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

THAT THERE IS A SIMILAR EXTENT

Omori Shi, his entourage and the governor walked slowly down a corridor with Alexa in the lead. Omori Shi finally broke in. “George Washington, one of your planet’s founding fathers once said that true friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.” Omori knew from Alexa’s blank look she had never heard of him.

Alexa moved dejectedly to the back of the group standing behind Tor, looks a little startled, and then stares at the floor. “Was he a wise man?”

“I see.” Omori pondered again for a moment and again addressed Alexa. “That is the most profound thing I have ever seen from you. You’re risking your life to beg for this spaceman! Well, that won’t happen. He has no fear, not this one. He won’t back down, got a lot of Aurora in him.”

“They’re willing to negotiate.” Alexa said almost apologetic. “We had no choice.”

“How it is that this human as reduced you to a state of weakness.” Alexa seemed surprised by Omori’s appraisal. “He is not you master. WHAT IS A MASTER, BUT A STATUETTE TO A NATION WHO IS WORSHIPPED BY THOSE BENEATH HER? Great power and privilege is not enough for you?”

“What about respect?” Alexa was back for a moment.

“Respect, yes! Certainly,” Tor said trying to intervene in Alexa’s behalf. “She respects this human. Not since her father has a man possessed the impressiveness the Major does.”

Omori made a sound apparently of aggression. “You of all should stay quiet. Your life is not worth what it used to be.”

“We Ascourian’s are cold blooded species not hot blooded like you. And, we still have the favor of the Orions. What you’re arguing to do will not please them.”

“And what do you suggest we do?”

“I suppose we can just leave the planet.”

Alexa was shocked. “Would you take us with you?”

“I don’t know.” Omori Shi was dour and quite serious. A guard came briskly into the room and whispered something to Omori. “I’m very sorry but I must attend to this immediately. Excuse me. Please, continue.”

Tor looked as anxious as a Reptoid could. His fears were well warranted and he rubbed his scaly hand through Alexa’s hair. This took her by surprise. “What was that for.”

“You have lovely hair, don’t think I hadn’t noticed. For a human, you are the most attractive.”

“Are you coming on to me Leeg?” Alexa laughed.

“SIS,” Sean yelled as he ran into the hallway. “The Earthmen have all left the surface.”

“Oh, my gods, all of them?”

“Every single one.”

A despondent Leeg Tor looked at the ceiling, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE OMORI SHI?”

NEW STAR HORIZON

THE HUMAN SUBSTITUTE
“TENCH-HUT,” Belvedere shouted.
“At Ease,” Lt. Quinn said as he rolled his eyes.  He spotted and moved immediately to Dr. Schenckler. “Major Stewart, what happened to him?”
“He looks in good shape.”
“Very good, and Sadia Mirza?”
Sadia who was on the other side of the partition felt surprisingly strange about the question. Dr. Schenckler walked over. “So far they both are being evaluated. Nothing conclusive yet.” She smiled at Quinn, “I mean it’s good to see the captain has more than the ship on his mind.”
After they left only Major Matt Stewart and the doctor remained. Schenckler was really at a lost as to what they were seeing projected of the holographic image of his brain. The subject of their interest was the strange object located at the frontal lobe of his brain.
The implant was in an area of the brain that made it impossible to remove without inflicting critical brain damage. And The implant was alive. “Are his numbers way off again?” She asked her assistant Dr. White scanning Stewart.
“His readings indicated he has somehow lost thirty pounds of fat since joining the crew at Alpha Centari Station. All the while, he is gaining muscle. His metabolism is at a rapid speed. He looked twenty years younger than his chronological age.”
“Well it’s not the implant.” She said to Dr. White showing concern. “Let’s run them again,” she smiled. “You don’t mind do you Major?”
Matt looked at the doctor. “Didn’t we just do that?”
“Third time’s the charm.” Dr. White added.
“Whatever.” Matt stretched out his back and rested his head on a pillow. “So, can you tell me just how that got there?”
“I’m surprised we even found it. The damn thing has the ability to camouflage itself to avoid detection.”
“Thank your girlfriend Sadia Mirza for that.”
Matt frowned. “She’s not my girlfriend.”
“Sure. Anyway, Sadia found a way to destabilize it,” The monitor flashed red and read gross error again. “Mind explaining this to us Major?”
Matt looked on bewildered. “Scientology,”
Neither Doctor got the joke. “Please Major?”
Matt sat up. “This has to stay between me and you.”
Schenckler nodded to Dr. White and she stepped around the partition and it closed behind her. “Don’t worry Major I’ll keep your confidence.”
“I was genetically altered during the war.” He rolled up his sleeve and showed her his branded tattoo on his right forearm, “I was a Black Knight.”
Dr. Schenckler waved her scanner over his wrist and her monitor filled with data. “An interface, only I’ve never seen one this sophisticated.”
“I have a complete neural connection and those are all the legitimate implants in my brain linking to the interface in my right wrist.”
“You’re a super soldier. I’ve never met one before.”
“I get that a lot. By the way, I hate that, anything but super soldier.”
“Does Sadia know?”
“Why should I care if Sadia knows?”
“Don’t you think you’d better tell her?”
“What exactly are you trying to say doctor?”
“She has feelings for you.”
“She’s just a kid.”
“No Matt she’s a woman.”
“I have to warn you doc, I’ve got a long history of failed relationships.”
The metallic voice of MOTHER boomed through the room;
WARNING, WARNING WE HAVE INCOMING
The light in the room turned red,
RED ALERT THIS IS NOT A DRILL
The intercom signaled and the “we need Major Stewart in the control room ASAP.”
“You’d better get going.” She conceded.
“Saved by the bell,” Matt jumped off the exam table.
“I’m not done with you yet.” She warned. “You’re going to have to face her and if you don’t tell her the truth I will.”