Following on from the blog battle story this is the third part of my scorched planet story. I hope to keep this going for a while yet…
See parts 1 & 2 here so you know where we are:
Under David’s direction Lauren drove the transport out into the dusty depths of the plain. He had explained what he had seen, the huge spacecraft flying so close to him and disappearing into the distance. Lauren wasn’t sure about this, they were going out on a limb with no backup and control were not happy.
“Hicks, Lauren, what the hell is going on out there? Lauren, turn around and bring yourselves back, our trackers show you heading out past the outer markers. Please respond”
“We’re going to have to answer them David” Lauren calmly and earnestly pleaded with him. “At least tell them what’s going on, we need some kind of backup. You know I would follow you to the ends of the world. But I don’t want to die if I don’t have to”
“OK” Hicks relented. “Let me get on the intercom, but I tell you now babe, this won’t go down well with them. They will still want us back and I don’t want to go back – I want to see what it is, who it is”
“Just tell them… please David” Lauren insisted as David interrupted controls ranting through the intercom.
“This is Hicks1512, can you hear me control?”
“Affirmative Hicks 1512, this is control” They seemed to have recovered some of their customary professionalism, but he could easily pick up the angry tone in their voice. “Can you please advise your status Hicks1512?”
“Yeah, control. Errrm, we’re going on a little journey and we might need some help”
“What? Why?” was the loud and abrupt response.
“Before Lauren got here I observed a spacecraft fly over me and set down about 10 kilometres south west from the sensor array. We’re going out to investigate and report back” There was a moments silence from control.
“Control? Are you there?”
“Affirmative Hicks1512, we’re sending two teams and vehicles as backup” They called it backup but David knew they were really coming out to get him back.
“Don’t let them go any further than the sensor array” David instructed. Suddenly he felt the vehicle stop. He turned to Lauren “Why have you stopped babe?” Lauren snatched the com mic from David.
“Here, you go – stop doubting him and look in camera one, I’m zooming in” Looking out of the window, David could just see the thin shape of the landed spacecraft through the dust. He looked on the screen as Lauren zoomed the camera into the shape. In a close view more detail could be seen, the lights, the dim blue glow underneath the spacecraft… still no landing gear of any kind though. David was both excited and nervous. This kind of vessel was way beyond human technology, what kind of race of beings built and controlled it? Returning to the conversation, David could hear all kinds of chatter going on from control. He got the impression they believed him now and that they were as staggered as he was, eventually they replied.
“Very well Hicks1512, we understand the situation. Sending two teams out to the sensor station to await further instructions. Proceed with caution and stay in contact. We’re keeping channel 12 open for you, send us your audio visual data feeds.”
“Understood control” David replied “will do – make sure that backup understand that this spacecraft can disable our electrical systems if it flies”
“Understood Hicks1512” Control signed off. The data feed was switched to channel 12. David turned to Lauren, who was already looking at him. “You still want to do this?” Lauren nodded.
“You know I would follow you wherever you went. Please promise me something David” Lauren looked at him, with helpless and longing eyes.
“Sure, name it”
“Don’t get me killed and while you’re at it don’t get yourself killed. I’ve always come with you on every hair brained adventure you’ve come up with and so far we’ve been lucky. But please… let’s be careful this time – I mean it” David looked into her eyes and stroked her cheek with his hand. Lauren was amazing and if it wasn’t for her he knew he would have killed himself several times over by now. He owed her so much…
“I promise babe… I do. You know I love you and I would never forgive myself if something happened to you”
“Thank you” Lauren replied, with no further conversation she brought the vehicle to half speed, slowly moving forward toward the spacecraft that awaited. A cut in the ground, probably an old river bed presented cover for their approach. Slowly the Rover descended the shallow curve of the wall and down into the soft bed of the old river. they could see the giant hull looking ever closer, they were still two kilometers out and it was huge. The ship was perhaps ten storeys tall, there were lights, possibly from crew quarters or rooms easily visible. Both Lauren and David looked for signs of them changing or evidence of the crew, but either there was none or they couldn’t see it from this distance. Eventually the cover of the river bed receded and it opened up into a huge bowl or depression in the ground. The spacecraft only half filled the space and it was floating what was to them around one hundred metres from the bottom. It was totally motionless and there was no activity to suggest they had been detected, or perhaps they weren’t concerned. After all – why would they be?
“Control this is Hicks 1512, we’ve arrived at the landing site for the spacecraft. Are you getting the visuals?”
“Affirmative Hicks1512, there is interference on the channel but we are getting visuals”
“Shall we change channels Control?”
“Negative, we’ve checked and there is interference on all channels. We think that the spacecrafts drive systems are causing it. we’ve reported to all this to command and we’re awaiting their instructions. We suggest you wait there until we have them”
“Negative control – I suggest we investigate further, what’s the point in waiting we’re both here now!”
“Understood Hicks1512, what do you suggest” Thinking for a moment, David was silent, he thought about the promise he made to Lauren and how he was going to explore this fantastic find and keep his promise. He looked at Lauren, she looked back at him with am inquisitive look, she was obviously thinking on similar lines.
“I suggest we bring the backup forward toward this position, advise them on the route we took and bring them to just before the edge of the bowl. Myself and Lauren will skirt around and see what we can. There’s a depression a couple of kilometres away that may yield a better look. We can report back from there”
This time control was silent. “How do you feel about that babe?” Dave asked Lauren.
She nodded “That’s fine, we can give ourselves some cover by keeping back a few hundred metres as the ground rises a little before the bowl”
“Sure, good thinking”
“Hicks1512 this is control, agreed, proceed with caution and keep the line open for further instructions. we’ve instructed teams Alpha and Delta to proceed to your location and should be there shortly. Their location will be the rally point”
“Acknowledge control” David put the mic back again and Lauren had already started moving the Rover along the rim of the bowl. gradually moving away from the edge David looked to the side, the huge craft hovering just above the rim in his view. Looking round at the terrain, he noticed how there was more grass here, other plants sporadically scattered about. David felt these incidents were connected, but he couldn’t see how. It was then that David noticed the Rover slowing, he looked round to Lauren. Her mouth was wide open and she never uttered a word as she stared straight ahead. The Rover came to a complete stop and David also looked forward, there walking towards them from out of the dust a lone figure was walking towards them. As he drew closer he stopped too and looked at us. How was he there, he shouldn’t be alive. The com speaker was crackling with control’s frantic voices telling them to pull back.
Copyright 2015 – Simon Farnell
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