While Helena rested and Alan Carter examined the alien spacecraft, John Koenig sat at his
desk in Command Center and stared at the Big Screen. The stars had a way of soothing him but
also caused his thoughts to wander.
The mood of his people had changed from the guarded hope displayed earlier in the day to
blatant depression. Even those who were nervous at the thought of a new alien on Alpha
appeared despondent and short tempered. Koo had been young and a reminder of the children
Alphan couples wanted. When he died so did that ever needed morale.
Watching his people and their reactions, Koenig thoughts drifted - quite naturally - to
Helena Russell. She had made that baby proposal to him. *It's time ...* she said.
Helena ... Her reaction to Victor's death, when he carefully explained the Professor's
coronary to her, was at first puzzling. She was upset, of course, and even a touch teary-eyed
but there was no huge close down as Mathias had anticipated. Not even the grieving John
expected. Later, as he walked the halls of the base, attempting to regain some composure
before entering Command Center, Koenig had time to ponder. Although Helena and Victor had been
friends before and after Alpha broke away, they hadn't yet joined in the complex camaraderie
the three of them shared while on their journey. A deep friendship developed because they,
probably the three most important people on the moonbase at the time, had been thrust together
into a world where only their wits and bravery could be openly displayed. Only in private
could they be together as friends and talk unabashed of their doubts.
"Commander Koenig," Sandra Benes quietly approached him from her desk with a long length of
paper, "How is Helena?"
"Puzzled." he said, honestly.
Sahn understood Koenig's reluctance to say more. Not only was his lady in bad way but he
wasn't even allowed to lend comfort. The young woman suddenly wondered what she would do if
ever faced with the same situation. Paul - dear dead Paul Morrow - flashed through her mind
for a moment but she shook it away. She was over him now. Helena's soothing words had helped.
"What is it, Sahn?" Koenig asked, indicating the paper in her hands.
"A blip and perhaps more." She put the computerized graph in front of him, "The first
signal is weak but on its current trajectory it should pass Alpha in about three days."
"I cannot be certain. But there is another not too far behind it. Perhaps they are
spaceships. Koo's people?"
Koenig examined her findings. That's all they needed. An invasion. After a few minutes,
John gave Sandra back her graph. "Keep an eye on it and let me know if there is any change."
Koenig stood and exited. He had to see Alan Carter.
"Here it is , John." Carter directed the Commander over to a strange contraption with two
narrow, rounded arms on either side of a brightly lit tube.
"So, what is it?" Koenig asked, leaning in to take a closer look.
"I wish I could tell you. We found it to the rear of the alien spaceship. I asked Maya's
opinion and even she's stumped. The only thing we can really be certain of is that it has
something to do with communication and these ..." Alan flipped a switch. With a crackle and
hum the machine began an odd fluttering noise. " ... are words."
It doesn't sound like the same language Koo was using when he tried to talk with Helena."
"I know and don't understand it either." Alan studied the device with John for a moment,
"I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't their alien form of a Black Box ... but why would Koo's
last words be recorded in code?" Carter lifted a hand to scratch his blond hair. "I'm not
wanting to sound morbid, John, but from a craft enthusiast point of view, I'd like to know
what made it crash. Was it pilot error or was there something mechanically wrong?"
"Work on it, Alan. And if you still don't come up with something, have Sahn take a listen.
Her expertise might be exactly what is needed." Koenig advised and prepared to exit.
Carter called, "John, have you spoken with Helena?"
The Commander paused, "No, not yet." he retreated.
Alan nodded, watching him walk away. He felt for John. The pilot was beginning to think
Helena needed more help than any of them could give her. Suddenly inspired, Carter smiled. Why
hadn't he thought of it before? He had just what Helena needed.
Maya took Doctor Russell to her quarters, a location now changed from the time before
Breakaway. Helena smiled when she entered and saw all that was there. An artist's pallet and
easel was propped in one corner of the room, with an abstract sort of painting in the halfway
stage. Her shelves were lined with clay formed busts and plaques. Color was everywhere.
"Are you all right, Helena?" Maya asked, watching her expression and body language closely.
Helena nodded at Maya and walked over to the closet. She used her comlock to open the door
and looked at what clothes were there. "Lots of uniforms." Helena sighed, expecting as much.
Then, slightly curious, she pulled out a pink gown which was covered with a clear see through
bag. Daring but also conservative. "Do we have functions now where I can actually wear
something like this?" she asked the Psychon and raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, yes." Maya chuckled. She glanced over at Helena's bedside table, noting John's
photograph had been removed. Good.
Helena closed the door and turned toward her bed. Her face lit up when seeing a beautiful,
brightly colored quilt, "This is gorgeous." She crossed to the bed, sitting on the mattress
and allowing her hands to run over the sturdy fabrics and designs. "I never really had a
talent for sewing. I wonder who made it."
"I was told Professor Bergman gave it to you." Maya spoke lowly, respectfully.
"Oh." Again, sensing loss, Helena's hands passed over the intricate designs then patted it
flat. Sighing, seeing the alien girl looking at her with an almost nervous attention Helena
said: "You don't have to baby-sit me. Go on to work, Maya. I'll stay here and absorb a few
things." At the Psychon's unsure expression and hesitation, Helena snapped, "I'm not a child!
I'll be fine." in irritation. She immediately regretted the outburst and the fact it caused
Maya to skip back away from her a few paces.
Yet, Helena couldn't bring herself to apologize. She was inflicted but not disabled..
Nodding uncertainly and a little miserable, not wanting to give up her post, Maya tried to
smile thinly and turned to leave.
Alan appeared at the open door with a box in his hands, not aware of the little scene he
had missed, and acknowledged Maya, "You better go talk with Tony." he advised, "He's feeling
neglected. By the way," Carter added, "don't take your camera."
A little offended, Maya comically straightened her shoulders and turned her back on him,
Carter entered, "Helena, I have all of the answers to your problems."
It was the familiarity that puzzled and, yes, pleased Helena most. Nearly all of these
people she remembered professionally from before Breakaway. They were now speaking casually to
each other, as comrades and family, using given names and not expecting the occupational
stiffness which, in the past, was required of a superior towards subordinates. Yet, the
respect remained and this delighted Helena too.
She was happy to learn she had developed relationships. It was never easy for her, even on
Earth. Helena's best friend during the later part of the nineteen nineties - when she had just
started working for the medical department of Space Commission - Dr. Bruce Ripperton, was
always commenting on her shyness and penchants to be a bit too proficient, striving to forget
a lost husband and pull what was left of her life together by immersing herself in work.
As she sat on her quilted bed, her legs crossed, Helena watched him, amused as Alan Carter
stacked the small pile of video diskettes on her white coffee table. The pilot was another of
those pleasant surprises she was getting used to. Who would have thought, back in nineteen
ninety nine, she could develop a friendship with such a 'devil may care' man?
"Sporting events on Alpha." he said, turning to look at her. "Maybe one of these will jog
your memory. Now, don't look at me like that, Helena ..." He spoke quickly, before she could
even start an objection. "You've attended plenty of these, although you've never gone
"Then who did I go with. You?" Helena smiled at his expression, which she mistook for
Alan actually felt a shock go through his system. He almost said too much, nearly
mentioning John Koenig by name. And, if she backed him into a corner, he wasn't certain he
could work himself out. As good as Alan was at many things, he was a horrible liar. "No, not
with me. I'm more of a participant than observer." He worked around the miscalculation.
"Thank you, Alan." Helena stood and walked him to her door. "Everyone is trying to be so
helpful. I'm still having a hard time believing all of this has happened."
"It will come back to you, Helena."
The doors parted as she pressed the opener. "I hope so."
She looked so lost and defeated that Carter couldn't help himself. He leaned forward, his
arms outstretched, and gave the woman - his friend and in many ways confident - a hug. In turn
and with a stunning impact, Helena leaned forward and kissed him very gently on the lips. It
was meant as nothing more than an affectionate demonstration of appreciation but Carter nearly
"Goodbye, Alan.' Helena said and took a few steps backward.
The doors slid closed between them.
Alan stood in front of the entrance for several moments before moving down the hall.
The anger he expected but the tears were something he hadn't prepared himself for. She was
like a delicate, long limbed, sensuous child and he could do no more than hold her and give
human comfort for something he didn't entirely understand.
Maya had come to them two years ago, after her planet exploded in the aftermath of her
father's obsessive madness. Even then, despite her intellect, the Psychon was a mere sheltered
child in the body of an exotic adult female.
Verdeschi fell in love nearly at first sight. It wasn't only her beauty which captivated
him but the woman's playfulness. Unlike many of the Alphan's, Maya was able to put her tragic
past behind her and go on with her new family of Earthlings. She would never forget Psychon or
her father, Mentor, but she had the ability to look into the future and - as John Koenig
reminded her - they were all aliens and they were all Alphans. Verdeschi held Maya as she
sobbed, her head resting against his shoulder. Her pain aside, it felt wonderful cradling her
"I felt like I was being dismissed, Tony. By my best friend - Helena! And she was angry.
I've never seen her angry. At least, not at *me*." Maya hated herself for being so sensative
and weak but she couldn't help it.
"Maya, honey, you have to understand that Helena - as she is - isn't herself. The warm,
open woman Dr. Russell eventually became isn't the same lady Alpha started with." Tony
Maya pulled away from him a little, her hands resting on his chest and her moist blue eyes
asking for an explanation, "Tony, is there really that big a difference?"
Verdeschi thought a moment, "Well, not really." Then quickly, "Inside, Helena has always
been tender but I think John loving her has a lot to do with the way she approaches people
now." It was difficult for Tony to speak in this way. He liked the opposite sex but
understanding them was far from his reach. Yet, he tried. "John told me that before and even a
little after Breakaway, Helena was the type of person who opened symbolic doors only to have
them slam in her face. I don't know why this happened. John admitted to treating her not so
kindly himself at first. They eventually became friends but she didn't want to get close with
anyone. Work was everything to Helena and she had no time for personal exchanges, be it for a
friend or lover. Then one day - and I'll never know what exactly it was that opened John's
eyes - the Commander was there for her and they liked what they saw physically and
emotionally." Verdeschi chuckled, "I told John later, and he agreed with me, that he was an
idiot for waiting so long. He should have seen the attraction our first month out into space."
"Maybe he did but, like Helena, didn't want to admit it to himself." Maya allowed a small
smile, a few tid bits about her friends falling into place. Both were secretive about their
relationship although the love was obvious. Maya lifted a hand and brushed away a tear track.
"Tony, I don't think I really know anything about my friends." That wasn't entirely true. She
knew a little about Koenig because she had asked questions once while the two of them were
trapped on a hostile planet. She knew about his wife, Jean, who had been killed during a war.
But, did she know anything about Tony? She knew he came from a large Italian family and she
cared a great deal about him. She might even love him ... but did she know him? "We talk a
lot, Tony, but we never really say anything important to each other. Tell me about your life
-- about your family. I know about Guido but how were you brought up? What were you like when
a child? What did you do before Alpha?"
Verdeschi grinned, "This could get complicated, Maya. A man likes nothing better than to
talk about himself."
She moved in, running her hands up his jacketed sleeves. "I don't care. I need to know
more. I need ..." her face moved in close to his, "... assurance."
And he needed her.
Their lips met in a sublime kiss.
They could see the moon now on their long range probes. It was a bleak little pebble in the
huge expanse of the universe. Yet, they couldn't ignore it.
He had to know if the boy told these Earth people his secrets. If he did ... their
destruction would be quick and painless. He would find a way.
TWENTY FOUR HOURS PASSED.
He had seen her before like this, pacing in front of him, proposing he do something he
wasn't certain was right. And, as before, she was on the verge of talking him into it.
"Commander, I know this is for my own good but I can't possibly be expected to regain my
memory if you, Dr. Mathias and the others don't level with me. I've read some of my reports,
the ones which have been released to me, and they are very interesting and informative but I
think something is missing. There are glaring holes, as if there are some things you simply
don't want me to know."
Sitting on the oatmeal colored sofa in his quarters, the same piece of furniture the
Commander rested on when Helena proposed the idea of children on Alpha, Koenig found it
difficult to look directly into her inquisitive eyes. He didn't know if it was because he was
agitated by the secrecy surrounding her amnesia or if it simply pained him to look at her,
knowing she wasn't his right now and might not ever be again. "What concerns you most,
Doctor?" Koenig asked, looking up and trying to appear open and affable.
"Well, it's shortly after Breakaway," Helena, a small gathering of official report papers
in her hands, flipped through the pages. "I know we visited a planet Terra Nova - I think it
was the planet originally called Meta - but there are no details. What did we see there? How
did we know it wasn't right to colonize?"
Koenig cleared his throat, "Anti-matter. It was an anti-matter planet." he said and again
looked away from her. He and the doctors agreed that bringing up Helena's reunion with Lee
Russell wasn't in her best interest. Doctor Nunez, a competent Psychiatrist himself, said the
shock of such knowledge could cause a sever set back.
"There had to be more than that, Commander." Helena insisted, "I go into far more detail in
my other reports. I positively shook when I read about that evil, immortal alien, Balor." Then
she added, "And I thought you were quite heroic." Inspired, a smiling Helena laid her
paperwork on his coffee table and sat beside John on the sofa. Facing him, she said: "The more
I read the more I realize just how good a person you are. I don't just mean the way you
command this base. There's something deep inside of you that cries out for justice and - if I
can be so bold - I think I realized this when I wrote these reports." Quietly, she thought
aloud. "Some of these are written with a compassion I didn't even know I possessed ... and
most of them treat you with a hero worship ...." Suddenly, Helena looked hard at John Koenig,
who was watching her closely. "I'm sorry." Helena jumped up quickly, frightened but not
knowing why. "I think I'm making rather a big fool of myself."
"Not at all." Koenig also stood. He was sure Helena was remembering something. "Doctor
..." He hated the formality. "Listen, do you mind if I call you Helena? You cab call me John.
We've been doing this for quite sometime and I'm a little uncomfortable calling you by your
Helena laughed nervously, moving away from him. "Of course." She unconsciously wrung her
hands, feeling uneasy in his presence. Why had this bizarre feeling so suddenly overcome her?
Was there something in her past with John Koenig that was subconsciously bringing discomfort?
Was it possible the Commander wasn't as wonderful as she thought?
There was only one way to break a silence like this and Koenig knew the doctors would have
his head if they found out. But John empathized with Helena. He understood better than anyone
else what the woman could withstand. He was protective of her but also had been with Helena
when she accepted Lee Russell's "death". Without a word, John walked over to a desk drawer and
deliberately opened it. "Helena, you'll have to promise me something ..." He said, his back to
her. "You won't tell anyone I gave this to you." He pulled out an audio disk, "It's your full
verbal report on Terra Nova." He walked over to her and placed it in her outstretched hand.
"Commander, I... John ..."
"Listen," he commanded before she could get another word in, "This report will be very
painful, " John examined her confused expression as he continued to speak, "There are things
you don't know and Bob thought ...Well, *everyone* thought we should keep this particular bit
of history away from you."
"Oh?" Helena looked at the two and a half inch disk in her hand.
Partly because he needed the contact, John put his hands on her shoulders and, this time,
looked into her dazzling but perturbed blue-green eyes. "I want you to listen to it in your
quarters, Helena. Lay back in bed or on the sofa. Sip at a warm cup of tea. Relax and take it
in. Absorb what it tells you then ... if you have any questions or just need to talk ... come
to me. Call me anytime or anywhere."
Doctor Russell felt a sudden shiver travel up her spine. What was so awful that he was
taking such care to calm her? "I will." Helena nodded and unexpectedly felt a little
disappointed when his hands fell away.