Titan, Ruler of the Undersea City of Titanica, sat upon his throne drumming his fingers. “How much longer will this take?” he wondered. Surface Agent X-20 entered the room. He was followed by two Aquaphibians and a Titanian doctor. “So Dr, do I have a son or a daughter?”
The little man cleared his throat and said in a barely audible whisper, “I’m sorry to inform you Your Majesty, but the child did not survive. There was nothing I could do. It arrived much to early and…” Titan raised his hand and bellowed, “Take him out of here. You know what to do with him.” The Aquaphibians escorted the Doctor out of the room, a look of terror etched upon his face. His sobs could be heard as they moved down the corridor. Titan thought for a moment. Suddenly he had an idea. He would blame the child’s death on a recent confrontation between Titanica and the Terranians. In actuality there was no connection, but he needed to direct his anger somewhere. So why not at the Terranians? “Yes,” he thought to himself, “they should pay, I will make them pay! Well X-20, the Terranians will pay heavily for this,” he said out loud. “ I don’t understand Your Majesty. What have the Terranians to do with this?”
“Do not question me. You will find me a child- a Terranian child.” “But Your Majesty, where will I find one?” “That is not of my concern. Leave at once. You will not return to Titanica without one.” “But Your Majesty…”. “Why do you still answer my every order with a but? Go now. And remember do not return without a Terranian child.”
“Stingray to Tower. Come in Marineville.” “Go ahead Troy.” “Hi, Honey, you OK?” “I’m fine. Anything to report?” Stingray and it’s crew had been ordered by WSP Headquarters to patrol off the coast of New Zealand due to a question of an invasion. “No, all quiet here. Are you getting enough rest? Are you sure you’re feeling OK?” “Really Troy, I said I was fine.” Atlanta was unable to hide the irritation in her voice. She knew Troy meant well, but she was used to worrying about him, not him worrying about her. She wondered if she ever sounded that annoying. “I just wanted to be sure. It’s just that I’m so far away and won’t be back for at least another week.” “Sorry Troy,” Atlanta softened feeling guilty for snapping at him, “I guess I am a bit tired.” “It’s OK Honey, I understand. After your shift, just go home and rest.”
Eight months pregnant, Atlanta wanted nothing more than to sit back, put her feet up and do just that. With Troy, Phones, and Marina on patrol somewhere in the Keramadic Trench and her father on duty she would be alone for the first time in months. She was looking forward to it. A gentle kick to her bladder reminded her she wasn’t quite alone. She giggled and patted her swollen belly as her mind drifted. The sound of Troy’s voice brought her back to the present. “Oh I just remembered. I need you to cancel my service appointment at the garage. Its for 10 o’clock tomorrow.” “I can take it Troy or don’t you trust me to drive your car,” she teased. “Err...uh...well...its not that Honey,” Troy stammered. “Its just that its been stalling lately and maybe you shouldn’t take the chance. I wouldn’t want you to get stuck somewhere. It can wait till I get back.” “Don’t be silly Troy. It will be one less thing you’ll have to do. Remember we have to finish the baby’s room. I was going shopping anyway, so I’ll drop it off and go to the mall.” Troy rolled his eyes and mumbled under his breath, “Just what I wanted, more damage to my credit card.”
Phones smiled, he knew enough not to laugh, the look on Troy’s face said it all. “What was that Troy? I didn’t understand you.” “Nothing Atlanta. Reluctantly he said, “OK, but be careful and don’t over do it.” Phones wondered if Troy meant her activity or her spending. The doors to the control tower opened and Lt John Fisher walked in. “My relief is here. Talk to you tomorrow.” “Remember, get some rest…”. Atlanta cut off their communication in the middle of his sentence. Troy noticed Phones was still smiling. “Something on your mind Lt?”, Troy shot at him. Phones was no longer able to control his laughter. Between laughs he said, “Not a thing Skipper, not a thing.”
Agent X-20 had been intercepting all Marineville transmissions from his base which was located on the Island of Lemoy. “This is too good to be true,” he hissed. “Titan will be so pleased!”
The next morning, having used one of his many disguises, Surface Agent X-20 once again managed to gain access into Marineville. He positioned his car along the strip of road that led from the Tempest’s apartment to the service station. He put on his emergency lashers, raised the hood and waited. If anyone but Atlanta stopped, he would tell them help was already on the way. Over the years he had come to know that she couldn’t resist helping someone in need. He settled down on the side of the road and waited.
After a peaceful night, Atlanta awoke around 08:30. She fed Oink, Marina’s pet seal, and her cat. The cat, which had been a gift from Troy after the sinking ships mission, rubbed against her legs as she opened the pouch of cat food. After they finished eating she let them both out onto the deck. After eating, she showered, dressed and managed to do a few chores before she grabbed Troy’s keys and headed out to the garage. Atlanta loved driving Troy’s car, although she knew he hated her driving it. It was made for speed. Normally she had a heavy foot, although she’d never admit to it. She loved racing through Marseille with the wind blowing through her hair, but not today. She placed the key in the ignition and it started right up. She put the top down, backed down the driveway and took off at a modest speed. About half way to the service station she noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road. The hood was up and its emergency lights were flashing. An elderly gentleman stepped into the road and flagged her down. Although Atlanta didn’t recognize him, she knew that civilian personnel were often scheduled at Marineville for one thing or another. His presence didn’t phase her.
She stopped and asked him if she could be of any insistence. “Yes, maybe you could help me. I think something is loose under the hood, but I’m afraid I don’t know very much about automobiles.” Atlanta pulled over and got out. Being somewhat mechanically inclined, she might at the very least be able to tell him what the problem was, if not fix it. “Let me take a look, I’m pretty good with a wrench,” she said smiling at the man. “She really is attractive for a Terranian, he thought. Just one more reason to hate Troy Tempest.” Agent X-20 found he was actually touched by Atlanta’s kindness. He felt a tinge of guilt for what he was about to do, but an order was an order. As she bent over the engine she heard the old man lisp, “I’m sorry, Lt. I really don’t want to do this, but I have to. Titan’s orders.” “What?” Atlanta never saw what hit her. She slumped towards the ground, but Agent X-20 caught her. He gently laid her in the back seat of his car and covered her with a blanket. He got back in his car and drove off. Waving at the guard, he flashed a fake ID and sailed through the check point. Ten miles out of Marineville, they arrived at the water. Pressing a button his tires retracted and his car became a hovercraft. He set out for the Island of Lemoy and then Titanica.
Having worked the night shift, Sam Shore had just nestled into bed when the video phone buzzed. A young Ensign’s face lit up the screen. “Commander, sorry to disturb you sir.” “What is it Ensign?” “Well Sir...we.. Uh…” “Hurry up Mr., I haven’t got all day. And please, make it brief.” “We found Captain Tempest’s car on the side of the road.”“ Groggy from lack of sleep Sam tried to remember what Atlanta had said about the car. “Oh, that’s right,” he said to himself, “she was taking it in to be serviced. Damn, she must have broken down.” “Sir?” “Maybe it broke down.” “No Commander it was running.” “Maybe it was stolen.” “It didn’t appear to be . The keys were in the ignition and Lt. Tempest’s pocketbook and jacket were on the front seat.” Commander Shore, now fully awake, paled at the news. “Any sign of my daughter?” “No Sir. We’re searching the area as we speak.” “Did you check her apartment?” “Yes Sir. There was no answer. All the doors and windows were locked. What should we do Commander?” “Pray,” Sam Shore thought, “pray.” “Continue patrolling Ensign. Keep me informed.” “Yes Sir.” He signed off. Commander Shore sighed wearily. “Looks like sleep will have to wait.” He dressed and headed to check Atlanta’s apartment.
Several hours later Stingray checked in. “Still no sign of trouble here Sir,” Troy reported. “Wish I could say the same,” Sam thought. “Sir, is Atlanta there? Can I speak to her?” “No Troy she’s not.” He turned to Phones and jokingly said, “I hope she’s not still shopping.” Phones laughed. Knowing that Atlanta was supposed to be on duty, Troy asked, “Where is she? Is she OK?” Commander Shore had dreaded this moment. “Troy, I’m afraid I don’t know where she is. She’s missing.” “Missing? What’s going on?” Sam filled Troy in on all he knew. “She must have been kidnapped. You know as well as I, Atlanta would never just take off.” “We have reason to believe Titan is involved.” “Titan? Request permission to head back to Marineville.” “Permission denied.” “But Sir...its Atlanta.” “I know who it is and I have as much to lose as you do.” “But Commander…”. “Captain Tempest, stay where you are. That’s an order. Do you understand me?” “Yes Sir, loud and clear. PWOR.” Troy said with anger in his voice. “We’ll keep you informed. Try not to worry.” “Yeah, right.” Sam Shore really would have liked Troy’s help. Stingray’s orders hadn’t come from him. He had already contacted WASP headquarters asking for Stingray’s return, but it had been denied. There was no use getting into that with Troy now. There was one thing he was counting on, if only...
Finally awake, Atlanta tried to figure out what had happened. It was so dark , she could barely make out the outline of the room. She had no idea where she was. Forget the time, she didn’t even know the day. What she did know was that her head was throbbing. She felt the lump above her left temple. It was wet and sticky. Realizing it was blood, she began to panic. “It’s to dark to see anything. Maybe if I sit up things will be clearer.” Immediately upon doing so she regretted it. It wasn’t so much the pounding in her head, but the intense wave of dizziness and nausea that had washed over her. It sent her reeling back on the cot. Breathing deeply and slowly she fought back the rancid taste of bile. All she could do was lay there and ride it out. Troy needed to think. He had to come up with a plan. His brow furrowed as he tried to concentrate. For the first time in his life he was really scared; scared for Atlanta, scared for the baby and scared for himself. Not only could he lose everything he had worked for, but everything he loved. Why would Titan do this? Revenge? And why Atlanta? Why now? He rubbed his eyes. He couldn’t remember the last time he had slept or eaten. As if reading his mind Marina appeared with a steaming cup of coffee. He smiled at the girl and took a much needed sip. “Thanks, Marina. Any ideas?” She shook her head. “Me neither.” Deep in thought he absentmindedly finished his coffee. Deep down he knew exactly what he’d have to do, he had no choice. He practically ran to the helm. “Phones, see if you can raise Navy Sub 27.” Surprised he asked, “The Atlantis?” Troy nodded. After a few minutes Phones said,” Go ahead Troy.” “Jordan this is Troy Tempest, I need a favor.”
Feeling a little better, Atlanta heard someone approaching. She heard the familiar gurgle of an Aquaphibian, followed by a lispy voice. Where had she heard that voice before? Suddenly she recalled, it was the voice of the old man she had stopped to help. They entered the room and flashed a light in her face. “She’s still unconscious. Titan will not be happy. I guess I hit her to hard. I do hope she will be alright.” They left locking the door behind them. “So Titan is behind this. The old man must have been one of his Surface Agents.” She should have known. She had to get away, but how? Surely someone in Marineville must have figured out she was missing. They must be looking for her. Why Troy must be on his way this very min... She remembered Troy was in the Keramadic Trench. He couldn’t come. Tears streamed down her face. She hoped he was OK. The situation in that area was tenuous, to say the least. Thinking about him took her mind off her situation and she drifted back to sleep.
For the first time since they had met, Troy and Jordan were in complete agreement. Troy looked at Phones and said, “Set a course for Titanica.” Phones raised his eyebrows, but did as he was told. “You’re going against the Commander’s orders? He’s going to be upset.”
“There’s no other way Phones. I’ll take full responsibility. Are you with me?” “You know I’d do anything to help Atlanta, Troy.” Marina nodded in agreement. As Stingray cut through the ocean at top speed, Phones asked Troy what the plan was. “I don’t really have a plan, so I figure I’ll make Titan an offer he won’t be able to refuse.” “What’s that Troy?” “Me for Atlanta?” “Troy, you can’t. Titan will surely send you to Aquatraz for execution.” “At least I know Titan is a man of his word. If he agrees to the exchange, I know Atlanta will be safe. That’s all that matters.“ Phones looked at his friend. His mind urgently searched for some other way. He came up blank.
A short time later, X-20 and the Aquaphibians returned. They found Atlanta fully awake. “Come with us Lt.” One of the guards went to grab her arm , but X-20 intervened. “That won’t be necessary, will it Lt?” She shook her head. He led her to the throne room and there sat Titan. Off to his side was the God Tuefal. “So Lt., we finally meet. Make yourself comfortable. Perhaps you’d like something to drink?” “All of Marineville must be looking for me,” she said. “You’ll be sorry when Troy gets here.” “Heh, heh, he,” he laughed, “it is not I who will Be sorry. Not this time. One way or another Troy Tempest and the Terranians will pay. Take her back to her cell.”
As they neared Titanica Troy asked Phones to open a line of communication. “This is Captain Troy Tempest of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol. I need to speak with Titan. I’d like to make a deal.” “Heh, heh, heh...So the great Troy Tempest wants to make a deal does he?” “Yes Your Majesty, it would seem so.” “Well I think that could be arranged. But first he’ll pay for all he’s done to me, while his wife watches. I will have the child and Troy Tempest! Give them clearance X-20 and when they arrive bring Troy Tempest to me!”
Docked inside Titanica, Troy said to Marina, “You stay on board. Its not safe
for you.” The girl shook her head. “That’s an order Marina.” She looked at him
and then at Phones. Phones, who could always read her better said, “Troy I think
she’s trying to say that orders are made to be broken or we wouldn’t be here
now.” Marina nodded. He thought for a second and finally said, “Alright, but
stay behind us.” She gently touched his arm. “Thanks Marina, me too. Let’s get
this show on the road.” Troy didn’t have a chance. From the second he stepped
from Stingray the guards closed in. He was hit over and over again. Phones and
Marina stood by helplessly as each was held tightly by Titan’s creatures.
“Welcome back Princess. We missed you,” X-20 said with an evil grin. Phones
struggled to free himself, but to no avail. “Don’t you touch her.” “Why Lt, I
wouldn’t think of harming her.” Troy felt as if he was going to pass out. Every
breath was an effort. He wanted to give in to the pain, but willed himself to
hang on. He had to know if Atlanta was safe. “Come along, Titan is waiting.” The
Aquaphibians grabbed Troy under his arms and dragged him to the throne room.
Phones and Marina followed at gun point. Entering the throne room Troy was still
slumped before between the creatures. His head hung on his chest. “Well Troy
Tempest, we meet again. Look at me when speak.” The large Aquaphibian grabbed
Troy by the hair and pulled him up. Bruises had already formed on his face.
Looking past Troy, Titan said, “Ah Marina, so nice to see you again. Perhaps
you’d like to stay this time.” Hearing this, Troy seemed to pull himself
together. He said, “Titan, she’s not part of the deal.” “Oh yes, the deal . What
exactly are the terms of that deal?” Just then Atlanta was escorted into the
room. “Atlanta,” Troy yelled. She started towards him only to be roughly pulled
back. Her arms were pinned behind back. “Let her go, Titan!” “You are in no
position to give me orders Tempest!” Titan nodded and one of the guards slammed
the butt of his gun into Troy’s side. The sound of bones snapping could be heard
throughout the room. He doubled over in pain. Atlanta screamed and again tried
to run to him. Once again she was restrained. “Not so rough,” X-20 said. Titan
cut him a questioning look. “Titan, you let them go and take me,”Troy said
between gasps.” “No Troy,” Atlanta cried. This time she managed to pull away and
ran to him. Unnoticed, an attractive Titanian woman had entered the room and
stood off to the side. “I will take from you what you have taken from me. There
will be no stopping me from gaining vengeance on you and the Terranians.”
Atlanta helped Troy up. “What are you talking about Titan?” “You took my child,
now I will take yours.” “You’re crazy Titan. I didn’t take your child.”
Protectively, he stepped in front of Atlanta. Titan nodded again and two
Aquaphibians made their move.
Grabbing Troy one of them punched Troy in the side knocking the wind out of him. “Enough,” the woman yelled, startling them all. “Titan, let these people go!” “Never,” he bellowed. “If not, I go.” “Are you giving me, the Mighty Titan, an ultimatum?” “Yes, its either me or them.” Somehow Titan seemed to get smaller. “But I did it for you. I know how much you wanted a child.” “Titan, I don’t want their child, I want our child. So is it me or them?” Titan didn’t hesitate. “Release the prisoners.” X-20 and the Aquaphibians stared at him in amazement. “You heard me, let them go.” “But Your Majesty,” X-20 cried. “Again with the buts.” “Titan?” the woman said more like an order than a question. Looking over at the woman he added, “And see that no harm comes to them. Tempest, go quickly, before I change my mind. Next time we meet, you shall not be so lucky.”
The guards and X-20 led them to the cargo bay where Stingray was docked. Phones helped Troy, while Marina and Atlanta walked ahead. Suddenly Atlanta stopped and leaned against the wall. She bit her lower lip and took a few deep breaths. “Atlanta what’s wrong?” Seeing the concern on Troy’s face, she managed a week smile. “Nothing Troy. I’m just a little tired.” “You can rest once we get to Stingray. Now, let’s get a move on before Titan does change his mind.”
Alone the woman smiled at Titan, then kissed him on the cheek. “You really are an old softie.” “And you are the only one who knows that side of me,” Titan said taking her hand. “Now what was that about having our child?” She smiled again and they headed for their quarters walking hand in hand.
Once Stingray was under way, Atlanta went below to rest. While Phones tended to
Troy’s injuries, they discussed the days events. “I never thought Titan could be
bullied by a woman. Lucky for us, he’s in love.” They both laughed. “I’m going
to check on Atlanta.” Troy went below. Phones looked at Marina and said,
“Titan’s not the only one in love.” She smiled and nodded. “How are you doing
honey?” “I have something to tell you. Promise you won’t be angry Troy.” “Of
course I won’t. Oh, I know what it is. You hit something with my car,” he joked.
As she started to laugh, she was hit with an intense pain, which was evident on
her face. “Atlanta, what’s wrong?” As soon as the contraction passed she said,
“I’m having the baby.” “I know that Honey. I think I had something to do with
it.” “No Troy, you don’t understand. I’m having it now.” “What? he shouted. Why
didn’t you tell me sooner?” Hearing Troy yell, Marina and Phones looked at each
other questioningly. Atlanta started to cry. “Don’t cry Honey. I’m sorry,” he
soothed. “I didn’t tell you sooner because I thought I could make it back to
Marineville. I didn’t want you to worry.” “We’ll manage. I’ve had some medical
training at the Academy. I’ll be right back.” Troy raced up to the main deck.
“Phones, get Marineville on the radio.” “Do you want the Commander?” “No the
“Doc” walked Troy through the delivery. Suddenly an infant’s cry echoed through Stingray. “Its a girl Honey,” Troy said smiling. He wrapped the infant in a towel and handed her to Atlanta. “Oh Troy, she’s beautiful!” “Just like her mother,” he said as he kissed her forehead. Phones turned on the automatic boson and he and Marina went below. Seeing the infant Phones smiled as he said, “She certainly is a cutie, Skipper.” Marina nodded in agreement. “What are you going to name her?” Both Troy and Atlanta shrugged.
Back in Marineville, Sam Shore waited impatiently. He maneuvered his hover chair back and forth, as if pacing. “Has Stingray reported in yet Lt?” “No Sir, not ye…” he was interrupted. “Stingray to Tower. Come in Marineville.” “Lt Fisher started to answer, but the Commander grabbed the mike from his hands. “Troy what’s happening?” he asked. “Its a girl, Sir. They’re both fine. We’ll be back in Marineville in approximately thirty minutes with the latest addition to the Stingray crew.”
Later that evening Sam Shore and John Fisher visited Atlanta at the hospital. “Hello Father. Meet your granddaughter, Elaine Atlee Tempest,” she said as she handed her father the baby. The infant wrapped her tiny fist around his finger. Feeling his eyes well up, he cleared his throat and turned to Lt Fisher. “Here Lt, have a cigar.” “Uh, thanks Commander, but I don’t smoke.“ “Well Lt, you do today.” “Yes, Sir.”
Meanwhile in the city of Titanica Titan asked, “Any word X-20?” “Your Majesty, communications indicate that its a girl. They named her Elaine, after Lt Tempest’s mother.” “A girl is it? Heh, heh, heh. Well, I am certain that Miss Tempest and I will one day meet. Yes, of that I am certain!”
This story previously appeared on the UNITY CITY website, hosted by Robin and Pauline Day, webmasters of the Space City website.