STAR BLAZERS--ALTERNATE TALES OF THE STAR FORCE
By: Frederick P. Kopetz
with note to the following:
STAR BLAZERS, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, and all related names and elements are copyright ( c) 1998 by Voyager Entertainment, Inc and Leiji Matsumoto. Star Blazers is a registered trademark of Jupiter Films, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
NOTE: This story and its successors represent an Alternate Reality that may or may not coincide with the events portrayed in the STAR BLAZERS and SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO series and movies.
Special Thanks to Gail R. Kopetz (AKA "Fluffy")
& Derek C. Wakefield
Earth--The Great Megalopolis
Mark Venture's Residence
Sunday, January 3, 2202
0012 Hours: Spacetime
The whole problem with Trelaina and I, thought Mark Venture in a dejected fashion as he sat watching the late vid-news in the empty living room of his large new house on the last few days of his leave, was that we were always like star-crossed lovers. We wanted to be together, but we were never able to be together, because we could never quite get as close as we wanted to be. It was Destiny that kept us apart. And now...what does Destiny have planned for me?
Venture turned off the vidscreen with a harsh flick of his remote. One thing's for sure. I can't go on like this, just moping. I know she wouldn't want me to be like that. I can't be like that on the mission when Wildstar gets back we reunite the Star Force. But how can I start to live again? Trelaina...I miss you so much....!
Mark wiped away a tear and got up. The first thing he noticed was his knick-knack shelf, which was one of a number of bookshelves built into the living room's curved wall near the large vidscreen.
Various mementos of Venture's life sat on that shelf. One of them was a model of the Argo that Jordy had built while the ship was on its way to Iscandar in 2199. Jordy had given it to Mark in 2200 when the Star Force arrived home. There were also models of some of the other ships that Venture had served aboard, such as the patrol cruiser Baikal, aboard which he had served in early 2201. The models were accompanied by various framed medals and citations and a large number of photos. Some were group portraits of the Star Force, along with a picture of his parents and Jordy.
Venture took a minute to withdraw a very precious keepsake from his pocket to add to his collection next to the picture of his parents. It was a small holo-crystal of Trelaina that had been made from a visual record of her that had remained in IQ-9's memory circuits after they had visited her on Telezart. She looked beautiful. Mark also knew that he couldn't bear to look at it for long without getting very, very misty-eyed.
He stood moping for a while, and decided he'd go crazy if he didn't get out of his quiet house. It was located near the bay a few blocks away from Derek and Nova's house which was now, of course, empty as the Wildstars were still on their honeymoon.
So, Mark got a flight jacket out of the closet, put it on, and got a small portable radio out of a drawer. He inserted a little earphone so that he could listen to it in private as he walked along. He had to get out soon. He was heading somewhere. Where, he didn't know. He just knew he had to get out of the house and get away from his memories of Trelaina. He hastily stepped out, locking the door behind him. As he walked down his driveway past his aircar, he glanced at his wristwatch. It read: 12:10. About 0010 hours on the 3rd , thought Venture. It's late. It's damn late. But, I've GOT to get out of here. I just have to!
Not knowing for sure where he was headed, Venture walked north on Clearview Boulevard, heading towards downtown in a random manner. Venture thought he wanted to go downtown at first (he could have caught a Tube train there if he didn't want to get the car out); but he just found that he was heading down the quiet streets to a corner Samson's Mini Mart. Samson's was a chain of 24-hour convenience stores that covered most of the repopulated regions of the world by 2202. Drawn by a nagging thirst, Venture walked into the Samson's, found the drink fountain, and drew out a Dr. Starpepper MegaGulp-- a large 1.75-liter serving of soda and ice in a big plastic cup. Mark considered picking up a hot dog to go with it, but he decided he wasn't hungry. So, he paid for his MegaGulp and left the Mini Mart, randomly going back to College Point Boulevard, heading towards the coast, since he really didn't want to go downtown again. He just walked down the street, not sure where he was going or why. After a while, Venture finally knew where he wanted to go.
Or, to be more precise, he knew where he had to go.
Heroes' Hill, he thought. Funny, but all of us in the Star Force seem to go there when we have to think. I've done it often enough. I've got a lot on my mind, and I need to forget everything that happened tonight. Maybe the Captain and the others might help me forget. I don't know. It'll take a while for me to get there, but I'll go. What do I have to lose?
So, Mark picked up his pace and continued to head west on the long, curving road that led to the great memorial statue of Captain Avatar.
A while later, Venture reached his objective: the top of Heroes' Hill. Venture slowly walked up the narrow causeway in the rain, half-listening as Yesterday played on his radio. He stopped when he reached the end of the walkway before the monument itself. The pavement, memorial plaques, and the imposing statue of Captain Avatar all gleamed with a wet sheen in the cold drizzle as Venture slowly walked around listening to the ancient lyrics that he swore could've been written about him.
Yes, love used to be such an easy game to play... thought Venture. He stood listening to the radio and sighed again. Unfortunately, unlike the song, Venture knew why Trelaina had gone away, but it didn't make matters any easier for him.
Mark dejectedly kicked aside a loose pebble as he sat down to look out at the sea, visible over the edge of the Hill. As the wind seemed to get a little colder, Mark began to think about Trelaina. He knew that Trelaina had left him to his job with the hope that his work might be able to fill the void in his life that she could no longer fill. But Mark wasn't sure about this.
For one thing, Mark had enjoyed a bond with Trelaina that was as close as Derek Wildstar's relationship with Nova...if not even greater.
How can I recover from a love that was that deep? he thought sadly as he looked up at the craggy bronze face of Captain Avatar's statue.
Venture kicked aside another pebble as Yesterday finished playing on his radio. He was beginning to wonder if he just wasn't wasting his time out here tonight when another song came on the radio; a contemporary cover version of Just One Look.
Another fun song, thought Venture. That's all I need to hear...especially now..
Mark reached down to turn off the radio when something happened.
Mark...Mark... whispered a female voice in his mind.
HUH? he thought.
Mark, I want you to look over there, said the Voice (which sounded somewhat familiar) to Venture. Look there, to your right. Just turn your head.
Not knowing for sure why he was obeying this strange impulse or inner voice, Mark turned his head, just in time to notice someone walking up the causeway toward him. The person was a young woman. Venture noticed that she had a mane of strawberry blonde-colored hair that came halfway down her back in a ponytail and looked somewhat familiar.
She was tastefully dressed in a black skirt, boots, white sweater, and tan-colored leather jacket, and was carrying a bouquet of flowers.
"Who are you?" he asked. "I think I recognize you, but..."
"You don't remember me, sir?" she asked.
"No, I don't."
"Ensign Holly Parsons...from the Iscandar mission?" she suggested helpfully.
"Oh...you were Nova Forrester's second-in-command in the Living Group?" asked Venture.
Holly nodded. "Right. sir. But, now, I'm a Junior Lieutenant."
"Why are you here?" asked Mark.
Holly quietly walked up to one of the portraits. "I'm here because of my brother David," she said, pausing at a very fresh bas-relief plaque as she laid down the bouquet before it.
"Davy? From the Black Tigers?"
Holly nodded sadly.
"I'm sorry...I didn't know Davy was your brother."
"I remember, from his two letters, that he was in Conroy's squadron. " Holly paused a little, sadly, as she said, "From the letter I got from Captain Wildstar, I understand he was one of those who went into the Comet Empire city."
"You know he....he didn't come out," she said as her voice hitched. Fighting hard to keep her composure, she knelt down and gently placed the bouquet on the cold flagstones.
Holly came to her feet a moment later, and, as tears ran down her cheeks, she snapped a salute. Beside her, Mark followed suit.
"Why...why'd you have to go?" Holly sobbed while looking up in the distance. "You were just...another one of the pilots at the Moon Surface Air Station. What possessed you to run off and join up with Conroy? Guess I'll never get to find out, now, David, will I?"
"I didn't know him that well...but I heard nice things about him from Conroy and Hardy."
"You would've," sobbed Parsons. "He was a good kid."
Venture nodded. He and Holly stood together in silence for several moments. Finally, Holly asked. "Mark, if I may ask...why are you here?"
Mark sighed. "I've lost someone very special, too. She wasn't with the Star Force, and so, she isn't enshrined here, but she'll always be enshrined in my heart..."
"Trelaina of Telezart?" asked Holly reverently.
Mark just nodded mournfully, breaking his silence with the statement, "I'm sure you must've heard a lot about her."
"Who on Earth hasn't?" said Parsons. "She stopped Zordar and sent him down to where he belongs... and she brought you back to us," said Holly quietly as she gazed at Mark for a moment.
"Yeah," sighed Venture. "Sometimes...I wish she..."
"You wish what?" asked Holly.
"...Nothing..." said Mark.
"What Trelaina did was a loving and noble thing. She knew that a lot of people here on Earth would depend upon you, us included."
"You're a vital part of the Star Force, sir. And, well...I felt I had to speak in the plural sense because I just got my orders. In a few days, I'll be casting off with you, Captain Wildstar, Nova, and the rest of my old friends again. After the sorts of assignments I've had in the past year, I can't wait to be back on a battlewagon again."
Venture smiled ironically. "Yeah. Even though all we're going to be doing is going out on patrol and looking for more of those Cometine stragglers. The Defense Council's finally decided that they need to have the edge of the solar system fumigated and we got picked to be the exterminators."
"Venture, I'm surprised at you!" said Holly as she stood there with her hands on her hips. "Weren't you the second-in-command of the Argo on her last cruise?"
"Unofficially...under Wildstar. Now, of course, I'm officially the XO of the ship. But...."
"Well, part of me wants to be there, but part of me doesn't want to be there. I'll be back on that bridge again...but it'll be full of memories every time Homer taps in something at his post."
"May I ask why?"
"That's how Trelaina and I met. You could say we had the world's longest-distance long-distance romance at first. But, then, it grew into something special...something deep...heart-rending. I wanted to stay with her so badly...but, I guess it wasn't meant to be.
As usual, Destiny dealt me its hand, and I got the Joker I...damn...I must be driving you crazy with all this. I'm sorry."
"No...it's good to talk things out. Really. It's all right. Let's sit down to talk this over."
"Yes, literally," said Holly, as a silence fell for a moment.
II. QUIET CONVERSATIONS..
Sunday, January 3, 2202
0122 Hours: Eastern Standard Time
Venture chuckled a little...it was a dark chuckle, and he shook his head. "You remind me of someone else I know right about now."
"I'll ask you who some other time, sir," said Holly dryly. To Mark's surprise, she sat down cross-legged on the cold pavement. "C'mon? Sitting down?"
"Why not?" smiled Venture, who sat down across from Parsons...at a respectable distance. After all, even though she had been a crewmate on the voyage to Iscandar, he hadn't known her that well, and he hadn't seen her in a year. Also, at the moment, romance was nowhere on his mind. Mark was sort of in the mood to talk a bit with someone who was sort of in the same boat with him, mourning someone she had loved.
"What else did you know about David?" asked Holly.
"A bit...he was a nice guy...good pilot...Conroy liked him...he didn't get along with Sergeant Knox...."
"Sergeant Webb Knox, of the Marine Security Squadron on Planet Brumus. He's buried over there," said Venture, pointing to one of the plaques under Avatar's bronze visage. "We picked up him and his men after finding them under attack by Cometine forces. They helped us out on Telezart and in other places, but they were a pain and a half otherwise. Yet, I'm told that Sergeant Knox died a very brave death. He returned to the Argo after planting some bombs in the Comet Empire City, crash-landing his plane back on the ship. I'm told it was the last thing he ever did...he died at the controls on the way in...torn up from shrapnel in the blast he set off in the Comet City." Venture shook his head with bittersweet irony. "Derek and Nova told me about it later on, of course. Where I was...I was in no shape to know about such things."
"I...heard the story," said Holly. "What was it like...coming back...?"
"I'd rather not talk about it now," said Mark in a quiet voice. "What were you up to in the past year?"
"Well, after we came back the fall of 2200, I spent a while at Earth Defense Headquarters while everything was being relocated around," said Holly. "When that assignment was over with in December, I was assigned to explore parts of the South Pacific for a while. I spent New Years' Day of 2201 snorkeling off near Fiji with Nova Forrester and two other people in our Survey Team. Considering that we sort of lived in a Jet Recon Boat at the time, it was fun getting into the water, but, otherwise, it was really hot, rainy, nasty, and humid there. In February of 2201, after doing ground maneuvers in the cold in Colorado, I found myself promoted to Junior Lieutenant and assigned as Living Group Leader on a patrol cruiser known as the Agano. Made some friends, worked my tail off. Got back in May, took leave, and went on in June on another patrol cruiser; the Lehigh. Captain Rico delighted in working us hard again. We were out past Pluto when word came that you guys had stolen the Argo. Would you believe, we were on picket duty for a day looking for you in case you tried to break out of the Solar System near there?"
"Funny coincidence..." laughed Venture.
"Yes...and I got very nauseous later on when I realized that Dave had flown the coop and joined up with you...and, if you would've made it out there, my own brother would've been trying to shoot us up...and we would've been trying to shoot him down. Three days later, after I got a scrambled message capsule letter from Dave telling me where he was. Later, after we had heard that the Argo was exonerated, we had our first run-in with Cometine Scorpions, and, with a lot of emergency redeployments and a few weeks' worth of silence, that's how we spent the war...shooting at stray planes out in our picket zones. The main fleet bypassed us, and we were nowhere near the White Comet when it warped in. It was tense, but, compared to you guys and the Danube, we had a very boring war. When the whole thing wrapped up that day in November, we had just shot down another recon boat, and were waiting for more. It was pretty grim until we heard what happened with Trelaina a few hours after the fact. When I later heard, on Saturn-Titan, that you had bought it...I didn't feel all that good."
"Why not? You didn't know me that well."
"But you were still my friend, sir," insisted Holly. "Would you feel very good if you had heard one of your friends had died?"
"No...and, recently, I've had too much experience," said Mark.
At that, they both went silent for a moment. Finally, Venture said, "And this time...you're coming with us..."
"Uh-huh..." said Holly. "And I've got a lot on my mind."
"You mean the mission?" guessed Mark.
"I sure do. Since it's been a while since I've been...on the Argo, I'd like to talk to someone about all this, and I felt that you'd be the best one I could discuss all of this with... I mean…is...it okay to talk all this over with you, sir?"
"Of course it is," replied Mark. "I think it'd be a good idea some time. "
"Preferably in a spot warmer than this..."
"Definitely," laughed Holly. "Any suggestions?"
" I know of a few restaurants," said Venture. "But, mind you, it's business. After all...."
"You outrank me, Mark!" she said as she got up.
"I do...but that doesn't mean we can't get together some time to discuss business. When will you be free again?"
"Well...I'm on TDY at Headquarters until we take off, so, let's play it by ear, okay? We'll exchange numbers and all that."
As Mark and Holly walked on, the rain began to fall again, but the weather no longer depressed Venture quite as much, because, after all, he had rekindled an old acquaintance.
"Nice running into you again, you know, sir..." said Holly.
"Uh...when we get together again off-duty, would you mind not calling me 'sir?' quite as much?"
"May I ask why?"
Venture just smiled a little. "Well, paraphrasing the words...of a famous old fictional character. Holly, I think this is the resumption of a beautiful friendship..."
At that, Junior Lieutenant Holly Parsons smiled.
And, far, far away, so did someone else.
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