More than 4 Years later…

"James, James," called Captain Amelia as she burst through the doorway of the Benbow Inn. "Yeah Captain?" Jim asked as he spun around from where he'd been taking some customer's table orders for dinner. "I—Oh, my apologies," she stopped in her tracks as she saw Jim in an ankle-length, white apron over his dark khaki-green cargo trousers and black boots. "No big deal," Jim answered, "just let me finish here, Ma'am, uh…Captain." Amelia stepped into the parlor to wait for Jim to complete the dinner serving.

Finally, after nearly two hours, Jim hurried right into the parlor as Sarah and Amelia sat laughing over a very funny joke the cat-woman had just made. "Hi," Jim began, "Sorry I was so long; there were just so many—" "Oh, tish-tosh, James," Amelia waved him off. "No explanation is necessary. I arrived here to inform you that Admiral Wessler, Fleet Commander of the 58th Naval Task Force is asking for a very capable and field-experienced commando officer to ship out on the Fleet's next exercise. I personally mentioned you seeing that you've managed to keep up with the extraneous training despite your demanding duties as a father. Unless, of course, being a father has been more than fulfilling of your time." "Oh, nah, not really—I mean…It's really, really been a challenge, I know, but uh…" "Well now, I assume that you and your family are up to the challenge than?" "Whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait, my family and I?" Jim sputtered.

The very next day…

Spaceport Crescentia had never before seemed like such a good, old friend to Jim before as he stepped down the ramp once again with Morph swishing around excitedly. For Beth, it was utterly amazing: not even on Montressor had she ever taken sight of so many people, creatures, animals, buildings, ships and other amazing sights. She and Jim took a turn heading left as Samuel did his best to keep step with his dad while keeping his duffel bag strap firmly on his shoulder. Little Samantha was sitting on her mother's hip as her aqua-blue eyes looked over everything around her; meanwhile, Faith rode on her daddy's shoulders as the cool solar winds blew her blood-red hair into tangles that she vainly tried to brush away with her small, little hands. Even still, all three four-going-on-five year-olds felt very elated and passively anxious for what was coming.

"There it is, kids," Jim spoke up as he slowed his pace, "Captain Amelia's ship: the RLS Legacy!" "Yaaay," Faith cheered softly as she clapped her hands with glee. "That's what we're going on Daddy?" Samuel asked with an upturned face that mirrored his dad's. "Sure, lil' spacer man!" Jim answered his son calling him by his special name. "Wanna race and see who gets there first?" "Oh Jim," Beth reached out her maroon-linen sleeved arm to touch her husband's, "Don't encourage him to be so, so…rambunctious. I wouldn't want him to make a mess and displease our gracious captain." "No problem, Beth," Jim stated as he set Faith down next to her, "He's going to need it, you never know. Come on Samuel, on your mark, get set…go!!" And with that, father and son took off running up the gangplank with Morph not far behind. Beth just gently held her daughters' hands and followed a bit slower.

"I beetch-ya, Daddy!" Samuel shrieked triumphantly as he sped onto the main deck. "Whoa, hold up there, Sam. This is Captain Amelia's ship and she doesn't want anybody just running all over her deck, remember?" "That's perfectly correct, Mr. Hawkins," came the voice of the Felinid officer from the control deck where she'd been watching. But Samuel was too excited and energized to be fazed. "Daddy says you're going to need help on this ship, Captain, and I'm here to help ya." He spoke proudly with a crisp salute he'd learned from his dad, Jim.

Amelia nodded before answering, "The R.L.S. Legacy, Mr. Samuel, is an impeccably fine and worthy ship that requires much hard and diligent work to ensure nothing but the finest in performance. As your father's also informed you I'm sure, I require that first-time voyagers lend their skills to maintaining the spotless nature of every tangible surface." "Huh?" Samuel was puzzled. "We got to wash the deck everyday, Samuel." Jim translated. "Oh great," the once-eager boy's shoulder sank in deflated spirit. "Hey it's okay, Samuel. I'll be helping you out until you can do everything like a real adult does, okay?" "Okay Dad."

Just then, Bethany, Samantha and Faith stepped onto the deck themselves. "Here Beth," Jim said as he reached out his hands, "I'll take the stuff and you can get comfortable for the trip, okay?." "Oh, Thank –You so much, Jim" she acquiesced and let Jim take the bags on her back, but not before giving him a quick kiss in return. "Oh James," the captain called and motioned for him to join her on the control deck which he did. "I have reserved the officer's stateroom above mine just for you and your family. And I also have need of a very capable and hard-working first mate. Are you up to the challenge?" "Oh Yeah, I mean—Yes Ma'am!" Jim stumbled over his words. "That will do, James. Here," and she produced a tri-cornered hat from behind her back, "this is for you to wear while on command." Jim accepted it with a sharp salute and moved off to take his family to their stateroom.

15 minutes later…

"ALL HANDS, MAN YOUR LAUNCH STATIONS!!", Jim called aloud as the Legacy's crew comprised of Chloe, Bird-Brain Mary, Olivia, Oxy & Moron, Adam, Meltdown, Andrea, Mr. Skewen and even B.E.N. and Leland raced up the rigging, into the engine level and to the bow. "SET ALL SAILS FULL OPEN!!" and each member expertly did so to one sail after another as the mooring lines were cast off and Mr. Skewen gave the engines a slight up-thrust. "BRACE UP!!" Jim then called aloud. "Very Good there, James," complimented the Captain as Navigator Delbert studied the chart before him. "Thanks," Jim answered before calling out. "TRIM BACK ALL LINE SLACK, PREPARE FOR GRAVITY ENGAGE!!!" The gravity field took hold and everybody was firmly set for what was next. Captain Amelia steered the helm wheel and said, "Full power on my Mark, Mr. Hawkins." "Stand-by, Mr. Skewen, Mr. Meltdown!" Jim called down the tube. The Legacy slowly spun towards a north-westerly course.

"Mrs. Hawkins, Your Majesty," Amelia called as Beth looked up from where she was winding up ropes with her three little ones. "You and your children are more than welcome to take positions in the mast-arms if you'd like." "Oh I'd love too—and so would they!", she replied with giddiness, "Thank-you so much! Come on, Faith, Samantha, Samuel !"

As they slowly made their way up the intricate rope shrouds, Amelia waited as her own craft finally aligned with their course. "All ahead, half—no, make that—two-thirds speed, if you please." Jim relayed the instructions just as Beth and the triplets reached the second mast-arm and took strong hold on the lines near the mast. "ALL HANDS, HOLD TIGHT, THIS IS GOING TO BE QUICK!!!" he called. A few seconds later, the inertia of the thrust came forth and the RLS Legacy rocketed straight out of the spaceport into the grand vast vicinity of the etheria-space.

Bethany grasped one length in her right hand as she gripped Faith's who gripped her sister's who held on to her brother's who held onto another line. As their bodies adjusted to the speed, Beth allowed Samuel to climb up to the crow's nest with Adam Doppler. Meanwhile, brownish-blonde haired Samantha scooted around her mother and wrapped her arms around Beth's waist.

Her mother just closed her eyes and leaned forward to let the cool, soft solar particles bathe her soft, pale face and rustle her ankle-length, frilled cotton gown that matched her hair in color. This was a moment that she'd grown to love; it so reminded her of solar surfing with her husband's arm around her.

Just then, something touched Beth and made her jump slightly. "It's okay, Beth, it' me." "Oh Jim, I didn't know you were coming." "Captain said I could watch from up here with you." She smiled up at him and snuggled herself into his arm as their two daughter sat down to watch the vast, open horizons of the Etherium come closer and closer.

Beth relaxed a little more as she sighed happily and dreamily: this was truly the life that she'd always dreamed of: a strong, faithful, fierce yet very gorgeous man holding her; her very own offspring with their father's beautiful eyes looking up at her; a great and mysterious adventure awaiting her with it's possibilities and expectations…and a untamed and uncharted wilderness of stars, planets, nebulas and galaxies to find it in. And no matter what dangers or foe there were to come, she was resting assured that she would live and grow stronger, better and richer alongside of her precious children and beloved husband.

As her heart began to warm and soften once again, a song her own mother had taught her to sing whenever she felt needy and alone returned to her mind. So, very softly and to her Maker, she began to sing…

Come O Lord and fill up my life

With the Light of Your Presence

This is my Heart's desire.

O Father come and let Your Spirit abide

I long for Your Presence

This is My heart's desire

My Heart's desire.

The End

Author's Note: Wheeeewww, I'm going to miss all that writing. I don't know about the rest of you but it was fun for me while it lasted. I want to thank You All, Etherium's Angel, Janna Hawkins, Little Hawk and the rest for your reviews, remarks, praises, corrections, suggestions and other comments. You've all been soooooo tremendous and I wish I could give ya'll a gigantic group hug, but I'll just say Thank-You All Again and may GOD bless your Fanfictions—I'll remember to read and review them myself, SAVVY???

In His Hands Forever,

Jonathan "ExcursionGuy84" Deeb

Presence. Performed by the Newsboys on their Devotion CD. Music & Words by Peter Furler, Steve Taylor & Tim Hughes. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2004.