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Second Chance

Part One
By: Tato

I was another day on the Christa.  Another day for classes, duties, 
and adventure.  Adventures didn't normally come on a daily basis.  But
for Harlan Band, there would be an obstacle then tht would change both
him and the crew.  Harlan Band stood at his post.  He had already been
bored from Ms Davenport, but this was extremely tiresome!  He looked 
back at Radu who also looked somewhat tired and dazed.  Harlan 
chuckled to himself.  Radu had always gotten that look on his face 
when thinking of Elmira.  There was no use trying to converse with 
him.  He would only want to talk about Elmira.  Harlan then turned to
Catalina in hopes of talking with her.  

"Hey Cat," Harlan said with a wave.

"Yeah?" she said in a dull tone.  

"How's life?"

"Sucks."

"Why?"

"No reason."

"Come on, tell me."

"Well if you have to know...."  Cat was interrupted by her wandering 
eyes.  She immediately spotted a vessel going towards the airlock.  
"Whoa!  Harlan!"  

Harlan turned just in time to catch a glimpse of it.  "Hey, that looks
like....like something from the UPP!"

Radu snapped out of his daze.  "The UPP?"

"Yeah!  That's what it looks like!  Quick, let's notify Commander 
Goddard!"  Both agreed and they left the ComPost.  

* * * * * *

Harlan, Catalina, Radu, and Commander Goddard closed in on the small 
traveling craft.  Radu turned to see Elmira, Suzee, Rosie, and Bova 
following.  He also so Ms Davenport dragging behind.  

"You think the person's dead?" Bova whispered as he approached the 
group.  

"Bova!" Rosie chided elbowing him.  

Bova ignored this and pressed on.  "Or maybe a murderous killer?"

"Shhhh," Goddard hissed.  He prepared to open the door when it slid 
open, and an all-too-familiar person walked out. Goddard and Harlan
immediately froze, and Suzee looked at both the guest and Harlan.  No
one said a word until RAdu finally spoke up.  

"Uh....welcome to the Christa," he said putting out his hand to shake
their guests.  The well-known person only looked at the young
Andromedan's hand.   Radu felt a painful agony as the silence grew.
He finally let down his hand, knowing the man wasn't going to accept
his welcome, and he stepped back to Elmira bashfully.

"That was rude," Elmira said in only a tone to which Radu could hear 
it.  

Radu hated to agree, but his man was human, and he was taught the 
appropriate welcome for earthers.  This man wasn't even going to give
him the gratitued of accepting the welcome. Radu nodded slightly to
show Elmira that he agreed.  

The man's  gaze was piercing and somewhat frightening.  He looked at 
Radu first, then Elmira.  He gave a glaring look to Elmira. Radu moved
closer to her to protect her from anything that might come.  The man 
finally spoke.  

"Hello," he began.  He was interrrupted by Rosie.  

"Hi there!  Welcome to the Christa.  I'm the medical doctor here!  Do
you have any things with you? Can I show you to your quarters?"  Rosie
had gotten it out in one breath.  The suspense of the silence gave her
time to think of what she was going to say.  She knew who this was,
and she was afraid she might do something wrong.  But she aimed to 
please.  Surprisingly, the man wasn't put on by her charm.  

"As I was about to say, I will need to stay here for the time being."

Rosie was shocked.  She couldn't believe it!  She had never met 
someone with so much respect, authority, and lack of personality. He 
then turned to Rosie and smiled, which looked extremely forced. Still,
it was a smile, and Rosie accepted it, although it bothered her a bit.

"And yes, you may show me to my resting place now"  He put out his 
hand, clutched onto hers, and they were off.  

Radu was not only confused, but hurt.  This man was willing to go with
Rosie, but he refused to do a simple deed like shaking his hand.  
Harlan noticed the hidden, but pained look.  

"Man, I cant believe him!  This is SO like him!"  Harlan stormed off 
without an explanation.  

"What a jerk," Bova stated.  

"Mister Bova, be polite," Davenport said eyeing the young Uranusian.

"Why?  It's true!  He comes on OUR ship, doesn't even bother to 
announce himself or contact us, ignores Radu, he's rude to Rosie, and 
I'm supposed to be NICE?  That's just asking too much."  

"He's absolutely right," Elmira spoke up.  "What a snob."

"Snob or not," Goddard said with a sigh.  "We have to respect him.  I 
want everyone to be on their top-most behavior."  Goddard then 
dismissed them, realizing how much he sounded like Ms Davenport.  He 
sighed heavily.  Next think he knew, he'd be talking in a british 
accent and fainting at everything.  He laughed at the thought. 

* * * * * *

Suzee and Catalina chased after Harlan.  

"Geez, what caused that?" Cat asked, slightly confused on what was
going on.  

"It's a long story," Suzee said while running.  

"Can ya sum it up?"

"Yeah, see...."

* * * * * *

"Here you go!" Rosie said merrily.  She had set up a spare bunk for 
the newly arrived guest.  Before she skipped away, she saluted the man
and left.  She had shown him many things on the ship. On the way to 
the boys bunkroom, which he was in now, she gave him a small tour and 
explained each person on the ship.  

"There's Harlan, he's the one that flies the ship.  But duh, you 
already know him.  Then there's Commander Goddard and Ms Davenport," 
the perky girl said while roaming the corridors.  "Of course, you know
them.  But Bova, he's from Uranus.  He's really funny sometimes."  
Rosie laughed at a memory of Bova.  She continued to talk to the 
silent guest.  "Then there's Suzee.  We all thought she wasn't real, 
but it turns out that she's from Yensid, an entirely different 
dimension!  She has gills and she can leap into minds.  She's really 
smart too.  Catalina's from Saturn, and um....oh, and Radu is 
Andromedan.  You probably alrdy knew that though, right?"

He nodded.  

"I thought so. But he's really nice and he's fun to play with.  He 
get's this lok on his face when he loses atMinbar Chess.  It's funny 
and cute  Elmira goes crazy for him."

"Elmira is the SPUNG?" the man said putting extra emphasis on the word
'spung'.  

"Yep!  She's a nice one though."

"Tell me, do you think everyone on this ship is nice?"

"Yeah!"

"Even...me?"

"Of course!!"

He was alone now  in the bunkroom, otherwise known as "the pit." The 
small girl had taught him to use a device for a daily log. He began to
speak.  

"Daily entry.  Admiral Cody speaking.  I slipped into a warp tunnel of
some sort.  I dont now where I am, but this is a strange ship I'm on.
I'm not reunited with my step-son, Harlan.  But also on this ship is 
an Andromedan and a Spung.  It's amazing, these people seem to ENJOY 
their company!  But I WILL find a way to get back.  I have also met up
with Seth Goddard. With a little discipline, I'll have an ideal crew 
to work with.  I will report more actions further in the day.  Cody 
out."

* * * * * *

Harlan sat in the Engine room while thinking intently.  He sighed 
heavily.  Why did HE have to come?  Out of all people, why him? Harlan
looked up and grinned as he saw Suzee, Cat, Bova, Elmira, and Radu 
walking up to cheer him up.  He was always grateful for his friends on
the Christa.  They were always there when he needed them. 

"Hey Harlan, want to talk?" Suzee said simpathetically.  

"About what?" Harlan asked, as if it were difficult to tell.  

"Come on Harlan," Cat pleaded.  "Talk to us.  Tell us what's on your 
mind.  ONE of us is bound to understand.  Maybe not all of us, but 
some."

Harlan sighed, but nodded.  "It's just, every time he was around, he 
always made me feel unsure about everything I did.  I'd hear 'you're 
wrong' and he NEVER put his confidence into me.  He thought I couldn't
DO anything and never had faith in me.  I didn't bother to try after a
while.  I knew that I'd just become more of a failure with him.  He's
never believed I had what it takes to do anything.  I cant even face 
him without thinking I've done something ELSE wrong."  A tear started
to form, but he ignored it, as did everyone else.  "I just....dont 
know what to do," he said, his voice  softening.  

Radu looked down.  Catalina also.  Truthfully, they had no idea how it
felt to be sick of their parents.  Radu looked back up.  "W-well, I 
think you're...l-lucky to, you know, have him there for you.  At least
you know he's there."

"Yeah," Cat said with a nod.  "I mean, isn't it good to at least have 
him there?  You know, to think about or..."

"No!" Harlan shouted.  "Why should I be grateful for him?  All he's 
EVER done is cause me denial in my life! And I cant take it anymore!!"

Cat and Radu were both shocked.  They had never had the benefit of 
having parents.  Both got up without a word and guiltily walked away.
Bova chased after them to see what was wrong, but Suzee and Elmira 
stayed.  

"I know how you feel," Elmira said patting him on the back.  

"How can you know?"

"Harlan!!  Look at my father!!  Look at what position I'm in!!"

"Yeah, same here," Suzee said with a wave.  "They're great to have, 
and I miss them.  But they're just....they dont understand us. They 
probably never will."

"And what are we supposed to do?  Take order after order, each time 
getting told that we just dont have what it takes to live up to a
dream?  All my life, I've wanted to become a STARDOG.  I always think
about it.  Being like my father, a hero in the STARDOGs.  But the way
he treats me, he makes me feel like...like I have no hope!!"

"Harlan, you dont need to listen to him."

"True, Harlan Band.  After all, I've ignored my father, and I get 
respect in return.  I get respect from many because I dont listen to 
him.  I'm not some useless person in the empire, and I've shown them 
that.  But what you need to do, Harlan Band, is stand up for
yourself!! Show him that you wont be afraid of him!"

"I'm NOT afraid of him!" Harlan said, slightly offended.  

"But he sees you as afraid when you speak with him.  Stand up for 
yourself!  Instead of pushing him away, not even looking at him, you 
can look him in the eye and SHOW him who's boss!!"

Harlan grinned.  He took a deep breath.  Maybe Elmira was right.  
Maybe he only needed to show Cody he had no fear.  

* * * * * *

"Team, report to the Command Post," Goddard said through the intercom.
In a matter of minutes, everyone had come.  "As you may have heard," 
Goddard began, "we have a guest.  I want you all to treat him with the
highest respect, do you understand?"  Each one nodded in agreement.  

Harlan sighed heavily.  He had never gotten along well with his 
step-father before.  He only remember what Elmira had told him.  The 
words stuck in his head as he thought about it more and more. 

"Now," Goddard said straightening himself.  "When he walks in, I want
a salute.  And NO goofing off.  Until then, to your posts."

"But Commander!  What about classes?"

Goddard rolled his eyes, then put on an innocent smile.  "TJ, we'll 
work that out later, okay?"  

Davenport reluctantly agree.  "All right."  

"Good.  Now--"  Commander Goddard was interrupted by the ComPost doors
sliding open, and Admiral Cody walking in.  Each person saluted the 
man until he motioned for them to relax.  

"I will be taking charge," he said simply to Goddard. 

Each crew mate was shocked, especially Commander Goddard.  He managed
to find his voice and speak. "Sir, are you relieving me of my duties?"

"Yes, I am."

"But sir, I--"

"Goddard, I am your superior officer.  And as your superior officer, 
I'm relieving you of all duties.  Then we may be able to see some 
ORDER around here.  Are you instructions clear?"

Goddard bit his tongue.  His rebel side told him to argue this out, 
kids or not.  But his rational side knew what to do.  "Yes sir," he 
said still in shock.  He made a quick salute and left.  Admiral Cody 
glanced at each person in the room.  None said a word.  His eyes fell
upon Ms Davenport.  

Ms Davenport faced downward.  She could barely speak to him, and 
hardly look at him.  Her heart fell towards Commander Goddard.  There
were times when they had their arguments, but who didn't?  She had 
never seen Commander Goddard defeated, and it scared her.  Without
looking up, she walked towards the doors.  "Classes will be dismissed
for the day," she said softly, before retreating the room.  She then 
exited.  

An announcement such as this would normally cause an arousement in 
laughter or cheering.  But none was heard. Most were looking forward 
to classes.  They dreaded being in supervision of the Admiral.  They 
made mistakes, and they knew that.  They didn't need those mistakes to
be pointed out.  

Bova sighed heavily.  It was loud enough to break the silence and for
Radu to jump slightly.  "Let's get this over with," Bova grumbled in 
an unenthusiastic tone.  "What do you need us to do, sir?"

"What do you normally do?"

"Usually I just sleep through whatever happens."

"Well you'll need to change then."

"Why?"

"That behavior is not how a STARDOG should act."

"Well excuse me if I'm not fit tobe the dirt off your shoes."

"What?!?"

"Or the lint in your pockets."

"EXCUSE me?"

"OR the hair on your...nevermind."

"Head?"

"You said it, not me."  As if you had hair, Bova thought.

"Explain your reasonings."

"You wouldn't know how I felt."

"I'm ordering you to explain."

"Fine, you asked for it."  And he did.  Each student became more 
tense.  They all knew what Bova was going to say.  "You treat people 
like dirt.  You talk about discipline and stuff.  We're kids. Kids 
make mistakes.  But you think everyone is perfect or someting. So when
people do things wrong, you point it out to them, as if they commited 
some crime.  Maybe we already KNOW what we do wrong.  Maybe youre just
DEPRESSING us even though we try."  Bova continued.  "PLUS, you take 
over for Commander Goddard when this was HIS job.  Why cant you find 
another job?  And another thing!!  You aren't treating Radu and Elmira
in a fair way!"

"Is that true?" Admiral Cody asked with a glare facing Radu.

"Uh...no comment, sir," Radu staggered.  

"Because you've spooked him so much, he's AFRAID to say anything!!" 
Bova said rolling his eyes.   After that, only silence.  Admiral Cody
was completely in shock and lost every wod he had planned to say.  

Harlan grinned.  At least his young friend had the courage to say it.
Someone had to. 

Catalina felt a lump to her throat.  She had always pittied the man.
She never understood why Harlan was so negative to him, even after the
talk with him.  Catalina would do anything to see her parents again.
Perhaps it was her parents' death that had created sympathy for the 
admiral.  She felt terrible that all eyes were upon him, and he had 
nothing to say.  She looked around the room, then spoke.  "Uh, sir?"
She took a deep breath as he turned to her.  She could see a hint of 
desperation in his eyes.  "I think that in celebration to your 
arrival, we should call it a day.  What do you think?"  

"Excellent idea," he sid with a nod.  

Cat grinned.  "Thank you, sir."  EAch crew member retreated toward the
game room.  All except Cat.  She stopped in front of the admiral.  "I
just wanted to let you know...none of the stuff Bova said is true."  

The admiral sighed heavily.  "The problem is, it is true."

"No, it's not!  Bova is just like that sometimes.  Just ignore him."

"I think it's good to point it out to me.  Tell me, Catalina.  You've
known Harlan for a time now.  Do you know what I could do to...be more
friendly?"

"I have a few ideas."  Cat and Amdiral Cody slowly walked out of the 
room discussing several ways.  

* * * * * *

Harlan and Radu sat in a game of Minbar Ches as they did every time 
they had spare time.  Elmira and Suzee watched them both and cheered 
them on.  Meanwhile, Bova and Rosie played nine globe dudley.

"Aw, figures," Bova muttered.  "I'm TERRIBLE at this game, so 
obviously, I'm challenged to it.  Everyone loves to see me lose, I 
guess."

"Oh Bova!  You're doing fine!!"

"Fine?!?!  Look at the game!  You call that fine?"

"Well...yeah!"

Bova shook his head and sighed heavily.  He looked up at the sound of
the jumptubes.  Out came the admiral and Catalina.  For one moment, 
all eyes were towards them, and the games and laughter had stopped. 
But after minutes of silence, it continued once again.  

"Hey guys!" Catalina exclaimed, walking over with Admiral Cody to the
group of four.  The group with Harlan.  Cat looked closely at the 
game.  "Who's winning?"

"Who always does?" Radu asked grinning.  

"Oh.  Well, soon to be a congradulations for you, Harlan."

Harlan cracked a smile.  

"And who's scheduled to play the winner?"  

"No one yet," Harlna mumbled, still in deep concentration of the game.

"Yeah, well, I dont think it would be fair for me to play him," Elmira
stated.  "Besides, every time I beat him, he accused me of cheating."
Elmira grinned mischeviously.

"Did you want to play after me?" Radu asked drawing his attention away
from the game.  

"No, not me," Cat said shaking her head.  "But I was thinking that the
admiral could play."  She pointed to the formal man standing next to 
her.  

Radu looked at Harlan who had immediately lost his concentration.  
He then smiled.  "It's up to Harlan."

Harlan froze for a moment.  Why did Radu have to say that?  Harlan 
took in a deep breath.  "Okay, but after this," Harlan said mellowing.
"Your turn Radu."

Radu looked at the game and gota crafty grin on his face.  The type of
grin where he thought he haed spotted something that would be a good 
move.  Of course, nobody ever told him about the look he'd get.  It 
was a way to warn the other player to stay on gaurd.  He moved a 
piece, but his happy smile faded when he saw Harlan move another 
piece.  

"I win," Harlan said simply.  

Radu's face fell.  "Darn," he muttered.  "O-well."  Radu moved to the
side and set the pieces back up for Harlan and the admiral.  Both 
prepared for several intense games.  


Hours later....

The excitement had gone down formost of teh crew.  Suzee had gotten 
tired of watching the never ending games after the 6th game, so she 
headed towards her bunk.  Catalina did the same.  Rosie and Bova had 
played Nine Globe Dudley until Bova had won a game, then they too went
to sleep   Now there were only four in the Rec room.  Elmira and Radu 
had fallen asleep during the game and were sound asleep.  Harlan and 
Admiral Cody were palying yet another game.  Surprisingly, Harlan was 
enjoying the time.  Maybe his step-father wasn't so bad after all.
But somthing in the back of his mind told him otherwise.  Harlan 
looked away for a moment to Radu and Elmira.  Fast asleep in 
eachother's arms.  He grinned.  One might think that they planned to 
fall asleep that way.  Halran glanced back at the game.  It was his 
turn.  He carfuly moved a piece and said two distinct words.  "I win."

Admiral Cody looked at the board.  Sure enough, Harlan had won.  "Well
done," he said with a hand shake.  

"Well, almost lights out."

"Right."

"Yo Radu!!" Harlan shouted, knowing full-well this would be extremely 
loud for his Andromedan friend.  

"Wha--?!?!"  Radu sat up quickly, startled by the sound of Harlan's 
voice at such a high tone.  It rang in his ears for a time, then died 
down.  

"It's time to go to bed, buddy."

"Oh."  Radu sat back down.  

"No, not here.  It's a strange place called a bunkroom."  Radu
groaned, but reluctantly got up.  "Elmira," he said softly, lightly 
shaking her.  

"Go away," she whispered, her eyes still shut.  

"C'mon, Elmira. YOu gotta get to your bunk."  

"Oh, fine."

Harlan laughed.  Elmira was extremely hard to get up, and he enjoyed 
watching others try to arouse her.  All left the room. Elmira split 
away from the three boys and headed sleepily towards the bunkroom.  

Radu kept to himself along the way there.  He noticed how tense the 
admiral would be when hewas around; much like how Harlan used to be.
He thought to himself, Is the admiral racist?  And if he is, is the 
discriminating against me and Elmira?  The thought bothered him more 
and more, so he decided to let it be.  He was happy for them both.  
Both Harlan and the admiral seemed to be getting along, and that 
seemed to take a miracle to do that much.  He decided to enter a 
thought for the day in his log.  He never did that often unelss he had
several thoughts he needed to get out.  

* * * * * *

Part 2 of "Second Chance"!:
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