Archive for February, 2018

Rings of Fate S3xE1 – Explorer – Colony (pt.4)

image

As expected, Admiral O’Neill wanted a more detailed analysis of the emitter, and the space elevator.
He was still impressed by the eloquent presentation from Nye and Franziska. The two women told him everything he needed and wanted to know. “So what are we dealing with here? Linkers? Harpies? Something we yet have to meet? I’d like to know something about our neighbours since we’re about to move in there.” His attempt at humour was answered with not a single chuckle.
“Yet unknown, Ericsson needs to make one pass around ES-p296, to slow down and make a low fly over of dash 1.” Nye leaned on the table.
Some small voice in her head mused that many decades ago this might have looked sexy, if she wore something low cut. With some effort she chased that thought away. “Then we might get to catch a glimpse at who, or what, is down there.”
I bet it is Jason’s people. Another tiny voice went off. Although she had managed to tolerate it when others referred to the DEHumans as linkers or their self chosen name, she always called them Jason’s people.
“Alright. I hope you realise that soon we will be close enough to wave at them from our windows as we gracefully fly by.” He made theatrical waving motion.
Again, no one in the room so much as chuckled. Kind of disappointed, Dean sighed. “Dismissed.”
“Lucy, is everyone here cursed with a lack of humour?” He turned to his first offiver after all others had left. “No sir, may I speak freely?”
“Of course. We’re pals, aren’t we?”
“You’re not funny, sir, pal.” Correcting herself she winked leaving him alone in the briefing room.

Silently Ericsson passed over the moon, adjusting its course so it won’t collide with the elevator, entering an orbit. Both its AI and the humans that received its telemetry knew that it would be spotted right away. Probably had been spotted during its initial approach.
Cameras and detectors of all sorts were pointed at the surface during the first pass, during the second pass, detailed information about the elevator was gathered.
Equally silent the data was compressed, encrypted and sent to Explorer.

Marvelled by the magnificent engineering feat of the elevator Jeannine and Nye sat over images and telemetry, Franziska seemed more concerned.
“That is some serious stuff.” She stared at the ships under construction in orbit. “They’re building a thrid one. Three bays for ship construction, and I assume those pillars are for docking.” Her entire body tensed up, there was a knot in her belly.
Enhanced images from the surface revealed nothing. Wildlife, and plants, as well as disturbed soil, but no people, or aliens.
“Gran?” Jeannine sprang to her feet. Her face was pale allmof a sudden. Alarmed Franziska turned to look at Nye, who seemed to be fine. “There is an atypical file in this data burst.” Jeannine’s hand shook, almost vibrated. “It’s marked ‘Dr. Charles’.”
With shaky hands she handed Nye the tablet, who also felt tense and shaky.
Going deep into herself, Nye sat with closed eyes over the tablet, she took a deep breath. As she opened her eyes again she accessed the file.
The face of a darkskinned woman appeared. She had corkscrew curled black hair, and piercing green eyes. Behind her a man stepped into view. Although aged considerably Nye recognised him immediately.
“Jason!” A burst of tears came with that agonised squeal, a shaking hand rose to her mouth. “Hello, Grandmother.” The young woman spoke as if she just had learned a foreign language, which Nye assumed was somewhat the case, as they would have no need to speak at all in their collective mind. “I believe you are wondering what it is that we have built on this moon.” She over pronounced every word, to ensure she spoke them correctly. “The emitter pointed at the planet, is designed to gather resources from its atmosphere. We advise you to keep the probe out of the direct line, or else it will get damaged, if not destroyed.” She blinked for a moment.
“Our memory tells us you will want to inquire about the well being of your offspring. Jas,” she paused, blinking, “father is well. As is this,” again she paused to blink, “As am I.” The message ended.
Frantically jerking around with the tablet, Nye opened it again.
In silence Franziska got up and led Jeannine out of the room. “She needs to be alone now.”
Reassuring both looked back to Nye who sat haunched over the display, sobbing. We wouldn’t be able to comfort her. She wants them to do it. With a sigh Franziska closed the door.

Admiral O’Neill seemed to be concerned as Franziska and Jeannine made their report, but at the same time his posture was a relaxed one. “So they’re not going to light up the planet?”
“No sir. They’re going to mine it.” Letting out an aching sigh as he got up. “Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from the linkers? I mean, have any of you ever had thought of mining a gas giant?” This time Lucy had to smirk at his remark.
“Do you intend to start negotiations with them?” Franziska sat down, she had remained on her feet during the entire report, much to her astonishment Nye had been right about the frequent walks. She was fitter now.
“I will extend friendly greetings, if something comes up, yes. If not, I won’t bother them, they had made it clear they don’t want any involvement with us.” At the door he paused. “How’s Doctor Charles holding up?”
“She’ll manage. I think.” Jeannine replied, wishing herself to be with her grandmother, who was staying with Gloria and the kids.
“Fine. Let’s just hope the last years of our journey remain trouble free.”

Death Metal Album Cover

Accidentally made a Finnish Metal Album Cover while taking a walk today. I’ll call it “Songs from the (torn out) heart” by the “Urban Saltminer“.

It’ll be about love.
And ice.
And salt.
While on fire.
Alone in the woods.
With and between skinned alive animals.
And entrails.
With bunnies… of death.

You know… one I haveb learned to pay a single instrument necessary for a METAL album…

Take care,
A.

Rings of Fate S3xE1 – Explorer – Colony (pt.3)

image

“I bet it is the DEHumans.” Jeannine sat down on the table on which the screen was mounted. “Admiral,” Nye turned slowly, “would you be so kind to open sensor logs of the last incident we had with them and their engines?”
“Certainly.” After a few moments the data that Nye had requested showed up on the screen. “Now my dear, open up the data you have gathered with the Ericsson probe, and do a comparison. Although every engine is unique, and they surely have an armada of ships with that sort of drive by now, it should give us enough hints to speculate with.” As another reference point in the comparison, Franziska drew up data collected from encounters with Harpy ships.
“Well,” the former Admiral croaked with a dry throat, “we can rule out the Harpies.” Data comparison between the emissions of the unidentified ship and the emissions of Harpy ships on record showed major differences. “It might be the DEHumans. Or an unknown party.” Jeannine sighed, sorrowful she caressed her belly.
If the linkers got a foothold in the destination solar system, it stood to reason that they might invade RV-p296. Something deep inside her hoped for a new alien race.
The thought of the linkers made her skin crawl.

“Lucy?” Admiral O’Neill held a tablet in his hands. “I did not know that the former Admiral Hardwick still was involved in antimatter research?” Although not restricted information, access to the data of antimatter engines was logged automatically.
The first officer slowly shuffled towards her Admiral. “It is either a coincidence, or far more likely, someone in the probe control department has informed her too.” Neither said anything specific as the command centre crew had no knowledge of the incident at ES-p296-1 either. “Shall I confront her, Sir?”
“No.” A playful smile on his lips the Admiral stretched his arms. “We should trust my predecessor, she won’t leak anything to the public, and her expertise is most valuable.” He recalled seeing Franziska oft times with Doctor Nye Charles, a retired scientist from probe control. Immediately the connection became obvious to him. “Together with Nye Charles’ brilliant mind they’ll figure it all out. If they have sufficient data.”
He stood up and walked a few paces to the exit. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a pond and my fishing rod.”
Lucy had to snicker. There were no fish in the ponds aboard. The fish were only in controlled hydroponic tanks where vegetables were grown.
One time he had told her that fishing wasn’t about the fish. It was about the act of fishing, it had a meditative quality to it.
His grandfather had taught him how to fish, who in turn had learned it from his father back on earth. “Have fun sir.” She smiled taking his seat.
After he had left Tomasz Bereny approached her, asking what the whole deal was about, still smiling she told him to go back to his post, or else she’d ignore their friendship and note his behaviour in the log.

Usage of the Orion-drive inside the solar system was forbidden, so the Ericsson probe had to gradually pick up speed using conventional propulsion methods. Slingshoting around RV-p296 and its two lunar objects, it took a few weeks to reach a noteworthy speed in order to reach the moon in question. After the maneuvers were completed, another powerful burst from its engines propelled it through the solar system.
As it neared its final destination Jeannine sat at home, a baby in her arms, as did her wife Gloria.
During the months of the probe travelling the former Admiral, contacted the current one. He informed his predecessor that he already suspected her involvement, and was sort of glad over it, granting her full access, with the usual confidentiality clauses.
“This is an unofficial meeting, as usual.” Jeannine greeted Franziska and her grandmother, first images of Ericsson were trickling in.
Sieglinde hung in a sling in front of her, fast asleep.
“Are those,” Franziska stared at the image before her. “Shipyards?” Shrugging her shoulders Jeannine too looked at the image.
“That my dear Admiral, is a space elevator. Or at least, the geostationary end of it.” Nye enhanced the image, revealing a tether from the object above the moon down to the surface. “Presumably constructed of material called carbon nanotubes. It might serve as a shipyard, or a harbour.” Calmly explaining Nye switched to the next image. It showed the assumed elevator end in greater detail.
Further solidifying the suspicion of a shipyard, as two partial ships seemed to be tethered to the station. “This might pose a problem. They might be preparing to invade RV-p296.”
Nye shook her head, her long white hair shaking as she did. “If they wanted, they would’ve landed right away. Whoever this is. I assume they know of the native population, and don’t wish to interfere.” Or to be bothered by them.
Ever drawing closer to the moon Ericssons pictures showed the station, in growing detail. Until the on board AI decided to aim its cameras and sensors at the surface.
At the base of the space elevator was a large structure.
Around it a sophisticated transport network that seemed to vanish underground. “Reasonable.” Nye thought aloud. “Minerals would be mined, from underground.” She concluded her thoughts.
Most of what was visible on the ground had a dark red hue, which again made sense to Nye and Jeannine, sunlight out there was a lot weaker and any plant, or plant like organism would need to make the best of it, and so a red chlorophyll would have evolved as the best solution, most lifeforms on that moon would require other sources for energy than sunlight.
“There, what’s that?” Jeannine enhanced an image of a structure on the far side of the moon. Puzzled the two elderly women stared at the structure. It was twice as big as the base for the space elevator. Something glowed in the center of it.
“What ever it is, it is huge.” Nye mused, looking at the data the sensors had gathered from the structure.
“Energy emissions are off the charts.” An enhanced image of the structure came up next. From up close it looked sinister, as if it was a a planet destroying raygun. Again Nye checked the emissions.
“This is a problem.” She sighed after viewing that data. “They are going to use this on the gasgiant, I’m not sure to what end, but I fear it’ll be a problem.”
“Why?” Franziska followed her example and reviewed the readings. “There are graviton emissions coming from hat thing. We can detect that because the Ark1 and the Kismet were originally designed to utilise Gravitons in their propulsion.” Seeing that the Admiral wasn’t following her Nye paused. “In layman’s terms, a photon is a particle that makes up light. A Graviton makes up gravity. The Ark class ships were designed to ride on a wave of Gravitons and basically fall towards their destination.” Seemingly the Admiral understood. “I still don’t understand what these Gravitons will do to that Gasgiant.”
“ES-p296-1 is in tidal lock with its parent planet, the same side always faces the planet, this way the emitter can always project the Gravitons at ES-p296. I don’t know what exactly the outcome should be, but this will either strip the planet of what ever resource they want to harvest, or it will be used to collaps the gasgiant, and subsequently, ignite it.”
“Like a sun?” Jeannine lowered her tablet, pondered while staring at a non specific point in the room. “It wouldn’t be like a sun, more like a dim shine. But it’d give up heat.” She concluded.
Although she had reservations, if those who had built the graviton emitter on the moon pumped enough energy into it, they might achieve more than she thought possible.

Friday … on Saturday

We’re at the hospital, fraking Bronchitis.

Hence I somewhat forgot about yesterday’s post.

Hope I will be forgiven.

Take care, A.

Rings of Fate S3xE1 – Explorer – Colony (pt.2)

image

“We are pregnant.” Gloria blurted out a few moments after Nye had arrived. As probably intended the gathered family members were confused. Not as to how, but which one of them was. “Both of us.” Jeannine tweeted as happily as possible.
Franziska snickered, watching the still confused family. The two had applied as a married couple, had both their implants deactivated by default and then went to have procedures taken. “A loophole in regulations.” She cleared up the apparent confusion, followed by the details.

After several, seemingly age long, hours Nye sat down on a cushioned seat in the quarters now occupied by Franziska and her husband, who was out with a friend. It felt good to sit again. “So, what else is new on 296?” Franziska put a cup of water down on the table for Nye and one for herself. “Species on that planet seem to be predominantly trisexual. We have had observations of the natives that supported that notion, but only recently have we had the chance to examine their DNA. Like most of the indigenous life there, they have three genders.” It had already been established that most species on 296 were trisexual, it came as a surprise to Franziska that the sentient natives were too. “Imagine that! Finding two partners to have children. You wouldn’t need to live with one other person, but two. Not two have to be in the mood, but all three of them. If one doesn’t feel like it, the whole thing’s off!”
Nye had to snicker at that remark. She very well knew the struggle.
Mostly it had been her who wasn’t in the mood, but still. “I believe that two of them can do it, but without any offspring resulting from that union. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn one day, that they have religious scripture forbidding a union of two as sin, much like masturbation, homosexuality and sex for anything but procreation were doomed evil by many religions in our past.” The water was infused with a hint of lemon, perhaps even fresh lemon juice. Nye sloshed the cool liquid around her mouth, savoring the delicious taste.
“Equatoria is remarkably void of any inhabitants, save for wildlife. Ericsson drones have found evidence of previous settlements on the north shore, but they were soon abandoned, probably due to the geologic instability of the region. They set sails again and went home.” Neither could understand. After a lifetime on the Explorer they would settle even on the quake ridden north shore of Equatoria. Franziska had been born on the ship, and Nye was one of the very few who had boarded the ship back on earth. She had finished her doctorate degree within the solar system, found love just barely outside it.
Some nights the fiery streaks on the night sky still haunted her dreams, although she found solace in what once was a nightmare.
In there she saw her father again, in that dream she was young again.

Weeks passed, turned to months.
Nye found herself taking a liking to the new quarters.
Crammed, small, functional.
A dream for someone who once worked in probe control, who liked having a multitude of things handy when you need them, in as little space as possible. Slowly but surely Jeannine’s and Gloria’s pregnancies began to show. Results from their implants showed that they expected a boy and a girl, just as planned, and that the fetuses were healthy.
Which was always good to hear.
Ever since their announcement Nye and Franziska met every fortnight to walk the gardens together. Ignoring the panting sounds from Franziska, Nye sat down on the bench next to her.
It seemed that these benches popped up everywhere in the ship’s gardens. The older woman figured it was due to the increasing numbers of senior inhabitants of the Explorer. The former Admiral rested her hands on her cane in front of her, catching her breath. “You’re in better shape than I am.” She admitted, with a tone of defeat in her voice. “If we were to do this weekly, you’d be in better shape too.”
Franziska was about to reply as she noticed that Nye began fumbling around her pockets, she pulled out a pair of glasses, put them on her head with a sorry expression. “What is it my dear?” Immediately Franziska knew that she was talking with Jeannine, even though she couldn’t hear a thing the young woman said.
“Is something wrong with the baby, you sound agitated!” Nye raised her voice.
After a moment or two the expression on Nye’s face grew pale. Worried Franziska motioned to be informed, Nye quickly shook her head, to let her know that the baby was fine. “I’ll be over as fast as I can, I’ll be bringing the former Admiral, she’ll want to hear this as well.”
After she ended the conversation Nye rose to her feet again. “Let’s get moving, nearest tube entrance is fifteen minutes,” she looked the former Admiral up and down, “let’s say twenty minutes away.” A healthy young person might only need ten minutes, Nye mused, but said nothing.
“What is that urgent thing?” Franziska panted as they sat down in the cab. To be sure that they were alone Nye looked around for a moment. “Antimatter radiation has been detected.” She whispered under her breath, put a finger on her lips as if to hush Franziska, who wasn’t going to say anything.
Something in her protested, and wanted official chains of command observed, but that would also mean she’d only get the minimum information from the news casts, not the full story. So her internal protest was silenced fairly quickly.

Upon the arrival of the two old women Jeannine immediately rushed them to a small room adjacent to the probe control room. She told them to remain silent, pointed at a screen and rushed out again.
Later she informed Nye that her eager colleague, Karla’s son, had passed on the information to the Admiral in the meantime.
The screen that Jeannine had pointed out to them, showed a video feed from the control room. Judging by the quality, the camera was a glasses device that Jeannine hastily set up. A mere minute after Jeannine had sat back down at her post, the Admiral entered, his first officer in tow. “What do you have for us?” His raspy voice was soothing to the ears, found Nye, but didn’t let that distract her from the information about to be revealed.

“Ericsson picked something up in the outer region of the solar system. ES-p296, a gas giant with three major moons and a bunch of tiny satellites, was pinpointed as the source. We sent thenprobe to investigate, but this is the first footage we received.” Jeannine put on her glasses and put in a command to show the information on one of the screens in the room.
Both Nye and Franziska felt weird, watching a screen, that displayed a screen displaying data. Magnification of the video footage showed an object appearing near one of the moons, and disappearing in its atmosphere. “ES-p296-1 is a moon that would classify as a planetary body on its own. It has a rich atmosphere, which would be breathable. Although far from the goldilock zone, it is kept warm by the gravitational tides created with ES-p296.” Jeannine paused shortly to elaborate that the moon was being pushed and pulled by the gravitational forces of its parent body and fellow moons, which caused enough friction to keep its interior hot.
Imformation that Nye and Franziska had since the probes originally passed through the system one by one,
“So this thing landed there?” Admiral Dean O’Neill raised his eyebrows, squinting at the screen. “Presumably.”
“It could also have moved off again, but there was no energy emission of such sort.” Karl also spoke with a distinct german accent, which baffled Nye. Schools were taught in English, and although all languages were endorsed, everyone from the younger generations Nye had met so far spoke accent free.
“Then we must assume this thing is still there. What can you tell us of it?”
Unseen to Nye and Franziska, Jeannine shrugged her shoulders. “Your guess is as good as mine. DEHumans, harpies, new aliens? Perhaps Ark2 fired up their antimatter drive and jumped ahead?”
“Unlikely, although they have the technology on the Kismet, they lack the antimatter. Keep this information under wraps for now, and aprise the Admiral and me if something new develops.” The first officer, Lucy Sandstroem, said in a stern tone, not blinking once with her blue eyes.
Recalling her name Nye realised that the names started to only give away the ancestors, but not the person anymore. Ever since the Destiny had started sending the infirmary based telenovela with a certain Dr. Lucy Hansen, and her love interest Dr. Frank Smith, who was later replaced by another actor as the original actor defected as a linker, many girls had been named Lucy.
With a shake of her head Nye pulled away from her thoughts. In age the mind becomes distracted again, she found, but concentrated on the screen again.
Admiral and first officer left, Jeannine excused herself, claiming to need another bathroom break due to the baby lying on her bladder, Karl just waved her off.

Rings of Fate S3xE1 – Explorer – Colony (pt.2)

image

“We are pregnant.” Gloria blurted out a few moments after Nye had arrived. As probably intended the gathered family members were confused. Not as to how, but which one of them was. “Both of us.” Jeannine tweeted as happily as possible.
Franziska snickered, watching the still confused family. The two had applied as a married couple, had both their implants deactivated by default and then went to have procedures taken. “A loophole in regulations.” She cleared up the apparent confusion, followed by the details.

After several, seemingly age long, hours Nye sat down on a cushioned seat in the quarters now occupied by Franziska and her husband, who was out with a friend. It felt good to sit again. “So, what else is new on 296?” Franziska put a cup of water down on the table for Nye and one for herself. “Species on that planet seem to be predominantly trisexual. We have had observations of the natives that supported that notion, but only recently have we had the chance to examine their DNA. Like most of the indigenous life there, they have three genders.” It had already been established that most species on 296 were trisexual, it came as a surprise to Franziska that the sentient natives were too. “Imagine that! Finding two partners to have children. You wouldn’t need to live with one other person, but two. Not two have to be in the mood, but all three of them. If one doesn’t feel like it, the whole thing’s off!”
Nye had to snicker at that remark. She very well knew the struggle.
Mostly it had been her who wasn’t in the mood, but still. “I believe that two of them can do it, but without any offspring resulting from that union. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn one day, that they have religious scripture forbidding a union of two as sin, much like masturbation, homosexuality and sex for anything but procreation were doomed evil by many religions in our past.” The water was infused with a hint of lemon, perhaps even fresh lemon juice. Nye sloshed the cool liquid around her mouth, savoring the delicious taste.
“Equatoria is remarkably void of any inhabitants, save for wildlife. Ericsson drones have found evidence of previous settlements on the north shore, but they were soon abandoned, probably due to the geologic instability of the region. They set sails again and went home.” Neither could understand. After a lifetime on the Explorer they would settle even on the quake ridden north shore of Equatoria. Franziska had been born on the ship, and Nye was one of the very few who had boarded the ship back on earth. She had finished her doctorate degree within the solar system, found love just barely outside it.
Some nights the fiery streaks on the night sky still haunted her dreams, although she found solace in what once was a nightmare.
In there she saw her father again, in that dream she was young again.

Weeks passed, turned to months.
Nye found herself taking a liking to the new quarters.
Crammed, small, functional.
A dream for someone who once worked in probe control, who liked having a multitude of things handy when you need them, in as little space as possible. Slowly but surely Jeannine’s and Gloria’s pregnancies began to show. Results from their implants showed that they expected a boy and a girl, just as planned, and that the fetuses were healthy.
Which was always good to hear.
Ever since their announcement Nye and Franziska met every fortnight to walk the gardens together. Ignoring the panting sounds from Franziska, Nye sat down on the bench next to her.
It seemed that these benches popped up everywhere in the ship’s gardens. The older woman figured it was due to the increasing numbers of senior inhabitants of the Explorer. The former Admiral rested her hands on her cane in front of her, catching her breath. “You’re in better shape than I am.” She admitted, with a tone of defeat in her voice. “If we were to do this weekly, you’d be in better shape too.”
Franziska was about to reply as she noticed that Nye began fumbling around her pockets, she pulled out a pair of glasses, put them on her head with a sorry expression. “What is it my dear?” Immediately Franziska knew that she was talking with Jeannine, even though she couldn’t hear a thing the young woman said.
“Is something wrong with the baby, you sound agitated!” Nye raised her voice.
After a moment or two the expression on Nye’s face grew pale. Worried Franziska motioned to be informed, Nye quickly shook her head, to let her know that the baby was fine. “I’ll be over as fast as I can, I’ll be bringing the former Admiral, she’ll want to hear this as well.”
After she ended the conversation Nye rose to her feet again. “Let’s get moving, nearest tube entrance is fifteen minutes,” she looked the former Admiral up and down, “let’s say twenty minutes away.” A healthy young person might only need ten minutes, Nye mused, but said nothing.
“What is that urgent thing?” Franziska panted as they sat down in the cab. To be sure that they were alone Nye looked around for a moment. “Antimatter radiation has been detected.” She whispered under her breath, put a finger on her lips as if to hush Franziska, who wasn’t going to say anything.
Something in her protested, and wanted official chains of command observed, but that would also mean she’d only get the minimum information from the news casts, not the full story. So her internal protest was silenced fairly quickly.

Upon the arrival of the two old women Jeannine immediately rushed them to a small room adjacent to the probe control room. She told them to remain silent, pointed at a screen and rushed out again.
Later she informed Nye that her eager colleague, Karla’s son, had passed on the information to the Admiral in the meantime.
The screen that Jeannine had pointed out to them, showed a video feed from the control room. Judging by the quality, the camera was a glasses device that Jeannine hastily set up. A mere minute after Jeannine had sat back down at her post, the Admiral entered, his first officer in tow. “What do you have for us?” His raspy voice was soothing to the ears, found Nye, but didn’t let that distract her from the information about to be revealed.

“Ericsson picked something up in the outer region of the solar system. ES-p296, a gas giant with three major moons and a bunch of tiny satellites, was pinpointed as the source. We sent thenprobe to investigate, but this is the first footage we received.” Jeannine put on her glasses and put in a command to show the information on one of the screens in the room.
Both Nye and Franziska felt weird, watching a screen, that displayed a screen displaying data. Magnification of the video footage showed an object appearing near one of the moons, and disappearing in its atmosphere. “ES-p296-1 is a moon that would classify as a planetary body on its own. It has a rich atmosphere, which would be breathable. Although far from the goldilock zone, it is kept warm by the gravitational tides created with ES-p296.” Jeannine paused shortly to elaborate that the moon was being pushed and pulled by the gravitational forces of its parent body and fellow moons, which caused enough friction to keep its interior hot.
Imformation that Nye and Franziska had since the probes originally passed through the system one by one,
“So this thing landed there?” Admiral Dean O’Neill raised his eyebrows, squinting at the screen. “Presumably.”
“It could also have moved off again, but there was no energy emission of such sort.” Karl also spoke with a distinct german accent, which baffled Nye. Schools were taught in English, and although all languages were endorsed, everyone from the younger generations Nye had met so far spoke accent free.
“Then we must assume this thing is still there. What can you tell us of it?”
Unseen to Nye and Franziska, Jeannine shrugged her shoulders. “Your guess is as good as mine. DEHumans, harpies, new aliens? Perhaps Ark2 fired up their antimatter drive and jumped ahead?”
“Unlikely, although they have the technology on the Kismet, they lack the antimatter. Keep this information under wraps for now, and aprise the Admiral and me if something new develops.” The first officer, Lucy Sandstroem, said in a stern tone, not blinking once with her blue eyes.
Recalling her name Nye realised that the names started to only give away the ancestors, but not the person anymore. Ever since the Destiny had started sending the infirmary based telenovela with a certain Dr. Lucy Hansen, and her love interest Dr. Frank Smith, who was later replaced by another actor as the original actor defected as a linker, many girls had been named Lucy.
With a shake of her head Nye pulled away from her thoughts. In age the mind becomes distracted again, she found, but concentrated on the screen again.
Admiral and first officer left, Jeannine excused herself, claiming to need another bathroom break due to the baby lying on her bladder, Karl just waved her off.

Snow!

As an urban saltminer I rarely get to see snow these days (thanks global warming), which is good. Usually even the finest sheen of crystalline Dihydrogenmonoxide brings the city to a grinding halt.

No matter how far in advance the weather service tells us that it’ll snow, no-one is prepared. Not public transportation, not drivers, even the bicycle creeps.

No. Fraking. Body.

Which explains why Vienna always seems so peaceful and quiet when it snows. πŸ˜‰

Take care,

A.

Rings of Fate S3xE1 – Explorer – Colony (pt.1)

image

The sound of birds singing rang through the quarters of Nye Charles. She used to swing her legs in a fluent motion out of bed, now it was a battle to get them to touch the ground. It had been troublesome when Jacob was still alive, but in the last ten years the struggle had gotten worse.
Still she felt excited. Her grandchildren had so many discoveries ahead of them, and she kept optimistic to maybe share at least the day of her life reaching 296 with them.
Jeannine Gotthard, her eldest granddaughter worked in probe control. Her old department, and kept her aprised of everything that the probes sent back. Shortly after the intitial probe had landed its drones, Eagle, Hawk, Bussard and Owl, the later replacing the crashed Falcon, the other probes arrived. After southern Equatoria was confirmed as the best site for colonisation, the followups concentrated there. Mapping out the terrain down to the last centimeter, cataloging every species of animal and plant, and preliminary colony formimg.

Her eyes fell on the map of equatoria as she listened to the news in the background. Election results from the alpha ring, whose governor had been found diverting food supplies to friends, and selling excess reproductive rights for “favors”. Immediately he had been impeached, the military’s first officer acting as a temporary replacement, as the entire body of government around the governor had been relieved of their duties and put under house arrest for the duration of the investigations.
A storm front once had flodded one of the fault lines, as they cracked open the ground with a large crevice. An earthquake a year or so later tore open what was left of rock forming a natural dam between the crevice and the sea. Now the sea reached hundreds of kilometres inland, creating a peninsula on the unstable side of equatoria.
It looked peaceful, and quite homely.
If one could ignore the frequent earthquakes, and remain ignorant to the fact that most of northern equatoria was going to be torn apart by RV-p296’s raging interior, as the continent drifted apart.
“I will see you.” She mumbled, noticing her speech was getting sluggish again. “Although I will be about a hundred and eight that day, I will see you!” Concentrating hard to overcome the sluggishness of her tongue.
Ever since the stroke she often encountered that problem, always fearing she had another one in her sleep. And I’ll see a doctor, later today. Moaning over her aching joints she heaved herself out of the seat she sat in. Looking around the large empty rooms she pondered about getting smaller quarters, again.
Departing from this one was hard for her. Most of her life she had spent in these rooms. Jacob seemed to haunt these walls, a pleasant haunting. One stemming from her memories.
She had raised her children Jason and Joan in these walls.
Her grandchildren had sleep overs at their grandparents in their younger days. Only the ones she had from Joan, she remarked to her train of thoughts as her memories grew painful. With surprising agility she typed in a few commands on her tablet computer.
It showed the view on Bernards star from their current position. It was generally believed that was where the DEHumans went with the Ark1 remnant. Picking up Orion on the way, and turning the supposed colony around that star into one for them. “I love you baby.” She whispered, less sluggish she noticed, gently touching the screen.

After a few moments of lingering over the screen thinking of the lost son, Nye got dressed and headed out to see a doctor. While sitting in the waiting room she mustered up the heart to file for a change in accommodation. A new generation, a new family needed that room for themselves.
To grow, and feel happy, and develop good memories.
“Sluggish speech again?” Already the doctor in the infirmary knew her. “Yes.”
With a laughing face he complimented her in, laid her down on the apparatus, and began the scan. “You know, your implant would warn us if something should happen?”
“I know all about the implant, but also of its limitations. It would warn you, or us, if something dangerous were to happen, if it is minor, it won’t register that.” Nye sat up after the scan.
As always when she came for a scan the doctor turned the display over for her to see. Satisfied she nodded in approval, thanked him and left.

In the hallways again she began heading to the gardens, her granddaughter was waiting there with her wife. “Doctor Charles.” Admiral in retirement Hardwick shuffled up to her. “Admiral Hardwick!” Nye returned the greeting.
After Jason defected to the DEHumans the Admiral and Nye had met oft times. Nye always suspected it was because that the Admiral didn’t trust anyone from the Charles family any longer. At least for a while, until a sort of friendship had developed and stayed. “I have heard you want to give up on your big quarters? Why’s that?”
That was quick. “Look at me. I’m not needing that much space anymore, and I finally mustered up the strength to let go of the memories etched into these walls.”
Supporting herself with a cane the Admiral pointed in the direction of the tube network.
In silence the two elderly women walked onwards. Although Nye was in her late nineties, she still had no use for a cane, or a walker. In secret she attributed it to Jacob. Always so damn proud of his gardens he took her for long walks. Throughout the entire ship. He only took the tube network when crossing from one ring to the other.
Until he died. Since then she walked alone. To the doctor, three decks from her quarters, to her daughter’s, also three decks away. To the gardens, two decks up.
Only taking the tube to her granddaughter, who lived on the beta ring.
Once on beta she exited near the gardens and walked to deck 17.
“I understand.” The Admiral sighed as they entered the cab. This one time Nye would make an exception.
“Did you hear anything about the DEHumans?” Every time the two met Nye included that particular question, in the vain hopes of ever hearing from Jason, it has become a ritual, more than an actual question, as the Admiral always replied with a shaking of her head.
As she did this time. “Did they show up on RV-p296?” Also a ritualistic question, any suspicious activity on 296 would be cause for alarm.
Both knew that they, and the other, were no longer at the source of information. There very well might be information they craved, but couldn’t get from one another, because they simply weren’t in the loop any longer.
“Strolling in the gardens?” Franziska followed Nye out the cab.
“Granddaughter wanted to meet here. You?”
“Yes.” Somehow Nye felt both glad and uncomfortable with the Admiral at her side. On the way to the place where Jeannine wanted to meet, Nye stopped at a tree. Looked it up and down. A smile came to her lips, Franziska at her side stopped too and followed the older woman’s gaze. “Jacob had planted the seed of this tree on the day Jason was born. Now look how tall it is.”
“It bears fruit, to bad they’re not ripe yet.” Franziska remarked, hoping to avoid talking about Jason. “Few weeks. Come, we’re almost there.”
On a hill, designed after the one the Destiny gardeners and landscapers had built, stood Jeannine and her wife, Gloria.
Joan and her husband were also there, as well as Gloria’s parents, Fred and Wilma. Because of their first names they were often called the Flintstone’s.
Information that the former Admiral didn’t need to learn.

Rings of Fate S2xE10 – Destiny – Screech

image
Shane Grimes walked through the nightly garden on the beta ring of Destiny. Somewhere off in the distance his friends had a small camp. During the holidays students were allowed to camp in parts of the beta garden, unless they were caught making fire.

Although he knew that there was nothing to be scared of, the most menacing creatures aboard the Destiny were house cats in order to keep the rats in check, he still felt odd.

“Shane!” He heard his name being yelled by one of his peers in the distance, followed by a small flickering light. A small orange-red lamp, used to simulate a camp fire, and subsequently a torch. He walked towards the light, stopped as he encountered a small body of water in the way.

 

Terraformers had been let lose on the beta gardens after the Linkers had left more than two years before, lakes and one creek were available. Shane’s grandmother enjoyed the creek a lot, the sixteen year old recalled as he circumnavigated the small lake. “Just like on earth” She used to tear up when sitting next to it, “and like it will be on RV-p296, you just wait and see.”

Not far away he heard the gargles of the creek, and his sense of direction picked up where exactly he was.

Surefooted he climbed the artificial hill that was necessary for the creek to run. It was neither steep nor tall. Too much mass in one single spot would create an unround motion of the ring, and wear out the suspension.

 

“Shane, I started to get worried.” Irma smiled as he arrived. “Over what? If I hadn’t shown up you could always call, or write. If I had been kept, I would’ve called.”

His friend Killian snickered at the fake campfire. “You couldn’t have called.” He took one of the lamps as torch and lit his face from beneath. “If screech caught you.”

Intrigued, but also feeling slightly uneasy Shane greeted Irma with a hug, and the other three with a wave. “Who is screech?”

“Not who,” a girl next to Killian said, her voice lowered to only a nuance more than a whisper, “but what.” By the way she sat close to Killian, Shane deduced that it was his girlfriend. “Alright,” Shane sat down between Killian and Irma, gratefully taking a lab produced sausage. “what is screech?” He decided to play along.

The tradition of telling scary stories around the campfire was kept alive, even though the campfires were fake. “It is said that he is a failed experiment of the linkers. During the siege they attempted to bring their people out, even if that meant to try new and insane stuff. One was beaming!” Also with a lowered voice Killian smiled, his expressions a mask of insanity with the eerie lighting of the torch beneath his face.

“Beaming? Really? We’re going into that territory?” Shane raised his eyebrows. Everybody knew that beaming was wishful thinking, that couldn’t work unless the object that should be beamed was cooled down to absolute zero, for all subatomic motion to stop, so it all could be measured, destroyed, transmitted to a receiving end, and recreated.

“I know, it sounds crazy, but the linkers are crazy!” Fiona, Killians girlfriend, grinned insanely.

“Of course, we all know that beaming is impossible, but the linkers had to try, in order to get out. They wanted so badly to join their brethren on the Ark1, that they resorted to this insane idea.” Killian took a bite of his own sausage, in the center of the pile of torches was small heater designed to roast the stem cell sausages. Holding his food in there Shane gestured them to continue. “So, they started to cool down one of their own, with success. Testing the transporter, they beamed him here, into the gardens where a receiver had been constructed. But something went terribly wrong at the reassembly. Deformed the creature stumbled off the platform. They couldn’t bear the agony their comrade was in, so they severed its connection with the link, and left the creature. They figured it would die soon enough and abandoned the site.” A fiendish grin on his lips Killian watched Shane get uneasy. “It is said that the Admiral ordered the device they left destroyed, but engineers and scientists were so intrigued by it, that instead they burried it. Can you guess where the site is?”

Regaining his posture at the elaborate point of the tale Shane raised an eyebrow. “Here?” His voice was filled with a bored undertone, up to that point the story had been good. “That’s right. Here. But they didn’t know about Screech, he survived, feeding off of cats and mice, plants and at least one teenage boy. Last year, after they had finished the hill and opened it for summer vacation students, one guy got lost here.” Shane asked himself how anybody could get lost in the gardens. There was a lit exit every now and then, from the top of the hill one could see two in opposing directions. No one could get lost in this enclosed environment.

Clearly to him, it was a badly composed story, obviously lifted from one of the message boards, forums or what not. Maybe even an adaptation of a creepypasta found in the archives of earths internet.

“Being a left over linker Screech had the knowledge to infiltrate ship systems, he locked the entrance ways and turned off the lights, for poor Bobby to get lost.” Bobby? It had to be a name like Bobby? Shane nodded.

“After he was lost he wandered around the hill to get his bearings down, but that’s when he heard the eerie cry of Screech. A mixture between a cat in pain and rusty metal being torn apart.”

“Wait a minute,” Shane ahook his head, “how do you know this stuff? Were there any eye or ear witnesses around? If Screech took Bobby, how do you know he heard him? Did he write a mail? Did he call his mom?” In an instant Killian’s fiendish smile turned to an annoyed face. “Way to ruin the mood, man.”

“Yeah, it’s supposed to be a creepy story.” Fiona too was annoyed.

“Then tell it convincingly, without plotholes the size of a fusion reactor!”

 

“Well,” Irma shook her head, she didn’t have the spooky lighting in her lap, but still her face was lit in a dark manner. “Bobby didn’t come here alone.”

Turning his face to Irma, Shane wore an expression saying “you too, Brute?” but remained silent. “His true name wasn’t Bobby, but Robert. His friends called him Bob, or Bobby. That night he wanted to meet with the woman he had a thing with. Although in his teens like us, he had a relationship with a thirty year old counsellor. The mandatory sessions for all aboard the ship had brought them together. When she entered the gardens, it was already two in the morning, but as soon as she entered, the entrance went black and locked.”

Β 

Figuring that Robert had hacked into the systems for a romantic, and undisturbed night, Celine blushed in the darkness. “Bobby?” She whispered, hoping not to disturb anyone else, as their relationship was a secret. “Quit hiding.” She snickered glancing behind bushes around the entrance.

Slowly she advanced towards the hill, faintly the gargling creek echoed through the simulated night. The two had planned to meet at the spring of the creek, so she climbed the hill, slowly, as it was dark. Far off, almost on the other side of the gardens she could make out the glow of a camp light. That gave her reassurance, as she felt odd, and a little uneasy.

“Bobby?” No reply, no sound but the water being pumped up and flowing down hill. Celine felt her hairs stand on end at the silence. “This isn’t funny.” She said in the voice of a counsellor reeling in the weird fantasies of an adolescent boy.

Sometimes in bed she and Bobby did the counsellor-patient routine, but mostly in their secret relationship the two had a feeling of mutuality.

“Hello?” She asked after she heard footsteps somewhere beneath her. Shortly after she asked ,she heard it. The scream of something that sounded like a cat in pain, at first she figured that two cats had gotten in a fight, but the scream also had something metallic to it. “Hello? Bobby?” Her voice trembled, her knees were weak, she glanced down the way she had come, but still the exit was dark.

Hastily she turned and with a feeling of sheer terror she realised that the other entrance that normally was visible from atop the hill was dark too. Out of her fear she found anger inside her. “This is not fun, Robert, you had your fun, now stop this. If you think you and I will go to bed tonight, you’re gravely mistaken!” She stomped off in the direction of the other exit.

Halfway down the hill she heard the metallic scream again, followed by a panicked and agonised cry from an adolescent mouth.

Celine’s blood seemed to freeze.

Bobby!

Β 

Running around the hill, towards the area where she had heard the screams, Celine still felt the anger from before. Anger that this might be a sick joke from Bobby, but also worried. He was picked on a lot by his peers.

Seeing as he was anything else than athletic, more weakly, he was easy prey to the bullies. One of the things he had talked about a lot in counselling sessions before they had started dating.

Perhaps his bullies had gotten behind their secret, or just him dating someone at late night in the gardens, and had set up the situation?

When she reached the other side of the hill, she found nothing. Looking around she found more of the same.

Her hands shook as she took out her glasses. They were offline, as she didn’t want to leave a traceable trail in the ship’s records, but she didn’t care at that point.

As soon as she had them on her head she turned on the headlight function, derived from a small LED flashlight for the camera, and activated the network.

There was blood in the green grass.

To her horror, she also noticed that the network wouldn’t connect. Looking around Celine felt her heart beat in her throat.

“Is there anyone?” Her voice trembled, close to whimpering. It felt as if the entire ship had gone, and all that was left of Destiny’s crew was her, alone in the garden of the beta ring.

She as a whole began shaking in fear, her headlight trembled, causing the shadows it threw to dance silently and eerily.

Flickering lights behind her in the distance startled her, she let out a terrified scream.

Clutching her hands in front of her chest she turned to find the lights of the exit had returned. Tempted to make a run for it she looked around once again, took a snap of the bloodstains and hurried off. Hoping to find a message waiting for her, as soon as the network was available again, telling her that Bobby had been kept by someone or something.

Β 

Shane swallowed hard. “That, is how you tell these.” He said in a raspy voice, not having realised how dry his throat had become.

With another swallowing he glanced to Killian, and saw that he too had been taken in by Irma’s version of the story.

“It ain’t over.” Irma snickered maniacally. “Of course Celine reported the incident, filed the picture she had taken. But when security arrived the ground was just a dirty patch of soil. No grass, no blood.”

Reassuring, but as secretive as possible, Shane felt for the grass. It was there.

“Other than Bobby missing, nothing was awry. Security logs on the entrances showed no tampering with locks or lights, and so the investigation into his disappearance focused on Celine. After all, she had a sexual relationship with an underage patient, and was married. It seemed only natural that she had killed him. Investigators assumed that he wanted to make the relationship publicly known, and in a fit she had murdered him, and then fabricated that insane story. She was put in the brig as a mentally unstable, and possibly criminal insane person, as she kept insisting on her version of events, always brought up the picture of the bloody grass as evidence of her innocence.” Interested, but in no way spooked the others listened to her.

“Until, some months ago, a bunch of cat bones had been unearthed in preparation for another terraforming project here in the gardens. They showed marks. Teeth marks. Of human teeth, someone, or dare I say, something had gnawed off the flesh of these cats. The bones showed no way of heating, so they must’ve been eaten raw.” Goosebumps crawled over Shanes arms.

 

“Do you hate animals, Mrs. Fennington?” Celine glared at the counsellor assigned to work with her. “No.” She replied truthfully. “What makes you think that I would?”

“Well,” he produced a series of images on the table, which had a built in display, showing bones with teeth marks. “these were found in the garden, where you have murdered your lover.” She had grown accustomed to the fact that she was held responsible for Roberts disappearance. Even her husband and daughter thought so.

But cat bones? Gnawed off, cat bones on top of that? “Take a print of my teeth, or check my dental records. They won’t match the marks on these bones. I believe Bobby’s dental records are on file, just to make sure it wasn’t some sick love game we played.” She intensified her gaze. Did they really think that of her?

“True,” admitted the counsellor, “but they are in a bad state. They were found near a small pond, during preparation for another creek.”

Celine reclined in her seat, this conversation should be lead by an interrogator, not a counsellor. Then again, he was a working with the criminally insane, so he probably was both. “So? You want to pin these on me too? Saying I either faked the marks, or they don’t match due to deterioration in wet soil?” There was a twitch in the man’s face.

“Listen, I’ll gladly retell the events yet another time, but you don’t believe me, so I see no point. Just continue with your investigation.”

“Please,” folding his hands the images on the table disappeared, John Hopkins leaned on it, “tell me again what had happened?”

Celine raised an eyebrow, was he being serious? “I went to the gardens to meet with Robert, as I entered the doors locked and the lights went out, despite what the records tell. After looking for him, I was infuriated and wanted to leave when I heard that cry. It sounded like a tortured cat, with something metallic to it. Then I discoveed the blood, took a picture of it and left as the lights around the exit came back, and I figured it was unlocked. I hadn’t called for help prior to that, because there was no connection.”

Although she made it sound simple, her heart beat to her throat, and she felt the terror beneath her calm exterior.

Was it in John’s eyes, or his glasses that she saw that he believed she was lying? Uncertain she sighed, it didn’t matter. “The implant tells me you’re quite agitated, this is closer to PTSD than a lie on the detector.” He mused. Although he had worked with her before, apparently he never had bothered to monitor her biosigns. “Now you’re either calling this a fabrication so my conscious mind won’t have to deal with what I did, or you are toying with me and in secret you keep believing that I did it. Don’t forget Mister Hopkins, I am a counsellor too.” She winked.

“No,” he unfolded his hands again, “I actually believe that you witnessed something, but also that you murdered your lover.” The door opened and two armed security guards entered. “Come.” He rose to his feet.

Again she felt her blood run cold as ice.

Without him saying anything she knew he was going to take her to the gardens. A place she hoped to never see again.

Β 

Already the programmed dimming was setting in, to simulate a sundown. Celine’s intestines formed a tight knot as she laid eyes on the gardens.

Especially the hill.

“Soon it will be dark, I thought it would be a good therapeutic way to show you the gardens.” Swallowing her heartbeat Cekine took a deep breath, and small step forward. Beneath the soles of her shoes she felt the soft ground give way to her weight, unlike any surface she walked on outside the gardens. “Of course you did. It is in our nature as counsellors to think these things, but you know what?” She turned to him in a swift motion, causing the guards to reach for their guns. “We are wrong! Now get me out of here!” She found herself incapable of maintaining her cool exterior, panic now reached the exterior, boiled over like water in a pot.

She threw herself in the direction of the exit, but was caught by the guards. “Celine! We need to do this. You need to. The sooner you realise that you killed,” John Hopkins words caught in his throat as the sound echoed over from the hill.

A noise as if a cat cries, mixed with something metallic.

In panic, additionally fuelled by Celine’s story of the events, he bolted to the exit, the guards rushed behind him.

With a glad sigh he leaned agains the reassuring cold wall plating in the corridor after the door had closed, it was only then that he noticed Celine was missing.

Β 

Petrified Celine stood two steps from the door, something inside her was screaming for her to make a run for it. But she barely noticed that it closed behind John and his guards. Let alone her inner voice urging her to leave.

That sound again.

That cry again.

Unable to move a single muscle Celine stood there in silence.

An unusual sound came from behind her. It was a thump. A knocking of sorts. Trembling Celine forced herself to turn, what she saw made her wish she had a gun, a crowbar or explosives.

The door wasn’t lit. Presumably it was locked, the knocking came from the other side of the door. Still trembling Celine turned to the hill.

Tears shot to her eyes, she was thinking of Bobby.

Gingerly she placed one foot in front of the other, stopped as she felt something beneath her foot.

John Hopkins’ glasses, he must’ve lost them in his flight. Uncertain whether he had locked them or not she picked them up with cuffed hands, put them on.

Accessible!

“I…I am recording this in the event that the mysterious thing that killed Bobby strikes again, to prove my innocence, and perhaps show my murderer.” There was absolutely no network connection, so she had to use internal memory, for that to last, she had lowered the quality of the recording.

Just like the last time she had been in the garden, she used the flash as headlight, as she slowly moved up the hill. Again the eerie cry sounded, Celine’s heart lumped in her throat.

There it was.

About as tall as her shoulder, patches of hair on its head that was just a lump on top of a bulky body. Spindly arms and legs, the creature, the man, she noticed, stood naked before her. The skin was rosy and raw, as if inflamed.

“Fuck.” She hissed. Her hands were cuffed, even if she had something to defend herself with, how would she strike at the thing?

Another metallic noise filled the air. It was the door! John’s guarsa had cut through it with their guns, the hole they had cut out had fallen to the ground.

The two men jumped through, looked around and saw her, and the creature. Immediately they opened fire.

A screech of agony rose from the man as the first darts hit him, but it moved with incredible speed towards the guards, so they switched to the lasers.

Wounded, and crying in pain the thing retreated into the onsetting night.

 

“Really?” Fiona bore an expression of disbelief. “It escaped?”

Killian tucked at her arm, winking, “It wouldn’t be as scary if it had been caught. What should we be frightened of in this nightly garden if it had been caught, or killed?”

Fiona giggled at his remark. Shane had to snicker too.

“A thorough investigation followed, the video remained classified, Celine was rehabilitated, but opted to be hospitalised. Nothing was found of Screech, as Celine then called the thing.” Irma went on. “Until a month ago, they found it. It was stalkimg security officers, and got killed.” Disappointment showed on the faces of her peers as she spoke those words.

But a devilish grin appeared on her lips. “Upon autopsy however, they discovered something odd about the creature. It had a linker chip, but also it had Bobby’s chip.” She pointed at the back of her hand where the chips usually sat. “Of course, Screech ate him!” Kilkian blurted out.

“The creature they had killed was smaller than what the video indicated, eye wittness reports also made it bigger. But that was attributed to the bad quality of the footage, and the adrenaline rush the guards and Celine were on. However, Screech had also Bobby’s DNA.”

Silence followed her words as the group tried to grasp what she was saying. “Bobby was Screech the whole time?” Fiona wrinkled her forehead, to which Irma slowly shook her head.

“Screech tried to assimilate Bobby, he couldn’t bear the loneliness any longer. Through their link, and the mutilations Screech had given Bobby, they also exchanged genetic information. They had gotten Bobby, or what had become of him, the real Screech is still out there. Official reports, although classified too, however say that they had gotten Screech. DNA and the chip were present inside him because he ate Bobby.”

Although they had relaxed a bit after Irma had told of Screech’s alleged end, the others felt tension rise again.

“Good story.” Shane found his voice again. It was a good story, nothing more. Still he had to shake off the nagging doubt, he had felt a bit odd as he arrived.

“How do you know of all this stuff?” Fiona too had found her voice again. For a moment Irma remained silent. “My mum works in security. She and my dad discuss stuff over the dinner table when I’m supposedly in bed.”

A cold chill ran down Shane’s spine. “Wait, this is a story, I’ve heard it in school!” Killian sounded startled.

They didn’t need for her to reply, a look at her stern expression was enough. Every of these stories had some grain of truth to them, Shane thought. Regardless he felt something that he had ignored for the better part of the last hour, so he could hear the rest of Irma’s story.

“It’s just a story.” He said with a certainty he didn’t feel deep down, while getting up. “I’ll be back in a moment.”

He felt the eyes of his friends in his back, staring in disbelief that he dared to venture out into the night alone, with Screech potentially being real, and around. But Shane had concluded that even if Screech was real, the Admiral, the Governor and various others wouldn’t have opened Beta gardens to them and the public in general if there really could be a monster roaming it.

Beta Gardens would be locked, and combed through by security teams, dug over and perhaps even bombarded with toxins or radiation.

Since they were open, there was no Screech.

 

Lavatories were dimly lit small buildings, strewn around the gardens. During day time, it was a welcome change to the simulated daylight, during night it was a warm reminer that humans were light dwelling creatures. Shane opened a stall, recoiled from the stench of an unflushed toilet. Pondering what kind of mentally challenged idiot the previous user is, he moved to the next stall over.

Putting up the toilet seat he still had the lingering stench in his nose and hoped that whoever did that, was found and forced to clean it up.

“Hey!” He yelled as he heard the door to the facilities open. “Don’t use the first stall, some colossal asshole didn’t learn how to flush in kindergarten.”

No reply, only the sound of footsteps.

Naked footsteps. “Very funny, Killian, but your prank is your own undoing if you step in that disgusting,” Shane stepped outside the stall.

Immediately he felt all color fade from his face, his throat was instantly dry. Instead of Killian, or any of his friends he saw a tall thing. A big body, a lump of a head, spindly arms and legs.

It let out a screech like a tortured cat and rusty metal being torn apart.

Although his heart beat through his chest, and every fiber of his being urged him to scream or run out the other exit, Shane didn’t move.

It had to be some kind of trick the others were playing on him. A costume, an illusion.

“Heard you were lonely.” He croaked with a dry throat. “Why not talk to people, instead of killing them?” Realising how silly he sounded, and how much his voice trembled, Shane still fought the urge to bolt out the other exit. Again Screech screamed, causing Shane’s instincts to take over.

Faster than he ever thought possible he ran out the door, stumbled through the tall grass, tore his clothes at a bush. Suddenly the hill seemed much steeper, and higher, the reassuring camp light was so far away.

Panicked he glanced over his shoulder.

Nothing.

As he stood there, on his hands and knees, with nothing following him, or anywhere around him, he figured that either his tired mind had played a trick on him, or his friends had. For a few moments he calmed his nerves and breathing. In these moments he heard nothing from behind.

After he was calmed enough he climbed the hill, now that he wasn’t in a panic the steepness was soft again, and approached the camp site.

There was no one there.

Immediately his heart began to race again, after the encounter with Screech, real or not, he felt incapable of taking much more.

“Guys, this ain’t funny. First the fake Screech in the lavatory, now you hiding. Seriously, not funny!” Anger flushed his cheeks with fire.

“What?” Killian popped his head out from behind a tree. “What fake Screech?” Fiona too appeared from the darkness as well, next to her, Irma emerged from the night.

Feeling his heart beat increase again Shane pointed in the direction of the lavatory. “Perhaps it was my mind playing tricks on” he was interrupted by a scream.

It came from the pond at the foot of the hill, where the creek lead. It was a scream of someone who was in terror. Killian and Shane grabbed a piece of the camp light respectively, and hurrired in the direction the scream had come from.

Closely behind them were Fiona and Irma, who each had grabbed a light too. On the waters edge they found disturbed soil. A girl their age screamed a little to the right, they followed it, and found her standing waist deep in the water. She held a stick out in front of her. Killian shone his light in the direction it was pointed.

He too let out a terrified scream, dropped the light.

Screech!

As he was described in the stories. Now the monstrosity turned towards him and let out his signature cry. A light flew past Killians head and hit Screech.

“Hey, remember me? We had that little chat earlier?” Shane yelled to keep Screech’s attention. The small inset eyes of Screech fixed on Shane now.

“Forgive my sudden departure, but your screams are,” Shane helped his buddy Killian stand up again, “terrifying.” A rustling noise came from Screech, his mouth opened and closed.

“Go, and get help.” Shane hissed to Killian. Neither had to check their glasses to know there was no network connection.

Apparently Screech had overheard Shane’s words. He rose to his full height, stretched out the thin arms of his. Screaming intensely he bowed back as much as his deformed body allowed. They followed his gaze into the distance. As far as they could see the lights around all the entrances to the garden had went out. Only one place remained invisible to them, behind the central spine of the ship, but they were certain that Screech had locked that one as well.

“What does he want Shane?” Killian couldn’t help but claw his best friend’s arm. “Company. A link. His people. I’m not an expert on this thing!”

With something resembling a grin Screech lookee down to the youths before him, when suddenly he cried out, the girl in the pond had thrust her stick in his side, and fled through the shallow waters.

Brushing off the stick as if it was nothing Screech pursued her.

“Log!” Irma moaned heaving a thick branch from the ground, gratefully Shane accepted the new weapon. He and Killian followed Screech, while Irma and Fiona ran in the other direction, in hopes of finding an exit, or a spot where they could call for help.

 

Not far from the shore the girl stumbled, her knees were shaking and she sobbed, Screech stopped over her, his inset eyes locked on his prey. Panicked she wanted to scream, but managed only a whimper, when suddenly she heard an unusual sound.

A crack.

Screech stumbled to one side, then to the other, trying to shake off the blow to the head he just had received, when Shane brought the branch down on Screech’s head a second time. Something moist and warm sprinkled in his face, for once he was glad that the night had not been deactivated yet.

Slowly, swaying to all sides Screech turned. Killian had sneaked past the creature, was helping the girl get to her feet again.

Once more Shane beat Screech with the branch, when the crack changed. The branch broke in two, but to his relief, Screech was sinking to the ground.

A mere ten meters from their position a light suddenly came to life, revealing the exit. “This is Killian Fitzgerald, calling urgently to the closest security team. We need assistance!” Distant, almost as if in a dream, Shane heard his friend calling for help, as the network came back together with the lights.

 

“And that is how Screech was defeated two years ago.” Lucille grinned over the campfire simulating lights. “But it is said, that the transporter platform beneath this very hill, has his signature stored in its buffer, and could at any moment materialise a new Screech.”

What in all actuality??

Time for a small update for you people out there.

● As you already know, I’ve scrapped “Whose World”, because I believe it to be subpar. Don’t worry, I am rebooting it. Less insanity/abstrusity, more likable stuff, I hope. (This is under way, being written atm, when I am done reading the expanse that is)

● A.C. is still in the pre-planning phase. Another sci-fi story/series that it’s taking its sweet time.

● Shadows of – I don’t know if I can salvage this, or have to reboot it like WW. I stopped when it began to become ludicrous even in my eyes. Salvage would save some 10-20% of what is written already, the test would be thrown out…

● J&E – I am writing a contemporary, romantic, drama? Am I insane? Yes. Yes, I am. πŸ˜› idk if this will ever find its way online HERE, but it has to be written. Soooo…. whatever.

●RoF – my sci-fi series is up and running, hope I won’t forget to do the usual updates until late into the first Wednesday of the month… πŸ˜‰

Hope this little status update satisfies your curiosity, here’s a picture of my playmobil alter ego writing…