“A Woman’s Intuition”
(aka Susan Moore)
Chapter 1: “Introduction to Trouble”
Nova awoke to a feeling of high exuberance. All of her doubts were vanished, her insecurities had fled and she tingled all over. Something great was going to happen today. Nova could feel it deep in her soul. She danced about her stateroom singing ‘The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B’ as she dressed. Unbeknownst to her, the strains of the old song were clearly audible outside her door and were causing her fellow crew members to stop, stare, shake their heads and then disappear quickly down the corridor.
With a wide, infectious smile, Nova sailed forth and fairly skipped down the Yamato’s gleaming corridors. Her mood was catching for she even treated Sergeant Knox to a rare smile as he sulked about on her level before she swept around a curve. The poor Sergeant was completely at a loss for words. By the time she reached the elevator, Nova was humming another song (This time ‘In the Mood,’ big band style). The doors opened up to reveal Sandor, the Yamato’s Mechanical/Science Chief, whose usually straight face brightened as Nova stepped in.
“Good morning,” she sang happily.
“Good morning,” he replied, studying her for a second. “What’s gotten you so happy today?”
“Oh,” Nova shrugged coyly, “nothing in particular and everything in general.”
Sandor eyed her for another moment. This was the first time on their voyage starting with their mutiny to follow a mysterious S.O.S that he had seen Nova drop all her military airs. He crossed his arms saying, “I don’t believe you.”
“You don’t believe me!” echoed Nova, her face a comic mask of feminine humor and cloudy innocence. “Why, Sandor, I am surprised at you.”
Sandor chuckled dryly. “Out with it, Nova. You’ve got that ‘I’ve-got-a-secret-and-I’m-not-telling’ look about you.”
“Who? Me?” She turned her nose up. “You’d just think I’m being silly. Humph!”
About then the elevator doors opened. Nova and Sandor stepped out onto the bridge of the Yamato by unconscious reaction, still chattering.
“Like I said before – nothing,” Nova reported.
“Bull.” Sandor wagged a warning finger at the Living Group Chief. “Something’s up and you know it! Now, out with it!”
Nova paused, placed both fists on her hips and defended herself. “I am simply in a fantastic mood and I refuse to be put out!”
The two squared off. Nova suddenly noticed how everyone was doing their best to look nonchalant and still hear every word. She then realized how foolish she must be looking but that only hardened her reserve not to be put into a bad mood. Her reply to Sandor was to simply throw her hands up in the air and say that time worn expression, “Men!” with all the disgust she could muster.
As Sandor continued to stand there, Nova glared, pointed over to his position and ordered, “Go do your job and leave me alone.”
Meekly, amid much chuckling and wisecracks, Sandor did exactly that. Nova turned slowly, catching the eye of every male on duty, daring them to challenge her. Even Derek Wildstar, who had been bewildered by their banter, dropped his gaze. With a wink at Orion, Nova calmly took her seat and turned on the radar.
Derek watched Nova from out of the corner of his eye. He had to admit that there was something about her today, an extra brilliance of color in her cheeks and the hint of trouble in the air that made him begin to wonder what was going on in her mind. This was one of those times that he decided he would never understand the female sex. He also worried about what she might pull next when another movement caught his eye and he turned to see his best friend, Mark Venture, trying hard not to laugh. “Don’t even start,” Derek growled. “Just fly. That’s all. Just fly.”
With a heavy sigh, the leader of the Star Force walked away from the main view port towards Captain Avatar’s old console when the elevator door whooshed open. Sergeant Knox stepped out wearing the stupidest grin Derek had ever seen. He sighed anew, for every since they had picked up the Space Marines, Knox had made it a point to be on the bridge uninvited every day. For a moment, Wildstar considered dumping the whole lot of them out an airlock but decided that he didn’t want to pollute the beauty of space.
He turned around, went back to his chair, and sat down. This was going to be one of those days. “Why me?” Derek whispered.
“Something wrong?” asked Venture, hearing Derek’s mutterings. He rose from his seat to stand near the captain’s chair.
“I don’t know,” answered the Deputy Captain truthfully. “And that’s what’s bothering me. Nova is in a weird mood and I have the feeling that something is up, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I wonder if she’s planned another one of her parties for the crew. Hmmmm...”
“I see,” remarked the navigator softly. He padded his way back to his seat and turned his attention back to steering the ship, letting Derek think in peace.
For once it was quiet. No alarms, no enemy ships, no beeps, no nothing. It felt odd. However, the opportunity was unlocked for the crew to fix the Yamato’s jury-rigged equipment from the last encounter. And, for once, Sergeant Knox stayed out of everyone’s way and disappeared off the bridge, putting Derek into a much better mood.
Homer was happily fine-tuning his communication bands when he came across a strange signal on a low-grade band. He frowned and sought it out. After listening for a few moments, Homer tapped his headpiece, then swung his chair to face Derek’s. “Captain, listen to this. I just picked it up.”
A regular beep in an old pattern came floating over the speakers.
“What is it?”
“Could it be some sort of a trap?” remarked Eager beside him.
“Feed the pattern into the computer,” ordered Derek, “and shut that thing off. It’s beginning to give me a headache.”
Homer’s fingers flew over the console. This was something he was trained for, not that he wanted to be there. Oh, why, or why, did his mother want him to be a Star Force member when he’d rather have been an accountant? He read the results out loud: “This represents a special ops distress code which was in use until 1990.”
“What?” was the universal reaction of the bridge crew.
“Not again,” moaned Derek under his breath.
Off to one side, no one noticed Nova sitting with her head cocked to one side. She mused softly, “Special Ops...hmm. I wonder...”
“It is Earth-based,” pointed out Mark, looking over his shoulder at Derek.
Wildstar clinched his fist. “All right, already. Let’s go see who needs help this time. Homer, where are those signals coming from?”
“Two points off of starboard,” came the reply.
“Nova, what is there?”
She glanced at the display on the radar. “There is a small asteroid belt near a planet in that sector. I do not see any sign of enemy ships.”
“Mark, take the ship nearby and hold. Homer, have Conroy and Hardy meet me on the flight deck. Tell ‘em we’re going on another rescue mission.” Derek felt a little better after giving the orders.
As he stalked off the bridge, he didn’t notice that Nova was again in another world. “It couldn’t be...could it?” she muttered thoughtfully.
TO BE CONTINUED…
To Return to Susan’s Introduction….click here