by N.A Miller
Rated: E · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2286405
Sequel Concept of the 1984 Motion Picture
|The Last Starfighter II: Rebuilding the Legion|
(A concept Story Sequel: The Last Starfighter - 1984)
By N.A Miller ©2019
It is now twenty years since Alex and Maggie had thundered off into the stars from Starlight, Star bright Trailer Park. When Alex returned to Earth to land in his Gunstar to pick up Maggie. He and Grig had just won the battle against the Kodan, and had stood beside their Gunstar, a few hours ago, with Ambassador Enduran and Centauri as they stared down at the crowd of celebrating Rylans for victory.
Five years after they had left, however, there was a surprise.
As Alex sat in the office, as soon as he arrived, had overseen the mass production of Gun Stars in three shifts and began the search for candidates that would operate these ships. As the candidates came in he worked long hours to train them with Grig and brought them quickly up to a crash course speed, quickly mounting to have a defense for Rylos if the Kodan mounted a new offensive. Every night he held Maggie in his arms and Alex peered into her eyes, as they laughed and she talked about the new position in Headquarters she was training for, and they made love often, both in love and glad to be with each other. Both did not know of a drastic change that would change their lives however, Maggie was a month pregnant with twins, and Alex was the father.
When she did not feel well and she had found out in the Rylos Command Sickbay, her astonishment could be heard down the hall as she read the report.
“Are you sure, doctor?”
“There is absolutely no doubt, for human physiology.” He said, and chortled at her look, as she read it several times. “Twins, Are you sure?”
He smiled, seeing her astonishment.
“What’s the matter, Ms. Gordon,” He said, “They are very healthy and strong at this point.”
There was laughter as Maggie glanced at the expression on Alex’s bemused face. He was totally not expecting this, to be a father so young. Maggie mock glared at him and he grimaced as he shrank back.
She smiled at his reaction and began to laugh, reaching out to motion to him, as she embraced him warmly.
“God, I love you, Alex.” She told him and they held each other staring into each other’s eyes.
But that was now twenty years ago and a lot had changed: Kyle is the son of Alex and Maggie, and his sister, his twin both born on Rylos. They both had joined the Star League when they were eighteen, both in their early twenties now. He is the spitting image of Alex, with brownish blond hair, slender, but stocky with blue eyes and the square jaw of his father. He now was in charge of continuing to rebuild and do the work that Alex had started to do before his death, rebuild the Star League.
“This isn’t going to be easy.” He muttered, as he glanced over a set of forms on the desk, and reaching out with a shaking hand, pushed the report aside before turning to the cabinet in his father’s office. Kyle pulled out a glass and poured a reddish liquid from the strange bottle into it. Corking the bottle, he took a belt of the alcoholic beverage that was strong, burning the back of his throat.
“Doggone, this isn’t going to be an easy funeral either.” He thought, “I have to contact Grandma and tell her. She’s going to be a bit pissed.”
“Drinking won’t bring them back Kyle.” A voice said, and turning he glanced at the door blearily, staring at Lewis Rogan, his uncle, clad in the same brown tan uniform trimmed in dark brown. On his arm is the squadron patch of sector two where he had been assigned, having the gift and eventually being recruited to the Star League too. His hair was the same brown, sprinkled with the first hints of gray in it, and sporting a thick Vandyke beard and was heavyset slightly despite being in his early thirties now. Beside him, Kyle’s sister, Amanda stood with their uncle. She wore a white uniform skirt and the uniform top, trimmed in blue. She had long hair that draped to her back, a mass of heavy curls, a round face, and the face of Maggie Gordon-Rogan their mother.
He glanced at the clock on the wall of his office.
“Ah, is it time yet?”
“Yeah, we need to go,” Amanda told him and he grabbed the report and handed it to Lewis.
“I finished the report.” He said, “Best someone hand-carries it to Ambassador Enduran.”
“He is expecting it.” He said, and Lewis grimaced at the smell of booze on Kyle’s breath.
“I really don’t ever want to see you drinking like that again Kyle.” He said, “Your father would not have allowed it, or your mother, and I won’t either.”
“Yeah well better to kill a few brain cells for a few hours,” muttered Kyle, and he met Amanda’s disgusted look.
“Mom and dad are gone, and there is nothing you could have done differently.”
“Perhaps,” Kyle thought and exited with Amanda and Lewis.
Lewis as he walked to the grave sight stood staring at the solemn open graves, and the coffins that held the bodies of Grig, and their mother and father stood on the suspensor beams that held them. Their duty was clear and what they had to do here today. They walked toward the site and they glanced at the Ambassador who had stood here with his aide.
“Darn,” Amanda grumbled, her eyes tearing up seeing the coffins.
Lewis however was thinking back a long time ago, when he was about twelve, and when Alex had acted screwy (not knowing of the beta robot), remembering the head on the desk as the body worked on his ear. The odd behavior his older brother was exhibiting before his odd, abrupt disappearance with no word, and Maggie had walked back to the park from Silver Lake. He had watched her through his window, as she was deep in thought, distracted as she had seen Beta Alex crash Jack's blade’s truck into the sinister space pod-like ship and the truck and the ship disappearing in a ball of flames.
It was cold out. Or maybe it wasn’t, but it felt chilly to Maggie. She sat on the edge of the porch that ran across the front of the general store.
"Where are you, Alex...? Too far away for me to imagine…?" She thought, "That is what the machine that looked like you said. Where is that? I do not even know what part of the sky to look at."
“Alex?” another voice called out.
A light breeze stirred the dust in front of the store. A hunting spider scrambled across the open space, searching for some unfortunate arthropod smaller than itself.
“Alex?” the voice called again, a note of concern attached to it now. That was Mrs. Rogan. How much should she be told? The Beta Unit had not forced any guidelines on Maggie and had told her to use her own judgment. It was her world, her people, her life.
She rose. It was time for Alex’s mother, at least, to learn the truth. Mrs. Rogan might throw her and her incredible story out of the trailer, but she felt bound to try. She patted Mr. President and left.
Behind her: lights, sounds, and movements familiar and yet different. The video game on the porch was going gently berserk, humming and flashing, vibrating on its levelers. Maggie did not see, concentrating on how she’d tell Mrs. Rogan.
Just as she didn’t see the old weather vane atop the store, begin to spin wildly, even though there was hardly any wind. It picked up speed, and soon was rotating fast enough to be little more than a blur in the night.
Between the trailers Maggie paused, thoughtful. Granny was leaning out of a window nearby, a thick cigar smoking between her fingers.
“Granny, have you seen Alex?”
“Can’t say as I have. That boy’s been kind of scarce here lately.” She gestured with the stogie. “You’re not the only one lookin’ for him, either.”
“I heard Mrs. Rogan.”
“She ain’t the only one.”
Figures appeared, exiting the Rogan trailer and walking toward Maggie. She recognized several of her friends along with Mrs. Rogan, and one non-friend; Jack Blake. She stood and waited for them.
“You want to know where Alex is?” Blake was saying as soon as he spotted her, “Ask Maggie. She knows. She was with him when he stole my pickup.”
“He did not steal it.” Maggie shot back angrily. “He borrowed it.”
“Yeah?” Blake was snarling at her, not the least bit affectionate now. More important things were at stake.
“Then where is it?”
Maggie thought back to the wild chase in the truck and the robot’s little surprise box under the dash and the incinerating heat when the pickup had smashed into the alien assassin’s ship and said nothing.
“Maggie.” Mrs. Rogan asked in a gentle but no-nonsense voice, “Where’s Alex?”
“Where’s my truck!” Blake yelled, without giving her a chance to reply. “Where’s your boyfriend?”
Maggie ignored him, wondering that she could ever have found him even slightly attractive, and kept a lid on her temper as she spoke to Mrs. Rogan. It was apparent that no one was going to leave until they got some answers. She’d just have to try and explain as best she could.
“Mrs. Rogan, it’s like this about Alex. He isn’t …”
The dogs began to howl. All the dogs, not just Mr. President. They were joined by the cats. If Mrs. Edward’s goldfish could’ve howled they would have joined the chorus as well. Suddenly no one was listening to Maggie.
Outside Otis’s trailer, Mr. President was yowling with puppy-like enthusiasm. His master came stumbling out and was about to berate his fool dog when something on the porch caught his eye.
Oblivious to the fact that he was not wearing anything over his union suit, Otis started for the porch, transfixed by the sight of the rocking, squealing, strobing video game. Above him, unseen, the weather vane stopped spinning as if shot, and all four compass point indicators suddenly bent sharply toward the night sky.
Something blew Otis’s sleeping cap off. A descending bright light made him step backward, shielding his eyes. The Starlight Star bright sign on the front of the store was glowing powerfully, bright enough to be read a hundred miles away.
The falling light came from the underside of something that was lowering itself toward the parking lot. Leaving Mrs. Rogan and her friends from school behind, Maggie started walking rapidly toward the light.
Other faces appeared at the windows and doors as the residents of the trailer park left beds or TV or bathroom to have a look. The commotion was sufficient to penetrate the brightly painted teepee set up in the Rogan yard. Two small occupants emerged to see what was happening.
“Far out!” said Louis’s friend David. “We’ve been invaded!”
“Klingons!” shouted Louis gleefully as he started toward the descending shape.
The spaceship touched ground, silent except for a deep internal humming. Maggie recalled the Beta’s warning words. This might be another assassin, bolder than his predecessors. But she couldn’t keep herself from moving slowly toward the faintly glowing ship.
The logo emblazoned on its side looked like the one the Beta had described to her, but she couldn’t be sure. She was cautious but hopeful. Setting down among a hundred witnesses, primitive or not, didn’t seem like the ZZ-Designates style.
A voice called to her.
It was Otis, standing in the front of the store. She ignored him.
Something was descending from, the belly of the spacecraft, and a lift of some kind. Mutterings rose from the growing crowd of curious onlookers. They stood there by the store in their underwear and bathrobes and watched as a creature stepped off the lift and walked toward them. It wore a peculiar suit and a helmet. Its outline looked human enough.
Then it stopped in front of Maggie and removed its helmet.
“Alex!” Her face lit up as brightly as the ship’s landing lights. “Alex, is it you? Is it really you?” She took a step toward him and hesitated. “Or should I open you up to check?”
He grinned down at her, a familiar, warm, guileless grin. “Nothing in here but us organics, Maggie.”
She jumped into his arms, staggering him.
“It is you! Alex, Alex, Alex…”
They kissed, and that was enough to bring the crowd of gaping onlookers shuffling close: Mrs. Rogan, Granny, Elvira, Clara . . . All of them, all talking at once.
“Alex is that a real spaceship?.... Did’ja meet aliens?. . Where’d you get it, Alex?. . Now what’s goin’ on around here?” . . . What’s this all about?. . “
And lastly, pushing through the others,
“Where have you been, Alex Rogan?” his mother demanded to know.
“Out.” He said automatically. Standing with his arm around Maggie, he tried to explain the impossible.
“Take it, easy everybody.” They settled down to listen. He took a deep breath and spoke to his mother. “I’ve been on another planet, Mom, helping the Rylans and the other good aliens, protecting the civilized galaxy from the bad aliens.” He gestured over his shoulder. “That’s my gunstar . . .”
“Like from the Starfighter game?” Louis wanted to know.
“That’s right, little brother. See, aliens put the game here on Earth and in other worlds to find people who qualified as Starfighters, to help defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada. Just like the game always said.”
“Wow!” Louis said expressively.
Otis pushed forward, Jack Blake close on his heels. “Well, then, if you were somewhere out there, who was it broke my antenna trying to put it up?”
“Yeah, and stole my truck!” Blake said accusingly, though much subdued.
“. . . And ruined my stove . . . and wrecked my plumbing . . . cut my ‘lectric . . . !” other voices inquired.
Alex made shushing motions with his hands. “That was a Beta Unit, a duplicate of me. A robot.”
“Aw, I knew it all along,” Louis insisted. He looked past his brother and suddenly pointed. “Hey, what’s that?”
The lift was descending again. On it stood a tall, alien shape. The adults in the crowd drew back fearfully, but they had to pull their children along.
“A monster!” one of the women shouted.
“Monster?” murmured Grig as he stepped off the lift and started toward Alex. “Indeed!”
“Go easy on ‘em, Grig,” Alex asked him. “Remember, they’re just immature primitives. Like me.”
Grig nodded and stopped short of the crowd.
Granny was trying to push her way forward, clutching her old shotgun. Alex hastened to cut her off.
“Wait! Put down the shotgun, Granny. Everybody, come back. I want you all to meet Grig. My best friend.”
The children were first, breaking away from their parent’s paranoid grasp to crowd unhesitatingly around the alien’s long legs. Urged on by shame and curiosity, their elders timidly joined them.
“Grig.” Said Alex brightly, “I’d like you to meet Mr. and Mrs. Boone … that means their mated Elvira, Otis . . .”
He led Grig down the impromptu reception line. “And this is Granny, and Maggie, of course.” Grig nodded and shook hands with each in turn before they stopped in front of the young female. She regarded him with a lopsided smile.
“Er, hi . . .”
“Remember the English I taught you,” Alex murmured to him. “There are no translator buttons here.”
Grig nodded and took Maggie’s hand. The crowd murmured. Grig made an effort to smile humanly and said, with perfect diction, “Charmed.”
Louis once more pushed his way to the fore and began doing strange things with his fingers. Grig found this puzzling, which was not surprising since he hadn’t seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But he recognized the resemblance immediately.
“And you must be Louis. I’ve heard good things about you.” He bent to shake the small hand, marveling at the softness of the flesh, so different from his own.
Louis stepped back, eyeing the hand as though it had just magically materialized on the end of his wrist, and turned to his friends.
“Hear that, you slimes? I’m famous!”
Mrs. Rogan was next. She eyed Grig wearily.
“And this is my mom,” Alex said.
As Alex had instructed him, Grig took Mrs. Rogan’s hand. But instead of shaking it, he bent and put his lips to the dorsal side. It was a peculiar custom, though no more so than half a hundred he’d acquired in his travels. It certainly had the intended effect. Mrs. Rogan was rendered speechless. Alex had warned Grig that this might be the result, so he resumed the conversation himself.
“You should be proud of your son, Mrs. Rogan.” He looked past her at the assembled crowd. “You should all be proud of him. He saved the League and hundreds of worlds, including Earth. He is the greatest Starfighter ever. He will teach other potential Starfighters and help us to build a permanent core of citizens read to insure that such attacks as we have just suffered will not occur again. Their very existence will be a deterrent to future war.” He glanced solemnly at Alex.
“Which reminds me? We are expected back, to begin work. It is time to leave.”
Maggie frowned. “Leave?”
“Alex?” said Mrs. Rogan.
He kissed her gently on the cheek and nodded.
“I have to, Mom. I promised. You heard Grig. I have a job to do. It’s an important job. And I’m the only one who can do it.
She sighed. “I always knew you’d leave here, Alex. I just never wanted to face that moment. I don’t imagine any mother does. Still, I guess it’s not so very different from going off to the University. What are you going to do about your studies?”
He grinned, waving toward the star-filled sky. Just like his mom, trying to couch the impossible in everyday terms
“Somehow spending four years preparing to be a computer technician doesn’t seem quite as important as it once did, Mom. Don’t worry. I’ve got plenty to learn, out there.”
“Yes, I suppose that you would.” She looked meaningfully toward Grig. “You’ll watch after him, won’t you?”
He nodded. “It will be a pleasure. I hope only to do one-tenth as good a job as you have done.”
For the second time that night, Jane Rogan found herself speechless.
“Gee, can I come too, Alex?” Louis wondered, staring worshipfully up at his brother.
Alex knelt until they were eye to eye. “Sorry, squirt. But I’ll be back to visit, lots of times. You didn’t think I was going away forever, did you? But you can’t come.” He gestured back at the gunstar. “There’s only room for me, Grig, and Maggie.”
Maggie swallowed. “Me?”
“Of course.” He took a step toward the gunstar, but she held back, uncertain, and he turned to her again.
“Why else do you think I came back? I told you that we’d always be together.”
“Yeah. Together here, or at school, or in the city. Not . . . out there, Alex.”
“You always told me you wanted to travel and see faraway places.”
She didn’t meet his eyes for a moment. “I meant San Diego, or maybe someday New York. This Rylos of yours . . .you can’t even see it from here.”
“You can’t see New York, but you can see Rylos, Maggie.” He put out his arm around her, turned her so they both faced the sky, and he pointed. “There it is . . . right there.”
“Oh. It’s bright.”
“You gotta come with me, Maggie. I’ll be back, but I don’t know when. Setting up this training program’s going to be a lot of work, and I promised. Don’t you see? This is our big chance. It’s like Otis said. When it comes, you gotta grab it with both hands and hold it tight. I can learn a lot and help a lot of good people at the same time. It’s something I have to do.”
“What about Granny?”
Alex gave her a look easily interpreted to mean, “Not that old excuse again,” and she knew that he knew what she really meant. So why continue hiding it?
“You’re right Alex. I’m scared of leaving here. I’m scared of leaving this trailer park, for all my big talk about traveling and seeing the world, never mind other worlds. Why can’t you stay? Someone else could start that school.”
“It’s not just that, Maggie. Don’t you see? I’m not just a kid from a trailer park up there. I’m a Starfighter. I’m the Starfighter, and I’ve got new friends who are counting on me. I can’t let them down. This is . . . Maggie, this is a lot bigger than me, or you and me. It’s bigger than anything.”
From inside the ship, a voice sounded over a speaker, a gentle but insistent one. “Alex.”
He whirled and replied almost angrily, though Grig would know it was only Alex’s frustration speaking.
“Just a minute!” A low whine rose as the drive was activated.
“I can’t talk anymore,” He told Maggie. “Anyway, I’ve said everything. I gotta go.”
He hugged her hard and forced himself to move on to his mother, to Louis. Then he waved goodbye to the others, the assembled faces he’d known since childhood. They stared back at him reassuringly, solid as the desert, alive with the light from the gunstar.
He turned and headed for the waiting lift.
Haze filled the air as the ship’s drive disturbed the atmosphere and irritated the dust particles swirled above the parking lot. Granny held Maggie tight, saying nothing. It wasn’t her place to. Not this time.
Finally, Maggie looked anxiously into that weathered face. “Granny?”
The old woman smiled knowingly and ran her fingers through her granddaughter’s hair. Once for luck, and a second time to remember. No reason to cry. Hadn't Alex said he’d be back to visit? And Alex was a good boy . . .No, not a boy anymore. Alex was a man of his word.
“Be sure to write darling’. Or whatever it is they do out there.”
Maggie broke out in a wide smile, fighting back her own tears. Then she turned and she ran for the ship, shouting and waving frantically.
“Alex, wait! Alex!”
The lift was nearly into the belly of the Gunstar but nearly isn’t all the way. It stopped and lowered to the ground a third time. Alex helped her onto the platform and she knew it was all right as he kissed her tenderly, knowing that everything was going to be all right from now on because they were together.
The residents of the StarlightStarbright Trailer Park knew it was going to be all right, too. They watched and sighed, and Mr. Boone surprised Mrs. Boone with a long kiss. A warm feeling spread over them all as they watched the youngsters. Louis expressed the feelings of the prepubescent contingent by making a face and grumbling under his breath.
The whine of the ship intensified. Otis started shooing the crowd away.
“Everyone back…! Keep your distance. These babies really pack a punch.”I think, he added silently to himself.
“Must be an optical illustration,” insisted one still disbelieving resident.
“Nope,” argued Mrs. Donovan. “It’s one o’ them UFU’s. I saw one of ‘em back in ’58.”
“Ha!” snapped Elvira. “You have been seeing’ ‘em all your life, Bessie.”
“Lord,” mumbled elderly Mr. Franklin, “I swear I’ll never touch another drop as long as I live.” Then he remembered the half-full bottle of Jim Bean back in his trailer and added hastily, “After tonight, that is.”
“I figure we’re a cinch to make the Carson show,” Mrs. Donovan added confidently.
“I can see the headlines,” murmured Elvira, “’ Martian’s Land at Trailer Park.’ We’re famous now, eh, Otis?”
“Yes sir.” He said proudly, watching the ship. “The whole world’s going to know about it. Starlight Starbright Trailer Park, The place where Alex and Maggie left for the stars.”
Everyone was staring at the transparent canopy at the forward end of the ship Alex and Maggie stood there, close to each other, waving and smiling back at them.
“Spaceships . . . space people . . . oh, I’m so confused!” Elvira murmured.
Granny came over and put a comforting arm around her neighbor. “Trouble with you, Elvira, is that you’re lagging behind the times. You got to look to the future and quit living in the past.”
“You mean . . . ?” Elvira asked worriedly.
“Yep, No more Love Lucy reruns.”
The Gunstar rose skyward more quietly than any of them expected the humming of its drive a muted thrum instead of the fiery thunder of the rockets they’d seen on television. A small figure pushed its way through the rest of the crowd, heading for the mob of kids clustered around the Starfighter video game sitting silently on the General store porch.
“Hey, lemme in, you guys…!” Louis demanded, shoving between the small bodies. “He’s my big brother.”
“But it’s my quarter,” David protested.
“I’ll pay you back, Davey.” Louis thumbed the play button. A familiar synthesized voice responded immediately.
“GREETINGS, STARFIGHTER. YOU HAVE BEEN RECRUITED BY THE LEAGUE TO PROTECT THE FRONTIER AGAINST XUR AND THE KO-DAN ARMADA.”
“Go get ’em, Louis,” yelled David. Around them, the rest of the kids pushed for a better view and cheered Louis Rogan on.
Otis had moved to stand close to Jane Rogan, who was staring silently at the sky while her excited neighbors jabbered behind her.
“Otis, did I do the right thing? Letting him go back out there?”
“Course you did, Jane. Course you did. Time for the young’uns to flee the coop. When it’s that time there’s no way you can hold ‘em to the hearth.” He grinned softly and put a reassuring arm around her waist. “No way on Earth.”
Lewis felt a hand on his shoulder, and his reminisces quickly faded and the solemn scene returned. He glanced at his niece who stood beside him. She so reminded him of the past and he glanced at his chronometer.
“Well, it's time.” Lewis whispered, “Are you both ready?”
“Yes, uncle.” They both replied as Kyle met his sister and they walked through the doors of his inner office to the outer one to the outside of the strangely shaped building.
As they walked together with Grig the fourteen hundredths, standing beside ambassador Enduran’s elbow, they walked toward an open field in which in the daylight seemed different, and both unused to seeing except in the night time. Three coffins stood on suspensor beams over the holes that had been dug for them. The containers are that of a missile container belonging to a Gunstar, one of the few classes that had graduated as they continued to rebuild the legion before the saboteur had got to his dad and Grig on a training mission, during a routine cadet mission. Then an assassin’s bullet had killed his mother while she had been walking between the Headquarters to the airfield, a day or so after the report of Alex’s and Grig’s unconfirmed death.
The same one that had brought Lewis in from sector two, leaving his experienced second in command to watch over the platoon strength but not the legion strength of Gunstar that protected his sector. Xur had returned and the battleships had been attacking peaceful systems throughout the galaxy in which even the first two dozen ships had mounted a challenge for the enemy and had driven them back, thanks to Alex’s excellent tutelage.
Now they stood all four with Centauri’s son nearby, clad in the familiar cheap double-breasted polyester suit and the brown leather hat as they pay their respect to fallen heroes. Kyle had already been briefed on the curriculum for the school as was his sister and it was up to them. Lewis would be out in Sector Two for a short time and he would be shifted to Rylos, bringing his inept Gunstar skills that he had, thanks to Alex, to Rylos for the protection of the planet and the school.
“We have come now to honor our dead.” A voice said, “Sad that it comes on the twentieth year of his arrival on Rylos with his beloved Maggie Gordon-Rogan which they will be sorely missed. The death also includes the death of Grig, Star Navigator First Class, in which their death shall be avenged after the cowardly saboteur’s destruction took their lives without provocation. May you battle evil, in another dimension…”
The voice had been the voice of Ambassador Enduran who spoke at this funeral today. However, despite the event here, there were no tears among the human components standing before the graves. Grig let the fourteen hundredths, however, was already fired up, ready to avenge his father’s death as soon as possible, and requested from the Ambassador when he was done speaking for a combat position against Xur and the front lines established at the edge of what was the frontier. The very same frontier that Xur had sabotaged and broken before the spectacular victory between Kyle Rogan's father and Grig against the Kodan Command Ship in a sneak attack.
“Jesus, there is so much work to be done.” Kyle thought, motioning to his sister and the security who would escort them back to the office where they would be situated most of the night to start their process of rebuilding the legion. Their work would be just as difficult as their father had undertaken and his mother too had come to Rylos to be with him so early on in their young lives. A daunting task started by Alex, his father, far before he and his sister's birth on Rylos.
The twins had yet to meet their grandmother Jane Rogan who lived on Earth. However, because of their deaths, they would be meeting her soon enough, as Centauri’s son would be contacting her, bringing her to Rylos to see the graves and the recorded ceremony of her son’s and her new daughter-in-law’s death, whom Alex had married a few months after their arrival on Rylos. Kyle wondered what she was like and meant to ask his uncle Lewis, who had slipped away, planning a welcoming committee for the visitor from his home world.
Kyle glanced at his sister, Amanda who stood in the office a few minutes later, and a black cloud seemed to hang over the top of their heads. They missed their parents, and both could not say they were wrong for doing so.
“I wonder what Grandmother is like.” Amanda said, “I heard she is a very sweet and loving person.”
“We’ll know in a few hours.” Kyle replied, “Centauri’s son is on his way to Earth to bring her back. We’d better make her welcome special too.”
Amanda turned, heading toward the door, and she stopped suddenly, drawing back away from it. Laser fire could be heard in the hallway.
“Oh my god, laser fire…!” Kyle said quickly, “Come here, and kneel behind the desk, sis.”
Kyle drew his pistol and motioned his sister toward him. He pushed her down behind the desk, as the door slowly opened and in the dim light a Kodan Assassin appeared there. He saw the creature pan a look around the office, and he pointed his weapon and pulled the trigger. The beam lanced out and struck the Kodan in the head, as a black hole sizzled and it fell.
Amanda let out a gasp, as several guards entered the room a few moments later.
“We got him, relax fellas,” Kyle said and stood up.
“We better get you two to safety.” The sergeant said, “Follow us.”
He led them out of the hallway, and past the two felled guards, which Kyle ushered Amanda quickly by before she got a really good look at the dead that seemed to be falling all around them.
They were taken to a secure location, with many guards, and deep inside a building. Here they relaxed and wondered why and how the assassins were able to get on the planet without detection.
A few hours later, there was a knock and in walked Jane Rogan, clad in a simple pair of slacks, a shirt, and a purple sweater that she wore over her. She has brown hair, mixed with gray and brown eyes. Her face showed astonishment when she peered at the twins, and almost gasped aloud as they turned, reminding her of a young Alex and Maggie.
“I’m Jane Rogan.” She said quietly, “I’m your grandmother.”
Kyle smiled as did Amanda, and they ran to embrace her. They paused, however, standing unsure before the aging woman. They finally embraced her anyway, both smiling broadly until their faces hurt.
Jane embraced the twins warmly, tears flowing down her face as she held them, the pain of losing Alex and Maggie lessening with each passing minute.
“At least I still have my family, even if it is their offspring.” Jane thought, and she manage to shake her head.
“You and your sister look like your mother and father.” Jane commented, “So much like them. I can’t get over how much you two have grown up!”
“That’s what everyone says.” Kyle said, “We heard a lot about you from Uncle Lewis.”
They turned as the door opened and in walked Lewis, as if by the mention of his name.
“Mom…!” Lewis shouted, as he entered, and he embraced her warmly, “I see you met the twins, Kyle and Amanda.”
“Yes.” Jane replied, with tears in her eyes, “They remind me a lot of Alex and Maggie, so much so in the face, and the build. They are wonderful!”
“I know, it’s uncanny to see them.” Lewis said, “On that note, I can’t tell you what and how it happened exactly, but the reports were that it was sabotage of Alex’s Gunstar that destroyed them in flight. It was an assassin for Maggie. It happened too quickly in both cases.”
Jane wiped her eyes briefly, as she sat there, staring at the twins quietly. She could not believe Alex and Maggie were gone, and so quickly. A memory wiped out by the likes of Xur, using an Assassin Designate, an interstellar hit-beast as Centauri had called them. Even Centauri had perished in this war, his son taking over for him to assist in the recruitment of many creatures throughout the two galaxies as Star Fighters.
Jane and Lewis still could not believe it had happened and without warning too. They wondered if there could have been any way to stop it. Jane wondered if she should have let Alex and Maggie go in the first place to Rylos. But Otis has been right, it was time for them to flee the coop and get on with their lives. This had been a big opportunity in which Alex had been recruited to save many worlds against the Kodan warships.
“I don’t know what else to say, mom,” Lewis said speaking quietly, as they all sat there in the secure location. At this point, they were protected from any more hits against their lives by Xur. Lewis had to leave and return to Sector Two, and take his weary band of Gun Stars against the likes of Xur and the Kodan ships that they had forced back. But it would not be for a few days.
Jane would stay here with the twins and visit with them, getting to know them after twenty years of life, not knowing that Alex and Maggie had married, to have children together.
“You three should be safe here.” Lewis said, firmly, “The guards have been briefed to protect you from any more assassination attempts.”
“Where are you off to, Lewis?” Jane asked wearily, but deep down she didn’t want to know.
“I have to get back to my battle group.” Lewis said, “I’ll be in touch in a few days and let you know when I am reassigned back to Rylos.”
“What exactly do you and Kyle do for the Star League?” Jane asked, and the twins looked over at her.
“We are doing the same thing as Mom and Dad did, rebuilding the legion.” Kyle said, “Amanda is more in an administration role, and works with Ambassador Enduran.”
“I wish you two could just come home with me to Earth.” Jane suggested, “Why can’t you?”
“We’d be protected here.” Kyle said, “And they need us up here.”
“But, at the cost of four lives?” Jane asked, “Even Centauri had been killed in that plot.”
“I know. But we all have a job to do.” Kyle said, “I wish we could too. Rylos needs us now more than ever.”
“Sure do.” A voice said, and they looked up at the familiar voice.
There was a pause as they blinked their eyes, and glanced at each other. The familiar voice had been that of Alex who had stood at the door with Maggie.
“Oh my god…! It’s Mom… and Pop…” Kyle shouted, as they all jumped to their feet and ran to embrace them.
“But… you both are dead?” Amanda asked, “Why aren’t you…”
“It was an illusion to keep up appearances for the Kodan.” Alex said with a grin, “Grig is safe in a secure location too.”
“I don’t understand.”
“We were shown to be killed, so the Kodan would stop sending interstellar hit-beasts.” Alex said, “So now we can secretly continue in our rebuilding the legion and with anonymity.”
“But Centauri…” Kyle started to say, and Alex glanced at him. “Don’t worry. Centauri is fine. His son is helping out with the recruitment.”
“If this works, we can work and rebuild the Legion without any more disruption by the Kodan.” Alex said, “They thought by trying to eliminate us, would put a damper on our efforts. They were sorely mistaken.”
“I am glad to see both of you.” Jane said, “I came to Rylos when Centauri’s son contacted me and informed me of your deaths.”
“Sorry, mom.” Alex said, “For dragging you up here for nothing.”
“No, I am glad I came, I didn’t know you had twins.” Jane said, “I wish you would have told me sooner.”
Maggie and Alex blushed and shrugged.
“They are absolutely wonderful kids.” Jane said, “Kyle is just like you in many ways and Amanda is like Maggie in a lot of ways too.”
“I’m glad you got to meet them,” Alex said, holding his arm around Jane, and the other around Maggie.
“Stay put here, and everything will be alright,” Alex said, as Jane and the twins sat around the fire, and they visited for a long time, getting to know their Grandmother they hardly knew.
Alex went into a makeshift office, and he sat on the computer, and there he began writing reports for the staff office that would cycle to the trainers who would train the new recruits with the new gun stars, he redesigned with Grig.
Maggie worked with him at another desk, and she smiled as she picked files and began examining them to a few recruits that had been brought to them by courier. She nodded in approval at the many recruits that had been recruited from the many different worlds throughout the known universe, and a few of them from Earth.
“It looks like we have a lot of good recruits this time, Alex.” She said, and he turned to grin at her.
“Goodwill, pass the word to the trainers, I put in place to assist me.” Alex said, “I don’t want Xur’s Spies to know their existence, while they are here on Rylos.”
“Yeah…” Maggie said, “I’m glad your mom came to Rylos, it's great to see her.”
“Isn’t?” He replied, “It’s mostly the twin’s idea, thanks to Centauri’s son. Both want to meet their Grandmother and I am glad she came too.”
“I am glad you came back with me too.” He said, “It would be a long time before I could see you, and you here, it helps me manage to cope with what I have to do.” Alex mused, and shot her the guileless grin at her, making her laugh.
“I am glad we married too.” Alex said, “We belong together, and you are a fantastic mom.”
“I love you, Alex,” Maggie said, and she stood to walk toward him, embracing him warmly in the middle of the office.
“I love you more, Mags,” Alex said, with a mischievous grin, and she giggled as they kissed. It was interrupted by the clearing of the throat.
“Grig…!” Alex said surprised, and he moved to the alien’s side, shaking his hand warmly.
“What are you doing back on Rylos?”
“Ambassador Enduran recalled everyone back.” He said, “It appears there is a spy on Rylos, and everyone who was in safeguard was recalled to duty. It seems the spy has a network and knows the deaths were false.”
“Well damn.” Alex said, “Are we safe here even?”
“For now we are, with the number of guards around us, but that might change with the number of Zandos out there searching for us.”
“We can’t get a break for a minute.”
“The twins probably are the next target.” Grig suggested, “I have asked Enduran to put them in the same protective custody.”
“Lewis has already returned to Sector Two.” Alex said, glancing at the chronometer on his wrist, “By now.”
He was correct, as Lewis and his navigator rolled into the sector in his gunstar, and they approached the makeshift asteroid planetoid they were using as a base of operations. It is a hidden base underground that was defendable and Lewis’ choice for a fort. The legion had decked out the planetoid with sensors all over it, and radar units that could detect any movement along the frontier that was down nearby. They were only five clicks from the edge of the frontier and already had to defend the territory against the Kodan fighters that had dogged them and the Xurian spy ships that had been attacking at will. The ships, his raiders were only a half dozen, in strength, and had already driven back the enemy many times over.
“Home, Sweet, Home,” Lewis said, and his navigator managed a smile. His navigator, a caterpillar-looking, type creature sat as his navigator and they approached the planetoid.
“Starfighter one, on approach…” TeeZee said, and they paused.
“Welcome Back, Skipper.” A voice said, and the gate lowered, allowing them to enter unnoticed. The hatch closed behind them and they approached the gantry that connected the airlock.
As Lewis walked into the control room, he glanced at his crew of ragtag Star Fighters manned by creatures of this universe. Xur had escaped and crawled back to the Kodan. But he was not alone, to report the betrayal of Krill and his Lieutenant. They constantly had to go out and fight and defend the frontier with frequent attacks of the scourge from outside.
Lewis shook off his reminisces, a sense of peace rolling over him as he remembered that things were looking up and that Alex and Maggie were alive and well.
Now he had the problem of the combat that he had to protect this sector of the Star League.
“Another day in the trenches, right TeeZee…?” He asked and his navigator grinned slightly at the humor behind his tone.
“Sensors indicate a contact in Sector 12.” A voice said, and Lewis moved to the operator’s side.
“Set condition yellow.” Lewis said, “Let them come in a little more before we launch and meet the threat.”
“They are trying to lure us out.” The Operator said, “Let them come, a stand-up fight rather than hitting us and running.”
“They have been hitting a lot of the peaceful planets here lately on the edge of the Star League and the frontier.”
Another operator reported, handing Lewis the report, “We have many worlds using their own defenses, but others are trying to defend and getting hammered by the likes of the Xurian ships.
“I agree, let them come in a little closer.” Lewis agreed, “Keep the shield up, and cannons on alert.”
”Aye…” The Operator said, and outside the planetoid, the turrets, hidden by the hatches were readied for the attack. The ships streaked by the planetoid as if to scan it, and they moved outward away from it. In the control room, Lewis and the others watched the scopes as the six ships swarmed around their planetoid.
“Ready an alert 5, flight.” Lewis said, “Farris, and Xenoid, get ready and take sector 11. Xio and Barus, take Sector 12. Protect the base, if possible.”
“Don’t launch without clearance.” Lewis warned, “Launch only with orders.”
“I’ll follow with TeeZee, to back you up.” Lewis added, “If you need a hand.”
“I think we can handle it,” Xio said, formally.
“Excellent.” Lewis replied, “Let’s get to it.”
The young man and his navigator walked with the other two pilots and navigators to the airlock and hangar deck. As they approached, Lewis reached down and adjusted his pistol at his side.
Back on Rylos, Maggie, and Alex, both were sitting at their desks as Jane Rogan visited with her grandkids, laughing and talking, carrying on as they had for a long time. As Alex and Maggie worked, they continued sending data to the trainers, as new recruits cycled in, even on Earth to fight the scourge of the Kodan Armada. Alex and Maggie walked into the room as Jane and the others looked up, both of them smiling.
“It looks like we have all night.” Alex said, “Our cabins are here in this zone, motioning to the doors leading into each room. He motioned to Maggie and she nodded.
“Dinner is on its way.” He said, “I ordered us in some chow from the Officer’s Mess.”
“Great!” Jane said, “I’m starving.”
A few minutes later, there was a knock as two Rylosians walked in, clad in uniform. They pushed a tray, covered with a cover, and on the shelves was food that was being catered in from the mess hall.
“Chows here…” Alex said and walked toward the two Rylosians who saluted. Alex Saluted back, making Jane smile, as she stood behind him.
“You and Amanda have a duty with the Ambassador today.” Alex reminded his son, “It is legislation in the council chambers of Rylos.”
“Great.” Kyle said, “But for now, let’s eat, I’m starving!”
He began to dig in, and Alex stopped him.
He picked up a pen-like gadget and began scanning each plate, as it beeped moments later, a subtle voice whispering the word “Safe” echoed throughout the room. There was, however, another sound. A low hum began to echo in the room and hearing it, Alex gasped in astonishment.
“Holy Shit…!” He said, “A thermal grenade on detonation! Everyone out…!”
“Damn it, we can’t get a break!” Maggie said, “Get rid of it Alex.”
Alex pulled the cover, and he stared at the food on the tray in which it was concealed. He placed his hand over a cake-like item and smashed it, grimacing as he did the same to another desert. He found the grenade that blinked.
“Oh shit, we only got four minutes,” Alex said, as he tried to open it up, and upon doing so stared at the wires leading to the explosive that was inside the bomb.
He took a pair of scissors and stared at the wires.
“Let me pop!” Kyle said, as he grabbed the scissors and he prepared to cut the wires like a bad haircut.
“Oh shit, don’t do that! You’ll blow us all to kingdom come!” Alex said, “Kyle, you and Amanda, and Maggie get the hell out of here, take Grig and your grandmother with you. I’ll handle this.”
The time blinked down as the hum was even louder than before.
As directed the trio left, running outside the door, and toward the other end of the hallway as Kyle was shouting in alarm.
“Everyone back, there’s a bomb!” He shouted and the Rylos guards and everyone fled down the other side of the hallway.
“Alex!” Maggie called, “Let’s go!”
“Almost got it…!” Alex called, and after a few seconds, the hum became even louder as it began to vibrate. Maggie watched in horror as there was a very large explosion followed, thundering through the hallway.
“ALEX!” Maggie gasped, “Oh my god, no!”
Jane stared in horror as the smoke cleared, a large crater on the walls, and floor, and a shattered doorway were the result of the blast.
A moment later, they heard coughing. Alex appeared at the door, covered in soot, dirt, and dust, sprinkled with cake remains and frosting all over his head, shoulder, and body.
Maggie was first to run toward him and stood before him. She stared in astonishment at the soot-covered Alex, trying to show a relieved smile, and hide her laughter at the look and expression he wore. The same guileless, warm grin and the smirk on his face, as she let out a breath that surprisingly enough to her, she had been holding in.
Jane and the kids ran toward him, whipped cream and cake remains are damned, but as they did so, they paused, smiling ruefully as Maggie put up a finger, hovering a moment, to wipe frosting from his cheek.
She tasted the frosting.
“EWWW. Coconut…!” She said, and there was laughter as it echoed throughout the entire hallway, from Rylosians, and the humans, even Grig who wheezed a laugh as they clustered around him.
“You alright…?” Centauri asked, “Would you look at that, not a blooming scratch!”
“Yea…!” Maggie said, as she embraced Alex to hold him, their lips parting a moment later…
“Damn those guys, this has gone far enough.” Alex said, his wrath building, “They have really done it.”
“Done what Alex…?” Grig asked as the group curiously saw the anger on his face.
“They blew up my cupcake.” He said, “Now it is war.”
There was a wheezy laugh, combined with the others as their voices clustered around Alex. They were glad to see him alive but knew that grenade would shatter the entire room, blowing doors off hinges and the like. The group wondered how the hell he pulled it off…
Alex ran to the kitchen and pulled over the metal table that was set up there which was made of 2-3” steel as he knocked it over, he covered his head as it ended up being a shield against the massive explosion. He had closed his eyes, muttering a prayer, and almost screamed out in fear. However, it was all over before he knew it and he had survived.
A sonic Grenade was nothing to sneeze at of the fireworks and firepower that it was capable of using to destroy many.
Alex shook his head to the many questions and held Maggie.
“It’s alright.” He said, “I’m fine. We need to get the hell out of here before that spy comes to find us alive and well. You guys should head to the Command Post of Sector 12.”
Maggie glanced at him but nodded in agreement.
“What about the school?” She asked and he shrugged.
“If they want a target, they better come at me better than that.” Alex was furious, and she could see it in his eyes.
“Centauri, any luck on a few more recruits?”
“Yea, Cataula, my son is and has them at the receiving station.”
“Good, I am going to the command post, and we’re going to settle this crap with Xur and the Kodan forces once and for all. The hell with prisoners, we are going to wipe the bastards out.”
Alex glanced at Centauri who was smiling, as was Grig, but his point had been clear and concise. There was no room to run now, and it was coming to a point where they would have to fight back.
As for Maggie, Jane, and the twins, they boarded a shuttle and it rocketed upward into the night sky. The ship turned, and it streaked through the sky toward its destination where it would arrive a few hours later, to the surprise of Lewis Rogan and Company who would pick up the coded directive over the radio a few minutes after the launch.
Lewis glanced at Teezee as he read the directive and he gasped. He had a responsibility, and his post was well defended by the technology of Rylos. He was smiling.
“Okay, we have to get ready for honored guests.” Lewis said smartly, “So let’s get things cleaned up.” He nodded as the work began and his team of six prepared quarters for the refugees of Rylos which Alex had been smart to send to his brother to protect them.
A battle was about to ensue, and more Star Fighters were going to be needed. The legion was not even restored, making this hardest for Alex, his brother, Maggie, Grig, and everyone. But it would be getting better as this time over one hundred volunteers, on top of the few scattered people who had the gift had stepped forward, tired of the antics of the Kodan and a fight was about to ensue in the universe.