SHADO
Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

News:
Page Index Toggle Pages: [1] 2  Add Poll Send Topic
Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Silver Star (Read 8165 times)
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Silver Star
Jul 16th, 2010 at 3:15pm
Print Post  
Silver Star
A UFO Story

Written by Matthew R. White
© July 16, 2010
Based on the Characters and series created by Gerry Anderson


Historian’s Note: The events depicted here take place during and after the episode “The Man Who Came Back” written by Terence Feely. It contains dialogue from that episode.

Prologue:
Craig Collins and Ginny Lake walked to the reception sphere hand in hand. Over the past ten months they had become close friends and two months prior the relationship had bloomed into the promise of romance.

“So Ginny, when do you leave for earth?”

“Tomorrow afternoon. One whole week out of this tin can, then eight more weeks and I get my new assignment.”

“Yes, I know. That means I’m going to have to salute you now,” he said teasingly.

“Oh stop it.”

“Seriously Virginia, you’ve worked very hard, you deserve it.”

“I’m glad you think so, I heard Foster threw a fit when he found out.”

“Rumors, I wouldn’t give it much credence. So, how about dinner on Saturday night?”

“I think I could be persuaded, but let’s make it something special.”

“I like the sound of that, what’s the occasion?”

Virginia stroked his nose with her finger as they turned towards each other, “You’ll find out, on Saturday night.”

“Now I can hardly wait.”

“You just pay attention to your instruments on the way down; I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Is that an order from the soon to be executive officer?”

“Yeah, it is. I’m serious, be careful,” she said as she threw her arms around him.

“Don’t worry Ginny; this old astronaut isn’t going anywhere.”

Still embraced they kissed each other tenderly.

“Have a safe flight Craig.”

Collins gave her a wink as he let her go and turned to the airlock. She waited for the hatch to close then headed for the control sphere. She had a system check scheduled this afternoon and wanted to get a jump on it.

Ginny had been uninterested in Collins when they first met on Moonbase nine months ago, but he had slowly grown on her, so much that she had John Grey run a Computer relationship study on them. The study wasn’t required unless a relationship became intimate but to Ginny that made little or no sense at all. What would happen if the study showed a contradiction and they had already formed an emotional attachment? She did not want to expose herself to that possibility.

Ginny and Craig had not yet got to the point of intimacy as Ginny was very old fashioned in that respect. But she realized today that she was falling in love with Craig and she was ready to explore a deeper relationship with him.

The girls were somewhat surprised that Craig and she had ended up as an item but Ginny saw through the rough and ready exterior that Craig displayed. He had a very keen mind and a taste for classical music, one of Ginny’s love's in life. As she got to know him, she found that they had a lot in common.

At least he wasn’t a puzzle to her, unlike Ed Straker. The Commander was one of the reasons that she took so long to pursue a relationship with Craig. She had resigned herself to the fact that she would never figure him out, and she wasn’t getting any younger. Ed was a fantasy and it looked like that was all he would ever be. Maybe one day Craig could help her understand Ed, they were good friends after all.

She walked into the control sphere and started looking over the system checklist as she sat down at her console.

“Did you see your honey off?” asked Nina teasingly.

“Oh stop it,” said Ginny, then, “yes, I did.”

Nina came up to the console so they could speak privately, “So have you told him yet?”

“Told him what?” she asked innocently.

“The three little words?”

“Nina!” she said embarrassed.

“Well it’s written all over your face.”

“It’s is?” asked Ginny surprised.

“Yeah, it is. You’ve been on a cloud since he arrived a couple of days ago.”

“I guess I have,” she said as she sighed.

“Isn’t being in love grand?” asked Nina.

“I’ll let you know, after we do this system check.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:09am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #1 - Jul 16th, 2010 at 5:30pm
Print Post  
Chapter 1:
Colonel Craig Collins checked his course readout and found that he was right on the money; a midcourse correction would not be needed. Damn, there goes my excuse to talk to Ginny! He figured that he would just have to come up with something else.

Virginia was unlike any other woman he had ever known, and he was enthralled with her. Craig had seldom had to wait more than a second date before moving to the next level, until now. But he didn’t mind at all, as he saw Ginny as someone very special.

Ginny had told Craig of her failed marriage now years in the past and that she hadn’t been with anyone since. That was a rarity in itself and Collins was honored when she agreed to start seeing him. And now he found himself in love with her and that surprised him, as he never thought of himself as the type that would settle down. He could however, picture himself with her as they shared quite a few common interests, but he still couldn’t beat her at chess.

Collins decided to have some fun with her, to hell with the regulations! He flipped on his transmitter and called.


In the control sphere Ginny was reading off the system check list while Nina and Joan verified the status of each subsystem. Halfway through the check the speaker came to life.

“Ship five three four to Moonbase Commander, ship five three four to Moonbase Commander.”

While Nina and Joan grinned at her, Ginny walked to the console and flipped up the mic.

“Go ahead five three four.”

“Approaching an earthly reentry, and feeling blue. Is it still alright for Saturday night darlin’?”

  Ginny was embarrassed, as she answered, “Your communications are against standard procedure.” She then added, “And yes, it’s still alright for Saturday night.”

“Now that’s more like it.”


An hour later Straker was walking through the control room heading for his office when he overheard Lt. Paulson mention Collins ship.

“Five three four, that’s Craig Collins, isn’t it?”

“Yes sir.”

Straker smiled, “Have him call me when he gets down, will you?”

“Yes sir.”

Straker continued walking to his office when Tara Paulson sang out, “Pilot reports fire in cabin.”

Straker spun around and rushed back to her station.

“Let me in there.”

Ed quickly sat down at the console and studied the readouts. Even a small fire in a spacecraft could be deadly in a short period of time, and Craig was one of his best friends.

“Craig, it’s Ed, how bad is it?”

“I can’t tell… There’s a lot of smoke… and it seems to be getting worse.”

“Craig, push the life support, and try cutting your Q circuits.”

Behind him Paul Foster has just walked into the control room as Ayshea Johnson turned to the Commander, “SID reporting three alien craft.”

Over the speaker came Collins voice, “It’s no good, the heat is still building up.”

“Sighting confirmed,” said Johnson.

Straker was torn trying to keep track of both goings on.

“Main warning lights are on. Repeat alarm lights are on.”

The baritone voice of SID came over the speaker in the control room. “Three alien craft at five million miles, closing. Speed SOL eight.”

Straker knew he had to make a choice, “Hold on Craig… Be back with you in a minute.” He turned to Lt. Paulson, “Stay with him.”

“Range four million miles closing.”

“Launch the interceptors,” said Straker as he walked over to the main console.


On Moonbase the interceptors were already on the pads.

“Interceptors immediate launch,” said Ginny seated at the command console.

The three interceptors lifted off their pads and headed out towards space.

Ginny listened to the communications between Craig and HQ. She knew he was in serious trouble and she was powerless to do anything about it.


“Trajectory, Northern Europe. Range: three and a half million miles and closing.”

“Two million miles, closing. Speed reducing to SOL six.” Sid continued to report.

Straker watched as the UFO’s approached still torn between duty and friendship. He could hear Collins coughing in the background, his voice filled with urgency.

“One UFO has changed trajectory, predicted target this satellite.”


On Moonbase Virginia watched the readouts and swore to herself when she heard the new course.

“Interceptor two, lock on to new bearing, three-three-zero.”


The interceptor changed course and gave chase to the UFO heading for SID.

As the alien craft approached the L5 libration point where SID was parked the interceptor launched its missile, but the UFO fired an energy weapon at the satellite hitting it amidships. A moment later the alien craft exploded after being hit by the missile.


In the control room the voice of SID was heard as the satellite went through its death throes, it’s voice repeating ever slowly.

“I’ve been hit, I’ve been hit… I’ve… been… hit… Non… operational.”

The satellite went silent as its systems failed.


Interceptors one and three closed on the other two craft. They fired there missiles destroying one UFO and narrowly missing the second.


“Contact lost on the last UFO sir,” said Lt. Johnson.

“Damn, get Sky One in the air. Send them to the UFO’s last known datum point and start a search pattern.”

“Yes sir.”

Straker walked back to Paulson’s station.

“Do you still have Collins on the line?”

“Negative sir, we lost contact during reentry.”

“Very well, call me if you reestablish contact.”

“Yes sir.”

  “Colonel Foster come with me,” said Straker as he walked towards his office.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:09am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #2 - Jul 16th, 2010 at 9:34pm
Print Post  
On Moonbase Virginia had her hands full. The destruction of SID had created a huge hole in the tracking network and she was trying to fill the gap by rerouting the space borne tracking assets through the Moonbase computer system.

The telemetry and control links for SID were offline and there was no way to ascertain the damage to the satellite without an actual hands-on inspection. The only reason she knew it hadn’t been completely destroyed was it had broadcast a death knell and it still showed up on radar.

While Virginia worked on cross connecting the satellites Nina and Joan attempted to restart SID. Up to this point the complex satellite had ignored all the commands sent to it. The radar showed that it was still spinning out of control meaning the station keeping systems were offline as well.

“Any luck Nina?”

“No Colonel, I don’t even know if the restart signal is getting through. SID is still spinning out of control. I can’t establish a steady telemetry link.”

“Let’s hope the watchdog timers are working. If we can’t stabilize the satellite we won’t be able to get near it for a repair mission.”

Virginia finished the last cross-connect and restated the tracking network. Until SID was repaired every sighting would have to be analyzed by hand, fallible human hands.

The range of detection had just been significantly decreased as well. The network would not be able to establish positive track on any object out farther than fifteen million miles. They were more vulnerable to attack than they had been in a long time.

“Let’s get the mobile launchers in position and I want a waking alert for the primary interceptor team.”

“Yes Colonel,” said Nina.

“Colonel Lake, I have a telemetry link. It looks like the station keeping system is back on line.”

“Alright Joan, give me a status report.”

“Coming up.”

Joan keyed in the command for SID to run a self diagnostic.
They watched as the results appeared on the screen.

“Station keeping system operational, radio links operational, tracking sensors inoperative, networking systems inoperative, artificial intelligence routines inoperative, main CPU compromised.”

“Joan, print me a detailed copy and send one down to HQ. Advise them of our current tracking status and operational readiness state.”

“Yes ma’am.”

It had been almost an hour since the attack and Ginny had not had a chance to think about Craig. She wondered about him now, unsure if he had made it or not. She was fighting back tears knowing that the chances of him surviving were not good. Nina walked up to her console to speak privately.

“Ginny, why don’t you take a break?”

“I can’t Nina, there’s too much to do.”

“Ginny, you’ve already done all you can do right now, please take a break, you know Straker is going to be calling up here as soon as he sees that report.”

“I know and I should be here.”

“Listen to me, you need the release. You don’t want to do it in front of the Commander do you?”

“No I suppose not.”

She got up from her station and walked out of the control sphere. When she reached her quarters the tears would not come right away as it wasn’t yet real. It wasn’t until she saw the thermos of coffee Craig brought her that she realized he wouldn’t be coming back. In a torrent of emotion she let her grief come to the surface.


For the past hour Straker and Foster had been working on a plan to reroute all the earthbound tracking assets to tighten the radar net. The tracking data had to be routed directly to HQ for the main computer system to sort out. It was a cumbersome arrangement and Straker was not happy with it.

“What about Moonbase, sir.”

“If Colonel Lake is worth her salt she’s doing the same thing we are with the satellites.”

“You didn’t check with her?”

“I don’t need to. She should be following standard procedure and I have every reason to believe that’s what she is doing.”

“I see.”

As if on cue the door opened and Ayshea Johnson brought in set of reports.

“Status reports from Moonbase sir.”

“Oh thank you Lieutenant.”

Straker quickly thumbed through the tracking report, the coverage wasn’t great but it was better than he expected in the short term. The SID report confirmed his worse fears, for all practical purposes the satellite was out of commission. About all it could do was correct its attitude and tell them that it didn’t work. Straker actually smiled when he saw the readiness report. Colonel Lake had brought the base to full alert and was already canceling furloughs. Damn she’s good, he said to himself, and not for the first time.

“Take a look at these Paul.”

Foster read through the reports nodding his head knowingly.

“It looks like she covered all the bases.”

“That’s why she’s getting promoted; I don’t have to hold her hand.”

“What if you didn’t want to use this plan?”

“Then we’d have to change it wouldn’t we. Paul let me give you a bit of advice concerning command. You can be right, and you can be wrong, but you should never ever be uncertain.”

Paul considered his words and took them to heart. He had reacted poorly when he heard the Colonel Lake had been promoted to acting second. Someone had overheard is reaction and the word had spread around the base at light speed. Paul had tried to dispel the rumors, as he had nothing against Colonel Lake and he didn’t want to get off on a bad note with her.

“Paul I’m going to be sending you up to Moonbase to help Colonel Lake. She is going to be busy trying to improve our tracking capability while we figure out how we are going to repair SID. Colonel Lake is still going to be in command of the base but you most likely will be assuming most of her normal duties. Do you have a problem with that?

“No sir.”

“Good, I’m glad to hear it. You’ll be leaving tomorrow and I’d plan on being up there for a while. That’s all for now.”

“Yes sir.”

When Foster had left, Ed steeled himself for an unpleasant duty. They still hadn’t heard from Collins and Ed feared the worst. He knew that Craig and Colonel Lake had become very close over the past couple of months and she deserved to know what was going on. He owed it to both of them.

Straker keyed the intercom, “Contact Moonbase and get Colonel Lake on the vidlink.”

“Yes sir.”

A few minutes later Virginia appeared on the monitor. Ed could see that she had been crying.

“Colonel, are you alright?”

“Yes sir. You needed to speak to me?”

“Yes, we haven’t yet heard anything from Craig. We had radar coverage where is ship should have went down but we never picked him up. That means he either didn’t reenter or…”

“I know, sir. A burn up,” she wiped her eyes fighting tears again.

“Colonel I’m sorry, Craig is a friend of mine too, a good friend. If I hear anything you’ll be the first person I call.”

“Thank you sir.”

“I’m sending Colonel Foster up there to help you. I need you to come up with a way to extend our detection range. Push as many of your normal duties off on to Paul as you need to.”

“I heard he was resentful about my promotion. Is it wise to send him up here now?”

“That rumor reached my ears as well, so consider this a test. If he works out then we’ll know it was just gossip. If he’s resentful and can’t follow orders, then I want you to drop kick his ass back to Earth on the next shuttle and I’ll send someone else. Colonel Foster will find himself cooling his heels at the Siberian Tracking station.”

Virginia had to stifle a chuckle.

“I don’t think it will come to that sir.”

“Good, I call you if I hear anything. Straker out.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:10am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #3 - Jul 17th, 2010 at 12:00am
Print Post  
Chapter 2:
Paul Foster arrived on Moonbase the next day along with a shipment of computer components that Colonel Lake had requested for the tracking system. By using sub processing modules to sort the tracking data she hoped to be able to extend the range and reliability of the cobbled together tracking network.

Paul walked into the reception area where Virginia was waiting for him. Paul had always thought that she dressed outmoded, her attire being ultra conservative. Her Moonbase uniform however was quite a different matter. Not as form fitted as the trackers but it still showed off her figure in a flattering way and it made her much more attractive to him. She was a few years older than him but she didn’t look it.

“Hello Virginia, it’s nice to see you again.”

“And you Paul.”

“The Commander wants me to help you out anyway I can.”

“Paul why don’t we go to my quarters so we can speak in private.”

“Alright.”


When they arrived in her quarters she asked over her shoulder, “Coffee?”

“Yes, please.”

Virginia made two cups and sat down across from Paul handing him the cup.

“This is very good.”

“I got sick of the stuff they were sending up here so I got my own machine and coffee.”

“The coffee has always been bad up here.”

“Paul, I’m going to get right to the point. I heard a rumor that you were not happy about my promotion to executive officer. I want to know if there is any truth to it, and is it going to cause us a problem?”

Damn the rumor mill made it all the way up here! Paul decided to be up front.

“I said some things that I shouldn’t have. But it was nothing against you personally. I was upset that I wasn’t considered for the position.”

Virginia was surprised at his admission.

“Well at least you’re honest. I can work with that. You should know that the decision was made almost a year ago, and nobody was more surprised that I was. So can we work together Paul?”

“I don’t think it will be a problem, as long as you’re willing to share your coffee,” he said with a smile.

That statement broke the tension between them and Ginny allowed herself to relax.

“Well I don’t know, I don’t share my coffee with just anyone, but seeing that you were honest I suppose it will be alright. Paul I’m going to need you to basically take over my duties in operations while I concentrate on solving our tracking problems. You’ll have a free hand in the day to day operations, but I want to know ahead of time if you want to make any assignment or scheduling changes.”

“I don’t see that to be a problem. Anything else?”

“You’ll start on the first shift tomorrow taking my place, otherwise I think that’s it.”

“Well I’ll see you later, thanks for the coffee.”

She watched him walk out grateful that he wasn’t going to be a problem and turned her thoughts back to Craig. It had been over twenty four hours since he should have reentered. By this time tomorrow he will be officially declared lost. Ginny thought of the possibilities that would never be and started to cry.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:10am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #4 - Jul 17th, 2010 at 2:38pm
Print Post  
A week later Ginny was having breakfast with Nina in the leisure sphere. The day Collins was declared lost had been hard on her and she was still struggling with the loss. She had immersed herself into the tracking problem using it as a lifeline, but sooner or later she was going to have to deal with the grief.

“How are you holding up?” asked Nina.

“I don’t know, it just seems to hit me at the oddest times, I still haven’t dealt with it.”

“It’s going to take some time. You and Craig were at a transition in your relationship; sometimes losing someone then can be harder than if it happened later. You end up with a plethora of what ifs. It’s enough to drive you crazy.”

“That’s where I think I’m at right now. I just feel so empty.”

“How are you getting along with Paul?”

“Better than I thought I would considering what I’ve heard about him, but then you know that I like to form my own opinion about people. I don’t care much for gossip.”

“Speaking of gossip I heard about his reaction to your promotion.”

“I talked to him about it. He did say a few things that he shouldn’t have, and he apologized for it. The whole incident was blown out of proportion,” said Ginny.

“I talked to Joan last night; she’s still fuming over her transfer getting canceled. She doesn’t get along with Foster at all.”

“I noticed that, I’m thinking about approving it. We’re caught up now and Gay is going to need to have her up to speed by next year. I spoke to her last night.”

“How is Gay?”

“She’s well; she just finished a three month training billet with Skydiver 1 as XO. From there she is going to spend six months at Dreamland testing the new Sky aeroceptor. The first one rolls out in six weeks. They laid the keel yesterday for Skydiver 5. She’s pretty busy.”

“I guess so; she gets to have all the fun.”

“By this time next year you’ll be just as busy as she is now. Straker has been pushing the IAC for two more SID satellites for over a year now. Maybe he’ll get them in light of this incident.”

“That’s one job I would never want, fighting with Henderson, that is.”

“I’ll be seeing more of him I’m afraid, and the fact that I’ve known him since I was a child doesn’t help at all.”

“You’ve known Henderson that long!”

“Yeah, small world. He flew with my father during World War Two. They were good friends and my mother still keeps in contact with him and his wife.”

Nina looked at the time, “Well I’d better get going; I’m due to relive Paul in a few minutes. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye.”

After Nina left, Ginny sat alone in the leisure sphere thinking about her father. He had died tragically young six months before she had been born. Contemplating that loss caused her to think about Craig and her grief came to the surface with a vengeance.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:11am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #5 - Jul 17th, 2010 at 7:42pm
Print Post  
Paul walked down the corridor heading for the leisure sphere hoping to catch Virginia before she left. He was dying for a good cup of coffee and she had been kind enough to share some with him at breakfast the other day. Paul had been told that she was cold and unapproachable by a few of the operatives at HQ but he found that not to be the case at all. While it was true that she didn’t always warm up to people right away, she still treated them with a reserved kindness. Paul found himself being quite attracted to her.

When he stepped of the elevator into the leisure sphere he found Virginia sitting on the couch crying. He walked over and sat next to her.

“Virginia, what’s wrong?”

“I never told him I loved him. I never had the chance, and now he’s gone…” she said through her tears.

Paul took her into his arms and to his surprise she didn’t resist instead returning the embrace and he held onto her until she had cried her heart out. A few minutes later she pulled away to look at him.

“I’m sorry Paul; I didn’t mean to fall apart like that.”

“You don’t have anything to apologize for.”

Paul looked into her eyes realizing for the first time how beautiful they were. He suddenly found himself overcome by the moment and he slowly went to kiss her. She seemed as if she was going to reciprocate when she quickly pulled back shaking her head.

“No Paul, I can’t. It’s too soon. I’m vulnerable right now and I could easily fall into your arms. I’m empty and I’m lonely. If I were to let this happen it would be for all the wrong reasons. It wouldn’t be fair to either one of us.”

“I understand,” he said with only a hint of rejection.

Virginia did not pick up on it as she was still dealing with her grief.

“Paul, what I need right now more than anything else is a friend.”

“Well that’s always a good start,” he said.

“I can’t promise anything more as I don’t know where I am. I may never feel anything more than that.”

“Ginny, let’s just take things one day at a time shall we?”

“Alright, but don’t get your hopes up.”

“I’d be happy to share the coffee with you,” he said with a grin.

Paul’s comment broke the tension and Ginny smiled.

“I think I can promise that.”

She stood up and he followed suit, “I have to get to work, I’ll see you later Paul.”

“Take care.”

Paul watched her walk out of the leisure sphere. He had never thought he would fall for the brainy type. I wonder how long she’ll keep my interest?
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:11am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #6 - Jul 19th, 2010 at 2:44pm
Print Post  
Ed Straker and John Grey sat at the conference table looking over the detailed damage report from SID. Over two thirds of the artificial intelligence hardware had been destroyed in the attack. The networking system was a total loss and the XI module for the FTL tracking system would have to be replaced.

“Alright John, let’s break this down from easiest the hardest in terms of obtaining replacements.”

“By far the easiest part to obtain is the XI module. When Virginia Lake designed the utronic system, she standardized the most important part. The same module is used throughout the system only needing different firmware depending on the application.”

“So all you have to do is change a chip?” asked Ed.

“It’s even simpler than that. The hardware uses flash memory to store the software routines. It’s cutting edge technology; you won’t see it outside the military for another ten years.”

“I see, so you just preprogram the module with the correct firmware and plug it in.”

“That’s right. So the FTL radar isn’t a problem. The networking systems are a bit more challenging as the hardware is outdated. But the interfaces are standard and the equipment mounts in nineteen inch racks. The replacements are actually smaller and more energy efficient than what was being used. The development team is already modifying the script to be loaded into the new router and switch configuration files,” said Grey.

“How about the main CPU, and AI routines?”

“That’s where things get dicey. The main CPU lost eight of the ten processers that make up its core. Since the processers are outdated, and no longer available, all of them are going to have to be replaced. It’s the same with the AI modules. We’re looking at a replacement of all the sub processers as four of the five units are defective.”

“How long before we can procure everything we need to mount a repair mission?”

“I’ve been told six weeks, but we might be able to shave a week off that, but that isn’t going to be the problem.”

“I know; Craig Collins was the only one qualified for this type of a mission.”

“If you say so Ed, Craig and I never saw eye to eye.”

“I had heard that, but it’s a moot point. So who on the personnel list can be brought up to speed in the shortest amount of time?”

“As far as the technical aspect is concerned the only person qualified is Virginia Lake.”

“Out of the question, I need her right where she is, who else?”

“John Masters has the technical ability, but doesn’t the astro training.”

“That’s eight weeks minimum; anyone else?” Ed asked.

“The only other person left is Paul Foster; he already has the basic astro training.”

“You forgot me John. Collins and I put SID up there.”

“Henderson would have a fit, Ed.”

“It won’t be the first time; I think we had better plan on getting Foster up to speed, he’ll be flying with me.”

“Very well Ed, I’ll let him know, but I’m not comfortable with you going either. The aliens could seize this as an opportunity to get their hands on you. They’ve tried it before.”

“I don’t see that we have any choice. We have to get SID back online, and if that means that I have to fly a space mission to accomplish that, then so be it. Besides it’s been too long since I rode a Saturn V into orbit. John this is going to be your project. Do whatever you have to do to get it done.”

When Grey had left Straker keyed his intercom, “Keith, get Colonel Lake on the vidlink please.”

“Yes sir.”

A few seconds later Virginia Lake appeared on the screen.

“Colonel Lake, I’m temporarily postponing Harrington’s transfer Earth side.”

“I understand; I assume you have a reason sir.”

“Yes, I do. How are you getting along with Colonel Foster?”

“We’re managing sir,” she said wryly.

“Good, I need you to bring Foster up to speed on the inner workings of SID; He is going to fly the repair mission with me.”

“I see. That’s an awful lot of material to cover in a short period of time.”

“I know; that’s why I only want you to cover the information that he absolutely needs to know to assist in the repair. Just cover the flash upgrade procedures, don’t get too technical. Have Nina, Joan, and Carol take over Moonbase operations. With you coming Earth side after SID is repaired Nina is going to be acting commander anyway.”

“That’s not a problem sir; she’s ready.”

“I didn’t have any doubt of that. Is Foster around?”

“Yes sir. I’ll transfer you.”


When the link was closed, Virginia shook her head thinking; Damn that man! Full of compliments yet he can’t even call me by my first name! Nina Barry walked up to the console and looked at her CO.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

“Does it show that much?” she quietly asked.

“Not really, except for the fact you look like you want to strangle someone.”

“You know Nina, I wouldn’t mind so much if he was as aloof with everyone else.”

“Maybe he’s hiding something. Watch his eyes the next time he speaks with you.”

“No way in hell Nina, I don’t believe it.”

“Well I could be wrong, but I’ve known Ed Straker for years, I’d be willing to bet dinner on it.”

Virginia couldn’t believe what she was hearing; she decided it was wishful thinking and she wasn’t going to allow herself to get her hopes up.

“You’re going to have to convince me of that, Nina.”

“Are you going to take the bet?”

“You’re on.”


Meanwhile Straker and Foster were having their own discussion.

“So you will have six weeks to get up to speed on the hardware. It’s a lot of work and you will be working closely with Colonel Lake.”

“I understand, I think I can handle it.”

“Good because you’re going to get a two week crash course concerning the SSC spacecraft and I expect you to learn it like the back of your hand.”

“It’s will be an honor to fly with you sir.”

“You won’t be saying that by the time we’re done, trust me, Straker out.”

Paul took that as a challenge and decided he would show Straker what he was made of.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:11am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #7 - Jul 20th, 2010 at 12:34am
Print Post  
Chapter 3:
By the end of the second week Paul was as frustrated at himself as Virginia was with him. There is no way in hell I’m going to remember all this! Even now she was getting on his back about it.

“Paul we’re not even halfway through the material and we’ve only got two more weeks left. I told you, you’re not going to be able to commit this all to memory. You’re going to have to take the manuals with you on the mission and follow the procedures step by step. The important thing for you to remember is where in the manual to find the information.”

“Yeah, I’m going to look like an idiot in front of Straker thumbing through a book.”

“Paul, what do you think Ed’s going to be doing?”

Foster stopped to consider before he answered, “Straker knows this stuff like the back of his hand. I should too. What am I going to do if something goes amiss during the launch? Pull out the book?”

“That’s different, and you know it. That part of the mission you’re going to have to memorize. This part you don’t need to. Why create more work for yourself? You need to work smarter not harder. Ed is going to be going by the checklist as well, he has to, there’s just too much to commit to memory.”

“I guess I’m realizing I’m not as smart as I thought I was.”

“Good, maybe you’ll start listening to me. Look we’ve been at this all day. Why don’t we start again in the morning?”

“Alright, see you in the lounge later?”

“Yeah, I’ll be in there in about an hour or so.”

“Okay, see you then.”

Virginia watched him leave to lab shaking her head. She knew that he was still hoping for more than friendship between them, but she just didn’t feel that way. She doubted that she ever would.


It took Paul two more weeks to absorb the information that he needed for the mission. To his credit he listened to what Virginia told him and stopped trying to do things his way. He had come to appreciate just how brilliant this woman was and how he measured up to her. Straker had been right all along and it was a tough pill for him to swallow. Paul was beginning to develop a new respect for her as a person although he still fantasized about being with her. Brilliant and beautiful, what more could a man ask for?

Virginia still did not show any inkling to him that she was considering them any more than friends, but Paul was sure there was some type of attraction as she almost let him kiss her when she was crying over Craig. She had stopped crying about a week ago, at least in front of him. Paul figured that she was ready to move on.

“So Ginny what about us?” asked Paul.

They were in the leisure sphere at one of the tables. The room was occupied by several other operatives so they were speaking subdued tones.

“I’m not sure what you mean Paul.”

“I’d like to pursue a deeper relationship with you Ginny.”

“Paul, we talked about this. I’m not ready for that kind of relationship; Craig has only been gone four weeks.”

“You don’t seem to be upset about it anymore.”

“Granted I’ve stopped crying every day, but I still miss him, and even if it wasn’t too soon, I just don’t feel that way about you.”

Paul looked dejected as he looked away.

“Don’t brood Paul, it’s unbecoming.” Ginny was getting frustrated as she continued, “Paul I’ve been honest with you. And you’ve been a good friend; you’ve helped me through a difficult time. But if I were to start seeing you now it would be out of obligation, is that really what you want?”

“I feel as though we had made a connection.”

“Maybe we have and I just don’t know it yet. I didn’t know with Craig either, he waited for me for seven months. But he never pressured me it just happened.”

“I’m sorry, I just thought we might have had something special; I guess I was wrong. I’ll see you later.”

“Paul, wait…”

He got up from the table and walked out of the room.

Ginny sat there alone feeling guilty as Paul had been there for her when she was hurting. Why should I feel this way? I’ve done nothing wrong. But her reasoning did nothing to assuage her guilt.


“All quiet up there Colonel?” Straker asked her over the vidlink.

“Yes sir, we haven’t had a confirmed sighting since the attack. The last time this happened we were faced with a mass attack,” Virginia answered.

“I remember that all too well. How did Foster make out with the technical training?”

“He struggled through it at first but I think he’ll be alright. Paul has already started studying the flight procedures that were sent up last week.”

Straker noticed that she looked distressed and he asked her, “Colonel, are you alright?”

“Yes sir, I’m just a little tired. It’s been a long stretch.”

“Yes I know; Colonel I want you to get some rest. Let Nina and the girls pick up the slack. If the tracking system fails you’re the only one who can repair it. I need you to stay sharp.”

“Yes sir.”

“Good night Colonel.”

“Good night Commander.”

Virginia sat in her quarters totally frustrated. Men, she thought to herself. The one man I am interested in doesn’t know I exist. And the one I’m not interested in is pressuring me. The low watch was just about to start. Nina and Joan were on the schedule and Ginny decided to drop in on them. It would probably be the last time that they would be able to work together. Ginny decided that this was more important than a few extra hours of sleep.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:12am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #8 - Jul 20th, 2010 at 2:03pm
Print Post  
“Ginny, I was just about to call you. Take a look at this,” said Nina.

Virginia walked over to tracking station, where Nina and Joan were analyzing a signal; several signals in fact.

“How long ago did they show up?” asked Ginny.

“Less than a minute ago; I still can’t get a working range figure,” said Joan.

“I’ve got a feeling about this,” said Ginny as she sat at the command console and reached for the alert panel.

“Red alert, red alert; interceptors standby for launch.”

“Do we have a count yet?”

“No Colonel,” said Joan. “Best guess right now is nine.”

Eight months ago Ginny had faced the same scenario and four of them had gotten through. And that was with full tracking capability. She decided that she wasn’t going to take any chances.

“Interceptors, immediate launch! I say again immediate launch! Hold position in lunar orbit and wait for further instructions.”

The interceptors rose off their pads and rocketed into space. When the pads were clear she ordered the second team into space.

“Nina let’s get the ground defenses into position.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Paul walked into the control sphere asking, “What’s going on?”

“Nine possible sightings, they showed up about ten minutes ago.”

“Colonel Lake,” said Nina. “I have a problem with launcher two, the outer door is jammed.”

“Damn…”

“I’ll get it Ginny,” said Paul.

As he turned to walk out Ginny called to him, “Paul?”

Foster stopped and looked back to her.

“Be careful, okay?”

He gave her a wink and a smile, “Don’t worry.”

“I have positive track,” said Joan. “Nine UFO’s, area 157-233 Green, speed SOL 8, range fifteen million miles, trajectory termination, Moonbase operations area.”

“Here we go again. Moonbase to interceptors, proceed on marked headings. Data is being transferred now.”

“Interceptor One to Moonbase, data received, we’re moving.”


In SHADO HQ, Ayshea Johnson was monitoring the chatter from Moonbase; they appeared to be facing another mass attack. She turned to Colonel Grey, who had the low watch.

“Moonbase has just confirmed nine sightings; predicted target is Moonbase operations area.”

“They haven’t called down yet?”

“No sir, but the interceptors have already been launched.”

“That mean’s Virginia’s got her hands full. Get in touch with the Commander, he’ll want to know. And let me know as soon as Virginia calls down.”

“Yes sir.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:12am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #9 - Jul 20th, 2010 at 9:53pm
Print Post  
In the control sphere Lt. Harrington watched the radar returns from the incoming UFO’s as well as the interceptors dispatched to deal with them. The UFO’s still had not reduced speed. The base defenses were not designed to handle more than three UFO’s at any one time. Joan was surprised that the aliens pressed home that advantage.

“Time on target for group one?” asked Ginny.

“Four minutes Colonel. Six minutes for group two.”

“Ground defense launcher two, in position,” reported Nina.

“Very well,” said Ginny. “Moonbase to SHADO control.”

John Grey came on the vidlink, “I was starting to get worried. What’s your situation?”

“We’re currently tracking nine inbounds with a trajectory termination in the Moonbase operations area. Group one is one minute from intercept.”

“The commander is on his way in, he estimates fifteen minutes.”

“It will all be over by then John, one way or another,” she said.


The first interceptor group led by Lt. Andrew Conroy reached the launch point.

“Interceptor one to group; break formation, missile launch in six seconds.”

The interceptors separated each one homing in on a single alien craft as this group was too widely spaced to get more than one with a single missile. The interceptors each fired a single missile and a minute later the fabric of space was torn by three thermonuclear explosions.


Joan watched the incoming UFO’s as the interceptor missiles found three of their targets.

“Three down Colonel!”

“Moonbase to interceptor one, splash three Lieutenant, return to orbit and wait for the all clear.”


“Understood Colonel; leader to group, you heard the lady. Let’s get our butts out of harm’s way.”


In the airlock that housed the first ground launcher Paul worked franticly to free up the frozen hatch. He was seriously considering using a set of charges to blow the door open. Without the second launcher they were sitting ducks.


“This is Colonel Lake; all non essential personnel to the shelters. This is not a drill!”

“Second wave coming up on launch point ma’am,” said Joan.


The second wave of interceptors was led by Lt. Stephen Harris.

“Leader to group, break and attack. Missile launch in eight seconds.”

The second wave of interceptors closed rapidly with their targets and the single missile was launched from each. The missiles closed within a few hundred yards of the alien ships and detonated.


“Three more UFO’s destroyed, Colonel.”

“Moonbase to group two, splash three. Break off and hold in orbit.”

“Understood Moonbase, Harris out.”


The hatch finally began to open as Paul pried it with the crowbar.

“Foster to control. The hatch is open.”

“Copy that Paul,” said Ginny as she turned to Nina.

“I’m on it Colonel,” Nina said as she rolled the launcher out of its hanger.


The alien craft approached Moonbase from three different directions. The launchers were able two destroy two of the craft but the third one slipped through and scored a glancing blow on the control sphere.

Inside equipment arced over and several fires broke out. Joan was knocked back from her station and she hit her head on the command console as she fell back. Nina was blinded by the electrical discharge that had danced from her console. Warning sirens activated throughout the complex and Ginny noticed that the atmospheric integrity had been compromised.

“Nina, Joan? Are you alright?” she asked.

“I can’t see Ginny,” said Nina.

“Joan… Joan…” said Ginny has she reached her side. Lake checked her pulse and tried to wake her to no avail. She dragged Joan to the airlock and ran back to Nina.

“I’m getting you out of here.”

“What about you?”

“Someone has to transfer the systems to auxiliary control.”

“Ginny the atmosphere is going.”

“I know. No arguments, this is my responsibility.”

The smoke was getting thicker and the oxygen content of the air was dropping rapidly. Ginny pushed Nina into the airlock and closed the door. She knew that she only had another sixty seconds of consciousness before she would pass out. She noticed that the window had been cracked as well and if it blew she would be exposed to vacuum.

Virginia made it to the master panel and started switching circuits starting with the defense systems.


Paul Foster ran down the corridor towards the control sphere. He knew it had been hit and still had his EMU suit on. The medics were carrying Joan away on a stretcher and Nina was talking to the other medic.”

“Where’s Virginia?”

“She’s still in there Paul,” said Nina very upset. “She wouldn’t leave.”

Paul donned his helmet and stepped into the airlock.


As soon as Virginia had transferred the control of the ground defenses the missile launchers came back to life. One of them locked on the UFO as it came around and fired its missiles. The missiles found their target and the UFO exploded just short of the base, with the force of the detonation felt throughout.


Virginia passed out as she transferred the last circuit to the auxiliary control center. The window in the control sphere began to give way.


Foster was in the airlock now and the door would not open. He hit the override and was appalled at the damage that had been done by the attack. He was horrified when he saw the window give way.

Very quickly he found Ginny collapsed on the floor. Paul picked her up and carried her to the airlock as the last traces of air were drained out of the command sphere. He closed the hatch and re-pressurized the airlock. Paul knew that a person could survive in a vacuum for a short period of time but how long had she been out. Don’t you dare die on me Ginny!


On the vidlink was the image of a very somber Ed Straker. He had been summoned to HQ in the wee hours of the morning and he looked drained. This was one of his worst nightmares played out; a mass attack on Moonbase.

“How bad is the damage Paul?”

“Right now the control sphere is unusable; it will be a week before we can repair the damage to the system controls.
Fortunately all of the critical systems are located underground. We just have to replace the control circuits. We should be back up by next week. It could have been much worse. If it wasn’t for Colonel Lake it would have been."

“How is she?”

“She hasn’t regained consciousness yet. The doc is worried.”

“Very well, until she’s back on her feet, you’re in command. I want a detailed report of what happened up there as well as an operational readiness report within twenty four hours.”

“Yes sir.”

When Straker signed off Foster turned to Lt. Miller.

“Carol, take over here. I’ll be in sick bay.”

Foster grabbed the information he needed for the report planning on doing it at Virginia’s bedside. He wanted to be there when she woke up. If she wakes up.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:13am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #10 - Jul 23rd, 2010 at 3:04am
Print Post  
Chapter 4:
Virginia slowly opened her eyes trying to focus on the blurred image in front of her. She ached all over and couldn’t seem to focus her eyes.

“How are you feeling?”

“Like I’ve been run over by a truck,” she said.

“That’s what explosive decompression will do to you. I never did like vacuum for breakfast.”

Virginia was finally able to focus her eyes and Paul came into view.

“Paul, what happened?”

“You pulled Nina and Joan out of the control sphere, and went back to switch over the systems.”

“I remember that much but nothing after.”

“You passed out; you were pulled out of the sphere just as the window blew out,” said Paul.

Virginia looked at him knowing he was hiding something.

“You pulled me out of there, didn’t you?” she asked.

“Well…”

“Thank you,” said Ginny. “How are Nina and Joan?”

“Joan is back on her feet, the doc has ordered best rest for the next few days. She may have a slight concussion. Nina’s blindness was temporary. She’ll be back on duty tomorrow.”

“How long was I out?”

“About five hours, the doc said it was mostly due to exhaustion. He wants you on strict bed rest for the next three days.”

“Damn doctors,” she said gaining a bit more of her spirit.

“Look I have to get back on duty, I’ll check in on you later.”

Ginny gave him a smile as she said, “Okay.”

Paul bent towards her to give her a gentle kiss, this time she did not resist.

“Paul, I still don’t know where I am right now, let’s take this slow okay?”

“Alright, I’ll see you later.”

Virginia was thinking to herself, what am I getting myself in for?


The next day Virginia called down to Colonel Grey, to discuss a computer relationship study between her and Paul Foster.

“Alright, I’ll call you with the results later this afternoon, but I should warn you, this one might raise a few eyebrows.”

“Why, I’m just following standard procedure, John.”

“Virginia, you’re being promoted to executive officer. Because of that everything you do now is going to be under a microscope, and Paul Foster has a reputation of being a ladies’ man. Look Ginny, I know you pretty well and I know why you’re doing this. Most people wait until the relationship has turned intimate before they have this study done.”

“John, we’ve talked about this, by the time a relationship gets to that point it’s too late. How many people have we had to separate because of that?”

“Over a dozen and I’ve sent your recommendation up the chain. Ed agreed and sent it to the IAC for final approval. But until the regulations are changed, filing one of these studies is like telling everyone who sees it that you are sleeping with the other person, whether you are or not.”

“It is what it is, John. People are going to talk. There is not much you can do about it.”

“Virginia, are you sure about this?”

“Look, I took Craig’s death really hard, I was in love with him and I never had the chance to tell him. That hurt more than I can tell you. A week after the SID attack Paul found me in the leisure sphere crying my eyes out. He gave me a shoulder to cry on and I needed that. Then yesterday he saved my life. If he hadn’t pulled me out of there when he did, I would have been killed”

“I heard about the attack, how are you feeling?”

“I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck, and I look like I went ten rounds with the champ and lost. I spent several hours in a hyperbaric chamber yesterday on pure oxygen at one third an atmosphere. I’m still sore from the decompression.”

“You’re very lucky to be alive. Alright I’ll call you this afternoon, remember the report doesn’t go on record until I enter the results, so if you have a change of heart, let me know when I call you.”

“Thanks John.”

She sat back in her quarters sipping her coffee. Ginny, what the hell are you doing?

Straker was in his office reading the repair status report from Moonbase. Last week’s attack was devastating as it effectively negated the space tracking network. The pressure skin breaches and window had been repaired earlier in the week and repairs had been started on the control systems. Virginia Lake was back on her feet and was working feverishly to restore the space tracking network.

Ed had already read the computer relationship study on Lake and Foster. He was shocked when he saw it. He knew her well enough to know that she had nothing in common with Foster and this turn of events baffled him. Ed had given Virginia more credit than this and was disappointed, more in himself, than her. He knew that he cared about her last year but he didn’t pursue his feelings.

Ed knew that Craig Collins was trying to win her affections and when he succeeded Ed was happy for both of them, even though he felt loneliness in his heart. Now he was regretting his decision as Foster was a womanizer. Virginia deserves better than that.

The intercom buzzer interrupted his thoughts.”

“General Henderson to see you sir.”

“Thanks Keith, send him in.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:13am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #11 - Jul 23rd, 2010 at 2:14pm
Print Post  
The office doors parted and Henderson walked in, “Good, morning Commander.”

“General,” said Ed has he shook his hand. “What brings you down here this morning?”

The two men sat down at the conference table and availed themselves to the coffee.

“I just read both Lake’s and Foster’s reports on the attack. You should tell Colonel Lake that she is too modest.”

“Yes, I read them. It’s obvious to me that her actions saved the base, but she almost got herself killed doing it. It shouldn’t have to be that way General. If we had more than one SID, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.”

“For once I agree with you Commander, but these things take time and money. You don’t know what I go through to keep the committee from cutting the budget. Anyway that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about. Foster’s report made it very clear that Colonel Lake’s actions under fire prevented the base from being destroyed. I’m putting her in for the SHADO Silver Star. I’m surprised that you didn’t do it yourself.”

Straker thought about his own feelings concerning Virginia Lake. He had always been impressed with her and she certainly deserved the honor that Henderson was recommending her for.

“I expect my people to perform above and beyond the call duty General, that’s why they are here. They’re the best of the best.”

“Ed this was well above and beyond, besides it will take some of the sting out of the next issue.”

“And what would that be General?”

“The committee has approved Virginia’s promotion to executive officer, but that is temporary. They want someone with a military background to take that position permanently.”

“Well, in their infinite wisdom,” Ed began sarcastically, “who do they have in mind?”

“You’re not going to like this, but they’ve selected Paul Foster, and I’ve endorsed it.”

“General, there is no way that Foster is even close to being ready to step in to this job, whereas I’d hand the reins over to Virginia Lake today if needed.”

"The decision has been made."

Ed felt his blood pressure rising as his anger built up. Over my dead body, he thought.

“You’re going to have to whip Foster into shape,” Henderson added.

“Foster needs to accomplish his own personal growth before he is ready to take command at that level. And I’m not promoting him over Colonel Lake; even if it means that she remains acting XO for the duration. As I understand it the final decision is mine.”

“Think about this carefully Commander, you need friends in the committee right now.”

“I don’t play politics General, and I don’t compromise my principles for anything, or anyone. If that’s the way the committee feels I’ll just have to convince them otherwise.”

Henderson glared at him knowing full well that Ed was one of the few men who could sway the commission.

“Be very careful Commander, you don’t want to cross the political line, do you?”

“I don’t have to General, I know I’m right.”

“Well we’ll just have to see. Anyway you can give Colonel Lake the good news. I’ll see you at the next meeting.”

Straker watched him walk out of the office thinking, you most certainly will.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:14am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #12 - Jul 24th, 2010 at 5:02pm
Print Post  
The next day Paul was walking into the leisure sphere when he saw Ginny having dinner.

“Hello, I’ve been looking for you,” he said. “I understand that congratulations are in order.”

“How did you find out?”

“Everyone on the base knows about it, Colonel Virginia Lake; awarded the SHADO Silver Star.”

“Oh stop it Paul, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I wish they hadn’t done this to me.”

“Ginny, listen to me, your actions saved this base, as well as the lives of everyone here. You deserve it.”

Virginia did not look convinced. To Paul she seemed preoccupied.

“How did you make out with the tracking system?” he asked.

“It’s back online, about eighty five percent of where it was. Tomorrow I should be able to tie the rest of it in and at least get us back to the level we were at before the attack.”

“What are you doing after dinner?”

“I’m tired so I thought I might read a little bit before I go to sleep.”

“Oh I thought we might listen to some music if you were in the mood for it”

“What kind of music did you have in mind?” she asked her interest stirred.

“Well I have some Power Station, Men at Work, Aerosmith, White Snake, Dire Straits; it’s all good rock music.”

“How about Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Borodin, or any classical?” she asked.

“I don’t know anything about classical music.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing Paul. You really should try to expand your horizons a little. What do you do for enjoyment?”

“Well there’s always…” he moved in to kiss her but she backed away.

“I’m being serious Paul. What do you like to do for enjoyment?”

Paul sat back and thought for a moment. He enjoyed the beach but that was only for all the little lovely’s running around. The same thing with going out to eat, it was a means to an end.

“I enjoy scuba diving.”

“That’s something I could get into, what else?”

Paul felt like he was being interviewed for a job, he started getting a bit testy.

“Virginia; why the twenty questions?”

“If you’re really serious about a relationship these are things you should be thinking about. You haven’t asked me so I have to pick up the slack.”

“I haven’t given it much thought. The last serious relationship I was in was over a year ago. Tina and I used to dive together, and we were always at house parties. We listened to the same music. How about you, what do you do to relax?” asked Paul, shifting the focus of the conversation.

“Well I play the piano, mostly classical but I enjoy some pop as well. I’m an amateur photographer, I love doing nature shots. I fly for recreation; as a matter of fact my new plane should be delivered in a few weeks. I use to trail walk when I was in school but I just haven’t had the time to do it now,” she answered.

“Wow, you keep yourself pretty busy, I fly so much for SHADO that I could never do it for fun.”

“It’s different when you’re flying for yourself, Craig and I used to fly together a lot when we were on furlough.”

“Sounds like fun.”

“It was, more important it was relaxing. We talked a lot, and we got to know each other very well. Craig didn’t pressure me into something I wasn’t ready for. I think that aspect is what won me over.”

“I didn’t think that you had slept with him.”

“I didn’t! I told you that, but we were supposed to have gone out to dinner that Saturday night. Had Craig lived and we made that date, I think I would have.”

“You had been seeing him for a while, what three months?” asked Paul.

“Yeah, but the first month doesn’t count as we were just going out as friends.”

“That’s a long time to wait.”

“That’s nothing; I made my ex-husband wait six months before we became intimately involved. If I had listened to my mother, he would have waited until we were married. Then I might have seen him for what he was, it would have saved me a lot of pain. Paul, I don’t know what you have heard about me but I don’t sleep around.”

“I didn’t expect you to be so prudish.”

“I’m not a prude, but I’m not promiscuous either. I have to be in love with someone before I’ll go to that point. There has to be a promise of a future together. Paul, I’m not a twenty something girl fresh out of school. I’m thirty seven years old. I don’t have the luxury of wasting time on a relationship that isn’t going anywhere. Someday I want a marriage, and I want children, and if that scares you then you should say so now.”

“I never really thought…”

“Red alert, red alert, interceptors, immediate launch.”

“Damn, I’ll talk to you later Paul,” said Ginny as she quickly got up and headed for the control sphere.

Paul watched her rush out, thinking to himself, am I really ready for this? He quickly walked out to follow her; she was going to need help.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:15am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #13 - Jul 26th, 2010 at 12:31am
Print Post  
Chapter 5:
The interceptors were able to get two of the three UFO’s before they reached Earth. The third disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean. Neither working Skydiver was close enough for an intercept, and Straker was not in the best of moods.

“I want reconnaissance flights over that entire area, starting ten minutes ago. I don’t care if it takes a week. I want that UFO found,” he said to everyone in the control room.


A week later Sky 1 was flying over a remote island off the coast of India when Captain Carlin spotted a reflection in a jungle clearing. He circled back to verify and sure enough there was someone down there. Peter put his jet into VTOL mode and approached the clearing. After he shut down the engines the man came running towards the Sky jet. As he opened the canopy he heard a familiar voice.

“Boy am I glad to see you, Peter.”

Peter was shocked, I don’t believe it!

“Colonel Collins?”

“In the flesh, and I’m glad to be rescued at last.”


Ed Straker sat at his desk having just received the best news he had heard in eight weeks. Craig Collins had just been rescued and was alive and well. His good mood was somewhat tempered by the next duty he had to perform. Virginia Lake had moved on assuming Craig was dead; Ed owed it to both of them to try to avoid what was going to be an awkward situation.

“Lt Ford, get me Colonel Lake.”

“Yes sir.”

Minutes later Virginia appeared on the monitor.

“Commander?”

“Colonel, are you in a place where you can speak freely?”

“”Yes sir.”

“Craig Collins was found today.”

“Oh my God, he’s alive?”

“Alive and well.”

“How is that possible, where was he found?”

“On a tropical island off the coast of India. Peter Carlin found him while searching for the missing UFO.”

Virginia’s elation subsided somewhat as she realized the implications of this turn of events. Straker noticed but didn’t say anything.

“Thank you for letting me know, sir.”

“How are the repairs coming along?” asked Ed changing the subject.

“We finished this morning, all the system controls have been replaced, and operations are being handled from the control sphere.”

“That’s good news Colonel; I’ll look forward to the report. Straker out.”


Virginia sat in her quarters, her hand over her eyes. What the hell am I going to do now? She had told Paul last night that she didn’t think the relationship was going to work. After they had talked she reluctantly agreed to give them another few weeks and Paul grudgingly agreed to take her to the symphony when they got back to Earth. 

She had finally come to terms with Craig’s death, and now here he was, unexpectedly, back in the picture. Virginia felt very confused as she didn’t know if she was going to feel the same way she did, before she thought he was dead. She knew she was going to have to follow her heart, wherever that led. I’m going to have to talk with Paul, she thought.


Straker was in his office with Colonel Grey going over the SID repair project. Straker was saying, “Well let’s get this straight before he gets here. When it comes to SID’s brain, Craig knows more than anyone so as of now, he’s on the project.”

“All I’m saying is Craig Collins and I…”

“Look your personal feelings for him are your own problem.”

“Just tell me who’s in charge.”

“Well, overall, you are. But, when it comes to SID’s engineering, Craig is God, okay?”

The intercom buzzed and Ed reached to answer it.

“Straker.”

“Colonel Collins to see you, sir.”

“Send him right in.”

Colonel Collins walked in and Ed stood to great him, warmly shaking his hand.

“Craig.”

“Hi, Ed.”

“It’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you, too. My, it’s good to see anybody after eight weeks of jungle cats.”

Craig looked over at Grey.

“John.”

“Craig.”

“Well, come on, come on, what happened?” asked Ed.

“Well I don’t know. I sort of lost consciousness on re-entry, and then I came to, and I was floating down over the sea and I smash into the sea and I got out and swam ashore before she sank.”

Collins leaned towards Ed conspiratorially and continued, “Tell your boffins that their survival course actually works.”

Colonel Grey stood to leave.

“Oh Colonel Grey, thank you,” said Ed as he left.

When Ed and Craig were alone he continued, “Well you heard what happened Craig…I had no choice.”

“I would have done exactly the same thing,” said Craig convincingly.

“Sure.”

“Craig, I have some bad news for you. Colonel Lake was sure you were dead, two weeks ago she became involved with Paul Foster.”

“You’re kidding, must have been a moment of weakness, oh well.”

“You’re not upset?”

“Hell no, besides, Foster never keeps them for very long anyway.”

“So are you ready to tackle repairing SID?”

“Absolutely, of course this means you don’t get to ride the rocket.”

“Don’t remind me.”

“Well Ed, I’ve got a lot of work to do, I need to get up to Moonbase this afternoon and get working on this project.”

“Alright Craig, take care.”

Ed watched his friend leave somewhat surprised at his reaction about Virginia.
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:15am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Matt
Colonel
*****
Offline


Everyone at SHADO drinks
coffee!

Posts: 2391
Location: Coventry, RI
Re: Silver Star
Reply #14 - Jul 28th, 2010 at 11:26pm
Print Post  
Virginia sat in the leisure sphere considering the recent turn of events. She found out the previous afternoon that Craig was alive and she still hadn’t talked to Paul about it. The truth was that right now she wasn’t in love with either one of them. Paul was too immature and single minded and her feelings for Craig had faded. She didn’t know if they would be reignited if she saw him again.

As Ginny was lost in thought Nina Barry walked in unnoticed.
“Ginny, are you alright?”

Virginia was somewhat startled, “Oh…hi Nina.”

“My, aren’t we jumpy.”

“I’m sorry; I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

“I can imagine that’s why I came to talk to you. This morning you looked like you could use a friend who doesn’t have an ulterior motive.”

Ginny smiled knowing who she was referring to. “Thanks Nina, you’re right. Paul as been wonderful to me, and he helped me get through a rough time. But now he wants more and quite frankly he doesn’t know how to deal with a woman who doesn’t melt at his feet. He’s like a moth to a candle. The more I say no, the more attractive I become to him.”

“Do you want my opinion?”

“I think I know what it is. I tried to break it off the other night, but he convinced me to a least give it until we get back to Earth. He’s taking me to the London Symphony in a few weeks.”

“Paul going to the symphony, that I have to see. Really Ginny, do you think few those weeks will make any difference?”

“No, not really.”

“And what are you going to do about Craig?”

“I don’t know the answer to that either. Craig and I never had a formal commitment, we didn’t need it. Eight weeks ago I was in love with him, now I don’t know how I feel. What does that say about me, am I that hollow?”

“Of course not, you’re human. You were sure that Craig was dead. You mourned and you moved on; that’s what people do. And if you have the courage to ask yourself that question then you’ve already proven you’re not that way.”

“Then why do I feel guilty?”

“Because you care about their feelings; but that doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty. And Ginny, whatever you do don’t tell either of them that. They’re men and they’ll use it against you.”

That brought Ginny to laughter.

“Ginny, follow your heart, you may find out that neither one of these men are the right one. Sometimes things happen for a reason.”

“Are we talking divine intervention here?”

“Call it God, call it fate, call it the universe, whatever you name it, the principle is the same. I’ve always believed that there are forces that we don’t understand working behind the scenes affecting our lives.”

“My mother is a believer, and I was raised that way, but I don’t know what I believe now.”

“The nice thing about this is you don’t have to understand it, just be ready when fate puts Mr. Right in front of you. He may be closer than you think.”

“I know you you’re talking about; I still think you’re off the deep end with that.”

“Remember our bet, within a year of being posted Earth side.”

“I’m already looking forward to collecting my dinner.”

“We’ll see.”

As the two women were talking Paul Foster and Steve Harris walked into the sphere.

“Oh, hi Steve, hi Paul,” Nina said then turned back to Ginny. “I’ll talk to you later.”

Nina and Harris walked over to the coffee dispenser while Paul sat across from Ginny.

“Craig’s ship has landed; he’ll be here in a few minutes. Ginny, I know this is going to be hard for you. I’m willing to step aside if you think you’re still in love with Craig. I’m sure I’ll regret this later but it’s only fair.”

Ginny was shocked, “You would do this for me?”

“Yeah, you said something to me the other day that stuck in my mind.”

“We’ll see you two later,” said Nina as she walked out with Steve. After they left Ginny continued.

“I think I might have underestimated you Paul, thank you.”

She gave him a warm smile and they gently kissed each other. They ended the kiss just before the door opened and Craig Collins walked in the room. Ginny quickly turned her head as Paul still had his hand on her shoulder. She knew Craig must have noticed.

She stood and walked quickly to great him, “Craig! I was so glad when I heard.”

“Well it takes more than a little barbeque to fry me you know,” he said as he took her in his arms squeezing her tight, too tight!

He let her go saying, “Gee I’m sorry. I do hope I haven’t cracked a rib. I just don’t know what came over me.”

Ginny gave him a concerned look, Craig was never that rough, she thought.

Collins turned to Foster, “Well Foster, nice to see you again. I’m glad you’ve been keeping an eye on things for me while I’ve been away.”

“I can’t say I know what you mean.”

“Oh now, of course you do.”

“Craig,” said Ginny with a tone of warning in her voice.
Collins turned to Ginny and said, “Now how about…How about getting this old jungle cat a cup of coffee, now that he has returned.”

“Alright,” she said as she goes to the coffee machine.

“If it’s alright with you, Foster.”

“Yeah…” Foster Turned to Ginny, “See you later.”

After Paul left Ginny handed him his coffee and they sat down at the table. He sipped the coffee and grimaced.

“Still making this moon dust I see.”

Craig looked at Ginny almost apologetically.

“I just wanted to say that there’s no reason to feel guilty about anything.”

Virginia did feel guilty, but remembering her conversation with Nina she chose not to admit it right now.

“I don’t feel guilty, Craig. I cried a little when I thought you were dead. After a while I stopped crying. People do.”

“Yes they do.”

“And we weren’t exactly Romeo and Juliet.”

Virginia got up from the table and walked to the couch while Craig continued.

“Virginia, Ginny you make it ah…You make it very hard for a man…Who only wants to say ah…no hard feelings.”

“I’m sorry, if that’s really what you’re trying to say.”

Collins looked dejected as he said, “What else in the world would I do?”

“How was the jungle?” she asked lightening the subject.

“Well I’ll tell you one thing. There was no one there who looked like you.”

That brought a smile to her as Collins continued, “You know, I used to lie there and look up at the old moon and I’d say to myself, you know somthin’ ol’ Ginny’s up there.”

“I did think about you.”

Ginny got up from the couch and Craig took her arm. She turned to face him.

“Did you? You mean there’s still a chance for this singed old astronaut?”

“I never said there wasn’t. It’s just that I resent you looking upon me as your property.”

“Now you know I’d never do that.”

Collins drew her into a kiss gently at first and she closed her eyes realizing there was still an attraction between them. The attraction quickly became horror as Collins held her tighter and grabbed her hair. She struggled to get away breaking loose for a second and finally breaking out of his grip. She looked at him horrified as to what he had become.

“You didn’t leave the jungle! You brought it back with you!”

She quickly stormed out of the room leaving a dumbfounded Collins standing there.


Later that day Ginny was talking with Nina in her quarters. She was still visibly shaken by the incident between her and Craig.

“Ginny you should tell somebody about this.”

“Nina, if I do that Craig can pretty much kiss his career goodbye. What he did today was borderline sexual assault.”

“I still can’t believe it, Craig was never like that. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“Something must have happened to him while he was stranded in the jungle. Maybe he just needs time to work it out. But I’ll never trust him again. I should have known something was wrong when he was acting so possessive.”

“I still think you should tell Straker. Craig is a friend of his, and maybe he can get him to get some help.”

“If Ed Straker were to catch wind of this, Craig would be in front of a court martial before the day was out. Friend or no friend, Straker doesn’t tolerate that kind of behavior.”

“You’re probably right, but what if he tries this again?”

“If he did that, I would report him, but I don’t think he’ll come near me now.”

“Let’s hope not. So you’ve got what three weeks left before you go home?”

“Yeah, I can hardly wait. It’s funny; I really looked forward to this assignment when Straker gave it to me last year. And it was an enjoyable posting. I met some great people. But I’ll be glad to be home and working out of HQ for a while.”

“I know, second in command. I can hardly believe it. Maybe you’ll be running the show one of these days.”

“Are you kidding me; Ed will never retire. And you know what, I’m okay with that. There is no one in the organization, man or woman, who could step in and replace him.”

“Yeah, you’re right. So did you get your new airplane?” Nina asked, changing the subject.

“It should be in next week. I was lucky to get a hanger berth at Heathrow. At least it will keep it out of the rain. I’m looking forward to doing some flying when I get back. Gay is supposed to have furlough that week so the two of us will take her up on her maiden flight.”

“That sounds like it could be fun. Tell Gay I said hello when you see her.”

“I will.”
« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2010 at 12:16am by Matt »  

What do you mean, we're out of coffee!
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: [1] 2 
Add Poll Send Topic
Bookmarks: del.icio.us Digg Facebook Google Google+ LinkedIn reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Yahoo