Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 6 (4)

“Hey, look at this. There’s an indent here like there was in your artefact that would fit mine.” Honora pulled her artefact out from under her shirt and held it in front of the indent to better judge the size. “Hey, do you think this is maybe some sort of key? I mean this is the second time we’ve come across something like this.”

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but that doesn’t explain the condition of the crew on the ship where you found it.” Hans frowned.
“And we didn’t think yours did anything other than emit light and beep, but look at your hand. Think about it. We’re talking about some unknown alien race here. Maybe they’re the type of people who like to put certain safeguards on important items so that they can become dangerous in the wrong hands. Maybe they were at war.” Honora smiled as she spoke, her eyes lighting up as she hypothesized.

“Well, we are talking aliens so who knows.” Hans shrugged and glanced down at his bandaged hand. “I mean we need to start somewhere, but let’s not go to crazy on the guessing here.”
“I don’t thinking letting our imagination run wild would be the best plan either.” Duke’s voice came from above and both Hans and Honora looked up at the tunnel entrance. “Here, I’ll toss this down, someone catch it.”

It wasn’t long before all their gear was spread over the floor of what they had decided to call the laboratory. It was one of the few things that they could all agree on. This room reminded them all of some sort of lab. Honora didn’t make things better when she started talking about viruses and chemical weapons.
“Seriously, if you don’t shut up I am going to find a way to make you stay quiet and I guarantee you won’t enjoy it.” Hans growled in her direction and it seemed to do the trick for the moment.

After a few hours of inspecting the room in as much detail as they could none of them had figured out what anything was or where to even begin. There was so much to see, but they were all worried of something else happening. Another trap, as Honora wanted to call it.
“We’re going to have to do something because right now we’re not getting anywhere and I’m not sure I really want to remove anything from here as proof of what we found.” Hans sighed and sat down on the floor.

“Then let’s do something drastic.” Honora marched up to what they had guess was a door and took out her artefact. Before anyone could stop her she pressed it into the matching indent. They all backed across the room as the sound of swishing liquids came from the door. Slowly, the metallic look of the door disappeared to reveal a glass case.
“What is it?” Honora took a few steps towards it in awe and Duke grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

“I’m going to guess that it’s an alien.” Hans stayed where he was, but he studied the form behind the glass. “I can’t believe it. I real alien. Do you think it’s still alive in there?”
“My guess is yes. That case you wanted to open, I bet it’s actually some sort of life support system for it. Maybe some sort of cryogenics thing?” Duke took a half step forward, but stopped quickly. None of them were willing to get too close to it.

“It doesn’t look cold. Maybe something really sci-fi like a stasis field or something. We have moved out of the realm of real now. This is something that none of us came prepared for.” Hans grinned from ear to ear. “We have to revive it.”
“Only to find out it that it thinks we look like food and then it eats us for a midnight snack.” Honora laughed.

“Okay, Honey, you have got to lay off of the horror vids. Seriously let’s try to think on more positive notes.” Duke finally let go of her arm so he could scratch at his chin. “Do you think we could wake it up?”
“I have no idea, but that is the sort of proof we need to make prove that aliens do exist, but not enough to prove that the government is hiding knowledge of it.” Hans took a deep breath and walked towards the glass case to study the creature inside.

“Is it really that important to you or is it enough to know you’re right?” Duke took another hesitant step forward.
“Once they know we’ve found something it isn’t going to be enough to just be right, they’re going to want to eliminate the knowledge. They did it to me once already.” Hans pointed his damaged hand at Duke. “And frankly, maybe it could fix this. This is a lab so there is bound to be some sort of medical equipment here, we just aren’t able to recognize it.”

“Point, but we still don’t know what its like – friendly or not. That’s an important thing to know about something that looks like it could swallow you whole.” Duke eyed the creature in the case and shuddered.
“Getting hung up on looks are we?” Hans grinned. Leaning closer in, he took a good look at the creature. “It’s big, I’ll grant you that, but I think it would still take two bites to get you down.”

Honora stepped up beside Hans and Duke, with a sigh, joined them. “Big is one word for them for sure. So do you think those tentacle things are its arms or whatever? I mean, we’re assuming its upright and facing us – right?”
“Good assumption. It would make sense to us, but would it make sense to them.” Honora pointed at the creature and tilted her head. “I don’t see any more places that look like a key hole. Maybe we need to find another way to wake it up.”

“If we could read any of the symbols on this stuff it would be a start, but none of us are xeno-linguists or cryptographers or anything useful. We’re pilots and a mechanic. That’s not going to do us much good here.” Hans tapped on the glass and sighed.
“Well, maybe we’re not as useless as you seem to think. I mean, we all have basic mechanical knowledge and these are machines. Right? We just need to think a little outside the box.” Duke smiled for the first time since they had entered the lab.

“You really think we can figure out alien technology that easily?” Hans raised an eyebrow and took another look around the room.
“Nope, but what have we got to lose? We have enough food for another two days down here. And worst that happens is we have to come back here another time and finish figuring it out.”  Duke shrugged and reached for a bag. “In the meantime, I want to document as much of this as I can. Maybe if we have to leave we can try to figure out some stuff from home.”

Hans grinned back. “Well it’s nice to hear something positive from you for a change.”
“Give me a break Hans, I wasn’t even sure I believed in aliens till now. You two had a head start on me in that department.”  Duke handed Honora the camera. “You start with the taking the pictures and Hans and I will see if we can figure out the mechanics of things.”

For the next few hours none of them talked beyond the basics that they needed to communicate to each other. It was straight work until they came close to collapsing. It wasn’t until they were eating dinner that something occurred to Hans.
“My hand doesn’t hurt.” Hans looked down at the bandaged limb with surprise. He had entirely forgotten about it.

“It should have been hurting you a long time ago.” Honora grabbed his arm and pulled it over into her lap. She started unwrapping the bandage until they could all see the same black charred limb, but it was subtly different from before. It had looked wasted away before, but the form had come back and it looked more like a regular only blackened and rough.
“Can you move any of your fingers?” Honora asked.

Hans focussed on moving a single digit and was rewarded by seeing his index finger twitch upwards. He grinned and tried to bend it and was rewarded with a slight bend. “It’s stiff, but it doesn’t hurt.”
Honora pressed one of her fingers down on his and looked up expectantly.

“I can feel that, but only vaguely. I can’t really tell how hard you’re pressing, but it doesn’t hurt.” Hans brought his damaged hand up to his face so he could inspect it closer.  Smiling he waggled his fingers and was rewarded with more movement than he had expected.
“Okay, well that is slightly disturbing, but whatever that thing did to your hand, at least it wasn’t permanent damage.” Duke pushed a plate of food towards Hans. “And you’ll be far more useful with two working hands.”

Honora laughed and grabbed her own plate of food from Duke. “Well at least everything is documented and we can try to see if we can wake up Mr. Alien over there.”
“In the morning.” Duke yawned and then shovelled some food into his mouth. “Besides, what if it’s Miss Alien?”

Honora backhanded Duke in the shoulder and laughed. It didn’t take long before they were all fast asleep on the floor of the lab and doing their best to block out the constant light. No one heard the soft beeping that had started coming from one of the machines on the other side of the room.

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