced, “All planes have been recalled, Captain.”
“They are finally getting out of here.” Captain Yamazaki said with a snarl, “About time. Our diversionary mission is complete… Let the Clouds handle the rest of their part of the mission.”
“Yes, sir…” A voice said, making both Wildstars grimace.
Outside in space, the fleet began to move out, and away from the Cybertron that was decimated about the water planet. Nova gritted her teeth as she watched her scopes.
“Helm, prepare to move out, ten space knots.” The Captain ordered, “Follow in with the Task Force and lead ship.”
“Aye, Captain.” Came the reply and Nova managed a smile at Derick, her husband, who had made the announcement. Derick nodded his head at her, a grim expression on his face. Slowly but surely, the task forces moved out and continued firing at the Cybertron, as they moved back and away from the water planet. Their duty and diversion completed for the Clouds who now waited for the transports to return to their ship.
Meanwhile, the Marine forces on the planet readied themselves to move in toward the mine shaft. They had packs full of explosives, twelve five hundred pound charges between two groups, in which were radio controlled to detonate from a receiver. They just had to get there, slip in the mine and covertly drop the charges that would destroy the planet. It would be a daunting task, as they scouted ahead, to see a legion strength of Cybertron Robots guarding the shaft, against all comers of any assault.
First, both groups dug in their positions, in the north and south of the target, securing twenty-five feet around the carrier with removable mines and clay mores that could easily be used against robotic targets. As they worked, the drop teams keep a watch for any drones from the Cybertron on the planet and using it as a base. A few minutes later, they stood in a two groups, as a holographic relay was setup on both sides, to relay the meeting between the groups for the strategy meeting on how to take the mine shaft.
“Alright, gather around. This is how the group is going to deploy.” The Lieutenant said, kneeling in a circle of his men, as he drew in the sand as they began a quick strategy brief.
“First of all, what we are up against is a large force guarding the main shaft on Aquarius and at the mine.” He said solemnly “Both teams are going to head to the main shaft and dig in on both sides taking up an observation position for over watch. Perry and I will set as a sniper over watch. A team of six will infiltrate the shaft to set the explosives and when complete return to the surface for extraction. We need to completely eliminate Aquarius or Earth is doomed as the Cybertron’s first target according to the Cloud’s Captain.”
The Major drew two lines out from the center circle to a couple of smaller circle.
“After we set the explosives, we are going to extract to five meters west and east to the transports.” Nathaniel said, “I will trigger the pinch as soon as we are clear of the Aquarius atmosphere. By the time, they know we are there, it will be too late and we will be clear of the ground forces. Team two, will head for the Whirlwind that will be waiting one sector over. The Clouds and I will be right behind you. Corporeal Stewart and Private Fishburn, you both will assist Warrant Officers Jones and Clark, for monitoring and radar during this phase of the mission.”
“Roger that.” Came the chorus and Nathaniel nodded.
“Alright, form up and prepare to move out. Standard L-formation and silent. Prepare your squads Jeevers and Perry.”
“Aye, sir…” The Sergeants replied with a smile and they motioned to the group. Lieutenant Commander nodded to his youthful second in command’s holographic image.
“When we get there, you are going to take Lang, Rodriguez, Stark, Bills, and Keller with you into the mine, Lieutenant.” The Major said, “Manual and I will be on over watch to eliminate any sentries and resistance to keep you from the mine shaft.”
“I know that, sir.” Kino replied with a nod, “Don’t worry I know how to lead my men into a hot zone.”
“Excellent.” Nathaniel replied, nodding to the live and holographic members standing in the clearing. “All right let’s move out folks, and get this done.”
Quickly In an ‘L’ formation, they stealthily approached the mine shaft main entrance and peeked over a small hill at the even larger group of Cybertron that gathered around the entrance. There was a low murmur by the group. The grizzled Major lowered his sniper rifle and he peered through the scope, gathering more intelligence on the Cybertron who seemed oblivious to their presence. There was a robot gazing out toward them and the young officer’s finger found the trigger. He prepared to take the robotic soldier out of the equation, if it sounded the alarm, making everyone wise to the Marine’s positions.
“We’re ready, Commander…” Gunnery Sergeant Jeevers said with a snide tone, and the grizzled officer managed a nod.
“Hold fire, unless given orders.” He told the group, “No exceptions.”
A few minutes passed, Lieutenant Commander smiled as he saw a flash of light on the far side where Kino and his group now positioned themselves. The Lieutenant and his group peeked in from the other side of the main shaft, both groups taking cover and remaining hidden to the many scouts and ships that raced around the open perimeter of the ancient mine shaft. He peered at now four legions that guarded it, while many ships, of every size, were landing here to refuel.
“Good, Kino and his group are right across from us.”
Before them, the clearing is about fifty feet in diameter. It is littered with ancient buildings and towers around the holes in the ground and sloughs where the ore was dumped as it was processed by the smelters located in this clearing. The clearing itself has long since been abandoned by the ancient people who once lived on Aquarius. It is now used by the enemy of the future, who had come to change time and win a war they were losing in the future. The universe had banned together to fight against them, far into the future and succeeded to drive back the Cybertron.
Both groups looked on in silence, and held their positions, refraining from engaging this large body of the robotic enemy. The ships continued to fuel without intervention by the Marines and only a few sentries walked near those fueling stations.
“Kino to Team one… It looks like we have a lot more company out there skip. More than you initially saw.” Kino said over the channel, “I don’t think we will be able to sneak past that many Cybertron as you planned at the briefing. I can bet even if we were able, there might be so many Cybertron below ground it might be a hell of a fight to plant the explosives. We might be trapped and not be able to get the hell off this rock. So I think we need another plan.”
“I actually agree, Lieutenant. We’re still not going to engage that many enemy conscripts even in a diversionary tactic to allow us to get team of six through.” Nathaniel said into the microphone. “Our new plan is to wait a moment. I sent two men to scout nearby for an alternate entry point.”
“An alternate entry point…?” The Lieutenant asked.
“Yes, I suggest you scan and do the same. There has to be an air vent for the inhabitant of this planet a long time ago who worked the mine. If we can’t take that many enemy we’ll have to use it as a different entry point.”
“Great idea, sir… I’m on it.” Kino motioned to his soldiers, making hand signs and they both nodded silently. As they stealthily moved through the undergrowth, the Lieutenant shook his head when they motioned to their rifles.
“Don’t return fire unless you are discovered, only eliminate the pursuant and don’t let the others know you are here. Get back here quickly, and leave no traces.” The Lieutenant said quietly.
“Right, sir…” The one soldier whispered, motioning to the young woman who was standing next to him. They disappeared into the brush.
Kino motioned to two others who took their places, providing cover watch to make sure they were not discovered.
After a few minutes, with team one, Nathaniel turned as two soldiers slid back into the clearing. They both had a smile on their faces.
“You found something?” The grizzled officer asked, and they nodded. They stepped up toward the map that he held in his hand and they pointed at it.
“There is an air shaft three clicks southeast of here.” A private known as Lance stated, “Only three or four Cybertron guarding it.”
“Good, that’s our target and entry point.” Nathaniel told the two scouts.
“Kino, we found an entry point three clicks southeast of our position.” Nathaniel whispered, “Any luck on your end?”
“Still waiting, sir…” He replied, “Wait, standby-one.”
Kino’s two man recon team returned, smiling as they walked toward him and saluted.
“We found a shaft five clicks northwest from here, Lieutenant.” The one soldier said, “Cybertron resistance is only three or four guarding it.”
Kino nodded and turned to his map, and quickly used an instrument to calculate the distance. He nodded to the recon team.
“Great work.” He murmured, and he motioned toward the edge of the brush where the others stood watching.
“We found a similar entry Commander, five clicks northwest.” The Lieutenant said, “I think it’s the air shaft you wanted us to look for.”
“Aye, that’s your target, Kino.” Nathaniel replied.
“Well, compared to your entry point that is a longer distance from the main shaft where we place most of our explosives. Suggest when we make our way underground to the main shaft from point of entry, that we should secure and hold the main shaft.” Kino reported.
“We can’t do that, extract will have to be the way we came, and we launch from the air vents. There are too many Cybertron located at the main shaft, a legion could be placed underground and we could be cut off from escape. We’d be cut off and be destroyed with the planet.” Nathaniel explained, “Besides, we don’t know how many Cybertron are underground. We need to get some reconnaissance before we move into the shafts but we do not have the time. There are too many eddies and shafts of off the main one and little man power to cover it all.”
“That’s why I brought plenty of floaters.” Kino replied, “They are automated drones that have a camera and infrared for dark areas. We can set them and watch as they probe the shafts and get to the main shaft.”
“Good, first we should take our troops and move to the air shafts, take and hold before we start poking around underground.”
“Roger that.” Lieutenant Minezati whispered, turning his head to a Sergeant who stepped back and crouched, signaling to be quiet.
A hum echoed the clearing as a drone came close to their position, hovering for a moment then moving back to the center of the clearing. Kino let out a silent breath as did everyone present.
“I think they’re getting wise, skipper.” Kino said into the headset microphone, “We just had a drone investigate and almost compromise our position.”
“Move everyone to the air shaft, no traces and do it quietly. Signal when you are in position.”
“Aye, Commander. You got it.” Kino replied, “Sergeant Major rally your men, and prepare to move out, L-formation, no traces.”
“You got it Lieutenant.” Sergeant Perry replied with a smile and motioned to the men.
“Alright, I will contact you in a half-hour.” Nathaniel said, “When we make contact, use sub frequency and scrambled.”
“Right… Contact in a half hour,” Kino replied, “Squad Baker out.”
“Squad, form up into L-formation, no traces.” Lieutenant Commander told the men and the group all gathered up their gear. They moved out in the proper formation to the southeast. As they moved swiftly through the forest, along a makeshift trail, they heard a hum that seemed to be following them. Looking up, the group saw a Cybertron drone blinking as it was overhead. The hum of the suspension fields, holding it up in the air, crackled around them. It is the size of a basketball with many knobs and lights covering it.
Lieutenant Commander put up his hand, and then motioned to a nearby Corporeal who took up point, then to the drone. He made a throat cutting gesture. A shot rang out, a flash, sparks and a crash. The smoldering drone unit landed in the canopy, bouncing once, then landed onto the ground. It was buried quickly, to conceal the smoke.
“Did anyone notice?” Sergeant Jeevers whispered, and there was a shake of the head by each member.
“Keep watch, we are only two clicks from the shaft entry.” The Sergeant whispered, “It seems we are clear, Commander.”
“Let’s move in to the shaft perimeter and take out all the robots at once.” Nathaniel instructed them, “It ensures that none of them can call for assistance.”
“Good idea.” Jeevers said, and he passed it on to Sergeant Major Perry via text, who said they would try the same tactic.
The group moved toward the shaft, two clicks from their position, and each soldier took aim at a robotic soldier who stood in the open. There were only a half dozen or less in the clearing around the air shaft the next time, they checked the status of the clearing. The Cybertron, in its arrogance, must have thought no one would detect such an opening to use it for a military operation. Lieutenant Commander gritted his teeth, as he peered through the sniper scope.
“Steady.” He told them, “Ready, and now.”
Shots rang out, all the robotic enemy fell at once. With smiles on their faces, the Marines moved in and they took up defensive posture around the opening. They began booby trapping the perimeter and waiting for an ambush as they prepared to for the next phase of the operation. The shaft was located in a simple five-foot diameter clearing with a single building in the middle of the forest. The ancient building was designed as a trapezoid, and colored a strange deep purple color. The Lieutenant Commander frowned in silence as he approached it, motioning for his men to take up positions around the building. He moved toward it and he motioned to the control, a hand print and a keypad with a small screen above it.
“Nice work, we have the shaft.” He complimented, “Stand by for phase two and for underground operations.”
“Aye…” A chorus of voice replied.
“Lang, how’s that door coming?” Nathaniel asked, watching as the enlisted technician worked on the door, pulling off the panel and putting probes on the backside of the panel.
“I think I got it.” Lang reported, as he had the panel open and strange the alien-like wires flashed after he touched his keypad. A moment later, the hatch opened.
“Ready the floaters.” Sergeant Jeevers ordered, and they moved to the bag. He and his assistant prepared six floater units, programmed with an interior map of the mine, taken from a spectra-analyzer from the fleet in space. They released two and they disappeared into the gloom of the vertical air shaft.
“Okay, we got word from the Clouds that the fleet pulled back and the Whirlwind waits for us in the next sector with Task force five. The ship waits cloaked orbiting the planet, ready to pick us up.” Jeevers reported, listening to the headset of the radio that Koalitz carried on his back.
“Excellent.” Nathaniel replied, “Inform Team Two, on a coded frequency that we are on our own, and the fleet waits for the signal and destruction of Aquarius.”
“Aye, it is already done Sir.” Jeevers reported, in that snide, irritating tone, and it so reminded Nathaniel of Mr. Roper from the Three’s Company TV Show, two hundred years ago. He managed a grin.
Turning the Sergeant and his assistant released three more floaters. The Lieutenant Commander motioned for soldiers to take up position flanking on either side of the air shaft as the floaters disappeared down into it.
“Just in case our position is compromised, and units come to the surface.” The grizzled officer told his team. On the portable console screen, the floaters moved through the dark shafts, high and out of range of any detection devices for the robotic enemy. It also stayed out of the prying eyes from Cybertron Patrols they saw located in the shaft.
“Damn.” Nathaniel muttered, as he saw a large body of Cybertron in the darkness, highlighted by night vision mode.
“Nah, that’s not too many, but according to the spectra-graph there are many tunnels in that mine that branch off that we did not scan and Cybertron could be hiding.” Corporal Hicks said, “We’re in better shape than you think, Sir.”
“Let see what the floaters see.” Nathaniel suggested, “Lieutenant Minezati can see this right, what we see and we can see his floaters?”
“Yes sir, he can.” Jeevers said quietly.
“Strange that he didn’t send any comments about it via radio.” Nathaniel mused, and managed a shrug.
“Team one to Team two, come in please.” He said, and there was a crackle.
“Team two here.” Kino replied, “Go ahead skip.”
“What is your status?”
“We took the shaft, Major.” Kino said solemnly, “We tried that tactic and it worked perfectly, all by the numbers. We are currently setting booby-traps around the air shaft against any Cybertron in the area who come to investigate why the sentries here are not responding.”
“Excellent.” Nathaniel replied, “Did you get the floater data we just sent you and your group?”
“Yea, it doesn’t look good.” Kino replied, “It looks like I have more Cybertron on my end and if we enter it’s a sure ambush from all these unmarked tunnels. We don’t have the manpower or the time to recon them all.”
“I know the feeling Lieutenant.” He replied, “I’m going to proceed into the shafts as soon as possible, and take a shot and shoot crap. We have to take a crack at these bastards before they fortify.”
“That’s foolish. Shouldn’t we leave a sentry, at the door, heavily fortified?”
“Negative, make it look like you never were there, and go underground.” Nathaniel repeated, “We don’t have much time till they are fully refueled. Our raid decimated quite a few of their fleet, but they could be rebuilt in a few days, as machines don’t require sleep and can go full steam.”
“I see your point.” Kino replied, “I’ll clean us up, and set to enter in fifteen minutes.”
“Set for underground operations, and demolition.” Jeevers said, “Stand by to repel into the shaft.”
On the Lieutenant’s end, he listened to the same orders being given to his twelve raiders by Nathaniel. He currently waits for infiltration into the shaft like the Lieutenant Commander's team. Both teams face the same unknown odds against them in both places at the mine shaft air vents.
A few minutes later as ropes and pulleys were set, a floater was programmed to lower itself down into the shaft. Night vision visors were activated and sentries watched for any activity in the mine. Private Sparks watched the screen on the console, as each floater descended into the air shaft.
“So far it looks clear, but I see a heat signature not far off though.” He told the group.
“Prepare to enter the mine.” Lieutenant Commander ordered, “Steady, quietly and set to open up a full barrage of strafing as we repel downward. When we will drop in the center and everyone scatter to the shadows.”
“Roger that.” A choruses of voices replied as lines were rigged and slowly in the dark, the Marines silently lowered themselves into the shaft to the ground.
“Hold up. There’s a patrol coming toward the shaft.” Rodriguez warned and stepped back, leading with her weapon.
Quickly, the Marines took up positions in the shadows, their weapons aimed at the Cybertron Patrol who marched into the light from a nearby tunnel. The lines that were used by the Marines were quickly tied off to some metal machinery inside the mine. The group of Cybertron stood there a few minutes as they scanned the dirt floor and the surroundings carefully, as-if alerted by the Marines. When they did not sense anything, they marched out into the darkness into a nearby tunnel, their heavy footsteps echoing in the tunnel. The Commander and company let out a breath they had been holding in, almost sure they were going to be detected by the Cybertron, but were not.
“Did they detect us you think?”
“Hard to say sir, they might be getting wise if they have been trying to contact the surface patrol. We’d better hurry before a large patrol comes back.” Jeevers suggested and the young officer, pondering a moment, had nodded in agreement.
Lieutenant Commander held up the sniper scope and peered through it. He put his finger to his lips and withdrew into the shadows as heavy footfalls approached again. This time two dozen Cybertron appeared in the dim light and they all stood around, peering around the surroundings. Their attention seemed to be focused on the disturbed dirt for a long period before they disappeared into the darkness.
“Jesus, I’d better be careful what I wish for, right?” Nathaniel muttered sarcastically, and there were grins by the others in his group. The grizzled officer signaled with a wave of his hand, and the group slowly made their way through the shaft, keeping to the sides as they kept out of sight of the enemy as they advanced.
Meanwhile, the youthful Lieutenant and company were crouched on the corners also silently watching as Cybertron appeared into the light of the air vent of the ancient mine shaft, as-if alerted by the presence of the Marines. Kino held his breath as Sergeant Major Perry took over watch and peered through the sniper scope. His finger was poised on the trigger, his attention on the face of the Lieutenant who could say yea or nay to opening up and eliminating the soldiers. Kino held out his hand, thumbs up Perry would let the Cybertron live, thumbs down he would eliminate the guard.
“Come on Lieutenant.” Manual muttered urgently, “I have the solution.”
Kino grimaced sharply and turned to meet the Sergeant Major’s expression with a hard one of his own. He finally signaled a silent ‘thumbs up’ signal and the guard disappeared into the darkness. The Marines let out a silence exhale, and slowly Sergeant Major Perry nodded to the Lieutenant as he brought his weapon up to his face, peering down the tunnel leading away from the light of the air vent.
“That was too close, Lieutenant.” Perry whispered, and Kino managed a nod.
“Way too close.” He replied, “Activate night vision, and heat recognition vision on your visors.”
Two guards on either end kept a look out down the shaft as they could hear the footfalls of the Cybertron robots walking the shaft somewhere.
“Move out.” Kino said, “Stay out of the center of the shaft.”
As they walked toward and down the shaft, they could hear footfalls ahead in the darkness. The group scattered into the shadows as a Cybertron soldier appeared out of nowhere, confronting a young Corporal named Sarah Perkins who was not fast enough to dive into the shadows. They young human and cyborg stared at each other for a second before she reached down, pulling her bayonet and thrust it forward, The young woman struck the Cybertron in its forehead and there was a spark as a short circuit followed, making it dropped its weapon. It discharged when it clattered on the sandy floor of the mine. The ricochet of the shots echoed in the mine, causing a minor shift of dirt from the ceiling of the shaft, and sent the Marines again ducking into the shadows.
“Shit!” Perry mumbled, and everyone scattered as heavy footfalls came their way.
The Marines held their positions near the walls in the shadows, all with night vision goggle on, their weapons ready to fire. The Cybertron Robots stood in the tunnel, and they silently used their scanners, panning a view through the interior of the mine shaft.
“All right, reaaaddy…” Perry mumbled, “Now…!”
Laser fire erupted all around the Cybertron. The robots sparked and jolted as they were cut to pieces by the Marine’s fire. More Cybertron showed up at the passages around them, cutting them off, and screams from a couple of the Marines echoed through the tunnel as their fire struck them before the Cybertron were again decimated.
“Shit! Who got it…?” Perry grumbled and motioned to the others to watch the tunnels as everyone was accounted for.
“Medic…! Over here!” A voice said, and the young Medic named Lance Corporal George Phillips, moved toward the injured soldier who lay bleeding on the dirty floor of the mine. The Medic grimaced as he knelt beside the soldier.
“I say, it rather doesn’t look good Sergeant Major.” George said, and met Perry’s nod with motion with his hand. The medic quickly patched the side of the soldier who thankfully still is living.
“The others one is dead, Sergeant Major.” A soldier reported, “The smoke dissipated through the shaft above us.”
“Okay, move out.” Kino whispered, “Condition red. How many were killed George?”
The Medic shook his head. “One was hit right between the eyes, and is certainly dead. He did not have a chance. The other was wounded in the shoulder.”
“Damn it.” Kino muttered, and he looked down at the sensor scanner in his hand that showed the tunnel. “We go that way. How we get at it is by moving along the edge of the tunnel, if possible, and stay clear of the center of the shaft. We do not want any more surprises, activate two more floaters and send them behind and ahead of us. Strip that body of every piece of equipment and even take the dog-tags.”
“Right, Sir.” A soldier replied.
The injured soldier coughed, and spat blood onto the floor. Kino put a finger to his mouth motioning for him to be quiet. Heavy footfalls thundered down the passage, as another patrol approached.
“Line up and against the passage walls, keep it quiet.” A soldier put his hand over the injured man’s mouth as he coughed up blood. A moment later there was a single shot, the injured human soldier became stiff, as he fell limply in the others arms.
“Bastard…!” A shout said and a Marine soldier drew his pistol. A single shot rang out, hitting the Cybertron who killed their wounded comrade. He was gunned down instantly. Kino and the others returned the fire, a firefight quickly started.
“Surrender humans, you are outgunned and surrounded.”
“Up yers, robo-dick…” A voice said, and there was laughter by the Marines that echoed the shaft. The robots paused, trying to compute the insult. The firefight continued as laser fire streaked across the chamber.
“Yay Jen!” A voice called across the chamber, and there was sprinkled applause.
“Shhh…” Kino chided, and he held up his weapon, as the Cybertron scanned the chamber. The Lieutenant's shot hit a robot with a lethal beam and it sparked, flaming out brightly.
“That does not compute.”
“Compute on this!” Another voice said, and a hand was raised to give the middle finger. There was another burst of laughter by the Marines, male and female, as they remained hidden behind the equipment in the shaft. A shot rang out by the Cybertron, aimed at the soldier’s hand, but missed it as he quickly put down his hand.
“You are surrounded, surrender.” The Cybertron repeated. More shots were exchanged as they fought hard, and explosions shook the shaft as a Marine threw a grenade.
“Oh no, they’re not…!” A voice said and Kino glanced at his men, as there automatic weapon shots were fired and the smell of acrid smoke filled the chamber. The laser by the Cybertron ceased.
“What the hell?” Kino exclaimed as he peeked out from behind the equipment with his group. The young Lieutenant looked at the young officer who stood in the opening, over the bodies of the Cybertron in which he had felled with a rapid fire of gunshots. Lieutenant Commander held the Cybertron he had nicked and with a bayonet, that he had thrust through the chest of the enemy. The Commander's arm was bloody through the tunic of his uniform, but no one seemed to notice.
“Jesus Miller." Kino said, as he motioned to the remaining number of men, and only nine stood up.
“Anyone order a rescue, with extra cheese?” He said and there was a sprinkled chuckle.
“Alright, let’s clean this mess up.” Lieutenant Commander said solemnly, “Strip those bodies of everything useful. Take care of anyone wounded. Bring them along in their parkas. No one is going to be left behind.”
“Aye…” A voice said, and there was activity in the shaft.
“I thought you were in trouble when you didn’t return call, so I came looking.” He said, and Kino shook the young officer’s hand.
“Commander… You’re wounded.” Kino gasped, spying the blood on the tunic. “You’re bleeding man. Let me get the Med…”
“I don’t have time to bleed.” The officer said firmly, holding his rifle in front of him. “Mind your team.”
“You got what’s left of my team out of a jam, I owe you one.”
“Forget it.” He said, “How bad are the wounded?”
“I can make it Commander!” A strong reply spoke up, and he glanced at the Sergeant and others who stood around in the chamber. He silently counted only nine left in the team, out of twelve that belonged to the Lieutenant, after the grizzled Commander bravely and thankfully bailed them out.
“Alright, the way is clear for the moment, I cleared it on the way. Let’s set these explosives and get the hell out of here lads.” Nathaniel said formally, “Let’s move out, the other team is dug in near the main shaft. Remember we need to keep this covert as possible.”
“YEA…!” The Marines said with a bloodthirsty cheer, and as a group, they packed the extra gear, running fearlessly down the mine shaft. They ran into the straggling Cybertron units from the side shafts, taking them out in force without an interruption of their advancement toward the main shaft. In addition, as they moved through the shaft.
Arriving at the shaft, they began working, placing and hiding the explosives as they rigged the shaft to blow by remote. Nathaniel placed a charge in a nitch against what appeared to be a Tritium vein, and he hit the button making it beep. They heard heavy footfalls as Cybertron approached the main shaft. .
“Sergeant Perry, Let’s take those mothers out.” Nathaniel ordered, “I’ll take right.”
Shots rang out, and one by one, the Cybertron fell. An acrid smell of smoke filled the tunnel, as laser fire lanced out as the robots shot into the gloom, missing the Marines as they took out the group of Cybertron in the shaft.
Gunfire rippled through the shaft, striking two Cybertron, who burst into flames in the middle of the chamber.
“There are more Cybertron on the way, Commander!” Jeevers shouted, “We have some serious company coming down into the shaft.”
“Not anymore we don’t.” Lieutenant Commander said firmly, “Hand me that bopper gun.”
He rose up, grabbing an RPG and he took aim, as a shot struck him in his vest. Nathaniel let out a battle cry as he charged, leveling it quickly to shoot it off. An explosion followed as rubble, rock and robot parts were crushed under the tons of soil that fell inward on the mine floor. He held his weapon up as Cybertron appeared in the gloom and he led with it, firing two shots.
“That won’t hold them. Let’s get off of this hellhole fellas.” Kino said, after placing the rest of the explosives. They ran in two different directions, the team went to the waiting transport on the far end, closest to the main shaft, while the Lieutenant Commander went the other way, and to the other waiting transport containing the EMP pulse generator. He knew he had a job to do, and to save the planet Earth by the destruction of Aquarius. It was rigged to blow thanks to his team and the few who had sacrificed themselves in the battles to stop the enemy.
He paused, holding his revolver as he hit a Cybertron guard directly, making the head completely break off and roll onto the floor of the mine shaft. Nathaniel continued to charge down the mine, shooting all the way, until he reached the air shaft. He pivoted and led with his weapon taking out two Cybertron soldiers at the entry point of the Marines before quickly scaling the ropes to the surface.
When he reached the surface, the young officer crouched at the building as he heard a hum as Cybertron guards appeared from the edge of the woods that surrounded the clearing. He placed an eye in the scope and one by one began picking them off, as they shot back. Drones raced into the clearing, only to be gunned down. They sparked and smoked as they struck the ground. He dodged, as shots ricocheted off the wall and crouching, he returned the fire. Another Cybertron fell as he ran to the nearby path, heading toward the transport bringing them here. A few minutes later, Lieutenant Commander Miller ran on board the ship in a hurry, glancing only once at Warrant Officer Clark and Corporeal Jones who assisted her.
“Get ready to get the hell out of here, Warrant Officer.” He ordered.
The Warrant Officer and Corporeal Jones exchanged a look at each other, both bolting to the transport and to their places.
“What about the others?” She asked.
“They are on the other transport which will be leaving the sector on Whirlwind.” He replied, “You two will be joining them when we reach orbit. There will be a brief rendezvous. I will also be setting off the EMP when we reach orbit too.”
“Yes sir.” Warrant Officer Clark replied subserviently, and he nodded.
“Power up…” He ordered and Warrant Officer Clark nodded.
“Nominal, sir…” She replied as the hatches closed. Cybertron outside approached the transport and hit the booby traps. Massive explosions followed.
“Hit it!” The Major exclaimed and the ship’s engines thundered as both transports streaked up into the sky, moving higher and higher. Robotic drones moved toward them to intercept. On the First transport, the weapons were fired as they rocketed toward orbit, destroying and shooting down the drones that approached. Corporal Jones operated one weapon, as did the Commander on the other, leaving the top turret to automation. Weapons fired from both transports. All hell was breaking loose as the ships continued to climb around them. The second transport was similarly engaged and destroying multiple air targets before thundering off into the sky.
Back on the Whirlwind, Homer sat at his console turning abruptly when he heard a beep from it. He only glanced at it once to smile, letting out a whoop of joy that echoed across the bridge, making the others turn.
“The transports have lifted off Captain!” He said gleefully. Nova and the others cheered as they clustered around the Communications Station.
“Delivery Boys to Whirlwind…” A voice said, and Homer hit the button. Nova recognized Lieutenant Commander Miller's deep voice as she stood beside Derick and Homer.
“Whirlwind here, Delivery Boys….” Homer’s voice said icily.
“We are inbound toward you and running into resistance but should be in orbit momentarily.” Nathaniel said over the crackling speaker, “Fireworks ready to detonate, will be on station shortly.”
“Roger that Delivery Boys. Wolf pack will start timers when you detonate.”
Everyone present could hear the fire from the first transport as it fired at the Cybertron, having left its microphone open.
"Damn! They're really taking fire!" Derick commented, glancing at the grimace of his wife who nodded slightly. However, they could not help them, only waiting for the explosion that would destroy Aquarius and their enemy.
Meanwhile, both transports hit more aircraft as they streaked along the surface of Aquarius and upward into the sky. On the transport containing Nathaniel, the Corporal and the Warrant Officer, the ship spun as it banked toward the sky.
“Climbing to thirty thousand feet…” Clark said.
“Keep climbing.” Nathaniel shouted, "…and keep firing! Punch it!"
An explosion rocked the transport as it was hit, and threw everyone to the deck.
“We’ve been hit.”
“Hit the boosters.” Lieutenant Commander ordered, and the Warrant Officer nodded as the ship streaked even faster into orbit. Ships from the surface rose up toward them on their way to intercept them and take them prisoner.
“We’ve hit orbit.”
“Magellanic Clouds, Whirlwind… Delivery boy one here, standby for the pulse.” Nathaniel said into the microphone of his headset.
“Roger that.” Ihsss said, “We have company coming for you guys.”
“We’re moving toward you.” Nathaniel reported.
The smoking transport limped toward the Clouds, followed by the other one. The second transport eliminated the craft that intercepted the young officer and his party.
“Transport two… Head for the Whirlwind.” Lieutenant Commander said, “Don’t worry about us, we’ll hit the pulse and then eliminate the planet, standby to transfer personnel though.”
The Commander nodded to Clark and the soldier with her, who suited up in their environmental suits. The Major did too. They opened the hatch and the rush of decompression pulled at their suits. Both the Warrant Officer and Corporeal both floated freely into space. They paused, however.
“Get the hell out of here! Get to the transport.” Lieutenant Commander exclaimed, waving his hands at the two. The two disappeared into the gloom toward the second transport that rocketed up close to them, allowing them quickly to reach their airlock.
“We’re here.” Warrant Officer Clark said over the speaker, “Blow that thing and get out of there Commander!"
“No, get the hell out of here!” Nathaniel shouted over his headset, turning to the EMP aboard his transport, “I am charging the EMP pulse for buildup and detonation!”
“But if you hit it, you’ll be defenseless sir!” A voice replied over the channel, and yet the young officer smiled.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine, obey your orders. I’ll be going aboard the Clouds which will nearby for pickup.”
“Aye, sir…! Understood… but…” A voice said, but the second transport already was in motion, rocketing from orbit toward the Whirlwind that had moved into the range of Aquarius.
The Cybertron's vessels, still in range of the EDC Destroyer, continued to hammer at the ship and their fire had hit the rear and its hangar deck. Under fire, the transport trying to dock, had continued to head toward the rear of the battered Destroyer. Smoking, after being hit twice itself, the battered ship landed with a crash in the Hangar after clipping the entry of the hangar doors of the EDC Destroyer. It spun in through the doors.
On the transport, the crew of Marines hung on for their very lives. The ship hit the deck hard, and became a twisted mass of metal as it rolled twice on the deck. Shrapnel and damage ripped through the rear of the ship as damage control crews tried to dodge when it finally came to a smoldering stop. Inside the twisted remains, both Marine groups were stunned and dazed as the hangar fire was fought.
Outside in space, the Destroyer turned sharply as it limped away from Aquarius. It prepared for warp, despite the damage to the ship, pulling back two sectors where Task force Five stood on station, to protect its flank, if Cybertron was able to get away from the Aquarian destruction.
“Send a Medical team, to Hangar deck!” A voice shouted over the loud speaker, as an explosion rocked the back of the Destroyer. Damage control parties continued to fight the fire, as the Marines on the remains of the transport, were escorted off one by one. Many were injured moderately with damage but there were no fatalities. All were evaluated by the medical team and Nova worked with the team and Doctor Sane looking after the Marines. Another explosion rocked the Destroyer in the back as a wall of flames shot out from the battered Hangar doors of the ship. Doctor Sane was also the first to run to the wall intercom, where he had been working to treat the Marines that sat around the deck, being examined by the medical team. He hit the switch with a determined fist.
“Let’s go.” Sane shouted, “We have the transport aboard and everyone is safe."
"All except the Commander, who is on route to the Clouds…?" The Captain asked.
"Yes Captain." Sane replied, "We should get out of here."
The Captain turned to Derick Wildstar who sat beside the pilot of the ship and he nodded silently to the youthful officer. Derick glanced at the pale young woman beside him, suddenly reminded of Kitano when they were aboard Yamato when they had come home and after the Comet Empire War they had been victorious against. He had piloted the ship on their maiden voyage for the next voyage taking them to Iscandar at the distress message of his brother and Queen Starsha.
“Stand by for Warp.” The Whirlwind’s Captain shouted, as laser fire grazed the back of the ship. A few moments later, it disappeared as it warped.
Back on the first transport, the young officer gritted his teeth and hit the button after a loud hum radiated on the transport while powering up the EMP. He watched as the counter of orange numbers counted up, reaching the max number of five hundred. They were ready for the pulse.
“Activating EMP…” He said into the speaker, “Stand by.” He hit the switch, and there was a beep.
A moment later, there was a surge as a blast radiated outward near the planet, and everything suddenly shut down in the way of power. On the bridge of the Star Cruiser, and other EDC ships there was a surprised gasp by all. Power systems failed as they went dark through the entire sector. They had already been expecting it and had set up a counter, for reboot purposes of all systems and already re initializing all systems. All Cybertron that hovered in front of Aquarius, on the surface, or anywhere in the region went dark and drifted freely in the cold depths of space.
“EMP pulse detected, Captain!” Felonious reported.
“Start the timers, and reset all systems. Prepare for emergency power up to warp the hell out of here when we recover the transport.” Ihsss said
“Aye, Captain.” Felonious said, “Counters already activated, we are on emergency power, and we will be rebooted in about six and a half minutes as measured on Earth.”
On the transport, The Major hit the reset button that regulated manually the oxygen supply aboard the tank-like ship. He struggled toward the panels inside the transport, hitting the reset button on the computers, and waited as the power came up and began booting everything.
Five minutes elapsed, as system began beeping at him, and he groaned as a shock made the transport shudder. It was hit by an explosion of an engine panel caused by the damage before. Nathaniel slammed his hand on the button and the engines sputtered and sparked as they reignited. The ship streaked blindly toward the rear of the Clouds, now visible, drifting nearby. He hit the switch for the navigation and the HUD switch glowed as the system was activated. Quickly, the Lieutenant Commander piloted the ship toward the Clouds, knowing they did not have a lot of time before the Cybertron would be rebooted too and resume operation. He had to get the hell out of there, damn quick, before they were destroyed one hundred to one odds against them. Sitting on the bridge, of the star Cruiser of the future, and at his station: Felonious had his furry head in the sensor module and smiled when saw the transport’s engine spark and begin moving toward them, out of control at first, but just moving. He managed a toothy grin on his feline features. He let out a loud feline whoop.
“It looks like Lieutenant Commander is still with us!” Felonious observed, “We have an incoming transport, Captain T’Larra! Out of control and blind as a bat, it seems.”
“Good. Prepare to recover transport.” Ihsss said, with a toothy grin on her reptilian features.
“Engineering to Bridge, power systems are on their way up!” Voloxa said, “No damage to the ship. She should have enough to move now!”
“Open the Hangar Bay doors.” Felonious ordered.
“Hangar Bay doors opening.” Kwai reported as outside the hatch opened for the transport that approached the Cruiser. Streaks of lasers ripped past the hull of the Clouds.
“Get us out of here helm!” Ihsss ordered, “Best possible speed!”
Veloxa turned to the console and her hands struck the buttons on the panel with her claw-like hand appendages. Outside in space the ship lurched as it slowly moved away from Aquarius. The crew anxiously looked up at the view screen, at the planet that hovered in the background and the large Cybertron Fleet that had stopped advancing, now starting to show life.
“Where’s that damn transport?” Ihsss exclaimed.
“The transport has taken damage, Captain. It’s barely able to maintain a steady line for the Hangar Bay doors.” Kwai reported.
“Get him in quick, the Cybertron will be on power by now.” Ihsss ordered sharply, and there was a nod by Felonious.
On the transport, smoking as the smaller Cybertron ships, now actively fire at it: The officer of the past held the flight control of the smoking transport, trying to hold it steady to bring it safely into the Hangar Bay of the Magellanic Clouds. Several times he tried to approach the Clouds, drifting too far left or right. He had to circle the Cruiser many times trying to keep the damaged vehicle steady as it approached the main mother ship.
“It’s just no good, I can’t hold her.” Nathaniel stammered into the headset, “She’s breaking up… better leave me here.”
The ship began to shimmy wildly. He peered into the HUD as the ship drifted toward the edge of the Hangar doors of the Clouds, smoking, crackling as systems began to fail.
“No way, Commander… I’ll get you in, you can count in it.” Voloxa said, standing in the hangar, “Bring it hard right, I am on the deck, can you see me? I have the signal paddles.”
Voloxa waved his arms and on the ship, the young officer smiled, seeing the red glow of the paddles that urged his on to bank to the right.
“I see you, Voloxa.” Nathaniel said sharply.
“Good, bring it hard right.” Voloxa ordered.
The officer of the past made the wounded ship bank slightly right and Voloxa smiled.
“A little more… good… You’re okay, bring it home.” He coached, “Add power… power!”
Nathaniel felt a lurch of the ship, knocking him to the deck as an explosion hit the ship as laser fire struck it again by the Cybertron weapons.
“Oh the hell with this shit…!” He exclaimed sarcastically, and got up from the seat to run toward the airlock. The young officer of the past jettisoned himself into space, and hit the thrusters on his suit to catapult himself toward the Clouds. There was an explosion to follow as the transport finally disintegrated. The explosion threw him toward the Cloud’s hull with shrapnel as it struck the hull off the main ship with dull thud.
“Commander…!” Ihsss exclaimed.
There was a gasp by everyone, including Voloxa.
“Commander Miller…” Hi’Mthsss said into her headset, “Come in please.”
There was nothing but silence for several minutes and a look of fear appeared on the faces of the Clouds. Hi’Mthsss sent the same message multiple times, as she tried to get a hold of the young soldier of the past who had thrown himself willingly into space after an alarm sounded on the transport.
“H-he’s gone.” H’Mthsss stammered, “I am not receiving a signal!”
Ihsss raced to the console next to her daughter, and took up the headset. She touched the button on the console, and then another, switching channels.
“Ihsss to Miller… Come in please.” The reptilian Captain said many times, with no response. “Where in space are you?”
“Felonious… scan the debris for any life signs.” Ihsss ordered.
Many more minutes elapsed as the scanners hummed into life and located many others who had managed to escape their destruction and were being picked up as they scanned. There was, however, no sign of the young officer of the past.
“Sweet Krisna!” Hi'Mthsss muttered, as she switched channels and repeated the message.
“Clouds, I am OK.” Nathaniel said after a moment, “I am undamaged.”
There was a breath of relief on the bridge.
“Where are you?” The reptilian Captain asked, and out in space the suited figure smiled, despite the burns on his suit.
“Open airlock… uh port side.” He said, as he clambered to the side of the Clouds, “Open the airlock, I am leaking air.”
The airlock slid aside and allowed him to enter. He hit a button to close it behind him and there was a roar as fresh oxygen flooded the chamber. Here he removed his helmet, staggering slightly as he fell aside onto the built in seat inside the airlock. The officer of the past turned to pull himself up and made his way to the inside airlock door, opening it. Here he limped from within into the Hangar Deck Level of the Cruiser. Falora was at the airlock in a heartbeat as he struggled toward the intercom, grabbing the arm of the wounded officer with his other tentacles, lowering him to the deck.
“Is he aboard?” Ihsss asked, “Hangar deck? Is he aboard?”
“Affirmative…” Falora said, finally hitting the button as he glanced at the burned space suit of The young officer . “He’s pretty banged up, Captain.”
“Noted, doctor… Okay, helm, warp us out of here!” Ihsss exclaimed, “Jump us to sector beyond and Major if you can hear me, hit the control and blow it!”
“Visual.” Ihsss ordered, as the view screen on the bridge switched to the stars of spaced. Veloxa magnified to the blue ball of Aquarius where the Cybertron fleet now hovered there, now showing signs of life. Laser fire streaked through space at the Clouds. Nathaniel, remembering the mission had gasped and he typed in the code quickly on the keypad of his suit arm.
“So long assholes…” He muttered, before slamming his hand on the button on the arm of his suit. A beep followed as an explosion in space followed. Aquarius disappeared and vanished in a flash of multi-colors. A moment later, Lieutenant Commander passed out on the deck into a lapse of unconsciousness. Little did they know that a piece of shrapnel had pierced his suit and into his body. The suit had sealed after penetration and he lay on the deck as Falora stood over him, shaking his massive head as he scanned him with a hand-held scanner. On the bridge, the crew worked feverishly as the planet suddenly disappeared.
“Explosion detected, Captain!” Felonious said happily, “Stand by for shock waves.”
On board the Whirlwind, Nova Wildstar stared at her scopes and gasped as they saw the flash through the windows, and the blue ball of Aquarius disappeared in a multicolored flash.
“Explosion detected, Captain, dead astern.” Nova shouted, “There are shock waves coming.”
“Turn ship ninety degrees and face away the blast.” The Captain shouted, “Hold on!”
A ribbon of a shock wave and debris floated freely toward the Clouds and Whirlwind, from the place where Aquarius now once hovered. Flashes of secondary explosions appeared in the background off space for a moment. When the flashes finally subsided, that a multi-colored glow seemed to surround the sector where Aquarius once had once been, as a black hole formed, caused by a reverse Tritium explosion caused by the reaction of the explosives used. It had done exactly as had been predicted. The Cybertron mostly had been destroyed on the planet, and the fleet that was in orbit or in the sector around Aquarius had been drawn into the black hole, taking them to a different dimension of space. The ship shook and all hands were thrown around on both ships, the Clouds and the Whirlwind, all sitting or laying stunned on the deck.
Down on the hangar deck, on the Whirlwind, Kino and a few of the others managed to lay stunned on the deck as they slowly stood, moving toward the observation deck where many hands, including the Marines watched the ominous glow of the Black Hole that hovered in the middle of space. They let out a cheer, as handshakes ere exchanged among the crew of the Whirlwind, backslapping and lots of laughter.
“Holy shit… YOU DID IT MILLER!” Kino exclaimed, standing on the observation deck, as a cheer by the Marines and the crew of the Whirlwind who had gathered there, staring at the discolored portion of space, as planetary debris was hurled at all the ships.
“Sensors indicate a black hole one sector over, we are on the extreme edge of the sector, and it seems to be growing larger.” Sandor said, “That was the result that the EDC scientists suspected would happen when they destroyed Aquarius!”
“Move us away from it.” Captain Yamazaki ordered and the ship slowly turned, moving away from it.
“Simply incredible…!” Derick gasped, as the crew chattered on the bridge.
“And ominous.” Another voice added, “You look in that and wonder if you can see the devil himself in the center of that.”
The view screen of the Whirlwind was locked on the sector ahead, and magnified on the black hole that swirled in the background of space. A strange glow of plasma seemed to surround the area of space. They turned to the Captain who was watching in stunned silence. The cheers became an ominous respectful silence as the thought of the first transport and the Star Cruiser Class Starship of the future came to mind. They had lost contact, and they equally were the ones who had finished the job and had pulled off the impossible for the destruction of Aquarius.
“Oh my god… The Clouds and the Lieutenant Commander …” Nova exclaimed aloud, “Tell me you have them, Homer?”
“I am already trying to make contact.” Homer said, “There is some sort of radiation interference making contact difficult.”
Nova’s face showed utter horror upon it, realizing the jest of the situation and the truth of the matter. Something dreadful had just happened and they had lost their new friends.
“Don’t worry. We lost contact with the Clouds as soon as the explosion happened when it was triggered.” Sandor explained, “It was surge of radiation from the tritium explosion. We have full power now on sensors and no contact right now. That does not mean they did not warp. They’d be undetectable during a warp anyway.”
“Keep trying to make contact.” The Captain ordered, “Regular intervals.”
The Whirlwind had seen the detonation of the planet but had remembered some honest to God heroes who had stayed in range to accomplish the impossible. Nova tied to focus on the radar screen, in an attempt to make radar contact with the Star Cruiser while Homer tried to make Communications contact. She hardly heard Homer as he spoke rapidly into his headset trying to raise the Star cruiser from the future, with no result.
“Whirlwind to Dark Angel…!” He said, “Come in please.”
“Whirlwind to Dark Angel…! Respond!” Homer exclaimed again, “Come in please.”
Fifteen minutes elapsed before Homer turned toward the Center seat on the bridge and he met the Captain’s questioning expression with a silent shake of his head.
“We have no response sir!” Homer said with an exasperated breath.
“Keep trying Homer!” The Captain ordered, and the young Communicator kept talking into his headset, as he switched channels.
As the EDC ships waited and watched for any signs of the Clouds, they only heard the ominous silence and the silent twinkle of the stars of space around them. Kino, Warrant Officer Clark, and Jones, along with Manuel went to the bridge, stepping off the lift as it opened there. The crew turned, flashing a smile at the four Marines and here, the bridge crew moved to greet them, clustering around them.
“Welcome aboard the Whirlwind!” The Captain intoned, “You are heroes. You all did an outstanding job!”
The Captain moved to stand before the Marines to return the salute they held formally as they stood on the bridge. He put out his hand, shaking their hand warmly.
“It wasn’t all us… we had help from the Lieutenant Commander too. He went on a different transport to set off the EMP and the explosives to win the day.” Manual reminded him and the others had a pensive look on their faces. He was right to remind them that it was a team effort and their victory, sweet and somewhat sour that it was. It was not just the Marines in front of them, who completed the mission. It was a precision operation by everyone to win this battle. Everyone had done their part and had succeeded in the result.
“Is there any word from the Clouds, Sir?” Manual asked.
“Negative.” The Captain replied, “We lost contact with the Clouds when Aquarius blew. I have a suspicion they probably sustained damage and are not able to contact us right away. There is no way to tell for sure though. I am sorry. All we can do it hope.”
“Oh my god…” Manual gasped, closing his eyes to look away, fighting the emotion that he suddenly felt overwhelming his whole body. “What about Angie?”
“Damn, we just don’t know yet.” The Captain thought to himself, “And all we can do is wait out here in space for another few hours just to be sure before we abandon search. There’s got to be something more to be done, damn it.”
“We're doing search patterns, but we have to be careful to not get so close to the Black Hole there.” He intoned, “I'll have the first officer keep you informed.”
The Captain nodded, despite the Sergeant Major’s grim frown.
“Homer, inform the battle groups that we recovered the Marine team and will form up with them in a half hour.” Captain Yamazaki ordered, and the communicator turned to nod his head.
“Yes, Sir…!” He said happily, speaking into his headset.
“Damn, be there Clouds.” Manual grumbled, “After what we all went through, it’s not fucking fair!”
“Steady, Sergeant Major.” Kino said, grimacing as he heard his grumble. The mood on the bridge dropped slightly with the mood of the four Marines, the Heroes who had destroyed Aquarius. Kino, Warrant Officer Clark and Jones watched as the Sergeant Major stormed off the bridge, the elevator doors closing behind him on the lift. No one tried to stop him, allowing him to retreat off the bridge in a huff. They could hardly blame him for the reaction given. They could only wish that his demise just was not true.
Back on Earth, Angie was walking, performing a mission for the Commander, across the sea in what was known as Australia, but as she walked through the terminal of the space-port, already showing, she felt strange. She swooned and dropped to her knee.
“Miss Stethem, are you alright?” The soldier asked, and she glanced at him, smiling at his accent and his honest concern for her well being.
“I-I don't know.” She gasped, staying on her knee a minute before he helped her up to lead her to a nearby bench.
“Lemme get ya a col'd one.” He said, and he left Angie sitting on the bench, putting her hand to her nose, feeling disorientation that had hit her all at once.
“That was strange.” Angie thought, unaware of what had happened and the report of the Clouds missing, presumed lost from the last mission.
“Here is your drink, Miss.” The soldier said and she smiled at him.
“No worries, Miss.” He replied and she smiled broadly.
“I'll be alright.” She said, rising, and she nodded to him. “Let's get to the base.”
“Right.” He replied and he led her to a jeep where they sped off to Headquarters. The entire trip, Angie tried to decipher what had happened, and wondered if it were something during the pregnancy that was affecting her. Overwork and strain, despite the protests of EDC H.Q in which she was given limited and light duties. They drove and they got out at their destination, hustling inside when a thick downpour of rain began to fall on them, to report to the Australian Commander.
Inside Angie knew that what Nathaniel was up to and had told her about changing time, and wondered if he were the drop zone in which he would be doing that very task. She wondered if something had happened and they had been delayed or anything had happened to keep the Clouds from their mission. Shaking her head she saluted their Commander, and he returned it, giving her message from the EDC Commander Charles Singleton.
Meanwhile on the Magellanic Clouds, the ship travels at high velocity speed through the stars of space. On board, the space-suited figure of Lieutenant Commander Miller has been recovered after ejecting from his damaged transport toward the Clouds who barely cleared in warp when the young officer from the past hit the control to destroy the planet.
Now on the bridge, the Captain, Ihsss T’Larra commands the vessel as it heads to the coordinates it will use to traverse time into the past on the mission, suggested by Nathaniel who remains unconscious in sickbay. As he lies on the bed, the officer of the past slowly groans as he opens his eyes. The young officer’s vision slowly focused on the familiar face of Falora Platt, the willowy Elowan ship’s doctor who now stands over him as he lies on the examination bed.
“Welcome back.” Falora said as the young officer groaned, covering his face with his hand.
“Ughhhh, someone tell the guy with the hammer, to lay off.” The young officer grumbled, and he glanced at the smiling face of the Elowan ship’s Doctor.
“Let me guess, we’re on the Clouds?” The officer asked.
“Yes, and on course toward Earth, to the coordinates in which we will be jumping through time.” The doctor replied.
“I thought we were already there.” He said, shaking his head, “Good to know though.”
“We will be arriving in a few hours at the jump coordinates.” Falora said, “We are maintaining radio silence, making it look like we were destroyed, just in case there are still Cybertron out there.”
Nathaniel tried to sit up but the doctor touched his arm with a warning touch.
“Oh no no, you must not move.” Falora warned him, “You were wounded and had a pieces of shrapnel in your back that I had to remove, close to your spine.”
Nathaniel grimaced at the willowy doctor, nodding slowly but still struggled to rise.”
“I have to keep moving and make sure the next part of this plan is set and in place.” The young officer of the past told him, grunting as the Doctor helped him to a sitting position.
“Are you sure you are in any shape to do this?” Falora asked, “I know what you plan and you have been through a lot. You should rest until we get to the destination coordinates and even the time you specified.”
“We don’t have a lot of time to get this done.” The grizzled officer said, frowning as turned and swung his legs over to the side of the bed, “When we get to Earth, of the past, I need to get to the dock yards, or at least send a communication to myself.”
“Hidden instructions?” Falora replied, concerned, but Nathaniel shook his head.
“I gave a promise, I would be back and this way there is a chance to keep my promise. I need to be successful and bring back someone more important than life itself.” He said, “I need to be at the memorial on Earth at a certain time, and I can’t be wasting it trying to convince myself that I am me. We only have one shot at this.”
“I don’t understand.” The doctor said, and Nathaniel grimaced as he swung his legs, his momentum bringing him to a sitting position.
“I don’t either, Doc, but it’s something I have to do to save the universe.”
The doctor said nothing, his mouth open just about to the floor, with the sentiment of what must be done and what the young Commander had in mind.
Slowly the young Major stood up, groaning, and grimaced at the pain in his back.
“You were wounded you should recover a bit before you resume what you have in mind.” Falora told him, placing a tentacle on his arm. The officer of the past was disoriented and fatigued, hurting like hell but he remained standing up. He used an arm to steady himself.
“I’ll be alright, Doc.” Nathaniel replied, staggering to the door, “I’ll confine myself to quarters until we reach our destination. Will that suffice?”
Falora nodded his head dubiously as he grimaced, watching the human leave through the door. The willowy Elowan doctor was at his side, holding his arm as he escorted him to his cabin.
The ship continued on course through the stars of space, and in his cabin, Nathaniel lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling bulkhead, a dull throbbing pain in his lower back. As he moved, he grimaced, a sharp pain lancing through his body. He struggled to sit up and swung his legs to the side of the bed, moving to the chair that was set up at the desk. He took a seat, swooning as he sat down, and opened the laptop in front of him. He did his log for the day, and quickly saved it, documenting the events that would be coming. Little did he know that it would be more than he could handle but would ultimately would have to sacrifice himself, no matter that he didn’t want to or not. It just had to be done. He returned to his bed, laying on the bunk and closed his eyes, thoughts of Angie racing through his head.
He realized that the timeline would not exist after he changed it, and would cease to be, and only the one he would be changing would replace it. It was a lot to fathom, that he would not know his kid at first, or Angie being pregnant. He had though already setup the messages to send to himself and the others bringing them to the memorial. He let out a silent sigh as he laid there, thoughts moving through his head. He did not know if it was going to be possible to win and change the event to come, but he knew he had to try at all costs, despite the feeling inside he was having. The officer of the past sat up again, and he stood up, swooning as he moved to the door. As he exited into the deserted passageway, he staggered to the galley, where he sat peering out of the window into the stars of space.
Behind him, Ihsss T’Larra entered, and as she went to the machine for a substitute equivalent for coffee, she grimaced as her emerald green eyes fell upon the young human who silently peered into space. The reptilian Captain moved toward him, standing behind him and gently placed her hands on his shoulders.
“Commander? What are you doing out here, I thought Doctor Platt confined you to quarters.” She said, “Until we warp and reach our destination, you should really rest.”
“I just couldn’t sleep, Captain T’Larra.” He replied, glancing at her as she moved to his side, peering at the stars of space too. She sensed his apprehensiveness as he stared transfixed at the stars of space before him in the view port. The young reptilian Captain wondered about the young officer from the past and what he planned in order to save the universe for all of them.
“What do you see out there in space, when you look at the stars?” She asked. The captain was perplexed by his solemn behavior, and after what they all had been through together, to save the universe against the Cybertron.
“I see the universe, the stars of the Milky Way Galaxy, the many worlds yet to be explored by man, infinity and my own mortality among the infinity before me.” He replied, “Along with the many space bodies consisting of the many elements of the universe we all know. I which in all of it, I am very small in comparison, and a mere element of that universe...”
She grinned at his poetic notion but Ihsss peered at the stars, suddenly feeling very small, and just as mortal as he did. Even though her race lived a lot longer than humans did in their life spans, she could see his point and definitely her own relative mortality in the universe before them.
"I think I understand what you see." Ihsss mused, "It is just not infinity and mortality you can see there also, there is a lot of beauty in the stars."
He grimaced as he nodded. Here, Ihsss gasped, seeing the young officer’s serious look. The young reptilian Captain frowned as she stood beside him, and together they peered at the stars. There was very little to be said as the ship continued through space to the jump coordinates that would ultimately lead them into history to their destination.
Back on Earth, Amy, Amanda, Melinda, Emily and Denise all celebrated with the EDC staff as the message of Aquarius’ destruction was radioed back to Earth. They poured champagne into glasses as the stasis crew looked out over the city, sipping the superb liquid from them. Angie had been staring out at the waters of the sea when she sensed the Commander’s aide walking toward her. Turning her head, she met the impassive stare of Mitty as she came toward her. She held a dispatch in her hand, a report from the Task force that was now on their way home, bearing the Yamato group and Marine team that took on the task to destroy Aquarius.
“Excuse me, Captain.” Mitty said touching the arm of Angie, as the others stood with her turned. She silently handed the report to Angie, who with shaking hands looked down at it. She scanned the report, and her hands dropped to her side, the report slipping from her grasp. The others saw her swoon, dropping the glass of water, and collapse onto the deck. Her head hit the ground with a thud and she lay motionless.
“Medics…!” Mitty shouted, “Get them now.”
The stasis crew rushed to her side, Melinda grabbing the dispatch to scan it. Her hands shook, as tears filled her eyes.
“What is it Mel?” Amy asked, as the trio with her, looked over at the dark-skinned woman's horrified expression. She read the notice, dropped by her friend and quickly learned Nathaniel had gone missing after the explosion of Aquarius, and was assumed dead with the Clouds. She handed Amy the dispatch and her best friend had scanned it. Amy had yelped loudly as she stood there, dumbfounded, quickly handing it to Manual and Amanda who openly had shown astonishment as well.
“Oh my god…” Amy whispered, “No. It cannot be so. Not like that.”
Emily, Denise and Amanda clustered around Amy as they looked over her shoulder, gasping. They turned as medics arrived. The medics placed Angie on a stretcher, reviving her with smelling salts and she opened her eyes. A crazy look appeared there. She started screaming. She did not stop. She was not the same afterward.
Continued – Episode 6, A Solemn Victory/Reflections in Time