Suitable for all readersSexual innuendo


New Lives Beyond the Black Sun - A Space: 1999 short story by Ellen Lindow


This story first appeared in Issue 111 of the Power Star Fanzine, June 1997, published by the team of  Jerry Seward And Kimberly Murphy-Smith (Editors), Walter M. Scott III, (Graphics Editor), J. Calvin Smith (Manuscript Editor) and Anthony Van Pyre (News Editor).  Text  taken from the fanzine.  Story by Ellen Lindow.

This story is posted without the author's permission - with due acknowledgment - hoping to attract her attention. If you wish it to be removed, please contact the webmaster without any delay.



[Author's Note:  The world of Space:  1999 was intricately created with most plots having many different possibilities for resolution.  The following story takes the episode of "The Black Sun" in a totally different direction--one unlikely for episodic television but just as likely and perhaps a better future for our friends on Moonbase Alpha.  In the television episode the unusual being which John Koenig and Victor Bergman encountered was the implied cause of a reunion between Moonbase Alpha and the rescue Eagle.  What if the being had decided to assist the Alphans in a different way?...EL]  


Moonbase Alpha

May 3, 2010 

Commander John Koenig moved restlessly in his chair, eyeing the growing pile of damage reports caused by the latest spacewarp they had encountered.  These transitions through time and space were growing almost routine.  Although there was no set period for them to remain in any section of space they had been through nearly30 of these warps in the past ten years.   Victor Bergman's theory was that when they had been thrown through the Black Sun ten years ago they emerged with just the right momentum to encounter these naturally occurring warps between the stars.  He even believed that given enough data and a sturdy enough ship capable of accelerating to the correct speed, interstellar travel should  be quite practical.  He did admit that a good deal of exploration would have to be done since each warp had its own "signature"  in direction, speed and time.  Bergman had turned science officer duties over to Maya, the last survivor of the planet Psychon who had travelled on Alpha with them for nearly eight years now.  Bergman was busy with the spacewarp problem, trying to learn to control them and occasionally griping that Alan Carter was not here to design and build a proper ship for him.

     Of course, Bergman seldom aired that particular complaint within Koenig's hearing.  The brilliant young pilot and engineer had been left on the other side of that black sun in a survival eagle along with five others.  At the time the destruction of Moonbase Alpha seemed to be a foregone conclusion and one lone Eagle had been sent out in the hope that some of the human race might yet survive.  Computer had chosen a crew of six Alphans who would be the most likely team to keep the human race from extinction.  Also among that crew had been Dr. Helena Russell, the woman John Koenig  loved.  At the time Koenig had been relieved that she would be among the survivors and he would not hear her pleas to let another take her place.  But he had spent the last ten years regretting the decision which had separated him from the love of his life.

At first the loss had been a sharp pain every time he thought of her, which was often.  He longed to tell her little things that happened, share a smile or a comforting touch when things went wrong.  Now it was simply a dull ache when something happened that would have brought a smile to her or a problem arose which she would have solved quickly with her practical humanistic approach.

Koenig picked up another report and leafed through it.  He kept half an ear cocked toward Yasko, Alpha's data analyst and Science Officer Maya as they gathered information concerning the star system they were approaching.  He knew they were hoping for a viable planet to explore and perhaps move to.  As commander, Koenig tried to keep an open mind, but he knew personally that he had given up all hope for a new planet for the Alphans long ago.  Still he listened with more and more interest as scans indicated the small second planet had a breathable atmosphere and abundant water in all three states.  It could be worth looking into, he mused.  


Personal log of Dr. Helena Russell

May 18, 2001, five days after leaving Alpha          

This is the first entry I have been able to make since our survival ship left Moonbase Alpha. Our six member crew, Alan Carter, Sandra Benes, George Osgood, Toshiro Fugita, Angela Robinson and myself watched as the moon slid into the black sun we recently encountered.

The light distortion made it appear that the moon was     being stretched into a thin line before disappearing.  We have little hope that our friends and loved ones on Moonbase Alpha survived the experience and we mourn their loss.  We have spent the last five days searching for a planet which can support life within range of our survival eagle.  We have food and water and fuel for six weeks but we are hoping to stretch that by another two weeks with careful rationing.  Sandra Benes has spotted a likely star system on the extreme edge of our maximum range and  Alan Carter has headed us toward it.  By going at a lower velocity, he says we should have enough  fuel to be able to make a landing on an Earth-type planet.  We hope there will be one or the sacrifices of our friends on the Alpha will have been in vain.  Our physical condition is excellent.  Computer picked six people in excellent health and seemingly completely compatible with each other.  I expect all of us to experience some weight loss  in the next few weeks but not in a life threatening manner.  We have begun taking vitamin supplements and I have experienced some nausea, but that is to be expected.

I do not intend to inform the others about my condition until after we reach the planet. 


Safety Harbour 48,

Spring, 146 Y.A. 

The young blond woman closed the ancient diary she had been reading and looked across the bay at the sunset.  She rose from the patio chair and crossed the terrace looking out over Safety Harbour, the city of her birth.  She wondered what the bay had looked like to the author the diary.  She knew the diary belonged in the museum, but she was unwilling to give up the link to the city's past which had been a gift from her grandmother.  Her fascination with the past complemented her position as chief geneticist but she wished to know more about the culture that produced them and brought them here to Safety Harbour.

A call from the planet's present and future brought her out of her reverie.  "Mom!  What's for dinner, I'm hungry!"

She smiled and turned away from the darkening sky.  "It's in the oven Scotty.  Have you finished your homework yet?"  She collected the diary, sealing it back into the airtight container.

The routine of daily life settled around her for the rest of the evening.  The chores of a single working mother lasted until nearly midnight and she settled into bed, placing the old diary in the night stand.  She missed Phillip, her late husband, more at this time than any other. Although he had not been her first love, she had intended to spend the rest of her life with him.  His accidental death four years ago had been so sudden and unexpected, she was still trying to cope with the loss.

The phone rang just as she had drifted into a light sleep and she reached groggily for the small box.  "Yes?"

"Hi, Sis.  Did I wake you?"  The image of a young man hovered above the box.  Even in this 15 cm replica the family resemblance was plain.  Green eyes peered out from under a cap of unkempt blond hair.

"How did you guess?" his sister growled.

"You don't have your holo on,"  he replied with a smile.

"Not everyone stays awake all night, you know.  Some people have real jobs."      "Not everyone is lucky enough to be an astronomer,"  He answered easily.  "And it is a real job.  Someone has to monitor the weather satellites constantly and some day we may have real space travel again.  I need you to come take a look at something." he said, changing the subject.

"Now?" she asked, surprised. "I'm not an astronomer--what do you need me for?"      "I'd rather tell you when you get here,"  he replied mysteriously.  "I'm sending Shanna in with a flyer.  She'll stay with Scotty while you're gone.  She should be there in about 10minutes."

"Zandy, can't this wait until morning?"

Zandy's image leaned forward earnestly.  "This  may be really important.  Len, I want you to see the data in an unbiased fashion. Get here as quickly as you can."

She looked into the image of her brother's eyes.  Despite their bantering sibling rivalry, her twin was the person she trusted most in the world.  He had been with her through every crisis in her life from cutting her first tooth to losing her beloved husband.  She nodded.  "I'll be there within an hour."

Donning a skintight black flight suit as quickly as possible she made her way up to the roof of her apartment complex to the Vottle pad.  The humid night air smelled fresh and spring-like. A heavy coating of dew covered the stairs to the pad and she held tightly to the railing to keep from slipping.  A flyer was settling gently and precisely into place.  It looked like a small ballistic rocket with steering jets and three skids for landing pads.  It was fast, fuel efficient and required a good deal of skill to fly.  The controls were highly sensitive and fast reaction time was essential. The hatch opened and a teenage girl climbed out.  Her long blond hair was pulled back into a bouncing pony tail.  Pale blue eyes twinkled from an oriental shaped face, her olive skin an appealing contrast to the blond hair.

"Hi, Mom!" she called out, bouncing over to hug her mother.

The hug was returned enthusiastically.   "I'm glad Zandy sent you.  With your schedule upside down I hardly ever get to see you. How's Kimmie and Kumai?"

"Kimmie is cutting another tooth and he's been a real beast lately.  Kumai is just great. He's so much more patient with Kim. I usually can't wait to hand him over and go to work.  I don't knowhow you stood having me around all the time."

"Oh, you weren't that bad," her mother replied.  "You just do what you have to do."

"Look, I'd love to visit more but Zandy wants you out there right away.  Can you and Scotty come over for dinner one day next week?  I'll just be a little late to work that night.  Zandy won't mind too much."

"Invite him to dinner too," Len said as she climbed into the vottle.  "That way he won't care how late you are."

Shanna dimpled as she smiled. "I'll do it.  I'll call you and let you know just when." She waved at her mother and then was down the steps before the flyer was in the air.

Gaining altitude quickly, she headed north toward the Kodak mountains.  The observatory was nearly 100 miles north of the city and shielded from the city lights by a mountain range.  The flight took less than an hour. 


From the Personal Log of Helena Russell

June 17, 2001, 30 days after leaving Alpha          

We are continuing to approach the star system which we have begun to call "Goal".  Alan says if there is a planet we can name it "Touchdown."  I hope he's kidding.  Toshiro is campaigning for "Home Run" in honor of his favorite sport.  I hope we can just call it home.  We are trying to conserve our resources as much as possible.  We sleep a lot, something I am able to do quite well.  I seem to be tired constantly and I have no appetite.  Emotionally, I sometimes feel like I'm about to explode.  The least little thing makes me want to cry or lose my temper.  Unfortunately there is very little privacy on board the Eagle.  At my suggestion we have each been standing a 4 hour watch in the control cabin of the Eagle.  It is completely unnecessary on our voyage.  The computer's sensors will tell us if anything is out there, but the watches are essential on a personal level.  It gives us each some much needed privacy. 


Moonbase Alpha

May 4, 2010 

Returning from his rest period, Koenig was struck by the feeling of optimism in the command center.  Everyone was smiling and each new piece of data was greeted with cheer as the command crew went about their work.

Tony Verdeschi, security chief, slid out of the command chair as Koenig entered.  He grinned and his brown eyes twinkled. "Everything looks great, John; water, air, temperature averages. The star seems very stable.  Spectral analysis shows a biosphere. Shermeen's checking on compatibility."

At the mention of her name, the young botanist looked up from the screen she was using at Verdeschi's desk and pulled a strand of wavy auburn hair away from her eyes.  "Preliminary spectrograph are indicating the presence of chlorophyll in the oceans and major continents.  Of course we would be much more accurate with on site tests."

"A not-so-subtle hint, Shermeen," Koenig smiled indulgently. Shermeen Williams had been one of a handful of teenagers on Alpha at Breakaway by virtue of winning a science project competition. Even at the age of twenty six, Koenig still thought of her as 'that cute kid', as one would of a favorite niece or goddaughter.  "As soon as we're in range we'll go down and take a look."

Shermeen grinned and returned to her work as Koenig looked to the desk in front of her.

"Mr. Fraser,"  Koenig called to his chief pilot.

Bill Fraser was standing in front of his wife's desk, his head bent over and almost touching hers.  They made quite a contrast. With her blonde hair long, silky, straight and never our of place, Annette Fraser was as petite and delicate as a china doll.  Her husband, while not tall, was robust and strongly built, his curly brown hair, although cut short, was always unruly and his dreamy-eyed laid-back expression belied his lightening quick pilot reflexes.  Merry blue eyes met Koenig's more serious ones as he answered his commander's unspoken questions. "Launch window in 8hours, Commander.   With no course changes we should have over three weeks in range of the planet.  I have a survey eagle ready on pad 4.  We're ready when you are."

Koenig nodded.  Fraser was a good man.  His domain on Alpha included maintenance and deployment of all Eagles as well as the pilots who manned them.  If an Operation Exodus was called for, he knew Fraser's people would be as ready for that as for sending one survey eagle out.  A disturbance at the communications desk caught his eye.

Maya, last survivor of the planet Psychon and Alpha's brilliant science officer was leaning over Yasko's communication station.  Yasko was muttering in Japanese and both were trying to fine tune some kind of signal.

Koenig walked around his desk and stood beside Maya.  "What's up?"

Maya straightened and glanced at him, keeping her attention on the communications console.  "I'm not sure.  the planet has two small moons.  We may be getting feedback from our own instruments."

"Could it be some kind of communications from the planet?" Koenig asked.

"No" the young Oriental said decisively.  "It doesn't originate form the planet, and we seem to be catching the signal on the periphery, its not aimed at us.  The partial signal I am getting seems similar to that of Earth's weather satellites.  Our own sensors don't use that type of code."

Tony Verdeschi came up beside them.  "Don't we have some of those weather satellites here?  The UN's meteorological division was located here on Alpha before we left Earth."

Koenig nodded.  "One of the mathematicians in Victor's research department worked for them."

"Yeah, Dino."  Verdeschi was calling on his commlock.  "Dino Ysazaga, report to Command Center, please."

Koenig returned to his desk.  Given enough time, this team could unravel the mysteries of the universe.  He settled down to choosing which of the 300 eager people on Alpha would accompany the survey eagle. Kodak Station49, Spring, 146, Dawn 

Zandy Peters sat a steaming cup of Kaf next to his sister. She sat back, rubbing her eyes and gratefully took the cup.  "Have you called the rest of the council members?"

"They're all on their way.  They should arrive in about fifteen minutes."

"We need to make some definite decisions about how to handle this."

The young astronomer began picking up the photographic plates spread across the table.  "What's to handle?  We should try to make contact."

Helena Peters gave him a look only a sister could, asking the unspoken question of how could her own sibling be so simple.  Zandy had lived here in the mountains a long time, far removed from the town's politics.  "We'll talk about it when the others get here. Let's stick to concrete matters now.  Can we contact them?"

"I believe so.  We should be able to send a signal and bounce it off one of the weathersats."

The two discussed technical details until the sound of Vottle was heard through the open window.

The council members settled around the table in Zandy Peters' dining room.  Double doors opened on to the research area where several of Zandy's colleagues and students were consulting computer banks and altering equipment in order to be able to make contact with the approaching planetoid should the council wish to do so.

"Dr Peters," one of the eldest members of the council began. "I assume you have a good reason for dragging us all up to the mountains at the crack of dawn."

Zandy looked at his sister's fellow council members as he passed out the photographs.  The woman who spoke was a petite oriental--dark hair and eyes full of bright humor.  She knew more about computers than anyone alive and had terrified Zandy since she had taught his first programming class at the age of ten.  Xiang was loved by everyone but she still gave Zandy, a master programmer in his own right, feelings of inadequacy.

Nigel Garretson, at 72, was next eldest to Xiang.  He was abroad shouldered black man with more hair in his white bushy beard than on the top of his head.  He poured cups of Kaf for the group before sitting next to Xiang to look at the pictures.  He was one of the engineering team which had developed the power source used planet wide.  Cold fusion had given their people a clean safe power source.

Cally Lenson, slender and tall with long black silky hair pulled back into a single braid gave the impression of an elderly American Indian from an old western.  He preferred to affect the image of a simple farmer despite the fact that he was brilliant botanist who spent as much time in a laboratory as he did on a farm.  He stood by the window watching the sun rise over the parabolic antennas spread through the cleared mountainside.

The Req chief was a greying matronly woman in her sixties. Clea Jamison had spent her life making sure everyone in Safety Harbour had whatever they needed.  It was rumored that she carried the entire Req inventory in her head and if she didn't have an item, or couldn't get it, that item did not exist.  She spread her photos on the table and settled in with a bag of knitting.

The fifth council member was metallurgist and explorer Dak Williams.  He had travelled over more of their planet than anyone else, including two expeditions to the southern continent under his leadership.  He also led most manufacturing concerns on Safety Harbour along with his extended family which included four wives and three co-husbands.  He had an incredible 'presence' that made all women fall in love with him and men willing to risk their lives for him. He was not a big man in spite of his charisma; his most striking feature was a pair of wide blue eyes which peered our from under curly black hair and seemed to see inside you, confirming you were an invaluable member of his team.  Dak had once played King Arthur in a production of Camelot and had found that the image suited him.  His usual dress was riding boots, hose and a doublet worn over a full linen shirt.  Now in his forties, he still looked the part of the once and future king.

Last was Zandy Peters sister, Helena, the youngest councilmember.  She shook blonde hair back from her green eyes and answered Xiang.  "I believe I have a good reason, Xiang.  My brother will give you the preliminary briefing."

Zandy found his subject too intriguing to be nervous despite his distinguished audience. He told of his team's discovery briefly and was thanked by Dak in an obvious act of dismissal. He made his exit to the laboratory with relief and left his twin to handle the politics of the situation.

"What if they wish to come here?"  Clea Jamison asked, thinking of the strain on her Req section.

Dak replied thoughtfully. "We don't even know if there is anyone alive there."  He continued to study the comparative photos of the approaching planetoid and historical records of Moonbase Alpha.  "It has been almost 150 years since our ancestors left there."

Xiang nodded.  "Most likely there were no survivors.  I'm surprised the moon is still intact.  There could be automated systems still in place.  If we could contact their computers a good deal of knowledge could be gained."

"I don't see why the people wouldn't still be there," Cally Lenson said with a frown, "and if there are people there we should at least contact team."

"Yes," Nigel agreed.  "They wouldn't be used to living on a regular planet, and might not even want to come here.  But think of the information we could exchange."

"We should definitely contact them," Dak agreed.  "But I feel we should be cautious about asking them to join us.  We don't know anything about them."

"They are our cousins, so to speak," Nigel replied.

"And complete strangers.  They could be completely different. And too many new people at once could be great strain on our society."

"And our resources," added Clea.

"Their resources would have been very limited.  If anyone is alive after seven generations their population could not be much more than the original three hundred." Helena countered.

"True, but advances could have been made, such as we have made here."

"Unlikely," Nigel replied, undoubtedly the expert in technological advances.  "They wouldn't have had the resources to do the necessary research.  I agree with Helena. If there is anyone alive, their population will be severely limited by the moon's resources."

"We have been discussing limiting our growth, as well." Clea said, still frowning.

Dak frowned, "Some of us have been doing more than discussing it.  I can read info on the net as well as anyone.  Why is Genetics initiating so many aborts lately, Dr. Peters?"

"Surely this isn't the time for that discussion Dak," Xiang began,  "Helena's people know their job."

Helena Peters raised her hand.  She was the youngest member of the council but as Chief Geneticist she had a good deal of power. Four positions were elected by majority vote, but the Chief Geneticist and the Chief of the Requisition Department were permanent voting members.  Although theoretically anyone could be trained as Chief Geneticist the position had always been passed from mother to daughter, groomed and trained from her heartiest moments for the position. This discussion was the one she had be entrained for all her life.  Although she had hoped it would not come so soon, she now had a possible solution to the problem she had always believed to be insolvable.

"No Xiang.  This is the perfect time for that question and Moonbase Alpha may be the answer to it."

"I realize this isn't the time for a crash course in genetics, but the people of Moonbase Alpha must come here."

"Why is that?" Dak asked.

"The genetic material available in our population is quite limited.  Our entire population is descended from a handful of people.  Our genetics team was started to keep our population healthy to compensate for the small gene pool.  However, there is only so much we can do. Eventually recessive alleles will begin to match up more often causing more genetic defects."

"We all learned that in kindergarten, Helena."  Xiang reminded her.  "What has that to do with Moonbase Alpha?"

"Any new genetic material would increase the gene pool and decrease the number of reinforced recessive.  That, she added looking at Dak, "would decrease the number of aborts."

"The abort rate is that high simply due to reinforced recessive?" Dak asked, incredulously.

"Yes it is, and will continue to get worse no matter how careful we are.  We are reaching limits on the gene pool that, within the next two generations, no matter how careful my genetics department is, will begin to curb population growth and may restrict new births drastically."

"How drastically?" Cally Lenson leaned forward.  As a botanist, he knew something of genetics too and did not like the direction this conversation was headed.

Helena could not meet the eyes of the others at the table. She stared absently at the photographs in front of her as she answered "Let's change that to 'fatally.'"

"That, was not mentioned in our genetic classes in school," Dak said with a scowl.

"No, it was not."  Helena looked up, composure restored, green eyes calmly meeting Dak's blue ones.  "That has always been restricted information, known only to a few in the genetics department.  It's the reason my mother stepped down as Chief Geneticist as soon as I was able to take over her duties.  She's one of the best researchers we have.  But we still have been unable to come up with a solution.  We need an infusion of new genetic material.  We need the people of Moonbase Alpha."

"And suppose we are unable to get along with people who have lived in space for six generations, or they are unwilling to come here?" Dak asked.

"They must come--we must convince them to come," Helena insisted, knowing this was the only hope her people had for survival.

Clea Jamison frowned with different concerns.  "But what if they don't fit in here?"

Helena looked at her coldly.  "We must have their genetic material.  If they cannot adapt, they are expendable, once I have what we need."

The others recoiled in horror.  Theirs was a peaceful world. Violence, even in nature was a rare occurrence.  Then they all began to talk at once.

"In cold blood!"

"Helena, you can't possibly be ..."

Dak quieted the others with a gesture, "Let's not go jumping to conclusions.  Helena is only giving us a worse case scenario here.  And she has known longer than the rest of us what desperate straits we are in.  Besides, we don't even know if anyone is alive on Moonbase Alpha."

Xiang nodded agreement.  "We must try to establish contact and go from there.  However, if we find there is no longer anyone alive on Moonbase Alpha, I believe our Chief Geneticist needs to expand on the things she has told us."

All agreed, including Helena.  She had not approved of her predecessors' policy of keeping this information from the rest of the council as well as the public, even though she had gone along with it up until now. 


From the Diary of Helena Russell

September 28, 2001          

We have been here in Safety Harbour for almost 4 weeks now.  Alan and Toshiro have constructed a log house overlooking the bay.  Our landing site is beautiful.  We are on a wooded cliff overlooking the bay, about 40 meters above the water.  Below, the sandy beach stretches about 10 miles to the west where it turns into marshlands near the river.  To the east, the coast is rocky and the cliffs grow higher.  A mountain range to the north should give some protection from winter storms.  There are many edible plants and small animals are abundant.  We have seen no animals larger than a Key deer and the largest carnivore we have seen looked like a large mink.  Most of the animals appear mammalian, but with anatomical differences, such as six chambered hearts and their nervous systems that resemble Terran reptiles more than mammals.  The sea also contains edible plants and animals. Our diets are very high in protein now and we are building back quickly from nearly starving on the journey here.  I have gained weight very quickly and have outgrown all my own clothes.  George, the largest of our group has graciously loaned me a pair of pants and a tunic.  According to my calculations I still have 100 days to term.  Everyone took the news of my pregnancy very well.  They all are very excited by the advent of the baby--sometimes more so than myself it seems.  The baby is constantly active; I never thought it would move so much.  My back has begun to hurt constantly. George and Sandra surprised me last week with a waterbed made from several waterproof blankets fused together and placed in a wooden frame.  I slept better than I have in months. 


Moonbase Alpha

May 4, 2010 

"They seem to be standard weather satellites such as the UN Weather service used," Dino Ysazaga told Koenig as he withdrew printout from the computer banks which lined the walls of Command Center.  He showed the printout to the commander, who looked up in surprise.

"We can obtain pictures of this quality with our computer and their data?" Koenig asked.

Ysazaga pulled a pair of black rimmed glasses from his pocket and put them on, taking a closer look at the picture.  The glasses toned down the surfer boy image the meteorologist managed to project in spite of the Alphan uniform.  His bleach-blond hair and great tan would look more at home on the California beaches where he used to win surfing championships than on the moon.  "Perhaps I didn't make myself clear," he said, studying a cold front stretching across the northern continent.  "All I had to do was activate the UN METSERV program here on Alpha and this came in with no translation necessary."

Koenig looked at him blankly.  A UN MET SERV weather satellite operating on a planet untold light years from Earth?

Before anyone could voice any comments on this unlikely occurrence Yasko broke the silence.  "Commander, I'm receiving a communication from the planet."

"Audio only?" Koenig asked.

"A-V."   Yasko frowned and spoke into a microphone, adjusting her equipment. "No, I'm not set up to receive that.  Can you send straight video?"  She looked up at Koenig. "I'm talking to someone at a place called Kodak research station.  Our equipment is different but we should have it straight in a few minutes.  He says the council of Safety Harbour would like to speak with you."

"Safety Harbour.  Is that the name of their planet?"

"Or a city on their planet, I'm not sure.  Just a minute." Yasko conferred with her counterpart on the planets surface again.

The picture of a young man appeared on her screen. His features were oriental but his hair looked more African and was apple brown in color.  He grinned.  "Yasko, I can see you!"

Yasko gave a more restrained smile.  "We're reading you now. My Commander is standing by."

The young man nodded and turned to look behind him.

Koenig returned to his own desk. "Yasko, place the transmission on the main screen, please."

The main view screen at the front of Command Center switched from a magnified view of the star system they were approaching to a video picture of a neatly cluttered laboratory similar to any of a number of rooms on Alpha.  A young woman with short blond hair and wide green eyes stepped into view.  She wore a black jumpsuit which showed off a trim figure; no insignia or jewelry.   She smiled a relaxed easy smile and said in a low voice, "Hello, Moonbase Alpha.  Welcome to our star system."

Command Center went silent with a small gasp from nearly everyone in the room.  John Koenig sat back in his chair and stared at the viewscreen, not knowing what to say.  A name escaped his lips, half question, half exclamation. "Helena?"

She continued, unaware of the question because of the time delay of radio waves between the planet and the rogue planetoid, "I am Dr. Helena Peters, council member of Safety Harbour. Our planet was settled by people from Moonbase Alpha nearly 150 years ago.  We believed Moonbase Alpha had perished long ago in an encounter with a black sun.  We're pleased to see that's not the case."  She paused, noticing the shocked looks on the faces she could see in Command Center.  "You are descendants of those who left Earth on Moonbase Alpha, aren't you?"

"Yes, we are,"  Koenig managed to reply.  He swallowed, his mouth dry.  He know his heart rate was up.  This must be Helena's descendent!  She looked so much like the woman he had loved and lost 10 years ago.  "I mean, we are from Earth.  Ten years ago we encountered a black sun.  We sent out an Eagle with six people aboard in the hope that some of us would survive.  Are you descended from them?"

Now it was Helena Peters turn to look amazed.  She exchanged a look with someone off screen and replied, "Yes, we are.  You mean you are Commander John Koenig?"  She grinned and stepped closed as if to get a better look at him.  "How incredible! Yes, just like the pictures I've seen!  Excuse me, but you are something of a folk hero to us.  We were all raised with bedtime stories about you and the people of Moonbase Alpha.  When we saw your moon we hoped the moonbase would still be inhabited, but we had no idea you would be the same people we had heard so much about!"

Koenig smiled.  Her speech had given him time to recover a bit.  She did look and sound like his Helena, but she seemed less reserved and younger somehow.

The young woman looked off camera again and nodded, pulling errant blonde hair from her eyes.  "We contacted you to ask if you wished to join us here on Safety Harbour, or at least visit. The exchange of information and goods could be beneficial to both groups.  And we have plenty of room here should you wish to join us."

"We would like a chance to meet with you.  And perhaps stay if conditions are agreeable," Koenig replied.  "We were intending to send a team to your planet anyway.  Our eagle should arrive in about--"  He looked at Bill Fraser.

"Fifteen hours,"  Fraser finished for him.

Koenig nodded.

"The council will look forward to meeting with you.  If you let us know what sort of things your people would like to investigate we will make sure you have everything you need. Our people here at Kodak Station will cooperate in any way."

Her eagerness was apparent and Koenig wondered at it.  He was also taken aback at being called a folk hero, but he gave her a friendly smile.  "Thank you.  As soon as we have a team together we will let you know what we require.  My pilot will also contact you concerning a landing site."

After breaking contact Koenig turned to Tony Verdeschi, who had been standing to Koenig's left throughout the transmission. "What did you think?"

"She sure looks like Helena,"  Tony commented.  "Do you think she's who she says she is?"

"Victor is the expert on Space-time warps.  But I suppose it's possible."  He turned and called to Maya.  "I want both you and Victor along, Maya.  And you, Shermeen.  Bill, you as pilot and bring along Bob Mathias from medical.  We leave as soon as the launch window opens."

The others nodded and set about making preparations.  A countdown flashed onto the main viewscreen:  1 hour 20 minutes and counting.  Koenig stood and put a hand on Tony Verdeschi's shoulder.  "Let's go have a talk with Professor Bergman.  Maya, did the Professor hear that transmission?"

"Everyone on the Alpha heard it."

"You're a 'folk hero'," Tony smirked as they walked out the door of command Center.

Koenig did not reply, and neither man spoke again until seated on the travel tube that would take them to Victor Bergman's laboratory at the Main Eagle Hanger. 

"All right.  What do you really think?"

Tony shrugged at Koenig's question as the tube picked up speed.  "I think it's an incredible coincidence that their spokesperson looks just like Helena."

"You don't think they're who they say they are?"

"I don't know.  I just want you to be cautious.  Maybe you shouldn't go down yet."

"Spoken like a true security officer,"  Koenig said with a fond smile.  "I promise to be careful."

The doors opened at the last sentence and Victor Bergman was waiting for them.  "Of course we'll be careful.  This could be fascinating.  What's troubling you two?"  He led the way to a small office with a work table cluttered with coffee cups and electronic devices.

Koenig chose a more or less clean cup and poured himself a cup of coffee.  He perched on a corner of the table as Tony sprawled in one of the few chairs not covered with books or electronic parts. "Tony thinks we're headed for a planet populated by telepathic BEM's who are luring us in to be eaten by having their spokesperson look like the woman I loved."

"It sounds like you watched too many of those awful Italian SF movies as a child,"  Victor teased.

Tony smiled, toying with something on the table that could have been a prop from one of those movies.  "I hope I'm wrong.  I hope Safety Harbour is all it appears to be.  But I know how you felt about Helena.  And I saw how you looked at Dr. Peters."  He calmly looked Koenig in the eye.  "I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't warn you."

Koenig nodded.  "I know, Tony."

"I'll mind the store for a while, but I don't want it as a full time job."

"If they wanted to deceive us, why wouldn't they just pretend to be Helena and the others?" Victor asked.

Verdeschi shook his head, staring past his friends.  "After 10years out here I don't know anymore.  Just go out there and find us a new home."

Bergman put his hand on Verdeschi's shoulder.  "We'd all like nothing better, Tony."  


From the diary of Dr. Helena Russell

October 20, 2001         

We are learning more and more about our new home every day.  Our landfall was in late spring and everything was in full bloom.  Summer is upon us now and there are many fruits and berries ripe which are edible.  We have been canning and drying as much as possible for the winter months.  We are hoping we have picked a site with mild winters but prefer to be prepared for the worst.  In the marshy area to the west of us I have found a grass that has a bloom something like a cattail on Earth.  I have begun experimenting with the cotton like material in the bloom and hope to be able to spin yarn and eventually weave material with it.  We will all need new clothing soon, and baby clothes too.  I'm looking forward to the baby's birth.  I never knew unborn babies could get the hiccups!  The first time that happened I was fascinated, but the novelty wears off quickly.  Like having the hiccups of your own there's nothing you can do, but wait for them to go away, but you know it's someone inside you having the hiccups.  What an incredible thought.  All of my companions are taking a crash course in midwifery but I wish John could have been with me.  Sometimes I miss him so badly it hurts. 


Kodak Station

Spring 50, 146 

Most of the council of Safety Harbour returned to Kodak Station in the predawn hours of the following day, ready to receive the delegation from Moonbase Alpha.  An apartment was being readied for the Alphans' use and each Alphan had been assigned a guide for the day.  All were council members with the exception of Dr. Oskar Russ who was the chief surgeon at Safety Harbour's medical facilities.  He was quite eager to meet Alpha's CMO and talk shop. Clea Jameson had stepped aside as a guide in favor of Russ, but she planned to meet with Commander Koenig later in her office.

The agreed upon schedule was for the Alphans to spend the day with their guides.  They would meet at their quarters after dinner, to discuss their findings from that day.  The following morning they could travel the city at will, further guides being provided if requested.  At noon, they would meet with the council over lunch to discuss future plans for Alpha and Safety Harbour.

Both groups wished to take things slowly and be as cautious as the Moonbase's time in their star system would allow.

Dak Williams had already spoken to Bill Fraser before the Eagle landed and had made plans to show him some of Safety Harbour's industrial and transportation concerns.  After introductions were made he was the first to shepherd his charge to a waiting vottle.  The two were talking like old flying pals by the time they reached the vottle.  Fraser was delighted with the craft's design.

"I've seen this before," he commented to his guide as he looked over the dual controls in front of him.  He felt completely at home in the cockpit.  "This is a design Alan and I played around with on Alpha.  We hoped to build VTOL flyers that would be simple to use and space efficient."

Dak looked at him in surprise.  "This was based on a design by Alan Carter.  He left quite a few designs for various equipment which we now use.  Would you like to try flying it?"

Fraser accepted enthusiastically and flew most of the way back to the city under Dak's cautious supervision.  Talk on the journey was of various forms of transportation and distribution of goods. Dak's people worked closely with the requisition office to produce and distribute goods both within the city and in various outposts on the continent.  Dak described the monorail system, started by the Original Six--said with capital letters--and their children and continually improved and expanded over the years as the city grew. He spoke of the VTOL flyers and larger transport aircraft which brought much of the food needed in the city from outlying stations.

They landed at the airfield on the outskirts of the city and were met by Dak's eldest son, Erik, a man about Bill's age, both darker and taller  than his father.  He needed the flyer to make a quick trip out to Adelaide station.  Some supplies couldn't wait for the regular transport the following month.

"Where is Adelaide station?"  Bill asked.

"About 3 hours at top speed,"  Dak replied.  "North of the mountains we just flew out of and West about 800 km.  Would you like to fly out there?  We could have lunch at Adelaide and be back by late afternoon."

"It sounds interesting; if you don't mind, that is."  Bill thought someone from Alpha might ought to check out more than just the city.

Erik laughed.  "Dad will take any chance to go to Adelaide station.  I can have the flyer loaded in about 15 minutes.  Say hello to Brett and Sung for me." 

The flight to Adelaide Station went quickly.  Fraser found that Dak Williams was as interested in Alpha and its people as Bill was about Safety Harbour.  Dak had many questions about his four-times great-grandfather who had left a legacy of designs and plans for various machinery, much of which had not been built until many years after his death.  Bill's tales of his former boss and old friend were greeted with an almost childlike glee from the older man.

"I've always been fascinated by Alan Carter," Dak admitted to his new friend.  " I know all of us here in Safety Harbour were descended from Alan Carter and the others, but somehow I've always felt a greater kinship to him.  I like to think he would be proud of the progress we've made."

Fraser took in the trim airship they were flying and watched the clouds and land roll by beneath him and nodded.  "He would have liked this a lot."

The station was a small ranching village consisting of the large ranch house inhabited by the extended family that ran the station; several small cottages; a combination office building and school; and along the airstrip several large barns and warehouses used to store supplies and products and tend the animals raised on the station.

Dak landed the Vottle near the office building and as they stepped out of the cockpit a small boy came running from the playground next to the building.

"Daddy!  Daddy!" the little boy called.

Dak picked up the child and threw him into the air, catching him in a bear hug.  "Brett!  Were you watching for us?"

"Eric called and said you were coming.  I have a new puppy. Want to see it?"

"In a bit,"  Dak replied.  "This is Bill Fraser, he's from Moonbase Alpha.  Bill, this is my youngest son, Brett."

"Hi, Brett."  Bill replied, taking in the child's dark curly hair and oriental features.  Three adults emerged from the office building, two heading toward the waiting flyer and a young oriental woman coming toward them.

"Dak, it's good to see you," she said as she gave him a hug.

"Mommy, this is Bill Fraser, he's from Moonbase Alpha.  Did you really fly here in an Eagle?"  The boy asked.

"Yes I did."  Bill replied.

"Welcome to Adelaide, I'm Brett's mother, Sung."

Bill was charmed by the normalness of his surroundings.  He could have been visiting a remote ranch in Australia or America. The people were busy, practical and hungry for news from the city. They asked about family and friends and exchanged gossip.

Sung was pregnant, although not showing yet. Dak asked with curiosity but no great concern, who the father was.  Sung gave an enigmatic reply that left Bill slightly confused.  "I don't know." Sung had replied.  "Dr. Peters said this should be a better gene match than the last two.  I go back for more tests next month."

The conversation drifted on with assurances that Sung and Brett would stay in the city for a visit during the tests.

The afternoon passed pleasantly.  The people were friendly, curious about Alpha and Bill found the ranch's workings interesting to his inexperienced eye.  He found he liked this world and its people.  He hoped they would stay. 


From the diary of Helena Russell

November 10, 2001          

Our small colony will have another new addition soon!  Sandra Benes is pregnant.  She should be due in about 30 weeks.  We all realize how important children are to the survival of our colony.  Our gene pool is quite small and we will need to have as many children as possible in this first "native" generation.  Our own backgrounds have inhibited us in discussing this--I'm hoping we will not pass that problem on to our children.  Having children with as many different parental combinations as possible will be essential over the next several generations to utilize our limited gene pool to the fullest possible extent.  Conceiving a child may have to be much more clinical for ourselves and our children than the romanticized notions of Earth.  The six of us are in agreement about this matter and we realize the survival of our descendants may depend upon it.         

We are all so busy learning new things which we never thought we would need to know on Earth or Alpha.  Pottery, woodworking, spinning, weaving, hunting, mining, smelting.  The list seems endless and with only six of us, sometimes the tasks seem overwhelming.  We are determined not to face a stone-aged existence here and with the help of the computer aboard the Eagle we hope to train ourselves and our children, once they are old enough, to pull our technology level up to what we knew on Earth.  This time, however, we intend to protect our environment while doing so.         

As the term of my pregnancy draws to a close I am more and more preoccupied with what I want for my child.  We have such a beautiful world here.  I hope I can raise him to live here in such a way that would have made his father proud. 


Safety Harbour

Spring 50, 146 

"So you use no Terran plants at all?" Shermeen asked her companion.

Cally Lenson nodded.  "At first, the Original Six did not have time to grow crops from the seeds they brought with them.  They had to find food from native life or they would starve. Then they feared the ecological effects of introducing new species into the environment.  By the time some of their children and grandchildren had been trained in botany and agriculture, there was no need to risk the environment.  They were already feeding everyone with native species."

Shermeen and Cally were walking through a large greenhouse full of seedling fruit trees. These were experimental plants, bred for higher yield, larger fruit, with a resistance to certain blights and pests the natural trees were subject to.  Shermeen was impressed by the quality of the work here as well as the care these people took to protect the planet's ecology.  "Who will decide if these species can be introduced into the environment?" she asked the tall gentleman beside her.

"My staff and myself.  All our information is on the computer network and anyone can study the data and voice an opinion.  It is our responsibility to make the final decision." 


From the Diary of Helena Russell

January 10, 2002          

 I am now the proud mother of a son and a daughter!  Both were born two days ago.  Johnathan was born shortly after dawn.  He weighed 2.8 kg and Victoria was born three hour later and weighed 2.35 kg.  There were no complications, everything went quite smoothly, although the second baby was quite a surprise.  Had I been on Alpha I would have known months ago that I was carrying twins.  We do have ultrasound equipment on the Eagle, but since I never had any problems, I didn't feel it was necessary to use it.  I suppose another reason I did fewer tests was because I didn't want any bad news.  There will be other pregnancies, and other babies, but this was the only chance I will ever have to bear John Koenig's child.  To lose him was painful enough.  I could not face the thought of losing his child too.  The babies look so much like their father--they both have thick dark hair and beautiful blue eyes.  The only way I could be happier was if John were alive to see them. 


Safety Harbour

Spring 50, 146 

The mid-afternoon sun was hot and the air humid.  John Koenig was grateful for the cool drink in his hand and the shade here on the terrace of Helena Peters' apartment.  He stood by himself, surveying the city around him and the view of the bay to the east. On the fourth floor of the five story apartment building he stood just above tree level.  The city was covered with wide-spreading trees, many of which bore edible fruit or nuts.

Other apartment buildings dotted the view, none so close as to block another's view, but not so far away as to be isolated.  The monorail system and winding bicycle trails connected all parts of the sprawling city of over fifty thousand people.

He was overwhelmed.  He had sent out six people, hoping they would survive, but believing they would be doomed to a stone age subsistence level existence.  In seven generations their descendants had created a peaceful and advanced society.  Their system of government was one of pure democracy, depending on computer technology to see that everyone had a voice in the running of the planet.  All information was stored in the central computer system and anyone could access the data or make comments or suggestions, anonymously or not.

He had read their constitution this morning, noting its similarity to terrestrial writings such as the American Bill of Rights, the Ten Commandments, some of the teachings of Karl Marx, and Ghandi.  Like most people on Alpha, the six who had come here had been vehemently apolitical. They and their children had come up with a unique system of government for an orderly self-disciplined society.

The planet's economic system was surprisingly socialistic given the background of the six original inhabitants.  All were from capitalist countries on earth--Australia, Great Britain, Japan, the United States.  But the small population during the first few generations would have fostered cooperation rather than competition and dependence upon the entire community for survival.

He had engaged in a long talk with the head of the supply department.  It was her job to see that all the people's everyday needs were met and that the goods that were needed were produced. Clea Johnson was an efficient organized person and she had been quite honest in her concerns about three hundred newcomers in their midst.  It was not, she had insisted, the numbers as much as the fact that they were used to different ways.  She understood capitalist theory well and found it distasteful and untidy.  Her philosophy was that each person had a responsibility to contribute to society with whatever skills they had.  Society should in return provide for that person's needs.

Somehow coming from a grandmotherly lady with knitting in her lap, sitting behind a desk with two homophones and a computer terminal, this did not sound like rabid Marxist doctrine.  It was merely the way the world worked.  And she was firmly insistent that it remain that way.  Koenig was also honest with her, knowing he would have little control over the Alphans once they came to Safety Harbour.  He could make no guarantees concerning their actions but he felt they would appreciate this society and adapt to it quickly. He and all the Alphans wanted a home, and this was by far the best prospect they had had in years.

Helena Peters joined him on the terrace.  She had changed into a flowing sleeveless tunic and wide knee-length shorts of thin pale green cotton, attire much better suited to the climate that his long sleeved uniform and the quilted jacket which lay disregarded on a nearby chair.  "How do you like our city?" she asked in a soft contralto voice so much like the woman he had loved a decade ago.

Her resemblance to "his" Helena was uncanny.  He admitted to himself that he was unsure whether the attraction to Helena Peters was because of this resemblance to Helena Russell or not.  He wasn't sure it mattered.  It took him only a moment to remember that he and Helena Russell had made an excellent working team as well as being physically attracted to each other.  "I'm amazed at all our people have accomplished.  It's more than I dared hope for," he replied.

"We've worked very hard."  Helena said wistfully.

"I take it there are problems, though."  Koenig said perceptively.

Helena nodded.  She took a deep breath and began to describe the problems inherent in such a small gene pool.  Despite her original recommendation to the council, once she met the Alphans knew they would need to know the problems on Safety Harbour as well as the good points.  They needed to make an informed decision and their cooperation would be much too valuable to jeopardize.

She found John Koenig to be a receptive audience who already had an understanding of the problem.  He had already been alerted to the problem years before by Helena Russell who was aware that even three hundred people would constitute a very small gene pool for future generations.

Their discussion continued as Koenig helped her prepare dinner for the two of them. Koenig sliced oddly colored and shaped fruits with mundane names such as bananas, strawberries, mangoes and pears.  The most resemblance any of the fruit had to its Terran namesakes was a hint of the same flavor or occasionally color. While Helena Peters continued her discussion on genetics, she named the fruits for Koenig, showed him which parts were edible and broiled two large fish steaks which she said were Cobia, a common fish caught off shore outside the bay.

She outlined the progress that the people of Safety Harbour had made, prenatal genetic screening, complete gene charts for the last seven generations and identification of the population's complete genome.  "Of course mapping the genome is not nearly the magnificent feat it would be on Earth. After all, We are descended from only seven people."

"You mean six," Koenig corrected.  "There were six people on the survival ship."

"True, but Helena Russell gave birth to twins shortly after their arrival here.  So we are also descended from you, their father."

Koenig's stunned look did not come from the taste of his first bite of the delicious smelling fish steak he had just begun to eat. In fact he later did not remember the taste of any of the meal they shared.  All he could think of was Helena Russell, pregnant with his children, years and light years away from him.  Children who had lived and died without him knowing of their very existence. The thought suddenly hit him.  Not only his children, but Helena Russell herself; she was gone.  Irrevocably; long dead and he would never ever see her again.  He had accepted her absence, but not her death.  That was the reason he had insisted she go on the survival Eagle.  He could not bear the thought of her dying when he had the ability to prevent it.  Not someone he loved as much as he loved her.

With the long practice of being the unshakable Moonbase Commander, he maintained the conversation and finished his dinner. Helena Peters believed his shock was from hearing that twins had been born.  She knew from Helena Russell's diary that twins had been a complete surprise.

After dinner Helena gave him the old diary in its airtight bag.  "You should have this," she said.  "I think she would have liked to know that you would read it someday."

Koenig nodded and accepted the little book without comment.

Helena walked with him to the building about half a mile away where the Alphans had been assigned an apartment.  The sun was setting as she showed him the apartment which took up the entire second floor of the building.  It was designed, she told him, for an extended family with six large bedroom/bath suites, a nursery and playroom, a large kitchen and common area and two small studies.  All rooms had large doors opening onto a shaded terrace that encircled the building and each room also had ceiling fans to encourage ventilation.  Koenig noticed dehumidifiers in all the rooms too, which helped make the humid outdoor air much more breathable.

Helena left him, mentioning that she needed to pick up her son from her mother's house nearby, after showing him how to use the computer terminals that were located in each room.  He promised to meet her in the morning to see more of the city.

None of the other Alphans had arrived yet.  Koenig chose a bedroom with a view of the bay and settled into a comfortable chair by the computer terminal.  He had been told that they would have unlimited access to Safety Harbour's data banks and was interested in seeing if that were so.  Then he looked at the small book in his hand and ignored the computer.  He opened the diary and began to read. 


From the diary of Helena Russell

Winter, Day 15, 4 years after arrival          

Toshiro has developed a new calendar which is based on a sidereal year here on Safety Harbour.  The days here are 25 hours long--although when your days are as filled as ours are you wonder where the extra hour is.  The Eagle's computer has been recalibrated to a 25 hour sidereal day and a 400 day sidereal year. Months were based on the Moon's orbit around the Earth so Toshi has eliminated months in favor of 4 seasons, which are arbitrarily divided into 100 days each.  Our weather is extremely mild here so the seasons do not have the same meaning as on Earth.  The coolest weather does happen to fall in the winter season, with spring and autumn being wet and a warm summer in between.  He insisted we begin using the new system now so that the children would grow up with it and be comfortable with it.  Vicki has recently begun helping me weave cloth.  She seems to have a natural talent for it.  Johnathan follows his Uncle Alan around like a shadow with his 3-year-old brother Kyle tagging after him.  The two boys love to have Alan make them little planes and cars out of wood and metal scraps and have begun making their own.  Alan says both boys will make fine design engineers someday.  He is as proud of Johnathan's achievements as he is of his own son, but insists that Johnathan and Vicki should know about their own father. 


Safety Harbour Spring 50, 146, Evening 

The others began to arrive within the next few hours.  All were enthusiastic and eager to share what they had learned.  They took their Commander's lack of enthusiasm in stride.  All were used to him playing the part of Devil's Advocate during their reports. Victor was the first to arrive and spoke non-stop concerning the university and their research facilities, especially the physics laboratories which developed cold fusion for practical use.  "Do you know," he exclaimed as Bill and Shermeen walked in the room, "if you want to do research on a certain subject instead of writing a proposal for a funding committee you must prove on the computer network that the project is ethically and environmentally safe. And then you simply request what you need to do the research.  No funding is involved.  And everything is kept on the open network. Nothing is classified, anyone can comment or contribute on any project."

"We do that," Koenig commented quietly.

"Yes," Shermeen contributed. "As far as information sharing goes.  But we generally don't have the resources to allow any research project that comes along."

Bill added, "Here, if they don't have what you need it's designed and manufactured for you."

"They do have the resources of an entire planet to back them up," Koenig replied with a half smile.

"And a very beautiful planet it is," Bob Mathias added as he entered the apartment with Maya behind him.

All gathered around a large round table in the dining area of the common room.  Cups and a large pot of Kaf were brought from the kitchen.  Everyone agreed that it tasted 100% better than Alpha's attempt at a coffee equivalent.

They talked for several hours until Koenig called a halt and sent everyone to bed.  Impressions of Safety Harbour were decidedly favorable and he gave each person an additional topic to investigate the next day regarding living conditions and everyday life.

As the others filed our, Bob Mathias held back.  He caught Koenig's eye who nodded and silently poured two more cups of Kaf.

"You were holding something back," Koenig stated quietly as he and Mathias seated themselves in two easy chairs close to the window.

They stared quietly our the window in companionable silence before Mathias replied with a question.  "You talked to the geneticist.  How are they working out the problems of a small gene pool?"

"As best they can."  Koenig replied.  "What did the chief surgeon tell you?"

"Nothing directly.  But I can see a good deal for myself. They've stretched the population about as far as it can go.  The birth rate is declining.  Abortions are up.  They  are experiencing more birth defects, some are quite serious.  Their neonatal and obstetric units are incredibly advanced, but it's going to start taking its toll on their population soon."  He gestured toward the computer station nearby.  "All the info is in there if you know what to look for.  They're in trouble."

"Dr. Peters knows that.  She thinks our coming here will help."

"What kind of breeding program is she thinking of?"

Koenig looked at his chief medical officer, who returned his gaze calmly.  He then turned to look out the window again.

"That's what it will be, John.  Our ticket into this paradise is our genes and our people used as breeding animals."

Koenig sighed and closed his eyes for a moment.  Perhaps Tony was right, perhaps he should have remained on Alpha.  He felt the diary in the pocket of his jacked and looked levelly at Mathias. "If you had been aboard that eagle instead of Helena, what would you have done?"

Mathias shook his head.  "I'm not sure.  Knowing what they had to start with I think they did an incredible jog.  I'm not trying to play the heavy here.  I like this place and would like to stay. I know plenty of people on Alpha would like to have kids...but I don't think they want to be forced to have kids."

Koenig nodded.  "Come with me tomorrow.  We need to work this out with Hele--Dr. Peters.  I think this will be our major problem to work out.  If it can be solved, I think we'll stay."

Mathias nodded and stood up.  "I'd like that."

"We all would, Bob." Koenig said quietly.  There was great sorrow in his voice.

Mathias, thinking he understood the commander's troubles, murmured an unheard goodnight and left Koenig alone to watch a full moon rise over Safety Harbour.

Koenig read through the small diary.  Emotions he usually held in reserve washed over him as he followed the beloved handwriting of a woman long dead; love for her hit him as he read about the life she had led on this beautiful gentle planet they had been lucky enough to find; anguish over the children he had fathered but had never seen; despair as he realized again that he had lost a family to time and space.  A family that would have been with him now had he made a different decision 10 years ago when Helena had pleaded with him to be allowed to remain on Alpha. 

Morning came with a gray fog that rolled in off the bay.  Dew point had been reached early the previous evening and everything outdoors was covered with beads of water.  Koenig had spent a sleepless night listening to the sounds of a planet; night birds, insects, the dull boom of the surf against the cliffs in the abnormally high tide caused by the Moon's proximity, a soft breeze through the nearby trees. 


From the Diary of Helena Russell

Spring Day 20, Year 5          

I went sailing today for the first time ever and I loved it.  Toshi's small sailboat is just big enough for two people and the fishnet.  Since I had never sailed or gone fishing on Earth I'm not much help and had simply never been out with him.  Toshi felt I needed a change of scenery today and insisted I come along.  Samantha has had colic for the entire three months of her life.  I feel like I haven't slept that entire time.  We left her     with Alan, who was more than happy to spend the day in his lab designing more of the marvelous machines he intends to build one day.  I spent most of the morning in blissful sleep, curled on top of the pile of fishing nets.  I admit I was a bit nervous when I woke up and we had left the bay and were completely out of sight of land, but Toshi assured me he knew where we were and we spent the afternoon pulling in nets full of fish.  He showed me some of the basics of sailing the boat on the return trip, but I wouldn't want to try to sail the boat alone, especially outside the bay.  I need the sight of land to keep my bearings, not just the location of the sun and direction of the wind.  We did, however, have a completely peaceful day with no crying babies, only the sound of waves lapping against the boat and the sail flapping in the breeze.  I hope he takes me again. 


Moonbase Alpha

May 15, 2010 

Five days later, Koenig was seated at his desk in Command Center.  The decision to abandon Alpha in favor of Safety Harbour was in the hands of all on Alpha now.  That had been part of the agreement worked out with the council of Safety Harbour.  They firmly believed that the Alphans should only come if an overwhelming majority of the Alphans wished to come and abide by the agreement worked our between Helena Peters, Bob Mathias and Commander Koenig.     

In essence the agreement said that all Alphan women must either donate 10 unfertilized eggs over the next five years or bear5 children whose fathers would be chosen by the Genetics staff. Any combination resulting in 5 living children would be acceptable. The mother would have custodial rights to any children born to her and visitation rights to any children born to "host" mothers. Should the mother not wish to have custody of any children she bears the father of the child would be given first right of custody or a foster family would be found.  Alphan women would also be allowed to have children with any man from Alpha or Safety Harbour provided the foetus is genetically checked by the genetics department.  All Alphan men must donate sperm to the genetics department once a year for the next 10 years.  The man would be notified of any children born from donated sperm and have visiting rights with all of those children, should he wish it.  Custody would be offered if the mother of the child was unwilling or unable to care for the child.  Alphan men would be allowed to have children with any woman from Alpha or Safety Harbour provided the foetus is genetically checked by the genetics department.

Koenig entered his own vote into Alphans computer system.  He felt a sense of relief that he would not be making the decision on his own.  He could get used to democracy quite easily. All the options had been presented and the Alphans had the next three hours to place their votes. Koenig surveyed the room.  Everyone was trying to look busy at something and he knew they would feel less pressure if he weren't there.  He felt a restlessness in himself and wanted to be moving around.  He stood and told Yasko to reach him by commlock if necessary.  She acknowledged quietly as he left.

He had intended to go to Victor's lab.  But he unhooked his commlock from his belt and summoned the computer before reaching a travel tube.  "Computer, where is Dr. Peters?"


Koenig turned abruptly and took the nearest stairs to the observation rooms.

The council had suggested that one of their people should come and state their case to the Alphans in person.  Helena Peters had volunteered eagerly and returned with the survey team. She had met a large number of the Alphans, telling them about Safety Harbour--its good points and its problems.  Everyone was amazed with her resemblance to Dr. Russell and eager to meet her and ask questions about their prospective home.

The observation room was quiet as usual and darkened to allow a better view.  She stood alone by the window staring out at the stars. She drew her eyes reluctantly away from the view at the sound of footsteps but smiled in welcome as she recognized him.

"This is so beautiful," she said as he drew closer.  "I always wondered what the stars looked like from up here, but I never imagined I'd get a chance to see them for myself."

"Yes, it is beautiful.  I'll miss it," Koenig replied coming to stand beside her at the window.

"You think your people will come to Safety Harbour?"

"Don't you?"

"I don't know.  It's so important to us that you come I'm almost afraid to think about it. You are our last hope.  If you decide not to come, I'm afraid for our future."  She reached out and took his hand, "John...if your people turn us down, will you help me find another way to help Safety Harbour?"

"I'll do whatever I can.  I promise."  Koenig did not let goof her hand, nor did she seek release.  He continued to gaze into all too familiar green eyes.  "I'm still amazed at how much you look like Helena Russell."

Helena blushed and glanced our the window then looked back at him.  "Genetically, we're identical."

"Identical?  But after six generation--"

"No."  She interrupted.  "You see, I'm one of my mother's experiments.  She had some of Helena Russell's genetic material which she manipulated into--me."

"You're a clone?"

Helena frowned.  "In as sense.  However, the fiction I've read regarding that term implies a full grown human being identical in every  way.  I'm more like an identical twin, with the same DNA but raised in a different environment."

"Could you use that same process again?"

"It's not a simple process.  And requires a good sample of genetic material.  It could delay the problem but not resolve it. The best solution is to have your people join us."

"I know," Koenig replied.  "I'd like that."  He put his arm around her and she leaned against him.  It felt so natural to stand together and enjoy the view.

They stayed there until Koenig's commlock chimed to let him know all the votes were cast. 


From the diary of Helena Russell

Spring 32, 14          

We have just begun our most ambitious project yet in Safety Harbour.  Alan and George have designed a monorail system.  Although our home here by the coast is not even large enough to be considered a village, many of the raw materials needed to expand our community are miles and even hundreds of miles from us.  Alan has also been making models and designs of aircraft and land vehicles, but he says our technology is not yet advanced enough for that.  The Monorail will run on electricity generated by water turbines at the nearby river.  My son Johnathan and our son Kyle are old enough now to help with the construction of the monorail system as are George and Sandra's son Peter and Angela and Alan's son Len.  Alan says this will be the first section of a major transportation system for our city.  When we go for walks together he doesn't see trees and meadows, but boulevards and parks and housing complexes that  blend into the environment.  He's managed to inspire our children with this vision too.  We seem to be well on our way to building a beautiful, harmonious world. 


From the diary of Helena Russell

Summer 68, 15          

Three new pregnancies are keeping me busy this summer.  My oldest daughter Vicki is pregnant by George and Sandra's eldest son Peter.  Alan and my son Kyle and Toshi and Angela's daughter Kim Lee are expecting a baby at the same time.  Whichever arrives first will be the first baby of the second generation here on Safety Harbour.  They seem so young, but we need as many healthy children as possible to expand our population.  The third pregnancy is my own and I must admit I was rather surprised to find myself pregnant at the age of 52.  This child is the only one of my children that was not carefully planned, with the exception of my eldest two.  This will also be my last pregnancy, I have never been so ill--constantly nauseous and my ankles and fingers are so swollen at times I can barely move them.  Toshi had been providing most of the care for Soon, our daughter who is not quite one and still nursing.  She is a pretty child, petite and blond with my green eyes and Toshi's oriental complexion and features.  I am pleased that my last child will be Alan's child.  George and Toshi are fine men, good friends of mine and good fathers to our children, but my relationship with Alan has been quite special over the years.  The hopes and dreams I shared with John Koenig unfortunately never came to pass.  For years I have hoped for the impossible--that he would somehow come back to me, find us on Safety Harbour.  I'm just now beginning to realize that will never happen.  During all this time we have been here Alan has been supporting, understanding and patient and all anyone could wish for in a husband.  Despite the struggles, hard work and almost constant pregnancies, it has been a good fifteen years.  I have been happy and I look forward to the next fifteen years and the changes to come to our little community. 


Summer 1, 146 

Koenig sat on a rock watching the waves break on the beach below him.  The late afternoon sun cast the long shadow of the cliffs out onto the bay before him.  He could hear the shouts of a ball game on the beach to his left over the sounds of a planet around him, something he hadn't realized he'd missed before.  He heard a scrambling on the rocks below and saw six year old Scotty Peters climbing up beside him.

"Mom sent me to find you, she said the picnic is ready.  Are you hungry?  What are you doing?"

Koenig smiled at the towheaded child.  He was always amazed at how many questions the child could ask.  So far, though, he had found living with the boy a never-ending source of entertainment. The child was Koenig's descendant of four generations through both Koenig's son, Johnathan and daughter Victoria.  Of course so was everyone else on Safety Harbour, but Scott was special  He was also Helena's son; in a way he belonged to both Helena's and being with Scotty helped ease some of the pain of losing those children whose existence he'd only recently learned of.

"I was listening to the planet."  Koenig answered.  "And yes, I am hungry, so let's not keep Mom waiting."

"What does a planet sound like?" the boy asked with interest. "Does it speak?"  He put his hand in John's as they stood together and jumped to the sand below.

John smiled as they set off down the beach together, towards the picnic and the very special woman he had already fallen in love with.  He felt happier and more at peace than he had in many years. "Yes, Scotty, it does.  It says welcome home."                          








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