SPACE CASES – The Catalina Chronicles
Episode 2 – The Suicide Mission
Written by Nathan Broyles
Based on Space Cases™ by Bill Mumy and Peter David
(Author's Notes: 1 - If this series was televised, Thomas would be played by Patrick Stewart. 2 - It is obvious I am not a professional writer and may have faulty sentence structure from time to time, so don't hesitate to point that out, especially in the dialog parts.)
The planet Pehgus is a place covered in shadow. The sky has a deep red hue to it. Covering the planet's surface are black buildings with light shining from the windows. Flying vessels scattered through the sky over the metropolis. In the heart of the city, there are three tall black towers that stood thousands of feet in the air. The towers are connected to each other by several crosswalks. From an aerial view, the towers form a triangle if a line connected to the top of each of them. Inside sits a young queen on her throne in a room with black and red drapery.
Queen Jennu wore a long black and red dress along with a crown that covered every part of her head except for her face. The crown was silver and cylinder-shaped. She stood up and walked from her throne with the train of her dress dragging on the black-marble floor and stood at the large glass window, looking out toward the city. Jennu was a dominant, powerful queen who would get anything she wanted even if it meant taking it by force. What she wanted was for her empire to spread all across the universe and for people to follow her way of living, or they would perish. As she sipped from her goblet, she smiled while viewing the thriving metropolis.
A plump woman with tied-back black hair and black robes entered the throne room with the permission of the guards. Her name is Ashu, the queen's head advisor.
"My Lady," said Ashu kneeling before the queen. "The council wishes to gather. Something they wish to discuss of importance I'm sure."
"Go and let them know I will be there in a few," Jennu responded.
"As you wish, my queen." Ashu stood up and left the room.
The council consisted of twenty people, all appointed by the queen and including the queen. Ashu was one of the twenty, taking her seat with the others at the long, black-marble table. All twenty members were expected to be present except for Lord Magus, who is on the other side of the galaxy. Jennu entered the room a moment later.
"All rise for Queen Jennu," said Jesu, who is the head ambassador of the council. All eighteen members stood up as Jennu walked to her chair at the far end of the table. She sat and flared her sleeves as she put her hands on the table together. The eighteen other council members took their seats
"So, what issue is on the table?" asked Jennu.
"My queen, Lord Magus has recently informed us that the acquisition of planet Yensid is going as planned. He wished to bring the council together to report on his status. He is on standby," said Jonpo, a plump man wearing black robes and had black hair with blonde streaks.
"On screen," said Jennu.
Lord Magus appeared on a holographic screen that projected from the center of the table.
"My queen, I have very good news for you," he said. "I have kidnapped Yensid's most renowned engineering genius, Mr. Yavis Draak, along with his wife and youngest daughter. I already spoke with the planet's leaders about…negotiations. They gave up without a struggle."
"The Yensidians' pacifist ways is certainly their undoing," replied the queen.
"There was, however, a girl who somehow got away, but she was not native to the planet, according to my squad."
"Oh really? What makes you so sure?"
"They said she didn't have exposed gills, and her hair was different. It was…like a spectrum. And she had a scream that emitted a powerful sonic wave."
"Interesting…I want to find this girl, and bring her to me personally. The others, our system will deal with."
"She was just a little girl. Alone in this wide remote area, she could be dead by now. They said she fell."
"Don't be a fool, Magus. I know from experience that even a little girl can go far."
"I ordered a blockade on the planet. Even if she did survive, she will never leave, and the Yensidians will be forced to hand her over."
"I look forward to it. Screen off." The hologram disappeared.
Catalina sat at the helm of the Velocitor wearing her grey Star Academy uniform. By wearing it, she felt more sophisticated. The ship just left escape velocity of the planet Yensid and is now in the openness of space. Catalina was listening to Suzee telling her how to navigate the ship.
"Okay, setting the thrusters at .36 and leveling up on the front steering," said Catalina repeating what Suzee told her. "The ions that emitted from their rear thrusters are still leaving a fresh trail. I can use the auto track function to trace them." Suzee told her that wasn't a good idea because the cruiser could possibly detect if a ship was locked on to them. "Oh…not a good idea after all. Okay." Catalina sighed as she got up from her seat and headed towards the back of the ship. She figured if she was going to stay on the same course for a while, she would check out the rest of the ship and maybe even study how the engine runs. She didn't have to worry much about food because the ship had an automatic food dispenser. When she reached the back of the ship, Catalina found a door that looked like a closet of some sort. Suzee wasn't able to tell her what it was at this moment because one thing she promised herself was to not communicate with Catalina while any other crew member of the Christa was present. Until a way to get home for the both of them was found, Suzee believed it would be best if their long lost comrade was not brought to light.
"Weird…if this isn't the cargo hold, I wonder what could be in here." Catalina found the controls to the door under a flap on the wall that was hiding them. She pushed the button to open the door and jumped back putting her hand to her mouth after seeing what was in front of her. A tall, bald man wearing silver clothes with red lining and a microphone connected to his ear and ending at his mouth stood completely still with his eyes shut.
"An android," Catalina said in shock. She would have never guessed that the Draaks owned their very own humanoid android much like Thelma. She wondered even more why he was locked up in the closet and never mentioned of by Suzee or her family. Catalina examined the android closer. She was curious to know if it even still functioned. Reaching behind the neck, Catalina found a small switch and flipped it.
"WOAH!" the android shouted and pushed Catalina back several feet. Catalina skidded on the floor. The android started moving his arms around while examining them.
"Where am I? How did I get here? What has happened? Are we in danger?"
Catalina stood up and walked towards the android.
"You, little girl. I do not recognize you. Where is the master?"
"The master?" Catalina asked.
The android configured information in his head. "His name is Yavis Draak. I assisted him in constructing the starship Velocitor."
"Oh yeah, you're on that ship right now," Catalina smiled.
"Ah, and I take it you must be his daughter?"
"Um…no. He's just watching over me. It's a long story. But your master is in danger right now. He was taken hostage along with his wife and second daughter. I'm doing what I can to try and save them."
"You? But you're just a little girl."
"You'll soon discover that I am much more than you think I am."
"What is your name, little girl?"
"My name? My name is Catalina, but my friends call me Cat."
"Catalina. That is a very nice name. My name is THOMAS – Techno Human Operations and Mechanics Assistant. And according to my databanks, I have not been activated for 27 years, 5 months, and 14 days."
"Oh wow. You've been in this closet that long?"
"I believe so. I assume I was no longer needed. The ship is complete. I have no more use for anything."
"I…I could use you…for assistance. You see, I've never flown a ship by myself before, let alone deep into the unknown. All I have is my friend Suzee, who cannot be there all the time and is not…"
"Suzee?" Thomas interrupted.
"Oh, she's my best friend. You can't see her because she's in another dimension. She's actually Mr. Draak's daughter. Again, long story. Maybe I'll tell you about it later?"
"Look, Thomas, I could really use your help on the ship. Seeing as you assisted in building this ship, I assume you know it inside and out. If you can't do anything, at least you'd be keeping me company."
Thomas stared into Catalina's eyes. "Very well then. I shall assist you at the helm."
Catalina smiled. "Come on, this way." Catalina led Thomas to the cockpit. The young Saturnian took her seat at the helm as Thomas took the passenger seat.
"What course are we setting?" asked Thomas.
"We're following an ion trail left by a cruiser, which is carrying the Draaks. I can't retrieve an analysis on the cruiser without being detected."
Thomas plugged in to the ship's internal computer system in order to communicate what it picks up. "The Velocitor is traveling at 380,382 kilometers per second at steady speed."
All of the sudden, an alarm went off inside the ship.
"What is that?" asked Catalina.
"Several ships are coming out of warp. We need to slow down."
Catalina slowed the ship to impulse. She saw five large, dark-grey ships heading towards her.
"Well, hiding won't do us any good now. Lets scan to see what ships these are," said Catalina as she configured some controls on the dashboard. The console screen read 'Pehgan Juggernauts'.
"It appears to be a blockade team," said Thomas.
"They look like the same type of ships as the cruiser," said Catalina.
"What course of action do you suggest?"
"Well, I come from a long lineage of diplomats. I'm sure we can work things out."
"But from my understanding, sometimes diplomacy isn't always the answer."
The ships moved closer and closer to the Velocitor. A beeping noise was coming from the console.
"We're receiving a hail," said Thomas.
"Put it on the screen," said Catalina.
A man in a black uniform with the Pehgan insignia on it appeared on the console screen.
"Greetings," he said. "I am Admiral Maloc Javan of the Pehgan flagship Interceptor. I have orders from Queen Jennu to find and bring before her a young girl with rainbow-colored hair. We hoped on our way to Yensid that we would find her flying around, and it looks like our lucky day. Prepare to be boarded." The screen switched back to what it was before the hail.
"Okay, negotiations are over. Lets high-tail it out of here," said Catalina, but the ships started to close in on the Velocitor.
"Powering weapons systems," said Thomas.
"Wait wait wait! We have a weapon system on this ship?!" asked Catalina shockingly.
"We have shields too. The master was always prepared."
Catalina slapped her hands on the console. "Great! And I thought this was supposed to be a FAMILY caravan."
"From my analysis, the Velocitor's maneuverability capability is superior, so we should have no problem getting around these vessels."
"Well, what are we waiting for then?"
Catalina piloted the Velocitor directly under the juggernaut vessels. Turrets from the vessels began firing at the ship.
"Shields are holding steady," said Thomas.
The Velocitor reached the back of the vessels, which emitted small, grey star-shaped fighter ships.
"The Pehgan Juggernauts have launched an array of small fightercraft headed our way. Switching to attack mode," said Thomas configuring controls.
"Attack mode? Are you crazy?!" yelled Catalina.
"You underestimate the Velocitor's capabilities."
"It's suicide if you think we're going to be able to fight off an entire blockade team in this small ship!"
"The bigger they are, the harder they fall, I believe that is the correct quote. It is imperative that we stop them from reaching Yensid. That is the most important thing."
"Fine, but if you're wrong…"
"An android is never wrong."
Catalina turned the ship around and headed towards the small fighter ships. Thomas operated the Velocitor's weapons control system.
"Firing rapid phasers now," said Thomas. Rapid firepower bursted from the Velocitor's turrets, instantly destroying a good number of the small fighter ships. Catalina was stunned over what just happed. The Velocitor moved straight towards the Pehgan Juggernaunts. More fighter ships advanced towards the Velocitor firing lasers. The Velocitor responded by destroying every ship in its path.
"Wow, I can't believe it," said Catalina. "We're making sport of these guys!"
"I am currently locating a weakpoint in the juggernaunt's hull," said Thomas. "We do not have enough firepower to destroy the ships, but we can disable them if we knock out their shield generators first. You will need to move the ship closer so I can pinpoint the target."
Catalina piloted the Velocitor under one of the juggernaunts while attempting to avoid laserfire.
"There. The shield generator is located on the aft tower," said Thomas. Catalina flew the ship up to the aft tower on one of the juggernaunts, and Thomas fired lasers at it to cripple it. The Velocitor moved towards the bridge of the juggernaunt while heavy firepower was coming from it. Thomas fired rapid fire towards the bridge and in random areas around the front of the ship. The Velocitor flew away from the juggernaunt as it stood dead in space.
Aboard the flagship Interceptor, the men were working frantically at their stations on the bridge. Admiral Javan walked around the bridge in circles.
"Sir, we're receiving a distress call from one of our ships," said a uniformed man at one of the stations. Admiral Javan walked over and viewed the distorted message on the screen.
"We…dead…space…destroyed…main engines…life support…" said a man gasping for his breath before the screen became totally distorted.
"A tiny shipped piloted by an adolescent is able to destroy many of our fightercraft and render a juggernaunt useless. How can that be possible?" asked Javan. "I want shields at maximum power and phasers on full charge on all ships in the blockade team, but do not destroy the ship; Queen Jennu wants her alive."
Back on the Velocitor, Catalina navigated the ship while Thomas fired the guns when necessary.
"Wow, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this," said Catalina, who performed some fancy maneuvers. "I will try what I call 'The Catalina Maneuver'. Thomas, I need you to put as much power as you can to the aft shields."
"Aye, sir," said Thomas.
"Sir?" replied Catalina, sounding insulted.
"Well I would prefer you not use it."
"How about I call you 'captain' then?"
"You are the one piloting the ship."
"I…I like that. Yeah, you can call me 'captain'. Captain Catalina of the Cosmos!"
"Then so be it."
Catalina flew the ship around one of the other juggernauts in order to make it follow her. The juggernaut began firing phasers at the Velocitor's aft hull while the shields held steady. She made the juggernaut chase her at full speed until she reached the side of another juggernaut and pulled up and out of the way. The following juggernaut could not break.
"Sir, we're on a collision course with one of the other ships!" exclaimed a man at the helm.
"Brace for impact!" shouted the captain. The juggernaut crashed into the other juggernaut, rendering both of them useless.
"Two more to go," said Thomas. Catalina flew the ship back towards the two remaining ships but knew that her trick would not work again. All of the sudden, Suzee began communicating with her telepathically.
"Suzee, this is not a good time to talk. I'm in the middle of some crazy battle."
"Well I don't know what's going on either. Apparently your dad's ship is a war vessel in disguise and I'm stuck here navigating it while this android here, who you've never told me about, is controlling a surprise weapon system that has the ability to disable major war ships."
"It was his idea! I didn't want to stay and fight, but Thomas here suggested that we take on the blockade before it reached Yensid."
There was a pause. Lasers from the smaller fightercraft were firing at the Velocitor while the shields were still holding steady.
"Oh no," said Catalina. "Thomas, Suzee says that the flagship, which is typically a level-3 juggernaut, carries radioactive homing missiles that would destroy our ship with a single hit."
"That is impossible," replied Thomas. "Such weapons have been banned by the Treaty of Galephilo."
Aboard the Interceptor, Admiral Javan looked stern out of disbelief as he viewed the destruction of three of three juggernauts.
"This is impossible," he muttered to himself. "How can one ship be such a nuisance? Commander…fire the dredgers."
"But sir," replied the commander. "I thought they were to be kept alive."
"I would rather lose my head than my dignity. That is an order."
Back on the Velocitor, the alarm began blaring and a red light started flashing. Catalina did not have to ask to know that several missiles were flying towards the ship.
"Okay, I think it's time to leave," said Catalina. She turned the ship around at full speed, but the missiles continued to follow the ship. The young Saturnian flew the ship in many directions while maintaining full speed. She started to sweat and her heart started beating faster as the missiles came closer and closer. She was running out of options and had to make a decision quickly.
"Allow the missiles to fly into the juggernauts? Sounds like a great idea Suzee, but I don't know if I'll be able to pull it off."
Suzee informed Catalina that she had to fly towards one of the juggernauts and then make a sharp turn at the last split second, causing the missiles to fly into the juggernaut instead.
"Okay Thomas, we're going to kill two birds with one stone." Catalina flew the ship towards the Interceptor. The command crew aboard the flagship saw the Velocitor flying towards them.
"RAISE THE SHIELDS!!" shouted Admiral Jarvan. The officers on the bridge ducked and hid under their stations. The Velocitor flew out of the way in the nick of time as planned, and the missiles flew right through the bridge. Luckily, Catalina was able to fly the ship into warp at that moment in order to avoid the explosion. The impact from the missiles was so great that it created a chain reaction throughout the entire ship and caused it to explode. The remaining juggernaut was too close to avoid being hit by flying debris and the aftershock ripple of the explosion, which disabled the ship.
Many light years away, Lord Magus's cruiser flew through the great sea of space. On board, a black-armored soldier man entered a dark chamber. Dark-colored mists permeated the room as Magus sat in deep meditation.
"My Lord…" said the armored soldier. The mist cleared away, a light illuminated the chamber, and Magus awoke.
"You better have a good excuse for interrupting my meditation," said Magus in a threatening way.
"Forgive me, my lord, but we're receiving a distress call from the blockade team you sent out."
Magus looked stunned. The last thing he expected was for an entire blockade team to be sending out a distress call on a relatively simple mission. He proceeded out of his chamber and walked towards the bridge with the soldier following him. On the bridge, he headed towards the communications console and opened the hail.
"This is Lord Magus responding to the Yensid blockade team. What seems to be the problem?"
A captain from one of the disabled juggernauts responded weakly. "Our blockade team is dead in space. We've lost a lot of men. The Interceptor has been destroyed. I can't communicate with any of the other ships."
"There are no enemy threats in that part of space. How did this happen?" asked Magus.
"The damage was caused not by many, but one ship. The missing girl we're looking for was flying it."
"You're telling me that a single ship was able to render the entire blockade useless?"
"Yes. We underestimated the power of the ship. It looks like a simple small cruiser but had a sufficient weapons system, shields, and superior mobility."
"Please, my lord, we're losing life support. We need aid."
Looking grimly, Magus pulled out a device with a switch on it. "Of course. I shall end your suffering." He flipped the switch and all four remaining juggernauts instantly self destructed. Afterwards, he turned and exited the bridge, meeting up with two other armored soldiers.
"Go fetch the prisoners from the brig and meet me in the interrogation room," he said to them.
Magus sat in a chair behind a large grey table in the middle of an empty room. The door opened and the three Draaks, who were chained together, were shoved in by armored guards. The door slid shut and the two armored guards guarded it from inside.
"Welcome, welcome," said Magus clasping his hands together with his elbows on the table. "How are our prisoners doing?"
"You…you despicable cretin!" exclaimed Mr. Draak angrily. "You let us go or I'll…I'll…"
"Go on," said Magus, amused by the taunt.
"We've done nothing. We have nothing. We're totally innocent."
"You have a ship. Velocitor, right?"
"What does that have to do anything? Nothing special about it at all."
"Really? Nothing special. Is that so?"
"It's just a family vessel. Nothing more."
"Then maybe you can explain to me how this family vessel of yours was able to bring down my entire blockade team and leave with barely a scratch."
"Apparently the Saturian girl you've been taking care and who we're looking for piloted the ship. She was accompanied by an android of some sort according to the reports."
"Catalina…" said Mr. Draak surprisingly.
Magus came down grimly to Mr. Draak face-to-face. "You are going to tell me everything about this ship of yours."
"You? Never! I'll never tell you anything."
Magus pulled out a large knife and walked over to Suzaa. "You know, the eyes of a beautiful child would be a fine finishing touch to my latest sculpture." Suzaa cried and buried herself in her mother's arms.
"Alright! Alright! I'll tell you!" said Mr. Draak. "Anything."
"Good…good," said Magus putting the knife away and walking back to the table to sit in his chair. "Now, let's start from the beginning."
The Velocitor continued to travel through space at maximum warp. After an experience like none other, Catalina sat at the helm and took deep sighs of relief.
"Well, I'm glad that's over. But we lost the ion trail during the battle," said Catalina. "Now it won't be as easy to track down the kidnappers."
"Fear not, Captain." said Thomas. "The Pehgans are well known all over the galaxy. We should stop on various planets so we can gather information to their whereabouts."
"Okay, where do we start?"
"According to the datalog, I believe Shoku IV would be the wisest choice. 23 parsecs away."
"Alright, setting a course for it now," said Catalina while configuring the controls. Suzee began engaging in telepathic communication with Catalina again now that Suzee was alone in a room aboard the Christa.
"Well Suzee, I never thought I was going to get out of that mess alive. I guess my piloting skills aren't that bad, huh? Wait until I show off to Harlan…that is, if I ever get back to my own dimension."
"Okay, fine Suzee. You do deserve credit for helping out. Thank you."
"Don't worry, if we could fight off an entire blockade, I'm certain we can find your family in time and bring them back safely. I'm not going to let you down…I hope."
The Velocitor flew straight through deep space, marking only the beginning of an incredible adventure for a young Saturnian girl and an android.
-To Be Continued-