A Bridge of Crystal Time
The pain was exquisite as the crystal in Chad’s forehead shattered. All that came after was a blur of grief. He remembered finding what remained of Brad on the floor. His best friend; a piece of his soul. The evil was vanquished, but at what price? The Princesses of Galaxy Force 5 did their best to console him, and offer comfort; but when the stone shattered something had shattered Brad too.
Recovery was slow. There was counseling and his friends visited often. But the weeks turned into months and even though he had returned to duty as a member of the 5 he was little more than a glorified driver/ pilot. Depression was his constant companion. Ricci had turned back time and embedded what remained of Brad in a shard of frozen time. A beautiful crystalline matrix, the shard sat on a shelf in Chad’s room. Sometime late at night he would talk to his best friend until he could sleep again. It was after one of these late night debates he decided that he had to leave the team. They had tried to stop him, of course. They were his friends too, but he was a burden, not to them, but to universe. They need a 5th princess to be effective. It was the right thing to do, and for the first time in almost a year he felt like a hero again.
The years passed quickly for Chad. He made a new life leading recovery efforts for the worlds that the Galaxy Force 5 had liberated. The team had never replaced him. They had instead taken to conscripting princesses and warriors as needed to fill the spot. They swore it was Chad’s alone. He baked them cakes and sent them as care packages often.
He had fallen in love with princess Aritrax on the world of Taco Metropolis. She was a kind soul and had been his liaison as he had led recovery efforts in the wake of the Star Spider Mahadriel’s annihilation beam. It was a whirlwind romance and the galactic gossip magazines had never been happier; and neither had Chad.
The Space Princesses of Galaxy Force 5 and Intern Warrior Zack the Untidy strode through the bright white halls of the largest hospital on Taco Metropolis, paparazzi at their heels.
“I hope we don’t miss it!” Elliana was effervescent and beginning to glow.
“Oh, we’ll be fine. Turn yourself down a little or you’re gonna fry one of these photographers like last week.” Zelenia smirked a little as Elliana deflated.
“Be nice, you two.” Vega waged her finger at her fellow princesses. “Ricci will make sure we don’t miss it”
“I sure won’t, time is on my side you know.” Everyone rolled their eyes and Zack chuckled nervously.
The party soon passed into the restricted area making their way to a room in a sequestered private wing. There they paused.
“Are we ready for this?” Vega asked, a nervous look on her face.
“No, I never even thought about it; it freaks me out.” Zelenia shivered.
“We’ll be fine, just be quiet. Zack honey, this is kind of private do you mind hanging out for a few minutes?” Ricci used her best smile.
“Zack is cool, yo. He has your backs. Zack will just go get a sandwich and beer.” Zack made a surf’s-up sign with his hand and lumbered down the hallway with his oversized battleaxe/surfboard.
Elliana waited until Zack was out of earshot “And that third person thing is why you’ll always be an intern, Zack.”
Vega shot Elliana a dirty look. Elliana stuck her tongue out in return and then they all giggled nervously. When the fit passed Vega knocked on the door and opened it. The room was brightly lit and filled with sleek medical equipment, a couple of beds and couch. In the center was Chad. He turned to greet them. His beard a bit more gray than the last time they had seen him. He smiled beatifically.
“How could we not.” Ricci tiptoed across the room and gave him a hug.
“Thanks for being so quiet, they’re asleep. We’ll be leaving as soon as they wake up.”
“So, where is it?” Zellenia attempted to peered past him.
Chad smiled even wider. “All right…” he went to the bed, leaned over and began to cradle a small bundle into his arms; tenderly ensuring his wife did not wake. Carefully, he turned back to the women he had shared so much with. They all leaned in to see the child in his arms.
“Meet my son, Bradley.” The Princesses gasped and cooed over the boy. Chad beamed, wet tears on his cheeks shining bright in the light of the room.
At the edge of the great Metropolis in the home of Chadwick and his beloved wife a newly painted nursery began to glow. Inside, hung over a crib a turkey leg frozen in a shard of time pulsed with strange energy and then as suddenly as it had started, the glow stopped; returning the room to darkness. Across time, across space, and situated next to the pie case in a diner at the center of the multiverse a singing turkey-blaster faltered in his rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne, choked back a wave of sadness and joy, and continued to sing; shedding a single wistful tear.