Make your own free website on Tripod.com
*********

In the furthest depths of Moonbase Alpha, Carter found Helena near the sauna room. She sat
in a chair which over-looked the Olympic sized swimming pool, dabbing gently at her eyes with
a powder-blue handkerchief. It was quiet now, every Alphan at their station because of the
alert. "Helena."

She jumped, startled by the voice which bounced off the walls around them, "I'm all
right." Helena cleared her throat, anticipating his question.

"Try to understand that John isn't doing this to hurt you. He has an intuitive sense about
Duaor. There is something more to these aliens than what meets the eye. He's sure of it ...
and if you knew him, you'd understand this too."

She looked down at the handkerchief as she pulled at it with her slender fingers, "But I do
know him. I just can't remember what we've meant to each other." There was an almost sardonic
humor in Helena's tone, "Alan, I'm just so mixed up. I've never run out of a room angry or so
emotional before. If this is what my life has become or what love does to you, I'm not certain
I want any part of it.'

"So," Alan spoke lightly, "you're in love with the Commander?"

"Yes, I am and I have you to thank for it." Helena said with gentle irritation.

"Me?" Now, Carter was puzzled.

"You lent me that basketball video and I finally took a good look at an interesting frame.
It was nothing really, by itself, but it spoke volumes to someone like me, who never knew the
truth until ..."

"What was it?" Alan pressed, interested.

"I paused and blew up a frame on the video with John and myself. There we were, watching
the game on a bench from the sidelines. We weren't even paying any attention to each other -
really. But his hand was on my knee and my hand was on top of his. It was so silly and so
natural. We were enjoying ourselves, touching each other in an intimate manner, but not even
aware of it." Helena looked Carter in the eyes, "That's when I knew I was in love with him.
Isn't it ridiculous? That one small little thing but it made such an impression."

Carter recalled his conversation with Tony in the gym, regarding Helena, and considered
what she said. Until she kissed him, he hadn't a clue either. However, right here and now, he
felt compassion for her but nothing more. He cared about Helena as he might care about his
sister. There was nothing amorous at all involved and Alan felt relief and satisfaction. "We
better get back to Command Center, if you're ready."

Helena smiled, "I am." She stood and looked at Carter for a few seconds. Then she hugged
him. "Thank you."

Carter hugged her back, feeling exonerated.

**********

It was a long, sleek weapon. Many years and lives were sacrificed in the development of
it's design. And now, it was pointed at Sandra Benes' temple.

Sahn stood silent, glancing side ways at her captors, as one of the alien guards gripped
her arms - forcing her hands behind her. Then she looked forward again, towards her Commander
as he attempted to negotiate her release.

"Duaor, what are you doing?" Koenig demanded, stepping from behind his desk. When he'd
been called to Command Center, a few minutes after his conversation with Maya, John was
curious but never anticipated what he was witnessing now.

Apparently, instead of returning to their ship, the Councilor and his men jumped the Alphan
security guards who were escorting them and returned to Command Center. Once in Alpha's
control center, they took possession, holding Sahn as hostage.

"I am desperate, Commander, and will not hesitate to kill this young woman if you fail to
do as I ask." Duaor's tone was forceful yet oddly retained a thread of diplomacy. "Give me
Duc, his craft, his Katla and - most importantly - Doctor Russell."

Verdeschi looked from the alien to Koenig, questioning. He had not been in John's quarters
to hear what transpired. He only knew Duaor and his people were to leave but didn't.

Maya, who had come into the center with Koenig and now stood by his side said: "This is
more than a religious rite ... What is it you really want?"

Suddenly, a high piercing siren was heard all throughout Moonbase Alpha. To the Earth
people the noise was disturbing and painful but the Taldrofian's were in utter agony. They
fell to the floor, on their knees, and the guard who was holding the weapon on Sahn dropped it
to place shaking hands over his ears.

Sandra skipped out of the way and Verdeschi seized the weapon.

Then, Koenig looked up at the Big Screen and saw another craft. It was huge and awe
inspiring. When a deep-base voice called over Sandra's communications console no one was
surprised.

"Alpha, I am Rafta, leader of the Tadrofian people, I ask permission to enter your base."

"Reason?" Koenig asked, allowing his tone to soften now that the siren had stopped wailing.
He watched as Tony and two other Alphans pulled Duaor and his men to their feet, holding stun
guns on them.

"Criminals are on your moonbase ... and I wish to see my son, Duc."

Koenig sighed, "We have your criminals in custody and Duc ... I'm afraid your son crash
landed on our moon and has died."

Helena and Alan entered Command Center, acknowledging Duaor's capture, both looking up at
the screen and at the new spaceship.

Glancing at her, wanting to reassure Helena but knowing this wasn't the right time, John
continued - "Councilor Duaor wished to abduct one of my people, as well as the body of your
son and his Katla."

There was a pause, as if the alien was considering what he was just told. "If you will
allow me access to your moonbase, I believe I can answers many questions you may have." Then,
before Koenig could inquire as to his motives Rafta bargained: "You may hold weapons on me if
it will make you feel more comfortable. I realize you have little reason to trust my people
right now."

Koenig looked over at Verdeschi who didn't appear to like the idea. However, unlike Duaor,
John felt he could trust Rafta. His instincts had worked well for them in the past. "Rafta,
you have permission."

**********

As Duaor had, not hours before, Rafta stood before the Alphans in Command Center. He wore
the familiar robes of his people, his perhaps a bit more elegant, but the face - old and lined
with wisdom - seemed tired. His bald head, however, gleamed as it might if he were as young as
his son had been.

Duaor and his men were standing off to the side, the Alphan stun guns still trained on
them.

"I am sorry to say Duaor is what you would call my brother in law. He was also a trusted
Councilor of Taldrof. Yet, it was suspected he turned traitor during the most important of our
many civil wars. I didn't want to believe it but could not ignore what my advisors were
telling me." He paused to take a breath and gather his thoughts. What he said next was
obviously painful - "Duc ... my brave young son ... told me he would retrieve evidence to
prove, either way, if his uncle had succumbed to temptation. I told him not to. We have men -
soldiers - who would recover this information. But my child was stubborn ... and very
patriotic. He was caught, obviously, and crashed on your moon while attempting to escape his
captors."

"But what does that have to do with me?' Helena asked, sympathetic yet curious.

"Doctor Russell, you have been honored." A mild smile eased onto Rafta's lips, "It was a
move of desperation on Duc's part - perhaps because he knew he was dying - but he used you as
his conduit. Whatever it is he learned during the mission is in you ... and that is why Duaor
was so desperate to take you upon his craft."

"What does 'Matita. Mitita ka. Mititca koo.' mean?" Maya asked, stepping forward. An alien
herself, she felt an odd sort of bond with this poor distraught father and leader. "They were
Duc's last words to Dr. Russell."

Gathering himself, Rafta spoke quietly: "To quote in your language exactly: 'Treachery. My
Uncle. Treachery in the family.'. In his own way, he was telling you to beware of his Uncle,
the murderous Duaor." He looked over at his brother in law, daring him to speak.

After a thoughtful moment, Carter said - "Once Duaor had Helena on his craft he would have
used the Katla on her ...then what?"

"He would have murdered her." Rafta was blunt.

"That is untrue!" Duaor called from across the room, angry at the suggestion.

"You lie again." Rafta's steady tone did not change. "You could not afford to keep her
alive once she knew your secret. You would have killed this woman, telling her people Katla
unexpectedly failed. Thus, leaving them to believe she died in error."

"In murdering Helena he destroys the evidence against him." Maya concluded, "Not even you,
Rafta, could accuse him of treachery without evidence."

A little frightened by the whole discussion, Helena stepped closer to John and allowed him
to put an arm around her shoulders.

Koenig was struck by a possibility. There was still a chance Helena could regain her memory
- "Duaor said there was surgery involved with Katla." the Commander coaxed. "Is there a
danger?"

"No, there is none. There is no *physical* surgery. Dr. Russell merely need stand in front
of the Katla as its rays penetrate the information deep in her brain. If there is any sign of
physical suffering she would be immediately taken off. Then, once the code Duc used is
deciphered and all is revealed, there will be complete memory return." Rafta moved to stand in
front of Helena, his expression imploring. "Will you do this for us? Will you allow us to use
Katla on you, thus convicting a criminal, serving justice ... and allowing me to hear the
voice of my child one last time?"

Helena looked up at John.

"It's your decision." He smiled and gently squeezed her shoulder.

*********

Twelve hours passed.

After retrieving the incriminating information Helena's brain housed, Rafta returned to his
spacecraft, Duaor and treacherous guards in tow. The other ship, which belonged to Duaor, was
seized as it hovered in space and all aboard, the Alphans were told, were to be interrogated.
Duc's smaller spaceship, along with enough data to fascinate even the most jaded of
scientists, was given to Moonbase Alpha - as a gift from the grateful Rafta.

Alan Carter was particularly excited with his new toy.

Rafta and Koenig left one another on pleasant, if somewhat sad terms. Before he departed
Alpha, in a spindle of fluted light, the Taldrofian leader took Koenig aside and said
something which baffled John: "Commander, you will never know what it is to lose something as
precious as a child until you have one of your own." Then, "Let us hope your children will
live full, healthy lives."

At first John thought he was speaking of Moonbase Alpha as a whole but when the alien bowed
his head and allowed a small smile of confidentiality - almost as if he was teasing him - the
Commander was shaken. Had he read Helena's mind during the extraction process? Whatever the
case, John thought it a good idea to carefully think over his views of children on the
moonbase and ask Helena if she might be hiding something from him.

As it turned out she wasn't. After a few hours bed rest, the doctor was as good as new and
sitting on the oatmeal colored sofa in his quarters. When John brought her a glass of wine and
asked Helena what she thought Rafta meant by the comment -- the woman could only laugh. "If
you are asking me if I'm pregnant, John, the answer is *no*." She paused (noting his relief),
sipping her drink, behaving as if it really didn't seem like such a bad idea to her. Then, as
an after thought: "However, I spoke with Alibe Gundersen while I was resting in Medical Center
... and she is."

Koenig looked off, a little disturbed by this development. Alibe had come to him not long
ago, announcing she was taking over the 'baby project' while Helena recovered. He didn't
suspect at the time she might have a good reason.

"John," Helena sighed, placing her drink on his coffee table. She put her arms around him,
"I know how you feel about this. You have worries about over population and too little food
for too many babies. It's a reasonable worry but there isn't anything to fear. Alibe put
together the new proposal that will be sitting on your desk when you get back to Command
Center and it is practically fault free."

"Practically?"

"On Moonbase Alpha there is no such thing as absolutes."

"You're willing to admit that?"

"Yes, and I'm willing to live with the consequences -- as are many." She ran a finger
gently over his left sideburn.

"Then, I guess that's that. Alpha is going to have children."

Happy, Helena leaned forward to kiss his cheek. John nearly responded when his double doors
parted and Tony and Maya entered - without knocking.

Both looked a little too wobbly and blithe to be sober.

"We wanted you two to be the first to know." Verdeschi took Maya's hand in his and lifted
it for the command couple to see the engagement ring.

"Maya!" Helena stood quickly and crossed to her friend. She embraced her as Koenig shook
Tony's hand.

"When?" John asked, wondering if Verdeschi would remember this in the morning.

"In two weeks." Maya responded with a giddy, unfocused giggle, allowing Verdeschi to come
up beside her and nuzzle an ear, "He asked me only an hour ago. We have so much planning to do
... My camera! I'm going to have to take lots of pictures!"

"But not tonight!" Verdeschi took his lady by the shoulders and slowly eased her out of the
room, "Tonight we celebrate!"

And they were out of the room, almost as quickly as they entered.

Koenig and Helena laughed together, "What do you think about that?" he asked her.

"It's wonderful. I think they will be very happy together."

"That's not really what I meant."

Helena lifted a couple fingers and placed them on his lips, "I know what you meant. Some
day, John. But not yet."

His arms came around her and he hugged Helena Russell with gentle enthusiasm. He almost
lost her - in more ways than one. If he had anything to say about it she would never leave him
or Moonbase Alpha again ....

TO BE CONTINUED .... In ALPHAN QUEST # 3: "The Discontented" (coming soon).


Episode Referrals:
 Episode: "Alpha Child".
 Epiode: "The Rules of Luton"
 Episodes: "Breakaway" & "Earthbound"