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SURPRISE!

BY: B.C. RANDOLF

"Madison, you never told me that you used to know Adena's parents."

"Well, I did. But that was a long time ago and I didn't think it was all to important, or I would have told you."

"Did you know Adena when she was a little girl?"

"Yes, I did."

"Then why don't you tell me something about that part of your past. I would like to know about Adena's parents. It would be interesting to know a little about her as a child as well."

"Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt. You see long ago before I took you in...

ALERT. CAPTAIN RANDOLF TO THE BRIDGE PLEASE.

"Oh, what is it now?"

"You've got me. Why don't we go and see?"

As they entered the ridge they were met by a young officer, Lieutenant Drake.

"Captain Randolf, Sir, when we left the moon I began to track three ships from the other side of Mars. They appear to be two of our cargo ships and one of our battle cruisers. However, I don't recall any of our ships being dispatched to that area."

"There is no need to worry, Lieutenant. I know what they are. They are our cargo ships the Rex and the Romulus and our cruiser, the Valiant. I sent them out, but I didn't expect them back this soon."

"Madison, why didn't you tell me about this sooner?"

"Well, Bronson, they were supposed to be part of a surprise."

"A surprise? What do you mean a surprise?"

"A birthday surprise. Happy Birthday Bronson. I know that this is only the tenth, and I'm five days early, but I don't think you'll mind once you know what the surprise is."

"Now you've got my curiosity up. What is it?"

"After what Adena told us this may be a three part gift. You know our little problem with Enad on our base at Phoebe? Well, this could solve it. You are now the proud owner of two new bases. These are gifts from your people and myself."

"What? Two new bases? Where? How?"

"If you'll be quiet I'll tell you. One is Spotbase, located in the center of the Red Spot on Jupiter. The other is Atlantis base located on Mars in an area from which it derives its name. With these two new bases, which are far more adbanced than the one on Phoebe, you don't necessarily need Phoebe anymor. Therefore, you may deal with Enad in any way you wish now."

"Thank you, Madison. Your gift is threefold. I am most grateful for it. I believe I can deal now with Enad more easily."

"You're very welcome Bronson."

*********************************************************

On the base at Phoebe, Enad was looking over some systems to see in what devious way he could use them against Bronson and Iffley. Megan was napping aboard the Cantible. Suddenly, an alarm went off.

ALERT. THIS BASE HAS BEEN PROGRAMMER IN THE SHORT FUSE SELF DESTRUCT MODE. IT WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN FORTY-FIVE SECONDS. REPEAT. THIS BASE WILL DESTRUCT IN FORTY-THREE SECONDS.

Enad did not have enough time to get back to the Cantible. His only hope was to enter a nearby escape pod and hope that Megan would have the sense to take off.

Megan had heard the alarm too She waited as long as she could and started to take off. However, she waither too long. Just as she was taking off the base exploded and the Cantible was hurtled lifelessly into space. Had it not be for the defense shield, the ship would have been completely destroyed.

For all practical purposes though the ship was dead. Its only working system was its auxilliary life support system. All other systems were completely wiped out - primaries and backups. megan wasn't much better off. She was beaten and bruised, but alive, barely. Her only hope was to be picked up by another ship.

Enad was also floating in space among the debris which was once the base on Phoebe. The shock of the blast had rendered him unconscious. The pos which he had escaped in was equipped only with small retro-rockets and not capable of interplanetary travel. Thus, for all practical purposes, he was stranded in space as well.

*********************************************************

Back on the Madison, there was great celebrating. The Phoebe problem was solved and Ranier still had two bases in space. Altogether it was a very successful and joyous day.

The following message was then sent to Iffley and Adena on T'Mir.

To: Suralio Iffley and Adena, Enchantress of Furanose:

The large explosion you detected was that of my former base on Phoebe. It is no longer necessary to me. I have received two new bases as a gift from Madison. My sensors show that there are two ships, an escape pod and the hulk of a ship, probably the Cantible, floating amongst the debris. There are life forms on each. We cannot determine however which is Enad and which is Megan.

If you ever believed the Phoebe base a threat, there is now no need. My new bases will not be a threat either. I hope there is never a reason for you to feel any mistrust of me again.

Respectfully yours,

Bronson Randolf

At that Bronson, Madison, and the crews of the madison, Rex, Romulus and Valiant continued to celebrate the success of the day.


 © 1984, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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