Paco and Rosa often sit out on lawn chairs and look up at the night time western sky. A huge panorama of winking stars shines down on them there at the isolated ranch. It is both magnificent and terrifying at the same time in its awe inspiring vastness. The two watchers never tire of their night time vigil, thankfully viewed without the detail damping effect of too much ambient light that washes out the unbelievably extreme majesty, as always happens inside the limits of large cities.
Paco often reminds Rosa of the time he accompanied Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan hill. She always listens to him as if she was hearing the story for the first time.
Or, similarly, she listens to his story about his service 'over there' in the trenches of France in World War One. the Great War in which he was only one soldier of more than seventy million military personnel, 60 million of them Europeans, that were mobilized in one of the largest wars up to that time in history.
Or when in "dubayuh dubayuh two" he was one of more than 100 million fighting men and women, when he fought first in Europe, then later at Guadalcanal, as well as on some of the other nearby islands.
Rosa never fails to "Ooh" and "Ahh" at all the right places as Paco in quiet tones reminisces of those times long past.
"Do you remember, Rosa, "Paco asks, "the early times? The times before the great migration? When we were young? When we still lived on the home world?"
Rosa, in quickening pain, turns her gaze away from the lined and wrinkled face of her husband, away from his suddenly troubled features so as not to allow him to see her looking at what he would consider weakness, what he would think was a diminishing of his masculinity.
"No," she says. "It was so long ago, that short duration of time so very long ago -- that best forgotten time when we were young. The memories in my mind now begin when we arrived here on Earth and streaked down through the layers of the atmosphere with a threatening blaze of friction fire in the dying vessel of our savior, Major London."
"Yes," Paco says. "We remember back as far as we want to remember. But you remember the Major and how he had been the Earth astronaut who provided us with the means to escape our poor doomed world. It's good that you are able to remember him."
Major Rance London, ANSEF (Associated Nations Space Exploration Force) inserted into the ejection tube, without ceremony, the all too rapidly disintegrating corpses of his last three fellow astronauts, only those three of an original total of twelve. All but he had contracted the unknown disease soon after their third awakening from the extended hibernation state. All but he had died during the long voyage from Earth to the present coordinates of Venturer, which placed its location somewhere just outside the orbit of Pluto. Without a word, London activated the ejection sequence, and the three bodies were explosively shot out into the void of interstellar space.
Since Venturer was completely computer operated, with no means of manual control, there could be no turning back. Even under circumstances as drastically catastrophic as these. Even though Major London was alone. He was alone in a vessel powered by a measured series of nuclear detonations. Alone in empty space, with the entire known solar system behind him. And ahead? What?
Major London entered the hibernation chamber and lay down on his assigned sleep cot. He lay there and thought about whatever drifted into his consciousness. How long he lay there awake and thinking, he did not know.
Eventually, with a soft sigh, he pressed the bedside automatic start sequence.
Planetary Security's Automated Control console determined that some sort of space craft had emerged from one of the sub space entry portals unannounced. P-SAC routinely extended a beam into near space toward the intruder, locked onto it, and began the careful process of drawing the obviously primitive vessel to a more desirable and manageable location in close proximity to the central region's combined ship maintenance and sub-jump station that circled the planet in an equatorial medium range orbit.
After the living entity was discovered in deep sleep, the space craft was converted to an observation laboratory wherein the observers could learn all there was to know about the situation and to then determine the best course of further action.
In time, this was satisfactorily accomplished and two deserving units were quickly summoned, and a proposal was submitted, one that these two entities could not refuse.
When units 1 and 2 regained awareness after the transformation process they found that their new pseudo-human organ containers functioned as had been predicted. The physical 'bodies' were modeled after Major Rance London's own, but the newly transformed individuals comprised many technologically advanced chemical and biological improvements. The two entities were satisfied that their lives as artificial human beings on their new planet would endure for a much longer time than those of the naturally born true natives of Earth.
The Master Teacher had instilled within the two the total memory and subjective knowledge that exhaustive physical examinations and mental probings of the Earth man who knew himself as Rance London had provided. This pair of proto-humans were well equipped to operate the captured space vehicle, return it to its origin, and then to live out their lives there on planet Earth.
What the did not know, could not know, was that travel through the severely warped portion of space-time altered the temporal placement continuum, and arrival of the space craft back to its origin, arrival on planet Earth would occur, in effect, a large number of planetary orbits around its star before it should have arrived. Again, 'in effect,' the ship will have returned to Earth many years before it left.
The space vehicle entered Earth's atmosphere and was soon enveloped in a sheath of flames from the friction of its streaking descent. Entity number one, which would one day be labeled as 'Paco Flores' extended a controlling tendril of mental energy that slowed the ship's mad dash down toward the Earth. Unit number two, which was to one day become Rosa Flores, watched the ice covered surface that seemed to be rushing up at them and emitted a tendril of her own to ascertain the condition of Mayor Rance London who lay asleep on his cot inside the hibernation chamber.
At the last possible instant before the ship would have blasted its way into and then on through the huge glacier's heavy mantle of snow topped, millenniums old, massively thick ice and into the iron riddled solid rock below, the Paco unit and the Rosa unit with a combined mental thrust, lifted the ship and then allowed it to drift gently back down to the frozen surface.
The Stikine Icefield covers 2,900 square miles along the crest of the Coastal Mountains that separate Canada and the U.S. It extends 120 miles from the Whiting River to the Stikine River and reaches saltwater with LeConte Glacier.
At the start of the eighteenth century, Paco and Rosa Flores, using their considerable mental motivating powers, dug a sloping shaft down through the snow and deep into the ice, then carved out a large crypt like cavern into which they deposited the hibernating Major London. Beside the sleeping astronaut they placed a temperature controller. And nearby they anchored a location detector device.
After filling the shaft and resealing the surface hole, they used the ship's engines to provide a few final feeble gasps of power to generate enough heat to bury the craft in the glacier's ice cap. Inside the ship were stowed a wealth of technologically advanced instruments. Paco and Rosa Flores knew that one day in the far future they would return and claim those electronic treasures.
Then the pair of young, strong, and eagerly optimistic human beings started off on their long trek to some semblance of civilization.