A joint tale by Yuki Wildstar and Frederick P. Kopetz
In the meantime, on the Argo, Admiral Wildstar was getting increasingly antsy at the lack of communication from either Pesci, whom he had sent out three hours ago, or the Phoenix, which he had sent out five hours ago.
“They fell into a trap, Kitano. I just know it. They fell into an enemy trap. And I lost Pesci and his flight as well as those kids. I am such a fracking idiot,” he sighed.
“Sir, you are not an idiot! No one knows everything,” said Kitano. “You did the best you could with the intelligence you had. We are doing the best we can.”
“The silence is unnerving,” said Derek.
“Sir, you ordered the radio silence,” said Sasha from her post.
“Yes, I did, Sasha,” said Derek. “And you don’t need to remind me!” he snapped.
“But, Uncle, you did the right thing,” Sasha said. “If you hadn’t ordered radio silence, the enemy would have picked up communications between us…and the Phoenix. And they would know they were coming, and would have prepared something bizarre. Think of that.”
“True,” said Derek. “Sasha, can you reach out to them? See if they’re…alive?”
“I can,” she said. “But it will take a lot of energy for me. You’re sure you want me to do it? Really…if we need sheer energy, my Aunt would be far better at this.”
“Negative, Sasha,” said Derek, knowing what else he had done. Nova had been on the Bridge an hour ago, looking as tired as a woman who had barely slept in two days. Derek had ordered his Ship’s Surgeon to take a nap, since he was, after all, worried about her health. Nova checked her own blood sugars, and, at times, they were close to diabetic; a leftover, she knew, from when she had fought pregnancy-related diabetes during her last two pregnancies; and the disease had come very close to claiming her life during her second pregnancy, when she had been pregnant with Stephen and Anastasia…and then put on trial for her career by General Stone. During that trial, eleven years ago, Nova had collapsed on the stand after being denied insulin, and she had almost died afterwards in the ICU. She had come back from the shadow of Death with even stronger psi-abilities than before, but a slightly weakened constitution that required her to rest more than she had to during the first thirty years of her life.
Derek knew his intelligent, witty, beautiful, and gifted wife struggled at times with health issues herself because of this brush with Death; it was part of what made her such a good doctor…being able to imagine how a patient felt when sick or in pain as she sometimes was herself. “Nova’s sleeping in case we need her for another emergency, and it’s best to just let her be for now. Can you do it?”
“I’ll do my best,” sighed Sasha.
She stood near the Astro-Compass and shut her eyes.
She began to gleam slightly with psi-energy as she used her Iscandarian powers to reach out into the Cosmos. She shut her eyes, trembled, and her lips rapidly moved. Derek heard her whispering, “No…no…no…you will not dare…you will not dare to do that!”
Sasha came out of it a moment later. She looked at Derek and the bridge crew and said, “Pesci and his wingmen are fine. They are on their way back and should arrive within the half hour. G-Force is alive and well, but in great danger. They are near to being discovered. But I cannot intervene.”
“Why not?” said Derek.
“We are needed for a greater task, Uncle,” said Sasha. “There is a dark spiritual Power deep behind the forces of Spectra. He is called “The Luminous One.” He is a sort of…spirit being… embodied inside a vast computer complex. I touched minds with him….or it… briefly. He just sent a ship from that base to a planet known as Riga. It is not far from here, and I am afraid that we are unable to intercept the ship. I tried to reach out with my mind to attack the pilot…but he is too well-shielded. His ship has a single payload.”
“And what is it?” demanded Derek.
“A single massive anti-matter missile. The Great Spirit is ordering this commander to attack a city on Riga and destroy it with that anti-matter missile. This is an act which will open a war with the Alliance. This attack will kill six million Rigans. And we cannot stop it; it’s already near Riga! But the ship must never return to its base for a second mission, and G-Force must destroy that base or disable it!”
“Why, Sasha?” said Derek.
“If that ship gets back to its base and gets another anti-matter missile, its next target will be Earth itself…the Tokyo Megalopolis. The Great Spirit and Zoltar intend to begin this war with Earth by destroying the capital! We can’t allow that!”
“So,” said Derek. “Six million Rigans are doomed. Damnit!”
“But if we do nothing, sir, fifteen million Earthlings are doomed…including our own children…” said Kitano.
Derek made a fist and gritted his teeth in utter rage. He could not imagine what would happen if he did nothing. Alex and Ariel might be running down the beach near their house, digging in the sand, playing with their Ralkhen nanny, Fela, watching them…maybe Anya would run out to dig clams…then…a vast explosion would come…they would be blinded…and then, a shock wave would hit…
…and his and Nova’s children would die in utter agony, their burnt bones dissolving into a vast mushroom cloud that had been their capital…their home
Then, he could picture Nova, in tears herself, trying to comfort him as he screamed out the loss of their children, their home, all they knew…all to the schemes of some demented madman named Zoltar, who followed that accursed Great Spirit; a madman who worshipped a demon from the pit of Pits that had somehow come up into their world and had somehow become embodied inside a machine.
“I have to leave Riga alone, sadly…” said Derek. “We need to prepare for a great battle. We must watch for that Spectran ship…and we must not let it reach that base…and as for that base, we have to pray that G-Force can finish it off in time. Like it or not, Earth’s fate is partly in the hands of those damned teenagers!”
“We can’t lose,” said Sasha.
“No,” agreed Derek. “We can’t.”
The Phoenix sat on the ground on the enemy planet, and Tiny sat wondering, What’s with the guys and Princess? I hope we make it outta this all right…I really do, now…..
Not far away, two Spectran troops looked at the Phoenix from the distance.
“Okay, there’s the ship, Sergeant Dewey! How do we take care of that damned thing?”
“Got a perfect idea, Vorka,” said his partner with a grin as he held up something that looked like an RPG (rocket-propelled-grenade) launcher. “We launch this at that damned ship.”
“What is it?” growled Corporal Vorka, a former R’Khell who had joined Spectra when he had left his world after having tried to kill a R’jkharraz psychic. Like many, he had left with a big bounty on his head.
“It’s a grenade I invented that has a homin’ beacon,” said the Spectran Sergeant who had once been known as Private James Dewey, EDF. A former high-ranking EDF enlisted man, he had committed several; offenses, lost his rank, and he left the EDF (or, rather, deserted) under the threat of a long prison sentence and a dishonorable discharge under a general court-martial for fighting, disorderly conduct, and attacking a female Star Force member years ago back in a fight on the Argo herself. “The point is that this homin’ beacon hits that dumb-ass ship. It sticks there like friggin’ glue, then, we just trace it back to its home base and pick it outta the sky at our leisure with the R-5 Missiles. Good plan, huh, Jocko?”
“Yeah, Sarge, you’re the greatest thing since they invented trash cans!”
Both Spectrans laughed. Dewey hushed his partner while he fired the RPG at the Phoenix.
The little charge shook the airframe when it hit and planted its little magnetic payload, which looked like a devil’s face, to the side of the Phoenix.
“What’s that?” hissed Tiny when the charge hit. He turned on a screen and saw Vorka and Dewey creeping off. “Infiltrator goons, huh?” said Tiny. “Well, take this for size, you guys!”
Tiny pressed some buttons, and a small pulse laser came out of a hatchway on the Phoenix’s underbelly. The gun locked on the Spectrans, and Tiny grinned as he pressed a button and started firing.
Tiny laughed as he saw Vorka and Dewey running for it as they ran away from the bolts of orange energy skipping out of the Phoenix’s defensive gun. “That’s right! Run, ya cowards! Ya know, I wish I coulda gone out with the team, but this was almost as good! Wonder where they are…”
The team, in the meantime, was frozen in the Spectran Base.
They had planted charges.
Mark had frozen when he saw shadows coming his way.
He had hoped it was not unexpected company.
It was three Spectran soldiers, laughing and arguing amongst themselves in Terran English, the only common tongue that the alien mercenaries knew.
One of them said, “I told ya, Garnack, the sensors picked up kids in here. Four stinkin’ kids! What’s this? EDF is sendin’ kids on missions?”
“The Star Force is supposed to be out there someplace; maybe this is some kinda diversion before they land Marines!” said another one.
“That’s a load of bull…they’d never send in kids!” said the other one.
“I think it’s a diversion,” said a third one as Mark got ready to throw his boomerang at the troopers after nodding to Jason, who had a feather shuriken at the ready. “I think they got that Iscandarian chick or maybe even the scary Earth chick with psi-energy we heard rumors about.”
“What chick?” said one of the Spectrans.
“I worked with the Bolars on a trade thing,” whispered one of the Spectrans. “Back in ’09, the Bolars tried to raid New Pellias. The mission got like, aborted because they ran into this big EDF and cat platoon. Some Earth girl who had psi-energy was leading it. The Bolar guy says they was tryin’ to rape her, but she shot lightning from her hands. Lightning. What if these kids can do shit like…”
Mark smiled grimly and threw his boomerang.
It raked across the throat of the trooper who was talking, ripping it out.
The others turned toward him and Jason, holding up their sub-machine guns.
Jason began whipping his feather shurikhen all over the place.
One went into one trooper’s throat, and the other went into his back.
An alarm went off, marking Jason in sharp relief as the enemy turned a spotlight upon the grim form of the Condor.
“Yeah?” barked Jason. “What the fuck do you jokers want?”
“We want you dead, dead, dead, Earthling!” yelled a Spectran as Mark whipped his boomerang again.
“You got it caught in his throat, Commander,” said Jason with a warped grin. “Let me get it out for you…”
Jason somersaulted over to the Spectran and kicked him hard in the crotch.
The Spectran grunted and groaned as Jason ripped Mark’s bloody boomerang from his throat and threw it back at his Commander, who caught it. Another trooper tried grabbing Mark from behind, but he just flipped him in a judo throw and then stomped his boot into his face, smashing it in.
“Thanks, Jayce!” said Mark.
“De Nada, sir,” said Jason with the same psychotic grin on his face. Mark smiled at him. Jason was having a great time killing people this time out. He looked almost as psychotic as Batman in that old film.
Princess jumped into action a moment later, dodging bullets as she kicked Spectrans in the face.
For fun, Keyop was rolling bombs at them.
Mark said, “TEAM! Those charges will go off soon! Time we were out of here!”
“WHO ARE YOU?” yelled a Spectran Officer.
“We are G-Force!” barked Mark. “Five, acting as one! Inseparable! Invincible!”
Mark spat at the enemy commander, and he clapped his hands.
G-Force followed him as one as they swooped up onto a walkway.
Then, they ran like hell.
They were still running when they ran up to the vicinity of the Phoenix.
The Spectrans nearby, up to no good, ran when they saw the team showing up, and then they ran in another direction when Tiny began shooting up the area.
The other four members dodged the bullets. Mark snapped into his bracelet, “TINY! IT’S US! Stop shooting! We have to run!”
Jason grabbed a Spectran and punched him in the face, knocking him out. He threw him to Princess. “Wanna kill this fucker with your yo-yo, babe?”
“No, we could use a prisoner,” said Princess. “And wash your mouth out, Jason!”
“Excccuuuuuuuuse me, Princess, dear! Did not know you were so fuckin’ delicate? What should I do? Fix your hair? Give you a pedicure?”
“Breeeeeee—booopp…shutthehell up!” barked Keyop.
“C’mon…people…we have thirty seconds!” said Mark.
G-Force leaped into the Phoenix, dragging their sole prisoner with them.
“We’re aboard! Punch it, Tiny!” snapped Mark.
The Phoenix was soon aloft as the G-Force team watched the Spectran Base receding.
Their charges finally began to go off. Explosion after explosion began to pepper the base as the base blew apart.
“Success!” laughed Princess.
“Tiny, send word back to Admiral Wildstar that we have accomplished our objective!” Mark snapped. “One Spectran Base is toast!”
“BIG TEN, COMMANDER!” laughed Tiny.
G-Force laughed as they looked forward to getting back and showing the Star Force a thing or two…
Word hit the Argo that things seemed to be solved.
A relaxed Admiral Wildstar wiped his face on the First Bridge and said, “Kitano, you have the conn for now. G-Force should be back here in two hours.”
“What are you doing, sir?” said Sasha.
“Taking a break and catching up on some…needed personal business,” said Derek as he walked off the bridge with a spring in his step.
Admiral Wildstar made a phone call or two.
HALF AN HOUR LATER….
Admiral Derek Wildstar was in civvies, laughing in the holography room as he told very bad jokes to an audience of one, namely his wife, Nova, who had materialized in the holography room with a blanket, picnic basket, holographic background of a park, and a bottle of Chianti. She had put on a sundress and heels, and she didn’t look much like a doctor right now, but more like a self-assured young woman in love laughing at her husband.
“You know what they said when they called up?” said Derek.
“What?” Nova said.
“Tell that old man we did something right!” said Derek. “We made that base go bllllllloooooeeeeeee!”
“Who said that one, Derek?” Nova giggled.
“Tiny. Sounded like he had a burger in his mouth.”
“Where does that kid find room for spaceburgers?” Nova said.
“I dunno,” said Derek. “Up his butt?”
“Stop cursing,” said Nova happily.
“You curse, too,” said Derek.
“Only when some moral reject is after my virtue,” Nova said. “Current company excepted.”
“I would hope so,” said Derek.
“You know so,” Nova said. “Hmmm….we have about three hours…let’s eat this food, and then…”
“Then, what?” said Derek.
“Let’s see what kind of trouble we can get into in three hours in our cabin,” Nova said.
The two lovers began to kiss, but, suddenly, the red alert klaxon came on.
“What the hell?” Nova said.
“Kitano must have dropped something,” Derek said.
“NO! This is serious!” Nova said as her heightened senses came up.
“Attention, all hands!” said Kitano. “WE are under attack, repeat…we are under attack…Captain to the Bridge!”
“Rain check,” Nova said.
“Yeah, right,” said Derek.
They grabbed up their things and ran off to their battle stations after kissing again.
TEN MINUTES LATER…
On the Bridge, Admiral Wildstar grabbed Sasha by the shoulders.
“Five ships…big ones…we’ve taken three missile hits, sir,” said Sasha.
“They’re too close,” said Kitano. “Range, three megameters!”
“NO!” yelled Sasha.
“What is it?” snapped Derek.
“One huge anti-matter missile…dead on course for our bow,” said Sasha. “It will strike us in ten seconds at this range…nine…eight…seven…”
“Maneuvering thrusters out!” yelled Kitano. “Wildstar! They’re short-circuited by some field…”
“Six…five…” said Sasha.
Now what the hell are we going to do? Derek thought.
To be continued . . . . . .