Wayward astronaut John Crichton returns home after almost a decade away
from Earth, and brings his daughter. Insert your favorite disclaimer here.
Also, my only knowledge of any space program comes from re-runs of “I
Dream of Jeannie,” so don’t expect a lot of verisimilitude. Just suspend
Dining Room of the ISS.
[Beeping] DK said "That's mission control - I rerouted the signal to here. Let's go to the control room, where we have video as well."
They ran to the control room. "This is Mission Control to Space Station, come in Space Station."
DK turned to the console, and spoke into the videophone "We read you Houston, this is DK. Is the call ready? (Pause) John, it's your Dad, he wants to talk to you." DK maneuvered so John could get closer to the videophone.
"Dad, can you hear me? Dad, are you there?" John asked.
"John! I knew you were still alive, but nobody else believed it. You look good, son." Jack Crichton was lying. He thought his son looked gaunt, almost haunted.
"You, too, Dad!" John lied. He couldn't believe how old his father looked, and felt guilty for causing his father any grief. "Dad, I missed you and everyone so much! Dad, I want you to meet someone," John said as he motioned for Katie to come over. "Dad, this is your granddaughter, Kathryn Katralla Crichton." John stood behind Katie, with his hands on her shoulders. He was every bit the proud father. "Katie, this is my Dad." Katie smiled when she saw her grandfather-- his white hair reminded her of Chiana. She felt as if she knew him already, because of all the stories her Dad had told about him.
"Well, hello, Katie. I sure can't wait to meet you in person. Welcome to Earth."
"Thank you, grandfather. I can't wait to see you either. Daddy says he wants us all to go to the lake in Maine so he can teach me to swim and you can teach me to fish!" Katie said through her giggles.
"I can't wait, Katie! And call me Granddad, all your cousins do" he replied.
"Whoa, what do you mean, 'cousins'? Just how many nieces and nephews do I have?" John inquired.
"Two of each - Leslie has two sons, and Jessica has two daughters. I agree, we should go to the cabin in Maine and get to know each other." Jack Crichton was grinning from ear to ear. DK couldn't remember the last time he saw him smile like that.
Katie chimed in "We can play on the swing and go swimming in the lake and see the fourth of July fireworks and sleep in the hammock! Daddy told me all about it when we were in pris-."
"TMI, princess," John said to Katie, then looked back to the videophone. "I told her all about Maine once, when we had a lot of time on our hands. Dad, I'd love to keep talking to you, but do you know if that call is ready? It's very important that I talk to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
"They're still trying to contact the Secretary General. Why do you need to talk to Jesse Jackson anyway?"
"Did you say Jesse Jackson? As in 'the Reverend Jesse Jackson?' Wow, Zhaan would like that."
"Please answer the question, Commander Crichton," said a tall, balding man in a general's uniform.
"I don't believe I've had the pleasure," John Crichton said without a trace of pleasure in his voice.
"I'm General Simpson, Commander Crichton. Why don't you just fuel up at the Space Station and bring your daughter down here to meet her grandfather in person. We can give you both medical check ups, and keep you safely away from the reporters that are sure to jump on this story."
Katie spoke to her father in Sebacean: "Don't trust him Daddy. I think he wants to arrest us. I don't want to go, Daddy. Let's stay here." Katie kept touching the necklace as she spoke; she was reassured by its presence, knowing what it could do. She still thought of it as Miss Jenavian's necklace, not her own. Katie thought it was funny that her father called it a good luck charm, when in fact it was a weapon.
"Agreed, princess." John said reassuringly.
"What did that alien creature say?" General Simpson demanded.
"My daughter said that she wants to stay aboard the space station for now, as do I. Now, can I talk to Secretary-General Jackson of the United Nations, or not?"
Jack Crichton talked to one of the engineers, nodded, and said "the call has been put through, John," and pulled General Simpson away from the videophone. Although they were out of earshot, John could see the xenophobic general get a piece of Jack Crichton's mind. Jack Crichton rarely lost his temper, but you did not want to be on the receiving end of it when he did.
The video display screen was split in two. John could see the familiar face on half of the screen. The Rev. Jackson hadn't changed much in ten years, as far as John could tell, but he did seem to have more gray hair.
"Hello, Commander Crichton, this is Jesse Jackson. I thank God for your safe return to Earth."
"Thank you, sir. It's great to be back. Sir, if I may, I have two pieces of business to discuss with you, one personal and one political. The first order of business is that I am requesting political asylum, as I believe the civil and human rights of myself and my daughter will be violated if we land in American territory." This was met with gasps of surprise by some, but Rev. Jackson merely nodded. He had seen enough of man's cruelty to man to know that this was not only possible, it was quite probable.
"And the second order of business?"
"I have been asked by the Territorial Alliance to establish diplomatic relations with Earth, and begin to negotiate a treaty between the governments of Earth and the Alliance." This was met by stunned silence.
"Are you saying the other races want to establish formal relations with Earth?" Gen. Simpson snapped.
"Not all of them, just the Alliance. And believe me, they're the good guys. You don't want to meet the others without the Alliance on your side."
"Is there any chance any of them followed you here, to Earth?" Gen. Simpson asked quickly.
"Not at all. The wormhole was only open for a short period of time, and the other side of the wormhole was under guard by Talyn, one of the most powerful ships in the Alliance's fleet. Earth is safe."
"Commander Crichton, I'm ordering you to return to the IASA base in Houston immediately for debriefing." Gen. Simpson spoke from the other half of the view screen.
"Rev. Jackson, I ask you again, can you arrange for political asylum for my daughter and myself?"
"I cannot give you asylum myself, but I will see if any neutral countries are willing to offer it to you. I will also call a summit of the UN delegates to discuss the opening of diplomatic relations with the Alliance. You will remain on the Space Station while the details are worked out - the ISS is considered neutral territory; and Gen. Simpson, inform the Pentagon that any space shuttle that goes to the ISS had better be on a scientific mission or be a supply ship. This is not the time for a military exercise in space. And Commander Crichton, I will remember you and your daughter in my prayers."
"Thank you, Reverend. We're going to need them."
End Part 4