Another Time, Another Love

((Hi, this fiction is a short Space: 1999 fiction featured in the zine: MOONSCAPE. Hope you enjoy it. Becky))

[][][][][][][][][]

She had written a letter and addressed it to Sandra. It spoke of who and where she wanted her possessions to go, a request to be buried near John Koenig's memorial grave and lastly, a note that flowers should continue to be placed on the smaller grave to the left of John's for as long as reasonable.

Victor would understand the last request even if others did not.

Helena lay the letter atop the bed and waited. Her other, younger self would be coming soon.

She lifted a hand to touch her cheek; warm and smooth. The hair had lost some of its luster and there were fine lines of suffering around her eyes, but she was still considered physically pleasing. If she was going to see him before her time here in Santa Maria was concluded, Helena was glad he would see her as fairly attractive.

But she was older than him now, the other John Koenig from Alpha. It did not really matter, she thought, but she gave herself a moment of feminine vanity to consider where all the years had gone.

Then she remembered the beginning of their lives here on future Earth. There was such hardship and heartbreak - but there was also triumph and devotion; a great deal of love and loyalty in such a short space of time ...

[][][][][][][]

They had come home!

The Eagles brought them down quickly and, dispersing, the Alphans settled into a routine. While it was dull and fraught with demanding back-breaking work and sacrifice, it was also rewarding. They had come back to Earth and were building a new world!

During the first three weeks, after they settled in Santa Maria, they put up tents to sleep in, assembled their equipment from Alpha, scavenged the landscape, and started rudimentary cropping. The Alphans had taken everything they could from the moonbase to aid them in their quest for survival and, while the technology certainly helped, most of what they did - building, farming and making well-loomed, hard wearing clothing - was done by hand.

Throughout this period, John Koenig found himself observing the men and women around him closely. They were good individuals, strong and intelligent, and afraid of nothing. He had been aware of this on Alpha, of course, but now it pleased him to see the transition from Earth people, breaking new ground in outer-space, to pioneers of a different kind.

He had also observed a few minor but interesting personal draws around their little slice of the world as well; Kano's side-long glances at Tanya who seemed to appreciate the attention, Paul and Sandra laughing softly together at private jokes, and even Victor's not so subtle movement to leave his friends in peace as he tended to his burgeoning flower garden.

Although they were still consuming rations, Tanya and Kano had recently found some wonderful greenery with the texture of iceberg lettuce and a fruit which was shaped like a lemon but tasted like a plum. Earth, although not the same world they had left, was showing signs of welcome. Helena had cleared them both as good fibrous foods and a sort of party was declared.

It was a lovely evening. They sat around a campfire and enjoyed each other's company. While Paul strummed his guitar and David sang off-key, Koenig motioned to Helena that he needed to have a private word with her. He had noticed, not for the first time, how the moon's glow and fire light cast a lovely play of illumination against her smooth skin, The Commander had made a decision about his own future and hoped she would be a central part of it.

Koenig said, "Let's walk." and he took her hand.

Helena supposed he needed some quiet time, away from their friends, but also wanted to hear her reports, making sure that all was working well for them since the advent of Exodus. After all, Life Support was still her specialty even if she only had a minimal use of Computer to run calculations through. Helena had not been idle and she was pleased that John noticed.

And, Helena was sure, he also wanted to talk about Paul and Sandra's wedding plans. The couple stated very clearly they wanted to have children in the near future and even though they had to start somewhere John was not yet certain their small community was ready for little ones running about, getting under foot. Besides, Helena thought with amusement, Koenig was officiating at their wedding and perhaps he needed advice?

Oddly, none of that came up as they walked. Instead, as he held her hand, Koenig spoke quietly of things that were not entirely important at the moment; their daily tasks, and how they would eventually dig for fresh water and have a well.

Helena liked the casualness of his words. They were friends now, talking in an informal way, not Commander and Doctor.

The couple gazed about the desolate forest, spotting only glimmers of green between uprooted trees and hills of rubble. They were by the fresh water creek, called Unsullied by Tanya, that ran from one of the many ashen mountains about them, down through the valley. It not only gave their settlement clean water but the others, those who had broken away from them, also used it to subsist. Eventually they would build a water-well but it would take awhile and Helena wished she had brought a bottle and canteen with them. It seemed a shame to not take advantage of their excursion.

Koenig said nothing but looked at her for a long while. Then, with very little overture, he said: "I want us to get married." and he stood suddenly still.

Helena walked a few paces ahead before what he said registered and she also stopped, let go of his hand, and was silent for a count of ten. "What, John?" she asked, her back to him, unsure if she heard him right.

He paused but for only a moment, "You can't not know how I feel about you, Helena."

She turned slowly to look at him, taken aback. "John, I …"

"I think I've loved you since the moment I first saw you in Medical Center." he proclaimed and watched her expression closely.

She was conflicted. Helena blinked. It was a lot to suddenly digest. "I did know there was something. I was beginning to wonder if I had imagined an attraction."

He looked at the half-moon above them and tried to explain, "Helena, up there we had to stay focused. We were practically forced to hide our feelings." He reassess, "At least I was. You understand that, don't you?"

Helena nodded. The weight of command, she thought, Sacrificing his own happiness for his people. It was the price John Koenig paid for being the base's leader. And she too paid dearly. How often had she wanted to tell John, often times hovering outside the door to his quarters, how she felt about him? But how could she be the aggressor when she just could not be certain about his mind-set? Could she have really told him that she desired nothing more then to lay in his arms and have him show her he cared? Perhaps not then but now …

"Alan and Regina have paired up and are joining us tomorrow. We are going to start building houses. They won't be big, probably just one room, but they will be comfortable - enough for two people."

"You really want to set up house with me?" Helena asked, just to be certain.

Koenig felt a little nervous. He did not often misread people but he suddenly began to wonder if he had completely misinterpret Helena's feelings for him. "Yes." Taking a short breath, he moved in closer, a hand gently touching her elbow. "I would like that more then anything in our new world." Then, praying he hadn't missed something very important, John asked: "You?"

Helena gasped slightly, realizing her deliberation might have been mistaken for disinterest, "Yes, oh yes. I would love nothing better. But John …"

She seemed afraid.

Koenig lifted her chin gently with a finger so he could look into her eyes, "Tell me."

"I know it sounds silly but -" She smiled ever so slightly, embarrassed. "I, umh, haven't been with a man since Lee. I just don't know if I … I don't want to disappoint you."

Koenig chuckled quietly, relieved, and held her close, "You could never disappoint, Helena." Gently, he embraced her, kissed her, and, because he was sure of her answer now, he asked her once again to be his bride.

[][][][][][][][][][]

TO BE CONTINUED ...