~ The Promise ~
© March 2002
Two souls meant to be together searching through the ages.
Once they find each other, do they stay together forever or do they search with each
lifetime? If so, what changes with that lifetime? Does fame, fortune, occupation, gender,
appearance all change with each lifetime? Is there some telltale trait that always remains
constant providing instant recognition? Did you ever wonder what happens to souls as they
travel through eternity? Are souls a circle around all our lives never beginning
never ending? The lives of Paula and Tamara were successful but one important element was
missing. Will they find their home in each other?
Through all the ages,
I will wait for you.
Through laughter and pain,
Through happiness and sorrow,
Through eternities reign,
I will wait for you.
Through all persuasions,
Through all changes,
Through all temptations,
I will wait for you.
I will wait for you,
That is my vow.
I will wait for you,
That is my promise.
One hour later
Who the hell hit me?
Tor Anders rubbed the back of his head as he groggily picked himself up off the ground, voicing what his aching head asked.
As he did so, he remembered the main reason he was in the lab the heat suit and it was gone!
Oh god, Selina was going to have a fit. Who would want to sabotage the mission? It might be the difference between life and death for the colonists.
Searching to find any evidence of the person who had stolen the suit and hit him over the head, disappointedly finding nothing that might shed any light. Quickly exiting the room at an unsteady gait, he made his way over to the building Selina was sure to be in, the perfect view of the engineering area.
Venturing inside he expected someone to ask him why the mission wasnt underway; they hadnt as he rubbed not only his head but his chin too in puzzlement.
Good, youve arrived Tor. I thought you were going to miss the main event. Sasha Meredith remarked noticing his approach as she stood close to Selina Ralph, who didnt turn at his approach, as she watched anxiously at a figure making slow but steady progress to the side entrance.
Who is that?
Selina did turn at that remark, giving him a wary glance before she answered. I assume you mean Lawrence? Jane Lawrence is making her way over to the building as we agreed. I gave her the data stream on her way to your lab.
I dont understand.
What dont you understand Tor? It was a perfectly simple explanation, has someone hit you over the head?
Well actually before he could finish Sasha remarked jubilantly.
Shes inside the building, now we wait.
I still dont understand.
Sasha intervened and spoke brusquely. Tor, you were never that quick on the up take. Jane Lawrence is in the suit that you provided and helped her into and is now on the mission.
Selina was somewhat annoyed at Sashas tone and looked closely at the man. He was an intelligent person and didnt deserve her condescending attitude.
Thats just it, I never helped anyone into the suit. Someone hit me over the head from behind and stole it. Whoever is in that little number, is highly doubtful to be Lawrence.
All eyes turned to the large man as he spoke. In turn he felt like he was a bug being scrutinised and might be stomped on at any second. Failing that, he expected them to fall about laughing.
If it isnt Lawrence, then who could it be?
Your guess is as good as mine, they never left a trail to follow, and I looked!
We need to locate Jane Lawrence, I hope she wasnt injured. Selina voiced softly, how much crazier could it be on this planet she asked herself.
Sasha spoke up again and reminded them that Lawrence had gone to see Doctor Shaw for a quick examination prior to the suiting up. Maybe Doctor Shaw will know what happened next.
Quickly picking up her internal video link, Selina tried to contact Doctor Shaw; no one answered. Quickly reconnecting to the hospital senior nurse, Mary Campbell would know where Tamara was.
Hello, Nurse Campbell here, how can I help?
Oh, its you First Counsellor.
Mary where is Doctor Shaw?
A moments hesitation only but a moment was too much of a give away sign for Selina who immediately asked, Where is she Mary?
There was a battle going on inside Mary. What the heck, Tammy would understand, it was too late now anyway.
To the best of my knowledge shes in that damned suit of Tors trying to save our butts.
What do you mean? Strike that, why?
Mary hesitated a fraction as she felt her composure slip slightly.
She made me promise not to say First Counsellor, all I know is that if the mission is possible, she will see it through.
Considering the situation what could she do anyway, Where is Jane Lawrence?
Doctor Shaw gave her a mild sleeping drug, it will wear off with no effects within the hour.
I see. When this situation is over I want to see you and Doctor Shaw immediately!
The videophone was switched off angrily as Selina moodily stomped towards the window to watch the deserted area around the Engineering building.
Tor and Sasha looked at each other with Tor shrugging his shoulders, wait until he saw the Doc again, they were going to have a damn fine conversation about his sore head.
Typical Shaw, she never could take orders. Sasha remarked sarcastically as she went to stand beside Selina.
Tor had to hand it to the Doc, she sure knew how to rattle everyones cage, what puzzled him was why. The same reason for him not being allowed to go would have applied to the Doc, more so he thought. Well they would find out if and when she got back.
Having successfully negotiated the side entrance to the building, Tamara sucked in a deep breath contemplating the task ahead.
She hoped Tor would forgive her for hitting him over the head, at least that way he wasnt an accomplice and she had tried not to damage his skull too much.
Mary had pleaded with her to think again when she had confessed her newest plan to breach the rules. Sometimes she wondered if she had been cut out to obey rules and then she considered why she broke them always to help others. Made sense to her but it was inexplicable to others. Still, she was the best candidate if the risk they were taking ended in tragedy. Her life span wasnt exactly going to last much longer anyway, if the virus went the same way in her as it had the Johnson twins, Sylvie had died an hour after her sister.
Moving slowly forward she was astounded by the silence. Okay this building wasnt engulfed with the creatures as some of the others she had entered were. Perhaps they had left it was possible.
She and Tor had found an affinity in their gut instincts, not sure exactly what that meant long term but short term they had both realised that an extra communication link was needed. Not only that they had both been wary about Sashas denial of the old inhabitants of the planet being totally extinct.
That woman wouldnt listen even for a second of someone elses opinion, even if it was a remote opinion and far fetched. When new worlds were colonised you had to respect that some things take months, years, even centuries or forever to find the answer. They hadnt given the planet time to allow its secrets to be found, now look at them.
Walking towards the door of the room that held the equipment, she wondered if the creatures would attack her even with the suit? Then she shook her head slowly, that kind of mind warp wouldnt achieve her goal.
Carefully opening the door, she tentatively dropped her head around the corner to see if it was safe.
As far as she could see, there wasnt any evidence of any presence in the room as she slowly ventured inside. Speedily making her way to the communications console firing up the system.
Tor said it would take two minutes for all the services to become active. Once she saw the Earth logo she should insert the data transfer disk for streaming and attempt to contact the pilot, who in theory should still be in orbit if they had followed the protocol. It was known in all circles that elite pilots followed them to the letter, like having a cast iron guarantee.
Flicking the necessary switches, which thankfully were simple, she had the console up and running just as Tor said it would be. What worried her was the noise level; from as silent as the grave to waves crashing on the shore. She hoped that the creatures had left for they were sure to seek her out now.
Tamara often wondered what life would have been like if she had taken up Christis offer to be on the medical staff of the executive committee, instead of here and now. Would she change her mind given the chance again ?
Great the communication line is open. Should it have been?
Deciding to disregard the odd quirk she asked the computer to scan for an orbiting craft.
No orbiting craft at this time
Tamara sat down at the console and punched the question again.
No orbiting craft at this time, would you care to extend the parameter?
No, I wouldnt care to extend the parameter! What else can you scan for?
Well, go ahead and scan for that then! Her thoughts mirrored her questions.
Tamara knew she shouldnt get uptight, after all this was only a machine but it was really trying her patience!
Unidentified craft in the final phase of entry to the atmosphere, communication delayed on re-entry. Continuing data stream transmission, time scale calculated as two minutes thirty-one seconds, unless you abort.
Closing her eyes briefly perhaps she hadnt been the right person for the mission. She was tired, her head ached and she felt like the world was on her shoulders. Not only that some idiot computer was playing word games with her.
What should she do now? This could be a ploy by the enemy enemy it was the first time she had thought in those terms.
Oh god, what do I do?
As she thought the words, her answer became clear, her instincts told her to continue to send the message she slipped in the data disk.
Turning quickly upon hearing a noise, which had nothing to do with her or the console in front of her.
They were coming.
Hopefully Tors suit would be her defence or she was going to die a little earlier than even she had anticipated!
Paula watched with fascination as she entered the planet atmosphere while flames danced all around her. It was for her a beautiful and quite stimulating experience. Years ago pilots hadnt the screen defences that they had now and although it looked as if you were engulfed in a fireball, which indeed you were, it was marvellous to experience, for her anyway. Many of her friends and colleagues often used the shield to mask the process; to her it added to the thrill and excitement of the moment.
The computer counted down the seconds to communication interface and she waited patiently. She deduced what the chances would be of how long, once she hit the atmosphere, before the community defence grid picked her up. They might not have any military experience but the grid was programmed to activate regardless of the expertise of the operator. Laura would have seen to the set-up as a priority when they landed.
Incoming message from the planet surface
The computer droned on for what seemed like hours when really it was only a matter of seconds as she punched in the acceptance code.
Scanning the contents that had been transcribed into text for her. Her forehead creased into an unbecoming frown as she deciphered them.
Computer! Message to Earth Gamma Command, marked urgent priority, code red, level gold extreme. Stream message received from Amazon Seven, indicate current spacecraft position and plot expected landing site. Authorisation, Major Paula Madison Clayton, First Gamma Command code 007, Archangel Gabrielle 002, transmit.
Calculate expected time for transmission to reach Gamma command assuming no unexpected problems.
Six days, fifteen hours
On retrieval of data how long before realistic rescue mission?
Six months, two days, one and three quarter hours
Oh that quick. Paula scoffed, knowing the chances of survival were limited for the colonists with that time scale. Best-case scenario was that she could take two people back with her, although her coldly derived scenario was to land and wait for the craft to cool down and take off again. Hey, she was a valuable commodity it was part of her rules and regulations. Right now she wished shed done what they originally stated even if it meant a close call waiting for a fuel recharge in space. Funny thing was, she had never been one to flaunt protocol she had lived by it too long now. However, something was making her break those rules. It had started when she began to read her moms journals, funny how such a small occurrence had dramatic impact on your life.
Is their communication link still open?
Open our link, there might be someone sending at that end, its worth a try anyway.
Paula removed her oxygen mask and wiped the sweat from her brow. Many would see that as panic in the face of the odds, when for her it was a natural reaction to the mask on her face. An aversion since she was a child made her feel as if she was suffocating and it took strong willpower whenever she wore any kind of headgear.
This is Earth Gamma pilot Clayton, please respond.
Several seconds passed with no response, Paula tried again.
Earth Gamma pilot Clayton here, please respond if this is not an automated message.
Paula waited and wondered, in all probability it was automated. The information she had gained from the message indicated that the souls on Amazon Seven were probably close to death if not dead already.
Computer track life signs, advise number.
Original base camp thirty-five humanoid forms, second location twenty-five humanoids
Are you sure? what a stupid question Clayton of course the damned computer was sure. Punching in the colonist compliment, she read that originally over one hundred and fifty people had been sent with all records indicating only having one fatal injury.
Thirty-five location one, twenty-five loc
Landing position, thirty seconds and counting
She would have to decide what to do once she was on the ground.
This is Earth Gamma pilot Clayton, please respond.
Tamara jumped as the console crackled into life wondering if she should answer. The aliens were close now and she suspected they heard the transmission from the room.
Damn what to do!
Earth Gamma pilot Clayton here, please respond if this is not an automated message.
No it wasnt a damn auto message! Galvanising into action Tamara moved back towards the console from out of the shadows she had found when the noises got closer.
Pressing one button after the other she eventually heard the computer indicate connection.
Im Doctor Shaw, for gods sake help us!
Static built up as she waited for a response, turning suddenly as she felt rather than heard something approach her.
The ethereal figure moved closer and Tamara saw several others floating in the background, reminding her of the old folk legends about vampires ready to pounce. Well, she wasnt going to go without a fight. At least she had completed her mission that was the real issue. Her life now could be forfeit.
Placing a hand on the button of the suit that increased the heat source she switched it to half way feeling the heat rise. Surprisingly, the figure moved back a fraction joining its allies.
Tamara had always been guided by her father to have an open mind about things, perhaps that was one of the reasons she enjoyed the challenge of this new era of colonisation of other planets. Having an open mind and actually being in the presence of beings that could kill you, apparently easily, she had no wish to make a closer acquaintance at this time. In this particular situation she was going to accept caution as her by-word.
Moving away from the console realising this was as good a time as any to escape and deduce if the aliens were in fact affected by the temperature change.
Stepping towards the cluster of figures perilously close to her, Tamara decided that her job here was done and getting killed waiting for a message wasnt in the game plan for today anyway.
I can do this, I can do this, I can she spoke rapidly as one would hype oneself up for a difficult task.
Incoming coded transmission
Shit, now what? How the hell did she decipher a coded message with the creatures all around?
Oh, only a transmission for me be right back with you, grinning for all she was worth at the entities around her, humour had to have its day, right?
Turning on her heel, she stepped back towards the console with the entities remaining at the same distance, about two feet away. Some tea party this was turning out to be, maybe they could all pass the time of day together. Giggling nervously as she put Selinas password into the computer.
One thing was certain Tors suit appeared to be working. The aliens kept their distance and that had never happened before.
Transmission decoded, available for access
Looking behind her she was amazed at the image she saw, all the creatures were merging together into one mass. Where previously she had seen a humanoid type shape, now it was a swirling mass of transient colours, primarily white and grey with a tinge of blue around the edges. What did this mean? I think I may be in big trouble now.
Well it was decision time; she was struggling with the heat being generated by the suit, seeping inside increasing her body temperature. Her painkillers for the virus headache she had taken were beginning to wear off; allowing lethargy to consume her limbs, knowing each step would be a slow painful effort. The creatures might be massing together to eradicate the effects of the heat from the suit and she would be a dead woman for sure. Then there was the positive side, the opportunity to see the message and perhaps help everyone else on the planet.
Wasnt her oath to save life?
Punching in the five-digit access code Selina had given her, which would allow her into any interface and protocol the computer might throw at her.
Advise your position Shaw, I will help. Original message transmitted to Earth.
That was it? I stayed behind for that? Jesus, talk about foolhardy.
She didnt have a clue about co-ordinates that really wasnt her field. All she could do was state the building she was in. Typing in the brief message, she jabbed the send button and turned to face her moment of truth as she switch up the heat sensor in the suit and felt the immediate impact, so this must be what it feels like to roast in an oven!
Facing off the creatures or was it just a creature now, she moved towards it and the door that was her only exit.
Here goes nothing. Stepping into the unknown by attempting to go through the middle of the alien mass.
Accessing all available computer files, Paula scrambled around the storage area of the craft looking for anything that might be useful providing heat emission.
Rummaging in the lower hold she collected two fire torches, one pulsar rifle and several heaters for general-purpose use, not an arsenal but a start. Anyway, she wasnt Hercules and she had to carry them after all.
Great just what the doctor ordered, smiling as she figured that was a fairly accurate assumption on her part. Assuming the doctor was still alive and she had severe doubts about that. Although the last message, which was badly typed, did indicate a building and that was a good sign. However, that was ten minutes ago and anything could happen in that time span. Life or death, she calculated if the message she read was anything to go by.
Computer transmit options into portable data receiver, Ill download as I locate the area. Have all geographical information transmitted with best case scenarios based on removal of all possible shelter options for the enemy.
Collecting her hard terrain battle ready suit she quickly removed her internal space gear and donned the slightly heavier but much more serviceable and practical kit that all specialist pilots had as essential wear. It had saved many a life along the way, her own on more than one occasion.
Seal all entrances and exits on my departure. Only open to the following command. Channel red eleven, seven zero two nine four, Gamma Earth Madison. Self-destruct if access is breached by any other method.
Attaching the large backpack on her shoulders, she heaved the heavy pulsar weapon to her right side leaving her left, more powerful, arm free for other activities.
Glancing around the craft that had been her home for the last few months, she tipped her hand to the visor of her helmet and left by the forward exit.
According to the data she had been given, the building in question was three miles away, off centre of the main township and accessible three ways. At her usual speed she should arrive in the area within the next thirty-five minutes, if she didnt come across any resistance.
Perhaps this assignment might not be as bad as it sounded heck it was starting to look remarkably challenging to her right now!
Andy has confirmed that a spacecraft entered the atmosphere half an hour ago. She said that the computer predicted its landing position to be within a three to five mile radius of here.
Selina looked at the woman who had given her this information. Part of her was euphoric as the other colonists, who had cheered and stamped their feet at the news. Another part of her was sorry that the pilot had landed; they would now be in the same position as the rest of them. Added to that, if Tamara hadnt managed to get a message through, it might be too late to stop other colonists travelling here to the same fate.
Her demeanour never changed. She could not allow the others to see that she felt the depression of the situation as keenly as they did. Who did she have to turn to for guidance and comfort? Tamara had been her confidant on many occasions and she welcomed the closeness allowing her to release the stress that built up over time. What if Tamara was dead, she would never forgive herself. Why was her friend such a hot head sometimes?
Selina are you okay? Sasha asked peering at the pale features of the First Counsellor.
Of course, of course Im fine Sasha. Please Radna, did Andrea say anything else? Dismissing the ecologists overtures of concern, she had no time for that right now, her own feelings would have to wait.
Radna Solvensky grinned, she had that country girl look that endeared you to her and at thirty her experience in farming techniques was astonishing. She could grow just about anything you asked of her and a force to be reckoned with along with her partner, Andrea Callan, who was a veterinarian. Together they made quite the team and now between them they had taken up the task of external watchers, transmitting information on the movement of the creatures and anything else in the area.
She said the pilot was on the move according to her scanner. As soon as the pilot comes within a mile of the township, we will know more.
Thank you Radna, I appreciate the risks you and Andrea are taking on behalf of the colony. If you need anything at all please advise me.
First Counsellor, this is our home now and we would like to keep it. We all lost friends recently we want to help.
Smiling slowly Selina placed a warm hand on the stocky womans shoulder and squeezed it gently in genuine appreciation.
Scanning the room, she attached her gaze to two figures watching earnestly out of the left-hand side window, Tor Anders and Mary Campbell side by side. Walking over to their direction she was stopped as Sasha laid a hand on her arm delaying her movement.
Eyeing the young womans hand on her arm she glanced up into worried brown eyes. Yes Sasha?
Clearing her throat the ecologist remarked. Selina you need to rest, youve not slept in days and theres nothing you can do at the moment.
Sleep? Sleep! How could she sleep at a time like this? It was the most critical of events that had befallen them so far, was the woman mad?
Sasha, thank you for your concern but sleep is the furthest thing from my mind right now. I doubt I will sleep again until we resolve the problem once and for all.
Shaking the hand that restrained her lightly from her arm she left the woman gulping back tears. Nothing or anything she said or did had any impact on Selina. What do I do to make Selina notice me? Damn that doctor she was so so irritating.
Closing her eyes briefly she saw Radna leaving the building, maybe there was something she could do that might make Selina proud of her.
Penny for your thoughts.
Mary Campbell was the first to turn for a moment only, acknowledging the Counsellor before her eyes went immediately back to their old position.
Selina, there isnt enough money in the kitty to buy my thoughts. Tor answered unable to divert his attention away from his searching gaze at the two exits he could see from this position.
Do you think she made it Tor?
The Doc made it!
You sound so positive.
Got to be positive Selina. Anyway, that slip of a Doc wouldnt dare come back and see me unless she had. Dont forget we have a conversation about using force on my poor head when she comes back.
Mary, why did she go?
This time Mary gave her complete attention to the woman. Glancing around and seeing there wasnt anyone to hear the conversation she chose to answer.
Tammy has the virus that caused the death of the twins, shes virtually at that late stage herself. Effectively without a cure Tammy will die like the twins. She chose to try and help as she felt, at this time, it might be the last good thing she could do for the colony.
The words were spoken clearly and with little emotion. Mary had already cried her initial tears for Tammy, now she had to pray none of it came true and she would think positively like the man standing next to her.
I knew she wasnt feeling well. She never said anything about the same virus that claimed the twins! Selina closed her eyes at the news. When she thought that things couldnt get any worse they did.
I thought you knew, shes in the final stages before the coma. I told her it was foolhardy to take this risk but she said that under the circumstances she was the right person. She was dying anyway unless they found a miracle cure.
How do we know she hasnt collapsed inside? Tor can you make up another suit, someone will have to go check.
Selinas fear was more for Tamara than the mission.
Selina, we havent the resources you know that and the Doc wouldnt have gone if she didnt think she could at least stay upright to complete the assignment. You know how tenacious she can be, let's see if she succeeded first, shall we. Anyway, the pilot is due shortly, we will know soon enough.
Unable to take any more bad news, Selina sat down heavily on the bench seat behind the other two, staring at the blank walls. All there was for now was to pray and frankly she hadnt done that in years, guess you never forget how to do that.
Paula heard a sound at two hundred yards to her right. From an elevated position too according to the small scanner located on her left arm. Company, now I wonder who that could be.
Repositioning the pulse rifle for easy use should she require it, she continued on and came within twenty yards of the original sound and with lightening speed aimed the rifle for precision shooting at what she saw crouched in the shadows.
Wanna come out of your hole and tell me why you are spying on me?
Ill give you ten seconds and then Ill open up your sorry ass to the elements!
This time she was pleased to see that her threat had been taken seriously, out popped a head covered in ginger hair, the features covered in freckles. Was this kid sent out to do an adult job?
Come here kid.
Paula relaxed but only fractionally, her training had instilled even the innocent could do major damage if they were so inclined.
Scrambling from the hillock vantage point the person came to stand before the pilot who towered over them threateningly. Well, she did look kinda menacing with her special suit and the weapons; her stance wouldnt help casually aiming the pulse rifle at the belly of the person.
Lifting up her visor Paula scrutinised the figure and was amazed to see that instead of a kid she thought had been watching her was in fact a young woman. Age was hard to figure, early twenties perhaps and because she was so small barely reaching her shoulder, she looked like a kid.
The young woman had seen video of battle commandos on the information data streams they had been given but she had never expected to see one in the flesh. The woman was tall with incredible eyes, which bored into her body without mercy. Her voice was rich and authoritative, the only word she could think of was EXCITING!
Im Im Andy, Andrea Callan from the colony. Did you get our message?
Paula had to stop herself from laughing as the woman spluttered over her name but managed to virtually shout out about the message.
A small smile tugged at her lips as she replied. Yes. Lets not waste any more time. I need to find your Engineering building.
Andy grinned and pressed her communication button on her small radio.
Rad, Rad can you hear me? Ive found . The instrument was roughly taken from her and Paula glared at her.
What the hell are you doing? Paula spoke roughly. This was a dangerous time, communication had to be only under special circumstances.
Thats my partner, shell relay the message to the First Counsellor.
Looking at the small instrument Paula wondered if some people had any sense at all, the threat to the colony might tap into their communications and know everything about them.
Forget it, come on lead the way. Pushing the young woman roughly forward they had wasted enough time.
As they walked along Andy asked her name.
Paula guessed she had manhandled the kid a little too much, wouldnt hurt to give out her name, Major Clayton.
Andy glanced up at her and gave a wide attractive smile, thanks.
How far now? By her estimate they should see the town in the next hundred yards.
Over the next ridge.
This threat, I havent seen it yet?
Andys expression changed as it clouded slightly. They dont announce themselves, they appear and kill us.
I see and this Doctor Shaw how able is she?
Tammy is one hundred percent able and she obviously succeeded in the mission, youre here.
Kid, I wouldnt be here if she had sent the message half an hour earlier. Id be on my way back to Earth and the big guns would have come out to help you.
Paula knew that the big guns, as she called them, would be too late, if the threat were half as bad as the data indicated.
But you are here and youre gonna help right?
Refusing to answer the question as they reached the ridge seeing the township. At first glance it was a fairly normal set-up nothing special, except for the wonderful scenic views. Didnt get them on every planet, some were rather barren to the aesthetic eye.
As they descended the ridge, she saw flickering images coming from the central building and several others in close proximity. What the hell was that?
Andy looked in the direction of the black-gloved pointed finger. If only they knew it might give them an edge.
The aliens that have been killing us. We dont know what it is exactly. Sasha says it could be the old inhabitants of the planet.
Shes our senior ecologist.
All the information forwarded to Earth executive indicated that the previous inhabitants had been extinct. Who provided that data?
The two women were getting closer and closer to the buildings as they talked. You would have to ask First Counsellor Ralph she is in charge. Im only a vet.
Paula was surprised and it showed in the raised eyebrows as she caught the younger womans stare.
A vet, well, well I would never have guessed. Mata Hari in disguise more like it kid.
Andy grinned, Clayton was thawing she knew it. The woman had actually made a rather dry attempt at a joke at her expense but she didnt mind. Ribbing was a way of life with her because she didnt look her age.
You think so? She was beautiful from all the stills I saw in the history archives, brave too!
Yep she was a brave woman, now young Hari take me to your leader.
Andy knew the small talk was at an end as she indicated the building and they quickly entered, amidst gasps and shock from the colonists in the room.
Paula looked around her at the rather depleted and definitely ragged looking compliment. Did I really agreed to this assignment, wait until I see Ray in two years time.
I take it you are Major Clayton from Earth here to replace our deceased pilot?
Paula looked keenly at the woman who was about three inches shorter than she was, her manner was one of quiet authority that brought with it immediate respect.
At your service First Counsellor Ralph.
Smiling inwardly as she saw the surprised expression flitter across the Counsellors face for a moment.
Thank you for not abandoning us to our fate.
The words seemed to echo in the room. It was a solemn statement but with it hung the hopes of all in the room waiting for confirmation.
My first question refers to the Doctor who sent the message. Is Shaw worth going on a rescue mission?
Sasha had followed Radna Solvensky outside the building and tried to make the woman take her on one of the information-seeking missions she undertook with her partner Andy.
Sasha this isnt the type of work for you. Counsellor Ralph needs you with her, after all you are a counsellor now.
Radna had been disturbed that this woman had followed her; few people actually liked the ecologist on a personal basis. Work wise she was considered an expert and had proved it, except in the assessment of other inhabitants of the planet. However, who could have known that they were so different from human form and so very deadly.
The First Counsellor approves my plan to help you.
Rad looked up startled, no way absolutely not! Ralph would have told her personally, she was sure of it. Nonetheless calling a counsel member a liar wasnt exactly a good call either.
Well, I guess if the First Counsellor approves.
Okay, Andy is due to send a message anytime, Ill go standby the equipment, how about you check in with Tia Lopez and see if shes got back yet from the relocation of the colonists. Then you can advise the other counsel members.
Excellent idea. Sasha quickly retreated to the confines of the building that led to the small makeshift shuttle bay.
She would do something useful and make Selina aware of her, she had to and Shaw wasnt going to take all the credit, no way!
Tamara had a surge of adrenaline that pushed her beyond any limits she had ever known. Something was making her see this through to the end and that something wanted her alive. It was primeval urges that prevented her from giving up!
There was still something she needed to do yet with her life she knew it, her gut told her, her heart agreed.
What havent I done yet?
Although her body was reacting to the adrenaline feed, her mind was becoming ever more cloudy and delusional.
The wall of light the creatures provided for her could be her stairway to heaven it was possible wasnt it. As she walked through them it sent a surge of energy into her body, reviving for a time her flagging levels. Her body, which had been overheating inside the suit, cooled immediately what a relief that was.
The exit door was in sight, she could see it as she walked through the mass of energy. By some miracle she reached for the door handle and it opened. Are they letting me go?
Tors suit was working better than she suspected he thought it ever could have. Now that they knew the weakness of the creatures, they could plan how to combat them. Surely battle strategy was as simple as that, well to her it was and complex planning wasnt always the most beneficial she had found in the past.
Closing her eyes briefly in respite at passing through the creatures without harm, she was shocked at the blinding light as she opened her eyes into the corridor. For what greeted her was a wall of light, the saturation of which tripled at least from what she had experienced in the other room.
Fumbling with the control that would turn up the heat on the suit, she had no choice really if she was going to make at least an attempt at escape, she had to turn it to the highest intensity. As she did so she could feel the immediate impact inside the suit, knowing that she couldnt keep the volume at this level indefinitely or she was going to roast quite literally, inside.
Another thing she noticed was her visor on the suit was clouding up and she was having difficulty seeing where she was going. Surely it wasnt that cold in the building to produce this much condensation?
Whipping away the moisture as she stepped forward, Tamara thought of her father and what he would think of her. A tender smile crossed her face, as she knew exactly what that would be. Her dad would think she was her mom all over again and he would be proud, just as he had of her, a chip off the old block hed no doubt say.
Lets try to get out of this alive, Shaw!
Well, Paula didnt have to wait long before she felt the true disposition of the colonists, as she was almost ejected from the building and dumped on her ass outside to await her fate.
All shed asked was the doctor worth a rescue attempt.
The barrage of language not to mention some pretty fearsome expressions, especially from the giant of a man, whom had welcomed her initially with a wide grin, gave her the answer she needed. Not that she had been in any doubt really anyone who attempted to help others in extremely dangerous conditions always had her vote.
Holding up her hand, halting the barrage of abuse she was receiving from the mob in the room. Calmly, with little change in her features, nodded her head in acceptance of the reply to her question.
First Counsellor I need all the available data you have on these creatures. Do you have any video streams, which show what happened to any of the colonists whove fallen victim to these aliens?
Selina Ralph was still reeling inwardly at the pilots original question, how could anyone ask such a thing? How could she even have such a thought running through her head, had she no compassion?
First Counsellor? Paula was watching the leader of this pack of colonists with interest. Having read as much as possible on the senior personnel, she had a good idea how this woman ticked. Evidently the profile was reasonably accurate she put the welfare of others before her own. Had a strong following with a cross section of people and was a diplomat in the finest use of the word. Her weakness if you could call it that, was her inability to see potential dark spots on the horizon; she went by facts and facts alone. Obviously taking this situation as a case in fact, having advised Earth everything was working well.
Im sorry Major Clayton my mind was elsewhere, you will have to excuse me. What was your question?
Paula saw the slight shift of the body indicating she was embarrassed at her lapse in concentration. Repeating her question waiting for the reply, minutes could be the difference between life and death for the doctor inside the other building.
Yes of course Major we have data available, it isnt very pretty then again I suppose you will have seen more gruesome events.
Well see I guess. I also need to download the schematics of the building into my portable data recorder. Lets get to it, we have a doctor to save. Her voice was authoritative and positive as she saw the effect her words had on the people who had crowded around her. Internally she wasnt that confident of the fate of the doctor, however miracles happen, not normally on her shift though.
Tor will you please help the Major. Looking around the room she saw familiar faces waiting expectantly for her to say more, what more was there to say?
We are in your capable hands Major, please bring back Doctor Shaw and yourself safely. We will all pray for you. As she spoke people returned back to their original positions, some watching from the windows and others sitting at the tables quietly talking with relatives and friends.
Paula watched the people disperse heaving a sigh of relief, now to get the job done.
Tor I take it?
Tor Anders gave the pilot a long hard stare he wasnt as forgiving as Selina was, smarting over her comment about the Doc. Not only that she had upset Mary and he wasnt having that at all. Yes.
Turning to give the man an equally hard stare back she figured he was still upset at her crack about the doctor, maybe they were an item? Her dossier on the Doctor had made interesting reading from a career point of view; little or nothing was mentioned about a private life except brief details of her family. Perhaps the woman had finally found one with this man. Exactly what do you do here Tor ?
Anders, Tor Anders senior infrastructure engineer. Im also a member of the interim emergency council.
Tor thought hed add that, maybe the arrogant bitch might respond to that authority level.
Excellent, the main man, so to speak, in this situation. Give me everything youve got and even stuff you think might be irrelevant, who knows what is and isnt in this type of situation.
Catching the blue eyes of the pilot he cautiously conceded that she was at least covering as many bases as she could in a short time span. If this was their only hope he would give her every scrap of information they had and some ideas he and the Doc had been formulating on their gut feelings.
Youd better come this way. He pointed to an area filled with machines and where a couple of technicians worked on equipment.
Paula walked along side the man smiling briefly as Andrea Callan stood in her path blocking her way.
Can I be your watcher? the tiny woman grinned at her as Paulas face contorted wryly, what was it with this kid.
I dont sure but keep out of trouble, I dont wanna have to come rescue your butt.
Not a chance! Andrea Callan shot off with a wide grin to slap another woman on the back that had just entered the room and was engulfed in a warm affectionate hug for her efforts.
Tor had listened intently to the conversation. Maybe this pilot wasnt as arrogant as he had first presumed; then again Andy was a charmer. Having broken many hearts when she had succumbed to the hidden charm of her partner Rad.
Nice of you to indulge Andy, because she doesnt look her age many dont take her seriously unless its about animals.
She has a brave heart and for the record I dont indulge people.
Tor felt the dismissal as they walked towards the consoles that would give the pilot all the information they needed.
Are you ready Major?
Yes. Glancing around the area she placed her combat helmet on and readied the visor to cover her face. Once it was on she had a geographical grid impose itself to allow her to track not only her steps but also any other thermal changes in the area. As they hadnt captured a creature and information was limited except of course that heat caused them difficulties. However was that a temporary difficulty or long term, only time would answer that question?
Good luck Major Clayton and please bring the Doc out of there in one piece.
Tor traded eye contact as he spoke; Paula acknowledged his interest in the other party.
Thats my aim Anders.
As she turned to the exit Doctor Shaw had used to go to the Engineering building, Selina Ralph arrived to wish her luck.
All in a days work First Counsellor, I will see you shortly. Her voice held a confidence that filled the room with hope. Taking a deep breath, she slipped down the visor and left them.
Andrea Callan rushed forward attempting to follow her out but was restrained by Tors forceful grip on the collar of her jacket.
Whoa there young Andy, where do you think youre going?
Tor let me go, Im her watcher remember?" She said.
Selina watched the two of them with interest. Tor was the type of person who would ensure that no one came to harm if he possibly could and Andrea was far too impulsive, coupled with a ferocious brave streak. She was fortunate indeed to have colonists like this who put others first before their own welfare, as Tamara Shaw had also done. Thinking about the doctor she saw her smiling face that always settled her when problems arose.
Why hadnt Tamara told her she was so sick? They were friends! She shouldnt have had to learn that from another. How so very like the woman not to consider herself before everyone else and knew without Tor saying, Tamara had been the one who had broken all the rules and sanctioned the second Console.
First Counsellor Im sure you will agree with me on that?
Starring at Tor, Selina had once again been so lost in other thoughts that she hadnt caught the conversation, Im sorry Tor?
I told Andy she couldnt go not yet. If the Major needs help she will communicate it to us.
Considering the statement Selina nodded, I agree Tor, however, Andrea why dont you be our communication contact with the Major, that will be equally as important and you will know first hand if she requires her watcher.
Tor had to hand it to Selina, she knew how to make some unpalatable situations feel like they were indulging in the lap of luxury as he saw the wide grin on Andys face, quickly leaving to take over the communication console from one of the technicians.
To quote from our new pilot, all in a days work. Incidentally Tor, she didnt have on a heat suit or is that combat gear she was wearing heated as well?
Pulling on his neat short whiskers that wouldnt be neat for much longer if he couldnt trim it soon.
Between you and I Selina a woman like that doesnt need a heat suit. Her confidence level alone is enough to fill the whole room with hot air, she has resources of her own.
A soft chuckle came from the counsellor who had to mask her amusement at his jibe. The pilot was rather full of herself but that wasnt such a bad thing under the circumstances.
I think thats a little harsh Tor, after all she has just arrived here and rather than a welcome, we are sending her into the lions den. I think her confidence is the difference between us seeing Tamara alive again or not. If she succeeds then Ill gladly put up with her inflated ego if thats what you think she has.
Tor looked out of the side panel window and watched as the pilot with confident strides made it to the side door and entered the building, her pulse rifle at the ready should she need it.
Yeah, Doc Shaw should have returned by now shouldnt she, if she could on her own steam? I wish there was something more I could do! The man sounded defeated as he starred at the side door and wondered what was going on inside the building and hoped that the Doc was still alive, she certainly deserved to be.
Why dont you go and keep Mary company, I think she would welcome a friend at the moment.
With a grateful smile the large man left Selina to do just that.
Glancing around the room the Counsellor wondered where Sasha had gone, it wasnt like her not to be in the thick of things. At times the ecologist got on her nerves but she was turning out to be a very good counsel member, if a little on the arrogant side. Over time that would change, it always did. Anyway, Sasha would be back, she always came back.
Counsellor Meredith is something wrong? Tia Lopez ambled out of her small craft astonished that the ecologist was in the small hanger.
No, nothing more than was wrong when you left. Although the new senior pilot to replace Laura has arrived, which should please you, it will relieve you of some of the pressure.
Really, the pilot landed? How come? They wouldnt have received a message or did the gung-ho Doc get through and warn them?
The young woman was noted for her sour attacks on other colonists and had few friends, probably none at all, just the right person to help her achieve getting herself noticed by Selina.
Not at first, however Doctor Shaw did manage to send the message. Its just a matter of time before Earth comes to rescue us.
Tia gave the woman in the hanger a long stare, was she mad! The best possible rescue from Earth would be six months or more, no one else was in this part of space, that was why it had been so easy to convince Earth to let a predominately female colony check it out first. No one else wanted to be that far away from help.
Yeah in six months or more, well all be dead by then!
Sasha glared at the woman there was no need to be that pessimistic, even if she might be right.
We shall see on that Tia, now I want to talk to you about a project I have in mind.
Me? Why me? Ive just got back from taking another load of colonists to the new area, cant it wait Im tired?
Hearing the petulant tone she looked up and screwed up her eyes as she shook her head slightly, here was one person who was never going to earn the title heroine anytime soon.
Yes you! Sheryl is about to take the next batch of colonists and wont be back for at least three hours I want this project to be completed successfully within that time.
Is it a Counsel project?
Sasha delayed her reply for a fraction answering confidently. Of course it is, First Counsellor Ralph is in full approval. You can check of course but that would make you look foolish. Im a counsel member also and you will be implying that Im not to be trusted.
Wiping the sweat from around her neck Tia shuffled around in the dirt of the hanger floor and considered that. The sooner the woman was off her back, the sooner she could get some sleep and then meet the new pilot in charge, wonder who it is.
Whats the new pilot called?
Sasha thought about it for a second or two, Bayton no it wasnt Bayton something like that. Clayton thats right Major Clayton.
Tias eyes popped out of her head as she heard the name.
By your expression, I take it you know this pilot?
Know her? No, I dont know her and I wish to god I didnt have to know her either!
This was interesting always useful to get the works on new people you never knew when you might need the information.
Clayton is an ace pilot. Shes done everything there is to do out in space. A real demonic worker too, never lets up on herself and those that work with her. Most people who have to work with her and I say have to, because no one chooses Clayton unless theyre a masochist.
Well that was interesting, good for the colony in most ways but even better for her, she could use Tias fear of the new pilot to her advantage should she need it.
Tia if you help me with this project and we are successful. Ill see to it that Major Clayton never gets her teeth into you, how would that be?
Dark as night eyes looked at her out of olive skin, an expression of gratitude crossing it with scepticism. How can you do that?
Ah my dear Tia, you forget Im a member of the Counsel and when we succeed at this little task, trust me, everyone whose left will think that the Doctors attempt to help was merely a blip on the radar. Come with me I have something to show you.
Unable to comprehend what was really going on she had little option but to follow, after all anything but working with The Demon Clayton had to be better.
Right with you.
Paula shifted her helmet from side to side as she entered the building scanning the area. She wasnt going to become too confident with the only aspect they knew about the aliens, just yet anyway, until she saw that for herself, first rule of staying alive in a difficult situation.
As she sharpened the field on her grid to take in minute elements and traces of movement, if anything was going to come after her she would be as ready as human technology allowed. Thank god Ray had the foresight to have the craft updated for the trip, if she had left without the new updates she would be frying in a suit the engineer had explained the doctor now wore. He meant well of course and it probably had kept the woman alive to make the communication. However, turning a suit like that on to full power would bake the woman inside in a short time. Chances were it would already be too late for her, she had to try and as shed conveyed to the First Counsellor, it really was all in a days work for her.
Walking down the corridor indicated by the references from her personal wrist computer, bringing her a few yards from her goal. As she grew closer she felt a presence around her that hadnt been there when she had first entered the building. It felt like a humming in her body, as if someone was trying to tune into her own wavelength. Odd!
Moving forwards faster as she felt the presence, rather than saw anything with her equipment. The doctor obviously hadnt made it out of the communications room or she would have come across her by now.
Base, Im about to turn into the corridor immediately before the comms room, no sign of the doctor at this time.
Be careful Major. Andy spoke clearly as she saw the message come up on her screen; her computer would convert the verbal message to text. Major Clayton had decreed that she would type messages rather than speak, less noise to distract or attract the creatures.
Entering the corridor.
Andrea had monitored the Majors steps on the simultaneous grid that was projected to their equipment from the pilots visor.
Paula stepped around the corner and was blasted with a wave of feeling that sent her senses reeling and her blood raced around her body erratically. What the hell!
Flipping the visor up Paula looked around, her eyes widened in astonishment. Confronted with a body of light that filled the whole corridor, normally she would have said like a solid mass but this wasnt solid you could see images through them. The one in the centre, literally held in a stasis like pose, could only be the doctor.
Jesus this is different!
I think Ive found the doctor the creatures have her, expect spasmodic messages from now on.
Andy shouted for the First Counsellor who was talking quietly with a few of the nervous colonists that were due to leave on the next shuttle.
Major Clayton has found Doctor Shaw.
Tor and Mary rushed over, as did the rest of the colonists who all huddled as best they could near the equipment listening intently to what Andy was saying.
What is her position Andrea? Is Tamara alive?
Selinas face etched with concern for her friend.
The Major indicated that the creatures had her, she said to expect limited communication at the moment.
Closing her eyes at the comment, Selina slowly pushed away her hair that rested untidily across her forehead.
I understand, please tell the Major to be careful and if the situation is untenable to leave. We have lost too many people to this threat already.
I think she knows that Counsellor, I did add be careful though.
Andy realised that perhaps she shouldnt have said that, it was after all a statement from the person in charge of the colony.
Im sorry Counsellor, Ill relay the message. As she was about to do so a hand pressed her shoulder.
You are right of course Andrea, the Major will know when to call an end to the mission.
Turning away to pull up a chair beside the young woman she felt her whole body sag, the weariness of the past few weeks finally taking its revenge. How could she keep up this façade that everything was going to be all right, when clearly, it did nothing but get worse.
Surprisingly, Mary Campbell stood beside her whispering, Tammy will survive, she still has so much to live for and do yet.
Gratefully looking up at the woman who knew the doctor better than anyone on the colony.
I know she does, so did the other unlucky colonists who are dead.
Tor watched the disintegration of the First Counsellor as did many of the others and he wondered how she was going to keep it together for the rest of them if something happened to the pilot. It now looked as if the Doc had sacrificed her life for them and he, for one, wasnt going to let that sacrifice be for nothing.
Where is Sasha? Selina could do with a friend at this moment.
There were times in life that you simply didnt have answers for. At this moment, that was what Paula Madison Clayton thought as she saw the heat suit presumably holding the body of Doctor Shaw inside floating with ease inside who knew what it was exactly.
Interesting thing was the mass of light wasnt moving at least not to take her presence in, did they even know she was there?
Standing rigidly to her spot she looked all around her not that there was much to see except wall to ceiling glowing light. Scrutinising the organism around her, at first glance it looked like a mass of light. However, as she peered closer there were corporeal figures floating inside, not many or was it that she couldnt differentiate the spectrum they existed upon. Whatever she could see were centred closely to the Doctors suit. At this stage, she had to give the doctor the benefit of the doubt that she had somehow managed to leave it behind and she really wasnt in the thick of things.
Clayton, dont be a bloody optimist!
She was here for a rescue attempt and so be it, she would give it her best shot. Stepping forward one pace, she was amazed that the mass moved back a pace with her!
What was this? Were they allowing her a false sense of security?
Paula watched the figures around the heat suit as they moved to cover it and blended together into one entity. This wasnt going to be one of the easiest tasks in the Universe. It made her feel like Flash Gordon out of the old videos she and her sister had watched with their dad.
Her mom had never watched such nonsense. She said because out there life was enough of a challenge, without trying to lose yourself in make believe. The memory of her mother gave that extra boost to her resolve to at least try to save what was left of the Doctor.
Another step forward and the mass moved back once again. As she moved so did it. What she didnt realise immediately, as it moved backwards it consolidated and the mass concentrated into a smaller area. At this rate she was going to have the mass backed up against a wall, metaphorically speaking, except she couldnt use her weapons, what if by some miracle the doctor was alive.
The door to the communication room was now to her left. She could easily open the door and enter knowing the creatures wouldnt stop her, leaving the exit options difficult.
Her concentration, however, was clearly with the figure held off the ground and now being smothered so much by the aliens; it was becoming hard to distinguish.
What puzzled Paula the most was the lack of aggression. These creatures had killed half the colony and the threat to the rest was evident. Yet, so far there wasnt any attempt to stop or attack her. Quite the contrary, what she felt the most was stillness or maybe it was the calm before the storm.
Communication, one of her early trainers had once told them at the academy, was the only true medium where disputes and misunderstandings could be rectified. How?
Looking down at her wrist computer, she saw moisture covering the small screen and wiped it away looking like condensation to her. Tapping in her latest update to the colonists waiting for her news, she then glanced around her with a more experienced eye and saw water dripping from the walls and a layer of moisture residing on the floor under her boots. Checking the humidity and temperature of the corridor, she found it to be within normal parameters for a building that wasnt currently inhabited.
She didnt know enough about the planet to judge if this was normal or not. Going by the mistakes of the current leadership in this colony, she doubted that they understood it half as much as they implied to Earth in earlier dispatches.
Standing her ground she sucked in a deep breath as she pondered her next action.
There really wasnt anything else to do but go inside the mass if it allowed, was that a crazy idea? Yes it was and totally against her rulebook. Then again she hadnt followed the rulebook to get to this point had she? Nope she was going on gut feelings and something inside her gut told her that it was the right thing to do.
Turning her blue gaze to the translucent mass that swirled around her and the prone figure of the Doctor, she held up her hand.
Im Major Paula Madison Clayton of Earth Gamma Command, you have one of our people we want her back!
As she spoke, the colonists simultaneously heard the words.
No reply or movement from the mass.
Doctor Shaw is a member of the colony from Earth, who reside on this planet, I want her back!
This time she made it personal and as she did so that feeling of invasion into her body once again made its presence felt, as she experienced the adrenaline rush. What the hell is that?
If you dont give her back to me Ill take her by force if necessary.
Oh way to go Clayton, let the creatures know you arent really interested in a polite tête-à-tête.
She placed a hand on her side firearm, which she had converted to flame emission rather than laser. It might well be effective if they hated heat and this close she could certainly give them a blast treble to match the heat charge from the doctors suit.
The single moment she pulled the firearm from its holster, the mass parted and the bodysuit that had been held at least a foot above ground was now floating gently to rest on the floor of the corridor. The mass was allowing a gap of free space between Paula and the suit.
Can this be a trick?
Aliens are allowing access to the Doctor.
Paula moved slowly forward, it would be so easy for the creatures to shroud her in their entity and no way was she going to go down without a fight.
There wasnt any movement from the suit as she knelt down to wipe away what appeared to be a layer of ice from the visor. It wasnt that cold in this area how had this happened?
Are you in there, Doctor Shaw?
Paula wiped away the ice and the accumulating moisture that replaced her efforts to allow a clear view. She rocked back on her heels as she saw the womans face; it was red and blotchy like a bad case of acne.
Unclipping the restraints that held the helmet in place Paula released the Doctors head from its prison, as she did so water cascaded out of the top. Hell they drowned her!
Was she breathing? Paula checked the womans pulse and didnt find one; okay CPR was the next best thing or mouth to mouth, as the suit wouldnt allow her to efficiently give CPR.
Putting back the head, which fell limply in her hands, Paula drew in a deep breath and began her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
After several attempts Paula considered it a lost cause, the woman was dead, she hadnt responded at all. Glancing down into the face of the woman, she thought she saw a flicker of the eyelid, must be her imagination. Then it happened again and Paula checked the pulse, it was a thread possibly, one more try at the mouth to mouth.
This time she was unprepared for what happened next. Going from a purely medical critical situation, she was shocked when the arms in the suit pulled her closer and the mouth to mouth changed to a passionate kiss.
It was no ordinary kiss it connected to her soul and sent her senses reeling, her blood pounding and the erratic feeling she had been experiencing when she had entered the building was now transmitting a thousand fold. She was drowning too, but in a very different way.
There was nothing she could do she was helpless in this embrace and the emotions it produced within her.
An eternity of loving!
Whats happening Andrea?
Selina had heard the pilot speak and challenge the creatures for the Doctor. What bewildered her most was that the Major hadnt come across any problem and was in a position to speak to them. How had that happened when so many had died, what was so special about the Major?
I dont know, she mumbled something about the creatures drowning the Doctor. She was giving mouth to mouth now its all quiet except for a build up of static.
Andrea pressed the communication button at the command. She had said it was static to everyone listening but if she were asked to guess what was going on, she would have said they were kissing. Couldnt be of course this wasnt a game, this was a life and death situation.
Major are you okay? Major please, answer me.
There wasnt anything except the static. Was this the end of the line for the pilot too and all their hopes of staying alive.
Major Clayton, please advise your position.
Im not getting any response First Counsellor.
Selina looked at the pensive faces around the room, they were looking to her for the answers and she had nothing left to rally them.
The next allocation of colonists please report to the hanger now. Tor brief the pilot they cant rest they must go back immediately. There is no telling how long we have before the creatures come for whats left of us.
Tor heard the instruction she was right of course but they had no indication the Major was dead, life signs were still strong from the equipment tied into her.
Okay, that will leave about ten of us, only two more shuttle loads. Ill get onto it.
He looked directly at Mary, she was crying, silently he felt her grief for her friend but who said she was dead yet, who said any of them were. Until the fat lady sings there was always room for hope.
Want to help me Mary?
I I really should go back to the hospital.
All the patients have gone on the last shuttle with Sheryl, theres no one left in the building. How about it, keep me company, Id appreciate it.
Mary looked up at the man and saw the gentle compassion, she really should stay but he might need help. Okay.
They left the building with the colonists set for the next transport. Tia Lopez was going to be in a sour frame of mind but that wasnt anything new.
Paula finally came up for breath and looked into the features of the woman who had literally knocked her off her feet with that kiss.
What is happening to her, to me?
Hey are you okay Doctor?
Green eyes flicked open at the words and Paula was drowning once again, this time, eyes reflected a need she hadnt ever seen before in her life. Imploring her to understand and take the opportunity, an opportunity to do what?
You came at last.
The words were spoken so softly Paula wasnt sure if she heard them and gave the Doctor a brief smile as she nodded her head.
Yeah you asked me to remember.
You never forgot me, you remembered.
I remembered Doctor it wasnt that long ago. Winking at her as she gently eased the woman up, this was still a dangerous situation and for some reason the creatures were allowing them to bond?
No, no it wasnt. That was our promise and you are here now.
Paula looked at the woman with a strange expression obviously rambling. Not surprising with all that had happened to her, the miracle was why was she still alive.
Do you think you can walk Doctor Shaw or do you want me to carry you?
Paula stood up and pulled the smaller woman up with her, Tamara felt as if she was climbing up a mountain, her head barely touched the womans shoulders.
Tamara couldnt help herself she giggled and the giggles wouldnt stop as Paula eyed her curiously. Yep, she was going to be a basket case for sure.
Lets go while the creatures let us Doctor Shaw, who knows when they will turn nasty again.
No. I understand the problem now. We can do something about this without anyone else getting killed.
Eyebrows raised to the roof as Paula gave the Doctor a shrewd glance, a definite candidate for the funny farm, did they have one on the colony?
Lets go do that shall we. Paula placed her arm around the woman who allowed her to do so, although she walked amazingly well considering.
Wondering why there hadnt been any message from the command control she looked down at the transmitter in her suit, it was damaged, crushed in that rather interesting embrace.
Oh well, she would have a wonderful surprise for them when they left the building. Who knows, maybe the Doctor was right and she really could communicate with the aliens. Miracles did happen and now maybe they happened to her too!
Youre never going to leave me alone again, are you?
Paula quizzically turned to the woman at her side, what an odd question.
As the single word passed her lips, Paula knew in that instant that it was the truth for now at least.
Continued in Section Three
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