A Return to the Fold

 

A Classic Battlestar Galactica story

 

 

 

 

This story was written back in 1979.  It is the first story I ever wrote that made it beyond my notebook.  This was part of a contest that was sponsored by a unit of my Church and it got fourth place.   So be warned; it is highly religious.  I was going to excise a bit of the deep religion, but decided not to do more than fix some grammar, spelling- minor things like that.   I have added a bit more detail, because I was under serious space restraints in the original story.   Below is the explanation that I wrote with the three and a half page piece. 

"It had always bothered me that most series always ended with no {satisfactory} conclusions.  Somewhere two people are searching for their missing father {even forgot what series that was!} and somewhere else, the Galactica is still searching for Earth.  This, then, is my conclusion, one that Glen Larson would understand, but not ABC."

 

 

 

A Return to the Fold

 

An LDS Sci Fi

 

 

Major Nick McMillen gazed absentmindedly out of the window at the black expanse, which surrounded him on all sides.  At this particular moment, because he was facing away from Earth and the sun, his view consisted of thick darkness, dotted with innumerable stars.  Imagine seeing the planets that revolve around those stars, he thought wistfully.   The ship he was in was a modified shuttle of the type that was first launched in the late seventies with seeming apathy.  Now, however, the shuttle’s usefulness was being reaffirmed  in the newly developed weather control system.  Only functional from Earth orbit, the weather satellites would allow agriculture in areas that had hitherto supported little or nothing.  As Nick had told the newcaster before the launch, “The whole Earth could ‘blossom like the rose’.”

A voice interrupted his reverie.  “This is Mission Control.  Nick, we’re set to try the program again.”

“Okay, Lindy.  Are you sure the whiz kids have that computer straightened out now?” he asked, referring to the experimental navigational equipment that had been installed for testing in his shuttle, The Dolphin.

“Ten-four.”  There was a chuckle.  “At least they say they do.”  Alan Lindbergh paused dramatically, then sighed.  “Just kidding.  They do.  But you know the procedure.  Keep your fingers near the manual over-ride.   They were telling Colonel Brick that it might be incompatibility with some of Dolphin’s modified computer systems.  Anyway, standby for countdown.  You have two minutes and counting.”

“Affirmative, Mission Control.  I am ready,” Nick replied.  How time flies when you’re having a good time, he thought and gave everything a last quick check.   Just as Mission Control announced the beginning of the experimental flight sequence, his whole body was slammed back into his padded seat, as a tremendous roar enveloped the entire ship.  It became hard to breathe and even the stars outside seemed to blur and shift.  At what seemed an almost eternal slowness, Nick finally reached the manual override switch.  

Oh, Lord, he thought in despair, as he flipped the switch and nothing happened.  In a few minutes, however, the roar subsided, the ensuing silence almost as painful as the roar was.  

“Major McMillen, do you copy?” Lindbergh sounded almost hysterical. 

“Affirmative, Lindy,” Nick answered softly.  And indeed, except for his situation and a not unbearable headache, he was fine.  “I’m all in one piece, but I seemed to have changed course somewhat drastically, to put it mildly.  The instruments are starting to settle down a bit, but the readings I am getting are all nuts.”

“We show you somewhere beyond the orbit of Mars.”  Lindy paused and then his voice became soft as well.   “I don’t know what happened, or how you attained that kind of velocity, but you have no fuel left.”

“I know.  And I also know that there is nothing that can remedy this situation short of a miracle.”  Nick looked out at the vast expanse that had suddenly become the enemy.  He reached out and touched the glass, wishing that he had his wife with him, even for a moment, so he could look into her eyes and feel the softness of her cheek.  But she was safe and he had his memories of the days before the launch.  “Could you please get Lori, so I can talk to her?”

“Sure Nick, right away.”

At least, Nick thought, Lori and I were married in the Temple last year and Kevin was sealed to us.  ‘For time and all eternity’ he repeated in his mind.  Now if only he could have seen the child Lori was now carrying.  The chatter and hum of the radio faded as Nick continued to soar into the vastness of the inky blackness that lay ahead.   He talked to Lori several times until the final good-bye.  For time and all eternity.  They would be together forever someday.   Nick’s reserve of oxygen and supplies were almost gone now, even with strict conservation of energy.  His orbital mission had been slated for three weeks and he was now in his twenty-fourth day.  If he had gone in a different direction, he might be getting a good view of Jupiter, but he didn’t even have that satisfaction.  How he had missed slamming into an asteroid was beyond him.  It certainly would have been a quicker end to what was happening now.

It became more and more difficult to concentrate.  It as all he could do to focus on what was outside the window.  “It must be oxygen deprivation,” he murmured.  “I keep seeing lights coming on and off in front of my eyes.”   Another flash and then another appeared ahead of him.  Nick’s grogginess temporarily dissipated as his curiosity was piqued.  There was something out there.  A rescue ship?  But no, there were no ships that could get to him now, or they would have told him.

Suddenly a long-nosed sleek space craft streaked across his field of vision.  It was white, bearing red trim.  A second, much longer fly-by revealed short fins or wings on the back of the craft.  It had a gun of some sort mounted in front of the side wing.  It looked very efficient.  “A UFO,” Nick breathed, then he passed out.

 

                                ========================

 

Despite his love for deep space exploration, Apollo was not at all thrilled with this assignment.  In fact, he admitted to himself, he was downright bored.  Too many star systems had turned up nothing, or had revealed unpleasant surprises, like the last one where Boomer had almost lost his life to a planetary defense system.  It had been defending a planet whose inhabitants had long since disappeared.  Perhaps, he thought wryly, they should have found a way to get through the defense shield and just simply settled on the planet.  Maybe it would have given them peace from the Cylons.   But then, even the Cylons seemed to have lost contact with them lately.  Hopefully, it would remain that way.  A flashing light on his panel cut Apollo’s reverie short. 

“Picking up a small craft approaching at sub-light speed, sir,” a very business-like young voice stated.

“I’ve got it on my monitor, Boxey.  Let’s go in for a closer look,” Apollo returned.  “By the way, son, complete formality is not a necessity way out here, just vigilance.”

“All right, Father, sounds good to me.”

Apollo brought his attention back to the strange craft, which to his eye, was never meant for extra solar flight.  “It doesn’t have any apparent weaponry, but let’s take this carefully anyway,” Apollo observed.  “I’ll make a quick fly-by and you try raising any occupants on your communicator.”

“Will do.”

The computer silently accumulated its data as Apollo’s craft made it first pass of the ship.  “I’m going by slower this time, Boxey.  This one’s got me intrigued.”  Apollo angled in closer until he was almost at a standstill in front of the drifting spacecraft.  “By the Lords of Kobol!” he exclaimed.  “Boxey, this one has a human and he appears in trouble.  There’s no oxygen inside, according to my readouts.  I’m going to put a stass-field on his ship and I want you to get back to the Galactica and send out help.  A stass won’t last long.”

“Right, Father,” Boxey replied tersely.  “I’m going back now. 

Apollo set the stass and settled down to wait, hoping it wouldn’t be too long.  

 

                                        ==========================

 

 Nick woke up with the remnants of a dream of Lori and Kevin to find himself in a room that was brightly white.  A brief second had him wondering if he was in heaven, then he saw two men gazing at him, one in a black and silver outfit and the other in brown, a pistol strapped to his thigh.  The room was more like what one would find in a hospital, rather than in heaven.  He remembered his last hours on his shuttle and wondered what had happened to him after he had passed out from oxygen deprivation. 

The man in black had a shock of strikingly white hair and gentle eyes.  “Major McMillen,” he said, gazing at the tag on his astronaut’s jump suit.  “I am Commander Adama.  I hope you can understand me.  If not, I have a translator available.”

“I can understand you quite well,” Nick replied.  And indeed he could, despite the formality of the older man’s delivery.   The younger man, who somehow made him think of some kind of Air Force pilot, seemed a bit startled as he spoke.    Nick sat up and gazed around, his feelings of being in a hospital room intensified.   Then he studied the two men.  Could someone have managed to rescue me?  Could I be back on Earth?  But there was something that told him that this was no hospital he had ever heard of.  He wondered what came next.  “Who are you?  I mean, you told me your name, but what country are you from?  Where is this?  The last thing I remember is passing out on the Dolphin.

Adama’s expression changed to one of painful yearning.  “Tell me first, from which planet have you come?” 

Nick was shocked at the question and his wonder grew.  “Uh, Earth, of course.  Where….”

To Nick’s surprise, tears started coursing down the old man’s cheeks and he turned to the younger man.  “We found it, Apollo, by the Lords of Kobol, we finally found it!”

Nick sat in quiet confusion as the two men vented their emotions.  The younger man, Apollo, seemed more in control of himself, but the two were visibly moved.  Finally Adama composed himself and turned back to Nick.  “This is my son, Captain Apollo, and we represent the last humans of the twelve colonial planets.  We have been looking for Earth these past twenty centons.”

Nick looked from one man to the other.  “Colonial planets?  Centons?” Nick sputtered.  “Where by all that’s holy, am I?”

Apollo answered, “You are aboard the Battlestar Galactica, which is just within the orbit of the largest planet of your solar system.”

Nick was unable to say a word for several minutes. 

“Would you like to see some of the Galactica?” Adama asked. 

Nick nodded as he slid off the table.  Two hours later, a very befuddled and overwhelmed Nick allowed himself to be led to a large room where twelve bewildered looking men sat.   “These men are members of the Quorum of the Twelve.  Let me introduce you to each of them.  They will want to know more about Earth.”

Nick’s mind did a sudden about face.  He remembered all the conversation of the past two hours.  “Quorum of the Twelve?  Kobol?  What religion are you?”  The idea of space travelers having a religion that was the same as one on Earth boggled him.

“Religion?” Adama asked.  “We are of the religion of the Lords of Kobol.”

Nick almost choked.  “My church has a Quorum of the Twelve.  And Kobol is the exalted dwelling place of God.  No, wait . . . that’s Kolob, but the names are so close.”

The twelve men, almost as a body, rose and started forward.  “My friends,” Adama said, “This is Major McMillen from the planet Earth.  It seems that we have more in common than just being human.”  He turned to Nick.  “What else does Earth’s religion believe?”

“Well, first,” Nick began.  “It’s not the only religion on Earth.  We believe in eternal life—eternal marriages and families….”

Apollo looked misty-eyed.  “Serena, my wife, and I are eternally sealed.”  He paused a moment.  “Before she was killed in a Cylon attack.”

“Yes, my family and I are sealed together, too.”  Nick had a rapt audience, but there was something he had to ask first.  “May I contact my wife from here and let her know I am alive?”

“Yes, of course, as soon as we make sure our enemies, the Cylons, have not followed us here,” one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve said.   “Can you tell us more?”

Nick nodded his understanding.  “We have a prophet who leads our church by revelation from our Lord Jesus Christ….”   Several hours later, another of the members of the Quorum said quietly, “We have indeed reached Earth, our destination and hopefully, our home.”

 

 

(Author's Note--  If there is anything confusing to you in this story, please contact me and I will be happy to explain. )

 

   Comments?  

 

Alternate Fanfiction Introduction
Main Page