~ The Promise ~
JM Dragon
Part Three
Section Four
© March 2002
Email: jmdragon1@hotmail.com

Disclaimers: See Section One


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?

The Promise
Through space,
Through time,
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.

Amazon Seven
Master’s Lawn

Tia couldn’t believe it she was actually going to be having a drink…no more than one drink with Clayton of all people. Even her best friend if she had one wouldn’t believe it, because she certainly didn’t, what a turn up for the books!

Manoeuvring the craft towards Master’s lawn which was now in sight she had to admit it was better than the normal landing strip and should be easy to land this crate without a hitch even with a bomb packed in the belly.

Humming a tune she felt her body relax for the first time in several hours, maybe since she had arrived on this planet. Who knew maybe she and the Major could become best buddies, stranger things had happened in space.

Switching her personal music disc on she failed to hear the faint sounds from the bomb as the timing mechanism kicked in, thirty minutes and counting.

“I can’t believe you would show your face here Sasha!”

Tamara had given the woman the benefit of the doubt for months now but today, today she had shown her true colours and that was her ability to wipe out a civilisation that was really only protecting itself from…predators as they saw it.

“Show my face, why ever not Doctor Shaw? May I congratulate you on still being alive, that is rather a surprise? What did you do bore them to death with your particular brand of pious outpourings?”

Having alighted from her vehicle Sasha watched the expression on the doctor’s face as the words washed over her. As she did so she noticed that the woman had red blotchy skin markings all over her face, which didn’t do much for her beauty not that she was anyway, plain more like it and now rather ugly.

“I think that’s quite enough from you Meredith what on earth were you doing asking Tia Lopez to drop a bomb on the aliens when you hadn’t even consulted with the Counsel? Selina isn’t going to take your action lightly she was in charge last time I checked. Or have you decided it’s time for a change and you’re the only candidate?”

Exasperation was the order of the day for Tamara, it had been a particularly long one and facing this un-remorseful woman didn’t make it any better. Coupled with the fact she was worried about the Major, although she didn’t really know why, the Major had proven that she could certainly take care of herself in most situations.

Sasha smiled at the Doctor, sparring with her was of no consequence she had to discredit her in the eyes of Selina, some of the Doctor’s comments might be true. Selina might be angry for a short time but she would understand and they still needed to rid themselves of the alien problem. She would need her help more than the doctor; after all she was the ecologist on the planet not the woman who was scowling at her.

“Want to wait for Selina to clarify the position or shall we work together and get rid of the aliens, now that YOU stopped the bombing?”

Tamara heard the scathing in her remark and curled up her lip in annoyance. “For your information I didn’t stop the bombing our new specialist pilot did! As to getting rid of the aliens there isn’t any need they will leave us alone once the water is diverted back to them.”

Of course Meredith hadn’t known the outcome of her contact with the aliens she had disappeared on her own foolhardy errand.

“Why divert it they don’t need it.”

“How the hell do you know? Did you leave your common sense not to mention your brains back on earth, for sure as hell you haven’t done anything right since you arrived here.”

Turning away Tamara was unprepared for the physical force that was directed to her back as Meredith pushed at her hard and she sailed to the floor more in surprise than hurt.

“What the hell?”

Trying to get up off the ground she was given a flying kick in the face that connected with her left eye causing her to scream out at the pain inflicted. Gradually shaking away the stars she saw that hadn’t anything to do with the night sky above her. Has Meredith flipped?

“You’ll never have her while I’m around.”

Words spoken so quietly that Tamara wasn’t sure she heard them as she held up her arm to protect her face as another vicious kick was sent in her direction, diverting it before it could make any major impact.

No way, absolutely no way was she going to put up with this aggression the woman was clinically mad she had to be.

Seconds later she had to defend herself again and this time she held on to the booted foot, and with all the strength she could muster she pulled Meredith off balance landing the woman in the dirt at her side.

The doctor had heard some strange oaths in her time but this was different. Reminding her of the odd scrap she’d had in kindergarten as she felt her hair being pulled with a brutal force. There was nothing for it she was now embroiled in a rather stupid dirt fight with Meredith.

Biting, kicking, rolling and general screaming carried on for some time as the two women embroiled themselves in an old-fashioned mud fight, well close anyway.

Andy and Rad innocently came out of the building and couldn’t believe their eyes as they saw two grown and supposedly pillars of the new society they were trying to establish on the planet, rolling in the mud in a an old fashioned fist fight.

“Hey what’s got into the Doc?”

Both colonists watched in fascination as the two adversaries struggled in the dark. It wasn’t clear who was winning the brawl but the doctor was certainly holding her own against a much bigger opponent.

“Beats me!” Andy smiled as she realised the play on words.

“That’s Meredith, what’s she doing here?”

“I think it’s obvious Rad she and the Doctor have old scores to settle.”

“Should we stop it do you think?”

“Naw, let’s see what happens first and if anyone else comes into town we break it up, deal?”

“Deal, want to take a bet on whose going to win?”

“Andy really! My money’s on the Doc.”

“Oh that’s not fair I wanted the Doc!”

Paula had driven turbo bikes before but only at the academy track, she hadn’t lived in a place long enough to have one of her own. Although her idea of speed was the super charged Sprinter and did it leave all the other personal vehicles standing in its wake when you fired that baby up. However she wasn’t in possession of one of those but she was taking the bike to its limit and had almost taken a corner too sharply and ended up in the dirt. Thank god the doctor had stayed behind it was okay to nearly kill herself at break-neck speed but someone else no way, she would have had to take a more sedate pace and Lopez didn’t have that kind of allowance of time.

Her visor indicated that the area was around the next bend and as she negotiated the turn she switched off the screen to normal vision and saw the craft hovering over the land they were going to attempt a smooth landing on.

 “Revving up the bike she jumped the small picket fence and travelled the remaining distance to the other side of the lawn.  All the while, glancing quickly around at the condition of the terrain in what little light remained for the perfect landing spot in which to put down not only a craft, but also a craft with a bomb.”

All the time Paula had been communicating with the pilot she had been tuning some of the personal equipment she had brought with her to the frequency, allowing her the luxury of communication in a remote spot as this had turned out to be. Now to find a good place to bring the craft down shouldn’t be too difficult the place was large enough. It made her shake her head as she wondered why anyone would waste so much space on grass!

Sliding off the turbo machine she strode to a small pagoda style building and removed the small device she used for external communication. Quickly punching in the codes necessary to contact the pilot, placing her pulse rifle and other weapons except one side arm down on the ground close to her feet.

“Lopez you still up for this soft landing?”

There was a crackle and a second or two of interference and then she heard Lopez clearly.

Major as ready as I’ll ever be
“That’s all I wanted to know Lopez, take a note of the following. Two degrees West, three North and half a degree East, that will take you to the exact spot of landing and when you’re there hold it and we’ll have you down and in the bar for a drink before you have time to blink.”
Two degrees West, three north and half a degree…half a degree East.
Paula heard the hesitation on the final co-ordinate but she didn’t worry too much taking it as a good sign, the pilot was scared and so she should be with a bomb aboard. This would ensure she did exactly as she was told or she wasn’t Paula Madison Clayton.

Watching the slow manoeuvre to the position she had mentioned this was really a very simple operation, nothing complicated and if it all went to plan an on-looker would wonder what all the fuss was about. On the other hand if it didn’t…boom! Her day was going pretty well so far, she wanted a three out three, and on her watch there was no room for failure…in anything.

Good, good right where you should be Lopez.

Major Clayton I’m holding at the co-ordinates you indicated
Glancing around the area immediately under the craft she tried to make out if there was any rough terrain, shining a powerful flashlight over the expanse it appeared to be clear of anything but grass.

“Okay Lopez, steady as you go bring her down fifty feet at a time when the level shows one hundred feet, you slow to twenty. The final twenty should be a piece of cake.”

A piece of cake you say, I wish
Chuckling at the sentiment, yeah she did too for the pilot concerned. To her it would have been routine and a standard operational procedure, to others however it was a critical time for their nerves if they had any. She was hoping this pilot had a little backbone her record indicated otherwise but in extreme situations people were apt to surprise you, she hoped so in this case, now was not the time to panic.

“Let’s have you down on the ground Lopez, on my mark you descend. Remember I’m here with you and I’m going nowhere until I see you off that baby okay?”

Tia gulped a deep breath she really wasn’t cut out for this kind of assignment looking down she saw her hands shaking as she pressed the instruction into her console.

Okay, instructions submitted and accepted
“I’ll see you on the ground pilot Lopez, count on it!”
I will

Paula observed the descent it was going according to plan, if the pilot did exactly as she was told this would indeed be a piece of cake.

The air was still in the vicinity nothing moved, it was as if a leaf dare not drop should it cause a shift in the telemetry and the craft would not succeed in its mission. Paula’s breathing was held in anticipation… surely nothing could go wrong?

As she thought that she remembered her mother once saying something along the lines of don’t tempt fate when she’d asked that question once as a child. At the time she had dismissed it as hokum but right now it could be a missing text from the bible and should be dealt with reverently.

“You’re almost home Lopez, let the computer handle the final twenty feet, don’t panic and take control.” Paula spoke to herself into the dark empty field, her comm. mute.

That was the only way this could go wrong, normally experienced pilots landed their craft’s manually it was a control thing in their heads. Right now she hoped that Lopez didn’t decide to go all butch on her.

As the craft slowed to the final few feet Paula this time held her breath and waited for the impact. In two seconds it was over and the pilot was on the ground.

Letting out her breath she grinned and punched her comm. “Permission to come aboard pilot?”

It was a few seconds before she received an answer and Paula was at the entry point.

Permission granted Major
The doors slid open and Paula heaved herself the four foot in the air to climb aboard, she didn’t wait for the steps to fold down automatically.

Tia couldn’t help herself she was shaking, all over this time, not just her hands. Her nerves were shot; her body felt like she had been deprived of sleep for a week and she was exhausted. At the same time one emotion rang through her body, which she had never experienced before… exhilaration!

“Pilot Lopez, I’m Major Clayton. I’m pleased to meet you and want to say you did a great job.”

Holding out her hand Paula grinned at the woman, she looked terrible.

Glancing at the outstretched hand Tia wasn’t sure if she should kiss it like greeting the pope or shake it, she decided that shaking was good.

“I’m happy to be back on the ground Major.”

“Where’s the bomb?”

Tia indicated the hatch that led to the belly of the craft and Paula lifted it quickly there wasn’t any time to lose if this baby had been primed.

Listening carefully she heard that the bomb had been primed but was also activated, without rousing Lopez’s suspicions and possibly crippling her fragile nerves, Paula smiled at the other woman.

“How about you take this and tell anyone whose listening that you made it down safely, I’ll go check on our little friend.”

“Of course.”

Tia watched the Major disappear; wondering how anyone could think the woman was a demon? She was stunning and looked incredible in all that combat gear. Wonder if she was taken?

“This is Pilot Lopez can anyone hear me?”

Paula didn’t like confined spaces; it was the only part of her initial academy training that she didn’t excel at. A pot holing expedition had shown her just how much she hated being closed in and even now having mastered a technique to help her get out of totally panicking it didn’t always help with the initial reaction. Here in the cargo hold was no different and there was little room to manoeuvre around the bomb. Taking a deep breath she schooled herself to do this and her natural control took over as she made it to the control panel.

What she saw didn’t surprise her as she’d heard the sound prior to vaulting into the hold. The bomb was now on countdown and if she didn’t deactivate it then they could say bye, bye to Master’s lawn in a little over twenty minutes. Plenty of time for her to disengage the mechanism safely, just as well she hadn’t advised Lopez she would probably flip.

Checking over the instructions the bomb had been loaded with she gave a perplexed expression as she saw that it was primed to detonate on impact. Lopez had indicated a forty-five second delay hadn’t she?

Disengaging the armed sequence she made the bomb friendly again and to prevent anyone else playing with these rather dangerous toys she programmed in a security override and she was the only one with that. She would talk with Earth Gamma Command before she gave it to the other counsel members; after all it was a member of the counsel who had taken the matter into their own hands and threatened the security of others. Strange how Meredith had known what to do, to the best of her knowledge only special pilots and others in high ranking Gamma Command positions knew anything about the set up codes.

Dragging herself out of the hold she glanced up to find Lopez starring at her with a strange goofy look on her face. Paula had seen that look before, anyone who had wanted a piece of her action when she was on vacation, usually men but here on this planet she was finding women didn’t stay in the background.

“Lopez did you contact anyone.”

“Yes, Radna she’s going to tell the other colonists immediately. Seems they had a little situation of their own at the township. Is the bomb safe?”

Paula’s gut flipped what the hell next? Had the aliens decided not to co-operate after all?

“Yep the bomb is totally safe. What was the trouble?”

“Radna didn’t give specifics she said when we get back it will be obvious when we see the Doctor and Meredith.”

Brow creased Paula wondered what that cryptic message meant and it involved the Doctor. That fact alone made her stomach churn again, what scrape had she got into now?

“In that case we better go find out hadn’t we Lopez, let’s get out of here.”

“I’m right with you there Major.”

As they picked up Paula’s equipment and made for the turbo bike, Tia asked.

“Will the bomb be okay here?”

“It’s the safest it’s been for a long time Lopez, trust me.”

“I can’t believe you would make a fool of yourselves at a time like this?”

Selina and the rest of the colonist who had gone to the hills had arrived to see two of the most senior people in the colony fighting like washerwomen!

It was embarrassing enough that they were grown women but they were members of the counsel too!

“If there’s ever a time to make a fool of yourself I think this is perfect.” Tamara answered sarcastically as she looked at Meredith.

“Your sarcasm isn’t welcome Tamara, we are still in the throws of losing everything and you two are brawling in the street, whatever possessed you?”

“I think it went like this Selina she started it!”

Turning her attention to Sasha Meredith, Selina gave her a look that asked the question. As no answer was forthcoming immediately, she asked directly.

“Did you start this spectacle Sasha?”

Shifting around, her bruised body protesting as she did so, that damn doctor should have been a push over but she hadn’t been. She gave as much back if not more, as her ribs and face now seemed to be recalling the blows well after the event.

“I tripped and fell into the doctor she took that as a sign of aggression, though why I wouldn’t know.”

This was getting them nowhere, it was hard to judge the situation in light of everything else and the chances were that tempers would be running high between the doctor and Sasha, neither woman particular liked the other at the best of times.

“You are both a disgrace to the colony.”

“Selina what about the bomb and Meredith’s involvement surely that was more of a crime to the colony and you in particular, she didn’t consult you?”

Looking at the two women, Sasha with bruised cheekbones, her face covered in dirt and her hair the colour of the ground outside. Then there was Tamara with a black eye, a split lip and hair that looked like she had gone through a hedge backwards. If it hadn’t been for all the other things going on at this time Selina would be laughing at the mess they looked but she couldn’t it was way too serious.

“I think you had better let me be the judge of that Tamara. After all I recall you didn’t seek my permission either when you went on your personal crusade did you?”

Tamara cursed under her breath, damn she was right but that still didn’t change anything, and Meredith had jeopardised all their lives… again!

Sasha turned slightly, ensuring Selina couldn’t see her face as she gave Tamara a look of gleeful spite.

As Selina was about to say more there was a rap on the door and Andy put her head tentatively around, her grin infectious. At least one of her colonists was happy, she had to wonder why?

“Sorry First Counsellor but I thought you would want to know, the pilot is down safe and the bomb appears to be safe too.”

“Now that is good news, thanks Andrea.”

Tamara couldn’t help herself she beamed, that meant the Major was okay too, way to go!

“Let’s hope that the bomb can be put to better use when the Major arrives safely back.”

Sasha looked closely at the First Counsellor what was she talking about?

“Selina what better use can there be than to evade our enemies?”

“Sasha I know you meant well in your attempt to bomb the aliens but this time we are going to bomb on behalf of the aliens and give them what they want.”

“You can’t be serious? Why would we want to do that they have killed so many of us!”

Tamara heard the disbelief in Meredith’s voice, the woman really had it in for the aliens and she didn’t even know the background why they had killed the colonists. Why did she always think she was right?

“Enough Sasha! It’s my decision and mine only, if it’s wrong, then I will answer for it! Now please we need to show the colonists that we are united regardless of our personal disagreements.”

Tamara followed the First Counsellor out of the room leaving Sasha behind, her face controlled. However, behind the mask she was mentally working out what to do next, Selina would thank her for whatever she decided to do, she knew that deep inside her heart.

Paula was glad of the turbo ride back to the Township it gave her a few minutes to equate what landing on this planet had meant to her in the last few hours. She even mused was this what people meant by your life flashing before your very eyes, because sure as hell hers had done that since she embarked on the orbit around this planet.

Maybe keeping a journal wasn’t such a bad idea with all the action she had seen it might make a great book, silently chuckling at the thought, her mother would be impressed that she had at least kept her sense of humour in life.

The real puzzle factor was the doctor. For some reason the woman seemed to have a fixation on her, not that she minded, actually it had been very pleasant. Quite at odds with her usual romantic situations, or could you call it romantic though or merely an emotional situation that had manifested itself into a physical response. She could buy that; people did real strange things when they were under emotional stress. And the doctor had, had her fair share from what she had gathered from Andy and her own personal experience in the Engineering building. Later when the doctor slept she would wake up and it wouldn’t mean a thing.

Had it meant anything to her? A good question and one she didn’t have an answer for at the moment. As with most intricate personal questions something came up just at the nick of time to prevent her wallowing in the answer…the township was around the next corner.

Two minutes later having collected all her stuff she and Tia Lopez walked into the community hall and as they did so a resounding cheer greeted them.

Paula had been through that kind of accolade before but by the sheepish look on the other pilot’s face this was a first. Clapping a friendly hand on the back of the younger pilot she grinned at her, as she looked up surprised.

“Enjoy it while you can pilot the masses have a short memory.”

Tia wasn’t sure what to make of the cryptic comment but was about to be whisked away by other people wanting to congratulate her, and then she saw Counsellor Meredith and stiffened.

Paula saw the tensing of the other pilot’s shoulders and glanced in the same direction. There were three women standing watching them, two with friendly expressions and one with a scowl, guess that had to be Counsellor Sasha Meredith.



“Leave all the talk to me okay, and if Counsellor Meredith tries to give you orders again, tell her to talk to me and I’ll be the one to advise you personally.”

“But…but what if she…”

“I gave you an order pilot, my orders are set in stone.”

This time Tia saw a glimpse of the hard-nosed pilot that she had been told about, and had it not been for her recent experience with the Major, she would have been petrified of the tone. Command was right Major Clayton commanded and everyone obeyed.

“Yes Major.”

“Great, get along with the others and take a break, as soon as I’m free you and I are going to have a few drinks.”

Without waiting for an answer Paula strode purposefully towards the three watching council members.

Tia couldn’t believe the special pilot had actually meant it when she had agreed to a drink with her. Sometimes it was worth doing the right thing and obeying the odd rule or two.

“Hey Tia have a seat and tell us all about your little adventure…”

“Good to have you back Major.”

“Good to be back First Counsellor and Doctor I see you have had a little adventure of your own while I’ve been gone.”

It was incredibly hard not to laugh at the woman’s appearance she was covered in dirt and had a black left eye and a swollen lip, so that’s what the cryptic message was about from Andy. Got to love a gal who gets in and makes a point, even if it was a violent point. And the receiver was…

“I’m afraid I don’t know who you are Ms….”

“Of course, of course you wouldn’t have met Sasha before and as she has only recently joined the council it wasn’t likely you would have looked up her details on your flight here.”

Paula silently chuckled the First Counsellor was babbling, I wonder why?


“Sasha Meredith, senior ecologist and recent council member, Major Clayton.”

The woman didn’t hold out her hand for the more formal greeting and Paula was pleased about that she would have crushed it given the chance. “The person behind the bombing idea.”

Sasha wanted to knock the confident smile off the special pilot’s face after all that was all she was, and her role as Counsellor surely out ranked the woman.

“It was a good idea at the time.”

Tamara shifted uncomfortably, she was upset that the Major had done little but glance in her direction and what she had seen there made her embarrassed as the amusement was barely concealed. It wasn’t common practice that she brawled in the street!

“Putting that aside for the moment Major, are you able to carry out one more task before we allow you to rest?”

Now she was on alert, okay what had happened now?

“We long haul pilots take a drug called epsilon to speed up the metabolism after several months in the cryo unit. Obviously it takes several days to adjust our systems but it does allow us that luxury or impediment, depending on how you view it, sleep being un-necessary until we settle down to the norm. I took the drug three days ago trust me it will be at least another forty-eight hours before my system regains any semblance of normality.”

“I didn’t know that, did you Tamara?”

This time the Major looked at her with a small half smile crossing her lips giving her, her full consideration. “Yes, it’s still experimental I take it that hasn’t changed yet Major?”

“Quite so doctor it is, I would have advised you of the treatment at a suitable time.”

Their eyes locked as Tamara tried to decipher if the Major would have done so or considered it only a problem if she suffered any ailments from the application of the drug.

“That makes things easy for me then, I need you to organise dropping a bomb!”

Fair eyebrows shot to the forehead as Paula gave First Counsellor Ralph a look that asked if she was playing games with her.

“Run that one by me again Counsellor, did you say what I thought you said?”

“Yes I’m afraid so. It will take forty-eight hours to disengage the water supply from the dam with conventional methods; I want to do it sooner. The aliens because of our inability to contact them directly might think we are dragging our feet on the matter. I can’t allow another situation to get out of hand, I have ordered a bomb to be dropped strategically that will do the job for us with minimum damage to equipment and NO damage whatsoever to the aliens habitat.”

“Oh I see another easy task.”

Tamara giggled she couldn’t help it and Sasha gave her a hard disgusted look, Selina didn’t know what to think of the doctor’s reaction and merely ignored her.

“You find something funny Doctor Shaw?”

Paula could understand the doctor’s laughter it wasn’t making fun of anyone probably more nervous in nature but she had to ask the question just for the hell of it. Her own sense of humour taking hold, you had to keep it in situations like this…particularly in situations like this! This planet shouldn’t be called Amazon Seven it should be called practical jokers heaven, the number of things that happened here.

“No Major, it was more of a…well you know!”

Hiding behind her hand that she had brought up to cross her face and stop the giggling Tamara saw the Major smile briefly and then become very serious.

“Well, no time like the present to do this, I’ll go back to my own spacecraft and in that period of time have someone send me co-ordinates and the estimated size of bomb that is required, I’ll do the rest.” Glancing down at her timepiece she gave the object a few seconds thought.

“The show should all be over within forty minutes from now.”

Turning away Paula would have laughed out loud if she had seen the expression on the three women’s faces. One was in awe, another shocked and the third lost for words.

Earth Gamma Command
Seven days later

“You’re telling me that my pilot is in deep shit because of the incompetence of the people who are in charge on the planet surface?”

“Calm down General Jones this is not helping!”

“Calm down, you say? Why the hell should I, she’s the best damn pilot we have in the Command. For all we know she could be dead by now!”

There was a small silence at the other end of the communication link and then a cultured female voice replied, her soft tone annoying in that she didn’t seem the slightest bit upset at the dilemma.

“I know she’s…one of the best we have and if the best can’t solve the problem then we would lose many more lives fruitlessly. In the circumstances my recommendation to the executive is that we wait another forty-eight hours for another transmission if there isn’t one then we will assume the planet is hostile and a committee will be convened to decide what action we should take, if any.”

Ray Jones slammed his fist on his console shaking the furniture. “The hell you say if any action. I for one will take action and resign my post if necessary to carry it out, stick that in your committee meeting when YOU decide it’s time to look at the safety of my pilot not to mention a couple of hundred colonists.”

“Look at it from my point of view General Jones I was the one who railroaded the decision to send another pilot, this will be a sensitive matter all round.”

“Sensitive for you maybe but not for me Ms. Smith-Berlinger!”

Closing her eyes briefly at her own console stationed in a small area of her spacious apartment, she hated people who wasted energy in anger when they would be best served using it towards more rewarding pursuits.

“Once more I ask you please General calm down, I will review the transmission again and consult with the First Counsellor within the hour. If you receive any other messages please ensure I have them immediately regardless of where I am or what I’m doing.”

Appeased for the moment Ray glared at the screen and affirmed he would do so as the transmission ended. He would be manning the communications post until Paula sent another communication, he was right when he said she was the best she simply was she had the courage of ten lions and the confidence to overcome just about any situation. But was this an ‘any’ situation, he would pray it was.

“General Jones to Commander Raven, Ben what’s your status?”

A delay of several seconds and Ben Raven answered. “We have been monitoring the trajectory that Major Clayton was sent on several months ago, she hasn’t routed through to us yet. Thought we might go pay Amazon Seven a courtesy visit unless you have something new for us?”

Ray Jones smiled it was so like Ben to take the initiative and Paula was like clockwork she always called home no matter what. Only in this instance she had done so on the private channel and Ben wouldn’t have access to that information as yet.

“Commendable of you Ben, we’ve heard from Paula she’s in a spot of trouble but you know our girl she rarely comes across anything that phases her. What would be your ETA if you continued at this time?”

“Four months, Franklin put in the new propulsion units trials have worked out well.”

“Ben give Paula another twenty-four hours and if I personally don’t tell you to stand down you go ahead and see what’s happening to our girl. I’ll send you a personal update for your eyes only you will understand.”

“Roger that General. Commander Raven out.”

Ben was a good man and they had trained together he had decided to stay out and about in space and command the largest military force they had. He was also the only man to see Paula fail at something and she had never forgiven him for being there, which had made her take the more dangerous routes to her present rank when it could have been so easy for her.

He was keeping his promise to the Executive but he now had a second string to call on if he needed it, the damn aliens might decide to venture out further into the galaxy and they weren’t that far away!

With the abrupt conclusion of the conversation Christi sighed heavily, his pilot was in danger because of her machinations. She had personally requested that Clayton be the pilot, the colony hadn’t requested a female pilot only a special pilot, and she had changed the instruction to Gamma Command. Over the years she had watched the progress of Paula Madison Clayton it had been a discreet overview but she had been very proud of her achievements very much as Paula’s mother had been. Progress reports to Christine had been a pleasure and over the years they had both been amazed at Paula’s incredible abilities. Even when Christine died she had maintained her watch on the pilot and it had seemed fitting to her that when Tamara had asked for help it should be Paula that went, sure that the two would develop a friendship as their namesakes had in the past.

Now she wasn’t so sure. Paula might have been sent on a suicide mission and Tamara was in all likelihood dead as well. What a mess and it might all be her fault.

Pondering her predicament she didn’t hear the first sound of her intercom and it was only after a repeated buzzing that brought her out of deep thought.

Oh god yes I forgot Ben was coming over this evening!

Standing up she walked across the room and wondered if she had any scotch left in the place, she felt like a strong drink at the moment and the man who was her visitor would likely need it more.

Opening the door she smiled at the old man who stood there with a wide friendly grin. “Glad you could come over on such short notice, Ben.”

The old man starred at her closely she gave nothing away she never had and although they had met several times over the years she was still an enigma to many and him in particular even with his attuned abilities with people.

“I take it you have news of Tamara?”

Closing the door behind him she motioned for him to take a seat.

“How would you care for a scotch Ben? I’ll update you on what’s happening on Amazon Seven and your daughter as we drink.”

Amazon Seven
One month later

Paula reflected on her first month in the colony. It had been hard work trying to convince many of the surviving colonists to remain on the planet. She wasn’t a politician but she now realised why Selina Ralph was the First Counsellor the woman could talk a hind leg off a donkey and turn a drastic situation into a challenge that everyone wanted a piece of.

Her time had been committed to updating the two resident pilots on new techniques, checking on the equipment and the safety of their craft. Not to mention finding a secure place for the dangerous inventory that Laura had left unsecured. Strange that someone with Laura’s experience would do that. However she had and now it was all secured under her control and with her own security codes.

The bombing of the dam had been a simple task for one of her training having selected the correct tonnage of bomb to inflict only damage where it was required. The original inhabitants of the planet had been as good as their word and gone back to their original habitat without any further violence or contact. Another interesting and unexplained factor had been how they had eventually made contact through Doctor Shaw, perhaps they would never know.

Thinking of the doctor made her smile slowly she was some kisser that one. They hadn’t talked about the episode or her declaration of love at a crucial time, Paula surmising naturally that it was the doctor’s emotions getting the better of her. In actual fact they hadn’t seen much of each other since the first twenty-four hours she had landed on the planet, her workload and the doctor’s spreading them in different directions.

On her infrequent off-duty hours she indulged in the odd drink with her pilots and a meal from time to time with Andy and Radna at their home, their small homestead bringing back familiar memories of home and her childhood.

Ray had sent her a message everyday to check up on her, she knew he had been worried about her in a big way and he was now trying to make up for sending her on this particular assignment. Having settled down to a hectic but fulfilling schedule she was finding the time moving so fast she wasn’t able to keep up with things. Certainly she wasn’t bored and she had been made an honorary member of the interim Counsel for the duration of her time on the planet. Ralph, Shaw and Anders had given approval not surprisingly Meredith had said no though she had been overridden by the others.

That woman of all the colonists she had met so far and that being most of them was a dangerous cookie in the jar, something didn’t sit quite right in the woman. Though she had been exemplary in her duties since order was restored, and Ralph had vindicated her to a degree over her actions in the panic hours.

Sitting watching the stars in the dark blue heaven she heaved a sigh at the tranquillity of the situation as opposed to the first hours she had arrived here.

“Penny for them?”

Paula turned to the softly spoken voice and gave a warm smile.

“Oh I was just comparing the tranquillity of this evening with the same time a month ago.”

A small chuckle, which was quite engaging, came from the unexpected visitor. “Yes, quite different.”

“Take a seat doctor, what brings you out on a wonderful evening like this it’s late or hadn’t you noticed?”

Tamara gave the Major a brief grin as she sat down beside the much taller woman on the bench.

“To use a cliché I couldn’t sleep, what’s your excuse?”

“I was working forgot the time to use another old saying.”

Both women smiled but didn’t look at each other and they continued to stare at the dark skies above illuminated by the twinkling stars.

Several minutes later Tamara broke the silence.

“You forget that it isn’t Earth when you look at the sky some evenings.”

Paula glanced at the woman at her side she heard the wistfulness in the comment. “Do you miss Earth?”

Clasping her hands together Tamara pondered the remark, “sometimes, but mostly I miss my father. Not that I saw much of him in the last ten years but I could always go see him at short notice. Now of course that isn’t possible.”

“Yeah, that’s true six months space travel has that tendency to eliminate the quick trips home.” Paula’s mind wandered to her sister and how she and her family were doing; tomorrow she would set up a link and chat with her.

“Do you miss your family?”

Tamara wanted to know more about the woman at her side but she didn’t want to pry, knowing that the Major didn’t take kindly to people delving into her private life. She had witnessed by accident a short disagreement between Tor and the special pilot, a couple of weeks ago. Tor was being friendly but the Major thought otherwise. That had made her even more cautious when it came to any conversations they might have, forewarned is forearmed they say and she didn’t want to screw up any chance she might have with Paula Clayton.

“My parents are dead. I have a kid sister and she runs the family farm on Earth. I saw her for a couple of days before this mission.”

Tamara noticed that the statement was warm but not overly loving, maybe she hadn’t got on with her family.

“My dad’s a shrink,” smiling as she saw Paula’s eyebrows rise and gave her a long stare.

“Yeah I know; what must it be like living with someone who analyses the human mind for a living. He never did at home, that I know of. My elder brother would often threaten my older sister and I that he would if we didn’t behave. Joke backfired on him when he went to his school prom, Dad wanted chapter and verse.”

Paula laughed she couldn’t help it the woman rambled, she really did but it was cute, real cute.

“Oh god I’m sorry I’m meandering again, aren’t I? Whatever must you think of me?”

Tamara stood up trying to hide her embarrassment and was then dwarfed as Paula stood up as well and placed a friendly hand on her shoulder.

The touch sent shivers down Tamara’s spine it felt so right and she wanted those long sinewy arms to envelope her in a loving hug, what she wouldn’t give to experience that and more!

“Thanks for sharing a part of your childhood, want to share one of my anecdotes?”

Seeing the nodding of the dark head she grinned, “Great, let me get us a cup of hot chocolate and I’ll tell you about the time I drove my first car, needless to say Dad needed a new barn afterwards….”

Tamara was enthralled she hadn’t expected anything other than the Major might get bored of her when in actual fact she was thawing.

Was this the start of something really special?

Earth Gamma Command
One year later

General Raymond Jones flicked on the communication console, he had placed a direct Comm link to Major Clayton and the communication team had advised the Major was now available.

“Hey Paula how’s things?”

"Good. What about yourself, and the family?"

“I’m well, as for the family, they want and want and want more. You know my kids are like that can’t imagine where they got that from.”

He smiled, as he knew full well he had been a little monster according to his mother at their age and now he was paying the price in later life.

"Hope you said that tongue in cheek Ray, cus I know a certain guy who was like that years ago."

Paula grinned at the console she was in the room by herself for this conversation, Ray had requested it to be private and she knew something was up when he did that. Not that any of her conversation’s were ever overheard the comm’s staff usually had a short break when she took her weekly briefing from Earth command.

“So very true Paula it seems like a long, long time ago that we had fun together doesn’t it?”

Chewing on the statement a moment before she answered, he wasn’t usually so melancholy.

“Ray what’s the problem?”

“Problem? Who says we have a problem?”

“I’ve known you for a number of years we have a problem. Get it off your chest before it chokes you.”

“You haven’t changed at all Paula still as astute as ever.”

“Did you expect me too? I’ve only been gone a year and a half hardly time for me to convert to being a colonist.”

She heard his deep laughter that was good meant it wasn’t as bad as she had first assumed.

“We have a situation on Ares Alpha, seems there is a natural evolution about to happen on the planet, and we have to remove our people and set them up on another world.”

Paula swung around in her chair and peered at the console now concentrating on the conversation fully.

“What do you mean by evolution?”

“The scientists have estimated that within the year the planet will suffer a catastrophe similar to the ice-age on Earth millions of years ago.”

“Hell fire Ray there are millions of people on Ares Alpha it was one of the first colony planets.”

“Precisely the problem Paula we need all special pilots for the assignment. Arrangements are already in hand to remove colonists as of now, when you get back we should have another four months to make sure everything is sewn up.”

There was more to this conversation than Ray was letting on she knew it.


Swiping a hand across his brow Ray Jones had to marvel that millions of miles away that woman still had the power to read his mind, damn her!

“It’s going to be a close call getting everyone off the planet, statistically there isn’t a hope in hell. Realistically I think with my best pilot at the helm, we have a chance.”

Jesus he meant her!

“Ray I’m not superhuman you know I’m just one pilot how can I make that kind of difference?”

“Your mind set Paula as simple as that! You have the will to succeed when all else fails, I call that a chance for those poor bastards on the planet. Will you be coming home?”

Closing her eyes briefly, at the start of this assignment she would have given her eyeteeth to be coming home but now, now she had actually settled and made some friends. Good friends too and she wasn’t ready to leave them not yet anyway.

“Yes. You better get the executive to talk with the Counsel and I’ll begin preparations to leave now. That means first available gate to leave the planet will be in twenty-three hours.”

Ray had heard some interesting snippets from people about Paula and her life on Amazon Seven recently. Until the call he had taken from the Executive he was sure she would be requesting to settle permanently there. Now he had, had to break the bubble of her life there and he felt bad about it but she was needed elsewhere and she knew that.

“How would it be if I gave you forty-eight hours, time to say goodbye?”

Paula was stunned at the remark, goodbye? What the hell she wasn’t going to say goodbye she would just say farewell for now. Yeah farewell for now was good.

“Thanks, I’ll contact you when the flight is ready to take off. I will be seeing you Ray give my love to the family.”

“Sure thing Paula and …thanks.”

The communication ended as abruptly as it began as he punched the connection to the Executive.

“Smith-Berlinger speaking.”

“General Jones here, Major Clayton is on her way home.”

“Thank you General I appreciate your prompt response to my call.”

“Yeah, I want her to have a promotion for this.”

“Trust me she’ll get one and more if she succeeds.”

“She hasn’t failed yet!”

“I appreciate that. I and millions of people on Ares Alpha are banking on that statistic.”

Amazon Seven
Two hours later

“Hi you’re early?”

Paula smiled but the smile didn’t reach her eyes as she placed a bottle of homemade wine on Tamara’s kitchen table. Andy had given her the bottle as they talked about her sudden departure.

“Doc’s a good friend Paula she’ll understand, after all you are due to leave in six months anyway.” Andy had a rather unique friendship with the pilot based on mutual admiration and she was about the only one other than Tamara Shaw who could have any deep conversation with the woman.
“I know that but I figured over the next few months we could get used to the idea, not spring it on her like this.”
“Tammy’s level headed Paula, heck once you explain the situation she’ll want to go with you.” Andy meant it as a joke but the frown on the other woman’s forehead made her wonder if that wasn’t part of the problem.
“Precisely what I’m worried about.”
Andy watched several expressions flit across her friend’s face; it was remarkable how facial changes spoke volumes.
“You don’t want the baggage I guess.”
“No! No Andy it isn’t like that at all! I wouldn’t do the work properly I would be worried about her, you know how she loves to get into scrapes.”
Giggling at the comment, Andy had to agree over the months the doctor did have a wonderful talent for scrapes as the Major called them, and usually Paula had bailed her out each time.
“Do you remember the time she fell into that bog and you had to go rescue her, that was worthy of a comic sketch.”
Laughing at the memory Paula recalled she and Tamara had a rather strong odour about them for days afterwards. “Yeah she does seem to be very accident prone.”
“How about I give you a decent bottle of wine that Rad produced a couple of weeks ago and you take it as a peace offering.”
“Thanks Andy, how is Rad anyway she still suffering morning sickness?”
“Oh yeah in a big way too! I think sleeping with the horses is preferable at the moment she’s so grouchy in a morning.”
“I was hoping to wet the babies head before I left, guess you are going to have to keep me posted instead.”
“When you’re done you can always take a vacation, a long one and come back and see us…all of us.”
“Yeah that sounds like a plan to me.”
“Yeah, thought you might like a hand with lunch?”

Tamara laughed and wiping her hands on her apron she turned to confront the tall woman who made her average sized kitchen look tiny.

“When did you become the great cook?”

“I’ll have you know I have many skills, alas cooking isn’t one of them.”

“Thought so, I see you’ve been over to Rad and Andy’s why not open it and pour us a glass. How is Rad anyway she was feeling the effects of morning sickness last week when I saw her?”

“Andy says she still is but it won’t be for much longer will it?”

“No I wouldn’t have thought so, Mary was in the same way and Tor thought she was dying. Men are so silly sometimes, now he’s running ragged with Mary’s food fads in the middle of the night.”

Placing the glass on the counter top Paula watched with a small smile playing on her lips as Tamara prepared lunch, for the last six months they had shared one of the daily meals together depending on their individual workloads.

“Do you want children Tamara?”

What an unexpected question but then not so with the current situation with their friends.

“I’m almost thirty-seven I think somehow that it isn’t in my cards.”

“You don’t have to have a partner to have a family these days.”

“I know that Paula but I’d want to have a settled background with two parents for my child, call it old fashioned tradition.”

Walking towards the much smaller woman Paula was drawn to her like a moth to the flame she had never understood why and possibly never would, it was just so right.

Placing a casual but friendly arm around the doctor’s shoulders she smiled at her.

Tamara looked up at the dear face, she so wanted to tell Paula how much she loved her but had always known she would have to be patient, at least one time she had, even though Paula thought she was a little out of it at the time.

“I love old fashioned traditions did I ever tell you that?”

Laughing Tamara slapped her arm, “away with you Clayton when have you ever had old fashioned values, aren’t you the woman who devours every stud in town?”

“Not recently maybe I’ve changed.”

Blue eyes looked into green and both women connected at the soul, they were both drowning in a sea of tranquillity that put the night sky to shame.

“I love…the colour of your eyes.”

Paula grinned, “Yeah well let me tell you this Doctor Tamara Shaw I think yours are pretty awesome!”

“Let me finish this and we can talk about why you’re early, over lunch.”

“I can’t keep any secrets from you can I?”

“No Paula, and you never will.”

Lunch over; Tamara sat on the bench with Paula beside her each deep in thought after the revelations over the meal.

“Are you mad at me?”

“Mad at you? Why would I be mad?”

“Just checking. What do you feel Tamara?”

“Feel? What do I feel? Sad, unhappy, cheated but so very grateful that I met you.”

Paula was consumed by humility at the words; she didn’t know how to answer that.

“I can come back on a long vacation.”

“A long vacation huh? How long?”

Not understanding where the conversation was going Paula answered perfunctory. “On my next leave I’ll take as much as I have and come see you all.”

“Oh us all… I see.”

The words so quietly spoken Paula wasn’t sure what that meant, maybe Tamara was angry with her after all.

“I’m not sure when that will be of course, the new mission might take a while, but I hope to get back before Andy and Rad’s kid is a teenager.”

The words cut into Tamara she hurt so much. Why didn’t Paula know this! Was she the only one who felt the connection between them?

“I have to go back to work soon Paula, how about we catch up later.”

Automatically standing as if she had been dismissed from her official duties Paula nodded her head. This wasn’t the way this should have gone it wasn’t. “Okay, I guess I’ll see you later.”

Walking away towards the door she wanted to turn and take the smaller woman in her arms in…she didn’t exactly know why but it was important. However years of discipline prevented it, that and she really didn’t know what she wanted to offer Tamara, was this love?

Tamara closed her eyes as she heard Paula leave her side her heart was screaming for her to shout out her love for the woman but she couldn’t, how could she now? Paula was needed elsewhere for a good cause she couldn’t keep her here and anyway why would Paula want to stay she had never indicated she was attached to her other than as a friend.

Departure Morning

“All preparations are complete Major, do you need anything else?”

Paula turned towards Tia and Sheryl who had been going through her preliminary tasks before her take-off in six hours.

“No guys everything is covered, how about you two go and take a break and be back here in say four hours it will give us time to check everything again prior to take off.”

“Okay Major.” Neither pilot asked their superior if she wanted to join them, Clayton had been rather morose today and they didn’t want to upset her any more before the long flight.

As the two pilots’ left she reflected that when she left the colony it wouldn’t need another special pilot. Having trained them well enough and both surprisingly had come through her gruelling tests with flying colours.

Contemplating what she would do now in the final hours before the take off. Knowing what she wanted but unable to get up the nerve to go for it, she had blown that chance at lunch yesterday.

“Major Clayton are you ready for the journey?”

Turning Paula was surprised to see the First Counsellor, she had briefly spoken with her yesterday and they had said their goodbyes at that meeting.

“Yes First Counsellor I should be out of your hair in a little over five hours.”

“A rather interesting phrase Major and one that isn’t true, for me and many of the other colonists as well. I don’t think I ever expressed my gratitude for your single handed saving of our planet colony.”

“Please First Counsellor it wasn’t just me, I had lots of help. If you want to give your gratitude to anyone it should be Doctor Shaw. Without her you wouldn’t have known what the natives of the planet wanted. I just helped to achieve the objective.”

“As you wish Major, I know that Ares Alpha will be as grateful for your help as we were. I wish you a safe trip to Earth Space and your next onward journey, may you stay safe.”

“Thanks, I’ll do my best.”

Selina Ralph turned away and walked a few steps towards the exit of the hanger and then spun around.

“You need to say goodbye properly Major, you may never get another chance and you will regret it I think.”

With that the First Counsellor left the building and a rather bewildered pilot.

“Regret what? I’ve said goodbye to everyone.”

As Paula looked about her and the stillness of the hanger it dawned on her how stupid she was, there was one goodbye that was unfinished.

Three Years Later

“Major General we have a Comm link from Amazon Seven, they indicated it was urgent.”

“Patch it through and don’t disturb me until I call you Lieutenant.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“Andy is that you?”

“Well Major General Clayton you are one hard person to track down, how are you?”

Laughing as she saw the video link, Andy still didn’t look any older and she never changed still wise cracking.

“I’m good Andy, how’s the family?”

“Rad’s going through that fad stage with her food again, want to send me some old style chocolate in your next despatch package. Otherwise young Madison is great, into everything as you would expect any off-spring of ours to be.”

“Sounds like something I might be able to help you with I know a few contacts. Any problems on the planet that I need to know about?”

Andy grinned at the remark she would know already any problem if one were valid. “No, nothing exciting just building a colony type problems. Sasha Meredith finally got her way and she’s living with Selina Ralph, not sure that’s the best match I’ve seen but they both appear happy about it. Tor and Mary are still blissfully happy, makes you wonder how she tamed such a lothario, it beats me.”

“Meredith and Ralph what a combination? I thought Ralph could do much better myself. As to Tor well he learnt a lesson and acted on it, not like some…. ”

“When are you coming to visit, you promised remember?”

“I know I did but it’s been hectic as you know, and the fatalities on Ares Alpha have had to be replaced it’s a slow process. I figure another year maybe two.”

“Yeah sorry about that I heard you lost a few pilots. You made it happen though didn’t you Paula bottom line you made it happen! You got them off the planet before they were frozen alive.”

“My god Andy what an exaggeration who gives you those updates?”

“You know us we take any snippet and exaggerate it a thousand fold.”

Laughing along with her friend, she missed the friends she had made on Amazon Seven it had been a learning curve in lots of way and one she would remember for the rest of her life.

“I have to go Andy, give my love to Rad and my best to the others. I have another mission that will take about three months I’ll link when I get back promise.”

“Okay Paula, safe journey, talk with you soon.”

The link finished and Paula continued to stare at the screen.

Yes, in lots of ways Amazon Seven had been educational and she had learnt so much in such a short space of time, for a while turning her life upside down.

As she played with the memories she punched another communication link and waited for it to be answered.

Amazon Seven
Three Years Before

“Mary where is she?”

The nurse looked at the special pilot and the distracted appearance well she wasn’t alone. Tamara had looked that way earlier too and had eventually gone home to…well whatever it was had to be better than moping around the hospital.

“She went home Major, something about a headache I think.” Mary didn’t have time to say any more as the Major left the building and she knew exactly where she was heading.

Rapping at the Doctor’s door she waited and rapped some more and then peered into the windows on view, receiving no answer.

Okay this wasn’t working; damn the woman she needed to see her it might be the last time you never knew, as the First Counsellor had indicated.

“Tamara I need to see you, please!”

The words seemed to echo around her and she didn’t care that several people passing by the gate of the house looked in her direction.

Still no answer, she pounded on the door this time and wondered if the woman was deaf.

“Tamara I’m leaving in a few hours please speak to me.”

Other than breaking the door down she didn’t know what else to do.

“What do you want Paula?”

The voice was manna from heaven for Paula as she closed in on the door and gulped a deep breath as she spoke.

“I’d like to talk Tamara, please.”

There was a silence for a few minutes and Paula thought she had gone again then there was a rasp of the key in the lock and the door opened.

“Come inside.”

Paula didn’t know what to expect but what she saw crushed her deeply, the ravages of tears on the smaller woman’s cheeks were her undoing.

“Don’t cry Tamara please it will be okay.” Her long arms reached for the smaller figure and she engulfed her in a warm embrace.

“I don’t want to cry but I can’t help it, you’re leaving me.”

“The words struck at Paula reminding her of the first time she had ever met this woman and the obvious link they shared. It reminded her of her mother’s journals and how she had described some of the feelings she had for Madison Smith. Was this how her mother had felt, was it? She wished she had read more and found out she was like a fish out of water now.

“I will never leave you!”

Tamara couldn’t believe what she heard as the few words shot through her and gave her hope of what she wasn’t sure but hope nonetheless.

“You are leaving me you have to others need you.”

For the first time in her life Paula wanted to stay she wanted to rid herself of responsibility and go with her heart, her heart was joined to this woman there was no doubt about it. Whatever else she had experienced in life this woman didn’t conform to any package she had previously thought she enjoyed, yet she had the ability to crush her with a few words. The vulnerability was unknown to her but she didn’t care, it was easy to say it now she loved this woman, she loved her!

“I love you Tamara Christine Shaw. In all my life I have thought love existed only in books or peoples fantasies, now I know different I love you. Come with me?”

Tamara looked up into the blue eyes that shimmered with unshed tears mirroring her own. Was this just another dream she had been experiencing for over a year or for once could it be real?

“I love you Paula Madison Clayton so very much it hurts.”

The strangled words were Paula’s final undoing as she looked down into the face that wasn’t conventionally beautiful but to her was the sun, the moon and the stars, perfection itself!

“Come with me?”

Tamara knew it was a foolish notion, she wanted to she really did, but this proud woman had to go alone. However, she would never be alone because they were connected and always would be. Paula had to do this alone it would weaken her if Tamara went along too! However, she would ensure that the woman she loved would never forget her ever!

“Let’s go to bed Paula, I’ll show you why I can’t go with you but one day you will come home to me!”

It was an offer no person in love could refuse and she certainly wasn’t going to Tamara could ask her anything and she would do it regardless of whatever else was happening in their world, because the doctor was her world now. Until she drew her last breath Paula would never forsake this woman and they would be connected forever it was their promise to each other in this life and beyond!

Present Day

The door to her office opened and Paula looked up annoyed at the interruption.

“I told you I didn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Yes Major-General but…”

“There aren’t any buts Lieutenant get out!”

The younger woman swallowed heavily she was new here and didn’t want to upset the commander and hadn’t wanted to interrupt; however the special visitor had insisted.

“I’m afraid…” the young officer was divested of saying anything else as the door opened and a woman walked into the room waving away the younger woman.

Paula was astonished as the door closed behind the lieutenant.

“What are you doing here?”

“Me? Obvious I think I’ve come to take you home.”

Paula laughed she couldn’t help it, here in her office where she was thought to be the worlds worst boss, a rather delightful woman was demanding she go home.

“What right do you have to come barging into my office demanding such a thing, do you know who I am?”

The woman who entered the room considered the question as she moved closer; so close they were within an inch of touching.

“Yes I know who you are. Major General Paula Madison Clayton, commander of the second division Earth Gamma Command and…”


Small arms wrapped around the much taller frame, “and my wife who will be late for our dinner party if she doesn’t leave the office now.”

Laughing at the small woman in her arms she bent her head and kissed the full lips to her satisfaction.

“I love you Tamara Christine Shaw what would I do without you?”

Gasping for air as they drew apart. “You would be late for dinner and tonight, it’s a special occasion.”

“Forgive my memory loss darling but what special occasion? Don’t tell me another treasure hunt? ”

“No Silly. My Dad, Christi, Rose, Tom, Ray and Nancy are coming over and as it’s our first anniversary they are going to give us the low down on your Mother and her relationship with Madison Smith.”

Paula grinned she hadn’t really forgotten it was her way of bantering with her partner. Their first anniversary, she had lost no time in proposing and marrying her doctor as soon as the mission to Ares Alpha was complete.

Nothing could keep them apart, whatever it was that called to them refused to allow any more time to pass before they saw each other again. Tamara had willingly given up her post on Amazon Seven to be with Paula things had never been the same for her when Paula left. The Major had taken her soul on that hazardous journey to Ares Alpha and she had fought hard along with her soul mate, even though she physically couldn’t, mentally it had been very wearing. There were times when she felt she was with Paula and saw the sights the pilot experienced. It was quite interesting when Paula came back and described some of the more hazardous tasks she had undertaken the narrative shaking Tamara. Had she really seen and experienced it through her lover’s eyes? Perhaps that had been something the alien experience had given her, the ability to be with her soulmate spiritually, helping to guide and support her through the difficult and often soul-destroying times. They had never discussed this in detail but where Paula went Tamara knew she would always be and that helped her with the long absences that would always be an element of their lives together.

Now working on appraisals for colony candidates at the Executive level she was doing something useful, for now at least. She had another surprise for Paula later in the evening when they were alone; she would be pleased Tamara knew it.

“Yeah about time we found out the connection. Well, lover I’m all yours lets go now shall we and have our version of starters before the others arrive.”

Grinning like a Cheshire cat Tamara reached up and thoroughly kissed the taller woman, she could without a doubt say was hers. They were meant to be together their hearts and souls knew it, had always known it.

As they broke apart Paula placed a hand on Tamara’s belly in a loving hold unaware it held a secret of its own.

Yes, that would be her wife’s surprise later; they were going to have a baby what a way to celebrate a promise in style.

End if ever there is an end to the promise of the soul

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