Note of Contact

� April 22, 2015

By Regina Zdrojkowska.

Based on the series by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.

A U.F.O. Story based on the series by Gerry Anderson.

U F.O sighted, speed sol 6 predicted lunar intercept four minutes. The voice of S.I.D. resonated through control. Colonel Freeman was in overall charge. Col Lake was also in coordinating the inormation flow from the latest batch of data coming in from the recently launched S.H.A.D.O. comsat2. Lts Ellis and Barry had been rotated down to H.Q for a month after a particularly tough month on base Followed by almost a months leave. The commander had come to moonbase along with Col Foster, Lt Col Keith Ford, Lt Col John masters, and Lt Col Matt Kelly. Ford Masters and Kelly would be staying on base until next rotation. The Commander Colonels Foster, Lake and Freeman would be on a flight back the next evening. His last visit had been around two months ago. The events of that particular visit still unpleasantly fresh in his memory.

Lt Col. Mark Bradley and Col Foster were the assisting and acting commanders for the last shift. Col Foster had also been scheduled to assist the commander on the next day’s first duty shift. Right now with Freeman and lake in charge and the four new but competent Colonels at H.Q he knew things were in Safe hands. Despite that knowledge, he couldn’t sleep.

This was a situation he’d often found himself in but he’d not resorted to use of sleeping tablets in ages. There were better solutions now than in the 1970’s and 80’s when their use was more accepted and the drugs them selves not as safe. The commander had successfully for the most part resorted to occasional use of the more natural remedies as recommended by Jackson and the new psychologist Dr Kosmarin. Dr Kosmarin had indicated that any underlying problems would most likely come to the surface with the new regime and it was much better than having them hidden or worsened by the old style of sleep inducing but R.E.M. inhibiting and addictive sedatives. In that, Dr Jackson had concurred. They had suspected a few problems would arise but what the commander would finally admit to would be something of a surprise although not something they hadn’t deduced was highly likely.

Back in his moonbase quarters, Straker tried to take stock of the situation. He felt utterly alone, knew it was just the stress of the recent events talking but he could not sleep. He couldn’t concentrate on reading or anything else to take his mind off how he was feeling. He didn’t really want to sleep either for the dreams he kept having. He knew he must to be able to perform at his best. ‘Four interceptor pilots lost in one day. His orders so his responsibility.’ The interceptors themselves were in one piece so at least Henderson hadn’t been bothering him about that. That was at least two months ago but the memories of that event came back to haunt him. Even when they didn’t surface, whenever on moonbase and off duty, with nothing to distract him he just felt an empty place inside his heart another to add to the many pieces of pain carried within. With just three hours until he was due to rise he gave up trying and reluctantly put in a call to the moonbase medic on duty to let them know he was on his way to see them.

Dr Kosmarin was ready to receive the commander. At this late hr with no one visiting the young newly qualified psychologist had music softly playing in his office. Dr Kosmarin had a shock of blond hair, piercing blue eyes and a friendly boyish face. SHADO staff said he was the Russian equivalent of a young commander Straker except for his gold-blonde hair. He too used his piercing blue eyes to good effect when enforcing his authority or seeking answers. It wasn’t often he needed to make use of his ‘Straker gaze’ as it was known though as his overtly cheerful manner, gentleness and friendly but serious disposition made most of his patients quite co-operative. A recent addition to the s.h.a.d.o. medical staff he was already a respected and popular member of staff. Straker even knew of his name being used to describe the look that young Drs Piercing blue eyes gave when necessary. He thought it an accurate description so allowed it.

“Ah ha, Commander do come in please sit down.” He said expansively, pulling up a comfortably padded chair for his visitor to sit on. “I think you have something on your mind no?”

Straker had warmed to Edvard Kosmarin on first meeting him. It was when he was being interviewed for the post in the commander’s office. Directly after having been seen and interviewed by Jackson. He had, with a prompt and calm air sat down in front of the commander ready for anything. It wasn’t arrogance, just an inner assurance that projected itself and gave comfort to others when necessary. It was as though the young man could transfer his assurance to others just by being in the same room as them.

Straker had not forgotten that feeling or his subsequently confirmed opinions of the young man: There was something about him that immediately put people at ease; when necessary he could just as easily unsettle people almost as well as Jackson in pursuit of his duty. Reports had indicated as much and confirmed his judgement; the Dr was not a disappointment. He was also deeply perceptive and by nature quite a sensitive person. There was something about this young man that was promising even at this very early stage of his shado career.

The commander thought that if he’d chosen a medical career this could be what he may have been like. Not that he had considered medicine. To much emotional distance was needed along with the compassion. It was a combination he knew he would find hard to manage day in day out as a medic in close contact with others in pain. He could manage His present role, his training had somewhat prepared him for it that gave rise to an ironic thought. Somewhat prepared who could really be prepared for this role. He was often at the sharp end of things raw emotions included. He distanced him self that’s how he coped. Put on a false façade or steel. But a medic, a Medic would have to have a certain something about them to be able to deal with all that raw emotion they would often encounter. Yet still remain connected to the people and events around them in an open inviting way.

He hadn’t considered thoughts along similar lines with many people he had met over his lifetime but when he did it usually made him sit up and take notice.

The commander sat. Obviously needing to and he was as unsettled and tense as this young Dr had ever seen any of his patients despite the fact that he wasn’t trying to draw any attention to it. Before Straker could even say anything, the Psychologist had determined what was necessary.

The Dr was a little unorthodox in his approach at times but Edvards methods worked. He stood up when Ed sat, went around to the back of the commanders chair and said “commander remove your dressing gown and pyjama top” His voice had an air of gentle yet commanding force that even Straker wouldn’t refuse. He had thought about it, but only for a split second. The Dr Then proceeded to give therapeutic massage to the commander relaxing his back, shoulders, neck and face. Whilst encouraging him to open up. In that time he’d learnt a lot more about the commander than his files suggested. He’d also suggested a course of action and after asking questions from the depression and suicide risk assessments determined what the problem was. The good news was that he’ wasn’t suicidal but there was a high risk if effective action wasn’t taken soon.

A good hour later, the commander was relaxed and ready for sleep without any other form of treatment being necessary.

Commander “Here take this” The Dr Handed him two cds of music that he seen the commander unconsciously relax to when in his office the previous day. The Dr had also added some of what he knew to be music that the commander would like having done some research on the matter. He had made a few such cds tailored to individuals, ready and waiting for when they were needed. As his understanding of his patients grew, they would be added to. This was just one of his, what for shado med staff, were fairly new approaches. It was just one of many things in his medical arsenal and now that of s.h.a.d.o.

Dr Kosmarins’ tone was serious yet reassuring:

“Commander Based on what you have told me, I would diagnose stress and yes commander, a bout of depression.”

He paused giving the man in front of him time to digest this.

“As you have now told me you do not wish to have to rely on anti depressants on these occasions, I would suggest these to relax you. Working as most of us do, in confined spaces underground or in sky diver or moonbase is bound to have an effect as well, and it is just a fact that some people are more genetically susceptible, especially under certain conditions.”

Another pause whilst the commander patiently awaits his medical diagnosis. He looked like ‘milk left in shadows’ to quote his mother but more relaxed and ready for sleep.

“I see from my colleagues notes here that your diet can be quite haphazard at times too commander, as well as sleep.” He paused yet again. The commander had a thoughtful, well thoughtful enough look for an exhausted person to have on his face.

“For you that is an occupational hazard that makes you more susceptible. Please commander use them.” He noted the commanders hesitant look. “Even in your H.Q Office. I know it’s not like you to have music in your office but its better, you relax. This has fewer side effects than tablets and you do not wish to take them.-

Only if along with some supplements and some visits to Dr Jackson or myself over the next seven weeks this does not help, will I prescribe some mild anti depressants for you. If however you do have any suicidal thoughts or the depression gets worse you must contact Dr Jackson or my self immediately. Right now commander I prescribe sleep. I will inform Col Foster that you are not to be disturbed until at least 10 am. No arguments commander. You will be of no use to anyone if you can’t function. This I have heard you say to others.”

Foster was dually informed and the relevant notes added to Strakers’ medical files. Later when Straker and Foster were on duty, the relevant data was being received. Ford Kelly and masters were busy at there tasks and the tail end of activity, the usual activity of settling back into an amber alert prior to a change to green or back to Red was taking place within the control sphere. Foster had noted their was something about the commander. He couldn’t exactly pinpoint what due to his notorious ability to clam up but something. There was something was bothering the commander but what it was -? He didn’t have a clue. He just had a gut feeling something was amiss.

Back in headquarters, Operative Ayesha Johnson was on the link “Control to lunar Module 15. We have you on positive track. Earth orbit insertion at 06.19 hrs. Lt. Cols Nina Barry, Operative Tamara Paulson, and other operatives who normally worked this duty shift were on duty. Two of the Four Sulmans were on duty. Col Dave Sulman and Col Amir Sulman for ease they were called Col Dave and Col Amir If working the same shift. In temperament Col Dave was rather a like a cross between Col Foster and Colonel Freeman and Col Amir a cross between Col Lake and Lt Col Keith Ford. They were twin brothers but not identical each had the dusky looks of Men born and brought up in desert climates however there was a certain charm to their characters and athletic build to their lean 5ft 9 frames. Dave had blue eyes and Amir brown. Both had dark tending to ginger curly hair. They looked like the Arabic equivalent of the actor Ioan Griffud or so anyone at shado who met them would say. For some in control they were regarded in the same way as Col Foster. A good catch if it were possible. Although new, they were every bit as efficient as their colleagues in rank up on moonbase. The commander had chosen well. Along with Kosmarin They had been the most promising of the recent intake. It would be another five hrs before Straker Freeman Lake and Foster would be back at h.q. either on or off duty, in their quarters or the studio.

“E.O.I confirmed control” Replied Foster. The commander was trying to sleep next to him. Cols Lake and Freeman were further behind Lake was reading and Col Freeman was fast asleep. This module was one of the newer and roomier yet more efficient lunar modules Shado had recently acquired. Despite the comfort Foster was aware that Their commander was a lot quieter that usual.

“Anything wrong Sir? Asked Paul.

The conversation didn’t carry to where Lake and Freeman were although only a short distance away. The privacy screens, - opaque sound dampening screens that could be lowered for a little privacy between the sleeping and non-sleeping occupants saw to that. They were useful if anyone had a tendency to snore but didn’t block out all noise for safety reasons unless as Foster did, you lowered your voice.

“No No Paul Nothing for you to worry about I’m fine. Thank you Col.” The commander even gave a little reassuring smile before turning on his side. Whereby his expression obscured from view changed from one of reassurance to anguish and depression. It wasn’t very noticeable but to those who knew him his tell tales were a dead give away. Knowing that the commander was careful to ensure no one noticed. He didn’t want to worry his senior command staff. Besides He had a plan just followed Dr Kosmarins suggestions. Well he couldn’t very well do that in the lunar module. But if he hung on. If only he could hang on…Hang on Lt, We should be coming up to Moonbase shortly. He was replaying the incidents that’s had occurred while on base nearly two months ago He was piloting a Lunar module back into moonbase after having rescued a young Lt. Who’d been caught in a blast on the surface with Lt Cols Barry and Ellis. Ellis and Barry although shocked were doing their best to tend to the Lts’ needs. “Sir the Lt called out we almost made it.. The Lt was a promising young lady by the name of Jenny Leadstone one of quite a few young up and comings through into the ranks of shadow recently. Leadstone reached out with her left arm to the commander touched him on the arm and with her last words had tried to thank him. It wasn’t … all …that ..difficult..Sir… Thanky—“ with that there was nothing more they could do. She had breathed her last despite their attempts to keep her alive until they reached moonbase.

Things carried on as normal at the base they had to Leadstone was grieved over Nina and Gay seemed to be doing their best after the incident and all was going as was expected on a working military defence base… His next memory… My--! Sir They been hit . Interceptors 1 two three and four. All of them Sir.”

“ Is that confirmed Lt Col Barry?”

“ Come in interceptor 1”

“Come in please interceptor 2”

“Come in please interceptor 3”

“Come in please interceptor 4.”

The various operatives in the lunar control module calling each pilot Simultaneously. Repeatedly for at least five minutes.


Every one in the control centre was just going through the motions shock evident on their faces. .. The interceptors had been reclaimed but the pilots they weren’t so lucky.

Who cared about the interceptors.. well the general would but the pilots. I suppose we can count ourselves lucky that there aren’t any more u.f.o.s . about but…

The rest of the time on the base had been a blur. Much as the past two months or so… he was just going through the motions eat, Sleep if he could ,studios ,shado.. day in day out. He put on a good show retreating, more withdrawn but smiling when appropriate giving the right or expected responses..

They were back at Headquarters They been back for a while now at everyone had seemingly settled back into the routines . Everyone that is for Commander Straker. He’d Strode into control with Paul Freeman and Lake had gone to their quarters. Taken some rest a when Scheduled for duty the appropriate people had come into control. Straker had seemed preoccupied not giving much of his usual greeting just acknowledging none verbally. Paul had noticed, Virginia too but not as much given that she’d been occupied Even Alec also not as much due to his restful sleep. He was there most reliable detector of Straker moods. Their instincts may have been shouting at them but with little to go on and thing seemingly normal there wasn’t a lot they could do.

“Everything nice neat and tidy just as it should be” thought Straker “Except everything wasn’t nice neat and tidy not for him. He wasn’t sure if he was unravelling or not. No it didn’t seem so . No one had appeared to notice, so that was ok then.”

Col lake entered Strakers’ office data in hand and schematics on disc. In the small box of cd’s she was carrying. The commander was used to this sight various Cols or operatives carrying data cds reports “.. Everything was normal there. But not, not for him, he was working away quietly, trying to concentrate on the cd he was listening too it was helping a little he’d hadn’t had it playing for very long though. So it was a bit much to expect an instant cure” he thought. She was quite initially taken a little by surprise.

“Music Commander ? Since when?” As the door s opened.

It wasn’t too loud just a pleasant level ,but would be heard in control during quiet periods when the computers and other instruments weren’t so busy and therefore noisy.

Despite expecting her It seemed that the commander was a little unprepared for her entrance whilst doing something so unusual . He flushed a little.

“Well Colonel, he said a little uncomfortably. It probably will but I hope you won’t let this get too far around outside headquarters . We all know what the grapevine is like it’s…”

“..Come on Sir, or as you are fond of saying to Alec and he to you: ‘out with it’.” She gave her command a gentle edge with the expression she wore. She caught the melody, It was quite beautiful, breathtaking in places and certainly moving. It was certainly relaxing her.

“its Dr Kosmarins suggestion.”


She sounded interested and a little concerned. He had seemed a little distant when he’d come in today. She knew that the young Dr. had a way of knowing exactly what would sooth and relax the patients he saw. Apparently the area of Russia he was born in was well known for producing excellent musicians. Psychologists as well” she thought. She‘d experienced his methods herself after a particularly traumatic incident and during some of the routine psychological tests last month.

Well after that incident with the interceptors a few months ago I‘ve had more that the usual trouble sleeping Colonel. - I saw Dr Kosmarin and he diagnosed depression.

“Is it helping Sir, I mean, Is there anything we can do to help? Its astonishingly beautiful sir! She added that last as an astonished afterthought and a complement. She too remembered that incident. It had been hard for everyone involved.

“Thank-you Col.” “I don’t think so apart from my earlier request. I’m not sure, it might, would unsettle anyone - as it surprised you. It could cause questions. Some of the operatives who call in might ask if I’m not under alien influence. - It being that unusual .”He said that last part with some humour and a mix of genuine concern.

“I could say that you are conducting a little experiment in code transmission involving music so not to be surprised by any thing unusual they hear in your office.” “ But my feelings are that once over the initial surprise they will quite appreciate it. Besides in a few more weeks most should be familiar with Dr kosmarins methods, The routine psch tests. Or you could listen with headphones. Matching some of her mood to his so that too, was suggested with a hint of humour.

“Well that could work but then they would just want to know when I have the results and what I expect them to do with them. Any way Dr Kosmarin said to get the full effect no headphones. -Something to do with the acoustics in my office. Ah yes they would, Just let them know that they might hear some unusual things over the next few weeks and its nothing to concern themselves with. You don’t have to specific as to what.”

“Ok commander”.

The music had changed style and was a more upbeat tempo. So far it seemed quite eclectic. Uplifting and reassuring she would say based on what she’d heard so far.

Lake noted that her commander seemed both a little upset and a little comforted. It showed not in his expression , which was controlled, but in his eyes, which were glistening brightly. The music was obviously triggering him to release some tensions he’d rather let go of in private.

“Sir I have the data you asked for.” She handed the disks to him and tuned to go as it seemed that the commander was about to dismiss her.

“Thankyou again Colonel Lake. Ah, would you care to join me in a coffee while we discuss that data. I can see that Dr Kosmarins music is getting you too.”

This too surprised her ,he did have a gentle side but didn’t show it whilst in the middle of some serious work in his office that often.

“ If you wouldn’t mind fetching some from the rest room for us both Colonel.”

He had some in his office but obviously needed a brief moment to adopt the legendary Straker stoicism.

Over the next week Commander Straker used the cd’s at home as well. It seemed to be helping. He‘d not used them at work since Col Lake had walked in on him doing so and had not had to. The relevant information was in the medical reports but the senior staff as in Foster and Freeman and Lake had not seen them but knew he’d been to see Dr kosmarin. What about though they had no idea and were not about to inquire. If the commander wanted them to know he would let them know. Probably checking up on the new Dr. they guessed. Lake knew a little but wouldn’t breach the commander’s confidence.

However There was one particular day just after returning with Col Foster from another short stay on moonbase .

“Paul You can handle the project I’ve just outlined . What I’ll need is to see all the department heads this afternoon. IF we have a chance to capture that Alien then yours and any other ideas the team has on this might just prove useful.”

The commander retired to his office dealing with the organisation of the information required before the meeting . He was tired, the excitement of potentially capturing an Alien alive hadn’t done the usual and kept him alert but just tired him more despite the fact that he welcomed the chance. It was the stress of the recent trips to moon base and the thoughts that went with them catching up with him again.

Paul had left control to outline what he wanted to the medical department in person before accompanying them and the other department heads to Strakers’ office in four hours. It was in between leaving for the medical department and returning that Col Foster took Col Freeman aside.

“Alec” Paul called, attracted his attention . Freeman had been mounting the single stair in control and turned, walked towards him.

“Would you have a word with Ed later. I’m not sure, but he’s not himself, he was quiet on the way back too quiet , and I don’t think he managed to get much sleep either from what I could tell. It was the same on the last trip back. Something ‘s is bothering him and you know your charm works on him.”

he said emphasising what they all knew. That due to his close friendship with Ed he might persuade him to open up a little.

“I tried talking to him but he told me not to worry. He meant it too. Didn’t want me to worry and said he was dealing with it. You know that look he gets when he’s hiding something and doesn’t want anyone to know, Well..”

He needed say no more. The three Cols closest to Straker now knew him too well.

Inside the office. The commander was Bringing some organization to the pile of reports data and other items on his desk. Having accomplished that much he leaned back and turned his chair contemplating his mural. He could feel that familiar precursor to low mood as medics called it creeping up on him. Aware that this was so he turned on one of the cd’s of the three of four that were now kept in the office. One he kept at home. It was too intense to use at work. Where others might be affected by it.

It was whilst the following lyrics were playing that there was a brief drop in the activity in control and a young black Lt, Lt ..Osmandi a newer recruit and close friend of Lt Col Barry. Walked in with a coffee.

Come open your wings.

let me be your guide I will be there for you.

It is not the end, there is always hope. Open up your wings look around and see ,

all that is around , all that you achieve.

There is a future. See it in my eyes. See it in my heart .

The compassion in our souls. The needs that we feel. That’s what makes us love – be human.

There is a future…. see it in your heart see it in your soul.

We will overcome together ,we will build together you and I, all of us together.

She was stunned to hear music coming from the commander’s office. The melody and rhythm. It was so moving it nearly made her cry. When the next piece began it was a little easier to contain her feelings , but not much. It was heard in control and for a second everyone just took in what was being played and wondered about the man for whom it was being played for. -Their commander, the firm steely and commanding presence that always reassured with his presence or put you in your place when you deserved it. It was so very moving the words may not have been the best of all lyrics but they were combined in such a way with the tone and feel of the piece as to really sink into your soul ,your essence, the heart of your being. Most had not imagined the commander to be a person with such strong passions and judging by the score a deeply sensitive and complex nature.

Come open your wings.

let me be your guide I will be there for you.

It is not the end, there is always hope. Open up your wings look around and see ,

all that is around , all that you achieve.

There is a future. See it in my eyes. See it in my heart .

The compassion in our souls. The needs that we feel. That’s what makes us love – be human.

There is a future…. see it in your heart see it in your soul.

We will overcome together ,we will build together you and I, all of us together.

“Thankyou Lt.Osmandi” The commander dismissed her and smiled at the startled Lt. She smiled back at him and beat a hasty retreat back into control not wanting to look stunned in front of the commander.

It was at that moment that Alec came through the door past the Lt. Whilst giving her an encouraging look trademark Alec freeman written all over it.

“Ed what’s up he asked.”

“It’s just a note of contact” he replied cryptically then in fuller explanation “ It connects me with everyone else here with, the humanity that gets lifted away and out of us.” I believe it’s also making me open up a little when I need to.” So the good Dr ‘K’ says anyway and I believe he’s right. I don’t know if Colonel Lake told you but when I’m feeling low I’m supposed to use it as therapy. He’s diagnosed depression, says that some are more genetically susceptible to it than others and with my makeup and the conditions inherent with shado postings especially my particular one, it’s more likely to affect me.

“Why in the name of heaven didn’t you say any thing Ed.” I knew something wasn’t right with you, and Ginny noticed. Paul too in fact he’s the one who’s first noticed it on the flight before last you took back from moonbase.

“ You know me Alec once the flood gates are open its: frighten the life out of you all, or clam up tight. I just can’t be any other way Alec. That’s who I am. You know that- but that’s also what part of the problem is. It’s also part of the way I keep you lot from worrying if you knew half of what I was thinking .. he trailed off not wanting to give too much away. then reconsidered as he could think he was thinking suicide…you’d be up most nights too . I couldn’t do that to you. I’d be without my three most trusted Cols at their best and you’ve all enough to worry about already.

I shut things down to carry on and it just re surfaces at the most… Well you know Alec. We, have all been though more than just a few tough times in shado. You know, it was a relief to get his diagnosis at least I now know what’s been troubling me on and off.

Alec noticed that the commander was a trifle hoarse not due to any physical ailment but due to the emotion in his voice. There was obviously a lot going on in his friends head and some difficult emotions were being grappled with.

“Want to talk about it?”

His next words came out in a torrent.

“God Alec, I should have seen it coming. Those interceptors had an easy target , too easy. When those other u.f.o.s’ appeared and did what they did to those interceptor pilots… Not just the usual three interceptors but four at once! - And new recruits too! Josephson, Marlinssonn, Decker and Thackerton. Thackerton, she was just turned twenty, celebrated her birthday the day before. Josephson he was married with twin daughters. Marlinsson she was engaged to be married next month, and Decker he was a grandfather already his youngest daughter had given birth but was in hospital with complications.- He never got to see his grand child, and his wife his child they wont…!

Oh we salvaged the interceptors but the pilots.. The aliens they just… you know what they did to them and it’s my fault they were there . I gave the order Alec. What was I supposed to do, just let those unfeeling bastards win and take more lives?

I thought we’d seen some tactics in our time but that ,that was one of the cruellest.” The commanders outburst of language had been uncharacteristic and by the end his voice broke. His head bowed the commander sunk into his hands covered his face for a while and rubbed his face up down trying to ease his tension and pain. When he looked up at Alec there was such despair in his face that it was hard to look him in the eyes without feeling for him.

Sometimes Alec I wonder why I do this job. I really do. - Never mind, I do really Alec . It’s just that some days …”

He didn’t need to finish that sentence, knew Alec understood.

“Come on Ed, why don’t you take a break for lunch before that meeting. Alec was struck by the emotional depth of what was being played. So that was the key to getting the commander to open up. Something to get behind that façade. Something that would crack it and then sooth and reassure the person hiding behind it at the same time.

I’ll grab Paul and Virginia we’ll make a four some. You know The Sulman brothers and their two nephews -those four new Colonels you transferred from the Khandahar base will be coming on duty in a few minutes. There’s time before the meeting and from the looks of things you have all the prep sorted.”

On this occasion Ed accepted his friends offer and took lunch with Paul Virginia and Alec. They had chance to talk a few things over and even raise a grin or to from the commander. They had all chosen a table away from the more chatty of the operatives in the H.Q. refectory.

“You know Commander You had us all quite surprise for a while there. I didn’t know your taste in music was so…” Virginia paused looking for the right words.

“Passionate, sensitive, full of depth” Paul suggested.

“Yes thats it. You could lose yourself in it.” Replied Virginia

Well I think that’s the general idea of it. Lose yourself in it and distract yourself from whatever ails one. That and make you think, confront your feelings and deal with them.”

“Commander give us some warning next time” Alec said with heartfelt sincerity “You had no idea what effect it had in control.”

“You should have seen Lt Osmandis face she didn’t know what to do with herself Ed.” Poor girl was trying to hold it together in front of you. You’re a bad influence you know.” He was serious but there was touch of amusement in his voice. He was going to rib his friend when the chance came along.

“Ok I know, Alec I know. You’re getting me to undermine my own authority. I could get you court -martialled for this” he said with mock seriousness.

“ If you have to do that commander,” Lake said in also in a light mock serious tone “you’d have to court martial me too.”

“Since when have you been undermining my authority Col Lake?” He said deadpan.

“Now Sir that would be telling”. she replied equally deadpan.

Paul deliberately looked contrite and guilty “And me? Again?” said Paul with a fake grimace at his commanding officer.

“That’s right, oh I can’t do that, technically you’ve already been court -martialed once, or did I forget to tell you. Or did you forget under the influence of a mysterious yet oddly attractive piece of alien hallucinogenic rock?”

“Now commander that’s below the belt Sir!”

If you guys start this. I hope you can finish it. Shado expects it colonels to be tough you slacking now..”

The commander resumed eating his meal which he now had an appetite for, pausing with his fork before giving them all a good look . There was that rare thing a twinkle of good humour in his eyes. He was enjoying himself.

At that point they all started laughing and that drew a few surprised looks from the others in the S.H.A.D.O. Refectory.who didn’t know Their commander that well. The four knew each other well enough by now and three of the four had set out to achieve just what had transpired that moment. Ed Straker their Commander had his load lightened a little by sharing with not just his colleagues but his friends.

With that they all felt a little better , and once they had all finished eating they gathered for the meeting in The commander’s office with the department heads.

It was along one and draining for the commander and colonels. They were to implement the most difficult parts of the plan whilst the other department heads were to take their instructions from the Colonels. It was a combined operation planned for the next day involving split second timing and expertise from all the departments.

B y the time the meeting had finished the four Colonels Sulman had been on duty and gone home. Paul , Alec and Virginia were pulling a double shift and Ed was almost ready to call it a day. At that point a red alert sounded. They were all there for most of the shift when Ed said “look the Sulman brothers have come back in, why don’t you all go home get a good sleep and come back in tomorrow: Alec first watch, Paul and Virginia Second shift. I’ll be on third with Alec again.”

Amazingly he’d made it tie up with the expected shift schedules. It was never easy after an alert as things tended to rearrange themselves in those situations.

There was more paperwork after the alert to start. Commander Straker did his usual and stayed on later Paul Virginia and Alec had hung around to tie up any lose ends and give a bit of helping hand to their commander and the new Cols for just another hour.

Before they left for the night Virginia dropped a note in to Strakers’ office. Hand written and signed by all three of them. His mood was beginning to dip with his late hours and he had another cd on this time a gently soothing one. He picked it up and read.

“ We are here for you Ed whenever you need us. Just let us know. This was underlined twice, as was what followed. “What are friends for.”

Signed Virginia Lake Col Shado, Paul Foster Col shado. Alec Freeman Col Shado. Underneath in capitals was printed


His eyes lit up as he caught sight of Col lake and the others just outside his open office doors after reading the card. They gave him a quick farewell until tomorrow glance. He was able to give them a genuinely reassuring look in return. It was only at this point that Freeman Foster and Lake left for home.

Now this was a surprise. And a Pleasant one too. Turning over the note-card he found it to have one of his favourite natural scenes printed at the top section. The bottom half had a custom-made cartoon with an Disney Alien in a familiar red suit cowering in fear with the Cartoon speech bubbles saying shado says “Go away now”. The Alien saying “WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?”. Shado control voices saying “WE’LL SEND STRAKER AFTER YOU”.

“The Alien cowers in fear saying NOOOOOO I PROMISE I’LL GO, I DON’T WANT TO SEE STRAKER, ANY ONE BUT HIM. I’ll be good I promise.” It was certainly different and original but it had the effect it was designed to have.

Ed took one look and guessed that it had to be Foster who’d designed that part. Lake the national park- area of outstanding beauty scene and Alec the reminder in capitals.

It was a first of its kind and meant a lot. It was to use his phrase a note of contact. Letting him know he had friends. That he was not alone.

From that time on when anyone heard the commander playing music they knew to be especially observant and a little more caring in their approaches to him weather the commander showed his need or not, which often he didn’t as usual. On those days h.q would be a more thoughtful place and the operatives within a lot more relaxed and focused both during their shifts and when leaving . That was after the initial shock of hearing such effective music ,even for the diverse range of people here in h.q with their varied musical tastes.

The commander for his part kept the card and learned that he was NOT alone. That staff in control appreciated the music that was tailored to his taste and needs and actually it had a very positive effect upon moral and performance. He just had to remember which tracks not to play with his doors open so as not to stun the newer, or the more sensitive of the of the operatives working there.

The good news was that the seven-week therapy had worked and the commander would now regularly get his cds’. updated whenever he felt the need. He didn’t use them as often at work now but they were definitely appreciated. Much like himself. In many ways he understood that one fact a lot more that ever before.

The more observant of those there, noted that when the commander seemed a little too quiet or in need of reassurance or company it was on those days that they would hear the what h.q had christened “life music” coming from the commanders’ office. On those days the commanders notes of contact as he had called it were important not just for him but the operatives and senior staff too. For many reasons: they knew what type of mood their commander would likely be in and knew that he would be helped by their actions more so than usual on those days . He was doing something to ensure that he’d not blow up at them. He was being helped to be the strong fair and thoughtful commander they needed. And lastly it created a shared bond of enjoyment.

On other days you could hear operatives playing their own cds in the rest room across from him. Dr Kosmarin had started quite a trend. And fortunately he’d somehow managed to ensure that who ever was playing, the music would be well received by others. Who knew that just on occasion h.q. would be a place of tranquillity, peace and reassurance. With everyone there, although hard at work with either adrenaline pumping or remnants of sleep being driven away with shado coffee. United and sharing something the aliens could only guess at.

When the world is crumbling around you. When the cares of the day take their toll.

Remember… Remember…. What we have achieved….

Its love…… dedication…… spirit…..heart…..

Strength determination ..all play their part.

Don’t let this all overwhelm you. Don’t let this eat at your heart

You’re here, you’re your important .. You are loved….

You’re only human……..

You’re only human my love, you’re only human…

Share your thoughts with those who know…. With those who understand….

Together we’ll go onwards. There will be a better tommorow….

Some days everyone took heart and believed even when days were tough.

Regina Zdrojkowska

The Library Entrance