“Interesting, Koenig.” He sneered. His grip tightened on Helena’s upper arm. “How you reacted when I grabbed
her.” He smiled mischievously. “Is there something going on between you two? Maybe something you don’t want the
rest of Alpha to know about?”
John slowly clicked the setting on his stun gun to ‘kill’. “Let her go Ranton.”
“There is something going on, isn’t there?” His smile widened as his grip tightened. “Something romantic, perhaps?
I believe I may be right. Although I would like it if you could confirm it for me. Please, tell all of Alpha about your
relationship with such a beautiful lady, Koenig.”
“They all know.” Helena tried to say calming, although she faltered slightly.
“Silence woman!” Ranton pressed the alien gun tighter to her stomach. Suddenly he realized what she had said.
Helena shot a panicked glance at John. But she was stuck now. “He’s my husband.” She answered him quietly.
Ranton’s eyes widened. “You’re married.” His smile never faltered. He had given up on John but kept a close eye
on the stun gun. “Do you have any children?”
Helena didn’t move. She kept her eyes and face as blank as possible. Ranton pulled her closer to, and she had no
choice but to look at him.
“You do realize Doctor Rus…” he stopped himself, “Koenig, that I know children are the biggest weakness,
especially to mothers? It wouldn’t take much to search your quarters. A child’s room is very distinct. And you also
realize that, if you have any, I could as easily kill you right now as I could kill your children.”
Helena couldn’t help but react to that. She looked at her husband, panicking slightly. “John…”
“Ranton let her go, now.” John began to press the button to fire.
“Ah, ah, ah.” He stopped him. “You kill me, I’ll kill her. That would leave you a widower and your children without a
mother.” After he was sure John wasn’t going to shoot, Ranton turned back to Helena. “How many are there?”
Helena kept her mouth shut, and Ranton could see she wouldn’t tell him anything unless he threatened her. “If you
don’t tell me Doctor I will kill you, then I will kill Koenig, and then your children. No one will stop me; I’m still a friend
here on Alpha. So… how many children do you have again?”
“Two.” She said quietly.
“And their names and ages?” He insisted.
“Catie is 4. And Victor is 10 months.”
“They’re very young. I can see why you gave in so easily.” He smiled at John, his hand still gripped on her upper
arm. "And I can only assume they are yours also.”
“Of course.” John said hardly.
“I think I’d like to meet your children.” He walked to the main Medical Center door. “Oh, and Koenig,” he turned
around, “if you try to stop me, I’ll kill her, and the children.”
Before the door closed behind them, Helena yelled to John. “John, get Catie and Victor out!”
John almost ran to the compost. Ranton had left in search of Catie and Victor Koenig with Helena as his hostage.
He resisted the urge to hit something. ‘I should have never brought her to Medical Center,’ he thought angrily. ‘I
knew it was deserted. I should have known better with a new alien on the base. Now he's after Catie and Victor.
What could he possibly want? Money? We don’t have that, no need for it. Supplies? We can’t spare anymore than
we already have. Maybe,’ he dreaded ‘Ranton wants something we simply can’t give him. Maybe he wants…’
John’s thoughts were interrupted by a voice on the compost. “Commander, what can I do for you?” There was a
pause. “Commander, are you alright?”
“Annette I want Catie and Victor Koenig escorted to Command Center by two security guards. If they meet Ranton
or Doctor Koenig get them out, fast!”
Annette Fraser barely had time to say “Yes Commander,” before John broke communications.
Ranton forced Helena to face him. “Where are they?”
Helena glanced at the gun. “At home.”
“Which way is it?”
“That way.” Helena nodded to the longest route to her family’s quarters.
He eyed her to see if she was lying. He seemed to accept it. As he dragged her along the corridor, the compost
screen all the way down suddenly showed John’s face.
“Attention all Alpha personnel.” He announced. “Ranton has taken Doctor Russell-Koenig hostage. I want all
security guards on alert.”
At this Ranton stopped in front of a compost, starred at the screen and pressed the gun into her stomach.
“Do not shoot. I repeat, do not shoot. Security is to protect anyone that is not one of his hostages.”
Ranton whirled Helena around again and marched down the corridor. “Your husband is smart, Doctor.”
John continued. “All children are to be kept in training or care centers.”
Ranton stopped abruptly. “Where are your children, Doctor?”
Helena glanced at the compost ahead of them. “John…”
“He’s not here, he can’t defend you. Where are your children?”
“Why do they matter to you?”
“That’s not your concern right now.”
“It is my concern. What do you plan to do with us?”
Ranton dragged her down the opposite way. He knew where both the care and training centers were. “You told me
they were in your quarters.” He accused her. “Not that I didn’t expect you to lie to me. I planned for it. Soon you and
your children will learn respect for me.”
“What are you talking about? You’re crazy!” Helena purposefully tripped and dragged her feet.
They rounded the corner and stopped, almost running into two security guards and two small figures (the littlest
was held by one of the guards). All of them shouted at once except Ranton. Catie, the pale, blonde-haired, blue-
eyed four-year-old shouted as she realized who was in front of her. “Mommy!” Victor swayed in the security guard’s
arms as he stopped, his dark hair covered his head thickly and he simply squeaked a, “Ma.” Both security officers
yelled a surprised, “Doctor Russell!” Helena resisted the urge to hold her son and daughter, and instead
immediately instructed them. “Catie, Victor run! Go back to the care center!”
Ranton pulled Helena closer to him. “I told you not to fight my plan.” He pressed to gun into her stomach. He began
to press the trigger when he saw one of the security guards lift Catie and run down the hall followed closely by the
other. He quickly turned the gun on the security guards and pulled the trigger. This made the guards fall almost on
top of the children.
“Catie! Victor!” Helena almost screamed. Ranton let his grip slip as Helena ran to her children. She pried the one
officer off Victor, who was crying loudly, and pulled him up close to her. She did the same with a trembling Catie,
then, instinctively, checked the officer’s pulses. He had killed them. As Ranton approached them Helena held Catie
and Victor close to her. She starred at him hardly.
“You’re a strong woman, Helena Koenig. Your children will be strong also. You three will be perfect for me. For my
John nearly ran into Commander Center. “Where are Catie and Victor?”
“John, are you alright?” Tony immediately stepped toward his friend.
“Catie and Victor, where are they?!” John demanded.
“In the Care Center like you ordered.”
“I ordered two security guards to bring them here, remember?”
“I’m sorry John, they haven’t shown up yet. Is Helena alright?”
John never answered Tony. His eyes widened and he ran out of Command Center. He slowed his pace and pulled
his comlock off his belt. “Alan, if Ranton shows up there, don’t give him an Eagle, no matter what he says. Don’t let
him hurt Catie, Victor, or Helena. Try and stall him.”
“He has the kids now?” Alan Carter asked incredulously, thinking of his own two children, two-year-old Samantha
and four month old Paul.
“Yes. Alan, don’t let anything happen to them.”
“Of course not, John.”
John turned off the comlock and continued down the hall. He entered the travel tube and sat. But he quickly stood
again and began to pace the area. He couldn’t relax. The travel tube door opened and he stepped forward to find
Helena standing in front of the doors. She held Victor on her hip and held Catie’s hand. Ranton stood between
them with a gun to Helena’s back.
“Daddy…” Catie tried to walk towards her father, but Helena pulled her back.
Helena’s voice quivered a bit and she shook her head as she spoke. “I told you to get them out.”
She closed her eyes as Ranton spoke. “Koenig! What a pleasant surprise. I was just escorting Helena… Catie,
and…Victor to our Eagle.”
“You don’t have an Eagle, Ranton.” John said forcefully.
“But I do. I’ve already killed two of your security officers. I could just as easily kill them.”
“But you won’t.” Helena said coldly.
“I will if you give me cause.” He clicked a button upward to warn her.
Helena stiffened and tightened her grip on both her children.
“Your not the only family on Alpha. You’re the ideal, but not the only ones. I could take the Carter family,
but…what's her name…Sandra? She’s too high strung. I will, if any of you force me to, kill you.”
Helena, with a sudden burst of courage, spoke slowly. “Ranton, please, you can take me, but leave my children
“Alright Ranton, you want us to beg for mercy? Fine, you’ve got it. Please leave Helena and the children alone.
We'll give you supplies, anything.” John pleaded with a commanding voice.
Ranton laughed. “I never thought I’d see the day. You truly are a good man, Koenig. But I don’t deal with good
men. In fact, I don’t deal at all.” He shot the gun over Helena’s shoulder. The dark blue beam hit John in the chest
and he collapsed on the floor.
“John!” Helena began to step toward him when the click of the gun behind her sounded again.
“He isn’t dead. I just gave him a jolt. Get into the travel tube.”
Helena led Catie into the travel tube and the door slid behind them.
“Tony, stop that.” Maya told her husband in a monotone voice.
“I can’t stop.” Tony paced the center aisle of Command Center. “Where are they?”
As if in an answer to his question, Tony’s comlock beeped at him. Alan’s face appeared on the small screen. “Tony,
he’s got an Eagle!”
“How did he get it?!” Tony demanded angrily.
“He shot three of your security guards. I tried to stop him, but…”
Tony cut him off. “How is Helena?”
“She’s pretty shaken up. And Tony, he’s got the kids.”
“Tony! An Eagle is readied on launch pad 2.” Sandra called from her desk.
Tony turned off his comlock and looked around nervously.
“Tony, what’s happened?” Maya inquired.
“Ranton got Catie and Victor, and now he has an Eagle.”
Maya’s eyes widened. She spun in her chair and began to stand when Tony put his hand on her shoulder and
pushed her back down.
“Be sensible, Maya.” He looked around himself again. “He also has an Eagle and he knows you’re a Metamorph.
He'll be ready.”
“Well we can’t just sit here, Tony!”
“I know that!”
Helena sat in the far chair in the corner of the passenger Eagle. Catie and Victor sat on each of her knees. Both
children were leaned against her shoulder and tucked into her. Catie sat up just enough to look at her mother,
tears stained her already pale cheeks. “Mommy, what’s happening?”
“I’m not sure, baby.”
“Is Daddy okay?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is he going to die?”
“No, of course not.” Helens tried to smile.
“Are we ever going to go home again?”
“Aunt Maya and Uncle Tony will find a way.” Helena answered slowly. “We’ll be home soon.”
“I wish we were home now.” Catie fell into Helena and sobbed loudly.
“I know. I know.” She whispered.
The door to the cockpit slid open and Ranton stepped in. He looked at Helena and the two young children. He
rolled his eyes at Catie. “Doesn’t she ever stop?”
“She’s afraid! She’s afraid of you! Can’t you see that?!” Helena yelled.
Ranton walked over to the three. He smiled as he watched Helena pull herself and Catie and Victor closer to the
wall. He knelt next to Catie to be eye level with her. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. I’m your new father.”
He said in a menacingly soothing way.
Catie pulled herself away from him. “Your not my daddy.”
Ranton rolled his eyes again. He stood and began to walk back to the cockpit. He heard Catie start crying again
and he spun around. “I can’t take anymore of this!”
None of them saw the light blue beam that hit Catie in her side. The 4-year-old went limp in Helena’s arms. “Catie!”
Helena cried, tears quickly formed in her eyes and her face became hot. “Oh, Catie!” She checked her daughter’s
steady pulse. She pushed the girl’s hair out of the way as she stroked her face. Helena’s head snapped up and
she narrowed her eyes.
“I am their father.” He told her psychotically. “They will learn respect.” Ranton turned and walked back into the
Helena looked down at her unconscious daughter. She rocked her slightly. She closed her eyes and tried to stop
herself from crying.
Victor looked up at his mother, then at his sister, then back at Helena. “Da.” He said innocently.
Helena looked over to her ten-month-old son. ‘He looks so much like John,’ she thought. “Me too, Vic. Me too.”
Catie shivered uncontrollably under two emergency blankets, as she opened her eyes. She sat herself up against
the wall behind her. She looked around the passenger space of the Eagle. When she saw Victor curled in a chair,
she tried to stand, but her legs were limp. “Mommy.” She whimpered quietly. Catie tucked her knees into her chest
and covered herself with the two emergency blankets.
The door, opposite the cockpit, slid open and Helena stepped in. She looked over at Victor first to make sure he
was okay. Suddenly she heard a barely whispered, “Mommy.” Helena spun on her heel to face the opposite corner
from Victor. She almost launched herself at Catie. She was on her knees in a second, pulling the blankets tighter
around her daughter.
Catie immediately began to sob. “I want to go home, Mommy. Why can’t we go home? I want to see Daddy!”
Helena pulled Catie close to her. “So do I. But Catie, for right now we can’t see Daddy and we can’t go home.” She
wiped away a tear away from Catie’s face. “And we can’t cry.”
“Is that why he hurt me?”
Helena hesitantly answered. “Yes. And we don’t want that to happen again. So, no crying. I know it’s a lot to ask.
But I need you to be a big girl right now. Can you do that for me?”
Catie nodded solemnly.
“Okay.” Helena smiled. “I have to get some water from the back. I’ll only be gone two minute, okay?” Helena began
to stand when Catie grabbed her arm.
“Please don’t go, Mommy. Don’t leave me alone!”
“I have to go get water for us. We’ve had nothing for the past twelve hours.”
“Please don’t leave me, Mommy.” Catie pleaded quietly.
Suddenly Helena heard moaning coming from the seats. She turned to Catie. “Why don’t you sit with your brother?”
“Okay.” Catie squeaked.
Helena lifted Catie with slight difficulty. She could never comprehend how John held her with such ease. She set
her in the chair next to Victor, then grabbed the blankets and laid them over her. “There.” She whispered. “Are you
comfortable?” ‘That’s a stupid question,’ Helena thought to herself.
Catie nodded and curled herself into a ball. She heard Helena open and close the door, then she turned her
attention back to Victor.
Almost instantaneously after the door closed behind Helena, the door to the cockpit opened and Ranton stepped
inside. He smiled, seeing that Catie and Victor were alone. He approached them slowly, so they wouldn’t alarm
Helena. He slowly reached out and touched Catie’s shoulder.
Catie whipped her head around and inhaled sharply. “Mommy.” She couldn’t do anything more than whisper.
“There’s no need to be frightened.” Ranton’s smile widened as he bent to Catie’s level. “I want to be your friend. I’m
your father now, we should be friends.”
Catie was now backed into the arm of the chair and she had a hold of Victor around his shoulders, which woke him
up. She shook her head at him. “You’re not my Daddy.”
Victor looked up at Catie. “Da.” He whispered tiredly.
“That’s right Vic. He’s not our Daddy.”
“I am your father, Miss Koenig. And I will be treated as such.”
Catie shook her head, making her blonde hair sway slightly. “You’re just a bad man who needs to talk to Dr.
“That’s it!” Ranton whispered angrily. He stood and pointed his finger at the children. “You will learn respect for me.
Both of you will learn discipline and respect.”
The door, opposite the cockpit, opened as he said the last sentence. Helena stood in the doorway with two full jugs
of water in her hands.
He turned his eyes quickly to Helena. He immediately grabbed her arm, making her drop the water. As he dragged
her to the cockpit he spoke to the children. “And this time Mommy won’t be able to save you.”
Helena panicked at that. She began to kick and twist to get away from him, but his grip was too tight. She glanced
at the rack by the Main door where the guns were usually kept. He had thrown them all out before they left Alpha.
Even his own.
Ranton shoved her into the cockpit and closed and locked the door.
Helena threw herself into the door and began bang on it and pulling at the design. She suddenly began to hear
screams from Catie, which made her pull on the door harder, and she began to scream to her and Victor.
She turned around to find something to pry the door open with. The screams of her children grew fainter as she
stepped away. ‘I could try to fly this thing back to Alpha,’ she thought. She jumped into the pilot’s chair and pulled it
forward. She glanced at the muti-colored buttons as she rested her hand outside the arm of the chair. ‘I don’t know
how to fly,’ she admitted to herself. A lot of good that’s going to do for Catie and Victor. Suddenly she felt
something where her left hand rested. It was a stun gun! She pulled it out from under the seat and pushed it back.
When she stood, she immediately aimed the gun at the door control panel and released the beam.
Helena heard the screams and crying of her children louder, now that the door was opening. Finally it was open
enough for her to slip through.
Ranton turned around from the children to face Helena. He was in complete shock that she was standing in the
In one swift movement, Helena lifted the stun gun, aimed, and shot a red beam from it. She watched Ranton stiffen
and fall to the floor, dead. Helena ran to Catie and Victor, who did the same. She fell to her knees as her children
ran into her embrace. She stroked their light and dark hair. “Are you alright? Did he hurt you?”
“Cayey.” Victor mumbled.
Catie stepped back to show Helena the cuts on her lower arm, obviously from fighting his grip.
“You’ll be alright.” Helena reassured her. She lifted Victor and took Catie’s hand. She walked them into the cockpit.
“Catie, sit over there.” She pointed to the co-pilot’s seat. After Catie was settled she set Victor next to her and
strapped them in.
Helena sat in the pilot’s seat, strapped herself in, and pulled forward. “Thanks for the gun, Alan.” She whispered to
herself. She pushed a button below the monitor next to her. “Eagle 24 to Alpha. Alpha, are you receiving me?”
Suddenly Tony’s face appeared on the monitor. “Helena! Are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine Tony.” She answered with a tired sigh.
Maya’s voice came through suddenly. “The children?!”
“We’re okay, Aunt Maya.” Catie spoke up.
“We could use some help, though.” Helena smiled slightly. “I don’t know how to fly.”
“Right. Don’t worry, we’ll get you home as fast as possible.” Tony assured.
As the doors opened, Helena and Catie stepped onto Moonbase Alpha. Victor rested his head on his mother’s
shoulder, breathing in the smell of her hair, which comforted him.
Maya and Tony greeted them instantly. “Helena!” Maya put her hand on her friend’s free shoulder and hugged her
slightly. She stroked Victor’s back with her other hand.
Catie ran to Tony. “Uncle Tony!” She jumped into Tony’s arms and hugged him.
When he set her down, Catie looked up at him innocently. “Where’s Daddy?”
“He’s in Medical Center. But he’s alright.”
Much to Helena’s dismay, the entire Koenig family was kept in Medical Center for an extra day. But, after Bob
Mathias was satisfied they were in “perfect” mental condition, he sent them back to their normal routine.
John could feel her tossing and turning, but he didn’t wake up to it.
Helena continued to roll and turn, twisting her short blonde hair her daughter had inherited from her. Suddenly she
sat up straight, inhaled sharply, and let out a squeak.
This woke John up. He sat up slowly and rubbed his eyes as she looked around herself franticly.
“Catie! Victor!” She whispered.
“Helena!” John grabbed her shoulders to stop her. “They’re alright.” He pulled her close and she tucked her head
into his shoulder as she began to cry quietly. John held Helena tightly and rocked her as he spoke soothingly. “It’s
over. It’s all over.”