Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Princess and the Please

The year is 1987 and NASA launches the last of America's deep space probes. In a freak mishap Ranger III and its pilot Captain William "Buck" Rogers are blown out of orbit into a trajectory which freezes his life support systems and returns Buck Rogers to Earth... five hundred years later……………………..

Chapter 1

"Contact"

It was well after midnight before the fighter finally rolled to a stop on the cold metallic floor of the hangar. The hatch popped open and slowly, tiredly, the muscular man climbed out of the cockpit. He looked across the hangar to see a beautiful brunette in a tight, form-fitting flight suit approaching him. She smiled at him broadly and waved an excited hand. He smiled weakly in return as he half jumped, half fell to the floor.

"Welcome home, Buck," she said cheerfully.

He simply nodded. "Thanks, Wilma."

She gave him a quick hug. "So how was your trip back?"

He took a deep breath, happy to be away from the stale, recycled air from his fighter's cockpit. Slowly he started for the exit. "I'll be glad to sleep in my own bed tonight."

She nodded knowingly. She knew what it was like to be away on missions for nearly a week at a time. She rested a hand on his arm. "Were you successful in securing safe passage to Bethay?"

Buck shook his head up and down once. "Let's just say the pirates in that sector won't be bothering our shipping lanes anymore," he replied with a weak gleam in his eye.

Suddenly a mechanical voice sounded behind them. "Beep-be-de-de-beep. Wait for me, Buck!"
Buck stopped, turned around, and snapped his fingers. "Twiki!"

"Don't leave me here, Buck!"

Colonel Deering grinned broadly. "You really are tired!" she teased.

Buck quickly went back to his ship to help the small ambuquad out of the fighter's back seat. "Sorry, old buddy," he apologized. "I guess lack of sleep is making me forget things."

He set him gently onto the floor of the hangar. "Well if you hadn't stopped-"

Buck tapped the ambuquad gently but firmly on the head. "Shut up, Twiki," he said in a low hush.

"What was that?" Wilma asked as she approached them.

Buck shrugged his shoulders. "What was what?"
"Twiki said you had to stop somewhere?"
"Huh? Oh, right. He said we had enough fuel to get back home but I didn't want to take any chances. I had to stop on Bethay to refuel and recharge my batteries. I didn't want to run out of gas half way home."

"Beep-be-de-de-beep: You recharged your batteries, alright," Twiki muttered.

Wilma looked at the both of them dubiously for only an instant before nodding. "Oh. Good thinking. There's not much between here and Bethay but open space."

Buck nodded in agreement, then started once more for the exit at the other end of the hangar. Wilma quickly turned to walk at his side while Twiki followed noisily behind them. "Doctor Huar will be glad to know you're back," Wilma said. "I'll let him know your mission was a success. You should just go back home and get some well deserved rest."

"Thanks, Wilma. I'll come down to his office in the morning for debriefing."

They reached the door and exited into a long corridor that extended in both directions for as far as the eye could see. Wilma smiled at Buck and put her hand gently on his shoulder. "Go get some sleep," she ordered. "I'll see you tomorrow."

Buck grinned reassuringly. "G'night, Wilma."

Colonel Deering turned and quickly started down the corridor. Buck took a quick glance at the small quad now beside him. "Come on, Twiki. Let's go."

"Right behind you, Buck."

They both turned and started down the corridor in the opposite direction. They walked for nearly thirty minutes through a maze of corridors and lifts before finally stopping in front of a particular door. Buck punched the combination code into the panel lock beside the door and waited for the door to slide open quickly. Slowly he entered the apartment followed by Twiki. Without even turning on the light, Buck began to remove his flight jacket.

Suddenly a strange sensation struck him and overwhelmed his entire being. He stopped so suddenly that Twiki ran right into his back. The small ambuquad stopped and took a quick step backwards.

"Beep-be-de-de-beep: what is it, Buck?"

Buck's hand immediately reached for his pistol. "There's somebody in here," he announced surely.

"Very good, Captain Rogers," answered a deep voice from the darkness. "I'm glad to see your senses are as sharp as ever."

Buck cocked his head slightly. Somewhere he had heard that voice before… but that fact was not reassuring. If he hadn't been so tired…

"Computer: lights!" he called loudly.

Instantly the entire apartment basked in bright lights emanating from several sources on the walls and ceiling. Buck's eyes quickly scanned the room until they found the intruder. A man dressed solely in black stood in the farthest corner possible away from the front door to the apartment. His hands lay at his sides, palms facing away from him.

"You do not need your weapon, Captain Rogers. I am completely unarmed."

Buck continued to stare at the man at the end of his aimed weapon. He was so tired that it took several blinks of his eyes for them to focus properly and then recognize the man standing before him.

"Kane?" he asked incredulously. "What are you doing here? How did you get into my apartment? Twiki, call security."

The man quickly held out his hand in protest. "Please, Captain Rogers. Give me a minute to explain."

Buck placed his hand on Twiki's shoulder. "Okay, Kane. I'll give you a minute. This better be good. Where's the princess?"
Kane lowered his head slightly. "She is precisely the reason I am here."

Buck rolled his eyes in frustration. "I kind of figured that. What does she want with me this time? Whatever it is, you can tell her I'm not interested."

Kane shook his head and held out his hands. "I can't do that."

"Sure you can."

Again he shook his head. "Captain Rogers: you are the last person I ever expected to be saying this to… but… I need your help."

Buck lowered his pistol slightly. "Your minute is almost up."

Kane sighed deeply. "Believe me when I tell you that this is not easy for me to say. I need your help to find Princess Ardala."

Buck cocked his head to one side. "Huh?"

Kane took a deep breath and held it for a long moment before finally releasing it slowly. "Princess Ardala has been kidnapped. I need your help to find her."