What happened in the year 30-31 A.R. (After Reestablishment) that threatened to shatter Garrett and Pon’s new marriage before it even had a chance to flower? Can a child rescued from certain death at the hands of the local Guardians on Goliath’s Third Moon be the catalyst to save their marriage?
Meanwhile we are led to the rainy, dank planet of Walh. The ruling family has found out disturbing information about Targus which will send the M.T. team spiraling out of control.
It is only through Terrell's inherited ability to learn languages and his persistence that Targus may escape his fate in a society that is scarcely more than medieval in its technology. But, in order for Terrell to save his captain he must resurrect and conquer the hidden demons he has tried so hard to bury.
Terrell heard the ship's intercom come on. Targus and Coal once asked how he knew to answer before either one of them spoke over the ship's communications system. He said he could hear it sigh as it came on. He didn't need to wait to hear their voices.
"Yes?" he answered to the un-asking voice.
"Terrell switch your monitor to standard. I want you to be in on this incoming call." It was an order from Targus, not a request. The M.T. Captain had been giving far more ‘orders’ than usual lately.
Terrell switched over to the main incoming channel. A middle aged, alien man's face appeared on the screen. He was obviously distraught.
"I have our Medical Expert on now. Terrell, this is Captain Yakutis. His trade vessel struck a small cruiser sitting too close to the exit of a window. The cruiser was totally destroyed along with her crew. The Captain's wife and nine year old son are onboard. The boy has been injured." Targus explained.
"Can you give me his condition?" Terrell asked.
The Captain aboard the trade vessel wiped his sweaty brow with one of his four hands. "He's unconscious. Neither my wife nor I were with him at the time of the accident, but it looks as though something hit him. He has a large lump on the side of his head."
"How long has he been out?"
"About thirty minutes. It took Galactic Headquarters awhile to track down the closest M.T. Unit."
"How soon can we be there, Cap?" Terrell asked.
"In another thirty."
"Keep him warm. Notify me if there is any change in his condition." Terrell advised.
"Please hurry," the Captain pleaded.
"The ship's hull was breached. It's losing integrity. It could explode anytime," Targus said, as he gazed through narrowed eyes, straining to get a glimpse of the vessel their instruments told them was directly ahead. "Yakutis says the whole cargo shifted and is piled on the only pod they have. There's no getting it out." Targus nudged the M.T. Unit into the top range of its speed. "If we don't get there soon we'll lose all three of them."
"There she is Cap." Coal pointed to a small speck far off in the distance through the front viewport.
"Get your gear, Terrell. You and I will go aboard while Coal monitors the ship's integrity from here."
Terrell eased the boy's head over to one side to have a better look at the egg sized lump as the onboard computer of the ship announced for what seemed like the hundredth time, ‘The integrity of the ship has been breached. All personnel should evacuate immediately!’
"Yakutis went back to the cargo bay to see if he could get the inside doors closed. He thought it might help the ship last a little longer," the mother explained to Targus. "I told him we should stay together, but he wouldn't listen. The computer is locked into the evacuation mode. I haven't been able to communicate with him since he left."
Targus looked over Terrell's shoulder as he applied the cranial pads. "How's the boy?"
"I'll have him stabilized in a few minutes, Cap."
"Good. Get them onboard. I'll go after Yakutis."
Coal's voice came over the tiny listening devices inserted in Targus' and Terrell's ears. "Cap she's breaking up fast. You two better put a move on."
"Right!" Targus turned back to Terrell. "Get them in the pod and over to the ship."
Terrell came to his feet. "I'm not leaving you," he said assertively.
"That was an order Doctor. Not a request." Targus fixed Terrell with a steely gaze, then spun round on his heel and hurried down the corridor toward the cargo bay.
Yakutis removed the last of the debris blocking the cargo bay doors. He didn't see the leaking canister of highly volatile delthenium gas. He couldn't smell the odorless, potentially explosive fumes. As he pulled the damaged doors shut, with all the strength of his four arms, he created enough friction to ignite the gas. He never knew what killed him.
"What was that?" Coal asked anxiously in Terrell's Ear. "I just read a big explosion."
Terrell clenched his teeth to activate the small disc mike implanted by his jaw just below the ear.
"I don't know, but it rocked the whole ship." Terrell handed the boy in to his mother aboard the pod. "Cap? Are you all right?" There was no response. "Cap?" Still nothing. "Coal do you still have a reading on Cap?"
"Yes. But I can't raise him either.”
Terrell turned to the woman as she appeared at the door of the pod again with apprehension written all over her face. "Can you fly a pod?"
"Yes, but my husband..." she stammered.
"You get you and your son to safety. I'll go get your husband and the Captain. Sergeant Coal will come back for us." Without waiting for a reply Terrell shut the pod door from the outside. "I'm sending the woman and child over, Coal. I'm going to find Cap."
"I'll be back over for you as soon as I can get them off the pod. Make it snappy, Terrell. That explosion didn't help any. She's coming apart at the seams." Coal inserted his 'Ear' and headed for the landing bay.
Terrell fought his way over the debris in the general direction he thought Targus went. He could see that the corridor was blocked ahead. As he clambered over a large piece of what looked like part of the ceiling, he heard a moan below the almost deafening sound of the computer's automatic warning system and the general din of the ship pulling itself apart. He started lifting rubble frantically in the direction of the sound. He almost stepped on Yakutis' body. Targus was only a few feet to his left, half buried under the remainder of the ceiling and part of the adjoining wall.
"Cap?" Terrell ran his scanner over Targus. He was so relieved to find him alive. His leg was cut and he was unconscious, but no major injuries that he could detect He must have been saved from the brunt of the explosion by the wall. Terrell gave him an injection to bring him around.
"Cap?" Terrell said in a tone of concern.
The big Walhmite Captain's eyes fluttered open. "Terrell?"
"I'll have you out in a minute." Terrell started to work on removing more of the debris that had Targus pinned to the floor.
"Yakutis?" Targus asked.
"He's dead. Killed in the explosion."
Targus grabbed Terrell's sleeve. "You've got to get out of here!"
"I couldn't even if I wanted to. The pod is gone. Now let me go so I can get you free.... Coal? I found Cap. We'll be at the second bay in five minutes."
"I'll be there, but you better make it four. Fives about all I figure she's got before she lets go and we all go with her."
"Right!" Terrell cleared the last with Targus' help. He assisted the big man to his feet.
"I'm fine." Targus shrugged off the helping hand. "Let's get out of here." He headed for the bay and the awaiting pod.
They barely cleared the ship before it exploded.
"You're to follow orders Doctor or you'll be replaced!" Targus almost shouted as he hobbled away from the pod toward his cabin.
"Oh and by the way, thanks for saving my life." Terrell mumbled sarcastically under his breath. He turned to Coal as the Sergeant disembarked from the pod onto the M.T. bay. "What's got into Cap lately? I haven't been able to do anything right in weeks. He's always finding something to yell at me about."
Coal just shrugged his shoulders as he made his way past Terrell to follow their captain into the ship.