By: Lindsay Hadfield

The crisp fall weather had Sabre pull up her jacket collar as she made her way to her hotel on the planet Malding. As she got to her room, she noticed the door slightly ajar and immediately became suspicious. But soon, assuming it was just one of the cleaning personnel, she entered without more hesitation.

“Mother! Father! What are you doing here?” Sabre was surprised to see her parents sitting on one of the spacious beds. “We came to see you perform,” her mother started, “but you were sold out.” Her father cleared his throat. “You seem to be doing very well, Sabre,” he said slowly. Sabre smiled timidly. “Thanks.”

There was a slight, uncomfortable pause before Mrs. Carden broke in. “Are you ready to move on your tour tomorrow?” Sabre nodded slowly. “I am.” Both her parents smiled. “We just wanted to let you know that even though we don’t particularly . . . enjoy this profession you’ve chosen at such a young age, we support you.”

“Thank you, mother, for that encouragement. But don’t worry about me; I’m already fifteen! I’ll be sixteen in just a few months and-l”

“You barely turned fifteen three months ago. You’re closer to your past birthday then your future one!” Mr. Carden stopped his tirade long enough to stare vacantly at his daughter.
“There’s something else,” she said, “something terrible. I know it. Tell me.”

“Well, dear, it’s like this,” her mother began, then she broke off. “Your mother is very sick. She has a strange disease. The doctors aren’t able to pin it down, but they think it might be Ancole.” Sabre gasped. Not Ancole, anything but that! she thought.

Sabre took a deep breath and answered the shocking news. “Well I’m sorry mother, and I love you, but I just can’t stop what I’m doing! I love me, my fans do too, and our band is to die for! We can’t quit now!”

With that, Sabre stomped out of the room, angry, sad and confused. No one tried to stop her.
When Sabre got back to her dressing room, her band members Daina and Jaymes were there to comfort her. “You already knew? And you didn’t tell me?” She didn’t wait for an answer.

Saber gathered everything in her dressing room and quickly left. She was never taught to avoid problems, but everything was coming at her at the same time! She went back to her hotel room where her parents still sat. She began to pack hurriedly.

“Sabre Ophelia Carden! Where are you going?” her father demanded. “I’m leaving. Tonight. I can’t wait until tomorrow.”

“I know this is upsetting honey, but running away isn’t the answer. Remember how we talked about it when your brother left-?”

“I’m not here to talk about him-“

“But you have to sometime-“

“No! I’m leaving right now! I can fly my own ship. I’ve been able to for years now, but you never let me. It’s time to ‘engage the hyperdrive’ and I’m going to do it alone!” Sabre grabbed her bags of clothes and costumes and left once again. She was surprised there was no pursuit this time.

Sabre stopped in a little café before heading to her ship, the Nebula. She needed to clear her thoughts. And the Ahte here is so good!

Sabre set down her bags in front of her ship and punched in the code for the loading ramp to extend. She got to the door and found it strangely unlocked. Thinking it was time to confront her parents now that they had all cooled off, she thought no more of it.

Sabre called and clapped for the lights to come on, but she barely had the first sound out when a hand clamped tightly over her mouth. She fought to get the attacker away, but her vision grew cloudy and she could no longer breathe.

There must be some sort of toxin . . .

Sabre never finished her thought, because her world became darker than her ship.

When Sabre woke she was alone in her personal cabin. She got up and had to sit down on her bed again. She got the lights to come on low and slowly made her way to the door.

Sabre pushed the door release and slowly walked into the hold. She called for Jaymes and Daina, but no answer came.

Sabre inspected her entire ship and found no one. She got to the cockpit and made a cautious entry. There was no one in the pilot’s seat; the Nebula was on autopilot. She tried her travel logs to find out where she was going, but they were blocked with a code that was not her own. The logs of where she had recently been were erased, and no amount of coaxing or cursing could bring them back.

Sabre sat down in the pilot seat and began to cry. It was not like her, but she could think of nothing else to occupy her time. With no way of knowing who, what, when, where, or why, Sabre went back to her cabin and entered a restless sleep.

Sabre started to stir, and was quickly helped in completing the task by a huge crash that nearly threw her from her bed! A long scraping noise accompianied the crash, and Sabre couldn’t think straight until it was over.

“What? Wh-what was that?” Sabre asked no one. “Lights!” Sabre called, but she forgot to clap. She tripped over a bag before the illumination helped her to her door. Sabre pushed a button and had to call for lights again because the hold was just as dark as her room had been only moments before.

Sabre hurriedly made her way to the cockpit and found everything in disarray. Warning lights were flashing, sirens were screeching, and somewhere under the control panel a small electrical fire had started, giving off a pungent ozone smell for Sabre to endure.

She found the fire foam, then fixed and shut off everything except her life support systems. Looking out the view panel, Sabre saw that it was daylight. She didn’t dare get out yet, because this was like no world she’d ever been on!

It was somewhat desert-like, with small bushes and a little grass. Trees littered the landscape here and there, and she saw a few strange birds. “Where am I?”

Sabre looked through her ship’s computer, inquiring about the creatures.

No information available . . . Please choose another option.

“Oooh! But I-” Sabre entered in the descriptions again.

No information available . . . Please choose another option or-

Sabre, now quite irritated at the whole situation, quickly got out of the program. She screamed obscenities at Trang. “Where in all the underworlds am I?”

Sabre changed into some ‘traversing’ clothes, and packed a few necessary items and some more clothes into a backpack. She slowly and stealthily left her ship and locked it tight. As Sabre grabbed some camouflage spray from her bag, she looked nervously around her.

Sabre covered her whole moderately sized ship with the can of spray and covered it with some branches and leaves. She hoped no one would come snooping around. She saw a road a few meters in the distance and set out on a zigzag trail toward it.

When Sabre reached the road, she looked in both directions and prayed for some sort of power to help her. She had never been a religious girl, but she figured anything was worth a try.

She soon got her answer in the form of a vehicle. I’ve never seen such a landcruiser, she thought. I wonder who, or what, is in it. I hope it’s at least human.

The Jeep stopped before it reached Sabre, so as not to get dust from the dirt road on her pretty white dress.

“Well, howdy!” A cheerful young girl called out. “Hi,” Sabre peered at the single human-whew!-ocuupant. “Where are you headed?”

“I-uh, I’m kind of hiding, actually,” Sabre smiled sheepishly. The girl laughed. “From the law, huh? Hop in! You’ll feel right at home at my house; my cousins run from the law all the time!” At least we both speak Intrinsicale.

Sabre was glad for the ride and she voiced her opinions. “No problem, honey! I’m glad to do it!”
Sabre shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “I’m not exactly running from ‘the law’” she said. “I was-. What did you say your name was?” Sabre quickly changed the subject, afraid of saying too much. What if this was one of the kidnappers’ assistants?

“Oh, I’m sorry! I completely forgot about all that!” She giggled again. “I’m Daisy Duke! And who are you?” When Sabre didn’t answer right away, Daisy turned to look at her. Sabre quickly though up an alias.

“It’s Ophelia,” she said. “Ophelia Van-” she cleared her throat, “Van Gen.” Daisy looked at her inquisitively for one more moment and said, “That’s such a pretty name! It’s sure nice to meet someone new around here, Ophelia! How did you come to be in Hazzard?”

“Hazzard?” Sabre gulped. “Is that the name of the place?” Daisy laughed again. It was beginning to annoy ‘Ophelia’. “It’s the county. It’s not always as bad as it seems! Boss Hogg causes most of the trouble. But don’t you worry about him; he’s mostly harmless.”

“Oh.” Sabre offered.

“So. Tell me your story. I’m excited!” Sabre looked around her and changed the subject again.
“Say, what do you know about space travel?” Daisy’s look was also getting on her nerves.

“Space travel? NASA is in the next state, Florida, and they’ve sent a man to the moon. And there’s satellites and unfinished space stations and such. Is this what you want to know?”

Sabre slowly nodded. “Oh,” she said again.

“Are you into that kind of science fiction stuff?”

“Um, well, sort of-” Daisy didn’t wait for her to finish before she started up again. “You know, we once had an alien come here. Can you believe it? A real alien! It was amazing. It had big eyes, cream-colored skin, and it didn’t even speak English! It was wild!”

“Aliens? You’ve only seen one? I’ve-” But Sabre stopped herself before she gave too much away. “You’ve seen aliens too?” Daisy asked in amazement. “Where? When?”

“Oh look!” Sabre interjected. “There’s a house! Is this where you live?” Luckily for Sabre, Daisy had indeed pulled up to the large farmhouse. Standing outside on the porch was an older man in coveralls and a cap. Both girls came out of the Jeep and headed toward him.

“Uncle Jesse!” Daisy cried. “I was hoping you’d be here! Guess what? I’ve brought a visitor!”

“So I see. What’s your name, young lady?” The old man smiled at Sabre as he asked. “S-Ophelia Van Gen, sir. I give my thanks to Daisy here for giving me a ride.”

“That’s sure a pretty dress for this country. Are you from Atlanta?” Both sets of strangers’ eyes were on Sabre. “I’m not quite familiar with that place, sir.”

“Well,” he said. “It’s a town here in Georgia! If you aren’t here for that, then you must be wanting to see J. D. Hogg in the town proper.” Sabre shook her head. “No I’m not. Hogg? Daisy warned me of that name. ‘Boss’ she called him.” It was Jesse’s turn to chuckle. “He’s the county commissioner. ‘Boss’ is what he likes to be called. I’ve known him forever, so I don’t call him that. His wife doesn’t either.”

“If you aren’t here for that, then what?” Daisy asked. Noticing Sabre was getting uncomfortable, Jesse stepped in with a suggestion. “Why don’t we go inside and have some lemonade? Daisy makes a mean glass! You look plum tuckered out, Ophelia. Why don’t you get some rest and change into some more comfortable clothes?”

Sabre had lost track of time, but she awoke in Daisy’s bed some hours later, she was sure. She noticed her wrist time-keeper was different from Daisy’s desk TK. It was still light, though, so Sabre got out of bed and changed into some clothes Daisy had laid out for her. Just a little short. Hmm.

There were voices coming from the kitchen. Two of them were recognizable, but two others were not. Sabre crept into view.

“Hi, there,” a light-haired guy said to Sabre. “Ophelia, is it? That’s a right purdy name you’ve got there. Daisy tells me you’ve never heard of Hazzard before!” Sabre could only nod. Not only was she lost in his eyes, she was startled by his personality.

“Don’t frighten her, Bo,” the other stranger said to the previous speaker. “Hi. Name’s Luke. We’re Daisy’s cousins. I hear you know a little about us?” Sabre nodded again. “Now you’re scarin’ her, Luke!” Daisy laughed. Soon, everyone joined in. There’s something very different about this whole planet!

“Come and set awhile, Ophelia. We’re just starting supper.” Jesse motioned to an empty chair.
“Thank you.” Sabre sat down next to Luke. “So where do you come from?” he asked her. “Now Luke, you know better. We always say ‘Grace’ before we start anything else,” Luke’s uncle chided him. Then he looked to Sabre. “Would you like to do the honors?” Sabre looked at each of them in turn and shook her head. “I don’t believe I know what you mean. What is this ‘Grace’?”

“You mean, you don’t say your prayers to the Lord at your house?” Sabre looked even more confused. “I don’t, sir. I’m not familiar with that term, either.” Sabre almost lost it right then. All four were looking at her as if she’d performed some horrible crime.

“Well, that’s a shame,” Jesse finally broke in. “It’s sad when little girls don’t learn to say ‘Grace’. I’ll say it and you listen. Soon you’ll know how to pray, too.”

As Jesse started, Sabre tried to copy everyone’s motions. She had never heard of the Lord, or Atlanta, and she still didn’t know what planet she was on! There were planets in her galaxy that had never explored space, but that was because they didn’t want to! She had never met or heard of a sapient being who wasn’t technologically advanced enough to visit other planets. The thing that scared her most was that if she was in a whole other galaxy, how would she get home? Her ship was broken, and there’d be no way to get repairs, considering the state of this part of the world. And as far as she knew, no one had traveled outside of the Inshel Galaxy before!

Jesse was finished, and everyone dug in.

“This is very good,” Sabre said between mouthfuls. She didn’t ask what it was called because she didn’t want to look stupid again.

“Hey Ophelia,” Bo was talking to her again. “Where are you from, anyway?” Sabre smiled shyly. “It’s such a small, insignificant place; you’ve probably never even heard of it.” Bo smiled too. “Well you’ve never heard of Hazzard, but that doesn’t seem to bother you too much!”

“Look, Bo. I’m not trying to be rude here, but I’d rather not talk about it right now. I’m going through many different life changes right now, and it’s putting a lot of stress on me.”

“I’m sure if you told ol’ Uncle Jesse or me, or Luke about it, we could help ya out.” Sabre smiled sadly. “I’m afraid it’s not that simple, Bo. Every last thing in my life is going in the opposite direction. I’m not even sure who I am anymore.”

“Gee, for being so young, it’s crazy that you even knew who you were before!”

“Maybe not, Luke, but I had things going for me.”

Only phrases like “Please pass me the-” or “this is great!” filled up the semi-uncomfortable silence. The meal was finished that way. Luke and Bo went off into town. Daisy got dressed for work and left. Jesse and Sabre were left alone.

“Will you at least tell me some of the things that are bothering you?” Jesse asked kindly. “I’m sorry, Jesse, but-”

“Now, now,” he teasingly chided, “you call me ‘Uncle Jesse’. I may not be related te ya by blood, but I’m the closest thing to family you have right now.” Sabre shook her head. “Sadly, that’s the truth.”

“What happened t’ ya, Ophelia? Why are you so down?” Sabre looked around her uncomfortably. “Let’s start these dishes, Jesse.” Jesse didn’t say anything about the change in subject.

“Well, tomorrow I’ll take ya t’ J. D. If you have some business there, you needn’t worry about tellin’ ole’ Uncle Jesse!” Jesse smiled at this, but Sabre didn’t find the amusement in it. She knew he was trying to make her feel better, but things were bad enough! She felt impressed to put her trust in him, and she decided to tell him one thing about her.

“Jesse, I have to tell you something.” He looked up expectantly, but Sabre figured he already assumed this. “I’ve been uptight because I found out not very long ago that my mother has a strange disease.”

Jesse looked up from his coffee mug to stare at Sabre. “Why, Ophelia. I had no idea. I’m sorry. What can we Dukes do to help?”

“I just had to get that in the open,” Sabre laughed lightly. “It’s been a long day. A long week actually. Stress is the ultimate evil.”

“I’ve always thought it was the devil, too,” came a voice from the doorway. Jesse and Sabre turned to look at Luke. “There you go again with the strange terms. I know I may sound stupid by not knowing half the words you use, but I’m learning, I am! It’s just that I’ve never been here before-nowhere near, in fact-and I am having a hard time getting used to it.”

Luke and Jesse looked at her sympathetically. “I know how you feel. When me and Bo went to NASCAR-that’s a professional stock-car racing circuit-it was new country to both of us.” Sabre smiled. “Thanks, Luke. I appreciate that. I also am grateful for the dictionary excerpts.” This made all three laugh.

“I heard what you said, and I know a little about how you feel about your family. The only family I have is Uncle Jesse, Bo and Daisy. They’re a right good family at that, but I sure miss my parents.”

“Yes,” Sabre sighed sadly. “What can we do to help ya?” Jesse asked kindly. “There’s really nothing, I’m afraid. It’s not personal, it’s just that my mother is . . . a bit far away at the moment, and I don’t think any of you are doctors. But thank you both anyway.”

“I’m sorry, Ophelia. I hope she gets better.”

“Thank you, Jesse. But I might never see her again to know how she’s doing.” Both Luke and Jesse looked at Sabre. Fearing she had said too much, she tried to excuse herself. “I’m pretty tired; I think I’ll go to bed.” But Jesse stood up. “You wait just a minute, missy! Did you run away from home?” He shook a finger at her. “Because if you did-”

“No! I didn’t-I didn’t run. I just . . . left . . . for awhile.” The Dukes weren’t convinced. “I just left a little early, that’s all.” Sabre sighed again; it was becoming a character trait! “I didn’t want to say anything, but I’m a singer. I wasn’t supposed to continue my tour until . . . tomorrow, I guess, but I got mad at a few people, and decided to fl-to leave myself. But I had a little accident today, and I got . . . off course. I wasn’t even sure where I was until Daisy told me, but I’ve still never heard of many of the things you all talk about, and this place is strange to me.”

Luke and Jesse looked understandingly at her. “So your parents don’t know where you are?”
“No, but I don’t know how much they’ll care. Sure they’ll miss me-maybe-but they were mad about my ‘career’, and they were also mad that I couldn’t stay with my mother. They even told my friends before they told me! And my so called friends didn’t say anything like, ‘Hey, Sabre, I think you should talk to your parents’ or anything!” Sabre was so worked up about her ‘situation’ that she didn’t notice she had given away her real name.


“What?” Sabre gasped. “Why did you call me that?” Luke looked strangely at her. “You just said it a second ago; when you were talking about how your friends didn’t tell you anything . . .” Luke trailed off to let Sabre finish.

“Oh that! It’s, um, it’s my stage name!” Sabre gave them the most dazzling smile she could muster, but both of them were staring hard at her. Jesse was the first to speak.

“I think you’ve got a bit of explainin’ to do, Darlin’”. Sabre looked at them each in turn, desperate for a way out. “It is! It’s my stage name, I swear!”

“We don’t just mean that,” Luke stared down at her. “I haven’t told any lies! I’ve just . . . withheld certain . . . truths. But that’s no reason to-l”

“Ophelia, or Sabre, you can tell us anything! It’s just Boss Hogg that you have to worry about.” Sabre smiled at Luke, but he kept a concerned look on his face. “Luke, I’m telling the truth! I was supposed to leave, but not without my band. My mother has a strange disease that no one can pin down, and neither of my parents wanted me to finish the tour. That’s all! That dress I was wearing is one of my costumes.”

“I believe you, but how did you get off course?” Luke asked nicely. “I don’t exactly know.” By this time, Bo had stepped into the room. “Now Ophelia, you know you can trust us!

“Thanks, Bo, but I really don’t know. I was getting into my-” Sabre coughed ‘vehicle’ and went on. “When someone grabbed me and put something over my mouth. The next thing I know, I’m alone, my vehicle is damaged, and I have no idea where I am?”

“Where’s you car? I’m sure Luke and I could fix it up fer ya!”

“We know cars.” Luke added.

“Thanks, but this is probably out of your range.”

“Oh no! Hop in the General--”

“I’m not even going to ask . . .”

“And we’ll take ya to the spot! We were gonna ask ya if you wanted to come to town with us, anyway, so it won’t be out of our range!”

“Bo, I really, really appreciate that, but it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. I promise.”

“What’s the make and model?” Luke asked.

“I don’t know! Circa 6780, I guess. It’s fairly new.”

“Them’s pretty words, Sabre, but I’ve never heard of that kind of car before!” Jesse looked alarmed. “You sure you didn’t bump yer noggin’ in that crash?”

“It’s okay if you don’t know what kind of car it is, Sabre.” Luke said.

“Car? No! That’s the year!” She gasped when everyone suddenly looked at her. “6780?”

“What year is it here?” Sabre was as concerned as the rest of them. “You’re a long way off from 6780, I’ll tell ya that!” Bo was stunned. “Come show me. We’ll figg’r it out!”

“Fine, fine. I’ll show you the way. It’s on a major road, and not too far from here.”

Sabre grumbled to herself in the backseat of the General Lee all the way to her ‘car’. She told them to stop, but Luke looked at her in confusion.

“Just do it, Bo!”

When all three had climbed through the windows, Sabre led them to the hillside those few meters away. “I think you’ve fallen of your rocker, Sabre! There’s nothing here, I’m telling you!”
Sabre answered Luke by pulling back some concealing branches and leaves. “Here it is!” she announced. “I don’t see a car!” Bo was as confused as ever.

“I don’t either, cuz, but there’s something here.” Luke stepped forward and inspected the surrounding brush. He jumped back quickly when he touched the hull. “What is it, Luke?”

“I don’t know! It’s metal, but I don’t . . . see . . .”

“Well, hunt around or somethin’! What is that?”

Sabre was standing to one side, arms folded, smiling smugly. “It’s my ‘car’, as you all like to call it.” Bo looked up in amazement while Luke ‘hunted around’. “What do you call it?”

Sabre laughed lightly. “It’s my . . . ship. The Nebula’s space worthy! Well, she was a few hours ago, anyway.” Both of the Dukes stared at her for a minute. “I put camo-spray on it. Here, let me show you.” Sabre grabbed a nearby stick, spit on it, and started scratching away at the temporary paint. “It works better with flowing water, but . . . as you can see . . . it’s gray underneath!”

“So . . . you’re an . . . alien?” Bo almost whispered the word. “If that’s what you say, but I’m a human being, just like you! We even speak the same language! Unless . . .” Sabre touched the nape of her neck just below her hairline and came to rest on a hard spot. “Oh,” she gasped. “It’s an implant! Those dirty, rogue-like fiends! How dare they!”

Luke and Bo didn’t know what to think. “But we can understand you,” Luke offered. Sabre stopped fiddling with her implant and looked at both of them.

“How does that work?” Sabre asked.

“I don’t know. But maybe . . .” Bo stopped wondering aloud. “What?” Sabre and Luke shouted together.

“Maybe we’re just ignorant on Earth, Luke. Maybe more than one planet speaks English . . .”

“Maybe she’s still in her own galaxy . . .”

“Maybe I’m on my own planet . . .”



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