Disclaimer: Space Cases and all related characters and concepts belong to Bill Mumy and Peter David. They belong to Nickelodeon, CINAR productions. I am only borrowing them. Hilde, Jarvis, and Deirdre are mine.
Three years of being trapped in a dimension that wasn't her own, three years of adventure, not exactly misfortune, Suzee tried to imagine what her homecoming would be like. In the back of her mind she knew why it had been necessary to switch places with Catalina., but that didn't make the decision any easier. On that note Suzee couldn't prevent a small 'evil' grin slip out. It had been fun sharing the secret with Catalina, that she wasn't imaginary just invisible. The looks on the rest of the crew's faces when they discovered she was real had been priceless.
"Being here isn't all that bad," Suzee muttered to herself. " Plus the bonus of learning and working with the Christa's advanced technology and engines,' she said in an undertone. As she did so, she wondered why she bothered with Radu standing a few feet away at his navigation console. She shrugged, deciding it didn't really matter. She was just thinking out loud.
"When I get back home, the first thing I'm going to do, after I see my parents, is submit that paper I've been working on to the Aeronautics Department. Okay, granted my attempt to boost power to the ionglide didn't work, but it's a solid theory. And I've got the proof. I am an engineering genius, after all."
"Reality to Suzee. Is anyone home?" Harlan yelled from his station at helm. Talk about losing it. Suzee's completely spaced out.
"I'm fine," Suzee snapped and pretended to go back to scanning the readouts on her engineering console.
Bova tried to ignore them by closing his eyes, and wondered if he'd somehow managed to get the attention of a cosmic power, that granted your fondest wish and then just when you weren't looking, it went horribly wrong. After all, his home planet's folktales were filled with such supernatural beings; and what other reason was there for being saddled with a couple of people on the same ship for three years who constantly argued with one another over the stupidest reasons?
Just then Rosie emerged from the jumptubes at an awkward angle, and her resultant momentum caused her to stumble and lurch into Harlan who was standing at helm. Taking one hand off the helm, which sent the ship into an abrupt tailspin. Correcting it, he steadied Rosie.
"You okay, Rosie?" Harlan asked.
She didn't reply for a moment, absorbed in catching her breath. When she had, "Guess who's having a party? And we're all invited!"
"Who?" Bova yawned, having finally woken up.
"The Commander and Miss Davenport!" Rosie exclaimed.
Rosie led the way to the Team Room, with the rest of the crew dutifully following along in her wake, figuring they'd better humor her, since she was liable to burst from sheer exuberance.
Even Bova, tried to silently cheer himself up, since if the authority figures were throwing a party there would most likely me be some kind of food and beverages involved, and he was always up for that. Besides this current state of blah that I'm feeling is probably some kind of spacer blah that I'm going through. It's probably not too serious.
Radu smiled when he heard Rosie's heartbeat go up several notches, and wondered if somehow she'd been part of the planning committee for the party, and if so, it was becoming difficult for her to wait for the proper moment to tell the rest of them. Rosie had shown a little difficulty in knowing when to keep something secret or not.
Harlan grinned at the thought of getting out of another boring lecture, and it had completely escaped his mind whether or not he had studied for their last midterm exam on hydroponics.
"The Saturian Day of Rejoicing happens to be today," Suzee added, then cocked her head to one side as if thinking something through. "You know, guys. It's been a while since anyone thought about Catalina. Don't look at me that way." She ignored the raised eyebrows she got from Harlan and the glance he exchanged with Radu.
"Day of Rejoicing?" Radu asked. "I remember Cat mentioning something about that. My memory's a little fuzzy since I don't remember much except the teddy bear that Rosie gave me and the dancing at the end..."
"Oh, you're right, Radu! Catalina said they wear colorful clothes and dance, and ring bells. That sounded like fun!" Rosie added.
Once they got to the Team Room they discovered that Rosie hadn't been kidding. The Team Room was decorated in silver and black banners that Miss Davenport had obviously salvaged from the wreckage of the last 'surprise party' and recycled. They'd made use of the Food Wheel and had set out different types of munchies from each of the crew's home worlds, including Catalina's; even though she was technically still trapped in Suzee's dimension.
Miss Davenport and Commander Goddard were seated at the head of a rectangular table with happy smiles plastered on their face.
"I've never heard Miss D laugh like that, being engaged to the Commander must really agree with her. I"m so glad she's happy. Rosie thought wistfully, "I wonder if I'll ever find someone wonderful like that... Rosie moved over towards where they sat, and nervously wondered if it was considered proper protocol, and then decided it's a party and I'm happy they're happy, so why not? and proceeded to give them both a big hug. Then sat down at her place at the table.
Miss Davenport blushed and returned Rosie's hug. "Thank you, Rosie."
Commander Goddard leaned back in his chair with his arms folded behind his back, clearing his throat, he nearly toppled backwards, but managed to right both himself and the chair. "Well..." he asked expectantly of the room in general.
"Congratulations!" everyone said at once, belated but sincere.
"About time," Goddard muttered.
"Seth..." Miss Davenport said mock-reprovingly.
"Hey, are we supposed to drop all sense of protocol just for the sake of a party? " he replied then turned his attention to the crew standing nervously at attention. "Oh for the love of a...at ease already, people, Ttis is a party, relax. Have fun. That's an order."
"Yeah!" Harlan shouted, sitting down, and reaching for the food, and starting in on it.
"You know, I don't think the Commander's ever ordered us to have fun," Rosie trailed off, sitting down and eyeing the hot sauce plate that was sitting in front of her.
"First time for everything," Bova replied, taking the seat opposite her and helping himself to a heaping pile of Urasian delicacies.
"It might be hard for Bova to do that," Harlan remarked.
"Since this seems to be a day for celebrating, I propose a toast," Suzee began, straddling her chair, and raising her glass.
"What's a toast?" Bova asked, around a mouthful of Urusian rice pudding.
"It's not edible, Bova. It's a speech or tribute for someone or something during a celebration," Suzee sighed.
"An excellent suggestion, Suzee. We may want to start something new on the ship, just for special occasions like these. What did you have in mind?" Davenport asked.
"Well, you see, like I was telling everyone just before we got here, today happens to fall on the same day as with the Saturian Day of Rejoicing. And since Catalina's not here I wanted to make a small speech. Bear in mind, that it's not rehearsed. I just wanted to do something special for both your engagement and for Catalina," Suzee explained.
"Oh, here we go again, " Harlan sighed.
"Oh, Harlan, knock it off. I think it's a wonderful idea," Rosie said.
"As I was saying." Suzee continued. "I consider Catalina my best friend, and she's been like a sister to me, and that our relationship is tighter than most, even across dimensions."
"Oh, please! Suzee, and what about the rest of us, huh?" Harlan griped.
"I don't know, but I think it was a nice gesture, Harlan. What's the matter? Don't you even miss Catalina?" Radu said.
"Sure, I miss her, but you don't see me getting all mushy over it," Harlan laughed.
"Work this out," Goddard muttered under his breath, and stood up.
In a louder tone he cleared his throat, and began : "I guess, since we're starting some new traditions around here, I might as
well add something ."
He raised his glass from the table, and picked up his fork and beat it against the glass.
"A toast. Although, when I began my career in the Stardogs, this was never part of the equation. Don't get me wrong, there have been times when I wondered what possible cosmic plan put me on this ship, with this crew. However, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, and I wanted to let you all know, that if I had to do it all over again, I don't know if I'd change anything. With that said, I wanted to say that I feel like a very lucky man that Theresa James Davenport has agreed to go forward not just on this journey we're on, but also to go forward with me personally, as my wife... Okay, that's it... I think.. .."
He sat back down and tried to make himself as inconspicuous as possible.
"Wow.." Harlan spluttered and dropped his glass causing water to splatter all over his uniform. "I think he means it."
"Why, Cmdr, uh Seth, that's nicest and longest speech I think I ever heard you give, and here the Staracadmey thought you couldn't teach,' Miss Davenport smiled.
"I just wonder why Catalina hasn't been in touch with me. I wonder what she's been up to lately..." Suzee muttered to herself.
Catalina tapped her stylus against the flat surface of her CompuPad. Then blinked a few times at the annoying flashing green prompt. She tried to focus and follow the complex algorithm she was trying to solve. A few moments later, she whacked her stylus against her forehead, which also failed to produce the answer.
"I am not dumb. I know way more than Harlan. Now where did that thought come from.? Grozit, I haven't thought about my friends on the Christa in who knows how long?
"I wonder if it would just be easier to throw the Compupad as far as I can? I bet Suzee never had to take remedial courses."
She let her head droop and yawned, then she could study by osmosis. Before she knew it, her rainbow-streaked head was pillowed on her folded arms, the stylus still clutched in her fingers. As she fell asleep, her last conscious thought: "I've been studying these stupid algorithms all night, a little snooze wouldn't hurt, would it?"
That's how the three strangers found her. One man, and two women. They wore identical black uniforms, each lapel sported a stylized logo divided into two panels: on the left was a violet flower whose petals curved in an upward spiral. The opposite panel was featured a blue scorpion.
"I'm positive. The TIES monitoring system pinpointed this girl." the brunette said, gesturing towards Catalina with a her left hand; in the terminology used by the Commission would be called the 'sinister' side of a shield. Her nails had been painted the same blue shade as the flower one the logos and the badge of rank on her left shoulder. It was symmetrical and presented in graphic from a 'closed universe', suggesting that the nation she represented encompassed everything needed by its citizens for a good and productive life. A wreath of blue flowers surrounded the shield and a scorpion was curled around the top of the shield.
"Hilde," we trust your judgment, it's just that when the Commission appointed us to this particular assignment, we were given a very narrow margin of error," the man said. He was the only member of the trio that was male. He had pale skin, and a shock of flame red hair that he wore in a thick thatch that probably hadn't been cut in weeks. That being the case, he tied it with a black cord dyed a contrasting vertical stripes of black and navy blue, which matched the panels on his logo and the badge of rank on his left shoulder.
"Jarvis, I do not need you to remind me of our responsibilities in this matter," Hilde replied.
"This was almost too easy," the blonde woman remarked as she removed a inlaid wooden box from a hidden pocket in her tunic. The box itself was made out of rare Yensidan wood that came from a protected natural preserve. The box was square and about the size of lady's jewelry box. The ribbon on top of the box had been polished a lighter shade of brown than the rest to provide some contrast.
"There's been no mistake. Her brain wave signals are keyed into our target alternate dimension," Hilde replied. "Proceed, Deirdre."
Deirdre moved purposefully forward and bent over the slumbering Catalina with the wooden box. She shook it slightly and tapped a finger on the surface which produced an aromatic scent and an odd ringing sound from inside. "It seems almost a shame," she whispered, then removed the wooden pin that held the lid in place, slid a panel to one side, and took the ribbon off and removed the lid.
A small scorpion slithered out, its tiny feet rubbing against the metal surface of Catalina's desk with sounded like rubbing sandpaper against cloth. It paused just near to touching Catalina's rainbow-streaked hair. Its tail curled, prepared to strike, grabbing a tendril, it stung her.
Deirdre reached out and tapped the scorpion on its plated back, and lightly coaxed back into the wooden box. When that was done she stuffed the box back into the uniform pocket.
"Bring her," Hilde ordered. "Conscious or not, we'll need her to open the threshold between dimensions and keep it open," Hilde said.
"It will work, Commander. I'm positive, " Suzee said.
"Great," Goddard replied. "Why don't you tell me that again after the ship blows up. Then we can all go home as our constituent atoms."
"I wish I'd thought of that," Bova whispered to Rose.
"Hush," Rose whispered back.
"Suzee. You have to understand that we would all love to have Catalina back, but let's face realit. The dimensional barrier can not be breached without causing a chain reaction. It's just isn't possible. I'm sorry," Davenport said.
"Everything's theoretically possible. And I think I've found a way to do it without blowing anything up," Suzee replied.
"Famous last words," Goddard muttered.
"We can do this, all I have to do is create enclosed ionic storm conditions by venting off some off the energy from the Christa's particle accelerators." Suzee explained.
At the threshold
A shockwave hit the ship...then another one, and suddenly the walls of the engineering room split open as if torn from behind them by a terrific force. The occupants of the room were treated to the experience of knowing how the tiny silver ball felt when it was knocked about in a pinball machine.
"Suzee," Commander Goddard muttered...
"That wasn't my doing," Suzee said.
"Then what caused it?" Harlan asked.
"Do you hear that?" Radu asked, cocking his head to one said and absently brushed a stray lock of hair away, as he focused his hearing on a distant but distinctly familiar high-pitched whine coming from somewhere outside the ship. It was distant but it was drawing steadily nearer.
"What is it?" Goddard asked.
"Well, Sir, I'd say it's a sonic scream?" Radu replied, instinctively clapping his hands over his sensitive ears.
When it subsided a breach in the dimensional barrier appeared in the walls of the Christa. It was more as if a bridge had been erected created from the energy vortices that connected their two dimensions; made out of sound and starlight.
Three upright figures stood poised at the rim of a chasm, with a fourth draped over the shoulders of another.
"I can find out who they are," Suzee said, her eyes glowing purple, but before her telepathic form could traverse the threshold to the other side she ran into an invisible wall.
"How positively annoying," Hilde remarked, snapping her fingers in Suzee's general direction causing her to collapse limply onto the floor of the engineering room.
"Cat!" Harlan shouted and leapt across the invisible bridge, where he landed on the rim and nearly succeeded in somersaulting backwards.
"Mr. Band! What do you think you're doing," Goddard shouted.
"Saving Cat," Harlan replied over his shoulder.
Catalina regained consciousness, disoriented and tired, and discovered that she was being carried like a sack of potatoes over the shoulders of man with auburn shoulder-length hair, who heaved her up and over, and placed her on her feet, his hand resting on her shoulder.
Catalina shook her head, her rainbow-streaked her getting into her eyes. She felt awful, dizzy, and very confused. She didn't know where she was or why she felt threatened by these people, and why she felt inclined to defend herself from them. Responding to the Catalina opened her mouth and let out a high-pitched sonic scream directly at Harlan.
Harlan, caught in the sights of some strange hand weapon, three unknown hostiles standing at the edge of chasm. He did not have any direction in which to turn. He was caught by the sonic scream and sent hurtling across the chasm backwards.
"Radu," Goddard said,
"I got him," Radu replied, resisting the urge to clap his hands over his ears, and caught his crew-mate.
"Why did Cat attack me?" Harlan whispered to Radu.
Rosie ran over to them, and knelt down next to Harlan, doing as quick as through of a medical scan as she could without any medical instruments or her Compupad.
"I think Harlan's okay. His hearing might be impaired for a while and his eardrums burst, it was just the shock of a close range sonic scream,"
Hilde moved up to the edge and gently nudged Catalina to one side. "I wish to speak to your Commander Goddard!" she shouted, her brown hair fluttering out behind, her blue cape spreading out like a pair of giant wings.
"What do you want?" Goddard demanded.
"Her!" Hilde replied, pointing directly at where Suzee was leaning against the wall.
"Seth, if they're from Yensid, then maybe they've gone to all this trouble to take Suzee back where she belongs, to take her home," Davenport whispered.
"You think?" Goddard whispered back to her.
"You don't have any options, Commander Goddard. From what we've been able to determine thus far, you're far from being a stupid man, " Deirdre added. "I'm sure you can see for yourself, that we've got the upperhand."
"Let me get this straight," Goddard said. "What you're proposing is a switch? You want to exchange Catalina for Suzee."
"Exactly," Hilde nodded.
"We'll have to switch places again," Catalina said.
"Right, it might be the only way to maintain the balance." Suzee said, moving forward from where she was leaning up against the wall. She hesitated for a moment and took a deep breath. She bit her lips and tried not to look back at the rest of the crew. Then she began crossing the invisible bridge.
On the opposite side, Jarvis, gently but firmly escorted Catalina across as well. They met in the middle, where they made the exchange, and Catalina and Suzee hugged, sobbing into each other's rainbow-streaked hair.
"It's nice to see you two finally came to your senses," Hilde remarked, her arms folded across her chest, then ordered Jarvis to separate them.
"Keep going, kids," Jarvis said to Catalina, as he back-pedaled to the his side of the bridge, keeping one hand on Suzee to make sure she didn't try to bolt.
"You're going to let this happen?" Davenport whispered.
"We all knew Suzee would have to return to her own dimension eventually," Goddard replied as he moved forward to help Catalina onto the Christ. "I don't see if I have we have a choice in the matter right now."
As soon as both girls had swithced dimensions another shockwave hit the ship and made the bridge crumble. This time it didn't last as long and nothing on the ship blew up. The energy vortex swirled around in dance of sound and light, and then the breach sealed itself. The last thing anyone saw was Suzee waving and silently voicing something that anyone without Andromedan hearing wouldn't have been able to catch, but this was what Radu heard:
"Don't worry! I'll never forget you guys! I think I've figured it out! I'll be in touch!..." Suzee trailed off, and then she was and the other three were gone.
"Incoming transmission," Rose announced. "It's from Suez in Yens.
"On screen," Goddard ordered, as the Christa's computers complied with the verbal direction and the screen pixels resolved themselves into Suzee's image. In the time it had taken her to return to her own dimension, seal the breach at the threshold, and go home to tell her family where she'd been for three years; she had also managed to change clothes. She was wearing the same blue jumpsuit she'd had one when she originally switched dimensions with Catalina that first time.
"Hi, guys. It's me. How about that? All that fuss and nothing on the ship blew up,' Suzee remarked.
"Oh, come off it, Suzee. You were just as worried and scared as the rest of us. So, you don't have to be so smug," Catalina countered.
"I've done some research on the people who kidnapped Catalina. They're part of a rogue police force called TIES; which stands for Telepathic Investigation Espionage Symposium," Suzee explained.
"Is there a Yensid legal authority where we can turn them in?" Goddard asked.
"Possibly. I'm checking it out. In the meantime..."
"I don't think they're even from Yensid. Apparently this TIES group contracted them to act as a rogue law enforcement agents," Catalina interrupted.
"Like deputies," Harlan nodded. "But there's one thing I don't understand. Don't look at me that way. Why would they erase Catalina's memory?"
"Grozit. From what I've been able to figure out, they had some half-baked idea that because since Suzee and I were able to communicate between dimensions..."
"Because our brainwaves are on the same wavelength," Suzee interrupted.
"That would upset the natural balance; so they wiped Catalina's memory so wouldn't' be able to, or even have want to communicate with anyone on the Christa."
"Does that mean, you're still be invisible in this dimension?" Harlan asked.
"No, I'll be able to communicate with anyone on the Christa now via normal subspace since I ah 'liberated' the same technology that TIES used to spy on you guys. With modifications of course," Suzee grinned.
"Of course," Goddard replied.
"I don't like the idea that just anyone could spy on us," Davenport mused.
"I'll talk you through the installation process," Suzee added.
"So, everything's okay now?" Rosie hopefully asked.
"Yeah, Rosie, everything's just fine," Suzee smiled, then her image faded off the screen.