Chapter 10 - The Journey Home
Aboard the Yamato, the crew continued to prepare for their
journey home. The Xylotian Armada caused extensive damage to the ship but the spirits
of the crew were running high and everyone pitched in to help with the repair work.
The mysterious data disc had been analyzed and translated. It revealed that the storm and the void would appear for only ninety Xylotian days. After the ninety day period, both the void and the storm would disappear for another year. If a ship got caught in the storm or the void when they disappeared, it would be lost forever.
The Xylotians had been studying the storm and the void for ten years. They had made many attempts to navigate through them but they lacked the power necessary to complete the trip. One day they discovered an ore on the Planet Xylotia that was able to negate the effects of the electromagnetic waves in the void and the wind of the space storm. They decided to cover one of their ships with this ore and it successfully navigated through the void and the storm.
"That's the ship that attacked us," said Wildstar.
"That's right," said Sandor. "Now that we know what we're dealing with our engines, once repaired, will be strong enough to get us home."
"Then why do you have this concerned look on your face?" Wildstar asked.
"That's why I have asked you to meet me here in the main science lab," answered Sandor. "I didn't want to waste any time. I just finished doing some research and it appears that we have less than seven days until the storm disappears for another year. I suggest we double our efforts to get our engines fully functional."
"Good work Sandor," said Wildstar.
"Anytime," said Sandor. "I will go help the folks in the engine room."
Sandor was about to leave but stopped. He turned back to Wildstar.
"I'm sorry Wildstar. I know how difficult it must have been for you to witness that whole execution. I'm sorry if I let you down. I take full responsibility for the deaths of Beau and Vance. I'm sorry if what I was about to do reminded you of your brother's death."
"It's okay," said Wildstar. "I'm just glad you're alive."
"Do you know anything about that ship the Omega?" Sandor asked trying to change the topic of conversation.
"Not much really other than Commander Todo sent it to find us," answered Wildstar. "Why?"
"There's something strangely familiar about it." Sandor said as he left for the engine room.
Jordy entered the medical wing of the Space Battleship Omega. He was looking for Reemer and Captain Taylor who were injured in the Xylotian attack. As he entered the small waiting area Jordy noticed a pretty nurse sitting at a desk. She was staring down at her duty report. She was clearly distressed. The medical staff was critically under staffed and she didn't know how she was going schedule the nurses to properly handle the injury crisis.
"Excuse me, I am Chief Navigator Jordy Venture. I'm looking for Deputy Captain Reemer and Captain Taylor."
The nurse, clearly annoyed, pointed to another room. "They're in there. Take as long as you'd like."
"How are they doing?" Jordy asked.
"They'll be fine," replied the nurse. "They both have cracked ribs, some deep cuts and a concussion. I am hoping to get the Deputy Captain out of here later today. The sooner I get that one out of my sick bay the better!"
Uh oh, thought Jordy. What had Reemer gotten himself into this time? Jordy walked over to the door and it slid open. Reemer was lying in bed and looked up at his friend.
"Hey man," said Reemer. "I've been waitin' for you to show up. Where've ya been?"
"Working." Jordy said abruptly. "In case you haven't noticed, we're a little banged up at the moment. What's up with you? Get a bump on the head or something?"
Reemer began to laugh. "No way, man! But I do think that nurse out there likes me. But enough about me. You my friend, you're a hero! Everybody's talkin' 'bout it. It's like the game with the Asteroids. You came off the bench and had the winning hoop with no time left on the clock. Man that was great too!"
"What are you talking about Reemer?" Jordy asked. "Are you on some pain killers or something?"
Reemer began to shake his head. "Maybe YOU got the bump on the head! You saved the ship! You'll probably make General with that space warp! Speaking of which, the Captain wants to see ya."
"Why does he want to see me?" Jordy asked surprisingly.
"I dunno." Reemer said as he pointed to the other door in the room. "He's in there. I guess the ship was running short on rooms so they converted this one into two."
"I hope I don't get the stockade," said Jordy as he glanced at the door to the Captain's room.
Reemer laughed again. "I really don't know pal. Go find out."
Jordy walked over and knocked on the door. "This is Jordy Venture reporting, Sir."
Jordy heared a voice from the other side of the door. "Please come in."
The door slid open and Jordy walked slowly into the room. Taylor was in bed and had his sheets pulled up to his chest. There was a large white bandage on his forehead but was proudly wearing his Captain's hat. There was an empty chair next to the bed.
"Have a seat Venture." Taylor said quietly.
"How are you feeling Captain?" Jordy asked as he sat down next to his commander.
Taylor sat up. "I am doing well. I want to apologize to you and say thank you for saving the ship."
"Sir?" Jordy asked surprisingly.
"I was wrong about you Jordy," said Taylor. "You really are a fine officer. You faced an extremely tough situation and instead of running away, you faced the danger head on and did what you had to do to get the job done. Because of that, we are alive today. Thank you Jordy."
"It's my honor to serve with you Captain," said Jordy. "If there isn't anything else, I need to get back to the bridge. We have a lot of work to do to get the Omega ready for the return voyage."
Taylor nodded in agreement. "By all means."
Jordy stood, saluted and turned to leave.
Jordy stopped and turned around. "Yes Captain?"
"Say hello to your brother for me when you see him."
"Yes Sir!" Jordy said as he snapped to attention. "Thank you, Sir!"
Jordy left Captain Taylor's room. He looked at Reemer who was staring at the nurse in the administration area.
"Oh by the way, how are you doing Reemer?" Jordy asked sarcastically.
"Sure now you ask," said Reemer. "I'm doin' pretty good. Should be back on the bridge any minute now ordering your butt around."
Jordy laughed. "I don't think so Reemer. Taylor's replacing you."
"What did you say?" Reemer asked. "I'm not sure I heard you correctly."
"You heard me," said Jordy. "I'm the new leader around here. You said it yourself. I was going to become General!"
Just as the words left his mouth, Jordy started laughing.
"Very funny hot shot," said Reemer. "Now get your rear end up on the bridge before I have you arrested!"
"Just a piece of advice, I'd give up on that nurse if I were you." Jordy said. "I don't think she likes you very much."
Reemer threw his pillow at Jordy. The pillow missed him but hit Comet right in the face just as he entered the room.
"What was that for?" Comet asked. Comet tossed the pillow back to Reemer. "How's it going?"
"It's goin' good," answered Reemer. "Should be outta here in a few hours if all goes well. Then I'm gonna ask that nurse out on a date."
"Too late." Comet said while shaking his head.
"What are you talking about?" Reemer asked.
"I got a date with her tonight," said Comet.
Reemer shook his head. "This isn't my day."
To honor the fallen soldiers and the Xylotian moon's future, the Yamato and the Omega's guns were fired into space. The crews of both ships stood at attention and saluted the Xylotian moon as their ships began their journey home.
The Omega followed the Yamato into the void's sea of blackness. The ships followed the signals from their relay satellites and soon they were thrown into the violent space storm. Less than an hour later, they were back in the Milky Way Galaxy as the storm behind them disappeared for another year.
The crews were given a twenty-four hour pass and a party had been scheduled aboard the Yamato at twenty-one hundred hours. Wildstar met Reemer and Captain Taylor on their end of the transport tube that connected the Yamato to the Omega. After some brief introductions, Taylor and Reemer were given a complete tour of the Yamato. Reemer, thrilled to be meeting Wildstar for the first time, was in awe of the Yamato's skipper. He soaked in every word Wildstar had to say hoping to learn as much as he could about the Yamato and its Captain.
Later in the Yamato's mess hall, the party was well under way. Jordy Venture had gone on his own to search for his brother. While he made his way through the crowd of people, Jordy bumped into someone by accident.
"Whoops sorry about that," said Jordy apologetically.
The other person also turned to apologize. "Well that's o...Jordy, hey little brother!"
"Mark, it's you!" Jordy threw his arms around his big brother. "I've been looking all over the universe for you."
Mark began to laugh. "That's exactly what your Captain said!" Mark's smile disappeared. "You're lucky I don't kill you for that little stunt you pulled. That warp was incredibly dangerous. Are they teaching maneuvers like that at the Academy nowadays?"
"Nope," answered Jordy. "That one I learned from you! Hey, did you see Reemer? He's my best friend. Remember him from the neighborhood?"
"You mean that runny nosed little kid that used to always beat you in Astro-Ball?" Mark asked.
"Ha, ha, pretty funny," laughed Jordy half-heartedly.
The two Chief Navigators talked for hours about their adventures. They were happy to be together. They were soldiers who were called to duty. But first and foremost they were brothers who had a bond that could never be broken.
Wildstar made his way through the crowded room. He had been looking for Sandor all evening but was constantly getting interrupted with handshakes and glad-to-meet-you's. He wondered where his friend was hiding. As he entered the far end of the room, IQ-9 rolled up to him. Wildstar didn't even look at IQ-9. He continued to survey the room.
"IQ-9, have you seen Sandor?"
Lights flashed on IQ-9's control grid and chirps and whistles emitted from his back side.
<THERE ARE ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-SEVEN PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM AND SANDOR IS NOT ONE OF THEM.>
Wildstar walked away from IQ-9 and continued his search for Sandor. He left the hall and entered the rear observation deck. He noticed Sandor quietly staring into space at the Omega. Sandor never moved as Wildstar stopped beside his friend.
"You okay Sandor?" Wildstar asked. "Everybody's wondering where you are."
Sandor just stared out of the observation deck at the Omega.
"What do you think of her Wildstar?" Sandor asked.
"It's a nice looking ship," answered Wildstar.
"Remember that project I was telling you about? Well, you're looking at it," said Sandor. "Captain Taylor told me earlier that the Commander had her finished while we were away on this mission. I had named her the Paladia after your brother Alex's ship the Paladin. I still miss him."
"He was a great fighter and a good man." Wildstar said solemnly.
"Sacrifice is what it's all about. Isn't it?" Sandor asked.
Wildstar agreed. "Yes it is, Sandor. Yes it is."
"I've been wanting to ask you something for a while now," said Sandor. "I guess there's no better time than the present."
"Sure, go ahead." Wildstar replied.
"How would you feel if I took a position at Earth Defense Headquarters? The Commander wants me to spend all of my time rebuilding the Earth fleet. To do that I would have to resign my position on the Yamato."
Wildstar began to smile. "You know Sandor, I was going to ask you the same exact thing."
"Really? I never thought you would give up your command."
"I have more to live for now," said Wildstar. "I want to settle down, get married and have a few kids. I am getting very tired of being away from home."
Sandor agreed. "There's nothing like Earth."
Both men stared at the Omega.
"I now know how you must have felt when we left Alex and Starsha on Iscandar back in twenty-two hundred," said Sandor.
"What do you mean?" Wildstar asked.
"Somehow I feel like I've left a brother back on that moon."
Sandor turned and shook Wildstar's hand. Their bond was one of warriors, of brothers and of soldiers of honor.
"Thank you Wildstar," said Sandor as he walked out of the room.
Wildstar stood staring at the Space Battleship Omega; the future of the Earth Defense Fleet. He was dreaming of a time away from the Yamato, away from battle and back on Earth. He then felt a light tap on his shoulder.
Wildstar turned and looked into Nova's beautiful eyes.
"What do you say we finish that dinner?" Wildstar asked. "We have a future to plan."
A tear ran down Nova's cheek as she hugged Wildstar; the man she had always loved, now more than ever. The two soldiers, with new and spectacular thoughts in their minds, just stood in the quiet, star filled room, gazing into space; both of them knowing that their lives would never be the same again.