Legacies (Part 2)
David J. Duncan
For notes & such, please see Part 1
Byron sat by the fountain watching the cascading waters and reflecting upon the situation around him. Over the previous three hours, many sonnets about life's fragile nature and the unfair nature of Death's scythe had washed across his consciousness. However, he refused to give into those thoughts.
Clark's going to pull through. We have too many days ahead of us. Too many happy times to enjoy.
By his side, Miranda moped. Uncle Dave's tearing his hair out, I'm sure, over this mess. I wish I could do something to help other than just sit here and be moral support for everyone. What use is my talent if I can't help my friend? What use is it?
"Hope springs eternal, you know," he said, trying to reassure her.
"I said 'Hope springs eternal.' Miranda, we're not done yet," he reiterated.
"You can see the end from here," she sighed, rubbing her hands together, trying not to cry. "How can you sit there and quote verses at a time like this, Byron?"
"Because it keeps me sane. It allows me to hang onto hope," he noted, rubbing his hands through his dark hair. "Would you rather I throw a tantrum?"
"No, that's quite all right," she said, quickly cutting off that notion. That's the last thing we need, especially if Uncle Dave goes too.
She had heard from Clark and Lana how Byron had triggered his change, forcing a confrontation with the Child. "Thank you, though."
"For giving me hope," she declared, smiling at him warmly. "Sandra's really lucky, you know."
"I'm the lucky one, Miranda, to have her. But, I'm lucky to have all of you as friends too. That's why we can't give up. Let's hope for the best, all right?"
She nodded and together, they resumed their silent vigil-each lost in his or he own thoughts.
On the Dojo's platform, Dave stood with Martin, Deirdre, Lana, and Diana. He looked around and shook his head. It's now or never. "Ready, everyone?"
The shaman nodded. "Open your mind to me, Professor Dubois. Focus on your friends."
The professor shut his eyes and allowed his student to probe his thoughts.
As soon as Martin stood in the mindscape, he wondered what to do next. "Which memory?"
"Lookin' for somethin'?" the Child asked.
The shaman turned to see the professor's dark persona standing in back of him. Fortunately, the Other was just watching him.
"Ah know why ya'll are here. Emmie mentioned ya'll were comin'." With that, he waved his hand, allowing Martin to see the scenes from the Duboises' adventures with the Andromeda Ascendant and her crew against the Magog.. For several minutes, the Child allowed this to go on before asking hopefully, "Can ya'll find 'em?"
"If you'll let me. Work with David and me," Martin urged.
The Child nodded and clasped the Native American's head. "Relax, Ah won't hurt ya."
With this action, he somehow combined their abilities, allowing them to sweep across the universe in a blind blur. In this state, it wasn't a matter of speed. Time didn't mean anything to them in this state. Neither did distance. Following the remnants of the trail left by the Andromeda after she left Arizona, the duo tracked them across the galaxies until they found the ship in the midst of a dogfight with several enemies. Some of the ships were trying to board her.
"Where are we?" Martin asked, trying to understand where they were.
"A long way from home, Bud," the Child snapped. "Come on, let's get back and get help." Saying that, he snapped his fingers, whisking them home before his companion could take a breath.
After they came to, Dave and Martin looked at the others.
"Well, did you find them?" Lana asked with an anxious look on her face.
"Yes, but..." the shaman started.
"But what?" Chloe snapped.
"They're under attack," Dave noted. "Let's say we help them."
"I'll do anything for my friend," Chloe affirmed, turning crimson as her powers came on.
"Ditto," Byron stated, focusing and trembling, allowing the Other to come out. "Rrrr..."
Dave frowned. The kid's so like me, it's freaky.
Shalimar looked at her teammates. "We kick ass and they can help us. Let's go."
Adam sighed, not wanting to send his charges into a war zone, but there was no choice. "Diana, can you get a date and place from them?"
"I can get a date, but place is another matter," she told the others.
"Leave that to me," the priestess assured her. "Papa, ready?"
"One thing first," Angie told them. "Chloe, Byron, I need to ask you to keep this a secret." Drawing the sword, she changed into Xena.
Wow! No wonder she's always by Professor Dubois' side! "Absolutely," she promised. "Let's go."
Deirdre nodded and opened the mist portal.
The others hustled through the portal before it closed leaving Lana, Lex, and Adam behind.
"Can I see Clark now?" she asked.
"Sure," Adam agreed.
"Come on, Lana. We'll keep him safe," Lex reassured her.
She managed a smile as they made their way toward the lab and the patient's side.
[Within the mists]
"Where are we?" Diana asked nervously, looking about at the tunnel-like passage surrounding them.
"We're in the mists," Deirdre assured her. "Don't worry. Here, we're perfectly safe. See that black portal there?" She pointed down the path toward the black opening about fifteen feet in front of them. "That's space where the Andromeda should be in its own time. Right, Papa?"
"Right," Dave agreed. "Look, Diana, right?"
"Yes," the younger woman indicated.
"There's somebody counting on you to create a portal and get us through it, okay? You can do it," Dave assured her. "Trust me." He smiled warmly. "Please."
Something about his eyes and smile made Diana agree. "All right." She put her hands together and the air between them started to glow. The energy formed into a bubble floating down the passage until it stopped in front of the portal. "I did it. Now what?"
"Now, stay back until you get the signal," Xena stated, drawing her sword.
"Let's rock," Dave agreed.
"Right back at ya," Shalimar agreed, urging her teammates onward as they disappeared through the portal followed by Xena and the professor.
The priestess sealed the portal behind them and told her companion. "Now we wait to see what happens next."
Chapter 6 [Andromeda]
Even as Clark's situation on Earth worsened, the situation onboard the Andromeda Ascendant matched pace. For much of the day, the crew's latest foray into the Aldeverron System had proven quiet-almost boring one might think. Wanting to investigate further, the first officer, Beka Valentine, and the weapons officer, Tyr Anasazzi conducted scans of the surrounding space and came up with nothing. Still, it almost seemed like the calm before the storm.
Two hours after that, alarms went off all over command, signaling everyone to the bridge and their battle stations.
"Rommie, report!" Dylan Hunt, the captain, asked sharply. "What the Hell's going on out there?"
Beside him, a slender woman about five and a half feet tall with shoulder-length black hair with red streaks running through it studied the latest readouts. "We have multiple slipstream events occurring around us, Dylan. The ships are Callderan by design and we are outnumbered 10 to 1," she reported.
Then the ship lurched as something impacted with the hull.
"What was that?" Tyr growled, his over-sized dark hand on his gauss gun.
On screen, the ship's artificial intelligence appeared, indicating, "The Callderans are trying to board me, and...they just broke through my rear cargo door. They're into Levels 35 and 36 and making their way up here."
Damn. Those creeps just don't know how to take a hint, do they? Dylan wondered to himself. "How many?"
"About thirty are already onboard," the AI reported.
Turning to his engineer, he ordered, "Harper, stay here in command. Rommie, Beka, Tyr, you're with me. Where's Trance?"
"She's in Medical. I've already told her about the situation and she in route," Rommie stated, giving her force lance a quick look over before heading out.
"Good. Let's deal with this situation, shall we?" Dylan requested, heading out of Command and down toward the problem. "I hate uninvited guests!"
The others followed closely, weapons at the ready for anything.
About ten minutes later, the group met up with their medical officer, Trance Gemini, in the midst of the invading force. The golden-skinned alien had engaged the enemy just a few minutes earlier, taking out several adversaries with her own force lance.
"How's it looking, Trance?" Dylan asked.
"Look in front of you!" she snapped, firing at another Callderan. "Reinforcements are swarming in faster than we can take them down."
"Just another day in Paradise," Beka groused, firing her gauss gun into the horde.
"And I wouldn't want it any other way," their Nietzschean companion stated, an almost eager grin spreading across his face as he started dropping the charging beings in front of them.
Dylan shook his head furiously. "Callderans suck!" He fired off shots in rapid succession.
"Doesn't everyone where you're concerned?" his first officer wise cracked, taking out two more.
"When they're overwhelming my ship, damn straight!" Dylan indicated, firing still more blasts.
Even as Rommie took down still more enemies, her senses honed in on another event. "Dylan, several other beings have just materialized on Deck 37! They're...human?"
"Human?" Beka inquired.
From below, the sounds of explosions could be heard as something...or someone engaged the invading forces from below.
"The cavalry, I presume?" Tyr asked with an air of skepticism, not believing that the enemy of the enemy was necessarily their friend.
"Hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth!" Beka groused, still intent on her target practice.
"Do we know who...?" Trance started to ask.
Almost in answer, a loud bellowing scream akin to the ancient Earth banshees hit their ears. It was dark, angry, and all too familiar.
Right behind it, they heard an "AYAYAYAYAYAYSHEEEEYYAAAHHHHH!!!!!"
Finally, one of the invading aliens flew through the floor from below, hitting the ceiling.
Tyr rolled his eyes, recalling their expedition to old Earth. "Let me guess. Our so-called allies from Earth?"
At that moment, two more aliens flew through the newly blown open hole, skidding across the floor.
Behind them, a luminescent female rose into view, bombarding the enemy with all sorts of radiation. Seeing the crew, she asked, "Which one of you is Andromeda?"
"That would be me, I guess," Rommie replied. "And you are?"
"My name's Chloe. Professor Dubois, Xena, and our friends are on their way up. We've got a problem," Chloe introduced herself, overexposing a few more Callderans.
"Yeah, we know," Dylan stated, frying two more aliens.
"No, we have another problem on Earth!" Chloe insisted.
"One thing at a time first!" Xena hissed, leaping through the breach. "Long time, no see! Same type of company, huh?"
"You know us," Dylan cracked. "Different aliens, different day, but they still want to kill us."
"Ya think?" the Warrior Princess remarked flippantly as she sliced into the aliens' flank like a force possessed. "Hey, Big Man, anytime you want to make yourself useful!"
Tyr frowned. "I'm busy. Where's your little blonde friend?"
"Back on Earth minding the store and our injured friend," Xena informed him. "I don't have time for this!" Taking out her chakram, she sent it flying into the enemy, allowing it to carom off of their heads and dropping about fifteen to the floor before it returned to her hand.
"I've been meaning to ask you about how you do that," Beka stated.
"Ancient Amphiploian secret," the warrior remarked curtly. Seeing the enemy spill out into the hallway in front of her. "Well, looks like the rest of 'em have had enough of David and the crew downstairs! Gimme! Gimme!" Flipping into the mass, she slashed, dashed, and diced still more of the frantic aliens.
From behind the Callderans, a burst of energy pushed them further into the room.
"Howdy," the Child laughed as he stepped into view. "Ah see ya'll are still runnin' into trouble, ain't ya?" With each hand, he fired a pulse, wiping out still more of the invaders. "We got the ones out there."
"Great!" Dylan exclaimed, sending off two more salvos.
Within minutes, the rest of the invaders lay unconscious or worse on the floor in front of the assembled allies.
Having finished cleaning up down below, Byron and Mutant X made their way up the access way to where Dave and the others were.
"Any others?" Dylan asked them.
"Nope. They're all out cold," Brennan told him. "So, this is Andromeda?"
"It is. I'm Captain Dylan Hunt and these are my crew, first officer, Beka Valentine, weapons officer, Tyr Anasazzi, medical officer, Trance Gemini, and the ship's avatar, Andromeda. And you are?" Dylan introduced.
"Brennan Mulwray. My friends are Jesse Kilmartin, Emma diLauro, Shalimar Fox, and Byron Moore," the electrical mutant replied.
Chloe returned to her normal appearance and added, "I'm Chloe Sullivan. Sorry to be so abrupt before."
"Well, it's not everyday a glowing girl rises out of the hold and fries the opposition," Tyr cracked sarcastically.
"Tyr, that's enough!" Dylan advised sharply. "Now then, Chloe, you mentioned you had an emergency on Earth. What's up?"
"Well, we had a meteor hit close to where we are. One of my friends investigated it and was exposed to some sort of space dust. It's killing him," she explained, her eyes starting to water.
Dave interjected, "Clark's an alien and, as Chloe just said, the dust is from space. Our computers can't find a cure. You're his last hope."
Rommie spoke up. "Where is he now? The patient, I mean?"
"Adam's working on him right now," Emma noted. "I suspect that if nothing's found soon, he may put Clark in stasis to buy more time."
Trance rubbed her chin, reading the situation and interpreting it through her precognitive senses, as well as her knowledge of past events.
Could this be the same Clark Kent of ancient Earth? If so, we need to help him. "Dylan, this is critical. Maybe a few of us can go and check things out?"
Beka frowned, not wanting to run into her ditzy twin again.
"I agree with Trance, especially given the nature of the patient. We can't let him die," the avatar added.
"Wait a minute!" Brennan exclaimed. "You know who Clark is?"
"Of course," Rommie assured him. "Just as I know that the four of you are Mutant X and that Adam is Dr. Adam Kane, the inventor of modern genetic research."
Dylan sighed. Last time we were back there, we were almost stuck there. Still.... "Can you get us back here after we're done?"
"I'm sure Cybelle and Deirdre can arrange something. Well?" Dave asked.
Looking at his crew, the captain agreed, "Let's do it. We still owe you for helping us with the Magog before."
"Friends help friends, Captain," Xena chimed in grimly.
At that moment, Deirdre and Diana popped in from the mists.
"So...are we going?" the priestess asked.
"We are," Dylan replied. "You're going to have to transport us there though."
Diana looked at them all nervously. "I can't extend my portal over an entire ship!"
"Yes you can," Dave assured her. "Focus..."
She took a deep breath.
"You can do it, Diana," Emma assured her.
The time warper generated energy between her hands and released the glowing ball in front of her.
The energy ball phased out of the Andromeda and into space. In front of the ship, it formed into a portal expanding slowly until it matched the ship's size.
"I...don't know how long..." Diana told them, gritting her teeth from the effort.
"That's good enough," Dylan told her. "Rommie?"
"We're on our way," the avatar told him as they plunged into the portal. Once they had done so, they sat in empty space.
"Good job," Deirdre complimented Diana, rubbing her shoulder. "Now it's my turn." Saying that, she opened the mists in front of the ship. "Fly into it, Andromeda, if you would."
"Do it," Dylan concurred.
"Aye," an overhead voice agreed.
The new mutants looked around them. "Who said that?"
An image matching the android in front of them appeared. "That would be me. I'm Andromeda."
Shalimar's eyes glowed yellow reflecting her confusion. "You both can't be Andromeda!"
"They are," Dave noted.
"I am the sentient intelligence for the ship-the artificial intelligence. Rommie is my avatar-my robotic right hand if you will," the Andromeda image replied flatly. "Deirdre, we have come out on the other side of your fog. According to my sensors, we are in your system. What should we do now?"
The priestess looked expectantly at her father. "Well, Papa?"
"Can you do what you did the last time?" the professor wondered.
"That's a good idea," Dylan concurred. "Rommie, I want you and Trance to accompany us to the surface. Beka, you and Tyr stay here and keep things going. All right?"
"Fine with me, Dylan," the first officer concurred.
Tyr shrugged. He had no wish to go back to Earth.
"Let's go and see if we can help," the captain urged.
"Follow me then," the priestess stated, opening the portal. When the others had vanished, she looked at the remaining crewmembers anxiously before closing up the passage behind her.
The Double Helix sped back from Smallville pushing its limits to return to Sanctuary before anything happened. Fortunately, the air space in front of it was clear.
The occupants remained pensive. In the back seats, Jonathan and Martha Kent sat worrying about their son. Beside them, Eve and Gabrielle tried to assure them that everything was going to be all right.
At the pilots' stations, Logan and Max watched the instruments carefully, keeping a sharp eye out for any signs of trouble.
"How are we doing?" Logan asked.
"We're making good time," Max replied flatly. This isn't so bad. Of course, between that Manticore training and Adam's simulator, I could pick this up quickly.
"How long until we're there?" Martha inquired anxiously. Tears streaked her cheeks and she trembled a bit.
"About twenty more minutes," the transgenic pilot commented. "Adam's got things well in hand. Dave wanted to apologize for not coming himself, but he's wrapped up right now."
"What could it be?" Jonathan wondered. "Clark's his responsibility!"
She glared at him. "He's getting help for your son, all right? Let's say he's got some friends who may be able to help."
"Max," Logan said, reminding her of their feelings.
"Yeah, yeah...I know. I just want them to know that Dave's doin' everything he can."
"We...know that," Martha assured her. "It's really hard right now. One minute, your boy is nearly invulnerable and the next, he's fighting for his life."
"Everything happens for a reason," Eve tried to explain. "I just wish I understood why this occurred."
Gabrielle simply shook her head. Xena, I'm hoping that you and David find the help he's seeking.
Then, the screen snapped on and Adam's image appeared. "Max, where are you?"
"We just crossed the border between Colorado and Arizona. ETA...about ten minutes. Clark's parents, Eve, and Gabrielle are on board," she informed him. "How's our boy?"
"Put me on the main screen," the former geneticist requested. When she had done so, he greeted, "Jonathan, Martha, I wish you could be visiting under better circumstances."
"How's he doing, Adam?" the farmer asked.
"Hanging in there," Adam noted. "We're still running tests. We'll have more information for you when you get here. Meantime, I'll have somebody meet you there."
Looking past Adam, Martha saw Lana standing over Clark's still form. "Adam, can I talk to Lana for a minute?"
He nodded and motioned to the nervous teenager who joined him at the console.
"Mr. and Mrs. Kent, sorry, I must look a sight...." Lana excused herself, rubbing her eyes.
"That's okay," Jonathan assured her. "Thanks for being with Clark."
Lana managed a smile. "Like I'm going to be anywhere else, right? The others are downstairs trying to cope. Some of them will meet you in the hangar. I'll see you in a few minutes."
"Right," Martha commented as the screen went dark.
Ten minutes later, Max brought the ship to rest on its platform and shut down the engines. "Okay, everyone. We're here."
The bard and former messenger waited for the nervous parents to deplane before they followed.
At the stairs, Miranda waved to the group. "Over here!"
"Miranda, how is he?" Martha wondered, hugging the younger woman.
"You'll get the entire story upstairs. Chloe's on her way." Looking up, she saw a light dancing above them. "In fact...."
Chloe streaked into the room and landed beside them. "Mr. and Mrs. Kent, sorry about this."
They stared at her. "Chloe? Is that?"
She focused and returned to normal. Managing a nervous smile, she nodded. "Yeah, I guess you can call it the new me. I turn radioactive and stuff."
"How long has this been going on with you?" Jonathan asked.
"Since Christmas," the reporter replied. "Umm...I hate to cut this off but Adam, Lex, and Lana are waiting for you. Oh, Miri, your uncle's back and he's got some rather interesting people with him, I've gotta say."
"Interesting? Knowing Uncle Dave, that's putting it mildly. Let's go," the former waitress told them, leading them toward the lab.
[A few minutes earlier]
Adam signed off of the connection with the Double Helix and rubbed the sides of his nose.
It's never easy for parents. "Thank you, Lana, I know that wasn't easy."
"No problem, Adam," she sighed and returned to Clark's side. "They need to know what's going on. I hope that Professor Dubois gets back soon."
As if on cue, the mists formed in the corner of the room. Through them, Deirdre, Diana, Mutant X and Dave walked into the area.
"Hey. Did you find them?" Adam wondered.
"We did," Dave told him, motioning as Dylan, Rommie, and Trance followed them into the room. "These are our friends. Dr. Adam Kane, Captain Dylan Hunt, Andromeda, and the lady with the golden skin and the pointed ears is Trance Gemini, I guess." Seeing a surprised look from the latter, he apologized, "Sorry, last time we met, you were purple. That doesn't matter now." He managed a smile.
"That's okay," the medical officer assured him. "I get that reaction a lot. We can talk later." Walking over to the bio bed, she inspected the patient. "Where are the read outs?"
"Floating right in front of you, actually," Adam informed her.
The golden alien inspected the CGI-imagery before taking out her own instrument and running it over Clark's body. "Rommie, have you seen this?" She gaped.
The android frowned. "Amazing. I thought this would never happen."
Dylan studied Rommie's expression. She usually doesn't get so serious unless something's really wrong. "What is it?"
"Dylan, there are two things wrong with this picture. First, Clark has a disease that has been extinct for almost twenty years from the time we're at now...."
Lana stared and interjected, "What is it? Can you tell us?"
The android looked again at her comrades wondering how much to tell their hosts.
If we do tell them, do we alter history as we know it? And, if so, by how much?
"Don't worry. We've kept the secret of Clark's true nature this long. We can keep this one too," the medievalist advised them. "What is it, Rommie?"
She turned to her captain. After he nodded, she continued, "From what Trance and I are picking up on our readings and from the splotches on his skin as well as the convulsions, he has the Rulgan Plague. But that's impossible...."
"Yet there he is," Xena argued grimly.
"No, we see that," Trance assured the others. "He has it all right. What Rommie means is that only one planet's people were susceptible to that virus. The disease disappeared with the planet's destruction."
"Clark is an alien," Lana revealed. "Could he have been from that planet?"
Rommie scanned Clark again and checked the records against the old Commonwealth records in her databanks. "He is. Again, it's a statistical impossibility and yet, here he is!"
"Here who is?" Dylan asked her.
At that moment, Miranda and Chloe led Jonathan and Martha into the lab.
"What's going on? Who are these people?" the farmer wanted to know.
"Jonathan and Martha Kent, I presume?" Trance guessed, a smile crossing her lips.
The records did have his overprotective streak right. "We're David's friends and we're here to help Clark."
The captain approached the parents. "I'm Dylan Hunt, Captain of the Andromeda Ascendant and a friend of David and Angela's. The two women are my Medical Officer, Trance Gemini, and my Information specialist, Andromeda. Rest assured, we are here to help."
"Have you found anything thus far?" Martha queried anxiously.
"The virus is called Rulgan Plague. Normally, it's a three-day fever similar to your common cold here on Earth," Rommie stated.
"But, what if it's not a normal case?" Adam asked.
"In those cases, the patient gets weaker and he dies unless the antidote can be administered. Only people from the planet Krypton are in that category, but that world was destroyed almost twenty years ago," she continued.
Martha looked anxiously at her husband. "Jonathan, that would have been about the right time for Clark to have..."
He nodded. "Can you get this antidote from your ship for him? Whatever you need, we'll pay you."
Dylan shook his head and smiled. For what this young man represents to both of his worlds, we have to do this.
"Not necessary. We're happy to do this. I can have Trance and Andromeda get the serum from our stores and administer it to him right away."
Disheartened, Trance and Rommie glanced at him.
"Or maybe not. What's wrong? With all of that technology back there, you can make it, right?" Emma inquired, judging from the emotions coming off of the captain and the golden alien.
Martha buried her face in Jonathan's chest and sobbed.
Lana crossed her arms over her chest and bowed her head.
"Rommie, we've got to make this work," Dylan insisted.
"Dylan, I can do a great many things as you're well aware. I have the formula in my database. One problem-no raw materials, no serum," the avatar replied flatly.
"We have that weird dust," Brennan pointed out, indicating where Adam had separated it from the air.
"The purple dust will help," Trance agreed. "But we need something else. There's an element called Trolipoline and it's only found in one place, the planet Krypton."
"But you just said that the planet blew up! So how?" Shalimar protested, tiring of staying silent.
"The planet blew up but there is some left in the asteroid remainders of the planet. Dylan, judging from my calculations of the distance between here and Krypton, as well as the subject's condition, we will need to take him with us. We will not have time to find the mineral, mix the serum, and get it back here before he dies," Rommie detailed.
"He's not going anywhere without us!" Jonathan argued vehemently.
"Fine. Then you can come with us," Dylan relented. "Pick a group from amongst yourselves to come along with us. In any event, I'm not going to let this young man die without a fight. That's a promise."
"All right," Martha agreed, sensing that he was speaking the truth.
"Sorry I blew," Jonathan apologized.
"No need to apologize." the captain waved it off. "Let's get him back to the ship. Deirdre, can you do that mist thing again?"
"Consider it done," the priestess indicated, creating the portal. "There, you have access to the Andromeda again."
"Thank you," Rommie agreed. "We'll get things started up there. Jonathan and Martha, please follow me."
Adam looked at the others before indicating, "I'm coming as well. Here, allow me." Pressing a button on the side of the bio bed, he triggered the bed's hovering mechanism, causing Clark to float in midair. "Show me where you need him to go."
"Of course," Trance concurred, leading him into the mists.
"The rest of us will be up in a bit. All right?" Dave inquired.
"Sounds good. We'll need to leave soon," Rommie pointed out.
"Right. Everyone, meeting downstairs on the double," the professor pointed out.
Five minutes later, Dave sat in the living area looking at the combined forces in front of him. The mutant students' faces betrayed their trepidation and fear for their friend. Mutant X seemed anxious to help. Finally, his friends and his remaining family sat there as well.
"Okay, we need to decide who stays and who goes," he started. "While I would like us all to go, I think we need to keep people back here. First of all, the students need to stay here. Sorry, guys, but your exams are coming up."
"Clark's our friend, Professor Dubois!" Samantha protested.
"He's our teammate!" Sebastian added, standing up.
Dave smiled and ran his hand through his hair. They definitely are a great bunch. I'll give them that. "I want you all to keep an eye on things while we're gone. All right? Classes go on, but just as importantly, you need to stay focused. Clark would want you to do that."
"My mother, Gabrielle, and I will be with him," Eve told them.
"Well, you aren't telling me to stay here!" Chloe indicated.
Dave smirked and shook his head at Lex before replying, "I wouldn't dream of it. You, Lex, Lana and Byron are representing the group. As for everyone else, if we need help, Deirdre can get the rest of you ASAP. If anything happens, same thing."
"We've got your word on that?" Paula insisted.
"Yes. Meantime, I believe Emma and Adam are representing Mutant X. Max, Jesse,
Brennan, and Shalimar will be back here with you if anything happens," the professor continued. "Wish us luck, gang. We're going to need it."
The Smallville contingent stared at him anxiously.
"Remember what Machiavelli said about luck, Dave," Lex pointed out.
"Yes, I do. Why do you think we're making this trip?" the medievalist remarked. "Come on. They're waiting on us."
The priestess, receiving her cue, opened the portal, allowing the subgroup to enter before sealing it behind them.
After they had gone, the students looked at each other anxiously wondering what to do next. They were very concerned for their friend, but knew he was in good hands. They would wait for word but try to go on with their lives as well.
Chapter 8 [Onboard the Andromeda]
Seamus Harper, the ship's engineer, stalked into command, guzzling a Sparky cola and wondering what was going on. For the past two hours, he had taken a nap or at least, tried to do so in the midst of the racket echoing throughout the space vessel.
"Awright, what the heck's goin' on? Can't a genius take a nap around here?" he groused.
Beka and Tyr shot him simultaneous dirty looks from their respective positions. She inspected the slipstream controls to make sure everything was ready for their next trip. For his part, the weapons officer studied his console and growled a curt response.
"I can't believe you slept through all of the fighting, Harper," she chided. "The Callderans stormed the ship."
"Callderans, here?" the scrawny Earther responded, turning white as he recalled some of the crew's earlier run ins with the persistent aliens.
"Yes, Boy. They were here. Fortunately, we received some help from our friends," Tyr informed him in a surly tone. "Your fellow Earthers crashed in right after them."
"Earthers out here? You've got to be kidding! So how did they get in here? We're way out in space."
"Ask our friends from the past. Even Tyr's girlfriend popped...or should I say, flipped into the scene, bashing heads," she continued, sending a verbal jab at the Nietzschean.
"She's not my girlfriend," he replied curtly, the defensiveness clearly evident in his voice.
Harper snorted and hustled to the other side of the bridge. Good, something to rank on him about...Finally.
"Yeah. Whatever, Tyr," Beka chuckled, making the final adjustments.
At that moment, Rommie and Dylan walked back onto the bridge.
"So, how did the trip go?" the first officer inquired. "So we have our patient?"
"He's in Medical," Rommie stated. "Trance and the others are with him." She stole a glance at Tyr. "Your
girlfriend is there too."
Tyr growled low and glared at the android. I'll get even with Beka for that one. "What is the captain's pleasure?"
You mean besides turning the knife a bit more? Dylan choked back a chuckle and only betrayed the slightest of smiles. "How are our weapons?"
"Sound as far as I can tell," Tyr reported, happy for a change of subject. "What do you wish to do now?"
"Rommie, can you input the coordinates into the computer? Beka, get ready to go to slipstream on my mark," the captain stated.
Rommie typed a few keystrokes inputting numbers before indicating. "It'll take two jumps to do it, but we can be there within a day."
"And where are we going, O' Captain?" Beka wondered.
"The planet Krypton...or rather, what's left of it," Dylan told her.
Harper scratched his head. Then he realized who the patient was. "Dylan, is Dave Dubois down there with his students?"
"Exactly, Mr. Harper. I know what you're thinking and you're under orders...no hero worship or anything for those kids," Dylan ordered.
Seeing the engineer make a face, Rommie continued, "Harper, if you say anything, you could change the future perhaps irrevocably. We know who those students are and what they represent to Earth's history. David's mission to found the Community of Tolerance is only starting. We need to let history run its natural course. If you tell them, everything as we know it could be different."
"Okay. Well, can I meet them at some point? Just to say hi and be friends? I'll say I'm from Mars or something," Harper requested, taking another gulp from his soda can.
"They know you're from Earth in the future, but I'm sure that Dave and Dr. Kane will talk to the students and our guests about the situation too. Meantime, mum's the word. If you want to be friendly, that'll be fine. Just be careful. How are we doing, Beka?" Dylan continued, checking his own readouts.
She pressed a few buttons and checked the charts. "Everything's in order." Another button push lowered an overhead device. She sat in a chair and grasped the two joysticks on either side of her. "Ready."
Through the front window, they could see the slipstream portal form in front of them.
"Take a look, guys. We're going to do the first jump in recorded history. Too bad we can't tell anyone about it," Harper groused.
Dylan managed a half smile sympathetically for his engineer. "At least you'll be part of it with us, Harper, and we are saving a life here. 3-2-1. Mark!"
Beka pulled on the control, sending the Andromeda into the slipstream and causing the familiar shimmering effect to ripple throughout the ship for a moment. When things settled down, she said, "We're under way. We've got about 5 hours before we return to normal space for the next jump."
"Very good," Dylan noted. "Rommie, let's go to medical. Everyone else, stay here and keep an eye on things. We'll be back soon."
After the avatar followed him, the doors shut leaving the others to wonder what they would find next.
[Medical Area-A few minutes earlier]
Trance and Adam guided Clark and the bio bed into the clinic area and gently transferred the patient to her examination table.
"Vital signs are still stable. Do you have those readings from your computers, Dr. Kane?" she indicated, reading the latest set of reports from the portable scanner she carried.
"Right here," he said, handing her a CD. "Can your system read this?"
"Hmm...well, no offense, but it's a bit primitive. Fortunately, Harper, our engineer, has made some modifications to our systems," she told him as she walked over to her friend's latest gadget. "I believe this is one of your umm...CD drives?"
He nodded. "That'll work." Looking around, he marveled, How advanced this all is. Impressive. I can see why Dave wanted to bring these folks in for their assistance.
She popped in the CD and watched as the computer provided the data on the screen. However, it came out as gibberish.
"Andromeda, why is this happening?" Trance inquired.
The AI's image appeared and told her golden-skinned friend, "The computer can't make heads or tails of the data. However, I can run it against the Commonwealth's archives and see if I get any results." She focused and suddenly, the data unscrambled itself, providing a legible read out. "There."
Adam shook his head, managing a smile as he adjusted to what was going on around him. "Amazing."
"Thank you, Dr. Kane," the image replied pleasantly. "Your readings are going to save us some time."
"I wish we could have done more," Adam expressed.
"Believe me, you've done more already than should have been possible at your point in history," the AI assured him. "You were able to detect the disease and chart its progress in Clark's system. Most other computer systems wouldn't have even noticed it."
At that moment, Xena and Dave entered the area.
"How are we doing?" the warrior inquired.
"We're monitoring him," Trance informed them. "Until we get that serum into him, he'll continue to deteriorate. How long until we go to slipstream?"
"Beka's putting in the calculations now. Brace yourselves," the android stated, hanging onto the table and Clark's arm.
The others followed suit, each taking hold of something near them. As the rippling effect surged through them, they felt disjointed as if time was slowing and speeding up all at once. Then things returned to normal.
"What in Tartarus was that?" Xena wondered, looking around the room.
Dave shook his head, trying to make sure that everything was still in one piece. "Wow. Talk about your psychedelic experiences...."
"We are now in the slipstream. This is how we travel from point to point across space," Andromeda pointed out.
"And we're in hyperspace now, right?" Dave cracked.
"Excuse me, Dave?" Adam queried.
Xena shrugged recalling their first experience in space. "We've been through this before although not with that jarring feeling."
"Did Clark hang in there all right?" the medievalist queried.
"He's fine for now," Trance stated. "Dr. Kane, I can keep an eye on him for now. Why don't you go check on the others?"
Adam nodded. "Come on, Dave. Let's talk to the students and see how they're doing."
"Right," the professor agreed. "Xena?"
She sighed. I feel so damn helpless here. "Can someone show me where that gymnasium is? You know the one I used the last time we were here?"
"I'll ask Rommie to do that," the image agreed. "Meet your friend, Gabrielle, and I'll arrange for you both to work some steam off."
"Thanks," Xena expressed, following Dave and Adam out of the room, heading for the observation deck.
A moment later, Dylan and Rommie entered.
"How's our patient?" he wondered.
"We need that antidote, Dylan," Trance informed him flatly. "I didn't want to say anything in front of David, but Clark's fading badly. How much longer until we reach Krypton?"
He exhaled deeply, looking at his two companions. On the table, he saw the young man breathing erratically and fighting the disease that raged inside of him.
He's survived so much already. He needs to win this one too. Come on, Clark, don't quit on us. Not now. Not now.
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