After a few minutes the figure walked towards them and motioned to the window.
“I can’t open it!” David shouted
The figure held out some kind of communicator and held up five fingers. His face was covered by a smooth metallic featureless mask, their black uniform had some kind of symbols on which David couldn’t make out. He pointed to the device again and held out five fingers. He switched the Rover’s communicator to channel 5.
“Are you here for them?” A man’s voice crackled through the speakers.
“What?” David half shouted back “Who are you?”
“I’m commander Hansen, I’ve brought them back for revival and re-integration. Have you come for them?”
David thought for a moment about playing along, but decided instead to see where honesty took him “No, I don’t know what you’re talking about. We’re part of an exploration team from a nearby terraforming station. Is this your spacecraft? What’s your business here on Earth?”
“What do you mean what’s my business here on Earth?” Commander Hansen’s voice was becoming authoritative now, maybe even annoyed. “Look, will you let me in?”
Lauren looked round at David “You can’t be serious?” she snapped.
“We have to babes, look – I think he’s human”
“What if he’s isn’t?” She replied without pause.
“If he isn’t and want’s to kill us, I doubt this will protect us – look at him, he has no life support and he’s alive!” Lauren nodded, she looked round for something heavy to keep close at hand.
David spoke into the mic again “Go round to the back, I’ll open the airlock” Dave moved round and pressed the control to open the outer airlock as the dark figure walked round to the back of the Rover. David watched the the mysterious man climbed into the back watching as the rear door closed and the inner opened, hoping he had done the right thing. He could feel Lauren’s stare behind him, watching the inner door open and dark and dusty Commander Hansen walked into the cabin. Hansen dusted himself off a bit and sat down heavily on the far bench. He removed his visor he began talking.
“Thank you for letting me in, despite the fact it’s now habitable out there it isn’t pleasant yet.” He looked round at David and Lauren as he unmasked, they sat there, speechless to see an ordinary human before them “I’m Commander James Hansen of the Space Corps, I’m sorry if I startled you, but I thought you were my activation crew.”
Eventually Lauren spoke up “We have no idea who you are, what the Space Corps is or know what you mean by an activation crew. We thought you were some kind of alien species, because as far as we were aware mankind couldn’t build spacecraft like this”
“Ah, I see why there is the confusion. Let me try and explain my dear” Hansen went on in his soft tones, the accent difficult to place “Let me try and help you here…” He looked an Lauren, prompting for a name.
She finally spoke up “Lauren, and this is my colleague David. We’re terraformers from the Chicago station not far from here.” Lauren explained, at this point David was happy to let her continue.
“Right, the Commander started. Some of this I can explain, for you to fully understand I will need to show you”
“You mean… we’re going inside that?” David pointed to the huge spacecraft, still floating out there.
“It will be the best way to explain” Hansen replied.
“But we don’t know you – you could be anyone, or anything” Lauren interrupted.
“Yes, but if I wanted to kill you, then I would have already done so” Hansen drew out a formidable sidearm and threw it onto the floor of the Rover. “You have nothing to fear from me, there is an important task to be carried out here and I need your help with it. Will you help?” Lauren looked across at David, both exchanged glances of curiosity and acceptance.
“I guess we had better help – lets go Lauren” David finally instructed. The Rover moved forward again once more, Hansen guided them to the the closest access gantry. Where the Rover turned in and started the final upward journey toward the huge spaceship.
“We will be entering the cargo and shuttle deck when we enter, there’s no need to worry about where to park your vehicle, the guidance lights will show you to the bay the computer has assigned.” Hansen instructed. Not really sure what to expect and with some uncertainty Lauren guided the Rover through an airlock door, she reckoned it was around 10 metres high by 30 metres wide. It opened as she approached and then sealed as the Rover passed the threshold Sure enough some chevron shaped lights flashed a path to a bay, far too big for the Rover, but that was where it was meant to go. She sowed the Rover as she guided it into the bay and with a slight jolt the Rover stopped. Hansen clapped his hand together excitedly.
“Right – now we get to see why we brought you here” grinning he turned, flicking his eyebrows up at Lauren.
“I still don’t see why you don’t tell us” David protested.
“You’ll see – lets go!” Hansen jumped up, opening the airlocks the three of them stepped out. David and Lauren looked around them, the cargo area full of heavy duty boxes strapped down and other heavy equipment. Some of which it’s function could be guessed at, while others were a mystery.
“Shall we?” Hansen prompted the pair, leading the way. Without a word they all walked towards the centre of the spacecraft. Hansen pressed a button and a double door slid open, both David and Lauren went to step forward, but Hansen stopped them. They were puzzled by this as it seemed to be some kind of small room, they guessed it was some kind of lift.
“There’s nothing wrong with walking into here, but, well you’ll find out for yourselves. Lets just say, you’ll probably feel some unusual sensations as you pass through.” Hansen grinned as he told them this, almost as if he were setting them up for some practical joke. He motioned for them to enter, they cautiously walked through the doorway together and Hansen watched as they vanished before him before he too entered. As David stepped through he realised what Hansen had meant, the feeling couldn’t be described and lasted what seemed like less than a second. But for a moment when he emerged on the other side he felt light headed, but not faint. He looked round at Lauren as Hansen emerged through the door looking at her face he could tell she also was feeling strange.
“What was that?” David asked
“That?” said Hansen “That is a personnel portal. Your entire body was disassembled into atoms, sent to the other end here and then re-assembled. That’s why you would have felt… a little strange.”
“I did… it was something I have never felt before” David turned to Lauren “You ok babe?” Lauren was standing there, dazed.
“I’m fine she said, the fuzziness is clearing but, that felt… just weird”
“You get used to it, relax a moment and you should feel yourself soon” Hansen told them.
“So where are we?” Asked David, looking round. The room was lit in their section but was completely dark ten metres away…
*No Ownership claimed on images*
Copyright Simon Farnell 2016