The Long and Winding Road Part 4
Three years after leaving the island for Canada, Hali, Dore, and Undri returned for a year and a half vacation from school for Undri and their parents for Hali and Dore.
"I just graduated high school about a month ago, so I'll be heading to college once I return to Canada," Undri said on their first night back.
"Do you know what you want to study?" Dianne asked.
Undri grinned. "I have a few ideas. All of which are somewhat… unusual."
"What about you?" Jason asked Hali and Dore.
Hali shrugged. "I don't have any plans for the next few years."
"Me either," Dore added with a shrug of his own.
"We've still got a couple of years before we're old enough to make decisions about what to REALLY do with our lives," Hali amended.
A few mornings later, a screaming warning from Jali woke Neri from a deep sleep.
You have to warn everyone. There's a giant tidal wave headed your way. It's passing ORCA now and is picking up speed and height. It's going to swamp the whole island Neri.
Are we safe?
Everyone in the trees should be, it's going to hit you guys last, but you've only got a couple of minutes to get Mother and Winston out of the house. It's going to hit that side of the island first.
That woke Neri right up.
She sat straight up and shook Jason. "Jason wake up. Tidal wave come now."
"What?" he asked sleepily. "What tidal wave?"
"Jali says tidal wave comes. Get on cliff."
Ten minutes later, they were running for the top of the cliff, the highest point on the island, the sound of rushing water filling their ears.
When they reached the cliff, water could already be seen flowing over the beach and making its way inland toward the Visitor's Center and house.
Dianne and Winston had gone to the mainland over night to get some time to themselves and celebrate their anniversary.
They watched as the VC collapsed under the pressure of the water, and then ten minutes later when the house collapsed.
Everyone sat down, realizing they were going to have to wait for a few hours before the water receded.
Roj yelled just loud enough for everyone to hear about an hour after the house collapsed and pointed to a large vehicle heading toward the cliff.
The vehicle, which looked more like a bus than a helicopter landed not long after.
Someone opened the door and motioned for the group to come over.
They all looked at each other before Jason shrugged.
"We should at least check it out," he signed.
"You first," Roj signed back.
As Jason took the lead, everyone else fell into line behind him.
"Umm, hello," the lady said, who had opened the door. "Do you kids want to come in here so we can talk?"
"All right," Jason agreed reluctantly.
All seventeen of them filed into the vehicle, which was surprisingly spacious inside and found seats around a large table.
"My name is Kathryn Janeway," the woman said as she sat down at the last open seat. "Is there going to be any problems if we sit here? I realize a great deal of this island is under water right now."
Neri finally answered when no one else did. "The cliff is the tallest area. It should be all right."
"Where are your parents?"
"They are spending the weekend on the mainland."
Jason saw Kathryn flinch when Neri said that.
"All right," the woman acknowledged. There was an awkward silence before asked: "Why are you here?"
"I was 'volunteered' early this morning to come find out how an entire island got transported here."
"Excuse me?" Brett was the first to ask.
"I'm a resident of a planet named Luna.
"We get a great deal of misplaced groups here from different realities. I have to admit though, that you're the largest group yet."
"We're no longer on Earth?" Mera asked.
"No. Do you have any idea how that might have happened?"
"I do," Jason said slowly.
"The spaceship?" Neri signed.
Jason nodded his agreement.
"Do you guys have a much higher tech level or something?" Mera asked, looking around.
"For the most part that is true, though we tend to share a great deal."
"But if we're not on Earth, we'll never see Mom and Winston again!" Cade signed frantically.
"No kidding," Jason said with a sigh as Roj reached over and gave Cade a hug.
"Why are you signing instead of talking?"
"I'm deaf," Cade said, signing at the same time.
"Wow. We have a policy of letting people make their own decisions here, no matter their age. I can understand if all of you want to continue living on this island?"
"What is the other option?" Neri asked.
"There are a large amount of us living on a ranch named Second Beginnings, only a few of, which, including myself, are actually from this dimension. Everyone else is from other dimension. Basically, my family specializes in helping groups adjust to life here on Luna.
"I realize this is probably a lot to swallow and that it's going to take a few hours for the water to recede from the island, do you want to come over to the ranch for a while? We can help you guys figure out where to go form here, explain some more about Luna and introduce you to some other people, all right?"
"That sounds fine," Jason agreed after a moment of signing with the others.
"I'll start this thing going and come back in a minute."
Fifteen minutes later, they touched down near several houses and Kathryn led them out of the bus.
Soon they were being introduced to about twenty people, all of whom had questions for them.
"Are you guys Australian?" a woman named Phoebe asked.
Jason and Neri glanced at each other. "Well, my brother Brett and I are," Jason answered. "Neri, Mera and everyone else are from a place we call PO."
"PO? I don't know of any city called PO."
"It is not a city. It is short for Planet of the Oceans," Neri answered.
"Planet of the Oceans?" Kathryn exclaimed, overhearing the conversation. "Most of you aren't human?"
"There's a good possibility we know what the culprit of being sent here is," Jason admitted with a sigh.
They now had everyone's attention on the field.
"What would that be?"
"The spaceship we have buried on the island," Neri explained.
"Spaceship? You guys have a spaceship on your island?"
"Yeah, we do," Jason said with a nod. "Neri and I have been inside of it."
"That is where we found out about the rest of the group that came from PO."
"Is it possible to still get into it?"
Jason shrugged. "I won't know till I see it. We sort of made it into a hill after we last went into it. It'll depend on how much dirt washed away, we might have to dig a bit."
"All right. Do you guys want something to drink?"
"Some water would be great, thank you," Jason said for everyone.
That afternoon, Jason, Neri, Mera, Brett, Kathryn and another person from the ranch named Tom Paris entered the spaceship.
Neri went straight over to where they had seen the blinking light the first time and after brushing back the cobwebs called Jason over.
"Another blinking light," she said.
"What does that mean?" Tom asked.
"It means that there is another message waiting for us," Jason said with a sigh. "So go ahead and push it."
Neri did, and a hologram of her father popped up.
"Dear daughter, I hope you have found Mera and the rest of our people misplaced because I set something up that I hope will help all of you. This spaceship was programmed to transport the entire island back home to the Planet of the Oceans three years after you activated my first message.
"Please forgive me if it didn't work or something went wrong. I have the spaceship programmed to return the island to Earth after one year so you have a way out if you need it.
"My dear daughter, I promise that this is the last message you will ever get from me, and that other than the return program, there is nothing more programmed into the spaceship. I wish I could see you and Mera but since I can't, I hope the two of you have wonderful lives and find the chance for love and family in either each other and the others of your people or a family on Earth. Goodbye my daughters."
Author's note: I don't feel like trying to figure out how much time has passed since that first message, all right? If someone wants to try to, feel free to tell me.
The hologram winked out and Neri hanged her head.
"Hey," Jason said opening his arms up. "Come here."
Neri fled into his arms, burying her head in his shoulder.
"Well, that explained a lot more than I expected," Kathryn said quietly, letting Neri have a moment.
"So that's what dad looked like," Mera said quietly as Brett laid a hand on her shoulder and she grabbed it.
Jason noticed Tom take something out of his pocket and unfold it. It started beeping as he pressed buttons and whistled. "There's a ton of power running through this thing," he said, handing the device to Kathryn.
"How can that be?"
"It might be on some kind of reusable energy," Tom said as Kathryn handed the device back to him. "Otherwise, I don't have a clue."
"That would make sense," Brett said as he squeezed Mera's hand. "Neri, you've been here for how long?"
"At least you can leave in a year," Kathryn said with a sigh. "Most of the people you met at the ranch are stuck here probably for the rest of their lives."
"It's going to be hell finding our parents when we get back though," Brett said, finally wrapping his arms around Mera and gently setting his head on her shoulder as she covered his hands with her own.
"Let's go let the others know what we found," Jason finally said as Neri lifted her head from his shoulder.
One year later, Neri and Jason were enjoying a gentle romance and had learned to pilot a large vehicle they finally named Eagle that was the size of a RV or bus so that they could make the trip to PO when they returned to Earth in another six months. The "lessons" had included several week-long excursions into the surrounding areas of space in the trading convoy that had been put together, which gave them a lot of time to themselves.
The entire group remained on the island and after rebuilding the house with the help of some of the Lunites, they started giving tours of the island.
There had been only a tiny amount of information about PO in the databases from Voyager, only that the Enterprise-B had contacted the planet at one point, and asked that they be left alone.
"Oh, great, that tells us nothing."
Jali, Enri, and the rest of their aquatic friends hadn't made the trip with them unfortunately so everyone was a little worried about if they would be able to return to the lifestyle they had had before leaving.
"Neri and I are going to leave for PO really late tomorrow night," Jason told their family and everyone from the ranch as they sat around a giant bonfire the evening they were to leave and return to Earth.
"That will leave all of you to find Mother. Are you all right with that?" Neri asked.
"How long will it take?" Mera asked.
"It depends on what we find. I don't know. Probably three years," Jason said with a sigh.
"Well, I hope you find your parents and that you find some friendly people on PO," Kathryn said.
"Thank you. We've made so many friends here, I know none of us will ever forget this place."
"We won't ever forget you guys either. You know, something we don't have of you is a picture. We should take one."
Neri smiled. "We do not have one of all of us either."
"You're kidding. Really?"
"No," Brett said with a shake of his head. "I don't think Mom has a picture of even just me and Jason, does she?"
"Not that I know of."
"Can we get a picture of all of us then?" Kathryn asked. "You guys can have a couple copies."
"That would be great," Neri said with a smile. "We can have one at the house, and take one with us on the Eagle."
"Too bad Mother and Winston aren't here," Mera said with a sigh.
"You miss them a lot don't you?" Chakotay, Kathryn's husband asked softly.
"Mom and Winston have taken so much in stride, between having our family grow into having nineteen members in three years, to having their children spend six months a year out on migration. We certainly didn't expect our lives to take such a giant turn, but I don't think any of us would trade it for anything," Jason said with a smile.
"I so hope you can find them," Be'lanna said.
"There's something that might happen when we return, that I don't want to think about," Jason said quietly. "What if they moved back to the island after we came here? Will they be transported here?"
"Well, that's an interesting question that we haven't considered," Kathryn admitted. "I guess we won't find out until tomorrow. If that does happen though, we'll let them know you were here, and I promise we'll take good care of them. Do you want to write a note for them?"
"Let me go get some paper," Phoebe, Kathryn and Chakotay's daughter, said, standing up and walking away from the circle.
It took ten minutes for the whole group to write out the message with everyone adding their own words to the several page letter.
"Let me go get a camera," Kathryn said.
"And a tripod," Chakotay called after her.
Only a few minutes later, they were all standing in front of the camera, with the backdrop of the multiple houses.
"Say cheese," Kathryn said before running to her place in the group next to Chakotay.
"Cheese," everyone said, grinning.
It wasn't that complicated of a picture, with the Bates all together on one side of the group and everyone from the ranch on the other.
"Let me get this developed quick and I'll take you guys back to the island," Kathryn said walking toward her house.
"I guess we should say our goodbyes now," Brett said.
Ten minutes later, the Bates family left the ranch for what they thought would be the last time ever.
Author's note: Ok, the only reason I really wrote this section was for the spacecraft so that I can make them travel to PO in the next part. I'm sorry that it's so short but it's more of a side note to me than a major part of the series. As for that last sentence…well make of it what you will, I'm not giving out any spoilers for what will happen later.
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