CHAPTER 9

HOMEWARD BOUND

It took another two days before the Enterprise could be ready to undertake their voyage home. Mr. Kark had worked intently with not only Chief Engineer Sloan and his staff, but with the repair crews assigned to the ship. By the second day, it was no secret any longer that the Enterprise located in the orbital dry dock was not THEIR Enterprise; nor was it a secret where they came from, either.

Admiral Foster broke the news to The Federation Council, and the Council decided to let The Space Fleet do whatever they thought was necessary to ensure that the Enterprise gets back safely to where it belonged.

Meanwhile, Briank, Yolanda and Little Foot's gang continued exploring the alternate Terra, and taking in all of the more important sights on the planet; including The Hoosier Dam, The Effek Tower, The Arche De La Victoire, and Mount Roontian.

What they thought was most astounding about the Mount Roontian monument was that there was a fourth bust carved out of the mountain alongside the other three long dead Presidents. But it was no rainbow face that was depicted! The fourth President was a sharptooth! The plaque on display said his name was Braik O'Bannon, and he was "The First Sharptooth President of The United Laurentian States". Briank made sure there would be a visual record of this for the Enterprise's data banks, as with all other sights of importance he's visited over the last few days.

While they were taking in all of the sights, Captain Kirkland was spending some time with Jenna Foster. Although she knew that this Captain Kirkland was not the male that she loved, she still fell under his charm, and was always eager to spend every waking moment with him.

On the eve of their departure, Captain Kirkland had invited Jenna out for a stroll on the beach. He had chosen one that was semi private, and that not a lot of people would be walking on. Solaria was just beginning to set when they arrived there hand in hand, strolling along and just talking.

"So... Tomorrow's the big day..." Jenna said casually.

Kirkland nodded. "Tomorrow's the big day! If everything goes right, we'll be back in our own universe, and orbiting Terra... OUR Terra..."

"And you trust Mr. Kark to be able to pull this off?"

"Implicitly!" Kirkland smiled.

Both rainbow faces continued on in silence along the boardwalk adjacent to the beach. They could hear the sound of the waves crashing along the shore. Even at that hour, there were still some people out surfing, or swimming. Off in the distance, they saw the orange glow of a bonfire. Somebody was having a beach party!

After a few more moments of silence, Jenna sighed and leaned her head against Kirkland's shoulder. "I wish you didn't have to go!"

"You know I must..." Kirkland said as he held her close. "Besides, you have my counterpart to worry about..."

Jenna sighed again. "I know... But it won't be the same... He's not like you, you know..."

Kirkland nodded. "Agreed... But that doesn't mean you can't... MAKE... him more like me..."

Jenna looked up at him. "How?"

"You can start by telling him that you still love him... that you still care about him...There's nothing wrong with that..." Kirkland suggested. "If that doesn't make him more loving and attentive towards you, NOTHING will!"

After taking this in, Jenna nodded. "Sounds like a good idea!" She smiled.

"There you go!" Kirkland smiled back.

"And what are you gonna do about MY counterpart?" Jenna asked after a few more moments of silence.

"The same thing... at the risk of having her big brother tell me he's gonna kill me, if I ever break her heart again..." Kirkland said jokingly, making Jenna laugh.

Then they both stopped and shared a passionate embrace as Solaria was setting just below the horizon.


The next morning, everything was ready! Mr. Kark had done some final calculations from his science station on the Bridge. All that was needed now was final clearance from the Exeter Monitoring Station.

"I have Monitoring Station Exeter for you on Channel 1, Captain..." Lieutenant urbina stated as soon as Captain Kirkland emerged from the turbo lift.

"All right, Lieutenant!" Kirkland said as he went over to his Captain's chair. "Yes, Exeter?" he said as he opened the channel.

"This is Monitoring Station Exeter giving you final clearance to depart..." said the voice of the station's Controller over the intercom.

"Thank you, Exeter!" Kirkland replied.

"And... may the Primal Force be with you, Enterprise..." came the Controller's voice again.

Kirkland smiled. "Thank you..."

"Mr. Koralenko, clear all moorings, release docking clamps... and take us out..." Kirkland ordered as soon as he switched off the intercom.

"Aye, sair." said the smiling Navigator as he pressed the buttons on his console to maneuver the Enterprise out of orbital dry dock.

"Heading one four two mark six, Mr. Chang..." Kirkland ordered.

"Aye aye, sir! One...four... two... mark six..." said Mr. Chang as he pressed the buttons on his console.

"Accelerate slowly to full light speed, Mr. Chang." Kark ordered from his science station. "Then five seconds prior to entering the ion storm, increase to Ultra Light Speed factor two..."

Mr. Chang bore a concerned look on his facial features as he turned to face Kark. "But, sir! Don't you think that five seconds before we enter the storm is cutting it too close?"

"Negative!" Kark answered. "Everything has been precisely calculated..."

"Captain?" Chang asked as he turned to Kirkland.

"Do as he says, Lieutenant!" Kirkland ordered.

"Aye, sir." Chang acknowledged as he pressed a button on his console.

The engines hummed into action as the turbo lift's sliding doors opened up revealing Briank, Yolanda and all of the young Saurians. Briank grunted as he squeezed out of the lift holding the entire gang. The limited size of the lift made for very tight quarters, especially when all of the young Saurians and his wife were there with him.

"Sorry, sir!" Briank apologized. "I tried to get them to stay in their quarters, but they insisted on coming to the Bridge..."

After a moment, the Captain nodded. "All right... Just tell 'em not to interfere with anything..."

"Yes, sir! All right, you heard him..." Briank said as he gestured towards an area on the Bridge that was well out of the way of the working crew.

"ETA to ion stworm threshold: fifteen sweconds." Mr. Koralenko announced. He then started counting down. "Ten... naine... eight...sweven... seex... five..."

"NOW!" Kark cried, thus prompting Lieutenant Chang to press the button on his console to accelerate the ship to the Ultra Light Speed factor Mr. Kark had requested.

"Four... three... two..." Koralenko continued to count down.

"Hang on, kids!" Briank prompted as he reached for the Bridge's nearby safety rail. Everyone else did the same. Petrie wrapped himself physically around the railing, shivering in fright; while Ducky just gripped one of Spike's legs and hung on for dear life.

"One..."

The sound of electrostatic energy resonated as the ship penetrated the ion storm. The reflections of bright blue flashes coming from the outside and filtering through the front viewscreen could be seen everywhere on the Bridge as the ship was being jostled around in the turbulence. Everyone hung onto something as the Enterprise shifted violently to the left and to the right. Captain Kirkland shut his eyes against the brightness of the flashes being caused by the ion storm.


On the border of the ion storm, two bright flashes could be seen just before the Enterprise emerged from a third flash.

On board, everyone on the Bridge could feel the Enterprise slowing down as it dropped out of Ultra Light Speed. The decreasing hum of the engines was also an indication of this fact. Everyone stayed silent for what seemed like an eternity before Kirkland finally gave out an order.

"Mr. Chang... Please resume course for Terra... one quarter light speed..."

"Aye, sir." Mr. Chang acknowledged, pressing the necessary console button bringing forth the engines' hum once again.

"Mr. Kark... Scan the surface of Terra and report..." Kirkland ordered of his Science Officer.

Kark switched on his scanners and soon gave his report. "I am detecting several Saurian life forms..." Then he turned to face Kirkland. "No sign of rainbow face or Vulkadian bio readings; nor is there any trace of civilization whatsoever..."

It took a few moments for this to sink in for Kirkland. "We're home..." he whispered. "We're HOME!" he said again, loud enough for everyone to hear.

Then the entire Bridge crew erupted into cheers and cries of joy.

"Reestablish synchronous orbit over the Great Valley area once we get there, Mr. Koralenko!" Kirkland ordered once the cheering has died down.

"Aye, sair!" said a beaming Koralenko as he pressed the necessary buttons on his console.

Kirkland then made a shipwide announcement revealing the good news to his valiant crew. Echoes of cheering would be faintly heard after Kirkland switched off the intercom.

"Oh, no!" Little Foot cried out with a look of great concern on his facial features.

"What is it, Little Foot?" Yolanda asked.

"I just realized something: We've been gone from The Great Valley for four days now! Our families must be worried sick!" He sighed. "They probably think were already dead..."

"Actually, that may not entirely be true..." Mr. Kark said as he came forward.

"What do you mean?" Little Foot asked as he looked up at the big Vulkadian.

"During my initial calculation for inter dimensional travel, I was able to figure out how to bring us back in time to just after the accident occured. In reality, only fifteen minutes have passed since we passed through the ion storm and into the other dimension..."

"What's this I hear about time travel?" Dr. McLelland asked. The Chief Medical Officer had just arrived on the Bridge giving a routine check of the officers to make sure no severe injuries were incurred during their trip through the ion storm.

"In essence, I found a way to bring us all back in time to shortly after we passed through the ion storm the first time..."

"Meaning?" Dr. McLelland pressed.

"MEANING that barely fifteen minutes have passed since we first entered the storm..."

"And you were able to figure all of this out in your head!?" the good Doctor asked.

Kark raised an eyeridge and nodded. "I did..."

Kirkland couldn't help but crack a smile at this.

"I must mention, though..." Kark continued. "that I could've easily brought us back in time to BEFORE the accident occured, thus avoiding our trip into the alternative dimension alltogether..."

"Oh?" Dr. McLelland said in surprise. "Why didn't you?"

"I had overheard some of the pleasurable experiences the crew have spoken about in the Recreation Room while visiting the alternate Terra; which would make for many memorable moments; especially the experiences Captain Kirkland had with the alternate Jenna Foster. A trip back in time to BEFORE the accident occured would undoubtedly erase those pleasant memories for everyone; therefore, I... felt it necessary to allow the crew to retain what they've experienced in that alternate universe..."

Dr. Mclelland smiled slowly. "Why, Kark! Did you do this because it was the LOGICAL thing to do!?"

"No..." Kark replied. "But it was the RAINBOW FACE thing to do..."

Dr. McLelland beamed. "There's still some hope for you! We'll make a rainbow face out of you yet!"

Kark raised his eyeridge again. "Really, Doctor... I hardly think that insults are within your prerogatives as this ship's Chief Medical Surgeon..."

The good Doctor's happy expression quickly dissapeared as he sighed. "Forget it!"

This sparked laughter from all of the young Saurians. A lot of the grown ups couldn't help but chuckle themselves.

"But what you're saying is..." Little Foot began as the laughter died down. "that hardly a day has passed since we left the Great Valley this morning?"

Kark nodded down to Little Foot. "That is EXACLY what I'm saying...There is still enough time to get you all home... 'in time for supper', as they say..."

Little Foot and his friends cheered at this! They underwent what would be the most incredible adventuring of their lifetimes, and none of the grown ups in the Great Valley would ever even guess that they went on it!

"Speaking of which..." Captain Kirkland said as he approached the group. "Lieutenants Riggs, the shuttlepod awaits you in the bay for you to take these fine young Saurians home..."

"We'll get right on it, sir!" Briank responded as Little Foot and his gang cheered again.

Then he led them to the turbo lift where they all squeezed inside once more.

"Captain..." Lieutenant Urbina called from her station as the turbo lift's sliding doors closed behind them. "Incoming message from Space Fleet... We're being recalled home..."

Captain Kirkland smiled. "All right... Acknowledge reception of the message..."

"Aye, sir." Urbina complied.

"We'll leave as soon as Briank and Yolanda return..." Kirkland announced.


"So there you have it..." Kirkland said into his log recorder. "Both Lieutenants Riggs returned the Saurian children safely to Terra, and the Enterprise left orbit maybe an hour ago...Although the details of our... accidental mission... may be classified by Space Fleet, the images and memories of what we've all experienced won't be... Note commondations to both Lieutenants Riggs for not only compiling the database of all the information we've amassed about this... alternate Terra... but also to Mr. Kark for his efforts in getting us safely home... We're on our way back to Terra Beta where our bodies, our souls... and my heart... truly belongs..." He smiled as he said that last bit. "Kirkland out..."

He switched off his personal log recorder and moved to retire for the night. He would soon fall asleep dreaming of what he'd say to Jenna Foster... HIS Jenna Foster... once he got back to Terra Beta...


Meanwhile, in their quarters, Briank and Yolanda were beginning to settle down for the night.

After Briank had just finished placing another tape labelled "Alternate Terra" on his shelf, then he took Yolanda in his arms and kissed her tenderly on her lips.

"Another adventure worthy of our collection!" he announced.

"Indeed..." She smiled up to him as she accepted another kiss from him.

"You know what I feel like doing right now?" She began.

"Do tell!" Briank prompted as he smiled tenderly at her.

"I feel like... listening to that 'song of hope' of yours..." She said as she smiled back.

"Ah, yes! I think I know which one you're referring to..."

He rifled through a stack of file tapes on his desk, and eventually found one labelled "Electronic Lights Symphony". He put the tape in the appropriate slot of the computer and pressed the button to play the file.

Both rainbow faces started dancing as the upbeat disco music started. Briank made sure the volume was turned up loud enough so that they both could really "feel" the beat of the song. The following lyrics could be heard:

Hold on tight to your dreams

Hold on tight to your dreams

When you see your ship go sailing

When you feel your heart is breaking

Hold on tight to your dreams

Sail on time to be gone

(Hold on! Hold on!)

Time just rolls on and on

(Hold on! Hold on!)

When you need a shoulder to cry on

When you get so sick of try ons

Hold on tight to your dreams

When you get so down that you can't get up

When you want so much, but you're all out of luck...


The next day, in The Great Valley, Chomper was seen building a small mound of dirt. He placed one of the white golf balls on top of it and grabbed the driver. "Ready, Spike!?" he called to the big spiketail.

Spike warbled and nodded with enthusiasm.

Chomper swung the club back and let loose a powerful drive that sent the golf ball flying a long ways away. Spike cried in joy as he ran off after the ball.

Little Foot and his gang all laughed with joy as they then got into an improvised game of tag while Chomper cried and danced around holding the driver up in the air. It would be another fun filled day in The Great Valley, where the bright circle was shining down it's warm rays, and not a cloud in the sky could be seen for miles around!


On the alternate Terra, Admiral Foster and his daughter were standing at the foot of a grave located in a cemetary outside Francescanville. Jenna had brought a bouquet of "death flowers", and she laid them at the foot of the headstone that read: Here lies Brenk Alexander Foster. Our short term bundle of joy! He was buried right beside his mother, and Admiral Foster's wife. He had already laid down his bouquet of death flowers for "his sweetheart".

After she laid the flowers down next to her brother's headstone, she started sobbing uncontrollably. Her father took her in his arms in a comforting embrace. After all these years, she was finally able to grieve for her brother. A brother that she never knew!

Admiral Foster noticed a family of longnecks gathered around another grave located a short distance away. I wonder if they've lost a child, like we did. He thought.

One of the longnecks, the elder male, turned to look at him. Admiral Foster nodded to him. The longneck male nodded back, looking very sad indeed. EVERYBODY who comes here is ALWAYS sad! He thought to himself as he continued to comfort his grieving daughter. Years of mourning were let out by her over the course of the afternoon.


Roughly two weeks later, on the distant planet knows as Terra Beta, Captain Kirkland walked into the greenhouse being kept by that very special person in his heart.

Ever since the Enterprise left it's orbit around Terra, he thought about what he was going to say to her once he arrived. That moment had finally come for him!

She had her back turned to him as she was tending to her flowers. She was a Botanist, and it was a part of her job! He stopped a few feet away from her. She still had not noticed that he was there.

"Hi, Jenna." he finally said after a few moments of silently standing there.

She slowly turned to him... and smiled brightly.

He smiled right back at her.