The Space Battleship Omega's automatic emergency systems had been activated, its guns were ready to fire and all of the emergency bulkheads were prepared to close if a hull breach occurred during an attack. It was on a one way collision course with a fleet of Galman space ships with no hope of survival.
Captain Hudson Taylor, the lone survivor on board, sat quietly on the bridge. He tried to take a deep breath but his chest was all congested. He coughed up a large wad of reddish green phlegm into a small handkerchief and looked at it for a long while. He knew he had very little time left.
Taylor clenched his fists and stared at the small video screen at his work station. The fleet of Galman space ships were heading in his direction at an alarming pace.
"I am not through fighting yet!" He screamed as he slammed his fist down on the workstation. "You are going to have to kill me in order to get to Earth! Do you hear me?! You are going to have to kill me first!"
Reemer and Jordy had made excellent time; better than they expected. They were hoping that the Earth fleet had monitored the Omega and saw them leave. If not, they could be stuck in space for a long, long time.
After relaxing for a while in his fighter, Jordy had begun to feel better. His stomach was not churning nearly as much as when he first left the Omega. But Jordy had more important things to worry about. The fuel gauge on his fighter had dropped below the red level. His fighter was running on reserve fuel and it would soon run dry. He continued scanning the radar screen hoping for a sign of the Earth fleet. He had been watching it diligently for about an hour but there had not been any sign of the fleet. Suddenly, a group of ships appeared on the screen. The sight brought a smile to his face.
"I have them Reemer!" Jordy announced. "Distance fifteen thousand megameters. We'll soon be in communications range."
Reemer looked at the small video display in his fighter's cockpit. An image was slowly coming into focus on the screen and it became evident that the vessel was a very large space destroyer. Reemer scanned the image to get more information and then spotted something he recognized; the ship's number.
"Oh no! It's the Lowell." Reemer said as he leaned back in his seat and let out a deep sigh. "Why'd it have to be the Lowell?"
Reemer had never been too fond of the Lowell. It was a painful reminder of losing the number one position in his graduating class not to mention his lunch, his breakfast and a clean uniform. Reemer sat shaking his head in disbelief as he heard Jordy laughing over the radio.
"Very funny Jordy." Reemer said. "Let's cut engine output by fifty percent. We don't want to run out of gas just short of the fleet."
Reemer looked at his fuel gauge and frowned. The needle on the instrument continued to move closer to zero. He leaned over to his right and turned on his long range communications equipment.
"This is Deputy Captain Reemer of the Space Battleship Omega calling the Lowell. Come in Lowell. Over."
Nothing but static was heard in his helmet so he repeated the request but continued to hear nothing but white noise in his headset. He repeated the request for the third time and finally heard a clicking sound followed by a faint voice.
"This is the Lowell. Captain Roarke speaking. What is your status?"
Reemer quickly tried to boost power to his radio by diverting some of the engine's energy into the transmitter. It worked and the signal had improved by nearly fifty percent.
"Other than running a little low on fuel we are doing fine, Captain." Reemer answered. "Request permission to land on the Lowell."
There was a considerable delay in the response and it bothered Reemer. He was became impatient, switched off his transmitter and started sputtering colorful metaphors. Before he could compare the Lowell to a piece of human excrement, there was an answer in his headset.
"Deputy Captain Reemer, have you been infected with the Bollar virus?"
Reemer finally figured out what was going on. The Captain of the Lowell was just being cautious.
"Yes Captain Roarke." Reemer answered. "Both myself and Chief Navigator Jordy Venture have been infected but we have each been given the antidote and are feeling much better - just about back to normal."
"Nevertheless Reemer, we do not want to take the chance of spreading the virus. Please land on the hospital transport. Upon landing you two will be placed in quarantine until you are given a clean bill of health by our doctors."
"Yes Captain." Reemer said reluctantly. "I look forward to speaking with you about this in more detail upon our arrival. Reemer out."
The Lowell sent the coordinates to the hospital ship over to Reemer and Jordy's navigational computers. The fighters changed their course accordingly and moments later the two men had reached the safety of the Earth fleet.
Meanwhile the Galman fleet had arrived at the Omega's location. The large attack force spread out and began to open fire on the Space Battleship Omega. Laser blasts soared through space and collided with the Earth ship. Explosions erupted as the Omega began to get pelted by the Galman ships. A laser blast struck the underneath portion of the Omega and an observation deck was blown to bits. Another laser blast hit the Omega's port side wing and it was obliterated.
But Captain Taylor still had some fight left in him. He continued to fire all of the ship's functioning guns. Some of the shots hit their targets while others missed completely. Despite his attempt to fight back, he was hopelessly outgunned, outnumbered and outmatched. The Galman ships struck with precision and destroyed nearly all of the Omega's weapons. The ship's emergency systems kicked in but they couldn't keep up as the damage was too severe. Taylor looked at his computer screen and realized that he was just about finished. He diverted all remaining power to the environmental controls on the bridge and then surveyed the Galman fleet.
He quickly located the Galman flagship and then punched its coordinates into the guidance systems of the Omega. The ship quickly changed course and began to head straight for the flagship. He sat back in his chair and quietly waited for the end.
On the bridge of the Lowell the crew braced for war. They had been watching the situation between the Galmans and the Omega unfold on their large video panel. They were still a few minutes from the Omega's location and could only watch helplessly as the Omega was being blown to bits.
"Captain, the Omega has set a collision course with the Galman Flagship." The radar technician reported.
"Signal the fleet to battle stations and increase engine output to one hundred percent." Captain Roarke ordered. "We are not losing that ship!"
The showdown was about to begin.
Aboard the Hospital Transport, Reemer and Jordy had been housed in a small five meter square room with air tight glass walls and doors. The room had a very small living area with two beds, a couch and a tiny bathroom. They had had their blood tested and scanned repeatedly for the past two hours. The initial reports had been good but the doctors weren't taking any chances with their potentially lethal patients.
A short, plump doctor walked up to Reemer. He was wearing a large white suit that protected him from any germs or viruses that may be floating in the air. The doctor reached down and took Reemer's pulse. He nodded approvingly and then proceeded to do the same to Jordy. He then pulled out a stethoscope, checked the men's lungs, walked over to a computer and began to input the latest data into the Earth Defense Organization's main health database.
"The news is good gentlemen," said the doctor with a smile. "The virus has been obliterated in your bodies. A small amount of the antidote from the vial you brought us has been tested and the results match the antibodies in your bloodstream. This means that if you both stay alive, we will have enough of the antidote to last a lifetime. The bad news is that we would like to keep you in quarantine for at least three months. That's about it fellas. I need to run and get prepared for possible casualties. Please do not leave this room."
The doctor left the room and closed the glass door behind him. He entered a smaller air tight room where he was blasted by invisible rays that destroyed any bacteria on his protective suit. Once that process was complete, he took his large white suit off and then hung it on a hook on the wall adjacent to the door.
An approving alarm went off and the doctor opened the outer door and left the small room. He walked over to a small table with various testing equipment and a small vial. The doctor picked up the vial, put it in a shock proof container and placed it in a small refrigeration unit. The doctor then opened an outer door and disappeared through the entrance.
Reemer watched the whole process with great interest.
Captain Taylor's oxygen supply was slowly being cut off. The virus had swelled his trachea to the point where he could barely breathe. His face had begun to turn a slight shade of blue. His last command of the Space Battleship Omega had sent the ship on a kamikaze mission straight towards the Galman flagship. But the Galman fleet had other plans. They surrounded the Earth ship.
The first Galman ship opened fire followed by a second and then a third. The shots hit the Omega's aft section causing a massive explosion. The blast ripped through the ship's engine room crippling the vessel. The Omega came to a halt just short of the Galman flagship. Heart broken at the loss of his crew and disappointed by his mission's failure, Captain Taylor gave up the fight. He vision turned black as he lost consciousness and the Galman ships prepared to fire the final death blow.
The Earth fleet arrived at the Omega's coordinates but was it too late? The Omega was badly damaged and would not survive another attack. It was completely surrounded and the two worlds were on the brink of interstellar war for the second time in nearly a decade.
"Captain, the Omega is crippled and the Galmans are preparing to finish her off." The Lowell's First Officer reported. "We are all set to counterattack."
Roarke was ready to fight. "All ships prepare to fire on my order!"
But before the Lowell's Captain could give the order a tall, blue skinned man with a mustache appeared on the Lowell's huge video screen. The man appeared to have been in a battle and was bleeding from the arm.
"Attention all Galman and Earth ships. I am General Talan Masterson. I have orders from Emperor Desslok. He is requesting that both sides cease any and all aggressions and immediately work together for peace. There have been reports circulating of Emperor Desslok's death. I can assure you, those reports are erroneous."
Talan's face disappeared from the screen and moments later, the Galman fleet began to pull away from the Omega's location.
The crew of the Lowell and the rest of the Earth fleet breathed a huge sigh of relief.
On the hospital transport, Jordy and Reemer waited anxiously for news on the Omega. Jordy sat solemnly on his bed. Thoughts of regret and hatred coursed through his veins. He felt guilty that he was forced to take the viral antidote while the rest of the crew died horribly painful deaths.
Reemer had been pacing for the past half hour and Jordy had finally lost his patience.
"Will you quit pacing back and forth!" Jordy yelled. "You are going to wear out the floor."
Reemer stopped and pointed his finger at Jordy.
"You think it is easy for me to sit here while the Captain is out there dying? He's given his life for us and all you can do is sit there! How dare you criticize me!"
"You think you are the only one who is hurting?" Jordy asked. "I miss Comet and all of the others too. There's nothing we can do about it."
An announcement over the ship's intercom system interrupted their argument.
"Attention all hands! Stand down battle stations. Prepare rescue craft for the Space Battleship Omega."
Reemer had heard enough. He rushed to the door and opened it. Jordy jumped off the bed and grabbed his friend by the arm.
"What are you doing Reemer? You can't leave the room. We've been ordered to stay here in quarantine!"
"They've ordered a rescue mission to the Omega." Reemer answered. "I'm going to help the Captain."
"Then I'm coming with you." Jordy said.
"I'm sorry Jordy, but one of us has to stay here."
"What do you mean?" Jordy asked.
"We both carry the antidote to the Bollar Virus." Reemer answered. "One of us must live and make it back to Earth."
"You're not leaving here without me." Jordy said stubbornly.
"I know," said Reemer apologetically. "Please forgive me."
Reemer punched his best friend across the jaw knocking him out. He carefully placed Jordy on his bed, left the room and closed the door. Reemer grabbed the white clean suit off of the hook and quickly put it on. He opened the outer door and stepped into the testing room and closed the door behind him. He opened the small refrigeration unit, grabbed the vial of antidote in the shock proof container and then quickly scanned the room. He saw a small bag on the floor and filled it with a few syringes and the container carrying the antidote and then rushed out of the room.
As people hurried around the hangar they failed to notice Reemer in his white suit. He made his way to the flight deck and climbed aboard his fighter. It had been refueled and was ready to fly. He sat down and closed the cockpit and stabilized the environment by pressing a button on the control panel. When the cockpit was air tight he tore the white suit off and stuffed it behind his seat. He put on his helmet and placed the bag containing the antidote in his lap. Within moments he was sailing out of the hospital transport ship.
The Lowell had been alerted to Reemer's escape and shortly after takeoff Reemer received a transmission in his helmet's intercom system. He leaned over and pressed the receive button.
"Deputy Captain Reemer, what are you doing?" Captain Roarke asked. "You are supposed to be in quarantine!"
"Captain, nobody in the fleet knows the Omega better than I do." Reemer replied. "I am going to find Captain Taylor."
"We will handle the rescue operation." Roarke answered. "Please return at once."
"Negative Captain. By the time your rescue crew arrives and gets properly suited up it may already be too late. Not to mention the trouble they are going to face as they try to maneuver through the ship in those bulky suits. Captain Taylor's life depends on a quick operation. I am sorry Sir but we have a better chance at success if I do this alone."
Reemer turned off his radio transmitter and raced to the Omega.
Reemer pulled alongside the Omega. It was critically damaged and debris surrounded the ship. He cut power to his fighter's engines and drifted towards the Omega. Once near the bridge, he fired his plane's tow cable and the magnetic end of the long rope secured itself nicely to the hull.
He grabbed the bag containing the antidote and opened the cockpit. He stood up on the seat and pushed himself towards a large hole near the ship's bridge. He floated effortlessly through space towards the opening and came to a stop when he hit the hull. He worked his way inside and then pulled himself along by using a railing that lined a long hallway. The hallway ended at a doorway to a small room. Reemer opened the door and a small gust of air puffed out. He stepped inside the room and then closed the door. There was a door right in front of him that lead to a rear entrance of the bridge.
He opened the door and was relieved to see that the environmental controls on the bridge were still intact. He rushed over to the Captain who was unconscious on the ground. He wasn't breathing and his face was a dark shade of blue. Reemer checked for a pulse. It was faint and fading quickly.
Reemer started CPR but there was no response. Reemer stopped and punched Taylor in the chest. Nothing happened. He did it again and a large chunk of phlegm shot out of Taylor's mouth and a small gasp of air escaped the Captain's lungs. Reemer reached for his bag, pulled out a syringe and opened the shock proof container. He pushed the needle into the vial and pulled back every drop of the antidote. He ripped Taylor's shirt off and then injected the antidote into the Captain's arm. Once that was done, Reemer continued CPR.
"Come on Captain!" Reemer yelled. "Fight it Captain! Fight!"
After a few minutes, Reemer began to tire. He was about to lose all hope until a loud gurgle and cough erupted from the Captain's chest. Another loud cough followed by a large eruption of food spewed out of Taylor's mouth onto Reemer's uniform. Taylor began to breathe on his own and his color appeared to be returning to normal.
Tears of joy began to flow down Reemer's face.
After a few moments, Reemer looked down in disbelief.
Another uniform had bit the dust.