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Savage Attack

Authors: Merrion
Categories: Horror
Characters: Helena Russell
Show Year: Y3
Rating: NC-17
Date: 2012
As the Alphans begin life on a new planet no one expects it’s already inhabited by creatures with ulterior motives until disaster strikes.
Contains descriptions of graphic sexual violence.
Average Rating: No reviews.

Author's note: Apologies for the grammar and spelling errors. This is my first story and I am working on improving my writing. If you think you could help, please email me at merr03 (at) peoplepc (dot) com. In the meantime, thank you very much for your comments.

Chapter 1

He hauled her listless nude prone body along the jungle flooring, every so often pausing to look over his shoulders for any signal of his victims' re-emerging to consciousness. One massive hand held her ankles tightly together as her arms (which were flung over her head) bumped along the ground making slight indents in the soil as they went along. Her torn flesh was now caked with fresh and drying blood that mixed together with dirt and debris. The large humanoid creature was so distracted by his prize capture that it hadn't noticed the crouching shadows moving side by side on opposite sides of the path hidden within the tree lines.

John along with Alan stayed too the right while Tony and Victor stayed too the left. Slowly, silently but with purpose they closed the distance between themselves and the hulking figure as it lumbered its way along the path. It wasn't until they were close enough to take in its full stature that they noticed it appeared to be dragging something along the ground. Moving in for a closer look Johns eyes suddenly went wide as the realization of what he was witnessing struck him like a lighting bolt. Before two words could pass between him and Alan, John was off at a dead run.

His view obstructed by Johns retreating back, Alan had no ideal why his commander had suddenly threw caution to the wind by making their presence known but throughout the years of working closely with his commander and close friend he knew John must have had good reason, so without thinking twice Alan was on his feet and in close pursuit. On the opposite side of the path Tony and Victor looked to one another confused as too why John jumped the gun without signaling them to move in but just as Alan had both men surmised that he must have good reason for foregoing their element of surprise and rose too their feet.

By the time the creature with humanoid features realized it was being trailed by the four men John was already airborne, leaping onto its back with tremendous force. Not able to knock it off its feet as intended John suddenly found himself within the creature's firm grip. With one large hand around Johns throat and the other tightly gripping his upper inner thigh the man-creature had managed too pull the combative commander from its back in one flipping forward motion and without much difficulty (due to its substantial strength), had no problem subduing then tossing the smaller being several feet where he landed with a hard thud.

Surprised to see his commanding officer souring through the air like a ragdoll Alan froze in his tracks but once he saw movement from John as he rolled onto his side clutching at his ribcage, Alan's decision was made. Raising his stun gun he fired two red beams of light at the beast and was surprised when it seemed too have little to no effect at all. Unsure of what his next move should be Alan panned his immediate area for something more substantial to arm himself with. It was then his eye's fell upon the most horrific sight that for years to come would haunt him in his dreams. Her name but a mere whisper on his lips: Helena. This is when anger in a magnitude in which he'd never experience before nor would he ever again in his lifetime began too well up in side him in an unstoppable force.

Having lost its grip when tackled by John the creature was in the process of bending to retrieve its prize when the impact of two more of the smaller beings tackling it knocked it off balance and the thing with features resembling that of a human landed hard on the loosened soil with both men landing opportunistically on top of it. Before it had a chance to recover a third joined in on the fray. In a massive jumble of arms and legs all three (John, Tony and Alan), tussled with the creature. With John now perched on it's chest, he began striking the monster hand over fist while Tony and Alan struggled to keep it pinned to the ground.

Oblivious too the life and death struggle taking place just feet away he slowly approached the seemingly lifeless Helena. Once at her side he collapsed to his knees beside her. Almost too afraid to reach out and touch her for fear she'd instantly break into tiny fragile fragments, Victor (with some difficulty) swallowed the lump of vile in his throat while checking for a pulse. Once he established there was one, (although faint as it was), he quickly stripped his jacket from his back and lightly placed it over her pale naked form.

"Dear God Child", he whispered, tears streaming down his flushed cheeks. "What in heavens name did that monster do too you?

Concerned because of the amount of blood seeping from under the jacket Victor pulled it down carefully too keep her breast from being exposed and did a quick visual assesment from head to shoulders. She had various cuts, scrapes, claw marks and what seemed like bite impressions (some deep enough for stitches), covering her arms and shoulders. Her neck was covered in an assortment of bruises and scratches yet it was the head wounds that concerned him most.

There were two perpendicular wounds, gashes really, one to the back and the other to the right side of her head, which one was still bleeding profusely. Victor knew he had to act and act fast otherwise she'd bleed out right in front of him. Tearing a large piece of his shirttail, he then ripped the one into two smaller pieces. Without turning her head, for fear of possible spinal damage, he applied as much pressure as he dared in efforts to staunch the blood flow.

Meanwhile John, Tony and Alan where still involved in the worst death struggle of their lives. Each time they thought they had the upper hand the creature would surprise them with never before seen feats of strength. It would pitch one or two men off of it, then would try to rise to its feet. All three knew that if it did manage to somehow get its footing it would assuredly tear them limb from limb.

After being bucked off for what seemed the millionth time John laid sprawled out on his back and as he sat up to shake his head in efforts too clear the swirling savania blue dots that danced before his eyes he caught glimpse of something from the corners of his blurred vision. There, only inches away lay what appeared to be a solid piece of stone and although in appearance seemed too heavy to lift was indeed light enough to hoist yet heavy enough to use as an effective weapon. Half staggering with the stone tucked securely within the crock of his arm John made his way over to where Alan and Tony where desperately trying to keep the gargantuan creature pinned to the ground. John appeared suddenly at Tony's left side with the stone lifted high above his head, he then brought it down upon the monsters large cranium with all his might. The first blow seemed ineffective but the second, then third quickly followed by a fourth finally did the trick and the creature ceased all movement.

John wasn't at all convinced that the monster was dead so he continued bashing the creature in the head over and over until finally Tony and Alan had to pull him back. By then nothing was left of the monster features and very little of its head remained in tack. Brain matter and blood covered the fronts of John's shirt and pants. Breathing heavily, he dropped the rock and as soon as Tony and Alan released him fell to his knees then onto his side with eyes closed. It took him several seconds to regain his composer as the adrenaline still pumping through his veins was only now just beginning to slowly ebb away.

It was then with the reaming strength he still possessed John rose to his feet and half ran half stumbled to where Victor kneeled next to a unconscious Helena and as Victor had done minuets earlier sank down beside her with Tony and Alan closely following suite. But unlike Victor John on impulse reached to gather her in his arms and would have if Victor hadn't stopped him.

"No Son! We can't move her just yet."

Briefly glancing over at Victor John's eyes then slowly travelled the length of her battered body and only then had he realized the severity of her injuries.

"God help us," John heard Tony say from somewhere over his shoulder.

Without a word John stripped off his jacket and shirt. Placing his Jacket over her upper thighs and legs he expertly joined Victor in administrating what first aid he could. Alan and Tony did what they could to lend a helping hand both willingly relinquishing their jackets and canteens of water all the while each hoping that one of their dear and closest friends would continue to hold on to whatever glimmer of strength that was now keeping her alive.

"John, we must get her back to base camp so Mathias can help her," Alan urgently stated as his eyes quickly surveyed the damage.

"We can't Alan," Victor adamantly responded. "If we try to move her just yet, she'll surely die before we make it back."

"Well... we can't just sit here and do nothing! My God! Look at her!"

"I know son, but we must do what we can from here for now. There are just no other alternatives."

John began cleaning the blood and dirt from her legs when he noticed a ring of blood forming on his jacket where he'd placed it across her thighs. Lifting the Jacket to get a better view of what was causing this his mouth fell open as his eyes rested on not only the horrible bruising but where the blood seemed to be coming from. As the reality sunk in his mind instantly began silently screaming in a blind rage. He's raped her! The son of a bicth.... raped her!

This was abundantly clear as John could clearly see all the tell-tail signs of what appeared to had been a savage attack. Black, blue and purple bruising covered her inner thighs. Scratches, abrasions and tearing were evident in and around the vaginal area. His mind could only imagine the terror and pain she'd been subjected too.

This couldn't be, not his Helena. Nothing or no one would dare even consider let alone actually perpetrate such a heinous, offensive act such as this on the one woman he could truly admit was the love of his life. His heart, no, his very soul cried out for vengeance, for retribution but that would have to take a far second seat for now because if he didn't find a way to stop the bleeding none of that would matter because she'd parish before his very eyes and that was something he just couldn't, absolutely wouldn't abide by.

Finally able, (with some difficulty), to find his voice: "Victor! She's bleeding heavily. How do we stop it?"

Looking in the region Johns eyes seemed transfixed on Victor sucked in an involuntary gasp. This was followed by a whimpered.

"You poor child. You poor, poor child."

"Victor! What do I do," John voiced more urgently with a touch of fear.

In momentary shock, John's sudden forcefulness seemed to snap Victor back into action.

"Listen to me my boy and listen well. You must do exactly as I say and too the letter. No deviations or it will all be for not."

"My God," came Tony's voice from behind the two crouching men. "There's so much blood. She'll surely bleed to death."

Hearing this is when the real panic set in and as the color drained from Johns face he suddenly reared back as though suddenly repulsed. And as the blood began to saturate the ground around him John, (on bended knees), wrapped his arms about his ribcage and began to rock back and fourth while Tony's words of fruition continuously played over and over in his brain.

She'll surely bleed to death..... She'll bleed to death.... She'll bleeddd....

Glancing over and immediately recognizing that the usually overly confident John Koenig was now slowly lapsing into mild shock Victor asserted himself and with direct eye contact and commanding tone demanded.

"John! You must pull yourself together. Dear lord son, if you don't keep your wits about yourself, she will die. It's just that simple."

Victor made sure to emphasize that last statement and it seemed to work.

With tear filled pleading blue eyes John looked too his once upon a time mentor and still dearest friend for not only the raw courage needed but the knowledge of how to save the most important person in his life. Once the professor was sure he had the younger mans full attention he immediately began rambling off quick yet decisive orders.

"Your shirt," Victor momentarily lifted one hand to motion towards John's shirt which still straddled his knees. "Take it and fold it as many times as you can."

John quickly did as he was told. Watching closely as too make sure his instructions were being carried out to the letter Victor then went on to say.

"All right. Gently force her legs apart and apply pressure to the vaginal area. Carefully now. Ok, good. Now place your free hand at the base of her pelvic region and push in a downward motion as you apply pressure with your shirt. Do this in 2 second intervals. The ideal is to form a clot of some sort. It's rudimentary and if there is internal damage, which I'm almost positive there is, she'll hopefully be able to withstand the pressure without sustaining further injury."

Not sure he could keep his hands from trembling let alone follow Victors well thought out plan John suddenly froze and as he looked down upon her battered pale face he wasn't at all sure he could do what was now being asked of him. This is when his beseeching eyes again sought out that of Victors and in a tone strangled with emotion he barley managed to whisper.

"I.... I can't Victor. I just can't. You'll have to do this. I just...."

"No," Victor practically shouted, his expression one of defiance.

Normally a soft spoken man, the harshness of his tone momentarily caught John off guard.

"No my son," Victor then repeated in a more hushed tone as his eyes too fell upon Helena's ashen features. He then went on to say, "Don't you understand? She's like..." pausing to compose himself. "She's like my very own daughter. The two of you couldn't be more beloved to me then if you were my very own. I can barley stand to see her in this condition let alone.... No. Not I son. Not I. This must be your burden too bear."

With a short uncomfortable pause between the two Victor then finished with.

"Besides, she'd want..." Victor's words again choked off in a split seconds of silence. "She'd want... No," he ascertained more assuredly. "She'd expect you to be the one to do this for her. She'd entrust only you to do something this personal and do it correctly and without hesitation in order to save her life."

"Victor ... don't you understand. I'm terrified. Afraid I'll do something that will harm her even further. I'm so scared that...."

Victor cuts the younger man off in mid sentence.

"John! You can do this! She needs you to do whatever's necessary. Understand and have no doubts that if you don't do what's needed and quickly, she'll die in a matter of minuets. Come on son. As it is we've wasted valuable moments. Moments that very well may make the difference in weather she'll make it or not, discussing undoubtedly what has too be. Don't fret so. I'll be right here making sure you do things correctly. I assure you."

John drew in a deep breath and held it, then with a look of resolve which quickly altered into stark determination he nodded in acceptance. With jaw firmly set and hands still slightly shaking John continued to nod his head in understanding as Victor once again began talking him through the procedure.

Only when the deed was complete and the blood flow slowed a bit was when John allowed some of the tension that currently ran through his body to ease some. He and Victor then concentrated on Helena's many other injuries before wrapping her securely in Tony and Alan's jackets in hopes of preventing her from lapsing further into shock. With there not being much more they could do the four men then began to devise a plan as to how to transport Helena back to camp.

"I could hike back and bring an eagle to your location," Alan was the first too suggest.

"And I can see if I can find a way too the top of one of those ridges over there." Tony offered pointing in the direction of one of several distant hills that lined the valleys floor due south of them. "I'm almost sure those canyon walls surrounding us is the reason we're not getting any reception on our com-locks."

"I'm not so sure it's a good ideal to separate just yet," Victor readily advised. "Who knows how many more of those things are lurking about? It took the three of you to subdue just the one. If more where to show up in your absence John and I wouldn't stand a chance."

This scenario hadn't occurred too either of the two eager younger men. Looking about their immediate surroundings then back to Helena's tattered prone form Alan couldn't help expressing his feelings of helplessness.

"Well we can't just sit here and do nothing. Look at her. She needs help."

"You're right. All of you," John concurred finally breaking his silent visual from Helena's side. "The sun will be down soon and if Victors is right and more of those things are in the area, they'd have no problem sneaking up on us in the dark. And then there's the tempter which is already beginning to drop. Who knows how cold it will get. She may not be able to withstand the cold on top of everything else," John said heaving a heavy sigh while brushing a stray blond hair away from the cut on Helena's forehead.

"John's has a point. If it gets too cold out here the exposure alone could very well be enough too...." Alan stopped in mid sentence not willing to put into words what he was sure John was thinking. He then went on to add. "Tony can stay with the three of you for back up if needed but I think I should head out. Bring that eagle back as well as reinforcements."

"Who's to say it's safe for you too go stumbling about alone in the dark. Who'll have your back if trouble arises?" Tony questioned aloud.

"Oh you know me;" Alan began with a familiar quirky smile. "I'm pretty wiry not to mention fast. I'll make out ok."

"Alright then! Its unanimous," Tony relented with a supportive clap on Alan's shoulder. "Alan heads back to base camp and the rest of us dig in here and hope he makes it back more sooner then later."

Approaching his close friend as well as Commander Alan then placed a sympathetic hand on his shoulder and after tentative smiles passed between the two men Alan moved over too squat beside Helena.

"You hang-in kid," he whispered. "I'll be back with the Calvary in no time." And with that Alan was on his feet and trotting off down the path. All three men watched his retreating form until they could no longer make out his silhouette in the distance.

"Well," Tony said clapping then rubbing his hands together in a recognizable nervous gesture. "Let's say we start a fire just in case it gets dark before Alan makes it back."

"Do you think that's such a good ideal?"

Both Tony and John looked to Victor as once again he spoke with words of wisdom.

"Wouldn't a fire in the darkness pinpoint our precise location?"

"Victor makes a good point. Maybe we should hold off until it's absolutely necessary."

"Yeah, maybe you're both right. How's she doing John," Tony inquired suddenly changing the subject?

"She's feverish. Still non responsive but holding her own," John returned from his seated position at Helena's side.

"Maybe her being unconscious isn't such a bad thing. I mean, its not like we have any pain medication to give her if needed," Tony offered trying to redirect some of John's apprehension.

This prompted John to look down upon her drawn porcelain like features and begin to pray that even unconscious she wasn't experiencing the pain he knew she'd assuredly would if she were awake.

Smoothing her hair back John leaned in closer to whisper, "Just hold on a little longer. Alan will be back in no time." With that he placed a gentle kiss against her cracked lips then dirt smudged forehead. All three then fell silent as they hunkered down in wait of Alan's return.

Chapter 2

Cautiously but swiftly Alan travelled the same route he'd taken with the others hours earlier only stoping once or twice to get his bearings. He knew he only had a small window of time to make it to camp, collect Mathias, medical supplies and several security officers than high-tell it back to the others before nightfall.

Although completely focused on the mission at hand his minds eye kept going back to the others. Too Helena especially. Alpha couldn't afford to lose her; John couldn't afford to lose her. Not after all they'd endured this last year. Alan knew his commander was unshakably in love with the chief medical officer of Alpha, had been for some time. And if, god forbid, she wasn't to make it, it would literally destroy his best friend. It was then that Alan's thoughts suddenly travelled back to that dreadful day she'd been taken.

Why, Damit! Why hadn't she listened to him when he told her to flee along with the other women into the caverns when they'd suddenly came under attack? Why.

When it first began it didn't take long for all too realize why they were under attack once those vile creatures had broken through their makeshift barricade and immediately began targeting the women. This is why he instructed, no ordered her too forget those dammed medical journals and take cover.

Once it began to play back in his minds eye it seemed as though he was reliving it all but this time in slow motion.

It was a sneak attack. One moment all was well then all of a sudden all hell broke loses. John, Tony and Victor had left that morning on a survey mission of the planets surface. Everything was serene. Every one was milling about camp, some tending to their morning chores, others taking time out to relax and enjoy being outdoors breathing fresh air as apposed to the stale recycled, what passed as fresh air, of alphas confinements. Suddenly a scream from the far north end of camp abruptly broke the morning's silent tranquility.

Alan along with two security guards ran too investigate and once there what they saw momentarily froze each man in their tracks. Standing on the opposite side of camps security fences stood the largest alien they'd ever came across in their months of travels thus far.

Its scull alone looked to be ten centimeters round. It was extremely hairy, its arms and legs uncommonly long enfolded in muscular tissue. Its barreled chest boarded on massive in size and its jaw line was strikingly chiseled. Its eyes were hugely rounded orbes which seem to hold a hint of some form of hidden intelligence behind them. It stood approximately 7 feet tall and its clawed finger where five times the length of anything compared to human standards. But worst yet it seemed to be agitated for some reason. With lips curling over fang-like teeth it seemed to glare at the unwanted presence of the three men standing on the opposite sides of the fence before altering its focal point to another distraction that seemed to peak its interest even more.

With its eyes now trained on Trina, one of Helena's junior nurses, it snarled as if giving her some sort of command. Not liking what he was seeing transpire Alan reached out and clasped Trina by the forearm and slowly began backing away. This unexpectant move on Alan's part seemed to agitate the creature further and just as Alan shouted, GET THAT FORCE FILLED UP, the thing with features that strangely resembled that of a humans began moving forward and before Alan knew what was happening there were at least six more, all advancing at once.

Screams echoed throughout the camp as everyone began to realize that the intruders were solely after one thing, the women. Alan instantly instructed all female personnel to head for the safety of the caves and all able bodied men were too arm themselves and prevent the alien intruders from gaining entrance. The fight for survival was on and a savage one it was. The few intruders the alphan's managed to take down did not measure up to the injuries and fatalities they suffered but none the less the men valiantly fought on. Amidst all the turmoil were a few women who hadn't yet made it to the safety of the caverns. Amongst the swirling dust and dirt of the on going battle Alan immediately noticed that Helena was among one of the few.

"Helena! Get below.... Now!" He shouted over the roars of combat as he continued firing his laser at those he could get a clean shot at while not taking his eyes of her.

Helena looked up in time too see Tonya Peterson fall in her haste to get out of harms way. "Dropping the journals she held Helena dashed towards her fallen friend in efforts to assist her. Tonya had twisted her ankle and as Helena helped the younger woman to her feet one of the aliens appeared from no where and now stood directly in their path to safety. It reached for Tonya but Helena shoved her out of the way in the nick of time. Laser firer broke out all around them distracting the creature only briefly. Helena's frightened green eyes locked with Tonya's terror filled blue ones. "Run!" Helena yelled.

With Helena's assistance Tonya was once again on her feet. Helena reached out to put a supportive arm around Tonya's waist and in doing so noticed Tonya's eyes going wide with fear. Afraid to turn around Helena continued to assist Tonya when suddenly she was grabbed from behind. She let out a straddled scream as she was hoisted into the air and flung over one the creatures shoulder. Kicking, clawing and pounding with bawled fist against the things hairy back Helena fought with all her might to free herself. Arms and legs wildly flinging too and fro loosened the creatures hold on her sending Helena tumbling to the ground. Now on her back the thing loomed over he, its large hands reaching out towards her. She instantly began kicking at it as she tried scooting away on her backside. She again heard Alan yell her name and as she glanced in his direction she could see him running at break-neck speed in her direction. With her attention monetarily drawn the monster managed to grab hold of one of her flaying feet, then ankle. In one swift motion it pulled her upward towards it. Once close enough it grabbed at one of her thrashing arms. Helena managed to land one hard punch to its nose before it jerked her forward. Raising one of its large hands it struck her hard on the left side of her head leaving her somewhat dazed and confused then all went dark. It then loaded her over its shoulder and took off for the underlined jungle. Alan gave chase all the while screaming Helena's name.

It was no use. To Alan's surprise the creature was not only massive in size but was able to move with speed and agility unlike any he'd ever seen. He'd lost sight of it moments after it reached the over grown foliage just outside the camps fencing with Helena in tow. Not knowing what direction to take Alan took off in the direction he figured they'd went but after running at top speed for several minutes Alan had to stop to catch his breath.

Ears ringing and vision blurred Helena awoke to see branches and the ground below her moving at rapid succession. This prompted her to scream.

"Help! Help me!"

From near by there's a response.

"Helena! Where are you!"

That was Alan's voice which meant he's chasing after her.

"Alan"! Came the strangled response.

"Keep calling out. I'll find you."

This time Alan's voice sounded strangely distant to her ringing ears.

"Alan!" This was again followed by more screams of terror.

The faster Alan ran towards the screams the further away they began to sound until finaly nothing.

Stopping, Alan bent over with hands on his knees desperately trying to catch he breath. When he could manage to put more than two words together he called out once more.

"Helena! Helena! For gods sake... tell me where you are! Tell me were you are! Helena!"

No response, just eerie silence.

Alan again took off in the direction he'd last heard screams. He tried following its trail but the deeper into the jungle he venture the more difficult the terrain became. Out of breath from running at top speed Alan stopped to get his bearings. Once he was able he placed his hands at the sides of his mouth, took in as much breath as he could and shouted in a voice that verged on tears of desperation.

"Helena! You have to tell me where you are. Please honey!"

Again his pleas were met with unnerving silence.

Alan finally had to face facts. She was gone. Collapsing to his knees with sweat pouring off him all he could do was whisper

"Dear Lord. What will I tell John?"

With nothing left to do Alan rose to his feet and with head hung in defeat headed back to base camp for reinforcements.

Chapter 3

Somewhere between being jostled about while slung over her captures shoulder Helena had lost consciousness a second time. When she finally awoke she was in a dark dank cave that strangely smelled of an animals den. The last thing she'd remembered was the landscape passing by at a rapid pace and although upside down she could tell that they were travelling at a high rate of speed.

Now more awake and aware of her surroundings Helena scanned the darkened enclosure for signs of the thing that had taken her. She seemed to be alone she thought at fist glance.

If I can just find my way out of here I may be able to find my way back to camp or better yet send some sort of signal to the others. Moving slowly she held her hands out in front on her to prevent tripping over something in the dark. Once her hands made contact with what appeared to be the cavern walls she began inching her way towards a small circle of light up ahead and what she hoped was the entrance of the cave. After several minutes of tactfully running her hands along the cavern walls she'd noticed the light ahead seemed to grow brighter. With a sigh of relief she began to move a little faster and with each step she took the more the feeling of relief washed over her. She was going to make it out and in one piece. With just a few feet away from freedom all hopes were dashed as suddenly she was again engulfed in darkness. To her horror at the face of the cave stood the most enormous silhouette she'd ever seen. It was so massive in size its mere presence blocked out what little light she'd been using only seconds before for her bid to safety.

Straddled by its sudden appearance Helena fell backwards an involuntary yelp leaving her lips. Scrambling to her feet she began backing away as the thing began advancing toward her. Turning abruptly she began running blindly down a narrow passage in efforts to escape her capture. Unfortunately she was only able to take two or more steps before she was once again pitched off her feet.

(Back to present day)

This time he was determined he wouldn't fail in his mission. He'd make it back to camp and bring back help for not only John, Tony and Victor but especially for the one person he felt he owed it too most. Helena.

It was dark when Alan finally reached base camp and as he filled everyone in on the peril the others still faced he hurried them along in loading the eagle with the much needed medical supplies as well as enough fire power to blow a hole in the center of the new world they now call home.

As the eagle approached the lights from its front panel shone down on the alphan's waiting below and from his elevated position Alan could see that he'd arrived just in time. Or did he?

Clocked in darkness surrounding the four where ten maybe fifteen of those things. Alan, almost positive that the others had no ideal they were being stalked immediately got on his radio and shouted.

"John! It's Alan. You're all going to have to move fast! You're surrounded!"

John automatically jumped to his feet with laser drawn. Peering into the blackness he saw no apparent movement but had no doubt that Alan's assessment was accurate. They were in mortal danger.

"Alan! Can you find a safe place to land?"

"I'm not sure I can put her down close enough because of all the trees and high foliage but there's a clearing about 30 feet to the left of your location. The only problem is those things will be all over you before you can reach us."

Somewhat panicked but still thinking clearly John ordered.

"Get directly above us and release the ladder!"

Then he turned to Victor and Tony and in a strained voiced announced.

"We'll probably only get one chance at this. Once the ladders down we'll have to all get on at once and climb as fast as possible."

"But John, what of Helena? Her injuries. Wouldn't it be better to lower the basket first," Tony asked trying to be the voice of reason.

"No time," John said cutting him off without further explanation.

Slowly lifting the torn and broken body of the woman he loved more then life it self John carefully positioned her securely over his shoulder. By then the ladder dropped directly in front of him.

"Quickly, Victor! You first! I'll be right behind you! Tony, you bring up the rear and if any of those things come at us shot first and asked questions later."

"John, the lasers are ineffective."

"We're not trying to kill them. Just keep them off us until we can make it to safety. You know... slow them down."

Victor while eyeing the ladder cautiously asked.

"John, are you sure that ladder will support the four of us all at once?"

"Yes," John nearly shouted over the roar of the eagles engines. "Now get going," he instructed giving Victor a slight nudge while keeping his eyes glued to a near by bush that shook slightly as though someone or thing was behind it.

No more words passed between the three as they began to ascend the rope ladder at as fast a pace as humanly possible. John all the while mindful of Helena's condition carefully distributed her weight so as not to accidently drop her in his haste. It was a difficult climb for him but he managed with uncanny speed and skill. Just as they reached the mid section of the rope the creatures below began pouring out of the darkness like a swarm of locus from all directions.

"Tony! Keep those things off us," John shouted in a panicky voice then added with just as much urgency. "Climb, Victor! Climb!"

Tony momentarily stopped just below the three, aimed his laser and lit the underbrush directly below. Instantly sparks flew as a generous fire began. This straddled and confused the monsters but only for a second. But that second gave Victor the time needed to make it to the top of the rope. John followed closely behind and seconds later four sets of hands were reaching downward to not only grasp Helena around the waist to lift her inside the eagle but also lessen John's burden so he too could be assisted inside the hovering craft. Once aboard the commander yelled out to his second in command.

"Hurry, Tony! Hurry!"

By this time one or two of those things were trying to follow behind the group. Tony began to climb at a faster clip and moments later he too was being helped aboard. With his crew and Helena now safely aboard John swiftly ordered, "Cut that rope."

Both Tony and a fellow security guard immediately obeyed and as the agile creatures began to reach the med section of the rope the cord was cut sending at least two of the mammoth beings screaming to their deaths, if one could call the horrible noises they made as they plummeted to the earth below screams.

Now as the eagle began its return to base camp John took a second to glance below and what he saw made his blood run cold. There down below, in the glimmering lights of the retreating eagle he could see several dozen of those things milling about in the aftermath of their escape before retreating back into the safety of the darkness. A chill ran through him as he came to realize if Alan hadn't chosen that precise moment to rescue them they'd assuredly would have been over run by those things and most likely killed. As the eagle flew south John's attention swiftly shifted gears when he could hear from behind him Mathias say in an irritated voice.

"Gently. Gently."

Turning to look over his shoulder he could see Mathias and several medics delicately placing Helena on a transport stretcher and from there frantically working to try to stabilize her. John moved over to the med team that now surrounded her and squatting down beside them in the narrow space allotted asked in a shaky voice.

"Will she make it?"

"I'm doing all I know to do but she's going to require massive surgery. I just have to keep her going until we reach camp." Mathias then continued with, "She's sustained some very intensive injuries. In other words, even if she survives the trip back she may not last throughout the night."

John's jaw tightened at this news. Again his eyes travelled the length of her battered body until finally resting on her face. A classical beautiful face with bones that looked chiseled. The face of a model. But at present that same classic beauty was now currently marred with cuts and bruises. Verbally John stressed, "Do all you can doctor," but mentally his mind was screaming, "Come on baby, fight. For all you're worth. Fight!"

"She's fibrillating," one of the medics said urgently as Helena's color began to turn ashen. "Should we give her epinephrine?"

"We have to stop this bleeding," Mathias said diverting their attention to the main threat at hand.

John was then forced to step back to allow the med team room needed to work. Her pulse was getting weaker.

"We're losing her," Bob shouted.

"Doctor should we give her the injection?"

"Yes! 5 cc's."

The syringe was prepped when suddenly she flat-lined.

"Get that epinephrine injected," Bob bellowed while starting chest compressions.

John was bothered by all this to say the least. He started forward towards the ghastly scene being played out before him but Victor pulled him back instructing, "Give them room needed to work, son."

The nurse injected the drug directly into the chest. The sight of this sickened John. They waited.

"Still nothing doctor," the nurse said with a hint of fear edging into her voice.

Helena's face was the color of chalk by then with a grayish tinge around the mouth.

Mathias started chest compressions again while ordering the nurse to ready the paddles. They shocked her, still nothing. This went on for several long agonizing minuets, then miraculously Helena's heart began to beat again.

"That's it," Bob said with exaggerated breath stopping cheat compressions. "She's back." He removed his hands from her chest, looked across at the nurse and said. "That was close."

The nurse nodded adding, "Too close."

Bob wiped the sweat from his face with his sleeve. He had a solemn thoughtful look on his face. He then examined the lacerations across her chest, arms and cuts to the skull.

"Doctor", John queried without taking his eyes off Helena's colorless features.

"Besides the internal bleeding the additional damage is too severe. Lets just concentrate on getting her back to base camp as quickly as possible," Bob persisted knowing that if she flat-lined again he may not be able to revive her a second time.

Chapter 4

The flight back was tension filled. Everyone sat silently listening to Helena's shallow respiration as Mathias periodically checked her pulse. Once back at base camp landing procedures were cut short fore time was essential. By then the medical team had cleaned her up some and wrapped her in a warm blanket then transferred her to a mobile stretcher. It started its way down the narrow isles of the eagle towards awaiting medical personnel. They wheeled her directly into a makeshift tent which served as a temporary medical center. Faces peered down at her, rubber gloves where hastily pulled on, gauzed mask where now strapped in place. Someone had slipped on a blood pressure cuff to take a reading as Ben entered the tent. Watching the needles for a moment he then said, 1800 over 90.

"Get her moved to a padded exam table so we can start accessing the damage."

People were fussing about with first her head wounds then the lacerations to her arms, legs and chest.

"What a mess," one of the orderly's said, his voice sounding muffled due to the mask he wore. "Where'd they find her?"

"Out in the barrens somewhere," another answered.

Her hair was matted dry with intermingled dirt, blood and leaves. They bathed her face and head with warm water, the sponge came away bloody. Alcohol was later applied. The doctors, orderlies and nurses were talking to one another looking at her head wounds.

"Better mark that as a five centimeter superficial on the right side. We must stop this bleeding and we'll need x-ray's to further assess the damage. Someone get me a crash cart so I can start closing these head wounds," Dr. Vincent sternly instructed.

Seconds later Ben held the curved suture needle in gloved hand. One of the nurses stepped over by Helena's head to assist. The doctor then began sewing the right side first before moving to the back. The surgical team stood at the ready.

John stood in silence on the outside looking in as the medical team worked in concert all doing their very best to patch his Helena back together again. He'd always lived in constant fear that someday something would happen to his beloved and he wouldn't be there to protect her. Well that day had finally come. Now all he could do was hope and pray that all attempts being made wouldn't be in vain.

"Get a crit and cross match her," Bob said. "And set up a four kit with sutures," Ben added.

A nurse busied herself by putting a tourniquet on Helena's arm and began drawing blood. Noticing, Ben looked up momentarily.

"Better give her tetanus toxiod," he instructed while still sewing. "A shot of penicillin as well."

The nurse gave both injections while another lifted the sheets and began examining her lower extremities. After he finished sewing both head wounds Ben touched her cheek and felt around the swelling. No fractures he deduced. He took out his penlight to check her pupils.

"Are you afraid of Hematoma," a nursed asked randomly?

"The film shows no fractures of the skull," Ben replied candidly.

"Alright folks, lets get her prepped for surgery," Bob instructed trying desperately to keep the emotions he felt welling up inside out of his voice.

"Doctor, she's starting to experience hemorrhagic shock," one nurse pointed out to the distracted Bob. Ben moved to examine the virginal area.

"Vaginal hemorrhage, secondary to uterine perforation and laceration following what appears to be a miscarriage of a three month pregnancy," Ben corrected grimly. "The secondary diagnosis is anaphaxis."

"What! Wait a minute... what did you just say. Helena's pregnant," Bob questioned eyes wide.

"Was... Was pregnant," Ben stated mildly, eyes tearing.

"Dear God in Heaven," Bob sighed. "On top of everything else how in Gods name will we break this to the commander?"

"As gently as possible, Ben stated without missing a beat. Alright, let's get her into surgery and see if we can repair some if not all of this damage."

Chapter 5

John was pacing up and down outside of the makeshift tent pausing once in a while to see if there were any signs that the surgery was over. Periodically he'd pause again to glance over at Victor, Tony, and then Alan with a look of utter dismay that said all he couldn't put into words. Sometimes his eyes would rest a little longer on Alan and the look of angst in his eyes wasn't totally lost on the remorseful young pilot. He knew that deep down John was secretly blaming him for not preventing what happened in his absence. He knew that when John had left him in charge he was counting on him to oversee the safety of the camp. To oversee Helena's safety especially and in his thought process he'd failed miserably on both accounts, and the guilt he was currently feeling was eating at him from the inside out.

Finally after what seemed like days instead of hours Mathias lifted the flap and stepped out to greet the four anxious men. John immediately noticed the blood covering the doctor's surgical smock. Impatient as always he began firing off question before giving Bob time to speak.

"How is she?"

"It was rough going for a while, but I think with time she'll recover," Bob replied in as much of an assuring voice he could muster.

"You're sure;" John again questioned as though hearing it twice were grounds for definite confirmation.

"Her body needs time to heal Commander, but yes in my expert opinion I think with time and rest she'll make a semi if not full recover."

"Thank the lord," John said in a hushed tone with shoulders sagging from the strain and worry. He then gave the three men standing at his side a quick glance and nod. Victor placed a supportive hand on John's shoulder giving it a gentle squeeze, and Tony smiled more out of anxiety then anything else. Alan's response was to drop his head in efforts of avoiding John's probing eyes. The news received was a relief to John's ears not to mention his heart and soul. His next question of course was.

"May I see her?"

Bob had fully expected this. "Commander, there's more information I think you should be aware of."

The hairs on the back of John's neck instantly stood up as the large knot of fear he felt earlier quickly returned to the pit of his stomach.

"What is it you're not telling me doctor," John immediately asked as Mathias led him to a private corner so their conversation couldn't be easily overheard.

This was Alan's signal to take his leave, and he did so quickly and quietly, but Tony and Victor stayed behind just in case the news the doctor was now relaying to their CO in private turned out to be more traumatic then expected.

"I thought you said she'd be ok," John said as a hint of irritability crept into his voice.

"There were some complications I felt I should tell you in person instead of you reading in fourth coming reports."

"Such as," John asked wearily.

"Commander...," "John, did you know that Helena was with child?"

John's mouth dropped open with this unforeseen revelation, which automatically indicated to Bob that he had no knowledge of the pregnancy.

"No," he whispered hoping he'd heard wrong. "No, I had no ideal that..."

John was at a loss for words so Bob continued.

"By my computation, she was at least three months along."

"Wait a minuet," John hesitated as the realization of Bob's words really began to sink in. "You said was with child!"

"I'm sorry commander, but with all the extensive internal and external injuries she's suffered, there was no way we could save the child without endangering Helena's life."

"So, she's lost it?"

"I'm sorry commander, but yes, I'm afraid so."

John's heart instantly sank at the disclosure of this news.

"She never said a word..." "Never mentioned..."

"It's possible she didn't know herself, although it's highly unlikely."

"Boy or girl John," asked in a voice that was scarcely audible.

"All indications points to a boy," Bob slowly replied inquisitive as to why it would make a difference at this point.

John felt his knees go weak, and although his body felt the need to sit he managed to stay on his feet with a little assist from the good doctor.

Bob had quickly reached out to steady his commander as he saw the blood suddenly drain from his face.

"Would you like a glass of water, Commander," Mathias gently offered to no avail.

John shook his head no in response.

"Perhaps you should sit for a while..." "Give yourself time to assimilate this news" the doctor suggested, trying once again to administer what aid he could to the distraught man who now stood before him slowly turning white as a sheet.

With another refusal from his stunned commanding officer, Mathias decided it better to continue on with the heartrending news for he felt the sooner all was said and done the sooner the commander could begin to come to terms with the death of what he was sure was his unborn child.

"We only discovered this during examination upon the return to camp." "Understand that even if she'd managed to hold on to the child long enough to make it back, I'm sure she still would have miscarried due to the massive blood loss."

"Pregnant," John again whispered to himself as though repeating it would make it more real then hearing it from someone else. "Does she know she's lost it," he asked with a little more volume to his voice.

"She hasn't regained consciousness yet, and I don't expect she will for some time now."

John turned away to collect himself. He knew how much Helena wanted to have a child. His child. He also knew that the news would ultimately be devastating for her to hear on top of everything else. He also had no doubt that Bob knew how devastated he was at that very moment, but he chose not to let the good doctor share in his personal turmoil. Turning his back to Mathias, John was unable to prevent the single solitary tear that made its way down his rugged right cheek.

"Will she be able to have more children?" was the next question asked as he stood with his back still turned to the doctor.

"It's hard to tell at this point." "We've repaired most of the damage to the best of our ability, but since there was so much extensive damage, I'm afraid only time can definitively answer that question."

Finally able to pull himself together enough to face the doctor without obvious tears standing in his eyes, John then asked.

"May I see her?" "Sit with her?"

"She's in recovery right now." "Besides she's heavily sedated to the point that she wouldn't even know that you were there, so my suggestion to you is go get cleaned up and get some rest. I'll let you know when she's able to receive visitors."

"It doesn't matter that she wouldn't know I was there." "I'd like to just sit with her." "Be there when she opens her eyes."

Judging by the pleading as well as determine look in John's eyes, Bob knew it would be fruitless to argue, so he quickly grants his CO's request accompanied with the stern warning of.

"Very well, commander." Just try not to disturb her." "As I said before, her body needs rest in order to heal." "Also keep in mind the external injuries I spoke of earlier are still very evident." "I mention this because I just want you to be prepared for her appearance," the doctor finished with trying desperately to soften the blow he knew lie in store for his commanding officer once he got a closer look at the barley recognizable woman who now lie feet away from where they presently stood.

Chapter 6

John sat stoically by Helena's bedside holding one of her bandaged hands in his large calloused left one. His eyes from time to time left her bruised face to travel along her badly battered body. He still couldn't bring himself to believe this fragile waif that lie before him was actually his Helena. His Helena wrapped from what seemed head to toe in bandages and splints. His Helena who's face was so black-and-blue and swollen that she was barely recognizable to the naked eye. Why had he left that day, of all days, to leave her so vulnerable to the dangers of this new world they now called home? Better yet why hadn't he taken her with him? At least that way he could have kept her close and reasonably safe. He was currently blaming Alan for this tragedy but wasn't he just as much at fault. He was so hell bent on exploring this new planet and what it had to offer that it hadn't occurred to him in the least that if he'd left her behind at base camp that she wouldn't be in safer hands then if she were right by his side, safe from any dangers that may have been lurking about on the outskirts of the camps perimeters. Well he surmised, I guess the joke is on you, you fool, because the real immediate danger was on the home front this whole time.

This is when John's mind began to travel back to the day of his return to camp to find things in shambles and Helena missing.

It was still fairly evening, the sky was deepening blue as the eagle approached for landing and as the craft touched down John along with Tony and the professor began following the usual necessary landing procedures before disembarking. Once the hatch lifted and he stepped out onto solid ground John could immediately detect something was wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong in fact.

A large crowd had began to instantly gather around him, mostly frightened and perplexed faces of alphan's some he knew well others in passing. It was then John began to notice the conditions of the camps lodging. There were tables overturned, broken dishes and spilled supply containers throughout the surrounding areas. The encampment boundary fencing was all but demolished and there were small fires slowly burning themselves out in and about the surrounding sectors of the living quarters. Someone was crying softly to his left but John paid it no attention. In the midst of the startled and confused faces one in particular stood out amongst the rest. John pushed his way through the crowd to stop directly in front of the disheveled pilot and in a steady controlled voice asked.

"Alan.... What's going on? What's happened here?"

Alan knew it was his misfortune to have to explained what had occurred in his commanding chiefs absence, but as how to proceed in telling his best friend that the woman he loved more then life it self was abducted, and perhaps slain at the hands of some inhuman bloodthirsty alien being was something he wasn't especially looking forward to. With legs feeling like jelly beneath him the words caught in his throat as well as in his thoughts.

Unable to find the right words just yet Alan stood mute with apprehension as his body slightly trembled in anticipation, not to mention total exhaustion from his desperate pursuit through the dense terrain in search of Helena.

"Well, Alan! What the hell happened?" John reiterated briskly while reaching out to steady the younger man on his feet.

This time John was using that domineering commanding tone of his that brooked no room for hesitance as he and several others stood hip deep in rubble that once served as the encampments main mission headquarters. At this point Alan knew he was left no other choice but to say what needed to be said for John wasn't going to tolerate any further delay on his behalf.

"They hit us without warning;" Alan began to explain, finally finding his voice. "Bout time we realized what was happening they had broken through our barriers."

John could tell the younger man was badly shaken by whatever had happened there, but for now he had neither time nor the patients for a long drawn out explanation. He needed information and he needed it fast. He had a bad temper. He knew that and he tried to control it. But truth be told he was sometimes clumsy and abrupt with people, particularly in times of turmoil.

"They! Who the hell are they, and what was it they were after? "

"Well... it appears that....," this is when Alan again began stumbling over his words in efforts to find the right way to break the news knowing the tumultuous explosion that was sure to follow.

With temper scarcely kept in check John then moved on to the next topic in efforts of moving things along more swiftly.

"What's the damage, besides the obvious, that is?"

Thankful for a moments reprieve Alan quickly replied.

"Reports are still pouring in from all fronts. We're still trying to gather all the info needed to make an accurate assessment."

John stood with hands on hips looking about the immediate surroundings in efforts to come to his own conclusion as to what amount of damage had truly been done, and estimate how it may hurt them in there current efforts for survival.

"I want a report on my desk ASAP... then we'll go from there."

This is when John turned on his heels to walk away to investigate on a more personal level, and this set Alan into a panic for he knew John had to be told and the news had to come from him personally.

"John wait... there's something else you should know."

"Just put it in your reports and I'll read it later... for now I need to do a walk through and see where we stand as far as damage and defenses. Or dare I say the lack of."

"John! Stop! I'm sorry but this just can't wait. It's about Helena."

This of course froze John in his tracks. Turning again to face his third in command head on, eyes flashing fire, he expressively asked with pressed lips.

"What about Helena?"

"John... she's missing."

This news of course didn't go over well as John's jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed, but Alan expected as much.

"What in the hell do you mean by missing. Where is she Alan?"

Alan knew no other way to brake the news other then to tell exactly what had transpired exactly the way it had transpired. Bracing himself he painstakingly told the whole sorted tell from beginning to end of how the camp was invaded and Helena was stolen from their midst.

"And where the hell were you," John roared practically frothing at the mouth as he grabbed Alan by the collar hoisting him slightly off his feet.

"Trying to defend the camp," Alan found himself bellowing back in defense while twisting him self free of John's tight grasp.

"In what direction did it take her," John then asked in a more controlled manner although it was painfully obvious he was still seething underneath this much calmer demeanor.

"South/west from what I can tell," Alan replied in a quieted voice while averting his eyes in shame.

"Tony..."

"Yeah, John."

"I want laser riffles and surface missiles packed onto eagle one, as well as atomic grenades. I'm going after them," John briskly announced not once taking his piercing gaze off Alan.

"Not without me you're not," Tony insisted.

"John... wouldn't it be wiser to travel by foot. From the eagle it would be much more difficult to track them due to the thick underbrush and terrain. And lets take in account that the noise of an eagles engine will assuredly forewarn these things to take cover to prevent from being seen by air," Victor gently suggested, always the voice of reason.

"I think the professor has something there John. If they hear our approach from the air there's no way they'll stay out in the open where we'd be able to spot them, and if what Alan say's is true these things are not only fast but smart too. I'm with the professor. I think we'd have a better chance travelling by foot."

"Fine, John practically spat, eyes still focused solely on Alan. Let's get the needed supplies and get started."

"Commander! With your permission, I'd like to volunteer to come along," Alan sternly requested finally finding the courage to meet John's accusatory stare head on.

John eyed the edgy pilot closely for several seconds before nodding his head in acceptance. "Alright... the more eyes we have out there looking, the faster we may pick up on its trail."

John then spun around on his heels and while looking throughout the huddled masses stanchly ordered.

"As for the rest of you... start building these fences back up and I want all able bodied men fully armed, and stationed at every periphery surrounding this camp. If anything within eye sight so much as twitches... blow its freak'n head off. And all female personnel are to return and remain in the underground caverns until given further instructions. Is that clear!"

Several heads in the crowd nodded while others verbally acknowledged their understanding with a mumbled ... "Yes Commander."

"Alright... let's get going." And with that John swift of foot took off in the direction Alan had indicated moments earlier with the three other men in close pursuit.

Back to present day......

John now knew that he was completely in the wrong for any blame he may have laid at Alan's feet and he also knew that it was up to him to correct, no mend any bridges that may formed between the two in his moment of anger. But that would have to wait now for he had no intentions of leaving Helena's bedside until she opened her beautiful grey eyes, and smiled that buoyant smile of hers that always set his heart to flutter.

"I love you baby. I always have and I always will. Just don't you leave me? I couldn't bear it if you left me. You rest for now but you make sure you come back to me. I'll be here waiting no matter how long it takes."

Suddenly it seemed as if on cue the monitors over Helena's head began beeping erratically bringing the nursing staff rushing into the cubicle.

"Commander! Please stand back," one of the nurses ordered as Bob rushed in seconds later.

"Stomach extension, Doctor," nurse Katharine relayed as she felt around Helena's abdomen.

"She's bleeding internally again. Call the surgical team together. We've got to get in there and see what's causing this. Commander could you please wait outside," Bob said distractedly.

"What's happening, Bob. You said she would be alright," an alarmed Koenig ascertained.

"Someone get the commander out of here and let's get her prepped," Bob absently instructed not responding to John's desperate query what so ever.

"Come on, Commander," a nurse said while gently pulling on his arm. John began to resist.

"If you want her to make it, please wait outside and let us do our job," the nurse expressed more sternly.

Frightened but less combative John allowed the nurse to lead him from the medical tent as the surgical team brushed pass him in full dress.

Chapter 7

It had been several days after Helena's second emergency surgery when news of the baby had leaked out. Alan was one of the last to hear about it. No one had seen much of the happy-go-lucky young pilot since Helena's rescue days prior.

It seemed Alan was spending more and more time alone in total seclusion. It was Tony who happened upon him while out with several members of his detailed guards-men during a routine security check of the inner and outer fencing line that surrounded the base camp. Alan was kneeling near the far end of eagle four's rear section puttering about its control panel. Tony broke off with his security team with the promise he'd catch up later and headed straight for the tousled unshaven Alan with one intention in mind. To talk some sense into him while no one else was around to disturb them, so with hands in pockets Tony slowly drifted over towards the preoccupied pilot.

"Hey mate... What-cha-up to?"

At first startled by Tony's sudden arrival Alan glanced over his shoulder then went back to what he was doing. With his back still turned to Tony, Alan answered with.

"Took her out on a test flight yesterday, and the rear thrusters felt a little sluggish upon re-entry. Thought I'd better have a closer look."

"Haven't seen much of you around camp lately. How's life been treating ya," Tony asked thinking it better to start out with a little small talk at first.

As Alan stood to face him Tony immediately noticed the changes in Alan's appearance and this worried him to distraction. Alan had bags as well as dark circles under his eyes, and to Tony he looked as though he hadn't slept, (or bathed for that matter), in days. He was even beginning to grow a right-smart beard. What a difference a few days make Tony thought to himself.

"Look, Tony. I really don't have time for idle chit-chat right now, so if there's something..."

"Hey, buddy ... I have an idea," Tony said cutting Alan off before he could disregard him. "Why don't you and I head over to the mess-tent and get a bite to eat."

Tony suggested this fore it also looked as though Alan had shed a couple of pounds which lead Tony to believe he hadn't been eating properly, if at all.

"Maybe later, Tony. Right now I'd like to finish up here just in case we need this old girl sky worthy in the near future. Can't have her falling apart on us in mid flight, now can we?" Alan wanted to stop shooting the shit and get back to work which only made Tony more persistent.

"Oh I'm sure that can wait while we take an hour or two to fill our bellies with some of that famous cuisine the mess-tent laughingly passes off as edible food. Maybe afterwards you can take a soak in the hot springs, loosen up some of those tight muscles, then grab a couple of hours of shut eye. You look as though you can use some rest."

With growing irritation Alan went on to say. "Look Tony, I know you mean well, but really I need to get back to..."

Getting the feeling he was about to be brushed off for the umpteenth time Tony decided to push it up a notch by taking off the kid gloves.

"Look, Alan. If I may say so, you look like hell-in-a-hand-basket, and the last thing we need is you dead on your feet if those things decide to ban together and come crashing through those gates."

Trying not only to get Alan's full attention but also indicate the seriousness of the situation Tony empathize his words with a sweeping motion of his arm. Hunched over the rear control panel Alan showed little interest so Tony decided to use another tactic.

"You know he doesn't blame you... John that is." This particular change in topic immediately caught Alan's full attention as his eyebrows drew together in contemplation.

"It's terrible... this thing that has happened too Helena, and I'll never try to convince you otherwise, but John knows it wasn't your fault."

That did it and before Tony knew what was happening Alan had thrown down the wrench he held and whirled around on his heels so that the two where practically standing nose to nose and through clenched teeth Alan went on to say.

"Look.... As I said before, I know you mean well, but I'm not hungry nor do I need a wet nurse looming over me telling me when to eat, sleep or take a piss. Now if you don't mind I have work to attend to," Alan spat with a hint of bitterness in his tone.

Tony had an ideal the next thing he said would be the beginnings of an argument, perhaps a bitter one, so before things got out of hand he dropped the subject, at least for the time being. Resigned to the fact that he'd just been given his walking papers he decided it better to take his leave for now. Instead he headed out in search of the one person he knew could reach the unruly pilot and he knew exactly where to find said person.

Alan watched silently as Tony walked off. "Didn't blame him... Of course John blamed him. He had every right to," Alan snorted outwardly. He'd failed in his mission to keep the camp and those around him safe.

Picking up the wrench then lying it back down Alan lowered his head as his shoulders began to shake slightly at first then began to quake as he began weeping uncontrollably. He wept for the long standing friendship and trust that his closest friend and commander once held for him and now was without doubt irreversibly broken beyond repair. He wept for the unimaginable pain and brutality Helena had suffered and the scars that she'd now have to carry with her for the rest of her life due to his monumental failures and short comings. And lastly he wept for the child that was now lost to its parents, murdered in its mother's womb because he failed to protect her from the dangers of this new world they'd chosen as their home and safe haven. As the sun began to set behind the distant mountains Alan slowly sank to the ground and with arms wrapped tightly around his knees he continued to weep until darkness filled the sky and the twilight of a million stars began twinkling above signaling the end of yet another day in this new world they now called new alpha.

Chapter 8

For days John refused to leave Helena's side since she'd been brought back to her cubical after the second surgery to stave off the internal bleeding that very well could have taken her life if it weren't for the skilled hands and supreme abilities of one Doctor Bob Matis.

Recently Tony had left word via word-of-mouth that he needed to speak to him about something concerning Alan but John had neither the time nor the patients for further distractions at the moment so he decided whatever was troubling Tony would have to wait. All his time and energy had to be devoted to Helena, at least for the time being.

Grasping the fact that there were more of those things roaming the planets outer realms then initially thought before John did however take the time to have a brief conversation with his second chief of security, Hank Summers, about shoring-up their defenses just incase there was another attack on the encampment. Now here he sat with Helena's hand tightly claps within his own.

Once the initial command had come down that someone had to be on guard around the clock some of the guardsmen grumbled about having to put in the extra hours, but all in all the importance of their contractual obligations prevailed so shifts were created and as always the Alphans pulled together and did their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Sitting there in the gloom John's mind began to escape to a place where he felt more confident, more secure in his decision making. A place where he stood in command of what he and the surviving Alphans consider home after suddenly being hurled out of earths orbit to wonder the outer reaches of space. A place where his command reined supreme and all depended on him for basic survival. Alpha...

Then his thoughts began to cloud over to why they had no choice but to abandon said home do to various reasons beyond his control.

Nine Months Prior......

It was a day alike many others, he and Victor sat in his office discussing how to make living condition more suitable for the three hundred souls that resided within alhapa's confines when suddenly the red alert sounded abruptly bringing both men to their feet.

Without warning Alpha was caught in the midst of a meteor storm and since they had no control over their runaway moon's trajectory they found themselves being pelted by rock formations of various and considerable sizes. It was the larger meteors that did the most damage knocking out all radiation screens along with food production and water recycling plants. It was later discovered that it was also a matter of time before their badly damaged life support system gave way due to the erosion of the solar battery compartments which were needed to keep all components on-line and operational. As conditions continued to deteriorate the alphan's found themselves facing yet another major dilemma, what to do about alpha's failing life support systems.

Luckily, (or so they thought at the time), beyond the meteor storm they'd discovered a small star system and within that star system was what appeared to be an uninhabited planet that could sustain human life, and only after careful deliberation had it been unanimously decided to put operation exodus in effect. Little did they know at the time that said planet would be fraught with dangers beyond their imaginations and by the time said dangers would be uncovered there would be little or nothing they could do about it. By then Alpha would be long beyond the reaches of their return so they'd have no choice but to make the better of a bad situation.


If only he'd known at the time that this life altering decision would months later place him where he sat now, tightly clasping the hand of the one person he loved more then life itself, he possibly would have chosen differently. But again it was to late for second guessing for all he could do now is pray that through some miracle Helena would survive the horrors she'd been subjected too in recent days and with time her body (not to mention mind), would find the strength needed to heal it's self and make her whole again. Lost deep in thought John hadn't noticed when Victor silently slipped into the room.

Victor stood quietly observing the two people he thought of as his own children wishing there was something, anything he could do to ease their suffering.

"How is she," Victor finally inquired; his voice was low, barley above a whisper.

"Doc say's they found the trouble and repaired it. Said she shouldn't have anymore problems as such. That rest is what's needed, so her body can begin to heal itself," John ascertained, his voice sounding thin and dismayed. He was leaning forward as he spoke; rubbing the center of his forehead with two fingers like a man with the beginnings of a headache.

"I see," Victor submitted not knowing what else to say.

Taking notice of John's evident state of exhaustion he then went on to suggest.

"Hey, why don't you try and get some rest... I'll sit with her for a while," Victor readily offered with brows knitted together.

Dead on his feet John momentarily entertained the thought of leaving for a short while, (if not only to grab a quick shower and a bite to eat), but his gut feeling told him he needed to stay put just incase Helena awakened knowing the first person she'd want to see would be him. Besides he still wanted his face to be the first thing she saw once she opened her eyes, so

giving Victor an appreciative look he opted out with the promise he'd get that much needed rest once he was sure Helena was irrefutably out of the woods.

Not particularly comfortable leaving the troubled younger man unaccompanied just yet Victor pulled up a chair while still frowning.

"Alright then... I'll just sit here awhile, that's if you don't mind the intrusion?"

"Not at all... I'd welcome the company," John said quietly with a grateful smile but the smile didn't quite reach his eyes.

Glad to be diverted from the uncomfortable run of his own thoughts John sat in silence with Victor by his side thankful for the presence of the one person he trusted well enough to allow into his private world of sorrow and strife.


It had been at least two to three days later before Helena began to show hints of improvement and another day or two before she was fully alert enough to recognize her surroundings and begin to ask for details concerning her condition.

It was a sunny midday when she first began to stir. She was lethargic at first but as the brightness behind her eyelids grew Helena began to struggle in efforts to fully regain consciousness. She felt like hell, everything hurt from head to toe.

John, (still at her side), eyes lid-up when he noticed Helena's head moving from side to side. When she finally came too her first instinct was to close her eyes because the lights overhead were so painfully bright. Her mouth was dry and her head hurt. The pain and soreness of her body was evident in every attempt she made to move.

Once she felt capable of opening her eyes fully Helena looked up to see John looking down at her somberly, his expression was both scared and avid.

"Helena," he whispered not wanting to alarm or overexert her.

"John", came her weaken reply. Her tongue felt thick and her speech was slurred and unclear.

"Yes love... I'm right here."

"Where am I. What's happened?" Helena questioned once realizing she was laying in medical apparently in serious condition.

"There's no need for you to worry about that at present. Just rest my love and all will be explained at a later date."

"But..." Helena persisted.

"Shhhh... everything will be alright. I promise you," John assured wanting to allay all her fears.

Helena settled back onto the pillows tucked neatly under her head and again shut her eyes strangely comforted by the thought that with John by her side nothing or no one could possibly harm her in anyway shape, fashion or form.

Overjoyed, tears were now raining down John's face as well as an expression of foreboding for he could immediately tell she had no memory of what had happened. It was then that his joy quickly transformed into utter dread for he had no ideal as to how any of them were going to be able to begin to explain to her what she'd been subjected to without causing her further pain and anguish.

Chapter 9

It had been a hard two days, a harder two evenings, and he was tired. Turning down food as well as offers to have someone else sit with Helena while he got some much needed rest, John kept his constant vigilance at Helena's bedside. Looking at her in this state was almost more then he could take but nonetheless he stayed stationed at her side without reservation. That was until Tony had come too him with the news of Alan's state of mind and what he thought was the sure all cure for the young pilots dilemma.

"He's completely devoid of self preservation, John," Tony declared in a sullen tone of voice. "It's like he's completely shut himself off from anyone or thing besides those dammed eagles. Nothing I said or did seem to reach him. He's skipping meals and judging from the dark circles under his eyes he's also suffering from total lack of sleep. He can't keep this up John. Not without suffering a physical breakdown of some sort."

"In reference to his reluctance to respond to you, what makes you think I could make a difference," John questioned, speaking in an ill mannered growl.

"Because..." Tony shot back just as defensive. "What I think or say doesn't matter in this situation." He hesitated then went on to say in a much lower voice. "But what you think and/or may say, so to speak... does."

This was scarcely out of his mouth before Tony realized he'd probably said too much. John made no verbal reply, but his eyes most certainly did.

Victor sat on the sidelines listening to both men as they spoke their piece but as usual his mind was running overtime. As he sat in silence awaiting the proper time to join in on the current heated debate his thoughts and concerns slowly drifted in the direction of the one person missing from this three man forum. Those thoughts and concerns were of Alan.

John's train of thought also momentarily shifted from Helena to Alan. Why was it his responsibility to shake some sense into him? After all, didn't he himself have enough on his plate as of late? So what if Alan was choosing to persecute himself for his own short comings... what concern was that of his at this vital date and time. All those around him had to know that his first and only concern right now should be of Helena's welfare. He had to focus all his energy on helping her to regain her health as well as mental state. What did everyone expect of him? To be some sort of superman that could don a cape and with one wave of his hand, set everything to right again... Nonsense! If Tony couldn't understand that his first obligation had to lie with Helena... then the hell with him. The hell with all of them.

"John," Tony said bringing him back to the point at hand. "You must speak with him. This thing is literally eating him alive. You have to let him know that you don't hold him responsible for what's happened to Helena or the baby. If you don't we may very well lose more then we've already lost since this whole nightmare began... one of our best pilots and dearest friends."

Finally it was the voice of wisdom as well as reason that suddenly chimed in that helped resolve the situation once and for all.

"He's right, my boy," Victor sternly affirmed. "Alan is one of your oldest and dearest friends and given the complexities of it all, only you can set things straight. Go to him... let him know that this was way beyond his control. That even if Tony, myself or even you were there that day, things could very well have turned out the same. You must impress upon him that you know that he would have given his very life to protect her. Because if you don't, you may very well find yourself regretting that you hadn't when given the chance."

By all accounts John was very aware Alan was spending more and more time alone in total isolation. Word of mouth had gotten around fairly quickly. Deep down he knew both men were right in their assessments of the situation. Maybe if he did take just a few minutes just to talk with him. Explain that he didn't fault him; maybe it would be enough to snap him out of this insane state of self pity he'd apparently submerged himself in. After all, he and Alan did go way back. Didn't he owe him as much?

Hours later after speaking with Helena's attending physician, who assured him Helena would sleep for at least another eight hours, a decided John ventured out from the ward for first time in what seemed like months, but in actuality had only been a few days. He was set on resolving one problem so he'd be able to concentrate solely on the latter... meaning Helena.

He was tired yet determine. Lifting the flap of the makeshift tent that substituted as an infirmary he headed straight for the eagles storage units.

Still consumed with what both Tony and Victor had said earlier, John paused, gathering a little more strength and then proceeded. Stepping out into the brisk night air he was set on taking care of at least one problem, (one out of what seemed like a million at the time), which sourly needed only his attention. With his face bathed in starlight, John stood outside the medical tent with arms rested at his sides. He thought he'd never been so tired, yet he was thankful to have this time alone to gather his thoughts before having to approach Alan. He wanted his mind clear for that.


The night air was murky, murkier than ever, but the sky above was clear and sound. He thought maybe it was the season's getting ready to change is why the weather seemed so contrast. Still so unfamiliar with this new homelands environment John made a mental note to have his meteorology department graft seasonal charts of the planet's ever changing climate. This would better enable them to prepare for the coming changes in weather conditions, therefore bettering their chances of survival.

He glanced towards the domiciles where the eagles were stored and his gaze seemed to momentarily rest there. His shoulders still entangled with tautness he leaned back and raised his eyes to the two moons in the heavens above, noticing for the first time just how bright they seemed in difference to the sky's nondescript atmosphere.

Sighing he looked towards the eagle's storage unit while rubbing the nape of his tight neck muscles. He then looked back up at the sky at the two kissing moons, then back towards the storage units again. He was exhausted and his body was letting him know on no uncertain terms that he was badly in need of rest. Wanting nothing more then to be able to crawl in-between the sheets of his, as of late neglected bed with Helena at his side, John knew if he intended to do something, now was the time. Before he hadn't the strength. He needed to do this not just for the better of his sake, but Alan's as well. After all, he told himself... good friends like Alan weren't easy to come-by.

Drawing in another deep breath of tranquil night air, John finally headed up the path that led to where he was sure he'd find Alan, the eagle's storage area.

Standing outside the bunker doors John remained there for nearly a full two minute before entering. Once he stepped inside it took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the change in lighting.

The dim illumination streaming in from a nearby window caused the eagles solar panels to reflect off a pinkish orange color that suggested an early sunrise. As John stepped further into the room and took in the gloominess of his surroundings a keen sense of regret went through him. He and Alan had shared so much history together, why had it taken him so long and so much convincing to do right by him. Deep down was it that he did somehow blame Alan and just didn't want to admit it to himself? Had Alan sensed it? Is that why he'd been so withdrawn? Well if that were the case all that was about to change as of now, regardless if Alan liked it or not.

Sitting on a bunk in a dark corner Alan looked up to find John standing in the doorway. He had the feeling that he'd come especially to see him. He had no idea; how he knew that, but the feeling was very strong nevertheless. Slightly embarrassed by being found sitting instead of on his feet working Alan immediately jumped to his feet and began puttering around with the dismantled eagles components that lay strewn about the room. Feeling John's eyes on him all the while Alan tried with all his might to appear more preoccupied then he truly was.

"Hey..." John said with a crooked grin while stepping closer.

"Hey, yourself," Alan returned halfheartedly, barely acknowledging John's presence.

"Working kind of late, aren't you," John said placidly instantly picking up on the vibe that Alan didn't seem much in the mood for talking.

"Guess I didn't realize how dark it was getting," Alan fibbed trying to sound convincing, back still turned while hunched over a rear control panel.

"I thought I'd find you here. I think you and I need to have a talk," John ventured on to say.

"Talk," Alan snorted somewhat irreverently. "Talk about what, commander?"

John cringed at Alan's formality when addressing him and in spite of the fact that Alan seemed to purposely avoid making eye contact didn't lessen John's attempts at reaching out to the emotionally wounded younger man.

"I think you know what about? About what happened and where we go from here."

Alan gave no response to this so John continued.

"Tony informed me that you didn't look at all well when he last came to visit... thought I'd come by, see for myself how you were holding up."

"Oh yeah! Well Tony needs to mind his own business," Alan sneered, truly bothered by the fact that Tony had gone to John behind his back. "He shouldn't have come to you with such nonsense. Besides I specifically told him I'm in no need of wet-nursing. Not from him, and if you'd pardon my saying so sir... nor from you."

"Well that may very well be but in my humble opinion... you look like hell," John openly accused, steadily growing wry of Alan's callous attitude.

"Well isn't that the pot calling the kettle black," Alan returned rather sarcastically finally turning to face John head on.

Looking his commander up and down mostly to compare his withered condition to his own, Alan then finished with. "In my opinion you wouldn't win any beauty contest yourself."

John could feel his temper wanting to get the better of him but he relented. He hadn't come here to fight with Alan. It was the total opposite of that. He'd come to help. That is, if Alan would allow it?

"Tony also tells me you're having a hard time dealing with, what in all possibility, was way beyond your control. And I think we, you and me, need to talk this thing out. Clear the air so to speak."

"As I said before... Tony should keep to his own affairs."

"Listen, Alan..."

John paused momentarily for he was finding it difficult to continue a decent conversation in such faint lighting.

"First-off... lets get some lights on in here.

Crossing the room to turn up the lantern so he could get a better look at things, John could tell right away that Tony's assessment of Alan's condition was right on the money. The man truly did look as though he'd been walking through hells-fire. Trying to keep the look of surprise off his face John nonchalantly declared.

"That's much better. Now that we both can see who we're talking to, lets pickup where we left off."

"If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not," Alan crossly stated.

"You know... he was only concerned for your welfare. Tony that is," John started to say before Alan abruptly cut him off.

"Well as you can see, I'm just fine. Now if you don't mind,"

Alan said in a rather flippant voice that made John look at him sharply.

"Oh no... you can't dismiss me as easily as you did Tony," John stubbornly proclaimed. "We're settling things right here and now!"

Of course this ruffled Alan's feathers even further. What gave him the right to come in here and force him to talk when clearly he chose not to?

With tempers seething just underneath the surface both men stood for several moments in awkward stillness, glaring at one another. Taking several calming breaths before continuing it was again John who tried burying the hatchet for all intent and purposes.


"Look Alan... we've been friends for what seems like a life time. We went through flight school together. The Armed Forces and Space Academy together. We went to bars together, got drunk together, picked up women together. You were right there at my side when I met Jean. Hell... you were best man at our wedding."

At the mention of his deceased wife's name John had to take a second or two to gather himself before he went on to say in a much softer tone.

"All those years as best-buds, you and I. Like the time after finding out that the space commission had approved our grant for the Meta probe, you and I celebrated by going out and getting roaring drunk and almost ended up spending the night in the drunk tank for public drunkenness after being caught urinating in an alley."


"Yeah...I remember," Alan smiled in spite of him self. "I also remember thinking afterwards that it wouldn't have set well with Jean if she had to come bail us out."

"No, I don't think it would have at that," John smirked at the thought.

"It was bad enough having to bring you home while you were still two-sheets-to-the-wind. I can still picture the look on Jeans face when she opened the door."

Searching his memory for said moment John for the life of him couldn't remember much after the officer had released the two on their own recognizance with the promise they'd head straight home.

"You know what she said to me later on after I sobered up some," Alan questioned.

Puzzled John shook his head no.

"She said that if I ever brought you home in that sort of condition again, she'd have my scalp, "Alan stated starting to smile, just a little.

"Knowing Jean, she would have no doubt followed through on that threat," John conceded in remembrance of his late wife's temperament as he to begun smiling, but also only a little.

Then once more turning more serious John adamantly put forth.

"What I'm trying to say is you were always there when I needed you to be. You were the one that helped me hold it together after she died in that explosion. Throughout the years I've learned to depend on you. Maybe more then I had a right to. You've always been a constant in my life and besides Victor, and now Tony you are the one person I've learned to lean on the most since we were hurled out of earths atmosphere into what seemed like an endless journey through space. Maybe I had no right to depend on you as much as I have throughout all of this but you were like my beacon. You kept me grounded and I couldn't see my way clear to depend on anyone else as much as I depended on you." Now with his voice becoming even softer still John then added. "That was until I met Helena."

"I can remember the first day we met. I thought she was the most obstinate, quarrelsome woman I'd ever come across. Well, besides Jean that is. But I also saw something else buried deep beneath all that. What I saw was an intelligent, dedicated, and warmhearted woman who also happened to be the most beautiful creature I'd ever laid eyes on."

As John spoke Alan could see a whimsical look play across his features. A look he'd seen many times in the past when he spoke of his one true love. His Helena. But this time along with said look Alan could swear he saw tears lingering in John's eyes but again he guessed it could have just been the lighting of the room playing tricks with his eyes.

Looking off into the distance as if reminiscing about some past private events surrounding his and Helena's blossoming relationship, grinning John then added.

"And although we seemed to bumped heads more often then not it was you that first pointed out the attraction we felt for one another. It was you, and from time to time, Victor that encouraged me to go after what I wanted and what I wanted was her. You knew we were good for one another, needed each other in a sense. You knew this even before she and I were truly ready to admit it to ourselves."

"It was painfully obvious to anyone who cared to look that the two of you were crazy about one another," Alan innocently went on to suggest followed by a soft chuckle.

The sound of this warmed John's heart.

"Yeah," he said followed by a chuckle of his own. "But you know frankly after what happened to Jean I honestly thought that was it for me. I thought that I'd never find or love another woman as openly and as wholeheartedly as I loved Jean. Then low and behold along came this tall, blonde exquisite creature with a will of iron and a heart of steel that crashed through my defenses without even really trying. And before I even knew what was happening she had found her way into that place in my heart that I thought was closed off to all women forever."

Lost in thought silently Alan found himself nodding his head in absent agreement.

He had been right there at John's side throughout all those tumultuous years following Jean's untimely death, all the way up to their ill-fated departure from earth and he had never wavered once when called upon.

"Oh but you saw it right off, didn't you. You also saw through that protective fortress she'd build around her heart and although you were attracted to her yourself you saw it fit to step aside and push the two of us together."

Alan's eyes grew wide with this last affirmation on John's part. He thought he'd done a good job in hiding his feelings for Helena from prying eyes but he forgot just how well John knew him.

"Oh yes, my friend, I knew you looked at her in more of a way than just friendship. And if it weren't for my entering the picture, you probably would have tried winning her heart for yourself. And in the end, probably would have succeeded seeing how determine you can be when pursuing something you really want. But you also saw how much she began to mean to me. How much we needed each other. So you did what only a true friend would do. You stepped aside and began pushing the two of us together until one day you no longer needed to push but just stand by and watch as the two of us finally found our way to one another. And for that, I'll always be eternally grateful."

"Yeah. You two defiantly were a perfect fit," Alan readily concurred. More of a perfect fit than she and I could ever be. Two stubborn thoroughbred is what you both are."

John had to out right laugh at this description of Alan's for in a way he knew he was right.

"Helena's a headstrong young woman Alan. Always has been. And I for one have to admit that's one of the traits I love most about her and loathed at the same time because I always felt that one day that same trait would eventually put her at risk. Later after speaking with others I learned that you had ordered her to abandon those dammed medical journals of hers and seek the safety of the underground caverns. And I also learned that not only did she hesitate but totally ignored said orders to assist Tonya when she became incapacitated. Maybe if she'd done what you'd told her to do, when you told her to do it, none of this would have happened. Who's to say? Mind you, I'm not faulting her in the least. All I know is it wasn't your fault and I had no right to lay the blame at your doorstep without having all the facts and for that I apologize. I know how much she means too you and that you'd never purposely put her in harms way."

"I'd give my life for her, sir," Alan declared, his voice barley above a whisper.

"Yes... I know you would," John confirmed on no uncertain terms. "Just because you were there doesn't mean you could have influenced the initial outcome one way or another."

Upon stating this almost instantly John could see what seemed liked the weight of the world slowly lift from Alan's shoulders and this pleased him immensely.

"Now that all has been said and done, do you think we can get past this and go on as usual," John questioned with bated breath all the while searching Alan's eyes for corroboration of acceptance.

After a moments hesitation Alan slowly smiled his crooked little smile then declared.

"I'm sure we can sir."

"Good," John said whilst breathing a sigh of relief. "Oh... and Alan."

"Yes sir."

"Could you please drop this sir business for now? We are talking as close friends and not as superior to subordinate."

"Sure thing... friend," Alan readily agreed whilst reaching out to vigorously shake hands with John. Then as if in second thought he added. "And John... if you ever want to talk... about the baby and all. Know that I'm here and willing to listen."

Touched deeply John replied in a horse voice.

"I'll keep that in mind... friend."

They smiled at one another and in that small length of time they were talking like old friends once again, just like that. Finally John thought to himself, they had found some middle ground and the lines of communication were once again open.

"You know, all of a sudden I'm starving. What do you say we both go and grab some grub before the mess tent closes for the night?"

Alan didn't want to eat right then but said okay because now it wasn't about getting something to eat; not really. It was about putting all this ugliness behind them once and for all. So off they went, with Alan offering little if no resistance as the two strolled along with arms clumsily thrown around one-another's shoulders. Best friends again as it should and always would be.

Once they had eaten and he was assured that Alan was now in a better state of mind as well as headed off to bed, John headed back to the medical tent. Later upon his return Victor would unceremoniously ask.

"So are things resolved between the two of you?"

And John would casually respond with.

"As resolved as things will ever be."

Knowing the two as well as he did, that was a good enough answer for Victor. So nothing else was discussed on the matter as both men settled down in silence at Helena's bedside content in the knowledge that at least one of the three would be sleeping well that night.

To be continued...


Copyright (c) 2012. Reprinted with permission.
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