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The Long Road Home

Kat was almost jubilant, “Thorn, Monroe’s going to transit in two minutes. I guess starting from the belt and three days before we did helped. Now all we have to do is wait for those Dragon Heads to get through. The Boss is adamant that he does not want them to have to fight anything with those family’s on board, they are the reason we did this in the first place.”

Summers voice was a little piquant, “I guess I’m not that good at math, I just can’t get these new acceleration rates through my head. I’m not sure which I’m more scared of; getting shot at or those new math classes we have to go through.”

It took Kat several long moments to reply and her breath indicated she had spent them laughing. “Summer, Calculus has never killed anyone; you just feel like it’s going to cause your head to explode. At least the initial instructors are going to be Ash and Andy. You don’t have to worry about your head decorating the wall from internal pressure until they bring down Hibbs or Chandler.”

“You are so kind,” was Thorn’s droll reply. “Speaking of our two man wrecking crew, where are they?”

“As they have G tolerance to spare, they decided to spend a little time in the belt on the way out. Seems they want some UNWG observation sat’s to bump into some rocks. Never waste a chance as Andy says.”

It was Thorn’s turn to laugh, “Would those rocks be about 5 CM in diameter, weigh about 40 pounds and be moving rather fast?”

“Why Summer, I think they did mention something about that!” Laughter filled the short comm link.

On Board the Galileo

Mariana Stuart was bone tired, the belters in the converted passenger area were in about the worst medical shape she had ever seen. For the first time she felt the true hate she held for the UNWG; these people had been denied the most basic of care in a deliberate and systematic basis. She had exhausted the entire field kit she had brought with her and needed more. Thank goodness they had dropped another larger set of supplies on the Deathfang on the way out.

She had railed and fought at the idea of not being by Andy’s side when they went for the Clark Orbit and the cover strike on Earth but, had she and Digger not been here, many would have not survived the 1 G perceived acceleration that they were using. At that moment Larry Monroe’s voice came over the loudspeakers, “Wormhole Transition in one minute, sit down and strap in. Deceleration starts as soon as we transit, we need to get to the Deathfang fast!”

Amen to that, thought Mariana.

Strike Force 6

“OK Ghost, see anything else worth our time?”

Ash’s laugh was infectious at worst, “Not a damn thing I can see. From here we can make the wormhole one day behind Thorn and Wildcat with 30 minutes on at 4 G perceived and 30 off at 1 G. Piece of cake for us.”

“Sounds good, time to go home. I wonder how much destruction our respective twins have caused?”

“What, with Hanna there to kick their butts. They know what will happen if they mess with MeMaw Hanna, the roof will fall on them.”

“And that stopped us when Ash?”

“Don’t know about you Andy but, my Grandma wasn’t carrying a .357 Ruger clone on her hip.”

“OK Ash, wanta bet on the over/under on bootprints on their butts?”

“No way Cuz. Flight plan coming over on burst, even with our genes this is not going to be fun.”

“I don’t really care at this point Ash, I just want to go home. You have no idea how tired I am!”

On Board the Deathfang

Tracking had just screamed “Acquisition” when Capt. Monroe’s voice came over the comm. “Deathfang, Galileo we are on decel to vector match. Be advised that we are on a 100 G real limit. Dr. Stuart has threatened to ventilate me if I subject these people to more than 1 G perceived.”

Wendy Taylor’s calm controlled voice replied from the Bridge, “Galileo, we will begin accel to assist, anything coming behind you will have no problem.”

“Thank you very much Deathfang, I don’t think the Dragonhead’s are more than 12 hours behind us. They were gaining all the way out.”

One hour later the Galileo was tractored on board the Deathfang.

12 Hours 30 Minutes Later

“Deathfang, Revenge, two to dock. Be advised we have all Task Force family’s still alive on board.”

LT. Anselmo heard the cheering over the voice of LT. Taylor in the microphone, “Roger Revenge, prepare for tractor lock! Welcome Home.”

Hunter St. James stood at the ramp entrance waiting for it to come down with Sharon by his side. As the ramp struck the deck she heard the six gongs and the announcement “Task Force Alchibah Arriving” and watched her husband Salute the Bay, “Permission to Come Aboard Sir?”

By tradition the most Junior Ensign saluted and replied, “Permission Granted and Welcome Home Sir.”

Sharon turned to Hunter, “These people don’t just obey you, they love you. You can see it in their faces!”

Jai Benjamin walked up, “Commodore now that we are back in Alchibah space, do you mind if I change Uniforms? I just don’t feel comfortable in LT. Taylors.”

Hunter had to grin, “Why not at all Miss Benjamin, I can understand and thank you.”

Jai gave him a curious look, “No problem Sir, once I saw those girls the game was over. They were coming home!”

The man Sharon knew as Ari came up and asked, “Ma’am, this Pup did not blink. What happened back there?”

“Cpl., I have no more idea than you do. I think the gun came from nowhere or from up her sleeve. I am really not sure which. I am just supremely happy she was on our side!”

Hunter St. James stared, “Should I ask?”

Sharon beamed, “No, the girls were not there and I should ask where you got that Young Lady from….. Lest I suddenly feel a need to get very jealous.” The grin on her face spoke volumes to the people around her and she could see them start to relax.

Hunter turned and gave Sharon a long matching grin. “She is here on Direct Orders from the Guy we are waiting on now and if you think I am going to do anything stupid, you should meet her fiancee. He may be even scarier than her. The survivors of the battle for the Mayflower think she’s pretty damn scary, that’s for certain.”

Over the 1MC “Deathfang, Wildcat and Thorn ready to dock. Be advised the Boss was 11 hours behind and closing.”

10 Hours 45 minutes later

“Deathfang, Reaper and Ghost ready to dock; Ghost is inboard.”

“Roger Reaper, prepare for tractor lock.”

Ash Andrews dropped the ramp and saluted the deck, “Permission to come aboard Sir.”

A very nervous looking Ensign replied with a salute, “Permission Granted Sir.”

Then the main event occurred. The last MK V-A was tractored in and dropped the hatch ramp. A tall figure stood in the door and announced with a salute, “Permission to come aboard Sir?”

The nervous young Ensign replied, “Permission Granted Sir.” Then the six gongs sounded again and the 1MC blared, “Strike Force Alchibah Arriving.”

Hunter St. James strode to the dock as he heard from Sharon behind him, “But that man is supposed to be dead!”

Then from three female voices behind her, “Not hardly, tell our bruises!”

“Andy, nice to have you aboard.”

On the viewscreen in the Bridge Wendy Taylor watched as the two tall, powerful men clasped hands. The only thing that came to mind was some poetry that her Grandmother had taught her from an old writer named Kipling.

East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
Though they come from the ends of the earth!

“Glad to be here Hunter. That reminds me you guys need a place to stay. I just happen to have a spare three bedroom place. Let’s head home and turn on the drinking light Hunter!”

Sharon felt another female in Black and Silver brush by her and run up to hug the man she knew had to be Andrew Stuart. As she watched she thought, “Odd, how did Dr. Mariana Kearns get here?”

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Probably.

All Contents (written or photo/artwork) not attributed to other sources is
Copyright (C) 2006 - 2011 by Jeff Soyer. All rights reserved.