It had the makings of a lovely, wonderful dream.
Helena was back on Earth and strolling through a wooded area. There was a chill to the air and felt as it might right after a substantial rain. She was wearing her favorite purple faux leather jacket with a white fleece muffler around her neck. Helena felt incredibly peaceful and happy. She approached a creek and crouched beside it, enjoying the sound of the water skimming over pebbles and larger rocks. Helena could hear bird song in the distance and she smiled. Where she was didn't really matter but Helena suspected it was the mountains somewhere near Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She had gone there when a child and it had left an impression.
Helena felt him standing beside her before she actually saw him and she smiled. A hand rested on her shoulder. She stood to her full height and looked up at him. John Koenig. She was so pleased he had joined her, sharing in the tranquility. His smile was charming, both hands on her shoulders now, and it did not matter that his Alphan uniform was out of place. She would take him to the cabin where he could change, wear something warmer, and they would explore the area together. There were so many wonderful hidden secrets in these woods. Then later, during the evening, they would sit in front of the fireplace, drinking cider, talking, embracing ... and …
John's expression changed. He was in acute pain. A trickle of blood appeared at the corner of his mouth. She did not realize what had happened until he dropped to his knees then crumpled to the damp ground. Behind him she saw James Mulhern, holding a knife.
"I will never let you go." he said and swung his weapon in her direction.
Helena awoke, sitting up in bed, and calmed herself. That was so unfair. A wonderful fantasy destroyed! She leaned forward slightly and placed a hand on her forehead, eyes closed, and was angry with herself. Her subconscious was playing games with her mind. Why could it not just let her alone?
James was dangerous but not homicidal and she knew it. Helena also knew that while she might have been an interesting conquest for the man and he felt cheated by her rejection James Mulhern was not obsessed with her. The angry messages on her comlock, whilst hostile, were from a man who needed mental or emotional therapy but not because he was a crazed maniac.
She and the Commander talked about it before he left this morning and John said he would speak with Mathias for her. James would no longer be a problem, he said, and she could relax. Helena appreciate his assurance and got out of bed to escort John to her door before he left. He told her not to, to stay in bed and rest, but she wasn't an invalid and thought it the least she could do.
It might have been a mistake, telling John as much as she did, including that she was attracted to him. It obviously made him uncomfortable but, Helena sensed, he was also flattered and her disclosure, whilst not unexpected, made him think a little more firmly about future possibilities.
Besides that, it was great for the Commander's ego.
"Get some sleep, Helena." he had ordered her gently as the doors parted for his exit.
"I promise." she said.
They looked at one another for a few moments. He then leaned down and kissed her very gently on the cheek. John left without another word.
Helena, in bed and thinking about it, now raised a hand to touched where he had kissed her. Another lovely memory, she thought, and perhaps there will be others to go along with it one day. Or maybe not. Helena sighed. Again, it was her imagination telling her things she wanted to hear. It was that same imagination that allowed her to believe she and John had a future - before he was whisked away to Zenno. "Helena, get a grip." she told herself as she stretched.
Mathias had forbad her from working in Medical Center today, told her he would personally lock her in her quarters without a comlock if she disobeyed, but she was not going to spend the next twenty four hours in her room. Helena decided to shower and think further about it. Perhaps she could take a walk to the recreation area or gym. Maybe she and Victor could have tea in the arboretum. Or she could go see Koenig in his office, just to assure him all was still well.
Decision made, Helena slipped out of bed and tottered slightly to the bathroom.
Alan Carter walked from the Eagle hanger, shaking his head back and forth, wondering what he had gotten himself into. John Koenig was his Commander but he also felt he was developing a friendship with the man. The task given might be something he would normally ask from Professor Bergman but Carter understood why Koenig had bypassed his closest friend for himself. Victor might have tried to talk Koenig out of the altercation whereas Carter, somewhat of a hot-head himself, was a man of action and completely understood why the Commander felt the need to protect his woman.
Koenig had asked Carter to watch James Mulhern, without him knowing it, and report back to him when he was alone and looked like he would be for awhile. Alan had just called him on the comlock, letting Koenig know that Mulhern was walking by himself through sections C-2 to his quarters in C-5. It was time for Koenig to move and, briefly, Carter wondered if he should show up just to cover his Commander's back. If something intense was going to happen John might need him there to reign either man in during a time of uncontrolled aggression.
Carter looked up as he walked and was surprised by what he saw. Dr. Russell was approaching; rested, uniformed and - he had to admit - quite attractive. "How are you, Doc? Better than yesterday, I take it?"
"Much." she stopped, affable. "And I'm trying to find the Commander. He's not answering his comlock and is not in Main Mission? Any ideas?"
'She doesn't know.' Carter thought. He was not a man who lied to a lady, the less so when she outranked him. "He's, umh, out and about I'm sure, doc."
Helena saw something in Carter's manner that gave her pause, "Alan, you know something. What's going on?"
He looked away from her a moment then said, "He's gone off to talk with Mulhern."
Her green eyes registered surprise, not so much because John was going to do such a thing but because Alan seemed a little nervous about the prospect. "You don't think he'd do anything ridiculous, do you?" she asked, now a little uneasy herself.
Carter was honest, "He's a smart man but if he thinks your honor needs defending he might feel compelled to take a stand."
"My honor? Alan, that makes no sense. It's not as if we're - involved. He has no reason to defend anything."
"Maybe you and I haven't been looking at the same man, Dr. Russell." Carter allowed a familiar lop-sided smile and rested his weight on his left foot, "He's crazy about you."
"Alan, if only you knew …"
Helena looked at him, now stunned. "He told you about Vanna?"
"Some." the pilot shrugged, "I guarantee you this, Helena, if he had truly been in love with her the Commander would never have left her. I honestly believe," Carter thought before he spoke, "John Koenig, if facing the same situation involving you … he would have stayed."
Helena stared at Carter, dubious yet astonished.
The entity felt a magnificent tension as John Koenig walked from his office in Main Mission. It could see the set of his features, the seriousness as he reflected on what he needed to do.
He was a man on a mission and out for revenge.
It had seen this sort of behavior before, the inner passion and rage. It was so scrumptious and …. so human.
Mulhern felt an odd manifestation about him and this, as well as Koenig's silent ultimatum earlier in the day, had his nerves on edge. There was no one in the hall as he walked and that seemed strange. It was far too quiet and the sooner he got to his quarters, showered, and settle down to a good nap between shifts, the better.
Suddenly, Koenig rounded a corner and Mulhern nearly ran into him.
The two men stood still and looked at each other.
"Commander." he said.
"Mulhern." Koenig's face was passive, "Anything new to report?"
"All is well." Then, when he realized Koenig was not satisfied he said: "I heard what happened to Dr. Russell. How is she?"
"She will be fine - no thanks to you."
Mulhern took a breath, "She told you it was my fault?"
Watching the man's expression, Koenig said: "No, as a matter of fact she took the blame onto herself." he then added, "But I don't believe it. I listened to those voice messages you left on her comlock and they were not from a rational man. You hurt her, didn't you?"
"It was an accident." Then Mulhern quickly said, "Not without reason."
"And what would that reason be?"
"Commander, we're both men," He tried to be reasonable, appealing to Koenig's sense of brotherhood. "Women know the power they have over us and sometimes they need to be taught a lesson."
Koenig could feel his hands tighten into fists at his sides, "What type of lesson?"
"Come on. They say they want to talk with us but we both know what really works is demonstration. If we don't show women we're the boss they think they can walk all over us. I guess it's partially our own fault. Never fall in love with a woman in a position of authority. They're the worst." Mulhern then gently slapped Koenig's shoulder, unaware that the Commander was stifling an urge to punch him in the face, "Understand, Commander?"
"Understand this," Koenig unclenched a fist and placed it on Mulhern's shoulder. It seemed a friendly gesture but that was a deception, "You will attend the meetings twice a week that Dr. Mathias is requiring you to go to. If I ever hear another word about you hurting anyone, be it man or woman, I will see to it that you never touch another human being as long as you live." He added, in a whisper - "By whatever means it takes"
Mulhern was aghast, "You … You're the Commander. You can't threaten me this way. It's a violation of authority. If Helena told you …"
Without warning, Koenig stepped forward and pushed Mulhern against the wall. His tone grew dark and menacing, "I'm not talking to you as your Commander. This is personal. If you come near or touch Helena Russell again I'll make you wish you had never been born!"
Helena and Alan approached.
"Do we understand each other?" Koenig pressed quietly, his tone no nonsense.
"Yes, sir." Mulhern finally said, defeated, and pushed past him.
He glanced once in Helena's direction, nodded, and walked rapidly away.
"Alan, make sure Mr. Mulhern gets to his quarters safely." Koenig ordered.
Carter nodded and smiled, please to see his Commander was able to take care of matters with minimal fuss. He then followed Mulhern.
"Helena." Koenig acknowledged and was about to move past her when she caught his arm, keeping the Commander in place.
"What was that about?" she asked, smiling despite herself.
"Nothing. Just a conversation between men."
"I see." She continued to hold his arm, knowing better. "Good to know you're keeping in touch with your people." Helena was about to move away from him when he placed a hand on her shoulder to keep her in place.
"You don't plan to go to Medical Center, do you?"
"No, Bob wouldn't allow it even if I tried." She said, suddenly aware that she and John were standing rather close and touching, "How about you?"
"I'm do to go back to Main Mission but am off at six … Would you like to have supper together, doctor?"
She looked up into his warm eyes, seeing gentleness where only a few minutes before they were cold and hard as he spoke with James Mulhern. "I would like that very much. But only," she pressed, "if you really want to, John. I would hate to think you are inviting me because …"
"Helena." He moved in close and spoke into her ear, " I really want to have supper with you."
She pulled back ever so slightly, touched by his sincerity. "Okay."
"Six thirty in the dining hall?" he asked.
"No." Helena suddenly said.
Koenig was a little taken aback, "No?"
"My place. I'll order in for two." she said and smiled. "Sometimes I like privacy when I dine."
Koenig stared at her for a few moments, "Yes, as do I." He reached over and touched her cheek, "Later then?"
Helena smiled and moved on.
Koenig could not resist watching her as she walked away.
It had been misinformed about humans. At least the humans on Moonbase Alpha.
It would have to move on, weaker, dissatisfied, and thwarted.
Days later the Alphans would be given an atmosphere on their moon, compliments of an alien civilization who - like the Commander and Dr. Russell - enjoyed their privacy. There would be danger, there was always danger, but sadly even this gift would be rescinded.
Yet, life would go on ...
Moonbase Alpha continued its journey.