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Beula

Authors: Sonia Foster
Categories: Adventure, John/Helena
Show Year: Y3
Rating: 2
Date: 2004

Story 3 in the "Beula" series +
1 - Synergy
2 - Lud
3 - Beula
4 - Pul
5 - Delivery
6 - Kidnapped
7 - Training, Mothering
8 - This Love
9 - War
10 - She is Mine
Alpha is now three days away from the planet called Beula. They are making reconnaissance plans. Will prophecy put an end to their lives as they journey to the planet and an uncertain future?
Includes Christian Content
Average Rating: No reviews.

Moonbase Alpha's status report, 1387 days after leaving earth's orbit, Dr. Helena Koenig recording. We are approaching a new planet. Computer has designated it Beula in accordance with Voyager's star charts. The planet, however, is inhabited. A long range robot Eagle has been sent out to probe the planet. Commander Koenig has been working on putting a crew together for the long journey, once we're in reception of feedback from our satellites on board the Eagle.

Maya sat beside Tony Veredeschi. He had a question to ask her, but he did not know where to begin. He smiled at her as she snuggled up to him, and took her hand. They were in John and Helena's quarters. Helena was ordering the wine for the evening's meal. Tony decided to just go ahead and ask.

"Maya, what's eating John? He has hardly said anything since Helena came back?"

Maya gave him a sheepish grin. She was afraid to reply; answering him would put her in the same boat as Helena. But she did not wish to lie. "I think you should ask her, Tony."

"You mean you don't know?"

"I did not say that, Tony. I said you should ask her," Maya smiled tightly and got up. She headed for the little kitchenette to speak with Helena. What was taking so long?

Maya saw Helena leaning against the slender refrigerator, eyes closed.

She sighed, Poor Helena; what was she to do? She approached her and touched her arm. Helena opened her eyes with a start.

She stared at Maya wide-eyed. Maya looked at her. They both felt tormented. She fell into Maya's arms. Maya held her for a while. Helena was not having an easy time with her pregnancy or her marriage. Maya spoke soothing, calm words to her. Helena quieted; after a few moments, the distraught doctor hugged her thanks.

"John has to forgive what happened and move on, Helena. The two of you are unhappy when this should be a joyous occasion." Maya saw the tears reach her eyes, but they did not fall.

The door slid open and John Koenig entered the room. He held a bunch of files in his hand. The men greeted each other, and then John went to shower and change. Tony noticed that John did not ask for Helena, nor did he look for her. Tony regarded the older man thoughtfully; something was amiss, but darned if he had a clue.

Helena and Maya emerged from the kitchen and Tony decided to question them,"Helena, what's going on?"

"What do you mean, Tony?"

"John has been quiet all day and now that he's home, he did not even ask where you were." The door bleeped and Helena went over to it. She pressed the computer key pad and the door slid open. It was Alan, Alibe, Sahn and Paul. Kano was minding the store. They greeted each other and Helena was about to close the door when the food trolley arrived with their dinner and wine.

The service people set it up in the usual place. Victor arrived soon thereafter. The man poured wine for the nine and Helena was handed a glass of apple cider by the girl who accompanied him. They left when all was dispensed. John entered the room. He was dressed in a beige turtle neck shirt and beige slacks. Helena complemented him in her brown maternity dress, another gift from her commanding husband.

"Well, as we are all here, let's eat. We can get to our meeting as soon as we are through." The conversation was lively as they all talked and laughed together. Tony, Maya and Sahn were the only three who noticed that the Koenigs neither looked at, nor spoke to each other.

They conversed with everyone else, but not each other. Sahn was heartbroken to see it. Helena was her best friend and she hated to see her so unhappy. Sahn caught Maya's eye and they looked sadly at each other.

Alan Carter turned to Helena and said. "So Helena, why did those bastards want to keep you anyway?" The conversation around the table stopped. Everyone looked at Helena, including John Koenig. His eyes narrowed.

Helena looked embarrassed. Maya answered, "Alan, you were there--you know those people were playing with our minds."

Alan looked puzzled. "Yeah, but what did they want with Helena? Why did she remain behind?" Helena felt the baby kick. She took it as a warning. She saw that John felt it too. Helena read Koenig's mind, and urged wordlessly. Let it go Alan, please, just let it go.

Victor interceded, "Alan, I do not think this is the time or the place for this." Helena realized that Victor knew everything. She felt mortified. They were finished with the main course so Maya and Sahn got up and cleared the table. They had all ordered desserts; Maya passed round the serving tray.

The chef on Alpha was Swiss, and could be relied upon to produce the finest desserts despite Alpha's depleted stores. Helena selected the cranberry stollen, Maya the lemon log, Sahn and Alibe had the Irish crème torte and the men had unanimously ordered the plum pudding.

The chef had made the torte special. They ate in silence. Alan was about to say something when Alibe kicked him in the shin. He looked at her funny and closed his mouth. Slowly they began commenting on the desserts and what a fine job the chef had done.

Koenig stood and told them to adjourn to the living room. They followed with the rest of their desserts as John carried the coffee service and Helena brought the cups. When the coffee was finished, John decided to start the meeting.

He held up the papers he had brought home with him. He looked at them and began, "Kano says there is life on this planet. Based on our surveillance they seem to be peaceful. We see no signs of nuclear activities or hot spots. We have the plans set out for our exploration. The robot Eagle will beam information here at 2100 hours. We will be able to download the information and pictures before we leave."

Koenig's voice rambled on explaining in detail what the plan was and how good the prospects were. He told them that they were still trying to communicate with the inhabitants but they still had no response from them. The meeting broke up at 2000 hours. They milled around chatting for another half an hour until only Victor, John and Helena were left.

The men sat across from each other. Helena walked in from the kitchen with more coffee. She poured coffee for all three of them and sat down. She was feeling a slight discomfort in her stomach, but she dismissed it.

"John, Helena, I know this is difficult for you both to hear, but for the child's sake you must make amends," Victor implored, taking the two by surprise.

Helena looked at John. She attempted to read him, but got nowhere. Victor tried again.

"John, be reasonable; under the circumstances there was nothing she could do."

"Victor, Raghin said she had to have at least had feelings for the man for the mind control to work that well. I came out of it in minutes. She was naked in another man's arms, Victor. She slept with him. There is nothing left to discuss."

Helena got up and fled to the bedroom. Victor stood and John stopped him. "Let her go, Victor."

"John, you are a stubborn fool. Do you want her to have a miscarriage? If you persist with this you might lose them both," Victor's words hit home and John sat down again.

Victor looked at him. "I know this is difficult, but you must forget what happened. If Helena could forget what happened on that planet and other things, then you can."

He heard John sigh. Victor reached out and patted him on the shoulder then let himself out. John dreaded going into the room. Truth be told, for the first time since he fell madly in love with Helena, he did not desire her sexually; he felt repulsed.

He could not get the image of the two of them kissing or her naked it his arms out of his mind.

John Koenig started as the same hot feeling he had on the planet Lud come over him. In his minds eye he saw Helena looking at herself in the mirror. She was naked and looking at her stomach.

He remembered the encounter in the future when she was pregnant with their second son. She had a towel wrapped around her then. John was attracted to her then, but not now. How could he possibly reconcile with her given the way he felt?

John entered the bedroom to find her dressed in a nightgown. She offered hesitantly, "I will understand if you want to sleep elsewhere." Koenig felt ashamed at that. He scrutinized her. These two weeks he had hardly looked at her or slept in the same bed with her. Victor was right; he was hurting both her and the baby. She had dark circles under her eyes.

He came over to her and sat down. He took her hand. Helen felt a little anxious. This was the first time in their life together John Koenig's passion for her had waned; she saw it in his eyes. The fire was gone.

"Helena, I am sorry. I know you did not deliberately do what you did. I know you were unwilling. I just need some time to get over it. Forgive me for taking this out on you." Helena embraced him. She was thankful for Victor talking some sense into him. She kissed him on the lips, but John pulled away.

He made the pretense of needing to change as he got up. He returned in his long pj's. Helena knew his short pj's were clean and he preferred those or sleeping in the nude. He got into bed and turned his back to her. Helena snuggled up to him. Her arms went around his waist and his fingers laced through hers. The baby kicked between them. For the first time John was unsure of their future together as man and wife.

Helena could not sleep. She was worried about her marriage. John held her hand but she knew it was out of concern, not love. She closed her eyes and eventually nodded off.

Helena woke up the next morning with a little discomfort in her abdomen. She would have to check it out later when she had the time; she now had three back to back surgeries waiting. She had to get dressed, grab a quick breakfast and get to medical.


John Koenig, Victor Bergman, Tony Veredeschi and the others studied the screen of the first pictures of the planet. At first the pictures showed the planet from a distance. It was smaller than their Earth. The probe was over the mountains and hills. They were totally different than that of Earth's. This planet boasted red rolling hills and orange mountain tops.

The air was breathable and high in oxygen. There were large bodies of water. 70% of the planet was water. The Alphans could not yet determine if these were salt or fresh water. Koenig noted, and worried about the cold. It could become extremely frigid with what they saw of the weather pattern so far. The men checked the weather pattern again.

Kano came back and forth with large maps and aerials of the planet. They spotted the inhabitants, resembling ants from this distance. The landmarks seemed modern. There were a few buildings here and there, but nothing they could clearly pinpoint. The hot spots would come in later as they scanned for nuclear weapons and other signs of advance technology. Koenig thanked God for the new developments on Alpha due to their space travels. Their technology had advanced considerably.

The pictures lay everywhere when Helena Koenig came in. She had just finished her last operation and she was exhausted. However, she could not resist perusing the pictures of the new planet before heading home. She entered John's office and they all stood. Helena waved them down.

Victor offered her his seat and started showing her the most recent pictures. John ignored her, but after a few minutes something kept nagging at him. Finally it came to him. Her hair was longer and her stomach was bigger. The baby had grown. John could see him protruding more forcefully than before.

BLEEP! BLEEP!

"Helena Koenig here."

Ed Spencer's face appeared on her tiny screen. "Helena, could you and the Commander come to Medical?"

"What's the matter, Ed?"

"Nothing too serious, just the results of your latest test and something unusual," he responded.

"How unusual?" John asked, rising from where he perched.

"I think you ought to see it for yourselves." Ed rang off and the Koenigs moved off toward the exit. John held Helena's arm as they walked. She said nothing to him as they made their way to Medical.

Ed was waiting in her office; he beckoned at them to proceed. They entered and she sat at her desk and John sat across from her. Ed stood facing them. Bob was on a two week leave of absence so Ed was in charge of her pregnancy until his return. Helena was not sure what Ed had found and his face gave nothing away.

"Helena, have you been feeling any discomfort lately?" he asked.

Helena cocked her head to the side and looked at him in earnest. She answered him, "Yes I have, but only since yesterday have I noticed some discomfort, and this morning it had increased."

Koenig stood he was clearly upset. "Helena, you said nothing to me." Helena looked at him he was distressed, but she could see it was concern for his child that drove the response.

"John, I am a doctor. I know when I'm in danger," she snapped too harshly.

John looked at Spencer. "Well Doctor, what is it?" he asked.

"It seems the child has turned. It has positioned itself head downward into the birthing canal. He isn't due until mid September. This is July it is far too soon for the fetus to be positioning itself in the womb. Something is going on, Helena."

Helena was at a loss as to what to say or do. "Does it seem like I might miscarry, Ed?"

"No, as a matter of fact you are younger and stronger than you were four14 days ago. It seemed you really were gone for months and during that time you did not age, but in fact became younger. I would like to draw some amniotic fluid, Helena. I think we will know more when I examine it. Did anything unusual happen while you were there?" Ed asked.

"I did not eat much. But I was never hungry, either. I ate very little and I lost at least ten pounds," she stated.

"I'd say more than that. Why didn't you eat, Helena?"

"I couldn't. I was having morning sickness and John was not there to take it from me," she half lied.

"Helena, morning sickness alone could not account for such a great loss. How bad was it?"

Helena sighed. She would have to tell them everything. "I was starving myself to death, Ed. It was the only way I could get those people to notice me." Ed was flabbergasted. John too had never known this. John had come around to face Helena while they were talking.

He spoke, "Were you trying to kill the child because of your love for this man?" he asked bitterly.

"John, don't be insane," she denied furiously, "I never loved that man." She stood and faced him. "It was you. I wanted you, but they would not let me go. They threatened to kill you, John! I could only attempt to starve myself to death for them to release me. It worked and they did. I needed you. But, I never really intended to kill myself. I love this child and its father," Helena asserted. Tears glinted in her eyes, threatening to spill, but she refused to shed them.

John merely stared. She continued, "I did not want to come back to this, though. Your derision, your remarks, your coldness, your loathing--you have wounded me, John Koenig."

"YOUUUUU betrayed me!" he bellowed, as his temper suddenly flared.

Ed started back, shocked. He knew nothing of what had occurred. He was truly surprised at the can of worms he had just opened up. For his CMO's sake, he tried to intervene.

"John, can we drop this for now? I need to examine Helena."

Koenig turned to him. "Give us a moment, Ed." Koenig used his comlock and opened the door. Ed stepped out and it closed. John turned to her, eyes locking with hers. "Tell me Helena Koenig that you know for certain you never slept with that creature," he demanded. A tic twitched in his jaw as his very sanity braced for her reply.

"How can I say that for sure," she hedged softly. She hung her head then raised it. John saw her regal and defiant bearing return and decided to go for broke.

"I saw you kiss him and offer yourself to him. He could only have been poisoned if he penetrated you. Tell me if that is not true," the Commander grated.

"You're making me ill, John," she whispered, sagging. Helena was tired of arguing; she would suffer no more!

"You make me ill." That stung Helena more than if he had slapped her in the face. She got up and pushed pass him, brandishing her comlock. Spencer was waiting and followed behind her as she passed him to stride through the opened portal.

Dr. Spencer called one of the nurses to draw a curtain around her. Another nurse brought in a huge needle and disappeared behind the curtain. John stood outside sweating as he waited; his son's life might be at stake here. Large fists clenched uselessly.

BLEEP! BLEEP!

John raised his comlock "Yes, Victor."

"We have visuals of the perfect area for a landing site. We are also in position to make landfall. We could start Operation Beula Land at 0800 hours tomorrow," the older man enthused, craggy countenance aglow.

"OK Victor, I will be back in Main Mission in a bit; keep me posted." Koenig rang off. Dr. Spencer came out with the syringe; it had a green fluid in it. He placed it in a container and sealed it. He handed it to another nurse who left for the lab. The curtains opened and John saw Helena sitting up in the bed, fully clothed. He entered as Ed turned and they both entered the room together. The nurse exited.

"Well, Ed, what is your theory?"

"Well, John, I would say it was a defense mechanism. The child tried to abort itself to survive. That green fluid is the blood combined with something else, possibly a protective substance. Another thing Helena--I need a sample of your hair."

"What for?" She fingered a honey blonde swath as her hair seemed to have a mind of its own.

"I think it has something to do with the child also and your strange blood. I want to examine it. John's hair is not changing."

"Ed, my hair was dyed up until now. My original hair is platinum blonde. I tried to color it and no deal. Just this swatch got dyed. It won't take to the dye anymore."

"Mmm, did you try cutting it?" Ed groped for a pair of scissors and tried to cut her hair. The scissors snapped in two. Everyone stared, flabbergasted.

"I think we need to investigate this new blood of yours further," he stated simply, recovering first.

John moved to confront Dr. Spencer. "How could the child survive if it aborted itself?" The Commander was even more confused.

"Somehow or other, John, this child is well developed. He is strong too."

Helena listened closely, but was no longer surprised by this kid. He could do anything he set his mind to, she thought, comforted by this, at least.

"Until the results come back I see no reason why you should not go home and rest. I think he will turn as long as he senses no danger. Will you be going on reconnaissance?" He asked Helena.

Helena looked at John Koenig, her husband. John was tempted to say no. But he wanted to be near his son from now on. John nodded his head toward her abdomen. "Do you think it is safe for her to travel?" John questioned.

"Yes; as I said, the child is strong and her vitals are good. She is far healthier now than at the beginning of her pregnancy." Helena smiled at that.

They headed towards the door. Ed had wanted to prescribe some vitamin tablets, but he changed his mind as he mentally reviewed the results of her blood work. She really did not need them. Rest was by far the better prescription at this moment.

The two headed down the passage, Helena was a little ahead of him.

"I am going back to Main Mission," John informed his wife curtly. "We leave at 0800 hours tomorrow morning. Make sure you get some sleep." He barely looked at her as he spoke. Helena nodded and he turned the corridor and headed off to Main Mission. Helena paused and looked at his retreating form. Helena's love for him had not waned, despite his terrible, unwarranted accusations. But his for her had. She shook her head and continued on her way.


The Eagles headed out of the moon's atmosphere sending a signal at all times to the planet in hopes of contacting someone before they landed. They would arrive at the new planet in 24 hours. Helena and John rode Eagle One. Alan Carter, Alibe Pearson, Victor Bergman?along with his newest assistant Jan, Eric Houser, and Jim Simms from Security were aboard that Eagle also.

Eagle Two contained Tony Veredeschi, Maya, Ben Vincent, Patrick Osgood, Shermeen Williams, Dave Reilly and Dan Taylor, security personnel.

After four hours of cramped flight, Helena decided to stand and stretch her legs. Koenig, at the cockpit controls, elected to go back and see how she was faring so Alan took over. He found her walking around. She looked at him when he entered. Despite studying the charts and making arrangements for the mission, he'd not made it a point to see her this morning. Unlike previous times, when he'd appeared like clockwork for no good reason at all, she felt it was now out of concern and not love. She ached for a return to normalcy.

John walked over to her. "How are you?" he inquired formally. She sensed his genuine concern. She did not see love, however.

"I am well," she responded, equally guarded. John observed that her stomach looked bigger this morning.

"Did the baby turn?"

"Yes, he did. He is no longer in danger. The discomfort I had yesterday is gone," Helena said. John reached out and touched her stomach.

"Hello son," he greeted softly. The baby kicked in reply; they shared an affectionate smile. John kept him hand on her stomach. Helena moved closer to him.

"John, can you put this behind you and love me again?" she pleaded. She sensed the turmoil as his telltale silence lengthened.

John Koenig was not a complicated man, but this woman brought out feelings in him that he never knew he had. When had his emotions grown so terribly complex? He stared mutely?hers was by no means a simple request.

Koenig tried to read her mind. She loved him; that he'd never doubted. His spirit reaffirmed they belonged together, but his heart ached for what once was. "Helena, don't do this right now," he whispered in a strangled tone."I want you to just relax and think about our son and his well being."

"John, I came back because I couldn't live without you, but I can't live like this. You're killing me."

John saw it in her eyes, she wearied of this conflict. "Helena, I don't want to hurt you. I... I need some time. I want us still to be a family, but I... I need time," he repeated helplessly. "I need to get some rest before we reach the planet. I did not sleep last night. I will see you later." Koenig turned on his heel and fled the transport module.

Victor watched Helena. He could see what this was doing to her. She stood rooted to the spot. Victor got up and went to her. He took her hand and led her back to her seat. "Get some rest, my dear." He patted her hand. Helena sat back. She too had not slept well. She closed her eyes thereafter and slept fitfully.

John Koenig slept also. He felt a presence over him. He was dreaming of Helena. She loomed before him, bathed in ethereal light; in this dream she represented a symbol of their bond's previous intensity. He felt his soul rise. She reached out to him. He floated toward her beckoning arms. They floated around each other, a wheel within a wheel going around. Helena grasped his hands warmly. Koenig watched her every move. This moment was hers. Helena's lips descended on his and instantly they transcending into another dimension of being. They were traveling, but journeying where? Helena led him on in the kiss; they were going back in time.

Koenig saw through her eyes. She was back on Lud. Everything rewound slowly; John watched. He saw her talking to a dark skinned woman. He relived her being urged by Maya to eat. He experienced their parting. He saw her in the room talking with Maya as he looked on, frozen. Koenig panicked, and began to struggle. He did not want to regress beyond that point!

Koenig broke the kiss and he jolted awake. Alan Carter looked over at him. "Bad dream," Koenig offered. He closed his eyes again. He thought about what he had seen and he was afraid. He was afraid to confront that moment again; he'd die if he witnessed her in that man's arms again.

This rampant fear made John Koenig realize he still loved her deeply. A measure of peace threaded his tortured emotions, allowing him to sleep peacefully .


The Eagle approached the planet when suddenly the monitor's warning light went off, flashing like crazy. "Vessel approaching, Commander," Carter said.

"Raise shields," Koenig ordered. "Hail that vessel, Alan. Scan for weapons and any signs of hostility. Now they wish to respond to us after we have been trying for days to reach them."

"Eagle One to approaching vessel, we come in peace; identify yourself." Glancing at Koenig's taught profile, he reported, "No signs of weapons of any kind, John."

Victor Bergman came forward to watch the proceedings. They watched as the alien ship stopped. Alan also slowed, and then stopped. He continued hailing the ship.

The screen flickered on board as the image of the vessel rippled to reveal the other ship's interior. The creatures regarded them and they followed suit. Some were beige and some dark brown in color. They looked to be of average build. Their large eyes peered out from sunken sockets, and they appeared humanoid. The darker being spoke; he was male, was the other female?

Hello and welcome to the planet, Beula (Hello and welcome to Beula)

"Alan, translate!" Alan Carter pressed a few buttons on his console, and a more intelligible message replayed.

"Respond Alan," Koenig ordered.

"We thank you for your welcome," Alan replied.

"We will escort you in. (We will escort you in)."

Alan Carter followed the vessel before him. He had scanned it earlier and it contained no weapon of any kind.

The Eagles broke through the surface of the planet. What greeted them was a winter wonderland of soft falling snow. The area was covered in a light layer. According to preliminary telemetry, the planet had snow all year round. They spied a clearing and the vessels headed for it. They could see large wooden structures all around them. It was a city comprised of real wood. Everywhere there were huge wooden structures.

Eagle One and Two touched down with a soft thump and Koenig prepared a landing party. It would consist of Drs. Helena Koenig and Ben Vincent, Professor Bergman, Maya, Shermeen, Dave Reilly, Eric Houser and Dan Taylor. They donned red insulation suits to combat the cold weather.

The Eagle doors opened and the entire party emerged. The others on board watched the landing party step out to greet the aliens on the ground. There were no signs of any offspring.

Red and orange rolling hills were visible from where they were. The white on this made everything look picture perfect but cold. Helena checked the temperature it was 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two creatures came forward. They were dressed in a metallic suit that appeared to insulate them from the bitter cold as well. Alibe handed the Alphans translators. They fixed it to their wrist. Helena stood with John and the others brought up the rear. The creature gestured when he spoke. He wore a bright purple cufflink type gadget around his dollar-sized ear. John figured that to be a translating device. He noticed that some of the people with him also wore these, in varying colors.

"I am Tarz: this is Theda. We are the rulers of Beula, welcome." He gestured again and they were approached by several creatures with wooden objects in hand. They gifted each of these objects to the Alphans. Koenig also called to Alibe, who had brought a gift for them. She handed the delicately wrought object to Theda. It was a beautiful crystal urn. Theda was very pleased to receive it.

"We tried to contact you but got no response. We are traveling the universe outside our will and our journey's led us here. We are looking for a place to settle."

"We did not wish to respond until we had assessed who you were entirely. We were expecting you," Tarz said.

Tarz gestured to them and the Alphans followed him. He walked towards a dome-shaped building and entered. The Alphans followed. John Koenig and crew spent the better part of the day sampling the foods set before them. They went over the plans to survey the island with the people there, hoping for approval. The people were very pleasant.

Pretty soon the children appeared. They were like the adults, but hairy in their purple and white insulation suits. The parents were devoid of hair; Drs. Helena and Ben were amiably informed that this was the growth cycle here.


Koenig and the others split up into three groups and went to survey the land with the permission of the Beulan leader. It had stopped snowing and the air had turned warm and crisp. The snow had disappeared. Their guides were Shipa, Partos and Gregos. Their clothing was that of purple and green coloring and looked to be made of some kind of woodsy fiber.

John, Helena and Dan Taylor went with Shipa to survey the two islands near them. Ben Vincent, Maya and Dave Reilly went with Partos to look at mineral sites. Shermeen, Eric Houser and Professor Bergman went with Gregos to look at the vegetation. They were to just look and tomorrow they would gather samples for testing.

They were informed of the minerals and vegetation on the planet. Later they would check their files with the Alphans to see if they had similar resources. They toured for an hour and half as it grew dark pretty quickly on this planet. They returned as the sky darkened and the snow began to fall again.

The rest of the Alphans came to dinner and Koenig transmitted collected pictures via their satellites to Alpha for studying. The Alphans ate and talked with their hosts. Though the food and drinks were strange in taste, quality and texture they ate it after testing it. Strange taste assailed their taste buds.

They retired to the private quarters of their hosts who gave up their homes to them. The Koenigs were shown to a guest bedroom in Theda's house. Thankfully, the room was warm as was the place where they ate. However, they could not determine where the heat was coming from.

Helena looked at the odd shaped bed and hope she could sleep that night. John took what looked to be blankets from Theda and laid it atop the odd pallet. The bed was egg-shaped and wide--it took up half of the bedroom.

Helena settled the best she could with what she had. They had brought sleepwear and other attire with them. John helped her to change since she was getting awkward in her movements now. She stood in her panties. John touched her stomach and she remained standing half naked before him. Helena felt her blood rise. John, however, was distracted by the shape of her stomach. No one had ever been pregnant for him before; John was fascinated by this phase of new life growing inside Helena.

He kneeled before her and placed his head on her stomach. Helena sighed; was this the only connection with her husband now--her son? John's arms snaked around her waist as he listened for sounds in her tummy. Helena tentatively brushed his hair, then realized she heard no sound from him. She looked down and felt his emotions swimming through her.

John was overwhelmed by this experience, so much so that he did not know what to say. Helena continued to stroke his hair and John stayed there for a while and Helena let him. He stood after a while and they faced each other. He looked deeply into her eyes and Helena saw love flicker there, but it was fleeting. Her hand went to his face and she stood on tip toes and kissed him softly on the lips. John did not flinch this time.

Helena's hope reignited when John's hand found her face as she gazed into his golden blue eyes. I love her, I know I do. He looked into her gold-green eyes and that certainty was reconfirmed.

"Darling, what are you thinking?" she inquired tremulously.

"You already know. Why do you ask?"

"I want to hear you say it," she urged, and fell into his arms. He held her tightly. John knew he had never fallen out of love with her he was just deeply hurt.

"Helena," John mused aloud, "I think we could settle here. Tomorrow we will know for sure. I think this was the place we saw when we had traveled through time."

That was not what she wanted to hear, she observed, sadly.

"Yes, I think so too."

Koenig continued blithely, "This is where we had the pictures on the mantel, and that beautiful kitchen."

Helena replied, smiling, "Yes, I think you are right," as John looked around, "this is the place. Everything there was wood too."

"That is true. This is the place." Helena snuggled contentedly in his arms. Reconciliation hadn't happened yet, but she was grateful for the progress they had made tonight.


They surveyed the planet for two days sending back information to Moonbase Alpha. The return information brought confirmations and differences in many areas. Victor worked overtime jumping between many teams, completely in his element. Everything fascinated him. On the third day, Alibe went up with Alan to scout out an area where the Alphans could set up a permanent camp.

They found it and came up with an original name: 'The Headquarters'. Hah! The Alphans laughed at the idea.

The people told them they had at least 1 million different types of animal life forms. They were informed, however, that there were no visible insects. They had what could pass for birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, arachnids, etc.

Alpha's surviving scientists and service people alike were intrigued by the planet. It was three quarters the actual size of the Earth. Land was in twenty-five areas spread out over a thousand or so miles in radius. The biggest mass was where they were now, Madesthiasa.

Then there was the province of Penthum, Chasa, Dradmar, Garuth, Yesuik, Lap, Omrim, Wak, Meghud and Kedrum. The others were small and held few colonies; Xeldif, Meda, Theda, Tarz, Dulk, Lees and Resgal were the biggest of these small islands.

In another week the moon would move closer in orbit as Alpha's rate of travel was slowing. Victor surmised they would go into orbit here. The Alphans were looking forward to receiving additional survey teams to expedite the laborious first stage of what might finally result in the execution of Operation Exodus.


Koenig had left with Tarz to meet the leaders in the other provinces, accompanied by Veredeschi. They were anxious to meet with him. The three had departed early in the day, and would not be returning until next morning.

"John, how are things with you and Helena?" Tony asked as they waited outside the domicile of one of the leaders. They were walking around and trying the different fruits or ronug on the planet.

John paused in his eating. He did not fancy this fruit so he tossed it and tried another. This one was shaped like a pear. He bit into it and it was tart. He was not certain he liked this one either. He turned to Tony. What has Maya told him? John did not want to reveal too much; he knew Tony did not know what had transpired in that room on Lud. Or did he? John was not sure what to think.

"We are fine, Tony," he replied reassuringly. "Don't worry about us--just going through some rough spots."

Tony tried a different angle. One thing he knew about Helena and John: they did not lie very well. "Helena and Maya told me what happened. I was shocked and flabbergasted."

John knew a dud when he saw and heard it. He looked at Tony in earnest, but said nothing.

Undeterred, Tony continued, "I think Helena and Maya were also devastated with what happened."

John decided to stop him before he hurt himself trying. "Tony, I don't want to discuss it."

The door opened and a tall, willowy man came out. Tarz followed him and they raised their hand. John realized that this was their hello or greeting. He followed the men into the gigantic wooden structure. They went through a wide passageway and entered a door on the right of Koenig. The walls were lined with symbols. There were seven. Koenig guessed that they might symbolize the provinces.

Other people were there from all over the planet. They sat down in round straight-back chairs at an egg-shaped table and were served a drink. Koenig met with twenty representatives. They all had translator about their necks.

The room was decorated by the finest wood Koenig had ever seen. The furniture was exquisitely designed and showed expert craftsmanship. There were odd-shaped pieces all around. Koenig figured he would find out their uses at some point in the future. Mirrors lined the walls and more symbols were seen, engraved upon them.

The chiefs sitting with him at the immediate table were Theda and Tarz, leaders of Madesthiasa, Penthum and Chasa. Next in line were Charmadin leader of Dradmar and Garuth. They were followed by Kiga, leader of Yesuik, Lap and Omrim. Ranth and Frasdi were leaders of Meghud and Kedrum. Thrates was leader of Xeldif and Meda. Theda and Kara were the new leaders of Tarz and Dulk. Rumi was leader of Lees and Resgaly.

In addition, there were three individuals present that owned seven small islands, at the council meeting. These were Croth, Mendoflin and Shareb. The others--eight in number--were members of the council elected to sit. The chief of these was Fiso. They all sat around the immediate council.

Koenig came right to the point. "I am sure Councilor Tarz told you that we are seeking a permanent home. Do you have enough space to accommodate us?"

They looked around the room at each other, then nodded to Koenig. Charmadin spoke; this was his meeting area. He was also the one who had met Koenig and Tony at the door.

"We are honored to have you here. We are a peaceful species. We know a little of Earth's history from the computers on your spacecraft. We are a little perturbed by the level of violence we saw. But, we also have had contact with your computers on your base and we recognize the efforts you and your people have made to live in peace. We take that as a good sign that you are the right people to live here."

"When did you contact our computer?" Koenig inquired, startled. Kano had not reported a security breach.

"Several days ago--we are a very advanced society, Commander. We just like to live simply. We were expecting you."

Koenig looked directly at him. "How is that possible?" Koenig asked.

"Arra," Theda replied.

John was not surprised. Theda elaborated. "Many decades ago she touched our world and told us of you. She left this here for you," Theda handed him a parchment tied with a brown ribbon. Koenig carefully opened it.

It proclaimed, 'They will take you on the next leg of your journey'. Something fell from it and Koenig retrieved it. It was a crystal object, shaped like a pen. Koenig spun it around in his hand, fascinated. He read the note again, but it said nothing about the crystal.

The council members watched him keenly. After a while, they seemed disappointed about something.

"Thank you and we accept your generosity in sharing your planet. Are you all in agreement?" Koenig's eyes went around the room. They nodded their consent in turn.

"Do we need to draw up contracts as to where we are allowed to live?" Koenig asked.

"This is more than a contract, Commander. The Rights of Kard has to be performed, which is a wedding ceremony. This is the only way you can share our land. Your wife and you will wed with us. It will be a union of two planets. Earth and Beula will wed."

"Does this mean Helena and I will be linked physically to you and your people?"

In response, the counselors stood. Koenig arose with them. All twenty joined hands around the table and Koenig watched as they all glowed, emitting a green aura before joining together as one being. They melted into one as he had done with Helena previously was that a sign. He stared, fascinated, as they pulled apart to become individuals once more.

Koenig and Tony were astonished. Tarz stepped forward. "This way we will become one also. Do you accept our proposal, Commander?"

Koenig sensed Helena's presence in his head. She had found him and apparently she had been here a while. Did you hear what they are offering us? He asked mentally.

She responded, Yes.

Do you agree? He asked.

She responded, Yes, I am tired of traveling. They seem harmless .

Koenig looked at the gathering, the note from Arra, then inexplicably he felt the awareness that this was the right decision for the Alphans. He stretched forth his hand. Tarz clasped it, cognizant of this Earth custom.


"Ben, leave that here and check with Patrick and Dave and get the data I need for Life Support please." Helena watched as he placed the box at her feet and left at a run, heading out of the wooden structure and into the snow. She was busier than she had ever been in her life.

Helena sat at her computer and fed it the information coming in from teams all over the planet. Professor Bergman was on another computer--he was relaying the information to Alpha. Another reconnaissance vessel was on its way and was less than hours away. It was acting as a relay to Alpha.

Ben ran back with the information. Helena inserted the disk. What she saw amazed her. All the minerals they would ever need were displayed before her. Scanner reports continued coming in, and she stored and sorted the document, then transmitted it over to Victor.

Helena stopped and stood. She gestured to Ben to continue as she took a break. Helena walked over to Medah, who was the offspring of Tarz and Theda, and had been introduced to her earlier as her guide and companion. The child looked to be 12 years of age and had hardly spoken to Helena all day; she simply sat and watched. She wore a translator around her neck. "I think I need to go in for a bit, I am feeling a bit weary."

Medah stood and nodded. She was interested in these people; they were legendary. Tales had been told for decades of their coming. However, Medah was in awe of this woman who was carrying the seed of hope for her people and theirs. Medah was disturbed by the legend of this woman, however. She followed the woman indoors to prepare a third cup of an herbal tea she so loved to drink. Medah had watched her make it twice, so was eager to attempt it herself.

Helena took a sip and smiled her approval at Medah. For the first time today the child smiled with her. Helena sat on their thrisch and closed her eyes. Sighing, she thought of John. She let her mind travel around until she located him on a small island twenty miles away.

He was in the midst of a meeting. Unbeknownst to him, she entered his mind. She saw and heard them through his eyes. She saw John accept the parchment, observed the people merge. She smiled when Koenig acknowledged her presence and asked her if they should accept the proposal. Like quicksilver, she reviewed both the reports and Arra's enigmatic parchment. She nodded mentally, brushing John's thoughts warmly as Koenig agreed outwardly.

Medah watched her, sensing the woman's mind was a distance away. Medah left. Helena left John and fell asleep. The child stirred within her. Her hair grew a millimeter in a second.


John Koenig, returning home the following day, rested in the vessel. He fell asleep, and departed his physical shell. He traveled to where Helena slept after working all morning. He watched her sleep, hovering astrally and somehow her spirit noticed him. Medah entered the room as the woman left her body behind.

The child watched in awe as they floated above Helena's sleeping form. Medah went out the door, shutting it behind her. The sound alerted the pair, and they watched her retreat. They exchanged 'glances' realizing they were able to peer through the door at her retreating form.

Drained, Helena floated back to her body and John returned to his.

Four hours later, Koenig arrived. He had taken a detour with Tarz. He was shocked to see all the information Helena and Victor had garnered and sent off to Alpha. They were also receiving information from Alpha. John spoke with Paul to learn the Alphans were preparing for Operation Exodus. Everything looked unbelievably good.

The Alphans were celebrating. They had begun packing for the journey. Unfortunately, Sandra had informed them they were not going into orbit. Koenig worried at the news, but Victor assured him they would have ample time to leave, if need be; at least three days.

Koenig spoke to the Alphans several hours later. One recon Eagle was almost here and he apprised them of the plans, and the planet's rich resources. The Alphans were ecstatic.


John conferred with Victor as they ate a breakfast of mostly fruit the following day. "Victor, what is your prediction so far?"

"This planet will sustain us, John. They have more than enough resources for all of us to live in comfort here. The vegetation is similar to that of earth, but it's not all the same. We will, however, need to be very careful. Some of us will have to become vegetarians, as there are not enough animals for eating here. I think we will mostly have a vegetarian diet."

"That's fine by me, Victor. We can introduce our birds and leave it at that."

Victor smiled, then inquired gently, "Where is Helena?"

John did not know; oddly enough. He tried to sense her but could not. He stood up and went in search of her. He looked around for the little girl, but saw no sign of her either. He took out his comlock, "Helena, where are you?" Koenig got no response, but kept talking into the device.

Tarz came into the area carrying the comlock. He stated, "Your wife left her device." He passed it to Koenig, who asked if he had seen Helena. "Not since yesterday," Tarz replied.

John broadcasted his search for Helena on all frequencies. This ability was open to only five people on Alpha, six with Kano and the computer. The other Alphans listened intently from their work stations all over the planet.

Koenig's comlock buzzed. It was Alibe Pearson. John saw that Alan was with her. "Commander, Helena passed us two hours ago."

Koenig glanced at his watch. He had not seen her when he came down to breakfast, had not wanted to see her. A lot of things were on his mind and he was not up to conversing with her. Their last encounter on the astral plane suggested that she wanted to get physical with him. The little girl had interrupted them, and he had exited after that.

She had reached for him last night and he had rejected her. He reiterated to her gently that he did not want to get intimate. He had heard her crying silently as he pretended to sleep. John could not bring himself to look at her this morning so he left early.

Victor found him at the edge of their work area, "John, did you locate Helena?"

"No, Victor, and I cannot sense her either." John was beginning to worry. He said a silent prayer and went over the frequency again. This time he ordered a search party.

He called Alan and Alibe. "Yes, Commander they both said coming into view on Alan's comlock

"Have you seen, Helena, Since the last time she passed?"

"No, Commander," Alibie answered.

"Where are you?"

"We found an ideal area for a picnic and she came into the clearing. We told her we were thinking of using it as another headquarters."

"Give me your co-ordinates." As Alan spoke, he relayed them to the search party. Koenig and his men arrived rapidly at the site. Alan had set up a tent, and he and Alibe had a picnic of sorts going. Koenig was sorry to have disturbed them, but this was more important.

They searched the area.

BLEEP, BLEEP

"Koenig, here," he responded tersely.

"John, Eagle Four and two have arrived. They have the moon buggies; should I send them over?" Victor asked.

Koenig gave an affirmative then received another call. He looked at his comlock; it was Theda.

"Yes, Theda?"

"Medah is missing," John heard the panic in her tone.

"She must be with Helena," Koenig offered.

"She cannot be alone with the mother of the Chosen One," Theda warned.

"What... what are you talking about?"

"Commander Koenig your people are legends on our planet. We have stories we tell our children and children's children. The Chosen One's mother will be responsible for the death of three members of our council! Tarz is one of them."

Koenig was shocked by this. What other stories did these people have about his family or people? "Where did you get these stories?"

"From Arra, some are true stories. Some are tales we made up over the years. At this juncture we do not know which is which."

"Theda, be honest with me: is this story about Tarz's death supposed to be one that is true?" John watched her look away then back again.

"Yes."

John exhaled heavily. "When does legend say this will take place? What will happen?"

"Twenty parmins of our cycle."

"When is that?"

"Our day is 30 hours. That means within ten days of becoming one in our ritual."

"Did Medah know of this legend?"

"Yes."

"Would she harm Helena?" John saw her hesitate.

Theda was not certain what to say, but ultimately decided that honesty was the best policy. "She will try to kill her. Legend also has it that the mother of the Chosen One was killed, but we do not know when or by whom."

"She is but a child. Your people are peaceful, or so you say."

"Our people are peaceful. We only acquired this peace when we got to be three hundred years old. Medah is a hundred years old Commander. We die at age five hundred or more. Our species only reproduce every twenty years."

Koenig felt his heart racing. He had a weird feeling in the pit of his stomach. "How will she kill her?"

"Carthenosis-- Medah will drain her life force, Commander. That is the only way to kill an immortal. After this is done she will be decapitated and her parts stored in different places."

Koenig stared at her disbelievingly, repeatedly numbly, "Decapitated."

Theda handed the device to Tarz, she was too distraught to speak further. "Commander, our people are searching for her as well. It seems several other children are also missing. Medah cannot do this alone she needs to join with others to accomplish this. We are sorry, Commander we should have informed you of this legend. But we did not expect her to react this way. The mother of the Chosen is revered here. No one would dare harm her."

Koenig watched as Eagle Four and two landed. He felt his bones melt within him. To come this far to lose both of them?! John was damned if he would.

They searched the area many times. Koenig was joined by Tarz and his people and they searched more extensively. They found nothing.

Tarz and Koenig were looking over the maps of a wider radius as they spoke.

"We have covered all of this," Tarz pointed out; Koenig nodded. Other council members began to arrive. Koenig acknowledged them and thanked them for coming.

"Commander, the only way we can now track Medah is to join together. When she merges with the others to kill your mate we will spot her and teleport there."

Koenig listened to their plans and prayed that they would not be too late.


THE NIGHT BEFORE: They had retired to bed. John had hardly spoken to her all evening. Helena sensed that he was not happy about what happened earlier. She was happy for the closeness shared their first night here, yet had hoped for more. He was not talking, but she needed him. She had longed for him all day.

Helena was naked when John finally came to bed. He could feel her rounded flesh. He was neither repulsed, nor turned on. She rolled over, her warm body touching his.

"Helena, I don't want this."

"John, I need you," she whispered huskily.

Koenig turned his back and feigned sleep. Helena got the message.

She woke up after and saw that he had left early in the morning for breakfast. As she ate alone, she saw Medah and two other children watching her. They smiled and she got up and went over to them. The day was warm, everything beautiful and picturesque. The snow had melted and the area radiated heat.

"I know of a pool where you could bathe, Lady Helena," one of the little ones offered.

"Why do you call me that?'

"Legend has it that you are the Lady Helena. Do you want to go to the pool? We will watch over you from the bitar." This was a fierce animal that would kill anything in its path, the children explained.

Helena smiled and told her she would have to collect her toiletries. The little girl did not understand the translation, so she waited until Helena returned, carrying a little bag.

They were joined by two boys, and they set out. Helena was unaware of any danger as already she had been led into the bushes and away from camp. The people of Beula were accomplished illusionists. Helena was guided into a small hover craft; and whisked 50 thousand miles to a deserted cartz (bejewelled) island. There, six other children waited.

They escorted her past all the beautiful sights and into a dark area of caverns and abandoned mines.

They laid a blanket on the floor of one of the caverns there, and she lay upon it. The children set up lights all around so that when they merged their forepars could not detect them. They waited for the lights to fade into evening before they would begin.


Koenig got a call from Theda. "Yes."

"Commander, one of the children has come forward. He says that they have bright lights with them. He says that the woman your scout saw was not your mate. That was an illusion. If the children have these lights, there is no way our council can spot them."

Koenig handed his comlock to Tarz. He spoke to Theda as Koenig sat. Every plan was being dashed. Tarz broke transmission after a while and spoke with the council.

BLEEP! BLEEP!

Tarz handed Koenig his comlock. John saw that it was Paul. "Yes, Paul."

"Dr. Spencer wants to speak with Helena." Before John could respond Ed's face was onscreen.

"Commander, may I speak to Helena?"

Koenig sighed, "Helena is missing, Ed."

"What?"

"Yes, some of the children here have taken her."

"What do they want with her?"

Koenig explained the legend to him. Ed was dumbstruck. "Why did you need Helena?" John asked.

"The results of the test are back. That green fluid is like all the nourishment that child needs. If Helena never ate or even gave birth right now the child could live in the birth sack and develop to the gestation period. It is an incredible substance."

An idea formed in John's mind. "Ed, did you check all the organs the baby has developed?"

"Yes."

"Did you pick up strong brain wave patterns?"

"Yes, they were very strong. Why do you asked?"

"I will tell you later," Koenig broke the transmission. They might be blocking my thoughts to Helena, but I am sure they are not monitoring Isaiah.

John posed his idea to Tarz and the others. They decided to join forces. The council would unite with John now and use his senses to find the child. Theda was being flown over; the ritual would have to be performed there.

It grew late, and John feared what the dark would bring.

They began the ritual, forming a circle. Theda, Frasdi and Kara stood intermittently between the men. They shaped the edges of the diamond to form the link with Koenig who was in the center.

They linked hands, and Koenig could feel a surge of energy surrounding him. He concentrated on Isaiah. The energy built until it reached John Koenig. He felt his form shift as he joined them. Koenig jerked; it felt like his soul was being pierced.

The ritual in the cave began as well. The children were beginning their fusion. Helena watched. What she witnessed were dancing children. She had no idea of what was happening. The lights in the cavern flashed on, and the inhabitants joined.

In that moment, Koenig sensed his son. The council sensed the children through Koenig and the entire mass vanished. The one mass that comprised John and the council reappeared outside the cavern. The glowing entity that was them entered. In his mind's eye, Koenig discovered Helena lying on a blanket in that cave. The children in the mass were chanting.

The wedding had begun; John had to find her fast.

The mass disappeared again, to reappear where the children were this time. The mass that was the children was startled. They had begun the process, as a scythe was in their hand and Helena was suspended in mid-air by a light from them. The council enveloped Helena protectively and she was assimilated within their mass.

The children dispersed. They stood and watched the ceremony in fear as they were too late! Medah cried in anguish, for her father would surely die within ten days.

The women recited the remainder of the ritual. The mass glowed green, then royal purple. They were all now One, the Rights of Kard, accomplished. The council detached, and they resumed individual status. Tarz went to Medah and spoke to her.

Tarz told them what their punishment would be for thinking to harm the mate of the Commander. John had her in his arms now. She had revived, and he related what had transpired. Helena regarded Medah and her companions sadly. She was becoming fond of the little girl.

"When were they going to tell us of these legends, and their abilities and the state of their children?" Helena asked John.

John missed the query. Distracted, he looked at her. He was uncertain when it happened, but he knew he was his old self again. He wanted her.

Did I have to nearly lose her for the fire to stir in my loins again? Helena saw the look. Dare she hope? Desperately, John's lips found hers. Helena was thrilled beyond belief. They could kidnap her any day of the week if this was to be the result.

Theda tapped her on the shoulders. The two pulled apart. "You cannot mate with her," she said.

John and Helena were astonished by this statement. John set Helena on her feet. Theda continued, "Legend has it that the Chosen One must never be disturbed by mating. Legend says that he was born with his mother and father never having knowledge of each other while he was in the womb."

Helena looked at her. She was confused, what was Theda saying.

"Legend says the Chosen One kept you apart for months so you would not mate. Legend says you were kidnapped on Lud where the child wanted you to stay but you would not. Legend says that the child tricks parents into believing mother slept with man on Lud, but mother had not. Legend also dictates we reveal this. You cannot, for the Chosen One's sake."

John and Helena focused upon the other members of the council, who nodded their confirmation. John looked back at Helena, who was delighted to know she had not slept with Ludin. She was, however, baffled by the lengths her son had gone to keep his father from touching his mother.

They left the cave, traveling back in the children's craft. Medah was still in tears. Helena felt sorry for her. She did not know how she would cause the death of the three council members. She fervently hoped that that part of the legend would prove unfounded.

Koenig called off the search. He told Helena how and why they found her, and what Ed had concluded. Helena was fascinated by the abilities of her son. She was sure it was not just the blood that had given him his abilities. She felt that somehow they were being prepared for something amazing to come in the future.

The baby kicked. John and Helena's hands went to her tummy.

They arrived safely at the camp site, and Medah and the others were taken away by two Elders. Koenig lift Helena off her feet and took her into the domicile. He set her gently on the bed in their room.

Theda and Tarz along with some of the councilors were meeting in the next room. Koenig joined them after giving Helena some tea.

"Well, do we tell them all we know on what is going to happen?" Frasdi asked.

They paused when they saw John Koenig enter. John sat facing them. He did not speak. Frasdi persisted, "Well, do we tell them the legends or not?" Koenig realized he could understand what they were saying and he did not have his translator on. Nor did they wear their devices on their necks any longer.

Koenig straightened. "Why is it that I can understand you now?"

"The marriage," responded Charmadin.

John was relieved by this. "Will you tell me about the legend of the death of three of your council members?"

"Koenig, we are not sure what to tell you," Tarz said.

"I need to know if we can avoid these deaths."

"No, we do not know what happens, only that we die," Frasdi answer.

"You, Tarz...who is the third person?" Koenig asked.

"I am," Kara chimed. Koenig looked at the woman, then at Tarz.

"Why, then, did you help us save Helena?" Koenig asked.

"For the greater good," Kara responded.

"What good?" Koenig noticed the glances around the room.

"We dare not say, Commander," Charmadin replied, rising from his chair.

Koenig noticed that they were all clad in black robes yet wore gold at the ceremony. He knew they hadn't returned home, deduced this to be another of their illusions.

"What about these illusions; are they meant to confuse us? How can we trust you?" Koenig queried.

"Koenig, we have no choice but to trust you. You need to do the same with us. We have another matter to discuss: replacements," Charmadin stated.

The council went into an uproar at this. Most were disagreeing as it was too soon. Koenig supposed they wanted to replace those that were going to be killed. Uncomfortable, he stood to leave, but Theda waved him down. "This involves you too, Commander Koenig."

"How so?" John asked.

"You will replace Tarz, Helena will replace Frasdi and someone from your moon will have to replace Kara," she said.

Koenig was stunned by this revelation. "Why?"

"I shall be leader of the council as I am next in rank, but we will need another member of your base to complete the link with your people," Charmadin answered.

"You said Helena and I were all you needed. What is this, Tarz?"

"There is no one of age on our planet to take Kara's place. We need an Alphan female," responded Charmadin.

"You are going a little too fast for me here. We have only been here seven days and you have accomplished a lot with us. We need to think this through. I need to consult with my people."

"OK, but we have nine days before they die. Let's spend the time trying to avoid it," Theda said. They all agreed. The meeting broke up and Koenig returned to Helena. Victor, Maya, Alibe and Shermeen were with her. Koenig could see she was no worse for the wear. He sat by her on the bed, extremely grateful.

BLEEP! BLEEP!

"Koenig here."

"Commander, Paul would like to speak with you," Sandra said.

Paul came online. "John, we're now within range of the planet. Should we commence Operation Exodus?"

Koenig hesitated. "Paul, stand by a moment." He lowered the comlock, and weighing their options.

Raising his arm, he met the Controller's expectant countenance squarely via the tiny viewscreen. "Paul, we are coming up. Send a crew of technicians, engineers, builders and someone from all essential sections. Let them survey the planet and report back to us. We will convene a command conference in 24 hours."

Paul nodded affirmative then broke the link. Koenig looked at the others in the room.

"Alibe, get Alan we are going back to base, and we need to talk."

They all left, except Maya. A soft knock sounded, and Charmadin entered when Koenig said to. He looked at them then gestured at them. Koenig was surprised by this, but found it even more puzzling when the councilor did not speak; only nodded his head, then left. Koenig assumed he was ensuring Helena was all right.

Koenig helped Helena off the bed to pack what they needed, and left for the Eagle.

As their Eagle lifted off from the planet, Eagle One/Four was departing Alpha. Koenig relayed more information on location, and left them to their job. Koenig landed on Alpha; in two hours they were due to rendezvous for the meeting. Helena headed to Medical to discuss the latest results with Ed then showered and changed.

When she entered, all were present and waiting for her. She sat down and Koenig began.

He related the legends on Beula about the ceremony, and Helena's kidnapping. Koenig did not inform them of his son trying to keep them apart, not seeing any relevance to Alpha's current situation.

"Where does that leave us?" Victor asked.

"To decide if we want to live there."

"Do we have a choice," Alan stated.

"We always have a choice," Koenig replied dryly.

"I say we take our chances with these people," Alan asserted.

"What say the rest of you?"

Consensus went around the room as everyone wanted a planet to call their own.

"If they will have us, why not?" Victor queried rhetorically.

"There is just one thing." All eyes reverted to John.

"What?" Tony asked.

"Helena has to remain here. I don't want anymore attempts on her life. She will remain here until we have to go down completely. She will be one of the last to leave. Then we keep her isolated until Isaiah is born." Koenig looked at her. He saw that she was not pleased with the idea, but he did not care right now. He must protect her at all cost.

"John, is this truly necessary? Why did you not discuss this with me before you told everyone here?" She was extremely disgruntled.

Koenig did not respond. He'd salve her feelings later, in private.

"Meeting is adjourned; put Operation Exodus into effect, Paul." Everyone scurried from the room, except Helena. Alpha's CMO and John Koenig's wife sat where she was. She felt helpless in this situation, but legend or not, she needed to contribute to what was going on, not hide.

"John, I'll be careful. Put a guard on me, if you must. Keep the members that are marked for death away from me and all will be well," she pleaded.

Koenig looked her in the eyes and said adamantly, "I will lock you in our quarters if I have to, but you go nowhere," Koenig got up and left his office.

He called Tony to his side. "Escort Dr. Koenig to our quarters; she is under house arrest until we leave here. If even one hair on her head is hurt I am holding you responsible."

Tony was taken aback as he could see that Koenig was actually serious. "John, house arrest; Helena will never stand for that."

John was tired of all the unforeseen dangers around him. He felt like everything was slipping from his grasp. But with his wife's welfare at stake, he vowed to retain control.

John trailed Tony into the conference room. John commanded sternly, "Dr. Koenig, you are confined to your quarters until notified." Koenig did not wait for a response from either of them as turned away and strode purposefully to his console in his office. He was going to contact the Beulans.

He watched from the corner of his eye as Helena got up and left Main Mission escorted by Tony. John was unconcerned; he would do what he had to.

Tarz came on screen and John informed him of their plan and Helena's status. He told Tarz to keep his people away from her for the next couple of weeks. Tarz agreed. They severed the transmission as Paul gave the order for Operation Exodus. The base was galvanized into action.

"Commander!" Kano shouted. The urgency with which Kano spoke brought Koenig running. He stood at Kano's console.

"What is it?"

"Moonbase Alpha is going into orbit around Beula!"

"That's impossible!"

"Impossible or not, that is what Computer is showing."

"Sahn, what are your instruments reading?"

"Commander, we are showing a reduction in velocity and we are going into orbit."

Koenig opened his comlock. "Victor, we are going into orbit. Get here fast."

"Sandra, put it on the big screen."

Victor came in and stood before the screen in disbelief.

"What do you make of it, Victor?"

"I think something is wrong here. By my calculations there is no way we should be going into orbit."

"Victor, find out what changed, then."

Victor went to Kano's console and called up his charts and vector analysis. He sat, feverishly checking and double checking the figures.

"John, according to my calculations we are not going into orbit naturally, but by artificial means."

"The council," John surmised. Victor turned in Kano's chair and nodded his head. "Sahn, raise Tarz, I need some answers."

"Moonbase Alpha calling Tarz of Beula, please come in." Tarzs' face appeared immediately onscreen.

"Tarz, I need some answers: why is our moon suddenly going into orbit around your planet?" Koenig watched as Tarz gestured to Kiga. He spoke in another tongue that Koenig had not heard before. Kiga called over another council member, Kara. She looked directly at Koenig and explained, "Commander, we have the technology to do this but we did not order it. Some other outside force is doing this."

Koenig was pacing now. He called Veredeschi to check on Helena. Tony assured him she was right there and safe but Koenig ordered them back to Main Mission. Koenig watched as the other council members filed into their conference room. They stood around each other. He understood what was said this time.

The Alphans waited impatiently. Tarz approached the screen. "Commander, this was something we wanted to discuss with you. Now someone has taken it into their own hands to do this against our orders. Koenig, I suspect foul play here."

"What do we do now? Will we be attacked?" Koenig asked.

"We are covering the planet. The council will fan out over the entire planet. There are only two areas where this type of technology can be used or obtained. Only six places where it can be hidden. Trust us Commander, we will find them."

Koenig was skeptical. Tarz spoke again, "Commander, go on standby as you might be attacked."

"Red Alert!" Koenig ordered.

The Klaxon blared as Helena Koenig entered Main Mission, escorted by Tony Verdeschi and two of his men.

Koenig walked over to her, but he was too late. Helena Koenig vanished mid-stride. Koenig pivoted, he looked at Tarz. "They have her!"

Koenig's eyes were bulging. He turned to Alan. "Get a squadron of war Eagles on the launch pad. If I have to tear that planet apart I will. Tarz, find Helena!"

Koenig went into the travel tube and headed toward the Eagle hangers.

Alan Carter and Tony Verdeschi supervised the loading of the nuclear weapons and bombs. Koenig had Eagle One armed to the teeth and was one of the first to clear launch procedures and take flight. Ten Eagles lifted off in rapid succession, moving into tight formation as they sped toward the planet.

Koenig and the other nine ships took up formation around the planet. Koenig called Tarz, "Tarz have you located Helena Koenig?" Koenig asked. Tarz face came on screen. Koenig could see lines of worry furrowing his brow. Koenig felt his stomach muscle tighten. Tarz opened audio.

"Commander, we have located Helena." Koenig waited for the other shoe to drop. "I'm sorry Commander but she has been killed." Koenig felt his stomach muscle tighten even further.

"Tarz, if she were dead I would know. We are linked mentally and through our son. What game are you playing at?" Koenig advanced with his Eagle and commanded the others to close in.

"See for yourself, Commander." Tarz switched screen and saw Helena in the confines of a room. She lay there, motionless.

Through a red haze of anger, Koenig remembered that they were master illusionists. "Tarz, if you provoke me I shall detonate every possible bomb and explosive device at my finger tips. Do you read me? That is not Helena."

"Commander, are you insinuating that I am not telling the truth? We located the Lady Helena and they refused to let her go, so we had to take her by force. She was killed in the blast."

The Lady Helena, where have I heard that term before? I think Helena said that little girl called her that. Why is Tarz using the term now? wondered John.

"Tarz, you have only minutes to restore Helena Koenig to us. If this is not done, you and your people will have to face the consequences." Koenig closed communications with him. Koenig instructed the squadron to advance. They came half way and hung outside the perimeter. As Koenig waited he occupied his time by praying.

Within half an hour Tarz came back on screen, this time in another form. Tarz was no longer Tarz; the shape was more humanoid. They had been deceived all along.

"Commander, I am afraid the charade is over. I am sorry we had to toy with you in this manner, but it was the only way for us to get the Lady Helena here and alone. Don't worry; we will not harm her. She is our guest." He stood grinning at Koenig. His shape altered once more; this time he transformed into Theda. Koenig watched as he then split into three parts. He became Frasdi, Medah and Kara.

He is a shape shifter. They probably all are. What are these people up to? They could send back one of their own and claim it is Helena.

"What is going on, Tarz?"

"Oh Commander, just having a little fun," all three replied in unison. Koenig watched as the screen changed into the planet. He saw it fading. The Alphans gunned their Eagles, but were too late. The planet vanished.

Koenig and his squadron circled. The planet was not there; their instruments registered zero.

"Koenig to Moonbase Alpha, Koenig to Moonbase Alpha, do you read me?"

"Yes Commander," Sahn responded.

"The planet vanished. Use everything at your disposal locate that planet. We are returning to base."

John Koenig was pacing in Victor Bergman's lab. Victor was consulting his charts. John heard plenty of "mmms" and "ahhhs", but nothing affirmative. Victor could sense his impatience. However, the professor refused to miscalculate the co-ordinates, so he paid little attention to him.

After a while, John stood over the engrossed scientist. Victor continued to ignore him. John flopped beside him, folding his arms. Victor got up and punched in some numbers. He had Computer display a chart up on his virtual screen. Victor keyed in some more co-ordinates. The star system shifted. Victor aligned all the information from the Swift, Voyager One and that derelict they found.

"John look at this," Victor pointed to two areas on his chart. "This is where the planet was and this is where the planet used to be. Beula is capable of moving in four areas. It will appear next by my calculations in this quadrant." He tapped the screen's frame. "The Bixal system, John. They will not be back this way until another 75 years. They planned it down to the last detail. Our computer would find them in this system. But they could show up in other systems as well."

Koenig stood there. He listened to Victor. He was looking for a loop hole of some kind. He and Helena were together in the future. There must be an out somewhere. "Victor, how long does the planet stay where it appears?"

"Twenty-five years."

"How does it get there?"

"That I don't know."

Koenig stood still. He was remembering the details of the Rights of Kard. He remembered also that they had lived on that planet. But was it that planet? Koenig was getting a headache; he knew there must be a tear somewhere in the fabric.

"Victor, some very weird things have happened with Helena and me. We joined in body and we went back in time to the planet where she was involved with Ludin. I saw what happened but I did not see everything. Now, if we can do that, I should be able to reach her somehow. There is only one problem," he said.

"What's that John?"

"At what point in all of this did they take Helena? Was it here on Moonbase, back when the children kidnapped her or in that cave? Victor they are experts at illusion they could have taken her at any time."

"Yes John, I'm afraid your right."

"We have to find her Victor. Our child is due in a few months; we have got to find her," he repeated frantically.

"Where to find the loophole? My question is, can they return to a spot they left?"

"What do you mean?"

"They appear in a new star system every twenty-five years. Can they return before the time is up; in other words, John, can they control the time they appear? Can they come back to a spot they vacated?"

"Victor, that might be it," John was pacing again. "Can we get them to return Helena? They might not be able to come back, but will they return Helena?

"Why would they?" Victor parried. John stood still, his hand on his chin as he contemplated the intricacy of the situation. Personnel from Services entered with coffee and placed it on Victor's desk. She left and John walked over to pour a cup for both Victor and himself.

"Yes, why would they?" John was stumped.

"I'm sorry John, but unless these people can be reached we have no hope of getting Helena back. We can't communicate with them."

Koenig paced back and forth. "How long before they return here?" Victor went to his console sipping his coffee.

"As I said before not for another 75 years."

"Victor, those children on the mantel in that cabin were 3 years apart. The baby Helena was pregnant with would be seven years apart from the last one. In all, they were born in an eleven year span. Forty years Victor, think about it."

"What concerns me is why the seven year span before you had another child. What happened?"

"Maybe we hadn't planned to have anymore. But to get back to this Victor, something must have happened unless this incident has changed our future."

"Right; I see where you are going with this. John, something just occurred to me."

"What, Victor?"

"They're there." John stood up from perching on the side of Victor's desk.

"Repeat what you just said, Victor."

"John, they do not leave. We assume that the charts are correct and that they do go somewhere. They are hundreds of years old. This could be an illusion, John. They are very clever, these people."

"Victor, I think you are right and if you are right then they do not even have to appear. I can reach Helena through Isaiah."

"No, John, they already staged a kidnapping to see what you would do. They know you will use the baby. No, I think we have the element of surprise here. They would never guess you would try to reach Helena."

"They might have figured that. They might not even be reachable through their shield of invisibility."

"Mmm, important point there John but that is if they are invisible, some sort of energy must be utilized to maintain this shielding."

Koenig pulled the comlock from his belt, "Maya, scan the area for any electrical activity." Koenig stood, his comlock still open awaiting Maya's response.

"Commander, we have an uncommon amount of chemical energy coming from that spot where the planet was." Koenig and Victor stood up together. They headed out the door.

They talked as they walked. "John, the same machine keeping them invisible is keeping us in orbit. Why are we still here?"

"They must want something," Koenig mused.

The men entered Main Mission and headed to Kano's desk, "Kano," Victor said, "has Computer found the source of what is holding us in orbit here? What are we orbiting now?"

Kano punched his keys.

"Computer says we are orbiting a planet, but scanners show there is nothing there."

"How is that possible," John asked. Kano's fingers glided easily over the keys again.

"Computer insists the planet is there. Computer delineates a point at which the planet is holding us in orbit."

"Where?" Victor asked. Kano showed a diagram of the planet's recent location and forwarded a beam from the central point to the moon. The men watched.

"So, Victor your theory is right: they are there. How do we get there?"

"John, what about that ritual you had where you wed Alpha with that planet?"

"The Rights of Kard."

"Yes, you fused with those people. Only an immortal could do that. Is it somehow beneficial to us? In other words, how can we use it?"

"Maya, Tony, Kano, Victor, come into my office; we need to do some brainstorming." They followed him in and the door closed. They gathered around the conference table.

Koenig began, "Kano is there anyway we can reverse the effect of whatever is holding us in orbit and somehow let the planet show up?"

"Not without knowing the source of energy, Commander."

"It seems to be chemical, Commander," Maya chimed in.

"John, we still have to wonder why we are still locked in orbit in the first place," Victor added.

"Could be Professor that they still want something from us," Maya initiated.

Victor clapped his hands together. "That's it, John. They want something from us. They plan to take it when we lease expect it," he surmised.

"But take what? What do we have that the Beulans would want?" John asked.

"I say we set a trap for them," Tony offered, thumping the table.

"How do we do that without knowing what they are after?" John asked. The table was silent as the Alphans thought about the situation.

"We need to set triggers, Commander. Make Alpha sensitive to even the slightest movement in our direction and we might catch them," Kano offered.

"David, you might be right. Let's work on that. Sahn, both you and Kano start setting up those triggers." They both departed, eager to be doing something.

Koenig leaned his head to one side. He was remembering a conversation with Charmadin. Charmadin had said they wanted someone else from Alphan to take the place of their dead leader Kara. If they hadn't taken him, who did they want and which female was to be abducted? Koenig looked up at Maya.

"Has anything strange happened to you in the last hour or so Maya?"

"No, Commander. Why do you ask?"

"I think they want two people. Which two I do not know..." John broke off what he was about to say. Victor and Tony watched as both Maya and John faded away. Tony got up and walked around the area.

"What just happened, Victor?" He had not left his seat.

"The cleverest illusion yet, Tony. I suspect they never came back. This was all a charade. They had them all along. They just wanted to know what technology we had to counteract theirs. They realize we can't locate them and we are blind as to what is going on. Maya, Helena and John were illusions. Yes, they are still on that planet," Victor concluded.

Tony sat heavily in Maya's empty chair. "What next?"

A sudden rocking motion flung Tony to the floor, the Professor across the round table.

They got an urgent buzz from Kano. Sure enough, the moon was moving again.

In one instant John Koenig was on Alpha, next he was in the room Helena and he had shared on Beula. He stood up, wobbly. Maya was in a chair next to him. He touched her and her eyes opened.

"What happened?" she asked.

The door opened and Tarz entered. "Commander, Maya how nice of you to reunite with your body. We sent your soul in human form to Alpha to transmit information. When your assignment was done your soul returned."

"Where is Helena?" Tarz glanced behind him to the door and cleared his throat. Theda entered with Medah and a very pale Helena.

Helena went into his arms. John held her like a thousand eternities had passed. His lips reached hers as he kissed her. She clung to him. When they came up for air, Koenig sat her on the side of the bed. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, I'm fine John. They never hurt me." Maya sat beside her and Helena took her hand. All three looked to Tarz for answers. Tarz turned his back on them and exited with the parting shot, "Needless to say, you are our prisoners."

"What did they tell you, Helena?" John asked.

"Nothing, John."

"How is our son?"

"Well."

John stood up and started pacing the floor. He had no idea when they took him. Neither Helena nor Maya had any idea when they were kidnapped by these people. Somehow he felt they had never left this room.

Koenig suddenly remembered the crystal. He had gotten a key that they claimed was from Arra. John had no idea where the object fit in the scheme of things.

He retrieved it from his pocket now and spun it around in his hand. Helena stood and looked at it. She reached out and touched it. It glowed in their hands. They felt a warm sensation from it. Maya watched as the glow spread. Helena removed her hand and the glow faded. She touched it again and the glow resumed.

The crystal opened to the sides and at the ends, elongating. A diamond tip dropped down from the top end. The door opened and Tarz, Frasdi, Kara and Theda entered the room. Their eyes glowed when they saw the object engaged finally.

Koenig and Helena backed away from them. They watched as Tarz, Frasdi, and Kara began to glow and fuse together. Koenig and Helena pointed the end of the key at them. The glow from the key shot out towards them. The trio were instantly blown apart. They landed in three separate places in a smoking heap, dead.

The glow from the key shot out in a million light beams. The rays shot out from the dwelling and permeated everything. The snow began to fall and the light illuminated the entire planet. Theda stood in silence. The light shot through the planet and Moonbase Alpha on its journey was locked into orbit once more. The crew on Moonbase Alpha saw the light. It permeated the base. The beacon shot again outward and all the planets in that star system were permeated with a soft glow.

The light started to retreat. It flowed backward at a rapid pace. As it exited Alpha, a portal in space opened, then closed. The Alphans noted the phenomenon while Computer recorded it.

The light shot back into the key. Helena let go of it and watched as it pulled in all its extensions. Theda walked forward. The burnt stench of her leaders' bodies permeated the air. Koenig read sorrow in her eyes.

"I am sorry, John Koenig. Prophecy has been fulfilled here today. The mother of the Chosen One has let the light out. Our people knew of this prophecy and tried to find a way to harness that light for our own use. It has backfired, as prophecy dictated. We must move on as must you."

Koenig, Helena and Maya watched as Theda faded from view. Koenig reached for his comlock. "Koenig to Moonbase Alpha; come in Alpha."

"John, you will never guess what our instruments are saying about that planet."

"What, Victor?"

"You are the only ones down there. All the people have vanished."

"Theda just faded right before our eyes. Are we still locked in orbit Victor?"

"It seems so John, and from all indications we will be here for awhile."

"All this over a gift from Arra they could not operate without us. But they said in ten days these people would die. What changed and why did Theda vanish?" Helena asked confused.

"Yes well , it boils down to that. They were to preserve it for us, but they wanted it for themselves. I think that in order to stop the deaths they sped it up. As to why they vanished your guess is as good as mine." John stated.

John spoke back to the base, "Victor, I think we just acquired a planet lock, stock and barrel, as they say."

"Should we set Operation Exodus into motion?"

"Yes Victor, we will vacate Alpha in phases. Start Phase One now. Oh, and by the way send us an Eagle.


This is story 3 in the "Beula" series. Previous story - Next story
Copyright (c) 2004. Reprinted with permission.
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