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 .
I was gong to re-write parts of this story in order to portray Paul Foster in a more favourable light, but after some consideration I have left it as it was originally written. Please forgive me, Colonel Foster. I hope that certain scenes in The Shepherd make up for my errors in The Rachel Chronicles.
Readers should take note of the dates at the start of each scene as this story covers various time lines.
May 19th 2010 07.28 hours
Paul Foster hummed to himself as he entered the studio office. A beautiful May morning, bright skies promising a warm maybe, with any luck, even a hot day and it was Wednesday. A good day. Especially when tomorrow was the first day of his vacation. Two weeks in Antigua in one of the island's smaller hotels. Wonderful. Two weeks away from SHADO and Straker, away from Alec and aliens, film directors and fans. Just today to get through. Easy.
He strolled into the control room. Shit. It looked a mess. Papers everywhere, charts, maps, data printouts. What had been going on while he was asleep? It looked like he had missed all the fun.
'Colonel. Good morning.' Keith Ford greeted him with a tired look, 'you picked a good night to leave on time.'
Paul Foster turned round. 'Seems I did, Keith. Why did the commander not call me?'
'Oh, you know Commander Straker,' Ford's laugh was weary , 'he said we didn't need to get you out of bed. We managed alright, even though there were, if I recall, ten different attempts during the last eight hours. The Commander sent Colonel Freeman down to get some rest about two hours ago and he,' Ford nodded towards Straker's office, 'has probably got his head down on his desk and is asleep in there if my guess is right. The commander has been here for the last twenty hours now. Don't wake him Colonel. He is very tired.' Ford turned back to his console, effectively shutting out the youngest member of the SHADO command team.
Foster stood there, rigid with suppressed anger. How dare he. How dare Straker ignore him, decide not to call Foster in, even though they were in the middle of a major attack. It was tantamount to declaring that the SHADO Commander had no faith in Paul Foster.
And there and then Paul decided that he would show Ed 'Smug Bastard' Straker just how competent Colonel Paul Foster could be, given the chance. He leaned over Keith Ford's console. 'Don't worry Lt,' he murmured in a soothing yet smug tone, 'I wouldn't dream of disturbing the Commander, far from it.'
He went to get a coffee, noting that the main office door was closed. Unusual, but if Ed Straker was head down on his desk asleep, then chances are that the little creep Keith Ford had shut the door to stop anyone disturbing the precious boss as he dreamed.
Behind the closed door Straker was asleep. Head down on his arms at his desk. Too tired to even contemplate the journey home. Even if Rachel was waiting for him.
Lazy sod. You wouldn't catch Colonel Foster asleep at his desk. No sir. Never.
His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice. Not a husky, feminine, sultry voice, with overtones of sexuality, or a dark, masculine voice with hints of power and presence. No. SID was an out-and-out androgynous, genderless hermaphrodite. Though why the hell they couldn't have given the damned machine a more appealing voice he would never know.
'This is Space Intruder Detector. I have UFO on positive track. Bearing green 305.56. SOL 1 decimal 3.' Paul Foster watched for a few minutes as the UFO almost sauntered into the Solar System as if it were on a sightseeing excursion rather than a smash and grab raid for useful organs.
'Still Sol 1? Bloody hell, that's slow. Ford, recalibrate the sensors.' Foster ordered the Chief Communications Officer, pleased to have someone to boss around.
'I've rechecked the sensors Colonel. Several times. It's an accurate measurement. There's something else you should know. This UFO, it's mass is greater than normal. As much as five time greater. And the analysis of its composition indicates that it is composed primarily of thorium, astatine and there are some traces of technetium. All radio-active elements.' He looked up at Foster, worry lining his brow.
'So, what difference does that make? We know they have been using different materials in their crafts in the last few months and the theory is that that they are running low on resources. Where is it heading? Moonbase or Earth?'
Keith Ford consulted the screens again. 'It appears to be slowing down now and it's just coming up to Lunar orbit. If it continues to slow at this rate it will be stationary when it gets within Interceptor range.' he paused, 'and that doesn't make any sense. It's a sitting duck. The interceptors will have no problems targeting it.'
Foster looked over his shoulder. 'Well, that's their problem. Alert Moonbase. Tell them to go ahead with the attack as soon as the UFO has gone past Lunar orbit.'
'Is there a problem Ford?'
'Do you think Commander Straker should be notified?'
'For this? One stationary UFO? No. Let the Commander sleep.' And Keith Ford could hear the slight tone of derision in Foster's voice.
'But Colonel, he left specific orders to…'
'Lt. Ford.' Paul Foster was beginning to get annoyed by now, ' I said No. And I mean No. Tell the interceptors to be ready to attack when I give the order. We'll wait until the UFO gets to the outermost edge of Middle Earth Orbit.'
They watched the screens, listened to the communications between Moonbase and the Interceptors, waited until the UFO had stopped and was just sitting there,
Paul Foster leaned forward, waiting for the moment. He looked at the time reference. O7. 38 hours.'Interceptors. Prepare to fire,… Fire.'
A direct hit. All three nuclear missiles. On target.
And twenty minutes later the world ended.