Chapter 1

Aftermath of a Crash

by

Darlene Milner

 

‘Where am I? Where’s this?’ she wondered. It was very dark. She couldn’t even see her fingers as she wiggled them near her face. There was a dull ache from the back of her head. “Ow!” she cried out as her hand rubbed the bump on the back of her head. Then, as she examined the rest of her head and face, her hand landed above her right eye: “Ouch!”–yet another bump.

What in the world happened? There were smells of fuels and fire and sulfur–that rotten-egg smell, ugh! Maybe it’d been an accident? She attempted to sit up. Everything was spinning tummy first. A hangover? She gingerly lay back down. ‘What’s the last thing I remember?’ she wondered. Before she could access that memory she heard moaning from nearby; then sobbing from somewhere else. Were others coming around?

“Who’s there?” she called.

“Anna, Anna, is that you?” she heard. The voice didn’t sound familiar. And who’s Anna?

“Who’s there?” she asked again.

“Judy.”

Still, no face in her memory for someone named Judy. Still, she could tell this person was hurting. Maybe she could be of assistance? “Judy, where are you?”

“Over here, please, help me!”

The sobbing continued to the other side, but she settled on aiming toward the closer sounding, Judy. She attempted, once again, to get up, this time by rolling on her side, and then she was able to push herself into a sitting position. Something hard, like rocks, poked into her legs. She reached down and pushed and pulled until the ground was smooth beneath her. Then she picked up a piece. From the smooth coolness and weight she could feel that these were not rocks but bits and pieces of metal. It occurred to her that this was a car accident though she couldn’t recall the last time she was in a car.

She managed to get up on her knees and then ever so carefully; she crawled in the direction of Judy’s voice. All along the way, there was more metallic debris to hinder her progress.

“Judy?” she called to get her bearings.

“Yeah, over here!”

But now there was a huge object that impeded her progress. “Judy, hold on, there’s something in the way. Just hang on!” She prodded and poked at the object. She located a button. Pushing it, she heard a sudden, whoosh! A massive lid had opened up. She explored within the opening. Her hands jumped back as they touched flesh, cold flesh. She knew by the shape of what she had felt that this was a child. The contents of her stomach exploded from her.

‘Oh, my God! What’s happened? Is this a coffin?’ She wondered. She pulled the lid down. Even still, she decided it best not to share her findings with Judy. It might be too upsetting for someone in the kind of pain she heard in Judy’s voice. She fumbled around until she maneuvered past the coffin-like box. Once beyond the box, she bumped into something covered in fabric; a seat?

“Judy?”

“Here.” The voice was very close. And her hands felt Judy’s foot. It was wet, sticky.

“Where’re you hurt?”

“I can’t move my leg. I can’t even feel it anymore!”

Anna did her best to assess Judy’s leg injury and then felt a bone protruding. She gulped. She patted up to Judy’s knee, then thigh. There she found a huge beam of metal.

“Don’t lift it! Can’t you see? It’s the only thing holding back the pain and blood!” Anna could hear Judy as she struggled to prop herself up on her elbows.

“Anna! Oh, my God!” Judy exclaimed.

“You keep calling me Anna. Is that my name?”

“Oh… Anna, touch your face.” Anna felt the burning sensation as her fingers touched her cheeks. Then her headache increased as she raised her hands to her eyes. Her lids seemed fused shut! Her eyelashes and eyebrows were completely gone!

“What has happened? What’s wrong with my eyes?”

“You were closest to the controls during the explosion. That must have burnt horribly, Hon!”

“I hadn’t noticed my eyes; my head was hurting so much I thought I was hung over!”

“Anna, you don’t even drink!”

“Gosh! I don’t remember anything! I don’t know who you are. What has happened? How did we get here?” She remembered the pain she heard in Judy’s voice. “We’ll deal with all that later, I guess. Let’s deal with your leg first. Are you in much pain?”

“I think this beam is blocking most of the sensation. Let’s see if we can get this done before the pain comes back or I bleed to death.” Anna heard Judy leaning forward, to ascertain the damage to her leg.

“Anna, it looks very bad! Broken–below the knee.” Judy swallowed. “Tthe bone is protruding. You’ll need to fix that. I’ll guide you.”

“That’s crazy! I could hurt you more! Let me go get help!”

“No, Anna, you need to do this now. We don’t have time!” Judy attempted to suppress the moan, as the waves of dizziness consumed her.

Anna realized that it was up to her. But how could she do it sightless? Then she felt Judy’s hand guiding her to the place where the bone jutted out beyond the skin.

Judy rolled up a sleeve of a jacket near her and put the body of the jacket under her head. Her straight black hair got tangled at first, but she pulled it up into a ponytail and lifted above the jacket back. She held the sleeve aside. “Tell me when you’re ready.” She blinked her dark eyes, pooling threatening tears.

Anna gently groped the broken bones. It was a fairly straight break so it should slide back together without further injury. She was concerned about bacteria causing infection. But best to get the leg back together and stop the bleeding. She wished she could see to make sure she did it right, but the urgency of the situation set her in motion. In fact, she felt confidence growing within; her fingers seemed to know what to do. She worked with surprising speed, knowing her new friend didn’t have much time.

“Ok, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. How ’bout you?” Anna asked.

Judy groaned out a “Ready.” Then she put the rolled sleeve between her teeth.

Grabbing Judy’s leg nimbly, Anna pulled quickly and forcefully back until she heard, and felt, the bone set itself into place. She then reached up to feel that it was as it should be. That done, Anna knew the next step would be a tourniquet. It should help stave off the sudden rush of blood. She pulled off her fabric belt and tied it tight just below Judy’s knee. “Now for that beam.” She said.

“Let me guide you to the point where you can get the best leverage,” Judy said. “Here use this!” Judy was touching her with something that felt like a rod. “Now find the edge. There ya go! Now with your left hand, reach over and pick up that rock—over—over—There! Put the rock just under the rod. Remember Physics 101?”

Anna pushed the end of the rod nearest her.

“Harder! It’s working! Push down a little harder!”

As she groaned with the strain, Anna succeeded to push it down sufficiently to raise the beam off Judy’s leg.

“E-e-e-ey-OW!! Ok, let it go! Oh, this hurts!” Anna could hear the tears in Judy’s voice. Then the cry vanished completely.

Anna let the beam down gently, in case Judy might not be clear of it. But as the beam hit the ground, she knew Judy was safe. “Judy, are you ok?” The sudden silence frightened Anna. She crawled her way to Judy’s face. Judy was making no sound. ‘Oh, no, I’ve killed her!’ Anna thought. She put her hand on Judy’s face to find her nose. She was very relieved to find that Judy was still breathing, though shallow. Judy’s skin felt cool and clammy. Anna realized that Judy was in shock. She knew that she had little time to make sure that bleeding stopped. Anna remembered that person who had been crying. “Hey, can someone help me over here?”

There was a scurrying sound. Soon she was hearing someone sniffling nearby. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder.

“I’ll help.” came a nasal quivering voice. Another sniff. “What do you want me to do?”

Anna explained the situation with Judy and the need to check the bleeding on the break site and to hold the bones and skin where they should be. “I need fabric long enough to wrap up her wound tightly. Then we need to find a blanket or something to keep her warm.” She heard a ripping sound and some rustling.

“Here try bandaging her wound with this.” More sniffling.

“Thank you.” Somehow, Anna managed to wrap and tie off the bandage and attached a splint. When Anna had stabilized wound, she removed the tourniquet as leaving it on would cause more harm than good at this point. The leg warmed, but the bandage maintained the proper amount of pressure.

“Stand back.” Sniff. Anna crawled away. Snap! There was a bit of a breeze, and she knew a blanket covered Judy. Anna checked Judy’s breathing once more. Much better. Judy’s skin felt a little warmer. It seemed that Judy must be asleep. “Thank you, uh…”

“Beth” Sniff.

“Thank you, Beth. Is there anyone else we need to attend to?”

“No. No one else made it; just us. My Johnny’s gone; didn’t have a chance. My poor sweetheart…” Beth started crying, again.

“Are you ok, Beth?” Anna asked. Maybe in worrying about her Johnny, Beth had ignored wounds she might have incurred.

“No, I’m fine. Not even a scratch! But poor Johnny!”

Anna did not quite know who Beth or Johnny was, but she knew that she needed help locating survivors and supplies. “Beth, please look at me.” She managed to grab Beth by her arm and turn her.

“Oh, my God! Oh my God! What are we going to do?” Beth cried out. She obviously hadn’t noticed Anna’s injuries until now.

“I’m ok, Beth. Are you sure you’re not hurt?”

“No, just fine… but my poor Johnny…” The tears threatened again.

“We can’t help him, can we?”

“No…” Now Beth was crying uncontrollably. “He took a piece of metal through his heart.”

Anna knew she needed to distract Beth. “Tell me what we have here, Beth. Be my eyes.”

“It’s a real mess. Bodies, metal pieces, small fires here and there…”

“Are the fires contained or could they spread?”

“No, there is nothing nearby for the fires to burn. They should just burn themselves out.”

“Where are we, Beth?”

“Don’t you know?”

“Would I be asking if I did?” Anna was ashamed for being rude, but she needed the information. She quickly apologized.

“I’m sorry, too. My Johnny said this is Haven. I know there’s a scientific name, but he called it Haven because it was to be our safe planet after all that mess on Earth and our years of traveling.”

“Haven doesn’t fit how I feel about it. More like Hell!” Anna mumbled. She could swear she could smell brimstone, but she maintained her control. “Look around, Beth. Tell me about Haven.”

“It seems to be dusk; still enough light to see but no stars yet. There are clouds of purple and reds. Don’t see a sun. It seems there are trees and bushes around the perimeter, but not nearby. I don’t see any animals. But I have prickling sensation of someone or something watching us.” Beth shuddered but pulled herself back to the description of the area. “Yeah, I’d say it’s dusk. There is a pretty sunset fading on the horizon. But it is getting dark quickly.” Beth said. This time she experienced an uncontrollable shudder.

Anna felt that same prickly feeling, and it made her feel uneasy for the three of them. “Do you see a place for shelter? With night coming on we need to get to safety. We don’t know how long or cold Haven’s nights are, or what dangers may be lurking.”

The prickles intensified as they both heard a whooshing sound like a slow beating of huge wings. Anna felt Beth turned toward the sound. “There’s nothing there!” Beth said, her voice quivering with terror.

But as quickly as the feeling had come on, Anna felt foolish. “Yeah, that was silly,” Anna said. She needed to get control. “There’s nothing there.”

“Oh, hey!” Beth called, “I see a portion of the ship over there. It seems intact.”

“I don’t want to leave Judy alone out here. Can you help me with a litter to carry her over there?” Anna asked while checking Judy’s vitals and affirming that she was no longer in danger from shock. ‘Quick recovery,’ she thought.

Together Anna and Beth rigged up the seat that Anna had happened on earlier. It still had the mechanism working to adjust to a reclining position. They gently lifted Judy onto the seat. They pushed and pulled the seat with Beth’s guidance until they got to the part of the ship that Beth had seen. Beth looked inside.

***

“I can’t believe it! What luck! It’s the infirmary!” Beth said as she slid open the door and pulled the seat closer to the door.

Sure enough, here they found plenty of medication, equipment, a gurney, and BEDS!

With the help of the gurney, Beth and Anna settled Judy into bed. Anna set about finding the proper supplies to help her friend. Out of seeming intuition, Anna opened this cabinet and that drawer pulling out sundry items and spreading them on a tray near Judy.

Judy opened her eyes. The noise Anna had been making woke her up. She and Beth watched in amazement at Anna’s skillful maneuvers.

“Are you sure you can’t see?” Beth asked.

Anna stopped suddenly as if frozen. “Why… no, I can’t!”

Judy reached out to steady Anna, both to keep her from falling onto her bed, and to calm her. “Do you feel your memory coming back?”

Anna composed herself and thought about it. “No, I still can’t seem to remember anything, except how to help you.” Anna paused a moment then came back to life, reanimated. “Beth, I’ll need your eyes to read labels and guide me. Judy, if you will trust us, lie back and relax. You’ll be up and running in no time!” With that, Anna administered an anesthetic and proceeded to remove the makeshift splint and bandages.

Suddenly, Beth grabbed her hand. “Anna, I wish you could see this!” She guided Anna’s wary fingers to the site of the break.

“What …?” Anna exclaimed.

Anna’s hands examined the area on Judy’s leg; instead of a gaping wound–smooth skin. “What does it look like?” She asked, not believing her hands.

Beth described, “A perfectly healthy leg!” She then lifted the pants leg on Judy’s other leg. “See, they are just the same! No broken skin, no difference in how the bones feel!”

Then Anna ran her hands up and down Judy’s shins. “No bumps? Bruises?”

“No, Anna, the skin is nice and even in color!”

“How could that have happened?” Anna then found the scanner and examined Judy’s entire body. “Read the window to me, please.” Beth read the numbers and scientific jargon as best she could. Nothing pointed to anything awry.

“Well, in that case, help me find a bed and let’s get some rest till Judy comes to.”

Beth tucked Anna in gently and found a bed for herself. Her mind was spinning with all that had happened; her emotions a jumbled mess. She didn’t know what she felt. She couldn’t get a handle on any one thought, so she gradually let them all go.

Anna attempted to rest but also found her thoughts racing. ‘How did Judy’s broken leg spontaneously heal? Why am I not remembering WHO I am? How is it I seem to know everything about medicine instinctively? Was I a nurse, a doctor? What about my eyes? Why I can’t see?’ As these questions whirled around with no answers, Anna put her hands to her head. It was no longer hurting. The lumps were gone. She fingered her eyes. Her stomach gave a flip of hope and then seemed to drop out of her. It seemed her eyelids were completely sealed closed as if they had never been able to open and close. She could feel her eyeballs moving as she pretended to look left and right. There wasn’t any pain involved, yet she knew this wasn’t how she was before. Then when the thoughts collided, she felt herself drift off. She felt as if she were flying on the fluffy back of some huge bird. She felt safe and secure. She felt all would be fine.

***

Chapter 2

First Morning

Judy opened her eyes. She felt rested. She felt GOOD! Sitting up, she looked around. There were Anna and Beth sleeping like babies. Automatically, she swung her legs over the side of the bed. Her stomach was growling. Oh… and where’s the nearest toilet? She stood up and suddenly remembered her leg. Looking down, she was astonished to see TWO HEALTHY LEGS! She tested what she saw by taking a step. No pain!

Ok, then. Time to take care of business.

She looked around and found the latrine door. The latrine had a shower stall, so she took advantage of it. It never occurred to her how the plumbing still worked perfectly. Showers are the time to reflect. As she shampooed, Judy’s mind replayed the leg pain during the sudden explosion. But what she found interesting was the float down to the planet. She should be dead. First, as they hadn’t entered the atmosphere, yet, as she floated, she found she could breathe just fine. Second, she wasn’t hurtling, nor did she have a parachute. There had been no panic, in fact, she had felt quite relaxed during the descent, and she felt cared for, mothered was the word that came to mind, as that huge piece of metal gently laid itself across her thigh, cutting the blood flow and pain that was sure to come. Maybe it was all a dream. As she rinsed off, her thoughts wandered, and she didn’t think another thing about it.

Climbing out of the shower, she retrieved a towel not realizing it hadn’t been there when she walked in. Swiftly she dried and dressed. Now she was beginning to wake. She was surprised to find her clothes clean and in perfect condition. ‘How…?’ she wondered. But she was still not awake enough to finish that thought. She figured her drowsiness was due to the drugs Anna had given her.

It had been a long time since she last ate. Hunger drove her to look for food.

Leaving the restroom, she saw the familiar ‘Canteen’ sign on another door. She did not expect the door to lead anywhere but back out onto the planet. She was totally surprised to discover the canteen was, also, in perfect order.

Judy was so happy about everything that she wanted to do something special for the buddies who had healed and saved her life. She quickly whipped up a hearty breakfast for three. She set the table for her friends, and then she devoured the food she set out for herself. She poured herself a cup of tea and meandered back to the infirmary.

She quietly stood in awe of all that had happened. They had looked forward to the chance to help set up a new world, and the adventure they knew was ahead.

Then there was that problem on the bridge as the ship; just as it was preparing to land on the planet. Then the explosion! Oh, and the extreme pain. As if the fear of dying alone on a strange planet, or even worse living alone, crippled wasn’t enough. Then she did think of something worse. There had been a breeze with the sound of wings flapping. She could have been eaten alive! The thought made her shudder. Yet, here she was, healthy, clean, well dressed, well fed and drinking her favorite tea while her friends slept. Maybe this was a dream; maybe all of this was a dream!

Believing it best to let her healers sleep, Judy decided to take a peek at this new world. The door opened quietly. She stepped outside.

There was the bloodied reclining chair that, she vaguely remembered, had carried her to the infirmary. The landscape littered with the wreckage and bodies of crewmates.

In spite of the gruesomeness around her day had dawned BEAUTIFULLY! Two small suns rising near the horizon seemed to smile on Haven. Beyond the crash site on all sides were scenes straight from travel brochures. On one side a beach scene, turquoise water, gentle curling waves, white sand with occasional oasis type patches with green grasses and what looked like palm trees. On another side, a bubbling brook streaming into lush woods that snaked its way up the mountains. Another turn and she saw a meadow with a lake at its far side. Judy couldn’t believe her eyes. She couldn’t wait to explore!

There was that sudden whoosh of wind and the feeling of being watched. Maybe it was best to wait. It was wiser to go with the others. ‘Safety in numbers’ was the maxim from Basics that went through her head, and another shudder went through her body. One should always pay attention to intuition. But was she just being paranoid? She decided to side with caution.

***

Sipping her tea, Judy let her mind wander over the previous day as her eyes viewed the landscape and the wreckage. The ship was huge and had contained a virtual Ark of– “Oh, no! The zoo!” She said out loud as she dropped her cup. “Fuzzy Wuzzy! “Einstein! How could I have forgotten my sweethearts?”

She left the door of her new home and ran the distance of the whole ship’s remains to find the end that contained the zoo. She worried during the mile long run. Her eyes taking in the scene of devastation, hoping against hope that her precious cargo had somehow remained safe.

There it was. The whole floor of the zoo and gardens intact like the infirmary had been the night before. Everything seemed in working order with water flowing and clean, the sprinklers over the gardens going off in the regulated amount. She saw all the foods dispensed in proper amounts for the animals. Finally, she reached her favorites: The African elephant she had named Fuzzy Wuzzy because when this small pachyderm was born, she had enough hair to look like a baby wooly mammoth. They cooed and cuddled with each other for a little bit. Then she had to find Einstein.

“How are you, Einstein?” she asked the wise gray gorilla.

Einstein had learned to speak in sign language and could even print words efficiently. “What was the big boom?” he signed.

Judy explained about the crash. Then she asked how the animals managed.

“All back to sleep, except for Cheech and Chong over there.” Judy glanced over at the koalas who were now settling for their diurnal sleep. Einstein continued, “Someone talked with me last night. Very nice.”

“A person?” Judy thought maybe someone else was still alive.

“Haven. Haven speaks with Einstein.”

Judy had told Einstein that they were flying to Haven. But the planet spoke? How could that be? But the gorilla insisted that it was Haven.

Then she remembered her friends and their breakfast. Since the rest of the animals seemed fine and not in great need of her assistance, she told Einstein she had to go. She felt the ship protected the animals from any danger that could be looming on the planet.

“That’s okay,” he said, “Haven is my friend. Bye, Judy. See you soon.” He made his attempt at a smile then made kissing noises. Judy gave him a kiss and rushed back to the infirmary, picking up her cup as she got to the door. She was surprised that it hadn’t shattered when she tossed it.

  ***

Judy strolled back into the infirmary. Anna and Beth were just waking as Judy walked in. Beth was wiping the sleep from her eyes. “I had such a dream!” She took a deep breath it was ragged. Had she been crying? “A crash… Did we crash?” Reality rushed over her. “Oh, my Johnny is gone! Dead!” She looked around, saw her friends’ faces and realized it was true.

Judy rushed to her side to calm her. She remembered seeing that piece of metal go through Johnny during the explosion. She brushed Beth’s long, flaming red ringlets out of her face; her nearly translucent skin seemed to glow and set off her large sky blue eyes. Of course, all the crying gave her cheeks red patches and a very red nose. Judy dabbed at Beth’s tears and then handed her a tissue.

Suddenly Beth sat straight up. “You ran! You shouldn’t even be out of bed!”

“But look, my leg is perfect!” Judy twirled and did a little dance step.

Beth couldn’t believe her eyes. She had seen that awful wound! Then she remembered how it had miraculously healed. She had thought maybe that was part of a dream, also. “Well, then, what about Anna?” Beth asked, hopping out of bed.

Beth and Judy walked over to Anna’s bed. It was evident that her eyes and face had healed. But her eyes had healed shut. They looked like they had never been those huge flirty brown eyes with long lashes. No, these were like a doll’s unpainted eyes. The smooth skin covering the inner orbs.

“Anna, Judy’s leg has healed completely!”

Anna needed to “see” for herself. She, too, felt the night before had been a dream. Judy guided Anna’s hands down to the spot of the break. “Aw, that’s the wrong leg!”

“No, Anna, here’s the other.”

“What does it look like?”

Beth described Judy’s healthy tan legs with no scars.

“Anna, can you remember anything about your past?” Judy asked.

“No, not a bit. Why wasn’t I healed?”

“But, in a way, you were,” said Judy. “My guess is that when your eyes burnt from the explosion, your lids had raw edges, like on a wound, so they healed up perfectly! How do they feel? How is your head?” Judy reached out to brush Anna’s short blonde hair back from her forehead to check her scars.

Anna reached to the back of her head and showed no bumps and felt her forehead; there were no scars on her. Somehow she didn’t feel too badly about not being able to see. The night before proved to her that blindness wouldn’t be much of a handicap.

Judy gave Anna a quick hug and helped her to her feet. “How about showers and breakfast? I bet you are as hungry as I was!” She then led Anna and Beth to the latrine and showed them the showers. When the two were cleaned up, she led them to the canteen.

“I don’t remember the canteen coming off the infirmary,” Anna stated.

“Well, why should you remember that?” asked Beth.

“I guess you got me there!” Anna laughed but wondered how that came out. “Judy, Beth; were either of you ever in the infirmary?”

“No.” they both answered.

“So many strange things!”

Beth and Judy agreed.

 ***

The breakfast was filling, and they marveled at the undamaged supplies. It had been an awful crash yet these three compartments were perfectly intact. While they were eating Judy told them about the scenery outside.

“Not only are these three rooms intact,” Judy explained, “But I ran and found the zoo, and it was in perfect operating order!” She wanted to tell what Einstein had said, but she thought the girls would think her crazy.

“You got to explore?” Beth asked. “I want to explore, too!”

“No, I just ran the distance of the ship’s ruins and found the zoo. I was worried that my little precious ones had perished. I am going to have to spend some time there cleaning up. You know once they eat …”

“Judy, you don’t have to do all that alone. I’ll help you. You’ll have to teach me how it all works but I am so glad our zoo is safe.” Said Beth. Anna agreed to help, also. She wasn’t exactly thrilled, but she had spent a lot of years cleaning crap after humans as a nurse, and she loved the idea of having the zoo.

“But I can hardly wait to get out and observe and study Haven’s flora and fauna,” Judy said.

Beth said, “I just want to explore!”

Anna stopped them. “We may be here alone for a very long time so we better take stock and do what we can around here before exploring too far away.”

Judy agreed that was the wiser plan. Besides, they probably ought to bury the dead before the smell grew putrid or drew scavengers. She mentioned hearing beating of wings, bigger than any owls. They all agreed to the creeping feeling of being watched.

Beth, being the youngest, also found it hard to control the impulse to go out on her own, but could see that her more mature friends were right. Chores before play, but she wasn’t looking forward to this chore at all; especially the burial of her sweetheart.

They cleaned the breakfast mess and took a collective deep breath to get ready for the gruesome task ahead.

***

A surprising sight greeted the trio as they emerged from the infirmary.

“I thought you said there are two suns!” Beth commented. She looked around the sea of sky above and could only locate one small sun. She had to admit to herself that it was yet another disappointment that added to the pool of sadness in her heart.

“There were!” Judy said, and she stepped out to look all around as if the ship parts could hide the other sun from them. Anna nearly ran Judy over as she came out.

“Whoa! Careful there, Anna!” Judy said, laughing at the bungle.

“And where did the chair go?” Anna asked as she groped the area where it had been. As a matter of fact, the chair was nowhere om sight.

The three women decided to assess the crash site. They were expecting a couple of miles of a war scene carnage and wreckage. What they found was order. In their wanderings, they found the reclining chair gathered with other upright chairs on the perimeter. All chairs looking as good as new. Metal scraps heaped in another area. And so it was all around their new camp. Most of what they saw was mechanical equipment surely from the engine and the control decks. Judy picked up personal items from various crew member quarters, including the captain’s log.

Bittersweet encompassed Beth’s heart as she picked up Johnny’s journals. She brushed them off and placed them in a nearby backpack to carry back to the infirmary. She wandered closer to the side of their makeshift home where she saw many bodies.

Beth let out a gasp. She called to Judy and Anna and led them to the area containing bodies. Each body was intact, clean, and clothes looked like new. They were dead none-the-less.

Judy tapped Anna and whispered, “I see Beth’s love. Let’s move closer to her. This may get rough.” Anna reached out and put her arm around Beth’s shoulders. Judy put her arm around Beth’s waist.

“Oh, Johnny!” Beth sobbed then sighed grasping her chest. “Never has he looked more handsome! And look – the metal piece is gone like it’d never been there!” Johnny’s usually unkempt hair and light shadow of a beard completely cleaned up as if he had just been to a barber. Beth sank to her knees. She grabbed Johnny’s hand. Anna and Judy braced themselves for the strong emotional exhibit they expected from their grieving friend. But instead of emoting shouts or sobs, she peacefully let out, “Ah-h-h!”

Then they heard in a voice not heard by ears; more felt in deep concepts portrayed: Peace friends. I am in Haven, finally. Do not cry for I am happy and I am with you.

Warmth bathed their souls. The three women stood. They remained entwined, in awe. Beth had her healing. Though she knew she would miss Johnny, she felt a peace about it.

With the wreckage organized, there was only one thing left to do: Bury the dead. The women were NOT looking forward to it. But with two suns playing hide-and-seek it could get very warm, and decay would come fast. They wondered why the dead hadn’t healed completely. Why had they been cleaned up and not brought back to life?

“Well,” suggested Anna as she pushed up her sleeves. “Let’s go look through the scrap metal to find digging tools.” She then led the way. Judy and Beth looked at each other wondering how the blind Anna knew where to go. They could understand Anna’s familiarity with the infirmary as she had worked there. But to know, to SEE, where to go on a planet no one had ever been? Well, it had no logical explanation.

The perfect “tools” presented themselves by being right in the first place they looked. Now they braced themselves for the gruesome task.

Rather than dragging the bodies elsewhere they decided to dig the graves very close to where the bodies were.

“Judy, am I doing this right?” Anna asked.

At the same moment, Beth let out, “Hey, what is this?”

Judy was also having difficulties. “No, Anna, you are fine. It is as though the ground doesn’t like us poking at it!”

Every time one of the makeshift shovels hit the ground the ground would jerk away, like a finger jerks away from a flame.

“It’s as though the ground, the planet surface is ALIVE!” said Beth.

“Well, what should we do with the bodies?” Anna asked. As she kneeled near the captain’s corpse, her hand brushed and then held his hand. A quiet unheard voice came to them saying: You must place us all together, each touching another. Our combined souls are here for you.

“Did you hear that?” Anna asked the other two women.

“Yes!”

“I can’t imagine how they will smell in a couple of days, though!”

No, the captain seemed to whisper, Haven protects us.

After a few stunned moments, the women started planning how to accomplish this. One idea was that they would set the bodies up back to back and make a double circle. They found during their brainstorm that they had an extra body with no partner. Twelve bodies, with the inner circle count as five and the outer circle as seven. That wouldn’t work.

“Well, let’s sit them up and alternate them then; five facing in between the seven facing out,” suggested Judy. But three women tugging and balancing eight good-sized men and four adult women seemed back breaking at best. And then the thought of how rigor mortis would affect on the assemblage sealed the deal. They had to think of something else.

Anna circled the area and seemed lost in thought. “Hmm.” she finally said, “You know, I think leaving our fallen mates laying flat on the ground is a much better idea. If what we have been seeing about Haven is true, the healing, or enhancing, or magical qualities or whatever, would be in full contact with more body surface. But we need to make sure they are all touching. Hmmm. And it still needs to be a circle.”

“Yes! That’s it! I see what you mean!” Judy cried. “And it won’t be so difficult to do. Beth, you get the captain’s feet. Anna can you hold him under his hips. I’ll take his head and shoulders and lead the way.”

The women pushed and pulled the bodies around. They made sure hands touched hands and feet touched feet. It took quite a while to get it just right but with Anna’s great idea, Judy’s directions and Beth’s youthful energy, there was soon a human snowflake lying out on Haven. The feet were in the center of the kaleidoscopic peopled prism. The arms had to reach out quite a bit to touch each other, and with varied body sizes and shapes, it was very difficult to get just right. But there it was. The three women stepped back to admire their hard work.

“Anna, you’re a genius! This is beautiful!” Beth exclaimed with an impromptu hug. Anna gently broke free and made her way back to the captain. Brushing one of his black curly strands back and letting her hand remain on his forehead, she asked, “Have we done this right, Captain?” What happened next surprised all of them.

The captain’s eyes opened and looked up straight at Anna. Then he spoke. “Thank you, Anna; I knew you would come through for us.”

Though Anna couldn’t physically see this, the image projected itself in her mind. “Are you healed?” she asked.

“No, not like Judy’s leg, or Beth’s emotions, or your beautiful face, dear Anna, but our spirits are stronger through this gathering. Now at least we can communicate with you, each other and Haven.” The trio thought simultaneously: Communicate with Haven?

Beth was worried. “Wouldn’t be better if we moved you inside?” she asked. She had managed to go back to Johnny’s side and held his head in her lap while brushing his hair. She couldn’t imagine leaving her Johnny out in the weather.

Johnny opened his eyes and looked up at her with his deep brown eyes and said, “Beth, dear, on Earth death had a certain finality to most people. A few gifted people could communicate with those who had crossed over. But Haven doesn’t hide its ascended. On Earth, the theory is ‘from dust to dust’ then spend the rest of eternity elsewhere. Haven heals and enhances. Our spirits healed even though we died during the explosion – before we hit the planet. Haven has chosen us to be High Council. She has never had a voice before. We will be that voice. That’s our favor to Haven. She will protect and enhance our spirits.”

Johnny’s voice seemed to be fading, so the captain took over. “We need to rest and get centered with Haven. If you need us at anytime, anywhere, touch Haven and ask.” The captain closed his eyes, and the women knew it was time to get back to reality.

Reality. Reality is relative, isn’t it? Three days ago reality was the ship. Three years ago another planet destined for disaster. This reality seemed a combination of dream and nightmare. Here they were three women alone to survive and yet to explore this wonderful, scary planet. They stood, stretched and brushed off the dirt. They felt they had just done a day’s work.

“Well, let’s go back to the canteen and plan our next steps over a cup of tea.” Anna quietly suggested. She did not know if the captain had heard her, but she knew if he had, his reaction would have been some macho statement about the ways of women. Men would just push ahead; get it done. Anna’s retort would have been: Women think things through first. And what’s better than a good cup of tea?

***

When they got back to the kitchen, Judy set the tea kettle on and put out the tray of cups and tea necessities. They were so tired that the last thing any of them wanted to do was sit and chat. But after a quiet reverie, Anna put forth, “I know you both want to explore, so do I. But I think we need to know more about some basics of this planet.”

“Like when will there be two suns?” asked Judy.

“Yes, and how long is the day or night cycle on Haven. Can you imagine getting out there and roasting due to two suns? Then again, are the suns far enough away that it doesn’t make it hot? Or to get caught out there after dark.”

“Well, I was out when there were two suns, and it felt just right.” stated Judy.

“Then how long is the night here? What season is this?”

“Johnny might know that if they retained their memories of their lives,” suggested Beth. “He’s been studying this planet for quite a while. Maybe we can find the information in his journals or the captain’s log?” She reached into the backpack and pulled out Johnny’s journals as Judy produced the Captain’s log.

Judy started to read aloud the last entry “Captain’s log… but, you know, there’s a date and time that only made sense while on Earth or in space.” Anna interrupted.

“And, and that brings up more questions! What time is it really? How long, in hours, have we been here?” Anna asked. “Sure we went to bed and woke up as if it had been an Earth night. But with no clocks–How long were we asleep?”

“Johnny said that when we got here, it’d be like starting over. He said we’d be the first humans learning our way. He said we’ll have to chart the stars, document fully how life works here and continually keep journals of our perceptions. We’re making human history!” Beth explained. “That was what excited both of Johnny and me. We could hardly wait to live this new life.”

“Maybe we should go through the piles out there, see if there are clocks and other useful equipment,” suggested Judy as she poured another cup of Jasmine tea. “More?”

“Yes, please!” said Beth and Anna together. Neither were quite ready for research.

After another quiet tea savoring moment, Judy got up. “All that work outside seems to have given me an appetite. I’m hungry, how about you two?”

“Sure. What do we have?” asked Anna.

“That’s another weird thing. Besides the dead talking to us, and strange but wonderful healings, um, when you need something you think about it and it’s there. Magic, just like the breakfast I made for you.”

“Wow! Let me try! I’d like an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And milk!” Beth wished aloud. Then as if she knew where to find everything, she pulled out a loaf of bread, peanut butter, a dish, knife, and glass. From the refrigerator, she got the milk and jelly. And before she even said it out loud she found an apple and chips. “I just thought of the last two items!” she exclaimed.

“Those are all just staples the canteen always had. How is that magic?” Anna ask.

Judy explained that apples and chips hadn’t been in those spots this morning when she was looking for breakfast. “But… why didn’t it just make it for you?” asked Judy and then with a wave of her fork, looking very much the magician added, “Or just, presto, abracadabra, have it appear before you?”

“Maybe this magic believes you should work for it,” suggested Anna. “Or it knows you like the process of fixing the food yourself.” With that Anna thought about her grandmother’s homemade soup in a bread bowl, garlic bread, salad, the dressing on the side. Oh, how she missed her grandmother’s cooking! She pictured it all set neatly before her. Then she reached for the soup spoon. Sure enough, it was right where she imagined it to be. “Hey, did you see it all appear?” she asked the others.

“No, I was rounding up my grilled cheese sandwich.” explained Judy.

Beth had not seen it either as she was putting sandwich makings away.

The three ate silently, each lost in her thoughts. As they were finishing their meals, they resumed their brainstorming. “Is this power in us or the planet?” Anna wanted to know. “Let’s finish up here and imagine the canteen cleaned up spick and span.” Sure enough, when they had eaten their fill, the canteen cleaned itself up.

Anna barely thought about the need for the planning, and a pad of paper and a pencil appeared before her.

“How archaic!” declared Beth. “No screen and stylus?” Then Beth’s tablet computer appeared.

“I just figured the old way doesn’t require batteries and is easily recyclable,” Anna explained. “Now, what should we do next?” Beth’s computer quickly changed into pencil and paper, and she smiled proudly.

“I was just thinking…” started Judy, “that we may be using our newly found ability wastefully. Remember the story about the Genie and the three wishes? What if this help can run out?”

“Good point,” said Beth. “Remember how Johnny had to stop talking and the captain told us they needed to… what was it? Recharge? Maybe we ARE using this too frivolously.”

“Ok,” said Anna, “Let’s agree to use it only as necessary.”

“Agreed!”

“Now let’s get busy on our lists,” Anna said with a tap of the pencil tip on the table and then touching it to the tip of her tongue, then sitting ready pencil in one hand and pad in the other. The other women looked at her then each other wondering how well Anna would be able to write.

“I think we should go through the wreckage and see what we can use,” said Judy. “As we mentioned before we could use a clock and calendar to measure the time we have been here. And learn how time works here. Then I need my books on botany and zoology. Wonder if they are out there?” She jotted that down quickly. She had not realized she had accidentally materialized a three-ring notebook with college ruled paper and choices of colored pens and pencils in a plastic three ringed container, in this case, she chose a blue erasable pen. Oops!

“Wait,” interrupted Anna. “I need you two to tell me about how we got here.” She was feeling left out of a reality she had forgotten and felt it would help to know.

Beth and Judy looked at one another not knowing what to say. Beth jumped up suddenly. “Maybe it would help if we spent a little time exploring – but stay together,” she said. She hoped that would be distraction enough, and it was what she wanted to do most.

“That’s probably enough for now,” said Anna. “Which way first?”

They took a moment to think about it all. “Anna, I think it may help you to go through the wreckage a bit more. Maybe something there will spark a memory or two,” said Judy softly.

“Well, there’s not many items on the list yet,” said Anna. “It seems we had a lot more in mind when we came back to the infirmary. But maybe this is enough to get started.”

“And maybe we should each start our logs as to what has happened, past and present, just as Johnny and I discussed. I think it’s a very good idea.” Beth suggested. And the other two agreed. There was a bit of quiet as each recorded the accounting of their recent past and current situations. Then without thinking of the three wish rule and being wasteful, each thought of the place they wanted to keep their journals and the journals put themselves away.

The Anna stood up with a clap. “Ok, then, let’s get busy!” she said, and with that, they all got up and went to the door.

  ***

Haven was proving to be quite a surprising place. As the women went outside a new scene awaited them.

“M-m-m-m,” Anna cooed, “That smells beautiful!”

The other two had not noticed the fragrance. They saw beyond the wreckage a meadow with beautiful flowers. Then they saw that those same flowers were surrounding their ship home.

“Oh, Anna, I do wish you could see this!” Beth cried.

“I DO!! Somehow, I DO!” Anna said, for in her head the floral scents made a picture as real as if she could see!

“Look at the council!” Beth pointed out.

Haven had done as she had promised. The ground where crewmates had been laid flat now sloped up causing a bowl formation. The crewmates were now reclining as if on chaise loungers, still touching hands and feet. Sprouting from beneath and touching hands and gently holding them together was something like bamboo except the leaves at the top formed an umbrella. Haven was proving her name.

“Isn’t that amazing?” Beth exclaimed. “Let’s go talk to the council.”

“Beth, they need rest. We need to get finished organizing our immediate future, and possibly beyond.” Anna stated gently. “The High Council is well-protected, but I feel their energy is still low. I, also, feel they are communing with Haven right now.”

“Of course you are right,” agreed Judy. “But, may I ask what you see?”

Anna proceeded to describe perfectly what the others saw with their eyes. They were beginning to believe that Anna healed perfectly. They, also, realized that her intuition, far superior, because of the “blindness” than their own. When she stated something, they intuitively knew it to be true.

Judy, with her hands in prayer formation, bowed and said, “Namaste,” She turned to her friends and explained, “It means ‘I bow to the divine in you.’ I learned it in a yoga class I took once. It seems very appropriate here. Anna and Beth joined her and also bowed to High Council.

Quietly, still feeling reverence, the three walked toward the wreckage. As they walked, the aromatic flowers sprouted and bloomed creating a path for them.

“Simply enchanting!” cooed Beth, “Like a fairy to tale come true!” All three women danced and skipped toward the wreckage.

“Sure makes working feel like play!” Judy mused. And true to that was the time spent in the wreckage area. Each woman found something to take back to their ship become home.

Chapter 3

Wreckage?

With all that happened so far, it was still a bit of a surprise to see that the wreckage was all very organized. They started in the area of seats. They knew the one that had carried Judy, just two nights ago, as it was still in a reclining position. “It might be nice to have seating in the infirmary for us to sit in and journal,” said Anna.

“What if we start calling the rooms more familiar names? How about bedroom, restroom and kitchen? This is our home now and we need to feel that way about it.” stated Judy. The three agreed and as they did three seats disappeared from view.

“Hmm…That was easy,” said Beth, still looking at the mass of seats left. “Remember how hard it was to move that seat? Even after Judy was out of it, it was a struggle to move it just to the side of the door. Anna agreed.

“What is moving everything?” Beth asked. Her curiosity was piqued. “And how it it when things are going elsewhere, we don’t get hit, and we never see things moving?” The others had no answer but determined to try and watch what happens next time.

They wandered next into the area of huge sheets of metal. There was the collection, and all panels were smooth with any dents flattened out. Next was a warehouse area of motor parts. Smaller parts were contained together in boxes or crates. The trio walked up and down aisles with their notebooks and pens they had wished into being, recording their findings. Their inventory proved quite successful. The tools they might need shortly cased in backpacks. “This tops my uncle’s garage, and he had the neatest on the block!” Judy exclaimed.

Each woman had different occupations on the ship. Beth had been part of engineering. Judy was the botanist and zoologist. These topics inspired by her Native American upbringing. She was in charge of growing plants and caring for the animals on the ship. It was hoped to help in the long voyage, food, and entertainment, and to set up a future zoo for education and make sure the new planet would have Earth’s representatives. Each found tools and items that they knew would help in their new venture.

Anna was still feeling left out. Nothing was ringing any bells as far as what she had been doing before. She took a deep breath to calmed herself and felt her intuition leading her. Then she felt her deeper knowing, and she saw with her the inner sight many rows of cryo-tanks, full of humans were to revive when they reached their destination. There was a knowing that she had had something to do with keeping all these people alive. Just as she was to assume this as truth, she bumped something on the ground with her toe. She reached down to pick it up. Her badge! Doctor Anna Reese. She had felt that badge so many times that she did not need to see it. She read it with her fingers. She remembered the staff and the two snakes that indicated part of the medical team. The Red Cross on the bottom was as clear in her mind’s eye.

It all started coming back to her. Years of training, of the trials of getting these people into the tanks safely and watching over them like a mother hen. Then she felt the tank she knew had opened when struggling to come to Judy’s aid and remembered the child she had felt inside. It was closed and humming like the rest of the tanks. Somehow she knew the child was ok.

“Well, are they still alive, Dr. Reese?” Judy asked as she and Beth joined up with Anna. They were more worried about Anna’s well-being and demeanor than they were about the lives that may still be with them in the tanks. Her role in this exploration expedition was crucial. Judy and Beth had an inner assurance that regardless of their viability, the spirits would be there. They also felt that if anyone could revive these people, Anna could. But the next steps wouldn’t happen if Anna’s memory wasn’t engaged. Anna appeared depressed, shoulder sagging, face downturned.

“It was about how hard it was to keep them all at that perfect state while we were up there. I felt like their lives were all in my hands. Now I see that I had little control. I could only do what I could.” She felt humbled at the hugs her friends were giving her.

“Well, let’s get busy bringing them all back!” Beth said.

Judy was the first to bring up the fact that having too many up and about before exploring may be more than anyone could handle. “Let’s take these packs back and take our time deciding how to handle this. Maybe the High Council will have some ideas to help keep this a peaceful and harmonious planet.”

All three were feeling good about going back to base and going through another brainstorming session. During their last session, they had not even entertained the thought that they had live humans around. They had each thought that the only ones alive on this planet were just themselves.

***

Once again they noticed the sky. It seemed to be sunset as the sky was beautiful with pinks, purples, and oranges. They stood in awe of its magnificence. Each lost in thoughts, suddenly felt they heard music playing. They respected the moment and just enjoyed. They couldn’t decide if it were five minutes or an hour that they just stood there but the sky was growing darker and the evening stars were coming out.

“You know, we had better get back while it is still light enough to walk,” Judy whispered. Beth agreed. Anna just smiled and led the way. Of course, the other two thought, she sees the way! But within Anna was an urgency to get them inside, to safety. She didn’t understand, but she followed her intuition. ‘What could be out here that is so dangerous?’ She wondered. She hadn’t felt it during the day, but then again, they had all been so busy, maybe they just weren’t paying attention. She scolded herself for being so distracted.

Anna, followed closely by Judy and Beth, walked swiftly yet silently. The three more peaceful than ever before. With the quiet, there were sounds of life settling elsewhere on the planet. So there were animals of some kind out there. That thought thrilled Judy. She could hardly wait to explore.

Beth stopped at one point. She knelt down touching Haven. “Good night, my love.” She whispered. The other two knelt down and gave Haven their thanks and wished all a good night.

Back at home, all lost were in their thoughts as they went through their packs. Each had set up her area. Beside each bed, now, was a small locker. Each had found clothing and other belongings that had once helped them feel at home during their flight: treasures from Earth so far away, shells, rocks, pictures of loved ones that had remained on Earth. All found special spots to display their precious items.

Judy was the first to head toward the showers, then went to the kitchen. By the time the others had joined her, she had the table spread with a steaming meal.

“Oh, Judy, this is beautiful!” Beth and Anna cooed as they walked in. All three found they were famished.

***

The food was wonderful, the company light. One would think that they had been together like this forever and had always been best of friends. None could remember ever being this happy. The troubles on Earth had them jump at the chance to leave. Their abilities made them important enough to be chosen to go. Even so, leaving loved ones, knowing their fate of a doomed planet about to die was a bittersweet emotion without ends. Being on the ship wasn’t any better. Long distances of travel can be grueling one moment and tedious the next. One wrong move while in outer space could endanger all your shipmates.

Anna suddenly realized it was HER wrong move. She and the captain had been having yet another fight. She couldn’t remember the particulars. She knew it was just another of her need-to-be-right fights. Captain had not agreed, and she threw, gosh, what was that? Oh, no! An oxygen tank? Where had she found the strength even to lift it much less throw it! Why that huge amount of anger? Somehow she had forgotten all that too. Now she felt this enormous weight of shame and guilt.

Anna moved away from the table. Judy and Beth knew what she was feeling. They had witnessed the scene. They saw the tank land on the console and then hit the most important parts of the computers. They had seen Anna realize her mistake and rush toward the tank. The explosion hit Anna with full force. The concussion of the explosion hit the captain against the far wall. The ship’s safety measures kicked in, Beth and Judy fled to the nearest elevator. Someone had quickly pulled Anna and the captain into a safer zone. Then there were the last few moments of confusion as many boarded the safety pods. As the ship exploded, all were jettisoned out. The concussion knocked everyone unconscious. Judy and Beth had both felt amazed that they were alive at all when they awoke. Now looking at their friend they knew it had all come back to her.

“Anna, Anna. Come on. We can’t let you feel this alone.” Judy was saying. But Anna heard nothing. How could she have been so evil? Why had she felt the need to be right? Now all there was only loss, people hurt and dead. All because of her! Anna felt the tears of shame behind her eyes. She sobbed dryly. She felt she deserved to be dead. Blindness was not enough punishment for this.

Beth wanted to help her. But what could she do? All she could think of was to try to hug Anna.

Anna couldn’t accept any love now. She felt most unlovable. She tore away from the hug then ran from her friends and out the door. Judy and Beth wanted to follow but knew they couldn’t help her now.

Anna ran from her new home. She did not know where she was going. She did not care. How could she have been so hateful? This was all her fault! She just ran. A doctor, there to save lives and what had she done! Anna couldn’t see where she was going. That intuition she had before was gone. Her emotion was blinding her completely. Suddenly she tripped and fell.

She lay there wishing for death. She tried to stop all the thoughts rushing through her head. She found herself shouting and sobbing aloud. When she was spent, she felt a feeling she had not felt since a very young girl. It was as if she was in her grandmother’s arms and Grandmother was letting her vent while proving her love to her. “It’s ok.” she heard. “Let it out. There, there.”

At first, she did not hear it. Then when she did it did not seem real. Then she felt a strange feeling of total love encompassing her. She heard her grandmother’s voice, then the captain’s, then many voices. They all immersed her in the most love she had ever felt. “We forgive you and so must you.”

“How could you forgive me? How could I ever forgive myself?’

“When you understand what caused all of that emotion you will trust yourself and others more. When you see that you are lovable, you will learn to love yourself. Then you will truly be able to love others fully.” She recognized that it was the captain talking now. “Anna, if I can forgive you, you must forgive yourself. Look at this wonderful planet. Maybe you can take credit in all of us being here. Look at how you helped Judy and Beth when we landed. You are a good person, and we all love you.”

Anna took the time to think this through. She felt the healing powers of Haven move through her. Her intuition came back to life. She realized that she was in the middle of the High Council and all were touching her.

“Anna, we are here for you, also.” came Judy’s voice.

“Everyone here is crying for you,” said Beth. They had followed her out and joined with the High Council. Anna felt love greater than any she believed could have ever existed.

“Thank you all for putting up with me all these years. Thank you for forgiving me. I will work on forgiving myself. But for now, I feel healed in areas of myself I never knew were injured. I love you all.”

The Council lifted her out and back onto the path. High Council eased themselves back to their lounging positions touching hands and feet as before. Beth and Judy embraced Anna and arm in arm walked her back to home. They helped her to climb into her bed and lovingly tucked her in. She was asleep immediately.

***

Beth and Judy went back into the kitchen. The evening had been very stressful, and they felt they needed a cup of tea to calm down. “Do you think she will be ok?” asked Beth.

“Of course she will. But I believe she still has a lot to deal with, and it may be a while before she lets it all go. Poor kid.”

“I certainly wouldn’t want that hanging over my head,” Beth said as she stirred cream into her tea.

“It shouldn’t be over her head, either. She only needs to let it go, and we need just to remember how wonderfully she has taken care of us. Then we need to let Haven heal us all of any leftover feelings we may have.”

Beth felt the inner knowing that Judy was right. That settled, she started thinking about the morning. “What shall we do in the morning? Do you think we will be waking those in the cryo’s?”

“I think we ought to leave that up to Haven and the High Council. I have enjoyed not having a lot of people around and feel it would be nice to leave them there for a while if we could. Yet, I wonder how long they should stay frozen?”

“Judy, even if we did wake them, where would they sleep? This little home seems just fitting for the three of us. Too many more and we would all be in each other’s way. I don’t think we three can build shelter for the others before they wake. I know Haven can figure it all out for us. I am just curious. And I miss Johnny. You ladies are nice, but I miss his hugs and kisses.”

“Yes, I know what you mean.” Judy sighed. She took a sip then continued. “I haven’t had the time for a sweetheart for so long I forgot what it is like to enjoy that kind of relationship. But I don’t remember who all is in the cryo-tanks. There’re so many! Hmm… What if there is someone for us there? We’re just going to have to take this one day at a time and even then, maybe a moment at a time. Maybe that is how we should have been all along. We humans seem to need to plan out everything. Having a plan is nice but being able to take it as it comes is a real blessing. My grandfather taught me that.”

Beth was finishing up her tea and let a yawn slip out. “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting very sleepy. Let’s take this up tomorrow morning.” She got up, stretched, then took her cup and saucer to the sink and washed them, dried them and put them away. Then she turned and looked at Judy. Judy was still sitting and musing. Beth was so happy to have Judy for her mentor. This woman was so intelligent and loving. Beth couldn’t resist giving her a big warm hug and a kiss on her forehead. “Good night, Judy.”

“Night, Beth.”

***

Chapter 4

Waking Second Morning

 

After breakfast, the women got down to business. They had all agreed to go straight to the High Council and ask the questions they had been mulling over. When they got to the “court,” they felt High Council full of energy and centered. The captain and Johnny were the first to speak, both greeting the women warmly. One wouldn’t think they were not fully alive. But by observing you would notice the lack of gesticulation. All expression was within their eyes. Then there was the other obvious fact that the voice you heard wasn’t coming from a mouth and you didn’t hear it within your ears.

Good morning, ladies! What can we do for you today? Came the telepathic voice of the captain.

“We were wondering if we should wake some of the cryo-eds?” asked Judy. With Anna still emotionally distraught, Judy knew that for a while she might have to lead the way. That’s when the thought struck her: How was it that they were so animated last night with Anna? Had they been holding her and speaking with their mouths?

Then Judy heard the answer aimed just at her: Normally, we are to try to conserve energy, but Haven had just empowered us with her dusk gasses. Luckily it had cleared by the time Anna ran out to us. Then without a moment wasted the original question was answered telepathically to all three women.

We wondered when you’d ask. Spoke the captain. The fact is, we would like you to wake three men.

“Must we?” Judy and Beth asked at the same time. They turned to each other and laughed. “Why do we need men? Can’t we three do plenty on our own? I’ve done plenty of camping and living alone that I learned from my grandparents. Beth learned a lot about the planet from Johnny.” Judy stated matter of factly.

Haven is using almost all her resources by keeping the frozen asleep, keeping the machines going, taking care of the zoo and earth gardens as best she can. We are trying to help her with the knowledge she needs to keep us all going: inanimate, frozen, human, fauna and flora are all distinctly different from those born and raised here. We appreciate your need to explore and try to make it on your own. You’ll get the chance, Haven promises. But we need to relieve her as quickly as we can of the responsibilities of the machinery. The three we have chosen to help you all will work well with you to set up a thriving community. We brought all these people because Anna in her wisdom knew how to get Earthlings up and going on a new planet. Let’s not lose sight of this just because it all didn’t start as well as we had planned. These thoughts came from the captain and Johnny and others of the High Council, The trio could tell who was talking, but it all was divided to keep the energy alive between them all.

At first, Beth and Judy were disappointed. They realized that this helped Anna feel her power. So they decided it was the proper way to go.

“Which ones?” asked Beth.

Henry Reese, Adam McCall and Robert Jackson. They are the strongest and most able of the cryo. As soon as they are awake, fed, showered and ready, bring them to us. Haven needs them.

Though it seemed life might be easier having the male counterparts, it was hard to let go of the feeling of being the only explorers on this fascinating planet. But the ladies knew that Haven and the High Council had their reasons.

***

Anna led the way to the tanks. She knew that her whole reason for her existence was medically taking care of the cryonically frozen passengers. Doctor Reese set up the supplies proficiently. In this case, Judy and Beth acted as nurses, handing Anna what she needed as she did her job. Anna still could not see. Her eyes were still sealed, but intuitively her hands knew what to do.

It was good that they were only waking three. Each of the ladies would be charge over only one male as they came around. It was also convenient in that they could wake these three simultaneously. When Anna gave the word, each hit their instrument panels with the same numbers. Each woman called out the stats before them. When there was a lull between operations, Anna walked around making sure each had the right supplies including blankets to warm her patients. She knew how cold they would be as they woke.

Soon it was the time to open the cases. Anna had practiced this so often that she could do it with her eyes closed and she quickly demonstrated just that!

Henry Reese was first to wake. Anna was surprised and very happy to be able to share this great planet with her brother. They had had their share of rivalry but when push came to shove they would join forces and form a formidable team. She kept her face averted from Henry so he wouldn’t notice her eyes.

Adam McCall and Robert Jackson woke close in time with Henry. They were all given the formulated solution to equalize their temperatures and biorhythms as they regained strength and muscle tone. Years had gone by since they were awake, so it took a little time to normalize. The medical team worked the patients through their therapies. As with anyone who has been asleep for quite a while, the guys were still groggy and disoriented. They were curious about where they were and the missed time. Judy announced to each that they would soon be told the history of the time while they were sleeping.

As they were able, each one stretched and got out of their tank. The men were very impressed with Haven. She presented herself quite nicely with the fragrant flowers that she had given the women that first morning. Henry was the first to notice that they were not on the ship, or even plugged in as they were supposed to be. “How…?” he started, but Judy rushed over and interceded.

“As we said, the history will be told soon enough. We just need to get you guys up and around as soon as possible. Look, drink more of your protein drink and sit over there.” she said as she demonstrated the little gathering of seats. She glanced at Beth, and both swiped their foreheads signaling, ‘Whew, deflected THAT one!’

By now Robert and Adam were up and moving around. Beth seated them with their drinks while Anna and Judy were busy watching their bio signs.

It did not take long for the men to be back to normal. The guys flirting with the women. “Well, before you guys get yourselves put back in your tanks, I think we had better take you to see High Council.” Judy interceded once again. With that, the little group got up and followed their caretakers. Anna led the way, hiding her face from them to avoid unnecessary questions.

When they arrived at High Council, they saw that there was a space with stairs leading down to the middle. Three seats were awaiting the men. Judy directed the guys down. Then she, Anna and Beth headed back to home-base. They knew High Council and Haven would do a much better orientation than they ever could. Besides, doctoring was exhausting!

***

Back at home, the ladies ate heartily wondering what was in store for all of them next. Beth and Judy tried to keep things lively so Anna wouldn’t have a chance to drop into depression. “Just think how much more we’ll be able to do with the guys around. We can explore this great planet all the sooner and in greater numbers! We will get flora and fauna identified so much quicker.”

“I want to see Haven’s ocean!” Beth added. “What are you looking forward to, Anna?”

Anna had to think about it. She had been so self-absorbed that she hadn’t let herself entertain the idea of fun or adventure, of course, this was the way it had always been, working, helping others — no thought about breaking loose and having fun. But she did get caught up in the excitement in the room, what the heck? She had a whole planet looking out for everyone; Anna didn’t have to do it all anymore. “You know, I’d like to follow that stream up into the mountains. Haven is a beautiful vacation resort after all that time in space.”

They tried to imagine what kind of creatures must live on this planet. Did they think the circle of life as they had known it on Earth existed here? If Haven had worked so hard to keep them healthy and happy, how could carnivorous animals be tolerated? Would Haven even accept Earthlings picking or eating plants? Would anything on the planet be edible? They had only eaten as they had on Earth. Was that how it was always going to be? Did Haven feed all her inhabitants through wishes? If so was there an end to her generous abilities? These were going to be exciting days ahead. They could hardly wait to get started on their adventures.

“Another cup of tea, Anna, Beth?”

“Sure, please!”

The ladies had barely taken a sip of their second cup when there was a knock on the door.

“Our first guest!” Beth exclaimed. Together the ladies walked to the door. The guys were beaming as they greeted the women. Henry grabbed Anna and gave her a big hug. He swung her around so fast that she thought she might get sick. “Sis, I’m so happy to be awake on this beautiful planet. I hear you were instrumental in getting us here.”

Anna put her head down. ‘They must not know the truth, or there would be a different reaction.’ She thought. Before she could get a word out otherwise, Adam jumped in.

“Anna, the captain told us what happened. He told us how the two of you were in the heat of an argument. Hey, I remember those arguments of yours! But he said that the explosion wasn’t your entire fault. That you saved as many of the people that were on the bridge. You sent out that quick alarm, and that’s proof that you did not mean to do it. In fact, it was your deep cry of emergency, from your soul, that Haven knew of our coming and she did the rest. She was happy that High Council consisted of the people killed in outer space, just beyond her reach as now She knows She will have a way to communicate with the living. Haven had been so lonely until we all showed up. She cushioned our descent to protect us the best she could. To Haven, the High Council and the rest of us, YOU are a hero. We all honor you!”

Anna was blushing. Judy decided to put in her two cents. “Did Haven tell you how Anna saved my life and fixed my leg, even when she was very severely injured?”

Beth jumped in, “And she brought me out of my grief to help out and made me feel useful!”

“You see why I am proud of my sister?” Henry said.

“I always knew she was some special lady!” Robert said with a wink.

Anna thought about the times she and Robert had dated. He had always had such a crush on her, but she had been so busy with medical school and then this escape project that she had not been able to follow through. She felt happy that he did not think badly of her. “Gosh, I was so mean to you!”

“I knew what was going on. I couldn’t ask you to stop working on what I knew meant so much to you. Just being able to call you a friend was enough.”

Deep in her throat, Anna felt that knot swelling up. And her knees began to buckle. Robert gently held her and walked her to her bed. He lifted her up so she could sit down, brushed her hair back from her face and kissed both of her eyes. He whispered to her, “Haven knows how you feel about all of this. She says when you can finally forgive yourself you will be able to see fully, and that you should just be gentle on yourself and do what you feel right. You know that she has given you the best sight of all and you do see much more than the rest of us. Just let the rest of us love you until you see all we see about you, too. OK. Hon?”

“Thank you, Robert. I will try.”

“Hey, you two! I’d say get a room, but there aren’t very many, yet. So let’s see that excellent canteen of yours!” Henry shouted.

“Kitchen!” the women shouted in unison.

Judy led the way. “We just ate, but Beth and I can whip up something fast. With Haven’s help, that is.”

The guys had already been informed of the ways of Haven and had already put in their lunch orders. There were steak and eggs for Henry; a big bowl of spaghetti for Adam; and a chef salad for Robert. “What are you laughing at?” Robert asked the guys. “I need to watch my girlish figure,” he said as he gesticulated the curves of a woman. “Ok?”

The group laughed and continued enjoying the company and food. The girls had another cup of tea while they watched the guys eat. But as quickly as they had started the kitchen was cleaned up and they started looking at what they needed to do next.

***

“Well, we can’t very well live in here with them. It would just not be right, or comfortable with all of us in one little room. And I don’t want to be the one sleeping on this metal floor!” stated Henry. So they all walked outside. Once again there was only one sun in the sky.

“One sun seems to happen around our noon,” Judy said. “There are two early in the morning. We have decided that it would get way too warm if both suns remained all day. Haven is so beautiful!”

The ladies led the way to the wreckage. The men were impressed with the order of all parts and supplies. It was then that they realized they had not discussed where to build, and how many shelters to create.

“I assume we will be waking the rest as we go along so let’s just plan out the where to start and how we want our little city to look,” Adam said. He sat in the sand and brushed it all flat. The girls thought that funny in that they had used paper and pen for their planning. “What? I don’t want this part saved for eternity. We just need to brainstorm a bit before we start.” The five sat in the sand with Adam and let him map out the scene as it was. “We should probably build our place right here so we can be close to the supplies. Then eventually, I think we should encircle the High Council so that they are within easy reach of everyone.”

“Also, as we go along we need to adapt to the children and our older members that might not be as strong or self-sufficient as we are,” Judy said.

“I think we should set up a first aid station somewhere in the center, also. We are a bungling group of humans that will surely need stitches and the like. And we don’t want to lose our abilities to doctor and nurse each other. Why add to Haven’s responsibilities when we can do it ourselves?” Anna suggested.

“What about a mess or meeting room? I know we enjoy eating together. Then again, every home should have a kitchen and dining area so they can eat as they need to. We might as well assume that this is for life. We are here now to stay. We might as well try to set it up to be as comfortable as we can.” Henry said. They had a few more suggestions, and each one took a turn tracing in the sand what they wanted to see. As they came to a standstill, they realized they should ask Haven about this. Each of the six put their hands on the sand and asked, “What do you think of this?”

Then something happened that they would soon get used to but still came as a surprise. The sand map changed here, and there. Haven added her tracings. When done, she drew to the side the cutest sand emoticon.

“Of course!” shouted Beth. “She wanted us to make use of

The new map changed material and colors. It suddenly became a roll up relief map. Adam picked it up and put it in a safe place. “Good thing Haven thought to wake the architect first!” stated Henry. “With my brawn, Adam’s brain and Robert’s abilities to tame my sister, make us the perfect first choices.”

“Oh, you!” Anna retorted. Then she thought better of what she was going to say and changed it. “I sure did miss you! You and your crazy wit!”

“I bet you did! I bet she hasn’t laughed since she got here. Am I right, girls?”

“None of us have. We have been working so hard, and though we enjoyed each other’s company, this feels so much better. It is nice to have you guys with us.”

***

They let the happy momentum pull them into the rest of the day’s work. By sunset, they had a very nice home for the guys. There were three beds, and lockers like the girls had, including their shower, and even their kitchen. They added to the structure a living room with a game area, and chairs and a sofa to relax on.

“Yes, of course, we will build your library tomorrow, girls!” Adam teased. Then he joined the other guys gathering dry wood for a fire. They set up a camp fire between the ladies home and the men’s home. At first, they had been hesitant about hurting Haven, but she set up the fireplace for them to maintain the safest fire. The guys threw blankets down for all to sit on.

Anna was delighted to have the chance to enjoy a night out on Haven. They had been a little worried before, but now many minds were bringing together a beautiful place to live. They knew it was necessary to get the feel of Haven’s nights. Judy was a little concerned about the dusk release of gasses, but Haven assured her through Anna’s lack of intuitional foreboding. Anna was free and happy, so she knew all was safe for everyone there.

That first night of the crash and all the fears they experienced seemed so long ago, yet it had only been a couple of nights ago.

Haven provided food and fire as desired, as had been the case so far. Never had the group had such an enjoyable “camp-out.” There were hot dogs, s’mores, marshmallows, and foods for snacks and even vegetables for health. They spent the time remembering Earth days of the past. After the barbecue, the group got quiet. They had been so busy for so long that they had not taken the time to feel Haven’s peacefulness. After about ten minutes of quiet, they began to discern the sounds around them. There was a sound like an evening bird, singing a beautiful song to its mate. Though there was a sound similar to crickets on Earth, it was more a clicking than chirping. Even still the sounds made them feel secure and serene.

Beth started singing. The others were impressed with her voice and the song. After she had sung through the chorus a couple of times, the others blended in their voices. Soon they were adding harmonies. Each was awed by the abilities of the other. After Beth’s final embellished finale, Henry started another more familiar camp song.

They continued singing for a good hour. Everyone felt content with life right here, right now. None could imagine being anywhere else, with anyone else. On Haven.

***

By the time they were getting sleepy they noticed that there were other creatures accompanying them. In fact, it seemed the ground itself was humming along. They turned to each other as they noticed it and smiled. They knew they were making Haven happy. And then they heard other voices and they realized Haven had transferred the music somehow to High Council and now High Council was getting involved in the music. It felt like the Universe was in tune.

Gradually, each member bowed to the others and got up to go to bed. Anna and Robert were the last. They turned to each other, singing the last duet, and kissed good night. No words were spoken. No words were needed.

All incarnate humans drifted to bed and dreamed peaceful dreams.

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