NEW STAR HORIZON

SET FORTH ANGELS

Quinn studied the seemingly lifeless body of Scott Draper inside the chamber saturated in yellow light. He had his self-doubts but unlike his old friend he was sure the crew could see them clearly. He touched the shield and felt it vibrate. Somehow like him they were still alive, but for how long?

              “He’s doing remarkably better you know,” Dr. Schenckler said catching Quin off guard.

              “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be sneaking around the med lab in the dark.” Quinn stepped forward into the light.

              “No, don’t apologize. I was actually coming here to take the Captain to the shuttle bay.”

              “What, how come?”

              “We’re transporting him to the surface, let’s just say for safe keeping. Dr. Samuel has offered to house him during our ordeal.”

              “Is that wise?”

              “Turns out the Khad have no qualm taking care of the sick and wounded. Some macho thing. They don’t fear those ailing and won’t attack anybody that can’t fight back.”

              “And what about you?”

              “In exchange, I will make our technology accessible to the settlers who could get injured.”

              “What about the Horizon?”

              Just then Ruth arrived in the lab. “Don’t worry you’ll be in good hands with Dr. White and Warrant Officer Nichols.”

              “Don’t worry sir, I’m had combat training and have been in some skirmishes before.”

              “That’s good to know,” Quinn went to shake her hand but she pulled away. “Something wrong?”

              “Sorry sir I’m just not used to being treated with respect.”

              “I’ve read your record, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. We’ve all had our adventurous youth experiences. I can admit to doing some indiscretions myself. I just didn’t get caught.” Quinn let out a laugh that surprised Ruth. After an awkward moment, she shook his hand. “Good luck Doctor.” He said to Schenckler. “Take care of our boy.”

              “You take care of this crew and this ship. Both of you.”

 

The Atmospheric shuttle sat on the docking pad warming up. Alison shifted her seat to fit her shorter legs. She strapped her harness across her shoulders and reached over to see if she could touch all the controls. She wore a blue flight suit indicating her as a Pilot. Tatiana in dark gray suit waited beside Alison firming up last minute details on the navigation system while she laughed and joked with the command crew at the other end of the COM link.

Alison envied her aloof indifference which others must have seen as cockiness. Confidence was necessary for pilots, it allowed them to weigh options and make decisions with a degree of faith when facts and figures were completely out of their reach. On the other hand, overconfident could only land them in a lot of trouble.

Jetsenia stood waiting by the cargo hold. She quietly waved for Tati to come talk to her. Tati stopped what she was doing and went below where she stuck her head out the side hatch.

“Hey girl,” Tati said. “We’ll talk. Promise.”

Jetsenia reached over and gave Tati a hug. “Damn you these people are counting on you.” Jetsenia whispered in her ear.

“Don’t worry I know.” Tati went back into the shuttle. She took one last look at Jetsenia through the window then swung herself into the co-pilot’s seat.

“What happen to us?” Alison asked.

“Shut up Alison.”

Eric called in, “Recon one your moniker will be Bad Boy at Dawn and I didn’t come up with it. You are cleared for takeoff. Remember to always fly toward the sun. Good hunting.”

The engines kicked into high gear and they were ready for takeoff. Alison flicks the switch for the green light to flood the cabin. “We have the green to go.” She informed the crew.

“Take us out.” Shenckler communicated back.

Alison hesitated; glancing up to see just about the whole crew of the Horizon had shown up to see them off. Then she spotted Jetsenia and the others. “Tati look.”

Tatiana smiled and waved to them. Jetsenia smiled back and blew her a kiss, that was all Tati needed to get back on track.

“Jealous.” Tati said placing her hand on Alison’s.

“Okay, let’s get this show on the road!”

NEW STAR HORIZON

A VIEW TO DESTRUCTION

Thanks to their bionics the climb to the ledge was swift and easy. Sadia marveled at Matt who was graceful as a gazelle during the climb. Joseph was clumsy but managed to keep up. When they arrived at the look out the scene was spectacular and breath taking, but sightseeing was not their reason for being there. They worked their way around to the western side of the ledge and stopped short as Matt flung his arms out to his sides. Sadia was about to ask what was wrong but she never got the words out.

Beyond them as far as the eye could see was an army of shoulders in formation marching across the desert floor.

“They got all those guys in three ships?” Joseph’s humor though not appropriate made Matt smirk.

Matt realized he had seen all this before. He had stood on this ledge and looked out at this scene in a dream. Was this a part of his destiny? If it was then maybe there was no free will. It dawned on him that he had truly come full circle.

“My god Matt, what are we going to do?” Sadia asked with deep concern.

What she didn’t know was Matt’s brain was already at work on strategic designs and attacks to take the enemy out. He had already eliminated a third of the troops. He looked at Sadia face through her visor and saw the shock in her eyes. “Look, Storm this is how it is. This is either a view to our destruction or it’s a view to theirs. From this point on we need to be willing to annihilate. Not just defeat them but wipe them out utterly. They don’t take prisoners, they won’t be fighting fair and they look at Human’s as mutated primates. No mercy, no humanity just obliteration.”

The two stood silently as they looked out over the sea of soldiers moving toward them. They knew Matt was right and they figured with him on their side they might just stand a chance. Joseph turned to Matt. “You have been in this situation before?”

Matt laughed. “This? This ain’t shit. I’ve been in a lot worst then this.”

“What were your missions during the war?”

“They were all covert suicide missions.”

“Matt, you never told us that.”

“So how many?”

“Forty-nine. Give or take.”

“You’re lying.” Sadia yelled at him.

Matt gave her a very serious look. “I sure wish I was, believe me.”

NEW STAR HORIZON

THE REAL REASON

Lorne was sure he was seeing things but there before him stood a man who looked like old man Peters. The problem was he left the old man at the hut still getting dressed. He moved fast but not that fast, When the two saw each other they both gave a look of surprise but said nothing.

Lorne was amazed that he was not only dressed identically but stood with the same lean in their stance.

“I received your message and here I am.” The old man said as he walked up to him.

“You sent the message to me.” Lorne said.

“We haven’t had an opportunity to talk in a long time.”

“We just spent the last hours discussing the invasion.”

Just then they both stopped as another Peters came hobbling up the path. When he saw them, he stopped at the sight of his twin.

“You!” the two Peters said at the same time.

They confronted each other. “Is this your doing?” One of the Peters asked.

“I received a priority alert message to meet here.”

They both looked at Lorne bewildered. “So, when were you two going to tell me there were two of you?” Lorne asked.

“It’s a long-complicated story.”

“I can explain it simple. We’re the same damn person.”

“Sure, that explains it; Idiot, now he’s more confused.”

The sky grew dark and the air was thick like an electric storm. Lorne had noticed it first. The wind was blowing wildly before the two Peters were conscious of what was happening around them.

Then the clouds parted and a black triangle craft emerged. The ship dropped a shuttle craft silently almost to the ground and hovered in front of the three of them. The triangle ship returned into the clouds as the craft landed. A man in a red spacesuit walked toward them. He stopped and removed his helmet. He was another old man Peters.

“Now, I’m really confused.” Lorne said sarcastically. The third old man was so eerily the same as the others he even though he wore a spacesuit. “How many of you are there?”

After a moment of reflection, the three busted out in laughter.

“Where did you come from?” The one of the twins was curious to know.

“I’m the Alpha time traveler.”

“You, but I am.”

“It became necessary to allow you to believe that.”

The two twins looked at each other in horror.

“If someone who travelled back in time to change the future he would really be changing the past or in this case his past. His interactions have the unwanted side effect of voiding the first traveler’s influence on his past and therefore the second traveler’s actions.”

“So, what are you doing here?”

“Well to put it bluntly for the first time since we started the events have taken a completely unpredictable direction.”

“Matt Stewart?” They both said at the same time.

“The real question is; will it matter.”

Lorne studied the faces of the old men as the reality came over him. “Then, you don’t know how this battle will turn out?”

“This may decide the future of the entire Human Race.”

 

NEW STAR HORIZON

ACT OF DESPERATION

Jihan was tired and desperate but she couldn’t stop running. She made it to the entrance of the Khad compound where the guards stopped her. Fluent in their language she requested an audience with Governor Tor. Recognizing her, they quickly ushered her up to his heavily guarded suite.

“My word what are you doing here?” Tor was shocked to see his young friend.

“Please My Lord you have to call this invasion off.”

“I’m afraid I can’t my dear. These guards aren’t here for my protection. They’re here to keep me from interfering.”

“I don’t understand, aren’t you in charge?”

“Unfortunately, the little power I have has guaranteed the safety of your family, thankfully they’re still in Omori Shi’s favor, so they should come out of this all right.”

“What about the colonists?” 

“They have made their choice. Once they joined the Earthmen.”

“But they wanted peace?”

“Apparently Omori Shi is not interested in peace.”

“What about Matt Stewart?

“So, you love him don’t you. No need to deny it.”

“Can’t we spare him?”

“I’m afraid his fate is sealed. If only he wasn’t so determined to get himself killed,”

“I have to talk to Omori Shi; can you help me to see him?”

“Yes, my child, but be prepared for the worst.”

Omori Shi was not surprised when Jihan slammed open the door.

“Princess, come to beg for Stewart’s life.” He said mockingly. “The Basrilian princess was here too. Your Earthman must be Good Stock. No doubt, he has proved to be much better than the other humans I’ve encountered. Remains me of your father.”

Jihan launched herself at Omori Shi punching him with her fists. “I hate you,”

He laughed at her as he grabbed her arms with his scaly grip to hold her at bay. “I am pleased. Indeed, you are Aurora’s child.”

“I beg you to spare his life?”

“No, BUT you beg only for your spaceman, unlike your father. He did beg for your life, for the Settlers lives. I accepted his offer. He traded his life for them.”

“That’s enough.” Tor yelled in defiance. “She’s just a child.”

The general threw Jihan at him. “Here, Tor, take your pet.”

“The Orion Rulers will not like what you are doing. No workers we have ever encountered can do what the humans have done.”

Omori Shi laughed again. “What did your great Human Hitler state? THINK THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE TAKING A DECISION BUT AFTER TAKING DECISION NEVER TURN BACK EVEN IF YOU GET THOUSAND DIFFICULTIES!”

“Then you defy the Orion Regime?”

“You believe I care?”

“I hope you all die,” Jihan screamed,

“But I must admit these humans are not as hapless a race as I thought you were. This Earthman has brought out the best in you.” Omori Shi bowed to her as Tor carried her out the room. “THOSE WHO WANT TO LIVE, LET THEM FIGHT, AND THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO FIGHT IN THIS WORLD OF ETERNAL STRUGGLE DO NOT DESERVE TO LIVE.”

 

 

 

NEW STAR HORIZON

THE NEXT THRESHOLD

Matt stopped in his tracks when he saw Sadia in her black body suit. It was the same the Black Knight’s wore under their armored spacesuits when going into battle. He wondered where she got it from. Then she picked up a High-Powered Pulse rifle.

Matt realized that he was looking at the very same vision from his dream. “Storm,” He said softly. “Have I come full circle?” At that moment, he came to terms with the truth about his feeling for her.

When she saw him watching her she gave him a coy smile, “Matt I’m sorry about the other day.”

“No Storm it was my fault.”

“Help me with my suit will you.” Sadia said invitingly. Matt felt his heart beat harder. He helped her get her vest over her up stretched arms. “The vest is equipped with a 4-inch front panel overlap to maximize center mass protection.” Matt rolled his eyes. “It’s complete with throat protection collar, upper arm guards and groin protector.” She gestured for Matt to snap the protector in place. He slammed it shut with a loud bang. “Hey, be careful down there.”

When Matt was finished Sadia fitted on her helmet and she was fully covered from head to toe. Her helmet, shiny black had a jet-black face plate so Matt could no longer see her eyes. He flicked on her switches and the suit hummed to life.

The face plate slowly faded to show Sadia’s face and she smiled. Matt reached around her back and found her nuclear battery pack. “When you’re ready you just activate your system right here.” He switched it on and Sadia not realizing her new-found strength sent Matt flying backward and into the wall.

When Sadia rushed over to try to help him Matt waved for her to stay away. The room broke out in laughter.

The light moment was suddenly silenced when a voice blasted over the loud speaker. “Long range scans indicate The Khad Armada has landed on the western shore.”

“Matt,” Sadia said removing her helmet. It had dawned on her that this could be her last chance to talk. Sadia placed her hand over his mouth. “Matt if we survive this, what then?”

“How do you mean?”

“What will you do with the rest of your life?”

“I was hoping maybe to spend it with you.”

Sadia was caught off guard. “Do you really mean that?”

“Do I really mean it?” Matt took her glove off her hand and cradled it in his. “Guess the only way to find out is to stay alive and shit.”

 

NEW STAR HORIZON

WELCOME HOME
Quinn joined the landing party making his first trip to the surface. He knew the crew found themselves with the dubious honor of teaching laymen how to fight, but after listen to Matt for only forty minutes he realized that what they were actually doing was teaching them how not to get killed.
Not that the settlers had any trust. Now they needed to concentrate their hatred on the real enemy; the Khad’s armada. For all they knew the armada was invincible. The Khad had easily defeated the original upraising so no one really believed that they had any chance this time either.
Then to add to the problem the Governor, though well intended, made a deal with April to protect any humans that remained in their homes and choose not to fight. Matt was quick to point out that the governor might not have any power after the armada arrived.
Then the worst possible event happened. The House of Aurora decided to join with the Basrilians and the others and remain behind. They had a lot of influence with the people. This caused more to change their minds. Soon they were in danger of losing control of the settlement.
Matt elected to let the settlers make up their own minds without any coercion on his part. Instead he started putting his plan into action hoping that when they saw what the crew was doing they would want to join with them.
Then they got a surprise. Marching into the village in row after row were the members of the rebellion. Lead by Maggie they held their flag with the original colors of the Lewis and Clark up high as they matched through the village down its main road.
The bad blood between them and the villagers had existed for years. Then something even more surprising happened. One by one the villagers came out to watch them march. Then an old couple with tears in their eyes started to clap for them.
Soon others joined in with applauds and before you knew it the entire village was lined up along the road clapping for the rebels who had finally come home. The tears flowed freely, tears that had been a long time coming.
“Margaret Amen and the members of the rebellion reporting as requested.” She saluted.
“Ten-hut!” Quinn barked and the landing party rose to salute the Rebels.
The villager came out from everywhere to greet and hug them and get reacquainted and to forgive and ask for forgiveness, it was an amazing sight.
Maggie pulled Quinn aside to talk to him. “The Rebels have plenty of combat experience but they’re not inclined to trust the others with their lives.”
“Stewart.” Quinn yelled, Matt stood and moved forward to greet them. “Matt, we need to do some fast maneuvering to convince the villagers to come in so they can learn from the flock. Maggie’s people need to spread their expertise around.”
“You know that’s why we’re here.” Maggie said. “To join our people and stand together all of us as one.”
The next day more than twice as many settlers joined up to make a stand.
  

NEW STAR HORIZON

ANGEL ON HIGH
Matt was underneath the front of the newly assembled atmospheric shuttle when Alison approached him. When Matt saw her and how good she looked in her uniform he banged his head on the under-chassis.
Alison laughed out loud. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“You must be wondering why I called you here, Mundy?”
“Alison.”
 “Alison, can you fly this thing.” Matt slapped the hull.
“This old relic?”
“Old relic? This is a ATMOSR-DC12 CONDOR.”
“Well she is a real classic.”
“Yes, she’s a classic all right.” Matt looked at her blank expression, “You’ve never heard of them, have you?”
“I flew one back on Tau Ceti. Her design is high throttle. Not an easy ship to fly but hard as hell to bring down.” Alison smiled. “I meant are her parts in working condition?” Impressed Matt knew he had picked the right, “Yeah I can fly her. I’ll need a co-pilot though.”
“Tatiana volunteered.”
“She did? Now that’s a surprise.”
“She said you would say that.”
“After Heavens Peak.”
“Maria says you’re her best pilot.”
“Maria said that?”
“How come everything seems a surprise to you?”
“I guess because it is.”
“She also said you’re immature, and a brat.”
“Now that sounds more like Maria.”
“Alison, this is completely voluntary.”
Alison was thrilled. “When do you need me?”
“First thing in the morning.”
“And what about tonight?”
Matt straightened his overalls and put on his jacket, “Maybe when this is all over we’ll take time to talk about other things.” He left.
Alison almost went after him, Maria chimed in. “He’s old enough to be your father.”
“You’ve been ease dropping the whole time?”
“That’s my job. You think I trust you alone with a guy.”
“I know Maria, but can’t I have feelings for him?”
“No not on my watch.” Maria drove her chair over to Alison and grabbed her by her arm. “I have faith in you. I expect you to do your job and do it well. But you need to stay focused,” Maria sighed. “I don’t want to lose any of you.”
“Why Maria I didn’t know you cared.”
“What did you call me? That’s Colonel Miranda to you.”
Sadia sporting a short hair style met matt in the corridor. “Can I help you Sadia?” He said keeping things formal.
“Matt, we need to talk and shit.”
“Right now?”
“I said we need to talk and shit.”
“I’m busy,”
“You need to shut up and listen to me and shit.”
Matt got real uncomfortable. “Hold it right there,”
“I know all about regulations and shit.”
“Do you know why we have regulations?”
“To keep two people like us from falling in love and shit.”
“WHAT?”
“That’s right, that’s all they’re good for and shit.”
“Listen Sadia, we can’t talk about this now,”
“I told you Matt I don’t want to hear that,”
“WE ARE GOING TO DIE!” Matt yelled in a burst of anger.
“Don’t you think I know that?” She turned to leave.
“Hold on a second, what’s with this AND SHIT and shit?”
“Giuseppe says you always say AND SHIT when your angry. I kind of like it, and shit.”
Matt was silent as he sat on the edge of the table. MY GOD, WE’VE CREATED A MONSTER