Post New Generation
Scott Bernard returns to Earth after almost two years stranded on Mars, determined to find Marlene and gain her forgiveness.
Scott must face his mistakes and confront a powerful enemy to protect his love interest and his friends.
A dramatic turn of events seals the fate of all characters.
Back to Earth
After being stranded on Mars for almost two years, Scott is eager to return to Earth. Something other than memories will be left behind.
Somewhere on Mars, the battle raged on. Delta squadron was locked in combat with a horde of Invid. They were outnumbered and desperately outgunned when Falcon squadron came to their aid.
"This is Falcon squadron to all deltas, hold on there. We are coming to help you," said Captain Scott Bernard. "All falcons, stay in formation until my order, then proceed with assigned combat strategy."
"Yes sir!" all falcons responded in unison.
"Now we'll see what you are capable of", thought the captain. The squadron was closing on the battle scene fast when Scott gave the signal. "Now! Switch to battleloid and engage the enemy."
The team followed the attack plan. The falcons had to relieve the deltas and secure a passage to the Invid main troop carrier. Explosives would be planted to destroy their central control putting the horde in disarray.
Scott's battleloid took on an enforcer and dispatched him just on time to dodge the annihilation disks of another. The Invid kept coming at him. He fired onto an Invid shock trooper that had Corporal Dawson pinned down. Scott managed to see Dawson jumping off the way of the debris when a huge blast knocked him and a nearby enforcer off. He landed on his back and passed out trapped under the damaged Invid mecha. He regained consciousness only to see one blurry armored scout coming to finish him up. Dawson glanced in Scott's direction and noticed his predicament.
"I'm coming to help you sir."
"No Dawson, stick to the plan, I'll take care of this," commanded Scott in the intercom as he fiercely tried to free himself.
"Sir you need help, I'm on my way," insisted Dawson approaching.
"Hey Dawson you're supposed to cover my back!" yelled James.
"Go back! Dawson, damn it!" roared Scott as he freed himself and shot through the eye of the approaching Invid. He turned to check on James, but it was too late; James was blasted into oblivion and Dawson let out a loud growl, her guardian hit by an annihilation disk.
"Exercise terminated," said the synthetic voice of the training computer. "Proceed to review room A3."
Scott walked into the review room furious. He removed some pieces of his armor and dropped them on a table. The team was lined up in front of him. He walked around and yelled "Dawson!"
"Yes sir", managed to say Dawson standing in front of Scott and shaking lightly.
"What the hell where you thinking by disobeying a direct order!" Scott's eyes pierced Dawson. "Do you think that because this was a training mission rules could be broken? Your incompetence surprises me. I don't understand how did you graduate from the academy!"
"I'm sorry sir," she replied completely embarrassed.
"You are lucky I'm not sending you to the brig!"
"Yes sir, thank you sir," she said totally humiliated.
James let out a faint smile that Scott caught.
"Wipe that smile off your face James! You didn't do much better yourself!" Scott yelled.
"Yes sir, sorry sir," said James, his teeth clenched.
"All of you will report here tomorrow at 0600 hours to go over attack rules and retake this exercise. Dismissed," barked Scott.
Dawson was the first to run out.
The falcons left and Captain Bernard's frowning expression relaxed.
"Another rough day," he thought. On his way out of the room, Scott saw a private waiting for him.
Scott nodded, "at ease."
"Colonel Jackson wishes to see you in his office as soon as possible"
"Thanks," said Scott.
Some of the falcons were still in the hallway and heard the message. "Dawson messed it really bad this time. The captain's been called in by Jackson!"
Dawson entered her quarters, looking depressed. "At least now I have his attention!" she thought as she sighed and leaned her back on the door. "Who I'm kidding... in his eyes I'm the worst pilot in the base!" "You are a screw up Dawson," she said to herself.
It had been months since Jackson had called Scott Bernard to his office. The last time he talked to the colonel was just after the SDF-3 defolded in sol space. Scott worked non-stop to track down the whereabouts of his hero admiral Hunter and the colonel appreciated his unwavering dedication. He also ignored the fact that Scott's determination was his only way to escape torturing memories.
That last conversation did not end well.
After the mutual congratulations were over, Scott made the mistake of talking about returning to Earth. Jackson almost had a meltdown. He cut Scott off with a speech about duty and responsibility. However, his effort did not deter Scott from requesting a transfer. After that, Scott seldom saw Jackson and felt the colonel was avoiding him.
"Why is Jackson calling me now? Could there be any trouble with the SDF-3 or admiral Hunter?" he wondered. The ship had been stationed near the moon for a while. "The last thing I knew was that the Admiral was on Luna Base with his family. Nah... It can't be that." Scott thought while he walked through the intricate network of glass and metal tunnels of Mars Base.
Jackson's aide greeted Scott. "The colonel is waiting for you captain," she declared and led Scott to the colonel's private office. She announced the Captain; he stepped in. The colonel was sitting behind his desk with his chair turned away from it. He faced the window and a massive red Martian landscape.
"Captain Bernard to report sir," said Scott and saluted.
"At ease," replied Jackson. He turned, grabbed a paper and then looked at Scott. "Bernard, I'm holding in my hands a request you made to be transferred to Earth."
Scott remembered his request, it had been nine months and he hadn't gotten an answer.
"Off-Earth bases like Luna and Mars are in desperate need of trained officers, captain, while on Earth..." the colonel paused, "the military are not seen with good eyes."
"I'm aware of that sir," replied Scott.
"Why do you want to be transferred Bernard?" inquired Jackson.
"Personal reasons," said Scott plainly.
The colonel examined Scott's inexpressive features deeply. After a few seconds, he placed the paper on the table just in front of him. "Very well captain." There was a long awkward pause.
"It is hopeless, he is not going to let me off. I will resign if I have to," Scott thought annoyed. He broke the silence "Is there anything else sir?"
The colonel relaxed on his chair. "Actually, Bernard, Earth base New Liberty has requested an officer with your qualifications," Jackson replied. Scott's jaw dropped. "I suppose you are interested?" added Jackson.
"I can't believe it! He finally gave in," thought Scott amazed.
"Bernard, are you interested?" insisted Jackson.
"Yes sir!" Scott said snapping out of his surprise.
Jackson signed the paper in front of him. "Well Bernard, with this signature your transfer documents are complete. Your new assignment starts in seven days. You might leave Mars Base at any time starting now." He handed a speechless Scott the signed order. The colonel started to turn in his chair to look at the vast deserted Martian landscape once more but stopped midway. "Take a few days off; you seem to need them, captain," he said glancing in Scott's direction. Scott hesitated to leave. "Do you have anything else to say Bernard?"
"May I ask who is taking command of my unit sir?"
"Hmmm, what do you think of Lieutenant Commander Bryant, Bernard?"
"He is an excellent leader and a fine pilot, not to mention his devotion towards duty," said Scott.
"I agree," answered Jackson.
"If you don't mind, sir, I would like to inform the squadron personally," said Scott.
"Go ahead Bernard."
“Thank you sir," Scott said and saluted.
The Colonel nodded. "Good luck in your new assignment, Bernard."
Scott left the office.
Mars' red surface reflected on Jackson's face as he called his aide on the intercom. "Get me Bryant ASAP."
Dawson, James and other members of the Falcon squadron were relaxing at the pilots' favorite lounge.
"So Jackson called Bernard in?" asked a worried Dawson.
"Yup, and the Captain didn't look happy," said Corporal Harris.
"Oh no," said Dawson.
"Don't worry Dawson, if he takes it out on you, it can't be much worse than this morning," said James teasingly.
"Very funny James," said Dawson. "I think I better leave, it is late," she added.
"Cinderella is turning into a pumpkin?" asked James sarcastically.
"Cut it off James," she answered. "Captain Bernard wants us ready by 0600 and I don't want to make a fool of myself again!" said Dawson.
James smiled. "Don't sweat it Dawson. Bernard can be a pain in the ass following rules but as a superior officer he is pretty fair, one of the best I've ever known."
Dawson still looked worried. "Take it easy Cinderella, you will be okay tomorrow," said James in a fake paternal tone and messed Kelly Dawson's hair with his hand.
"Stop it, I hate when you do that," she said frowning and trying to stop him. Just then, Private Cooper joined the group and announced the latest news.
"Did you hear guys? Captain Bernard is being transferred to Earth!"
"What? Why?" said Dawson shocked.
"You are kidding, right?" said James.
"Hell no!" Cooper said defensively. "Yours truly just got the gossip out of corporal Railly, who serves under Lieutenant Commander Bryant, who will replace Bernard as leader of the falcons," he finished out of breath.
All present falcons were shocked. "It can't be," let out Dawson and left hurriedly.
"Wait, Dawson! What's the matter?" yelled James, but she didn't stop. "The guy chewed her up so bad this morning. She should be happy that he is leaving. Oh ... brother," he thought.
"It can't be... he can't be leaving," thought Dawson in anguish as she rushed trough the hallways. "It's all my fault!"
Scott was clearing his locker when a young pilot approached him.
"So Jackson finally caved in and let you go, Scott?" said Lieutenant Commander Alex Bryant while patting Scott on the back.
"Hey Alex, I guess Jackson told you?" ventured Scott.
"I just left his office and was on my way to talk to you. By the way, thanks for recommending me for leading the falcons," the Lieutenant said.
Alex Bryant was one of the few friends Scott has on the Base. He had grown to appreciate Alex's trustworthiness and positive attitude as well his remarkable combat skills.
"You don't have to thank me, you are the most qualified officer for the job," said Scott.
"I'll do my best, Scott, but it'll be hard to fill in your shoes.
"I'm sure you'll do fine," said Scott finishing up.
The men started walking through the hallway. "Man, you must be excited. You are finally getting a chance to fix things. What are your plans for when you arrive on New Liberty?" asked Alex.
Scott looked uneasy. "I'm not sure where I'm going to start exactly. I just sent an e-mail to my friend Lancer telling him about the transfer and asking if he can help out. It's been so long ... I can't believe it's really happening."
"No kidding!" said Alex.
"It took nine months for Jackson to sign the damn paper. All this time my request was laying on his desk.”
"I bet he run out of excuses to delay it," said Alex.
"It might be too late, now," Scott mumbled gloomily.
They stopped in front of Scott's quarters.
"Have a little faith Scott, you can't make things work out with that negative attitude," said Alex. Scott sighed.
"Cheer up Bernard, you got your wish after all, and you didn't even have to fake Martian dust insanity syndrome or even hold Jackson's daughter hostage," the Lieutenant joked. Scott laughed, thinking that he was about to resign over it. "Good luck with everything and remember you have a friend in me if you ever need anything, even kidnapping," Alex added.
"Thanks Bryant, the same here," Scott answered, shaking Alex's hand.
"Come back visit sometime and bring her," Alex said with a grin, then he walked away.
Scott was almost finished packing. There never had been much in his tiny Martian quarters.
"With luck I will get an e-mail from Lancer soon. Maybe I will manage to get in the shuttle at 0700 hours," he thought.
He took a book from his drawer. Something accidentally fell out of it and landed on the floor. He got down to pick it up and realized it was the photograph of him hugging Marlene that Sue Graham took back in the freedom-fighting days. Lancer had sent it to him months earlier. He loved that picture and thanked Lancer deeply, but seeing it always made him helplessly long for what he had lost. He had hidden the picture in the book and it stayed there ever since. He was about to put it in his bag when he heard someone at his door.
"Who can it be? It is almost midnight." He put the picture back in the book and held it.
"Who is it?" he called out.
"Corporal Dawson, sir," a shy voice answered.
Scott opened the door. His look changed from mild annoyance to curiosity when he saw Kelly Dawson standing there. She seemed to be having trouble breathing and her eyes were slightly irritated.
"Are you all right, Dawson?" She looked at him without answering.
Scott had never noticed Dawson's big blue eyes before. She had changed her uniform for a light blue sweater and a black short skirt with matching stockings. Her medium long strait hair looked slightly messy.
"I'm sorry, I know it's late," she said.
He noticed the sadness in her voice and felt somehow guilty. "Look Dawson," he started, "If it is about this morning..."
"I should have never disobeyed a direct order, captain," she interrupted. "I just heard the news of your departure and..." she paused, "and... I'm so sorry to have caused you trouble with Colonel Jackson."
Scott was surprised that the news was already circulating. "Oh, I understand. My departure has nothing to do with what happened this morning, Dawson. I... I..." he said but hesitated to explain his reasons.
She was relieved and stayed silent for a while. She noticed Scott stammering and felt curious about his motives to leave. "Can I ask you why are you leaving, sir?" she inquired.
"Hmm ... there is just something I have to take care of on Earth," he answered avoiding her eyes.
Dawson knew Scott Bernard's personal life was a mystery. He did not have many friends and mostly kept to himself. She had to find out more about him. But for now, this was her chance to tell him what was in her heart, no matter the consequences. She gathered all her strength to speak.
"Sir, I realize I might never see you again, I ... I have to tell you..." she stopped feeling weak in the knees. "What I'm doing? I can't tell him!" she thought and noticed the astonished look in his eye. "Shit, what do I say now?" Her mind was running. "Think! Dawson, think!" she told herself. A few seconds passed and then she continued, "what an honor it's been serving under your command. All the falcons are going to miss you ,sir," she finished with a broken voice.
Scott blinked relieved although he couldn't shake the funny feeling he had about Dawson' nervousness. He softened and said, "I wanted to inform the squad myself. I guess there are no secrets on this base. Thank you Dawson, you are an outstanding soldier; you'll go far... I'm sorry I was so rough on you.” Dawson was about to interrupt, but he stopped her. "I appreciate you wanting to come to my aid. I would have done the same if I had been in your position." He offered her a hand. She smiled faintly.
"Sir, you can always count on me," she said taking his hand and squeezing it tightly. Scott didn't know what to make out of it. Noticing his confusion, Kelly pulled him towards her and kissed him on the mouth. Scott eyes were about to pop when she let go of him. She saluted and ran away before he could figure out what to say.
"I must find out why he is going to Earth," Dawson thought. "We will meet again."
Back in his room, Scott was confused. He was placing the book in his bag when his e-mail program suddenly prompted: "You have one new message, captain Bernard."
Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2046
Subject: Re: Back to Earth
Scott, buddy! What a surprise! It is fantastic that you are finally coming back. The gang will be delighted. I'm dropping Rand and Rook an e-mail right away.
I'll call Lunk as soon as I can. With such short notice I wont manage to prepare a welcome party, but don't worry we'll get to it.
Sera and I have plenty of room in our apartment. You're staying with us until your new assignment starts. That is final! Don't even bother making hotel reservations. You'll love it here. I know you are quite fond of the Martian bareness, but you have to see New York. It'll get into your blood.
Oh, about the favor you asked me. It was about time! However, I think you have some explaining to do... I can almost see your sulking face... don't worry Scott, I'll help; it'll be easier than you think ;).
We have lots to talk about, old friend. I'll pick you up at the spaceport at 1700. Use exit 23.
At 0700 Scott and the falcons were together one last time. Dawson was missing. After their mutual farewells, he left.
He walked towards the shuttle bay, bag to his shoulder. Kelly Dawson's kiss crossed his mind. He looked through the glass structure at the bright blue dot that Earth represented in the sea of stars. "A few more hours," he thought as he was transported by an automatic passenger platform into the shuttle.
Corporal Kelly Dawson was sitting in the observation deck when the shuttle departed. Her eyes were fixed on it. James walked towards her.
"Look what I found! The missing falcon," he said playfully. Kelly gasped startled.
"Are you stalking people now?" she asked mildly annoyed. James just chuckled and came closer.
"Leave me alone James," she said. He sat besides her.
"You have it in for Bernard. You disappoint me Dawson. I thought you had better taste," he said teasingly.
"Shut up! You know nothing and it is non of your business!" she said angrily.
"Maybe," he continued, "but I care." She was surprised by his words.
"Being here won't do any good ... he's gone," James said. "Come on!" he added and pulled her by the arm. She grudgingly followed.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"Simulation deck," he replied with a smirk.
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