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*****

"You look a little troubled, John." Helena smiled at him from across
the deserted Command Center. Except for the two of them, no one would
have ever known that humans had, at one time, scurried back and forth
in this control center. Wars and declarations of peace had been
proposed here. Sometimes madness reigned: It would be missed.

The Commander stood next to what used to be Sandra Benes' console. His
eyes had been fixed on the main viewing screen as he reviewed, in his
mind, what it was he was going to say over the awaiting recording
disk, "I'm nervous," he replied. "Victor was always better at saying
farewells than I."

Helena nodded. Now you do look sad, she thought.

The recollection of their late great friend always brought about this
reaction. John and Victor had been close. They had shred a bond that
was, perhaps, even more enduring than what she had developed with the
Commander herself. The scientist left them far too early to know what
a tremendous impact he had on the moonbase and their lives.

"Don't wait too long, John. The Eagle might leave without you." Helena
attempted to lighten the mood and walked a little further into the
Command Center.

"Wouldn't that be a fanciful ending?" he whispered with gentle humor,
"To be left alone on Alpha after twenty years of fighting for survival
with my people." Koenig looked down at the table top, immersed in what
seemed a private joke, and smiled, gently shaking his head back and
forth.

Doctor Russell, taking a turn at her own jest, pulled out the high
backed chair she was standing behind and settled herself into it -
behind the Commander's desk. She leaned back against the cushions, as
if making herself exquisitely comfortable, and folded slender fingers
over her belt buckle, "I've always wanted to do this," she murmured,
"but never dared to try while you were in a position of authority on
this base." Helena teased and closed her eyes.

It prevented her from seeing the very real look of concern on John
Koenig's face.

He turned from the appealing sight of a good humored Helena and looked
again at the map of stars before him. To the right he could see planet
Aunta, their new home.

"What's the matter, John?" Helena's eyes fluttered open, but she was
still leaning back in her relaxed position in his chair. "You know
everything has checked out. We have water, food, and the resources to
build. The atmosphere is pollution free, we will have an earthly four
seasons and, to cap it off, morale has never been higher with our
growing community, in spite of the hard work ahead of us."

"I don't know," he sighed, "Maybe it all just seems too easy. Nothing
we've ever done has gone without a hitch."

Helena reluctantly stood and crossed to him, "Yes, I know," she said
sympathetically. "Maybe it's because we're going to be gearing up for
more trouble once we've re-grouped on Aunta and prepare to establish
our permanence." She continued at his uncomprehending expression. "Our
life on Alpha has ended and it's now time to begin anew." She lifted a
hand from his shoulder and pointed at the big screen, "There." Helena
dropped her arm and took his hand in hers.
"Nothing in the universe is perfect and we're going to have to
struggle to survive, John. We'll have to tame the land and its wild
beasts, as our ancestors did on earth..."

"As we did on Alpha."

"Yes. That's our "hitch", John. We're new to Aunta, and it knows it."

She was right, and John understood what Helena was trying to say as he
lifted a hand to touch her pale cheek.

Yet, Helena knew there was more to John's concern and depression than
the un-certainty of their move. Moonbase Alpha, a cold and sterile
structure, was replaceable as a home. And eventually, when it came
right down to it, after twenty years... so was a Commander.

A government would be formed once they got themselves settled on
Aunta. It had been discussed in a countless amount of meetings. But
where was it written that John Koenig would be a part of it? In
retrospect, did he really want to be involved? Weren't twenty years of
his life enough to devote to command? Questions such as these were
what made a man tired and slightly heavy-hearted.

Gently, Helena reached up and kissed John on a greying temple. "It's
time, John. Do what you must," she whispered and backed a little away
from her lover, Commander and, at times like these, reluctant patient.

Slowly, with a heavy finality, Koenig pressed a button: "Moonbase
Alpha: Final Report. We, originally from Planet Earth, have finished
our long voyage. We are going home, and it is called Aunta, a Psychon
word meaning 'New Beginning'.
"For those of you who have listened to these logues -our adventures
for the past twenty years - please watch over this moonbase. Show it
the respect it deserves. True, it was a prison for most but, as much
as we wanted to be free of it, Alpha was still our home ... and we
loved her." John paused and glanced at Helena who was smiling
encouragement and approval, "Although Aunta looks promising, we who
have lived on this base, are still faced with an uncertain future. I
leave you with our cooridnates in case you, who are friendly, wish to
seek us out on our new planet. You will see if we have failed in our
attempts at creating a new, glorious world, one free of the
indifference and corruption our home world grew accustomed to." Then
thinking again, John sighed and admitted, "Having said that, we were
and are good people. When you see this, and visit us, as I sincerely
hope you will, I pray we remained strong in our efforts to stay fair
and ... innocent."

Helena's eyes met John's. What he said was part of a discussion she
and he had when Aunta first appeared to them on their short range
probes. When you are not longer fair and innocent you become unjust
and offensive.

"Finally, I leave you with these words: We of Earth , then of Alpha,
and now of Aunta have completed our journey through outer space. We
now begin a new voyage of discovery. We will come to discover our new
home-world and ourselves unlike ever before. We will also be waiting
for you. Wish us luck. We wish you well. Commander John Koenig ...
signing off."

Unhurried, John snapped off the recorder and carefully dislodged the
small disk inside. He then,with a punch of despondency, slipped it
into a compartment which housed hundreds of other such disks. John,
with a strange finality, pushed the door to the compartment closed and
turned to look at the sole member of his audience."Okay?" he asked,
regaining immediate composure.

She nodded, "More than okay." Helena took a step closer to John and
held out her hand. His speech had effected her far more than she was
willing to admit. "It's time to leave, Commander. Let's go home."

He took the woman's hand, revelling in the warmth of her fingers next
to his skin. After all these years she still managed to warm him. He
was glad she was the mother of his children. "Before we leave I want
to say it one more time to you, because it will be the last time on
Moonbase Alpha ... I love you, Dr. Russell. You know that, don't you?"

At a push of a button, from a comlock they probably never would use
down on Aunta, the couple waited for the double exit doors to part.

John waited for her response.

"Yes, I know John. I still love you too." Helena murmured, not looking
at him but obviously meaning every word.

She squeezed his fingers with mutual feeling.

They did not look back.

On Aunta the Earth people finally found the peace they so richly
deserved.

Yet the moon continued its wanderings. It floated on and on and on ...


THE END


Written by: Rebecca Eisenhuth October, 1992
Revisions: January 30, 2002.