Quinn signaled the ship wide COM link. “May I have your attention? To alleviate confusion, I am reporting the following. We have received data that indicates there has been a large gathering with continuous weapons fire in the area where we believe Major is presently at. In approximately one half hour, we will be sending a search team to the surface that will decide what measures to take. That is all.” Quinn slammed his fist down to shut off the COM. “You have the crew manifest?”

“Right here,” Eric responded. “The teams already marked.

“Haff’s, you gather the search team.” Eric handed him the handheld Comlink. “Eric, you’re in charge of the control room. Doris, you stay with him. Sadia, Chief let’s go to the docking bay.” They hurried from the control room.

Eric moved to the center seat and Doris joined him. “I don’t like the way this whole thing is going.” She admitted.

“As much as I hate to admit it, I agree with you.” He turned to her and touched her hand. “Still we’ve come too far to turn back now.” He gripped her hand in his and gave her a reassuring smile. “The truth is this is the adventure we signed up for. So, we might as well get used to it.”



Chief Conrad stood at the entrance to the makeshift Recon section. When he saw Haffs and Matsui come around the corner he looked down at his watch. “What took you two so long?” he demanded.

Haffs laughed having told Keiko that would be the first thing out of Conrad’s mouth.

“We stopped by my quarters.” Keiko explained.

“Oh really,”

“What’s on your mind Sergeant,” Keiko alluded to his response. “He was just showing me some courtesy,”

“Courtesy, we have to earn courtesy around here.”

“Sorry sir, it won’t happen again.” She said rolling her eyes.

“See that it doesn’t!” He looked at Haffs. “As for you,”

“Don’t be hard on him Serge; he was just doing his job.”

“You’re not one of my officers, so I don’t need to hear your opinion. Is that clear.”

“Clearly noted Serge,”

“That’s Sergeant. Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t like you. Until further notice I will be keeping both my eyes on you.”

“Look all you like, I don’t mind.” She turned to give him a nice view of her shapely body in her tight jumpsuit.

Haffs was grinning ear to ear. “Next time Chief you can deal with her.”

“They keep going out of scanner range.” Quinn announced coming out of the recon room.

“It must be the atmospheric conditions.” Matsui explained.

“Thank you for your expertise.” Chief brazenly remarked.

Quinn decided to put an end to the conflict. “Dr. Matsui are you saying we can’t pinpoint The Major’s position?”

“I’m afraid it’s up to Major Stewart to signal us his position. Still if we dip below the interference, send a tight beam in the direction of that Village, he may be able to get it.”

Conrad was impressed but He still wouldn’t admit it.

“Can we, do it?” Quinn asked.

“Absolutely sir,” Matsui assured him, “the problem is will Major Stewart be able to answer it.”

“Well if anyone can figure it out Stewart can.”




Matt awoke in a cell disoriented with blood flowing from his forehead. He sat up with legs crossed on the cot and stared at the little finger on his left hand, “Thank God for my Pinky, it’s the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt,” The Khad guards hurried down the corridor when they heard Matt speaking. “Where the hell is your leader?” Matt said out loud to them in perfect Khad. The reptiles looked at each other not sure what was going on. “Did you hear your leader; L-E-A-D-E-R?”

The Khad guards rushed in the cell. “On your feet Oohman” They hurried to cuff him and take out the Cell.

“And another thing, when do you guys eat around here?”

The lead guard knocked Matt to the ground and slammed his gun barrel against Matt’s head. “No talking.”

The Khad guards ushered Matt in handcuffs into a large room just as Omori Shi arrived. The guards made way for him. When Matt saw, the figured he smiled. “Finally, your leader.” The guard slammed his weapon into Matt’s back.

Omori Shi looked his prisoner over. “Who are you and what are you doing here?” He said in perfect English.


Omori Shi pulled out his weapon and pointed it. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t blow your head off human?”

“For one I’d be killed.”

Alexa busted in. “What’s going on here?” She looked at Matt who had obviously been beaten and walked over getting in between them. It dawned on Alexa that the populace would blame her if she allowed Omori to torture him. “No, you can’t beat him like that,” Alexa pleaded. “He’s not even armed?”

“Is this animal one of yours?” Omori demanded.

“No of course not.” See looked Matt in the face. “You dare call yourself a hero, the savior of our people?”

“I never said that.” Matt corrected her.

“Who are you?” Alexa pressed.

“Sorry, we haven’t been properly introduced.” Matt smiled. “Major Matthew Stewart United Earth Space Force.”

“I figured sooner or later Earth would show up.” Omori Shi pointed to his guard and the huge reptile pulled out his weapon and pointed it at Matt. “Watch him.”

Alexa was startled by Omori’s reaction. “You don’t believe him do you lord Shi?”

“Not so fast Princess Basrilian.” Omori Shi warned.

“Princess Basrilian.” Matt recognized her name. “Abraham Basrilian? He was a member of the Lewis and Clark crew.”

“He was my father.” Alexa admitted.

“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” The guard slammed his fist into Matt’s back. Matt gave a polite bow and was hit with violent force again.

Omori Shi shouted. “As far as I’m concerned you are an interloper Major Matthew Stewart United Earth Space Force.” Omori Shi moved towards Matt again. “It doesn’t matter where you came from, we will be executing you at dawn.”




A vision Suddenly appeared in Sadia’s Head. In her mind’s eye, she saw him. “MATT.” She said voice quaking.  “This is Sadia Mirza all Officers report to command, I’ve located Major Stewart and he may be in big trouble’” the Horizon went on Red Alert throughout the ship.

Pilot Eric Seavers was alone in the control room as conflicting reports were coming in all over the COM system. Doris Travers rushed in the control room with a handheld blaster. Her face was red and she was breathing heavy. “We’re under attack!” She saw that no one except Eric was in the control room. “Don’t worry I won’t let anything happen to you my beloved.” She said pointing her pistol at the door. 

“You’re not going to fire that thing in here, are you?”

Eric’s protest annoyed Doris, here she was trying to protect him, and he was still infuriated. “We can’t let them take the control room.” Doris informed him.

“How do we go about it, by blowing up the ship?” Eric snatched the blaster from her hand. He knew she meant well, but no situation warranted shooting off a blaster in the control center.

“I’m your co-pilot. I’m supposed to protect you.” Doris pleaded her case.

“If I wanted to feel safe I’d stayed at the Academy.”

The door slid open and Belvedere rushed in accompanied by Haffs. “Has Major Stewart attempted to contact us?”

“No sir.” Eric said. “In fact, his last report was so time ago.” Eric had an anguished look on his face.

Conrad, Quinn entered, “CAPTAIN’S IN THE ROOM.” Belvedere shouted.

“At Ease,” Quinn said. “And it’s Lt. Commander.”

“What’s going on?” Conrad asked.

“What’s going on?” Eric shrugged at Quinn. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Sadia dashed in, “It’s Matt Stewart.”

“Sadia, where is he?” Quinn questioned.

“Do you think he’s in trouble.” Conrad added.

“I saw Matt, he was alone in a Khad cell with matted dried blood on his forehead and he was unconscious. Don’t ask me how I know.”

“So much for keeping a low profile, I thought we were just observing.” Conrad grumbled.

“Are you sure about this?” Quinn asked.

“I’m not sure but he’s in trouble. He’s in serious trouble and he needs our help.”

“Corporal Seavers, what’s the status of forming a Search Party”

“They’d been assigned and a shuttle is warming up on the docking pad.”

“Then they are ready to deploy?”

“Yes, sir and the shuttle is fully operational.”

“We’re wasting time.” Sadia said. “We have to help Matt,”

“First we have to find him.” Quinn admitted.




Matt gave a sigh of relief he had made it just in time. The wedding hadn’t gotten too far along. He felt under dressed for the occasion when he found people staring at him. But so were other desert dwellers in attendance. A regal appearing woman gave him an indignant Glare. Matt returned a big smile to which she turned away in disgust.
The Maazon, a man who has an official license to sign and register the marriage contract was giving directions to the groom who stood wearing a black suit with white shirt and necktie. He was surrounded a gala of fancy dressed beautiful women of all sizes, and huge body building men. By his side was that haunting woman from the carriage. The way she was being reveled over one would think she was getting married.
While at the other end was the bride’s family, a small wedding party. At the Altar stood a tall woman wearing a white dress with a white mantilla and matching white veil across her face.
Matt hesitated for a moment trying to convince himself he was doing the right thing; This wedding is being forced of this young woman so therefore it is in violation of the free colony of Earth rules; paragraph six, line four. That made the whole thing illegal.
The Maazon stepped forward to address the assembly. “If there is anyone among us who feels this union should not take place let him speak now or forever hold your peace.”
Matt was hoping for the right moment and figured an invitation like that was as good as any. He stepped past the regal lady flashing a smile and a wink. He removed his hood and raised his hand. The gathering turned its attention as walked forward.
“I do.”
“Who are you?” the maazon asked.
Matt looked directly into Jihan’s eyes before he spoke, “Major Matt Stewart; United Earth Space Force.”
Someone screamed “OH MY GOD THE PROPHECY,”
Commotion started as Matt walked up to the altar and looked directly at the veiled bride. “Major Matt Stewart at your service.”
Upasana rushed to Jihan’s side in total disbelief and she held onto her when it looked like she was about to faint.
This had to be cruel hoax. Alexa thought as she bolted to confronted Matt in front of the altar, “Who the hell are you?”
            “We arrived from Earth.” The hall went silent.
“What? That’s not possible.” Alexa challenged.
“Margaret Amen sent a distress beacon to Earth. We are responding to it.”
Jihan’s grandfather grabbed Alexa by the arm and pushed her aside so hard she fell to the floor.
“Then you really are here from Earth?” He helped Jihan step down from the stage and He kissed her on her forehead and smiled. That was the first time in ages her grandfather smiled. “Let’s get you out of here.”
Jihan still veiled looked at Matt and he gave her a nod. IT’S HIM THE MAN FROM MY DREAM. “That Old Bethany was right all along.” The tears welled up in Jihan’s eyes as she removed the veil revealing her face.
THE PROPHECY” was repeated throughout the hall as the crowd emptied out of the great hall.
The Khad patrol arrived to see what was causing the commotion. Then they saw the focal point of the disturbance. From out of the hall walked a lone human in a travel cloak. The entire group of Khad turned their attention to him.
Matt waved hello. “TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER.”



An entourage of trumpeters on horseback joined by scantily clad dancing girls; acrobats and fan bearers paved the way for drawn carriages. Matt stopped at one of the merchants to get information. “So, what’s that all about.” he said in English. 

“Not good English.”

“Sorry. What language do you speak?” Matt activated his translator implanted in his ear. “Arabic,” He asked.

“No Arabic good either.”

“So, what?” Matt asked.

“It depends.” In PASHTU dialect, he asked. “Are You Afghan?”

“Well, no I’m not.”

“Is that a Dari accent?” Lenny asked tongue in cheek.

“Now you’re pulling my leg.” Matt laughed. “Got a name?”

“Lenny the Merchant, from Brooklyn,” The merchant finally said in English. “Who are you?”

“Matt Stewart.”

“Where are you from Matt Stewart?”

“The Bronx,”

“Oh, that explains it. That sure sounds like a Brooklyn accent to me.” Now both were laughing. “You really are from the Bronx?”

“As a matter of fact, yes I am.”

“Yeah am I’m really from Brooklyn.”

“Go Dodgers.”

An eye-catching extravagant surrey rolled by. In the carriage were three royally dressed men accompanied by a beautiful woman with long black hair dressed in elaborate costumes. As they passed many waved and cheered the exotic woman in their midst.

“Who’s the babe?”

“Are you kidding, that’s Alexa the royal Princess?”

“I thought Jihan was the Princess?”

“After today they’ll be sisters. End of argument.”

Not everyone was happy to see the carriage. Some turned away in disgust, cursing as the procession passed.

“Not all is happy in paradise.”

“Forced marriages tend to do that.”

They all stopped at a good-sized pavilion and the royals hurried into the hall.

“That’s the Hall where important events take place

“Well I’m going down there.”

“Are you nuts?” Lenny told him following.

“The weddings to take place today, right?”


“I’ve got to find a way to get inside.”

“Only the families are invited inside.”

Matt grew hopeful when he saw Desert Dwellers standing outside the hall. “I know those guys. I was in their camp the other night.”

“You must have the luck of the god’s buddy.” Lenny said.

“We’ll see. Thanks.” Outside the hall, Matt introduced himself to the men. Then a voice came from behind him.

“How did you get here?” Matt turned to see Omar.

“You have no idea how good it is to see you.”

“Couldn’t stay away from the princess, could you?” Omar laughed hardily. “Well my friend, come inside with me, and get one last look at her before she weds.”