Author's note. These stories were written before I had got a serious grasp of the complexities of the character of Ed Straker. Please forgive me. Archived here after reconsideration. All stories/art work etc available on my website: Lightcudder's World

Break Time

The mid-night revellers outside the apartment block didn't care that they were keeping people awake with their rowdy noises. A number of tired residents were woken from sleep by the chorus of football anthems from the celebrating supporters. The couple in the penthouse were no exception.

The man sighed with annoyance and got out of the bed to look out over the quayside below. Standing behind the bullet proof glass that ensured his privacy, and safety, he watched, annoyed as the group roamed across the paved areas, shouting, laughing, singing.

'It's so tempting to go down there and sort them out,' he told the woman lying there, her brown eyes watching him, her black hair tousled and tempting. 'Is it too much to ask for a little peace and quiet? I could do with some sleep tonight. Why must they make such a noise?'

'Forget them. They'll give up soon and go home. Come back here.' she pulled the covers back and grinned at him. He shook his head in mock refusal, but slipped back under the sheets, and soon the noises that had kept him awake faded into the distance.

And Ed Straker didn't get back to sleep, for quite a while. But this time he didn't mind.

Chapter 1

There were no unruly partygoers disturbing the peace in Mare Ibrium. The landscape surrounding Moonbase was as peaceful as hard vacuum could be. Even the returning Lunar Shuttle was soundless as it slowly descended onto its cradle.

Inside the domes it was quiet as well. There was no sense of urgency, no rush to complete paperwork. The latest batch of reports had been completed and faxed to HQ with two days to spare and Gay Ellis, now relaxing in Central Park, was chatting to Mark Bradley and James Grey.

Moonbase had had a quiet month so far and it had been an excellent opportunity to catch up on inspections, reviews and personnel assessments. Now she was up to date with all the boring and pointless administration exercises that the IAC demanded. PDI's, Annual Appraisals, Target Setting, the list was endless.

She often wondered how Straker kept his temper when dealing with Henderson and his cronies. Pathetic paper pushers she called them, knowing that the Commander and Colonel Freeman used somewhat stronger language to describe the time wasting and inane activities that the IAC insisted they had to complete. Still, if it brought in the funding, she would go along with it.

She picked up her empty coffee cup and put it in the disposal chute, and turned back to Mark, 'So Mark, who's ….'

'Positive Contacts area 135 276 Green. Speed SOL 5. Six confirmed UFO sightings' Gay was already on her way through the narrow corridor that led to the hub of Moonbase.

Entering Moonbase Control Sphere she nodded to her Second in Command. 'I have control Nina.' Ellis confirmed as she slid into her seat at the central console and glanced at the information pouring into her computer displays. She activated her intercom.

'Red Alert, Red Alert. All Interceptors immediate launch. Positive contacts. Six UFOs bearing 43* SOL 5. Sector Blue, course, 637 decimal 9 . Computer plotting and guidance systems operational. Attack and destroy.'

Shortly afterwards three brilliant multi-coloured explosions bloomed in space, but there was nothing that Moonbase could do about the remaining three UFOs. Gay Ellis looked glumly at the monitor screen. 'We really need those extra Interceptors Commander Straker's been trying to get. Okay, put me through to HQ.'

'Moonbase to Shado Control. Three, repeat three targets destroyed. Remaining three UFO's on Earthbound trajectory, ETA Earth atmosphere 28 minutes.' Gay Ellis notified SHADO Control.

'Shado Control to Moonbase. Receiving you strength 9. Can you give us an estimated termination point yet? '

'Moonbase to Shado Control. Target zone England, Southeast region, Trajectory termination grid reference Hotel Pappa 65 mark 7 Oscar Lima 44 mark 3. ETA 02.35 hours '

'Acknowledged Moonbase. Shado Control out.'

'Shado Control to Skydiver 5. Red alert, Red alert. Immediate launch, I say again; Immediate launch. 3 repeat 3 UFOs on EOI. Trajectory termination point Hotel Pappa 65 mark 7 Oscar Lima 44 mark 3. ETA 02.35 hours ' Lt Ford's clear, concise tones relayed the information to Lew Waterman..

'Skydiver 5 to Shado control. Launch in T minus 20 secs. Trajectory termination course plotted and all systems ready and armed.' The response was instantaneous.

Damn, thought Alec Freeman approvingly, these guys are on the ball. The Control Room was hushed as operatives waited for Sky 5 to report in. Freeman clenched his fist, wanting to be in the action, not merely controlling it. Come on Lew he thought, you have to get all three. Don't miss.

'Sky 5 to Control. Two, repeat two UFOs destroyed. The third one veered away and is well out of my range. Sending new trajectory termination now.' Lew Waterman was apologetic, but Freeman knew that getting two UFO's was excellent work.

Alec Freeman watched as the computer located the new grid reference points. 'Shit.' He muttered to himself. Keith Ford looked up at him in surprise. 'Sorry Keith, took me by surprise that's all. They haven't targeted HQ for quite some time now. Ok, Alert Sky 3 and all mobiles in the immediate zone. We have about 30 minutes before it gets within range.

'Well done Captain, return to Skydiver and resume patrol. We'll handle it from here. Freeman out.' Alec turned to Keith Ford.

'Ford, get me in touch with the Mobile leader so we can coordinate our attack. We will need to notify the commander. He'll want to get here as soon as possible.' Freeman was already planning his next move in the operation.

Colonel Alec Freeman crossed the Control room and entered the small neat office usually occupied by his Commander. Sitting behind the classic style slate and chrome desk, he steepled his fingers, unconsciously mimicking Straker's mannerisms, then abruptly pushed his chair back and went to the large conference table.

He hated being in the responsibility seat. He often wondered how Ed could stand it, day after day, month after month, with no let up, no prospect of winning, no recognition of the work that he did.

Dedication without a doubt, but also an extremely large measure of sheer bloody-mindedness. He pulled up the aerial photographs of the Studio complex and the surrounding district and began studying them.