Tag Archives: The Titan Mystery

The Titan Mystery – The Conclusion

Though the darkness of deep space a lone spacecraft moved slowly towards a rippling tear of energy in space. The Atlas, the ship sent to rescue the Tycho and it’s crew moved towards its reported position.

“We’ve not been able to pick up the Tycho on sensors Captain and they should be here!”

Captain William Roberts sat back in his chair, thoughtful.

“When was the last time we had contact with the Tycho?”

“Only a few hours ago to inform them of our arrival sir!” The communications officer answered.

“Raise them again and get them to re-confirm their position please.”

“Sir!”

Captain Roberts had read the report from the Tycho. It was quite a story, he wouldn’t ever say he didn’t believe it but he certainly had questions. But if they’re supposed to be here and are not, then perhaps the time leak from this Titan could explain it.

“They’ve confirmed their position sir.”

“Well you better tell McKinley that his problems aren’t over yet. I think he need to be thinking about passing though that time tear because it seems he’s in the right place at the wrong time!”
McKinley sat there, sunk in his seat. Dumbfounded as he looked across at Seanna.

“What do we do now?” She asked him. McKinley couldn’t answer, he had run out of all of his ideas now. He was looking forward to an end to all of this, so much had been lost to get the Tycho and what was left of its crew here. This was meant to be a routine survey and reconnaissance mission and it looked like now that the only chances they had were to either brave the rift or die on the Tycho when the supplies ran out.

After a pause McKinley hit the console on his chair, breaking the controls. In whT seemed like a rage he got out of his chair and headed off the control centre “you’re in command Seanna!” He shouted, everyone was silenced. No one dared speak until after he had gone.

“Hello sir, I’ve not seen you for three days. How can I be of assistance?” Dave asked McKinley as he arrived on the loading deck.

“It seems we’re stuck in the wrong time! Can you think of how we are going to back to where we should be?” McKinley asked Dave strongly. He had calmed a little since leaving the control centre, but his unhappiness was obvious.

Dave was thoughtful for a moment “I think the term wrong time is incorrect, we are in a different time than you want to be is more accurate!” McKinley rolled his eyes and was about to boil over again when Dave started  again “there is a way to try and get back to your own time. The problem is that it’s going to be dangerous and there is no guarantee of any success.”

McKinley was listening as the mechanoids carried on with his explanation “the rift is a tear in the fabric of space time, we have to enter it in order to find your way back. The problem is that because it is a tear it is likely to be visible in the same point in space across a vast section of time. Where to exit the rift is the key and considering the current condition of your spacecraft, we will be at the mercy of the powers we find in there.”

“Ok, let me get some of my people down here. Between all of you I hope you can make a plan that could work!”

“Certainly sir!”

McKinley called down the chief engineer, Jearo and some other science officers were also called and while McKinley was involved he could no nothing much except listen to the ideas and plans a bouncing around. For hours it carried on until finally a plan was hatched. It was still risky, but the mechanoids were going to need a few days to carry out a partial overhaul of the drive coils. This would enable the Tycho limited but useful propulsion. Dave was going to modify the navigational sensor arrays to be able to lock in on a time signal from the Atlas, essentially making it a crude time locator and guidance system. The core needed to have the coolant and linings repaired and then re-calibrated to operate at a different phase of entertainment to allow better propulsion in the rift and also not damage the reworked coils after their repair. Is was a big job and in the meantime the crew were preparing for the worst. Messages were sent to the Atlas in case the worst happened.

McKinley had just walked into his quarters and flopped onto his bed when Seanna came in. She too looked exhausted and grimy from working on the core all day.

“We did it!” She exclaimed, the exhaustion in her voice was obvious. McKinley stuck a thumb up of approval.

“Well done! We’re good to go tomorrow then?”

“Yup!” Seanna walked over, flopping onto the bed next to McKinley. Wrapping their arms round each other they both settled in for some much needed sleep.

“Do you think we will make it?” Seanna asked. “I was starting to like life and find it interesting again!”

“I wish I knew Seanna.” McKinley answered, kissing her forehead.

“This has been the most messed up mission ever don’t you think? I mean look at what’s happened. We discover a ship, it’s stuck in time and we get trapp-” a snorw came from McKinley. Smiling Seanna rested he head on the pillow next to him, but wasn’t able ro sleep like McKinley.
Seanna woke late and alone, without pausing for anything she made it up to to control. McKinley raised his eyebrows as she made he way onto the deck looking a little ragged.

“Good afternoon! Glad you could make it Seanna!”

“Where are we at?” she asked.

“Tyson has just get the Atlas to send signals at times intervals, acting as a time beacon. All the checks have been completed and we’ll be ready to start in about an hour when the coils are charged. Can you take the guidance panel as we all need your keen eye to look for the right way to go!”

“Certainly” Deanna replied. Manning her station the crew prepared for this one last journey. Like n impending sentence it was the longest hour ever to pass. Eventually the call came through:

“Coils are charged commander!”

McKinley took a moment to look around at the assembled crew. Each of them looking back at him. He wondered over to Seanna she put he hand in his for a moment and looked up at him “let’s do this yeah?”

Neila called over “All stations have called in, all systems are go and all lights are green!”

“Let’s do then! Take us in!” McKinley called out. The Tycho’s engines vibrated briefly as they pushed the craft forward towards its destiny. The rift that had almost destroyed themselves to escape from was now their target. In a few moments the pull of the rift was pulling them ever faster towards its heart.

“Keep her steady!” McKinley called out.

“We’re accelerating fast commander!” Neila called out ” in less than a minute were going to moving faster than our engines can push us!”

“Can we still navigate?” McKinley replied.

“Yes, but it’s getting harder!”

“Do we have a lock yet Seanna?”

“No! I’m trying to find it!” Seanna yelled back

“Keep at it!” McKinley yelled back.

For what seemed like endless moments the rift was getting closer and larger in the forward view. Turbulences of untamed power rocked and buffeted the small craft. Neila shouting out the damage sustained and isolating each in turn. Suddenly the crew were thrown onto their panels as a huge metallic crash was sent through the Tycho.

“Hull breach at the forecastle!” Neila shouted out, the deafening roar drowning her out. “Were going to get shaken to pieces at this rate!”

“Have we got it yet Seanna?” McKinley shouted.

“I think so, it’s hard to tell but there’s  lot of noise!” She shouted back. “I’m sending the heading to the guidance computer!”

“Give it all you can Neila!”

“Damn right!” At that the engines of the Tycho sprang into life, the ship shaking as it tried to fly straight and true. McKinley looked at the red lights all over the ship’s readout. His thoughts were resigned that this was it. There was nothing more he or anyone else could do. The swirling depths of the rift flashed and crackled with unimaginable power pushing and pulling the tiny craft around. A huge flash shot before McKinley’s eyes and then there was nothing, darkness. Silence.

“Am I dead?” McKinley thought, he wasn’t sure if he thought or spoke it. In those moments he realised he couldn’t be dead. Or… Maybe he could. Staring into the darkness he rose from his chair, swirling in the mists of balack shapes like monsters swirled and moved within it, then there were flashes of moments, the Titan mission,then previous missions, even further back to when he was a young man and had first started serving in the space core. Then he saw moments from his childhood, moments long forgotten, friends long missed. He  felt sorrowful and happiness as the moments played before him back to when he was a mere baby.

Then darkness again.

McKinley stood or so he thought in what felt and seemed like nothing. Gazing ahead until light filled his vision like the curtains open in the morning. He blinked as he tried to see around him, closing his eyes again he tried to open them. Gradually he was getting used to the light, his vision clearing. He saw a figure standing in front of him.

“Who are you? Where is this?” McKinley asked.

“Welcome McKinley.” Came a voice, gentle yet powerful. McKinley had heard it before, but he couldn’t recall where from.

“It’s good to see you again, take your time, don’t fight it my friend. You took your time! I never thought you would come!” The figure said to him.

For a few moments McKinley struggled with his eyes, clearer and clearer they became. He became aware he was standing on on sand, the sea washing over his feet. He was suddenly aware of Seanna, she slipped her hand into his.

“Will he be ok?” She asked.

The voice laughed. “Patience, in good time. It’s taken him more time to awaken properly!”

McKinley felt Seanna’s soft lips on his cheek. “Come back to us old man!” She whispered, he could tell she was smiling. Seanna wouldn’t let his hand go, in a few moments his vision cleared. He looked around to see the crew on this desert beach in the middle of a vast ocean. He looked over to the vista of a ringed plated in a deep blue sky and moons easily visible in the sky.

“Where is this?” McKinley asked.

“Don’t you k ow where we are? Or who I am?”

“Endevin?” McKinley whispered. “How?”

“Welcome to reality my friend!”

Too stunned to answer, McKinley looked at Seanna and smiled. He had no idea how or why. But he felt more alive now than he had ever done in his life. Like the moment of being born and feeling, sensing for the first time. Life, had somehow just begun!

Simon 🙂

© Simon Farnell 2016

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The Titan Mystery – Part 16

The seconds passes and on the Tycho not a word was said, everyone held their breath. Then in a dizzying flash the core detonated. The screen went blank for a moment as all the visual sensors were over loaded. McKinley turned to Neila.

“Now would be a good time!”

Neila was already on it, the engines powered the Tycho forward. The spacecraft vibrated, shaking the structure. Illuminated schematics showed red alarms on the 3D image of the ship. The engines were being strained  close to their working limits.

“What’s going on?” McKinley barked at Neila.

“The engines are giving it all, but we’re not moving commander!” she shouted back. The groaning of the engines was immense, it was hard to hear anything.

“What do we do now?” Seanna shouted at McKinley.

“Hang on!” he shouted back as he thought, the image had returned to screen 4 and a huge spatial vortex had opened up in the fabric of space where the Titan was, the was no sign of it’s massive hulk. There was no time to worry about what had happened to it now.

“How long until we reach the event horizon?” McKinley shouted.

“Less than five minutes!” one of the science station crew barked back.

“what’s our projected escape velocity?” McKinley asked. He knew time was tight, but he also know panicking wasn’t going to get them out of this. 

“We would need to give power equivalent to three times the speed of light to escape this commander!” The science officer shouted back.

For a moment, McKinley was thoughtful. “What range would a class five fusion warhead cause damage to Tycho?”

“About one hundred thousand kilometres” the defence chief advised. All eyes suddenly turned to McKinley, the crew were all expecting him to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

“How many class five warheads do we have?” 

“Three commander, but we’re not permitted to use them without strict instructions from command!” The defence chief protested.

“Well” McKinley replied with irony “if you like you can wait for command, but I’m going to launch them. I want them to detonate within three seconds of each other at 200,000 kilometres, 150,0000 kilometres and 120,000 kilometres.” McKinley explained in detail.

“That’s so close!”Seanna exclaimed.

“On launch I want the engines to be firing as close to 200% capacity for ten seconds!” The crew looked around at each other in astonishment.

“You heard him! Seanna yelled out! Neila prepare the engines, remove safetys and prepare to fire them. Williams prepare the warheads! Come on!!”

All of them returned to their stations, there was only a few minutes until the event horizon was reached and the engines were firing hard already. The sound of the straining engines drowning out all but loud voices.

“We’re ready!” Neila asked out. Awaiting the order to commit.

“Execute manoeuvre now, now,now!” McKinley shouted, making sure he was heard. At that moment the engines noise rose to above deafening, Seanna secured herself into a science statiosn chair as McKinley was clipping up. Waiting for the warheads, hoping. McKinley was trying to count the seconds, then before he was ready the first, warhead,exploded, then the second, then the third so fast together the time between them couldn’t be counted, each warhead rocking the ship more than the last. 

“We’re moving commander!” Neila shouted. “10,000kps, 20,000kps!” Her voice barely audible above the roar. McKinley was trying to think through the seconds he could keep this up for until the engines exploded or the Tycho tore itself apart. A metallic groan tore through the ship as his questions was answered almot immediately. 

“The engines are pulling away from the hull! Neila shouted. “We have to throttle back!”

“Not yet, keep giving it to her for just a few more seconds!” Seconds passed like hours as McKinley waited with his crew. Like a judgement on their lives, would the universe spare them or destroy them? Just as he was about to order to throttle back the vibration stopped as the Tycho was suddenly released from the grip of the spatial rift. Shot like a powerful missile out in to the void.

“I think we can throttle back now!” McKinley shouted.”bring them back down to 10% slowly Neila so you can assess damage. Then bring us to a stop.” The engines were throttled back before he had chance to finish, Neila relived to be doing it. “We can observe the anomaly from this safe distance. McKinley tapped out some commands into his chair and the spatial rift appeared on the screen, uncoupling himself he stood to gaze at the marvel. A moment later Seanna was at his side.

“That’s something else sir!” 

McKinley grunted a reply back, not wanting to talk away the wonder. After a few minutes he turned.”Take the ship off alert status and inform the crew we’re clear and safe please”

“What do you think happened to them?” Seanna asked.

“I’m not” McKinley replied bluntly “I can’t. Endevin and his people are gone who knows where and I feel some responsibility in that.”

For a moment Seanna was silent, thoughtful “shit” was all she could reply.

McKinley raised his eyebrows as he turned from the screen to look at her. “Very philosophical lieutenant commander, but I doubt that remark will get into any great writings.” McKinley half smiled as he was saying this, Seanna looked up at him.

“Commander…”

“Please, not in front of the crew.” McKinley answered softly, he then quickly turned and strode off towards the exit he turned to her “You’re in command Seanna, affect necessary repairs, but hold this position for now, I need to talk to command before we move off.” He turned again and was gone, down the access tunnel. Seanna stood there for a moment, gathering her thoughts.
McKinley was deep in thought as he walked around the lower decks, assessing damage to the Tycho in person and how the crew were. The powerplant had been severely affected by their efforts to escape as well as the drive system. The chief engineer wasn’t happy and wasn’t hiding this fact at all. McKinley was listening but with this thoughts elsewhere and exhaustion he wasn’t taking in anything.

The ships crew was on nightshift and the Titan crew,including Seanna had been dismissed and sleeping for some time. McKinley had sent his message to command hours ago and wasn’t expecting a response for at least a day or two. But something inside him had him thinking that this was his last mission in command of this or any ship. He entered the landing bay where Tranquility still stood having made its high speed landing. He looked up and down the mechanoids, stood in deathly silence. He was thinking that maybe with Dave gone they were unable to operate any longer. Walking up to one, it towered over him as he looked up at it.

“Oi!” McKinley shouted up at it “Are you still in there?” No response at all came. McKinley huffed and walked off. “So much for future technology!” He mumbled as he walked off. 

“They are operational sir – merely charging.” Came a voice that he heard but couldn’t believe. He spun round almost falling off his feet.

“Dave?” 

“Yes sir” he replied.

“I – what the… I thought you were… gone! Dead!”

“Death is not something I can experience as I am not alive. But I am not gone.”

“How did you get get here? What’s going on with these guys?”

“So many questions sir! The other mechanoids were able to initiate a matter energy transport of me to their location before the core detonated. they used immense power to do this so now they are in a recharging cycle, we are inductively harvesting power form your vessels systems to recharge our power cells. I trust this is acceptable.”

McKinley had been told by someone that power was being drained from the systems somewhere, he had ignored it as something to worry about later, but now of course he knew. 

“That’s… fine.” McKinley shrugged. He walked up to Dave “thank you.” He said, with a touch of finality.

Dave made some kind of robotic beeping noises. But said nothing, as if he didn’t know how to reply. “You’re exhausted sir, please rest. You should also be aware that as the holder of the key and without our own ship, you are now are our controller.”

“Thanks, I didn’t know that. I had better sleep” walking away smiling McKinley had forgotten the disc, is fingers found it and he wanted to make sure it didn’t leave him as he finally reached his quarters and took to his bed. Despite his exhaustion he took time time to find sleep.
McKinley’s sleep was restless, he woke much later that he should have to incoming messages. He sat up, his head hurt, for a few moments the memories weren’t there. Then one by one they came flooding back, groaning as he realised it had all been real he slowly made his way to his desk where his terminal was bleeping. He pressed a button and it came to life, there were two messages the first was a simple text message. It didn’t say who it was from, it merely read:

“I knew you would help. Thank you.”

His headache meant he wasn’t in any mood to think about this now, the next message he knew and was from command. For a moment he stared at the screen,wwondering if he could get away with ignoring it. He pressed to access the message.
Seanna was in the control centre, looking through all the damage control reports and how the repairs were going, she had been up a few hours now, only a skeleton crew were there as they were still waiting and watching there was no need for everyone to be there doing nothing.

“How soon do you think it will be before we can get underway?” She asked the engineering chief.

“I don’t think we can, the drive coils are melted and I can’t give assurances that they’ll operate at all or not blow themselves to pieces. The only thing you can do now is use the navigational trusters to give you some propulsion!” The engineering officer protested. He had spent the last half hour all the damage that had been caused and how long it was going to take to repair. Seanna could sense he was going ro start over again “The ship needs to go into a drydock and get a refit…”

“Ok, I get the point!” Seanna cut in. The chief engineer looked at her, a little hurt and a little disapproving as he left control to get back to his duties. She sat back in the command chair and went over the priorities, she was waiting to McKinley to surface and give her an idea of what was happening next.

“Seanna, come and see me in my quarters please.” The call surprised her, he never called officers to his quarters “I need a full update when you get here please.” Seanna looked round, everyone looking back, she rose and went down. Pausing outside the entrance to McKinley’s quarters  she pressed the entry button.

“Come in!” She heard him shout, the doors opened and she stepped in. The doors closing behind her.

“How bad is it then?” He smiled at Seanna as he turned from his view of outside, the rift clearly visible.

“Pretty bad sir.” She answered with uncertainty. “What’s going on? Have you heard from command?”

McKinley nodded “Yes and they are, let’s say quite unhappy. They are struggling to understand how a simple reconnaissance mission has ended up with four dead and a fried ship that needs rescuing.” Seanna looked at him, saying nothing for a moment “But they’re also getting excited about some of the things we brought back. So they have done me a favour as they call it and decided To keep most of the details quiet and not investigate the incident too much.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“Mixed, I’m not sure I want to give up everything we got from this. So I need some time to think about what I’m going to do.”

“Should we move to meet the rescue vessel? Sir?”

“If it was up to me, I would say make them come to us. But it’s not anymore commander.” McKinley handed Seanna a tablet, taking it she read through the message. 

“I’m in command? They promoted me?”

“Yes, it seems that your conduct was exemplary of a commander and that I was reckless! I never thought I would hear myself saying that to you!” McKinley smiled at Seanna.

Seanna smiled back but said nothing for a moment “Sir, I mean McKinley, what happened back there? No one will tell me, they keep telling me to talk to you. One moment I was in one place, the next… I don’t know what was going on!”

“Sit down Seanna” McKinley motioned to her and she sat, staring at him “I plucked you from death Seanna, from the point at which you died. From the other side of that time portal I watched as you were killed and… and I couldn’t live with that.” McKinley looked down from Seanna as if ashamed. He then looked back up at her “You’ve been the most amazing first officer I’ve served with and while you have frustrated the hell out of me at times I have respected your passion and drive. It looks like now that I’m going to lose this command, but I least I served with you and…” McKinley got up and turned from Seanna to look out of the window.

“And what?” She got up and stood behind him. “Tell me, I know what you’re going to say because, because I’ve felt it!”

“Really?” McKinley answered, not facing her.

“Yes, despite it all we’re connected and I can’t be without you anymore than you can be without me.” Seanna was shaking, as if all her life had been trusted to McKinley “you know that for years I’ve wanted to be a commander, you’ve old me it’s not all its cracked up to be and here and now, finally I see what you mean.”

McKinley turned and looked at Seanna “what will do you?” 

“I’m turning down the promotion and if they kick you out, then I’m leaving too!” Seanna answered the tone in her voice was that tone McKinley had heard many times before when she had decided what was going to happen.

“Don’t, come on. You’ve waited years for this!” McKinley protested.

“It’s done.” She replied. “Like it or not, old man you’re stuck with me. I’m not going even if you send me away!”

“What if I did?” McKinley smiled.

“Don’t play games with me, you wouldn’t dare!” She replied, grinning back.

“Do you realise the trouble you’ve caused yourself?” McKinley smiled, Admiral West has always had a soft spot for you and has hated me for years, but hasn’t found a way to get me until now!”

“Was it West that dealt with you?” Seanna asked screwing her face up “I’ve seen him chew up and spit out officers that even I wouldn’t cross!” 

“Yes, we have some history which I won’t go into yet. But he’s hated me having a grip over him as he sees it. I couldn’t care less but it seems now he’s going to be even more red faced as he wanted you in his little circle I think! Now I’ve taken his prize.”

Seanna raised her eye brows “I’m a prize am I?” McKinley didn’t answer, smiling at her instead. 

“It’s going to take three weeks for the rescue ship to arrive, I think we might start finding out what we are in that time.” McKinley’s had stroked Seanna’s face, she reached up to strike his hand.

“I hope so too sir!” For a moment the two of them were lost in their moment, both of them wishing it not to end.

“Let’s get on with sorting out this old bird best we can eh? I’m struggling today, I’ll be up later.” Seanna smiled and turned to leavw, then McKinley stopped her “By the way – Dave made it back he’s down in the landing bay with the others! You can tell whoever had spotted the power drain not to worry about it, it’s them recharging.”

Seanna smiled “I will. Don’t stay in bed all day. You’re not in command now remember!”

McKinley smiled back “Neither are you!”

“I am for a day or however long it takes the message to get to command!”

“Yup, then no one’s in charge and there’ll be chaos I’m sure!” McKinley was grinning “Now get on with it Seanna and from now on – no sir!”

Seanna grinned as she left “yes sir!”

Three weeks later the crew of the Tycho gathered as they waited for rescue ship to arrive, the triumph had been unbearable and now they waited for their rescue. But in the direction the rescue ship was coming. Nothing was there.

Simon 🙂 

The Titan Mystery – Part 15

Tranquility lifted slowly from the landing deck, the extra weight of the mechanoids making the thruster motors strain under the weight. In a few seconds the vessel had lifted  and pushed itself gently through the  opening out into space.

“We nearly didn’t make that!” Collins complained. “We’re too heavy! What’s that robot doing on top?” He asked McKinley.

“Follow his directions.” McKinley ordered.

“What ins… oh” the text readout gave Collins co-ordinates to follow. “ok.”

“What’s he doing up there?” Seanna asked McKinley quietly.

“He’s got an idea about releasing the core into space, this might save the lives on board.”

“Might?” Seanna questioned.

“Yes, might.” McKinley answered.

“Or if the core goes off early we might end up blown to pieces!” Seanna said a little too loudly, everyone looked round. McKinley stared at her with an icy stare. Seanna was silent, the whole cabin was.

“Tymon is asking what the hell is going on?” Jearo asked, breaking the silence “He thought you wanted an emergency docking!”

“I still do!” McKinley replied. “We have a little detour, that’s all!” McKinley watched as Collins guided the craft under Titan’s emmense hull, he watched as Dave fed the instructions through. Then there was the command.

“STOP”

The craft jolted slightly as Dave lept from Tranquility, McKinley switched a screen to view him leap from Tranquility and attach himelf to the hull of Titan.

“GO. NOW.”

For once Dave wasn’t giving lengthy instructions “Go Collins, Jearo tell Tymon to stand by – we’re coming in!”

Collins gave an engine burn and Tranquility leapt forward, the Titan going out of view as the craft swung round, McKinley fastened himself into a seat, Seanna fastened herself next to him, her hand brushing across his he thought. As Tycho came into view, McKinley couldn’t help but think of Dave, there was no way he was going to survive this he thought, then the four members of the crew that had been lost. These people should have been coming back, but they were gone forever and he was going to have to answer for their lives.

“We’re Coming in Tycho – Hang on everyone!” Collins shouted, bringing McKinley back with a snap. Tranquility suddenly seemed to slow as the breaking thrusters fired, but they were still moving forward at great speed. In  the small landing bay, the arrestor fields were lit up red and as Tranquility slid onto the landing bay the craft moved sideways and then with a sudden crash Tranquility was at a total stop.

For a moment all was still in the cabin as everyone looked round to see if anyone was injured. “Thank God we’re back!” Jearo cried out.

“Yes, but we’re not out of this yet!” McKinley unclipped and struggled out of his seat, equipment strewn everywhere, Seanna followed quickly after as McKinley blew the hatch open and stepped off the access ramp.

“What’s going on sir?” a troubled Tymon stood in front of McKinley asked.

“There’s no time!” McKinley replied with a sense of urgency. He looked around to Seanna, she had a cut to her head and blood was running over her face. “Get Seanna sorted out and anyone else in there that needs it! A medic appeared from behind Tymon and looked at Seanna while two others ran inot the Tranquility as the rest of them disembarked, all seemingly stunned except Blake who was taking charge of getting them all out.

“I’m coming with you!” Seanna barked at McKinley.

“You’ll be sorted in a few minutes, get into flight uniform then get to control!” McKinley told her. Nodding Seanna let her wound get attention while a deck hand brought her flight gear.

McKinley shouted over to the disembarking crew “Blake, keep the mechanoids there for now, The rest of you get into flight gear and get to your stations. If you’re not needed get to quarters now!”

“Sir?” Tymon was impatiently asking. McKinley struggled out of his suit into his flight uniform as he talked.

“The core of the Titan was breached” he said breathlessly as he climbed into the suit. “Dave is going to try and eject the core, when that happens we need to get out of here fast!”

“Dave?” Tymon asked.

“There’s no time. Sorry. Let’s go” turning towards the access shaft Tymon followed McKinley as he strode forward, still fastening his flight suit.

 


 

McKinley  walked into the control centre and looked around to see crew at their stations, those returning still had to make their way up. Tymon close behind him, Tymon manned his communications post. 

“Prepare to depart on my command, put main engines into hot standby, we may need to get out of here fast Neila!”

“Sir!” Neila replied, tapping commands into her panel. The sounds of the engines powering up echoed though the Tycho reaching it’s subtle crescendo.

“See if you can find a signal coming from the centre of the Titan Tymon.”

“Why would there… hang on. I’ve got something. It’s… Dave?” Tymon handed McKinley an earpiece, McKinley clipped it onto his ear. He stood there, listening intently.

“Ok… right…” nodding at he instructions from Dave, Seanna walked onto the control deck, the filthy grey  body suit had gone and she was now in flight uniform. All signs of her head injury had gone. McKinley took the earpiece out and handed it back to Tymon. McKinley looked over at Seanna.

“It’s good to see you’ve found some clothes at last Lieutenant Commander!” Seanna walked up to McKinley’s side, making sure no one could hear her retort.

“Shut up you! You didn’t complain much at the time.” Seanna grinned “What’s going on?”

“We need to leave, it seems that Dave had had to speed things up!” McKinley turned to Tymon “Advise the crew to man alert stations.” Tymon’s message rang out through the ship  as McKinley turned to Neila and gave out more orders “Prepare the engines, we’re going to need to make a fast getaway as soon as the core goes critical. Don’t mess about, we’re going to have to run the engines into the wall!”

One of the crew turned from his station “Commander, I’m picking up signs that something is happening, I’m reading a massive energy spike!”

“Can we see what’s going on?” McKinley asked.

“Look on the screen 4, I’ll see what I can do.”

McKinley and Seanna turned to the four screens in from of them, standing at least 6ft tall each of them were showing data readouts for the entire spacecraft, the central isle of the  control centre meant anyone could see any of them at any time, turning to number 4, a close view of the Titan showed a capsule being ejected, in this view it was small, but in reality, it must have been at least as large as the Tycho.

“Standby everyone, this is it!” McKinley announced. In the seconds that passed, it seemed like an age. All the crew could do was watch and wait.

Simon:-)

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

The Titan Mystery – Part 14

The trip back through the hyperloop to the station nearest to Tranquility seemed to McKinley to have taken and age. The door opened to the capsule and they all started to dismount, the mechanoids first then Blake and his Marines following with everyone else after.

“You and you team keep a look out, I have a feeling we can expect some resistance to our escape!” McKinley instructed Blake. The spacecraft which up until now had been all but silent now seemed to be started it’s death groans. There were groans in the ships structure, lights were dimming and flashing randomly. McKinley knew they had to get off and fast, time was short. Then a thought flashed into his mind.

“Dave?”

“Yes sir”

“Endevin and the sentinels, will they be able to escape? What about everyone else being carried?”

“I’m afraid that anything left on board Titan when the core detonates will be destroyed along with the spacecraft?” came Dave’s emotionless reply.

McKinley motioned for Dave and everyone else to follow. “Is there nothing we can do?” McKinley was striding towards the service duct they used to reach the hyperloop station.

“Only if we’re able to initiate the transition sequence” Dave suggested.

“What’s that?” McKinley asked?

“It’s where the core’s temporal focus reaches…”

“Ok, sorry I asked Dave!” McKinley interrupted “I don’t need to know, can you tell me how we can do something to save at least some of these people and the sentinels?”

“I can sir!”

“But first, I want to know how to get to our landing bay without having to go down there!” McKinley pointed down the dark passage.

“Certainly, which one is your craft at sir?”

McKinley looked round for Jearo, meeting her gaze as everyone waited she squeezed round to help.

“Yes sir?” she asked

“Where’s tranquility? Can you show Dave please?”

Jearo pulled out the computer, and brought up the map, she held it to Dave. He paused for a second.

“This way sir!” the mechanoid strode forward through a bulkhead door and led them to a part of the craft they hadn’t seen before. A massive observation window showed them through the huge space in the centre of the craft, through to see the core platform and the hyperloop tunnels leading to it. Despite the urgency it was impossible not to gaze. The core operating platform couldn’t be seen with the intense brightness of the uncontained reaction now trying to break through.

“I estimate we have less than 60 minutes to escape to a safe distance sir!” Dave announced.

“Come on people!” McKinley shouted, “we’re out of time!” as he turned he found himself bumping straight into a familiar face.

“Seanna!” McKinley was obviously pleased to see his fist officer, trying to keep the focus on escaping he took her by the arm and led her away after Dave, the rest of the crew following with Blake and his men leading the way.

“What the hell did you do to me?” Seanna asked still a little groggy. But definitely alive and more or less herself.

” I rescued you!” McKinley answered.

“That was a hell of a rescue!” she complained “could you have made it feel a bit less like my brains were mashed?”

McKinley smiled, she was back. “I’ll tell you about it later, but now we have to get off of this ship!”

“Have you been breaking things again?” Seanna asked with some irony. McKinley didn’t reply, he didn’t know how to. It seemed that even if they got off alive, there were still many more that wouldn’t survive.

“Landing platform seven is through here!” Dave announced. Bulkhead doors perhaps 20 metres high and 50 metres wide slid apart in what seemed an effortless mechanism, only to stop a few seconds later. They groaned and shuddered as if malfunctioning, but there was more than enough space to get through.

“Come on!” McKinley motioned, there were still several hundred metres to Tranquility that needed to be crossed, but the end seemed in sight.

“Collins is ready and so is the Tycho!” Jearo announced

“How long until we can leave?” McKinley asked.

“Collins says fifteen minutes!” Jearo replied.

“Tell him to make it ten or we’re dead!” McKinley barked back. Jearo nodded knowing best not to argue. Seanna was now half running alongside McKinley and the rest of them. They reached about half way and could see tranquility when from nowhere blue plasma fire erupted from each side, two bulkhead doors were opened with a number of creatures entering into the landing platform.

A grilled service gulley would give cover, they all pulled up the grills and dived into it. Looking back McKinley saw two slumped bodies on the Deck, he looked around.

“It’s Orianne and Lennard.” Blake shouted in McKinley ear, the noise of plasma fire drowning out out everything else. McKinley looked back solemnly.

“Two more dead!” he thought, there wasn’t much that could be done now, but the burden of lives was something he never wanted.

“Let’s sort this now!” Seanna shouted, picking up McKinley’s rifle and readying to counter attack. Peeking up McKinley saw them surrounding their position, not even the mechanoids could help here, there were so many.

“I have a solution sir!” Dave announced.

“What to get us out of here?” McKinley asked ” You better make it quick!”

“No, to try and save the life forms we leave.”

“Hang on Dave!” McKinley screamed, he was holding Seanna and the others back as they were ready to jump out “It’s suicide! Just…”

On top of the hail of fire a deafening salvo of more fire kept their heads down, looking up with one eye McKinley saw the salvo flying above his head and back down the landing platform. The there was silence, except for the dying motors of engine thrusters. McKinley looked up, smoke filled the area but in a few moments cleared.

“Collins you old git! Well done!” McKinley lifted himself out of the gulley, turning he helped out Blake and Seanna. The mechanoids needed no help and almost leapt out.

“You keep trying to get yourself killed Seanna!” McKinley told Seanna

“You keep trying to stop me!” Seanna smiled back “One day you might succeed!”

McKinley smiled to himself, Seanna didn’t know. He then looked back at his not so fortunate crew members on the deck. He knelt beside them and closed their eyes, Seanna watched as he muttered something under his breath. Blake walked up with black cloths, each of them were covered solemnly and wrapped to be taken back. A mechanoid too each of them to Tranquility.

“Thanks Dave” McKinley acknowledged the help.

“Would you like to hear the plan?” Dave asked

“Plan?” McKinley replied “Oh yes let’s hear it, but I don’t imagine we have much time. So this had better be quick!” McKinley listened to what was the most succinct report from Dave that he had heard.

“We must activate the core release!” Dave suggested.

“How do we do this?” McKinley asked.

“I must do this from outside the spacecraft, once it is done then the core will  detonate  under the pressure of it’s own reaction after an undetermined time.”

McKinley looked at Dave “How long or short can this undetermined time be?”

“It could be a few minutes, or a few seconds.” Dave replied coldly.

“Do we have much choice?” McKinley asked Dave, realising that this quirky mechanoid that had served him so well and was almost a friend, was almost certainly suggesting his own destruction.

“There are no other options sir!”

“Will you just sit on the outside of Tranquility?” McKinley asked him.

“Yes, I will keep in contact with the pilot and  guide them. You must hurry, time is running out!”

“Thank you Dave.” McKinley told Dave. He merely looked at McKinley for a few seconds as if he didn’t understand, the blue halo of his eyes showing no emotion. Dave Turned and climbed on top of Tranquility.

“Sir, we have to go!” Seanna shouted at McKinley “What’s Dave up to?”

“Just get on board and prep for launch Seanna!” McKinley told her, I’ll explain when we’re clear!” The hatches to tranquility shut tight, Dave watched the lights of Titan flickering wildly. Looking ahead the mechanoid held on to a bulkhead and waited for the launch.

Simon:-)

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

The Titan Mystery – Part 13

McKinley was nearing exhaustion with Dave, he had tried to convince him that focusing the sighting portal on the time and place that Seanna was killed was the right thing to do and it was useless. He was a machine and he had his in built programs give him his ethics. Dave was in control of the portal, the other mechanoids and everything. McKinley had to resign himself that his idea wasn’t going to happen.

“Humans die all the time Sir – we cannot save everyone, you will all stop functioning one day as will we. That is how our existence works!”

Dave was explaining for about the fifth time – McKinley could make out a difference, was it anger? Frustration or just programming?

“Fine! Have if your way Dave! If it wasn’t for this ship of yours being here this wouldn’t have happened anyway!” This was McKinley’s last ditch and he knew futile attempt at trying to reason unreasonably with a robot. Dave just turned away and returned to the job of repairing the core with his mechanoids. One of them brought out a metal pod, larger than a human head and placed it onto a cradle. With the push of a button the pod unfolded like a flower. Peering over McKinley could see that inside there was a beautifully elegant crystal. It looked completely flawless in it’s shape and in it’s clarity. It was almost invisible except for the bending light at it’s angles.

“What’s that?” McKinley asked.

“It is a Uranite crystal sir!” Dave replied “These are extracted from the atmosphere of Uranus and then worked to form a crystal that can reliably bend time.”

“Wow!” Was all McKinley could think of saying as he looked at it’s near invisible perfection.

“This crystal in it’s normal density would be 10 times larger before processing…” Dave went on “This is done using plasma…”

“Ok Dave, I get it!” McKinley cut in “I’m impressed, but let’s not push it!” McKinley climbed down into the work area, looking around him as they placed the crystal precisely in it’s frame.

“When that Uranite crystal back in the core and working, what happens then? Like what will we see in this portal?”

“You should really wait above sir!” Dave explained “The portal at the moment is unreliable and unfocused, we cannot control it. We will focus the power and at unity time it will show us out present time and place.”

“I see…” McKinley mumbled with interest. He stood watching as the mechanoids pushed the assembly back into the core. The old crystal slipped off and landed next to him. Pausing for a second, it still looked flawless, he reached down and picked it up. “It weighs nothing!” McKinley noted “It’s also cold, I expected this to burn my hand off!”

“Such is the nature of Uranite crystals sir – they defy many of the natural laws of physical existence.” Dave wasn’t paying much attention, he seemed to have connected with the core and was busy calibrating. McKinley watched the time portal flashing away, events in far distant past and future were being played out at high speed.

“Mesmerizing isn’t it?” McKinley jumped, startled at the sudden presence of Jearo.

“Where did you come from?” McKinley asked looking at Jaero and then back to the portal “It is, I can’t understand much of it as it’s just images.”

As they watch the timeline started slowing, becoming more and more present time. McKinley was watching their arrival, the team moving into the Titan and all of the events, slowly moving up to now. A moment later, there she was, he was watching the mechanoids being deployed and poor Seanna. The view was so close, McKinley couldn’t bear to watch it as suddenly that creature appeared and turned his weapon. As McKinley watch time seemed to move slowly, it wasn’t the portal, he was thinking fast, weighing it all up in his mind in less than a second.

Lurching forward McKinley reached into the portal, for a split second back to where it happened. He pushed his past self down and grabbed Seanna around her waist. With every muscle straining he pulled back with all his might, pulling Seanna back through the portal. It was like pulling back through a tunnel of light and dark, hidden shadows of people and places. Ignoring it all he kept pulling her back, not letting go. Until suddenly there was light again and he fell back with thud, Seanna lading on top of him and rolling off.

A blast shot back out the portal right after them and hit the core. Seanna sprung up drawing her fist back “OK! What the hell was…” Collapsing to the floor with a thud McKinley smiled as he looked at her, he had done it!

“Sir! Are you alright?” Jearo sprung to McKinley’s side.

“I’m good. I think.” He sat there for a moment, felling fuzzy as if having woken from a bad sleep. He rubbed his head “I’m fine thanks!”

“That’s good sir!” Dave replied “However there is a problem, the core of Titan is now irreparably damaged. The blast from that weapon has fractured the cooling system and there is no way of repairing this.”

Looking round, McKinley noticed that the room was filling with gas, gas that didn’t look or smell god at all!

“You must evacuate immediately sir!” Dave announced.

“Bring her up Dave!” McKinley barked pointing at Seanna “While you’re at it, I think she needs some of your anti time illness stuff!” McKinley shot up the ladder after Jearo. Dave and the other mechanoids got into the control room a few seconds after.

“What’s happened?” asked Blake

“We’ve got to get away – now!” Blake nodded and started motioning the rest of the people towards the hyperloop car. McKinley stopped Jaero ” Tell Collins to prepare Tranquility to leave – in a hurry! Also tell Neila to prepare Tycho for a fast docking and rapid evacuation.”

“Sir!” Jearo replied.

“Tell Collins to also watch out for some unexpected visitors, those creatures may try and escape too!”

Nodding Jearo got onto her comms link and started issuing instructions. McKinley had got Jearo by the arm and was pulling her as fast as he could. The mechanoids were following Dave taking the lead, the crew were already manning the hyperloop car when they arrived. McKinley looked around at a lot of anxious faces.

“How long do we have Dave?”

“I do not know, it’s very hard to predict. But certainly less than an hour!”

McKinley was helping Seanna down with Blake taking her other arm. They settled her into the capsule, McKinley turned around to Dave.

“No arguments Dave, you and your mechanoids are coming too! I need you!”

With no resistance, Dave and his mechanoids one by one entered the hyperloop capsule. The door shut and the procedure began. McKinley thought that is was taking far longer than it should and was mumbling for speed under his voice. He looked across at Blake who looked back at him grimly. McKinley could offer no comfort.

Simon 🙂

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

The Titan Mystery – Part 12

McKinley and the others had nowhere to go, they all stood around the capsule with their weapons raised and ready to attack. Even with Blake and his Marines there would be no hope of surviving their assault. McKinley looked across at Blake.

“This is going to be tricky one to get out of!” Blake scoffed in a sarcastic manner.

The figure of Jearo walked towards them, then stopped in from of the capsule and shouted “Please don’t resist commander, you and your men are surrounded with no hope of escaping!”

There was an arrogance in her voice that McKinley found disturbing, even if he hadn’t known about these creature overtaking human form, he would have know this wasn’t the science officer that he had spent several years working with.

“Please come out and leave the weapons behind!” She shouted, McKinley looked across at Blake again.

“Have you managed to warn the others?” Blake nodded.

“I sent them a coded message as soon as I saw them approaching.” The door to the capsule swung upwards. Resigned to the control of these creatures McKinley, Blake and the the other stepped off and walked towards the Jearo creature.

“Stop there!” she commanded, the others walked around to surround them, kicking their legs to get them to kneel. They then backed off behind Jearo again.

“I suppose you’re going to kill us?” McKinley asked defiantly.

“Yes, but first I need the key!”

“Key?” Asked McKinley.

“Yes, the key that activated the mechanoids! I will find it anyway, so there is no point in resisting!” The look in this Jearo creatures eyes was angry, fiery and without remorse. Despite his fear he wasn’t going to give it up – he couldn’t!

“You better find it then, because I don’t know what you mean!” he answered stubbornly.

“Do it the hard way then!” she screamed. With that one of the others came forward with a scanner of some kind. He was a large man, McKinley was picked up by his arms, the scanner was hovered over him.

“It’s not on him!”

“Check the others!” she yelled with increasing agitation. One by one Blake and each of his men were man handled to find the small disc.

“It’s not on any of them!” he shouted back at her. “You said they would have it!”

“He’s hidden it in there!” the Jearo monster screamed “Go and find it!”

“Why do you need it?” Asked McKinley

“You don’t need to…” Jearo was screaming at McKinley in pure rage. Until someone else interrupted.

“Because then, they can control us! But I cannot let that happen!” All the human disguised monsters turned at once. Dave was standing in front of them, with mechanoid flanking him on each side. Blue flashes of plasma were launched at the three mechanoids as they started running towards them. Blake pulled down McKinley flat to the floor.

“Stay there sir!” he ordered him.

The mechanoids were taking heavy damage, but were blasting back at the attackers. Dave picked one of them up and threw them off the platform. McKinley looked behind him to see Blake pulling one of them out of the capsule with them help of two of the others. Gerrad was holding him down, not that he was struggling.

The Jearo monster cam up to them Gerrad rose to meet her and was thrown aside. McKinley pushed himself up and rammed into her, sending the both of them down. She had clearly been injured by a blast, but was still very strong. McKinley smashed his fists into her face, cracking it and making fractures. Her arms flailing wildly she gripped McKinley’s face, tearing at it. McKinley yelled out as her fingers dug in, with the shot of a plasma bolt McKinley felt the grip release, then he was pulled away. Opening his eyes and trying to focus his vision cleared and Blake was standing over him.

“You ok there sir? She had quite a grip on you!”

McKinley got up and looked about at the carnage. One of the mechanoids had been smashed badly and was being repaired by two others that had appeared. Dave was strutting about making sure the threat had been neutalised. Gerrad was out cold, murmuring and groaning,all about the molten bodies of the enemy were dripping through the floor plates.

“I’m getting sick of these things Blake!” McKinley’s face was red with rage and injury “We’re just trying to get back, we’ve lost three people including Seanna! What’s it going to take to stop this?”

“I don’t…” Blake started.

“I know!” McKinley shouted, he marched over to Dave. “What’s it going to take to get this repair work started?”

“Repair work to the core will start immediately sir!”

“Good!” McKinley shouted back at him, he stormed off to find somewhere to be by himself. For hours McKinley didn’t move, staring out over the vastness of the Titan he was lost in his thoughts. Blake had summoned the rest of the team back and repair work had started on the core. From where McKinley was sat, the flashes and laser drilling were vaguely distracting to him. Still lost he hadn’t seen Blake approaching.

“We’ve got the rest of them over sir” Blake told him. He stood there for a moment, waiting for a response. He got none, Blake turned to walk away.

“How long?” McKinley asked.

Blake stopped and turned “How would I know sir? Dave and his droids are doing what they do. It all seems pretty messed up, they’re telling us to keep out of the way!”

McKinley didn’t look at Blake, his focus still elsewhere “Do you think we’ll get off here?” he asked.

“You tell me sir. You’re in charge, it’s up to you!” Blake replied ironically.

McKinley allowed himself a smile at Blake’s humour “help me up will you?” Blake held out his hand, McKinley took at it and pulled himself up. “It might be far in the future, but they still don’t make comfortable floors!”

The pair of them walked through into the core control area, down below the mechanoids were working away, flashes of reworking tools were lighting up the place. The crew were going over the re-work plans, Jearo was talking with Dave. McKinley was in awe at him as a machine, he imagined him as the best of a human mixed with the best of a machine.

It was only as he was looking down again that he realised something, the flashes were coming from a different part below them. Images of past actions from both on and off the Titan were flashing and disappearing in an instant. He turned to Dave.

“What’s that Dave?” he asked.

“That’s our sighting portal, in order to configure the core to the right time and place we need to…”

“Can we use that to access any time an place Dave?”

“Yes sir! But it is not meant for that purpose and we mustn’t interfere with the natural timelines.”

For a moment McKinley was thoughtful. “What is it sir?” Asked Jearo.

“A plan, my dear Jearo – a devious plan!” McKinley winked at her.

“What kind of plan?” she asked.

“I’m going to go and get Seanna!”

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

No Ownership claimed to images.

 

 

 

The Titan Mystery – Part 11

McKinley couldn’t move – he wasn’t sure what stunned him most, whatever it was that had knocked him to the floor or that Seanna was just… gone. Standing there, looking at where she had last stood, motionless. He was vaguely aware of others around him, of people. But it somehow didn’t matter now.

“Sir!” Blake insisted “We have to go! Now!”

“What do we do?” asked Gerrad, one of Blake’s Marines – a tall and well build, looking big enough to move a wall!

“I don’t know Gerrad!” Blake answered “We have to get him back somehow! God knows what could turn up at any minute!”

With that Gerrad moved forward, putting his arm around McKinley’s torso he proceeded to pick him up under his arm. At that second McKinley began lashing out, his arms and legs flailing in every direction and shouting out that he should be put down with every obscenity being used. Dropping him on the floor, McKinley got up and began thumping Gerrad wildly, Blake trying to force him back. Blake caught some of the punches across his face before Gerrad thumped McKinley square in the middle of his face. McKinley  dropped where he stood, Gerrad catching him before he hit the floor.

“Sorry sir” Gerrad said only half apologetically “But let lets get back to where we need to be shall we?” Gerrad hauled McKinley over his shoulder, Blake followed shaking his head and mumbling as he nursed his bruises. In only a few moments they were back at the hyperloop capsule. Gerrad straining a little with McKinley, he flopped onto a bench as Blake helped him down. The mechanoids had all gathered in the sides, standing like lifeless statues in a neutral pose, their tools locked into position for transport.

Blake started working the controls of the hyperloop capsule “I think we better get back to the core – we need to get this over with before anyone else gets killed!” the plan had been to go back and get the rest of the team, Blake knew that what they would be expecting so the change in plan would raise questions. He tapped his ear communicator “Team 2 this is Blake – the plan has changed. You must get to the core platform immediately, be on guard!”

Jearo started talking back, demanding to know why the plan had changed and where McKinley was. “I’ll brief you when we meet – be careful!” was all Blake was willing to reply, he cut off the conversation and stood there, looking out at the tunnel ahead. He turned to find the lead mechanoid standing behind him, jumping slightly in shock Blake asked “Can I help?”

“You have been identified as the current leader. Can I help you?”

“He’s the leader!” Blake replied pointing towards McKinley. McKinley had been out cold, but was now stirring. A bruise on his face had appeared, he sat round nursing his bruise and mumbling to himself.

“He isn’t well I see!” the mechanoid observed, despite the almost human quality of it’s voice it was still obvious that it was synthesized. Blake thought this might be deliberate as surely the technology of this time would have been able to fully synthesize a human voice by now. The mechanoid stopped near McKinley, the ends of it’s fingers glowed blue and passed them over his head and body. It then turned to Blake and announced “This male humanoid has a minor injury to his cranium, he also has a peculiar chemical imbalance caused by temporalismanism”

“Temporar – what-a-what?” Blake didn’t like the sound of what the mechanoid was saying.

“This human has been exposed to a temporal field at close range!”

“What does that mean?” Blake was still confused.

“A portal that enables a person or object to pass into different time zones was initiated close to the human! He was briefly in two time zones – this has upset the chemical balance of his system!” The mechanoid turned, placing a finger on his neck a small hiss was heard. “He should recover quickly now!”

“He should?” asked Blake “What did you you? When did he get exposed to this temporal portal?”

“I have dispensed a dose of chemical stabiliser into the human. I don’t have enough information to explain when the human was exposed to the time portal!”

Blake thought for a moment and realised this had not long happened. It must have been the weapon of the attacker that killed Seanna. Blake briefly thought about what it was and what it must have done to her. He was brought back to focus by McKinley’s voice.

“Seanna?” McKinley asked Blake. He shook his head slowly. McKinley put his head into his hands again cursing to himself. “Are we ever going to get out of this Blake?” McKinley asked, looking at his Marine commander, hoping for an answer. His eyes were red and his face not so gaunt, but showing real signs of fatigue.

“I don’t know sir.” Blake replied solemnly “We have a chance now that we have found the mechanoids. Seanna’s gone, I can’t believe it either but we have to focus on those that are still alive. Right sir?”

McKinley nodded “You’re right of course Blake – but…”

“I know sir!” Blake cut in “No need to explain.”

McKinley got up slowly and carefully. He was feeling better but still feeling drained. “What’s been going on Blake?”

“This mechanoid seems to be the lead mechanoid, we communicate with him and I assume he will communicate with the rest of them.”

“That is correct” The mechanoid “I am mechanoid A-1756-349 if it makes it easier you may call me Dave.”

“Dave?” McKinley asked with mild amusement. Both him and Blake exchanging amused glances

“That is correct” the mechanoid answered.

“Well I’m McKinley. It will be easier if you call me sir!” McKinley was playing with it to see what would happen.

“I understand sir!” it answered.

“I’m Blake, this is Gerrad, Carlos, Thompson and Tony” Blake explained, motioning to his team.

“I understand Blake. Our task is tome complete repairs to the inversion core?”

“That’s correct.” McKinley confirmed. “Without any danger being inflicted on my people, I might add”

“I understand sir – no harm will come to any of you.”

A few minutes of quiet was had to collect their thoughts, McKinley was feeling better by the minute. He was cut up about Seanna, for now he was putting it to the back of his mind and focusing on getting the rest of them back to the Tycho.

“We have arrived!” Dave announced as the door to the carriage opened “There are humanoids on the docking station sir – can I have instructions?”

McKinley looked up and recognised the rest of the crew “They’re with us Dave. Disembark and carry out the repairs.”

“Acknowledged sir” with that Dave disembarked, taking the lead the other mechanoids followed. McKinley got off behind. McKinley walked up to Jearo.

“Where’s Seanna?” she asked.

“She didn’t make it” McKinley explained quickly. “You and the others go and help the mechanoids, assist them in any way possible.”

“I need to talk to Blake sir!”

“Not now – go and get on with it!” McKinley was taken back by the reply and responded curtly.

“But…”

In an instant McKinley’s anger came to the surface “Do you want to get out of here? Go!” he shouted. Jearo and the others turned and followed the mechanoids. Looking round Blake was motioning to McKinley, he walked over.

“Get in and close the door sir!” McKinley was puzzled but did as was asked.

“What is it?”

“The rest of the team are still over with the sentinels sir!” I can’t communicate with them but they’re in range of the tracker and they’re still there!”

“No they’re not!” McKinley responded, his frustration obvious. He snatched the tracker from Blake and stared in disbelief. In a second he had realised what they had just walked into.

“Don’t look sir – but they’re coming!” Blake told him. McKinley felt the blood drain from him and out of the corner of his eye, he could see. They were coming.

©Simon Farnell 2016

No ownership claimed on images

 

 

 

The Titan Mystery – Part 10

McKinley stared ahead at the tunnel ahead of him, racing past as once again he was travelling in another of what seemed like many hyperloop conduits. It had been a hard choice to split the team up, but it seemed the best and safest option. Seanna was taking charge of the science and technical teams back at the control centre. They were going to wait for his word before going back to the core platform. McKinley had taken Blake and his four Marines to find and activate the mechanoids. If it was still possible. The great thing about Blake and his Marines was that they we’re more than the armed force he needed for backup – they could make things work too.

“Do you know how to activate them?” Blake asked McKinley.

“Endevin gave me this.” McKinley replied. holding up what seemed to be a circle of gold, with perfectly flat surfaces. McKinley could swear he saw tiny lines or perhaps circuits if he looked at it in different angles, but he wasn’t sure. “I’m not sure what it is, but Endevin told me to keep it safe and that it would be useful!”

“We’ll soon find out won’t we?” Blake went to sit down with his team, they had been checking their equipment and were now ready , hopefully for whatever was going to come. McKinley sat down and tucking his feet under the seat he heard the grunt of someone in pain. McKinley shot up, drew is plasma rifle and aimed it at the seat.

“Get out! Who are you?” McKinley shouted. Blake and his team were up in a shot, all rifles drawn to the seat.

“It’s ok guys! It’s only me!” McKinley couldn’t mistake that female voice “Seanna?” McKinley wasn’t at all surprised to find his second in command had sneaked on with them, but it didn’t make him happy. She climbed out from under the seat, dust covering her, she swept herself off.

“I thought I told you to stay with the others? McKinley barked at her.

“What? Let you go and find these mechanoids on your own with these guys?” she replied, holding her ground

“This isn’t a joke Seanna – we in it up to our necks and if the rest of us make it out of here alive it will be a miracle. You being rash isn’t going to help things!”

“There’s no chance of anything rash happening with you in charge!” Seanna retorted sharply.

“That’s why we’re still alive!” McKinley was shouting now, Blake and his men and sat back to watch the argument take place, it wasn’t often it happened but right now neither of them were holding back.

“It’s why we’re still here you mean?” Seanna was now shouting too!

“I knew I should have known better than to put you in a command rank!”

“Command?!?” Seanna shouted back “This is supposed to be my mission and since you turned up I’ve not had any say about what’s going on!” Seanna disarmed her rifle “Here you go! Take it – if you don’t want me about or in command, fucking take this and leave me here. I’ll see you when you get back – if you do!” Seanna was wide eyed – staring McKinley down. McKinley was about to take the rifle, then taking his hand away.

“You’re right. I did give you this mission Seanna” McKinley replied “I know I need you Seanna, but I just want to get everyone safe. Including you. I’ve always told you you’re your own worst enemy!” McKinley told Seanna calmly.

Seanna smiled “I know you do – I just don’t know how to stand and watch – you know that!”

McKinley handed Seanna her rifle “C’mon, let’s do this. But I do need to be able to trust my first officer to follow instructions.”

Seanna nodded, the small vehicle suddenly shot into a tunnel and the , the half light meant they were going to arrive at the place where Endevin said the mechanoids would be. In a few moments they had come to a stop, Blake and his team left first – their rifles raised and ready. Ahead was a corridor, dimly lit with a blue light from floor panels. The Marines led the way, McKinley and Seanna followed a few metres back, looking ahead to the black end of the corridor.

“This part isn’t meant for much human use!” Seanna whispered.

“How do you know?” McKinley asked

“It’s damn cold!” Seanna replied.

“That’ll teach you to keep your suit on!” McKinley smiled

Seanna rolled her eyes “Yes Dad, I’ll keep that in mind!” Seanna grinned at him a fake, teasing grin.

“Good! I’m glad you’re..”

“Will you two shut up back there!” Blake barked as loudly as he could while whispering. “I think they’re in here!”

Without a word McKinley and Seanna stepped forward to see. Ahead of them , were dark shapes in what seemed to be a round shaped room, perhaps fifty metres round. In the middle was a flat control panel, about two metres long and a metre wide, standing about a metre high. Lights and indicators blinked on the control panel. Looking round McKinley looked around, Blake and his Marines were looking around at the mechanoids in their individual chambers.

After a few minutes Blake returned to McKinley and whispered “They seem to be inactive, there’s no sign of them attached to any umbilicals.”

“They probably don’t need them Blake” McKinley replied. “Now, keep an eye out and let’s see how this works.” McKinley looked around the panel for a clue, then on the centre he saw a circular cavity, thinking about the device Endevin had given him he took it from his pocket and placed it into the cavity. Immediately he did so the light turned on, the panels on the control activated and a blue holographic face appeared.

“Please state the problem and requested action!” The face asked, in a neither male or female robotic voice.

“Core damaged – diagnosis and repair needed immediately!” McKinley stated to the face.

“Acknowledged” The face answered.

At that moment the walls around them started rising – faster and faster. It stopped and two mechanoid cubicles went black and the human shaped robots stepped off and walked towards them. The walls lowered this time, again it stopped and two more robots walked off.

“Seems to be doing something – let’s hope it’s right!” Seanna mused.

“Seems to be, let’s hope they can do what we need them to!”

Four more stepped off went to a bunker, draw some aggressive looking tools and then stood behind the others. The floor stopped a last time and one single mechanoid stepped off this time – there was something different about this one, bigger and had perhaps more function to his form.

“Look like he might be some kind of leader of central controller.” McKinley thought out loud.

“So – your found Endevin then McKinley? Well done you! Now you can listen to me and do what really needs to be done. Give me that device!”

At that point everyone’s blood ran cold, that voice was well known – it was McKinley. But meaner, badder! Seanna and the Marines all raised their rifles and looked around, nothing could be seen. McKinley went to the control and pulled the disc from the cavity and put it away.

“Not a chance!” McKinley shouted. Seanna got closer to McKinley, ready to defend them both

“C’mon McKinley, let’s go!”

“Not without all the mechanoids!” all the mechanoids had begun filing out towards the hyperloop vehicle, one by one they all walked through with all the tools they had picked up, oblivious to what was going on.

“I’ll have to kill you all for it then!” the voice came back. At that moment a figure  came out from behind the command mechanoid. Blake and his Marines had their backs to it as he lept out. Seanna instantly saw him, bringing her rifle to bear she yelled out out to Blake. A lance of brilliant light suddenly shot out towards Seanna as Blake and his men spun round, with no hesitation they found their mark and blasted it with with their rifles. Blue plasma bolts shot into the figure over and over. The creature melted between the gaps in the open frame floor into whatever was below.

“We got him!” Blake shouted to McKinley. He turned around to face McKinley. ” Where’s Seanna?” He asked. McKinley had been knocked to the floor, motionless and in shock he lifted himself up.

“She’s gone!” McKinley replied. Looking around one thing was obvious, McKinley was  right – Seanna was not there!

©Simon Farnell 2016

No ownership claimed on images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Titan Mystery – Part 9

McKinley stood in front of the strange being, wondering what was going to come next. instead it seemed pre-occupied.

“How can we help you?” McKinley prompted him, hoping to get some idea or clue to what was going on.

“Help… yes, McKinley. I’m sorry, the problem I have in concentrating is part of what is going on. If you will permit me, I would like to communicate with you mind to mind.”

“Mind to mind?” McKinley asked.

“Yes, I realise the you currently communicate with your primitive verbal communication, but in our time we have learned to speak, mind to mind” The being continued “We can discuss everything much more efficiently.”

McKinley looked over to Seanna “You can’t be serious!” she hissed at him.

“Oh! Aggressive, I remember this of young female, what was your name? Oh yes – Seanna.” the being seemed genuinely hurt with Seanna remark. “Let me assure you young Seanna that no harm will come to McKinley. Step closer my friend.” The being prompted, McKinley stepped up and stared into the eyes of the being. In that instant he found himself in the middle of the great hulk of the Titan, he thought floating at first. But it was more like suspended. Despite McKinley’s fear of heights he felt no fear. He could look around without feeling anything. Then he was aware of a presence next to him. It was the being he just just bee talking to.

“Welcome Commander McKinley to the Titan. I am called Endevin, this space craft and it’s mission had one specific purpose. To bring human kind to the next level of being, this isn’t evolution. The term is very outdated, but it’s how you might term what happened in our time.”

“I don’t understand.” McKinley replied.

“Imagine if you will the power of the mind, this conversation is happening in our joined minds. You have the potential to do this as well as I can – you just haven’t learned to yet.” McKinley looked at Endevin keenly as he continued. “Now imagine what that means for us as a physical being, we are no longer tied to our physical forms and no longer need them to sustain us. We are still at this time tied by location and time. We as beings have to re-learn our reality and existence, Earth and our other planets were no longer the right places for us to exist. So we had to find other places that exist outside the physical realm to live and to develop our new reality. Titan is one of many spacecraft destined to complete this task. Myself and my four other companions are sentinels of the Titan, we are the caretakers for the millions of beings that are contained and exist in this very space and to take them to this place.”

At this point Endevin and McKinley were trasnported through the hulk of the huge ship. All over were energy tues with what seemed like human forms inside them, they glowed white under the faint blue light. Row, after row after row of people, being transported to wherever their destination was going to be. McKinley was stunned, in awe of what was gonig on, of what he had missed. Then he thought we was going to miss them – Titan was so huge that details the size of a human form were easily lost. Then in a speed which was unimaginable they were back, suspended in the middle of the gigantic centre of the Titan.

“So why do you need me Endevin?” McKinley asked as he look at him.

“Things went wrong, as with anything from the physical realm they are flawed and can be broken! The core of the Titan is broken and is leaking energy, distorting time and reality. Despite our elevated level of being we are still in many ways just like you are, vunerable and our understanding of our new form is very limited. You are not able to percieve it yet, but the effects of the core malfunction are affecting our very perceptions or time and reality and we are not able focus on the present. We are trapped in this vessel, it is like torture, we need to get to our destination and to do this we need to re-work the core of the Titan. We are unable as we have not concerned ourselves much with technology for centuries, we used mechanoids to create the Titan as we are unable to construct such a vessel”

“What would we know about fixing a core, centuries in adavnce of what we use?” McKinley replied.

Endevin continued “We have plans for you to examine, I believe your own spacecraft will be able to receive these plans and analyse them.”

McKinley nodded “We will do our best. But I need to know a few things Endevin. First there was a creature that was able to appear as me but older and he killed two of my people. What do you know of him?”

Endevin looked concerned “This must explain why we are still here after over a millenia – the creature you mention is a Paralan. They inhabit the bodies of others to survive and exist in our – your physicality. They are our enemies and are trying to immortalise themselves in the way we are. So far they have failed, but their thirst for this power has driven them mad. The protective energy that we sentinels exist in has kept him away from us – but obviously he, or they have killed all the previous attempts to help us.”

“There are also people, like myslef and Seanna in hibernation, is that anything to do with these Paralans?” McKinley was pleased to be getting answers to hopefully finding a way out of the time trap, but with this new information he feared that there was a long way to go before they got out. If they did.

“The Paralan need a physical form to inhabit – the host is not dead, but not alive either. But without them the Paralan cannot exist in your physical world – they themselves are in a dark limbo, they are trying to escape to the light and are desperate.” Endevin explained “They will be impervious to your weapons, be warned. Although they need a body to exist in your world, they are not harmed by the physical effects you can inflict. Only the host body can be.”

“We blew him away off the core platform and into nothing – surely the blast and fall would kill him?”

“Only the host I’m afraid McKinley. Your monster will be very much alive and seeking a new host. While you and your people are here, they are protected. But out there you will not. I can help you though, I can help you to see through the physical form you see to the monster below.”

“That would be helpful Endevin.” McKinley allowed himself a wry smile, there was hope and a challenge. There was also the possibility of taking back the plans for the core design when or if they left.

“Are you ready McKinley?” Endevin asked.

“As I will ever be!” He replied.

“The information you need has been sent to your spacecraft – in order to rework the core while it is functioning you will need the mechanoids. I’ve implanted the information in your mind that you need to activate and instruct them. Good luck to you and your people McKinley! I believe that is what you say!”

“One more thing Endevin – if this has happened before, won’t the same things happen again?” McKinley asked

“Normally that should be true – but time is distorted, broken and unstable. The damaged core has done this, every time you and your crew find the Titan, event are likely to play out differently each time!”

McKinley nodded “Let’s hope this is the right time then!”

In that split second McKinley found himself back where he was before, stading in front of Endevin and his sentinels. Looking around he looked at Seanna “You all ok?”

Seanna looked back at him – “Are you ok? That was only a few seconds, was that it?”

“I’ve been talking to Endevin for about half an hour!” McKinley looked up at Endevin, who smiled back.

“Efficient you see McKinley!” he said.

Jearo stepped forward. “Have you sent some data to the ship sir?”

McKinley smiled “Yes I have – don’t ask. I need to know what’s wrong with the core. The information should have what we need to analyse it. I have to then find the mechanoids to repair the thing.”

“We’re going home?” asked Jearo with some excitement.

“Damn right we are. Let me know what you find out Jearo, take Leonard, Javin and Huan and devise a plan.

“Certainly” Jearo answered, taking the small team they took a work station in the corner of the large control centre and began talking with the Tycho and devising a plan.

“Blake, take the rest of you and secure the area. Endevin will tell you how to idedtify the creatures that seem to be around here and trying to stop us. Kill on sight, anyone you see that is hosting a creature is trying to kill us. You will only kill the body shell they’re inhabiting, but this should slow them down and protect us a little.”

“Sir?” Blake asked.

“Talk to Endevin – he will explain!”

“What about me? Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Asked Seanna, now looking completely lost and out of place.

“Sure, come over here, I’ll fill you in” McKinley smiled “We’ve got on top of this a bit I think!”

©Simon Farnell 2016

No ownership claimed on images

The Titan Mystery – Part 8

McKinley looked on through the tunnel as their little hyperloop car sped through the vastness  of the spacecraft. As he was thinking about this he thought it curious that a ship this size was built almost completely empty. What was it’s purpose? Why was it here? There would have to have been crew and many other people as it seemed to have been designed to carry them. But what was this ship about? What was going on here?

At that point Seanna came to McKinley’s side. “They’re awake – They’re getting ready. What are you thinking about?”

“Why would you make a spacecraft this size and yet almost completely hollow?”

“I dont know” Seanna replied “To carry something?”

“With no way in or for any single object that would take up the space?”

Seanna shrugged “I don’t know then. Perhaps lots of smaller objects?”

“Perhaps” McKinley half heartedly agreed But I’m not sure it’s like that. What about the hybernation chambers with us in there? There’s something we’re missing here and we need to find it out”

Seanna nodded.

“I’m also sick of being on the back foot so far, I want to get on top of this and stop being just reacting to what’s going on.”

Again Seanna nodded “I wish I knew how sir.”

“As do I Seanna” McKinley looked on as they approached the docking tunnel at huge speed. In seconds they were envolped in the dark tube, lights flashing by at an incredible pace, the slowing, slowing as the car slowed to a stop.

“Where in God’s name are we?” McKinley asked, no one answered. The room where the car had stopped was far more open and much bigger than the other two tranfer bays. The space outside was clearly visible with a set of  wide stairs leading up to another, darker level.

Jearo maneouvered up to McKinley with her instrument. “No life signs or movement on this level, there are five in the level above, but the they seem to be in some kind of low energy state.”

“Hibernating?” McKinley asked

“Possibly” Jearo replied.

McKinley looked across at Seanna, she shrugged. Picking up her rifle she armed it “Only one way to find out eh?”

McKinley nodded, “Stay with me Jearo” he asked ” I want your instrumentation close! The rest of you arm up, be careful and don’t take any risks. But we also need to find out how to get us all away from here so don’t get pulse happy!”

McKinley opened the door to the carrier and stepped out, Jearo and Seanna close behind. Blake following them. In a few moments they were all out, McKinley and Seanna motioned for them to split up and check the area. McKinley walked slowly toward the panoramic view of the space outside. Jearo followed him close to his side, he looked around and in a few moments he saw a bright shape in the dark – The Tycho. He was starting to wonder if all of this was an illusion, it still might be but at least seeing the Tycho reassured him a little that these might be real events. Even if they weren’t great. Turning around and meeting the rest of them at the foot of the stairs he walked up to Seanna.

“No sign of anything on this level sir!” Seanna reported.

” I think we’re on the level below some kind of command centre.” Jearo reported

“Yes, we seem to be inside the control superstructure towards the rear of the vessel.” McKinley agreed.

“It’s just what’s up there” Seanna mused as she looked up the stairs.

“I know, what you’re thinking…” said McKinley, reading her mind. With no word, she started strolling up the stairs, he rifle pointed defensively.

“Seanna wait..” McKinley shouted in a whisper.

Seanna turned to him “Why are you whispering?” she asked. “Let’s go and find some answers!” Turning again and resuming her stride. McKinley, Jaero, Blake and the others advanced behind Seanna, rushing to catch up. When they reached the upper level they all slowed, looking out across the floor of the darkened room. Dimly lit controls and displays provided the only lighting in the large room.

Across the room in front of them were five stations with a seemigly sleeping human form in each of them. Each of the had no hair and were dressed in a white skin suit, a dim blue light pulsed above each of their heads. Seanna again took the lead, slowly advancing towwards the five stations, one was slightly forward of the other four stations.

McKinley looked across to Seanna, both of them look at each other.

“What do we do now?” Seanna asked. She looked at the being in front of her, she supposed he was male he was of that size and straucture, his skin pale white.

“I don’t know.” McKinley replied “Lower your weapons everyone, he whispered to the rest of the team” Each of them slung their weapons in turn and started looking around the huge control room.

“Are you getting anything new?” McKinley asked Jearo.

“Nothing has changed. Wait… something is happeneing. I think their brain activity is increasing, it’s like they’re all waking up!”

McKinley stepped towards the the most forward figure, he still seemed to be asleep. In a split second his eyes opened. Startled McKinley jumped back “Damn! He’s awake!”

“Hello commander McKinley, I’m sorry I startled you.” the figure spoke, in a calm emotionless, almost synthsised tone.”

“Thank you – I’m fine.” McKinley replied hesitantly after a few moments. “How do you know who I am?”

“We have met before Commander, many times you and your crew have visited the Titan” The figure continued, not moving from his station. McKinley noticed the other four figures had opened their eyes also, but were saying nothing. “I think it’s happened in your future, or is it your past? I’m not sure either are right and I get confused between the two.” The figure paused in thought, lowering their eyes. McKinley stepped closer again, Seanna joined him by his side. The others looked on from behind.

“I need to ask you” McKinley was determined now to try see if this dialogue could bring them closer to completing their objective. “I’m here, becasue we, our spacecraft and us are trapped and cannot leave this area. Your vessel seems to be affecting our ability to travel in space.”

The being looked up at him again “You mentioned this at another time. I can’t rememeber when though” the being’s thoughts seemed distracted. McKinley noticed that he seemed to be struggling with when he was in time. “Oh yes!” he started again “This time loop is confusing me. You asked this before, many times and we agreed that you would help us. Is that right?”

McKinley decided he would try and play along with this and see where it led, he was beginning to think trying to explain when and where they were might confuse things more as this was the best lead yet he took the risk “We are willing to help if we can, but I don’t know what was agreed before.” McKinley explained. ” I would also like talk to you to understand what is happeneing!”

The being smiled “All in good time. Time… ” The being looked away thoughtfully again, then his eyes snapped back again “Yes, good time. You are very important to us McKinley, the human race needs you, we need you!”

McKinley suddenly felt very anxious and wasn’t sure if he done the right thing, at that moment he hoped he had.

©Simon Farnell 2016

No ownership claimed on images