Chapter 7 - The Arrival!
The Space Battleship Omega followed the Yamato's
course to the
outer reaches of the galaxy. The journey had been uneventful but events
challenge the inexperienced crew. On the bridge, the ship's radar began
Akeem, the Omega's Radar Technician, reported his findings to Captain
"Captain, we have just picked up a relay satellite from the Yamato on radar!"
"We must be headed in the right direction," pondered Captain Taylor. "Venture, continue on this course!"
But suddenly and without warning, a huge space storm appeared in front of the Omega. Jordy tugged at the controls of the ship to try to avoid it but it was too late. The Omega plunged right into the storm. The ship bucked and swayed and soon, the Chief Navigator had lost all control of the Space Battleship.
"Captain we're drifting," reported Jordy.
"Jordy, fire the stabilizers," ordered the Captain.
"I did," said Jordy as he struggled at the controls. "But it didn't help."
"Akeem is there anything on the radar," asked Taylor.
"Nothing sir," reported Akeem.
"Mister Osgood, I don't care what you have to do to get a message to Earth Headquarters..." said Taylor "...but get it done! Let them know our situation."
The ship violently shook from the power of the storm
"Captain, could the Yamato have fallen into this storm as well?" asked Reemer.
"It is possible," answered Taylor. "We've followed the Yamato's course down to the centimeter. They must have gone this way."
"What shall we do?" asked Reemer.
"Let's just stay calm," replied Taylor. "Let's see where this storm takes us. If there was a way in, there must be a way out."
Captain Hudson Taylor reached down and activated his ship's intercommunications equipment.
"Attention all hands this is your Captain. The Omega has entered a space storm and appears to be in no immediate danger. Please remain at your posts. This may be a long, bumpy ride."
Hours passed and the storm refused to release the Omega. The ship's Deputy Captain entered the bridge through one of its elevators. Reemer appeared sick and was having a difficult time walking. He sat down at his chair and let out a big sigh of relief.
"Reemer, how is the crew holding up?" asked Taylor.
"The crew is holding up quite well," answered Reemer as he grabbed his stomach.
"Reemer are you okay?" asked Captain Taylor.
"I'm fine Captain," said Reemer.
Jordy began to chuckle. He knew that Reemer had terrible motion sickness and that his friend had probably spent most of the last few hours in a bathroom losing his lunch.
"Reemer, any idea why the plumbers are having a hard time with the clogged toilets on deck eight?" joked Jordy.
Reemer threw a violent look toward Jordy. "You got a problem Chief Navigator?"
"Not at all Deputy Captain," said Jordy as he tried to hide his smile.
Reemer snapped back. "Good, I would hate put you on report."
"You need to relax Reemer," said Jordy trying to relieve some of Reemer's tension. "You're driving yourself crazy."
"You mind your business and I'll mind mine," screamed Reemer.
Captain Taylor had become a little annoyed. The tension of being caught in a space storm was one thing; having his senior officers making it worse was another.
"Reemer, Venture's right," said Captain Taylor. "Take a break. Go to the gym and get a good work out. That will get your mind off of things. It's an order."
Reemer was going to protest but his stomach began to make that unnatural gurgling sound that could only mean trouble. He covered his mouth with both of his hands and ran out of the bridge. The bridge erupted in laughter.
After taking a shower following his workout, Reemer was still restless. He began to wander aimlessly throughout the ship trying to get his mind off of the storm. He walked down a corridor and decided to visit the kitchen even though food was the last thing on his mind. Upon entering the room he saw two men preparing the ship's next meal of the day. The two men noticed the serior officer and snapped to attention.
"At ease gentleman," ordered Reemer. "I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd drop by to see how things were going. What are your names?"
"I am head cook Masters and this is cook's assistant Comet Steel," said the older man. "I hope you will find that everything is in order, Sir."
Reemer glanced at the much younger assistant. The young man was either shaking with fear or had a touch of motion sickness. Either way, he looked to be in worse shape than Reemer.
"Comet huh?" asked Reemer. "Where'd you get a name like that?"
Comet was afraid to answer and was shaking uncontrollably. Sweat dripped in huge drops from his forehead.
"My parents, Sir," answered the young man.
Reemer was surprised with the response and burst out laughing. The young man had sparked Reemer's curiosity and he had taken Reemer's mind completely off of the space storm.
"Masters, could you spare this man for a while?" asked Reemer.
"Yes Sir," answered the cook. "May I ask when I will have him back?"
"Well, I'm going to show him around the ship so it might take a while." Reemer glanced at Comet and then back at Masters. "As you were Masters. Come with me Comet."
The cook's assistant clumsily took off his apron and eventually followed Reemer out of the room. The Deputy Captain lead the way down the hall as Comet desperately tried to catch up. Reemer didn't say a word. He just continued to walk without a care in the world.
"Sir, am I in trouble?" asked Comet Steel.
"No, not at all. You just looked like you needed a break. I'm going to give you a personally guided tour of the entire ship," said Reemer.
"Really? I've never seen the whole ship before," said Comet. "But I may need to make a pit stop every now and then if you don't mind, Sir. I have a touch of motion sickness."
Reemer smiled. "Is that so?"
As they continued their tour, the young cook's assistant began to relax. As their conversations grew, Reemer found that he had more in common with Comet than just space travel sickness.
"My Astro-ball team was just about to win the playoffs when I got called up," said Comet.
"Your what?" asked Reemer.
"My team the Titanites," answered Comet. "We were in the playoffs but I had to leave for the mission."
"The Titanites," replied Reemer. "Let me guess, you were about to play the Paladins, right?"
"Yeah, how did you know, Sir?" asked Comet.
"I played for the Paladins," replied Reemer. "And WE were gonna win the playoffs!"
They both began to laugh.
An hour later, an elevator door opened and Reemer and Comet stepped onto the bridge. It took a few moments for the reality to sink in but as soon as it did, Comet stared in awe. He had always wanted to go to the bridge but his job in the kitchen would never get him close.
Reemer walked over to Captain Taylor's command chair.
"Captain, I have a little matter to discuss with you concerning Cook's Assistant Comet Steel. Can we speak privately?"
Captain Taylor raised a brow and glanced at Comet. Comet didn't have a clue as to what was going on. He was too busy looking at all of the computers and technical equipment.
"Yes, of course Reemer," answered Captain Taylor. "Please meet me in my chamber."
The Captain pressed a button and his chair lowered out of sight. Reemer walked over to his new friend who was busy chatting with Akeem at the radar station.
"Let's get going Comet. You'll have plenty of time to learn about Mister Akeem's position soon enough."
Comet was confused by the statement but followed the Deputy Captain out of the bridge without saying a word. Within moments he was standing inside the Captain's quarters thinking he had done something really wrong.
"Now tell me Reemer, what's on your mind?" asked Taylor.
"Captain, I've gone over this man's record and I have noticed a mistake in his file. He was assigned to the wrong post by accident. It must have been a clerical error of some kind. Because we had to leave Earth quickly, we left some key positions opened that desperately need to be filled. I am recommending that Mister Comet Steel become our Operations Assistant on the bridge. He is more than qualified for the job."
Captain Taylor looked at Comet and Comet snapped to attention after Reemer nudged his arm. The Captain looked back at Reemer and then activated his computer to access the personnel files. The Captain began to scan Comet's file and noticed every little detail.
Comet in a very low voice whispered to Reemer. "Sir, what are you doing?"
"Just relax," whispered Reemer.
The Captain finished reading Comet's record and then looked the young cook's assistance straight in the eye.
"Cook's Assistant Comet Steel, you were in the top one percent of your class at the Academy and it would be a shame to waste your talents. Although unusual, I have decided to honor my Deputy Captain's request. You will report directly to Deputy Captain Reemer. The decisions you make will be of vital importance. I hope you are up to the task. Welcome to the bridge, Comet."
Comet was shocked. He'd gone from kitchen duty to a top ranking officer in just one day. He smiled and saluted his Captain. The Captain saluted the new officer and then stared at his Deputy Captain.
"Reemer, this man is your responsibility. If this assignment does not work out I will hold you directly responsible. See to it that this man gets a new uniform and is up on the bridge ready for duty in two hours! Dismissed!"
Reemer saluted his commander. "Yes Sir, Captain Taylor!"
Comet and Reemer left the Captain's quarters and entered a nearby elevator. Once the doors closed, Comet confronted his senior officer.
"Sir, why are you doing this?"
Reemer glanced at Comet. "I understand that Captain Wildstar of the Yamato had someone from the kitchen working directly with him when the Yamato saved Earth from the Bollar Federation. He felt that the best soldiers are the ones that are hungry and are fighting for a better job. They are usually the people at the bottom of the ranks. I feel the same way. This mission is very important and I want the best people with me when the time comes to act. Are you up for the challenge Comet?"
Comet smiled. "Yes, Sir! Thank you, Sir! I will never forget this!"
"Don't make me regret this Comet," said Reemer.
"No Sir," answered Comet.
"And another thing, you can call me Reemer."
Two hours later Comet was in uniform and sitting at his new workstation next to Jordy Venture. He had a smile from ear to ear. Comet tried to remember all of the lessons at the Academy on his new Operations position. It had been a while since school but all of the instruments became more familiar the more he looked at them.
"Mister Steel," interrupted Reemer. "What do you make of this storm?"
Comet was nervous as the entire bridge crew looked at him for his response.
"I went to a seminar at Earth Defense once," started Comet. "The presentation was given by Mark Venture. He said that the best way to maneuver in a space storm was to travel with the current and not try to go against it. He also said that the obvious way out is not always the actual way out and that sometimes, you have to take chances."
Captain Taylor liked what he heard.
"Venture, change heading ninety degrees port," ordered Captain Taylor.
"But Captain, that will take us directly into the heart of the storm," responded Venture.
"Venture you heard Mister Steel," said Taylor. "Sometimes you need to take chances. Turn this ship to port ninety degrees and give us full power now!"
Jordy made the necessary changes and the Omega began to change course. The ship's main engines ignited and the Omega began to pick up speed as it was effortlessly carried along by the space storm. The ship moved faster and faster toward the heart of the storm. Moments later the ship broke free of the storm and was enveloped in total darkness.
"What is it Captain?" asked Reemer.
"Interesting," said Captain Taylor. "I believe this may be a void of some kind. Mister Akeem, check the radar."
"There's nothing on radar or sonar," answered Akeem.
Hudson Taylor sat back in his command chair and decided that the right decision was to continue flying straight ahead. He had a feeling that the Yamato was close.
After a few tense hours in the void, the Omega exited into the new, strange galaxy. Starlight filled the bridge as the crew looked on in amazement. But they wondered, was this where they needed to be in order to find the Yamato?
"Reemer, I think you better come take a look at this," suggested Jordy.
Reemer walked over to Jordy's work area. He could see the Chief Navigator frantically working at the instruments on his station. He was tapping every gauge and was banging on all of the instruments with his hands. He even gave the equipment a good swift kick for good measure.
"What is it Venture?" asked Reemer.
Jordy pointed to a small meter on his display. "Take a look at this! It is supposed to indicate our distance from Earth. It says that we are a little more than three billion light years from home!"
"Is it working correctly?" asked Reemer.
"Of course it is Reemer," snapped Jordy. "If it wasn't, would I have asked you to come over here?"
Aligie Akeem's radar began to sound before Reemer could give Jordy a lecture on insubordination.
"Captain, we've got a planet with one small moon at four hundred fifty thousand megameters. Wait, I've got something else. It's metal. It's an indistinct image. Switching to the video monitor."
The ceiling of the Omega's bridge turned into a huge video screen. A long, blurry gray image appeared near the planet and the moon.
"I am activating the Image Enhancer with full clarity," said Akeem.
The image was enlarged over a thousand times. Taylor recognized it immediately.
"It's the Yamato!"
The crew was overjoyed. They began to cheer, laugh and shake each other's hands. But the Captain was not yet convinced that all was well. He stared at the screen with caution and noticed that the Yamato was damaged and motionless.
"Mister Osgood, radio the Yamato. Ask them for their status," ordered Taylor.
Ollie Osgood began to open a channel to the Yamato.
"This is the Space Battleship Omega from the planet Earth calling the Space Cruiser Yamato. What is your status? Over."
A minute went by without a response and Taylor began to get anxious. He thought that perhaps the Yamato's communications equipment was down or that the Yamato could send transmissions but not receive.
Osgood repeated the message. A moment later there was a response.
"This is the Space Cruiser Yamato from the planet Earth. Captain Derek Wildstar speaking."
Captain Taylor took over the communication. He ordered a video communication and within seconds, Wildstar appeared on the Omega's video screen. Captain Taylor stood and saluted.
"Captain Wildstar, I am Captain Hudson Taylor."
Wildstar saluted and then lowered his arm. "Boy are we glad to see you, Captain. What brings you this far out in space?"
"You're the reason why we're here," answered Taylor. "The Commander got a little worried when you hadn't reported in so he sent us out to find you."
"I will have to thank him when we get back to Earth," replied Wildstar. "But in the meantime we are in need of a little assistance. Our Takion Absorber has been destroyed. Could your engineers lend us a hand?"
"That shouldn't be a problem," answered Taylor. "The Omega will arrive at your location shortly."
"Thank you Captain Taylor," said Wildstar. "In the meantime I'll send you over a report bringing you up to date on our situation. As a suggestion you may want to get your crew to battlestations. There are some unfriendly people in this galaxy. We'll see you soon."
Wildstar's face disappeared from the screen.
Later, the Space Battleship Omega arrived at the moon of Xylotia and it pulled up alongside the Yamato. On the bridge, Captain Taylor activated his intercom and made an announcement to his crew.
"Attention, this is your Captain. The first part of our mission is complete and I want to thank you for a job well done. I want everyone to be on alert and remain at battlestations until further notice. That is all."
Taylor switched off the intercom. That was when General Torkan's fleet materialized and the attack began.