Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 3 (2)

Hans picked up the artefact and tossed it into the air before catching it. It was fairly light for something made out of metal - at least he had assumed it was some sort of metal. Hans sat up straight as a thought crossed his mind. Every home had a computer capable of doing basic scans. Mostly they were just set to scan life forms that entered the home to keep intruders out, but they could also, on command, scan other things as well.

“Home system, respond.” Hans always felt like an idiot when he didn’t have a specific display to speak to and he hadn’t gotten around to naming his home system yet either. Hans made a mental note to figure out what to call his system because home system was just too much of a mouthful.
“Online. What can I do for you?” Unlike his office computer that sounded like a chipper young woman, his home system spoke in a deep and respectful baritone.

“Can you analyze this object that I’m holding and tell me what it is composed of?” Hans held the artefact out with both hands.
“Scanning.” Was the response to his query. Hans held really still as the minutes passed. He hadn’t expected it to take quite this long.

“Is there a problem computer?” Hans felt guilty disturbing the computer while it was working, which was silly because it was just a machine, but he couldn’t help it.
“I have been unable to identify the materials that are in the object you are holding. Basic elements are recognizable, but are configured in a way that is unfamiliar.”

“So, what you’re saying is that you don’t know what this is?” Hans frowned. It was not the answer he had been expecting at all.

“Thank you computer.” Hans stared with renewed awe at the artefact in his hands. It was all the confirmation that he needed to prove that this was a truly alien thing. Now all he had to do was figure out what it did and why it did it. That was, of course, if it did anything at all. Before he even knew what he was doing, Hans threw the artefact across the room. It hit the wall with a dull thud and split into two pieces.
“Shit!” Hans rushed to the other side of the room. He knelt down to pick of the pieces and stopped as he noticed something that looked far too much like a button on the inside edge of one of the pieces. He hadn’t noticed any seam on the artefact before, but it had broken with a straight edge like it had meant to be opened.

Hans reached towards the button, paused and then pressed it. He waited for a minute, holding his breath, but nothing happened. Just as he was about to reach for it again he heard a soft beep, similar to the sound he had heard when he took the artefact. Hans pulled his arm back away from the object and watched, eyes wide as the two pieces began to wobble and move. In less than a minute it had reformed into one solid piece again.
Hans sat there and stared at it, not sure what to do now. He had taken a chance and not much had happened, but it was enough to make him that much more eager to get back to the cave and find out what was really down there. For all he knew, he had just sent a signal to an alien and they were on their way to his place right now.

Hans glanced at the door and chuckled at the absurdity of the thought. It wasn’t likely that an alien was going to come bursting down his door. As far as anyone knew, humans were alone in this galaxy. Even if there was a living alien race out there, he doubted that they would suddenly show up on his doorstep to ask for the artefact back.
It was just one more mystery to pile on top of all the other ones he hadn’t managed to solve yet. A small part of him wondered if he should just throw caution to the wind and get what he needed to get back into the cavern and find out what was there. If he knew that the specialized equipment he needed to get would arrive before anyone got curious about what he was ordering, he would have done it, but Hans knew it paid to be cautious.

He picked up the artefact and tossed it from hand to hand a couple times. “I will figure out what you are and who made you.”
He placed it back under his bed and called it a night. Tomorrow he would spend more time trying to figure out how to get the equipment that he needed, but right now he needed to get some rest.

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