Posts tagged ‘colonisation’

Rings of Fate S2xE10 – Destiny – Screech (pt.5)

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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.”

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Rings of Fate S2xE10 – Destiny – Screech (pt.4)

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“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.

Rings of Fate S2xE10 – Destiny – Screech (pt.3)

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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.


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.


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. 

Rings of Fate S2xE10 – Destiny – Screech (pt.2)

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“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.” 
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!


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. 

Rings of Fate S2xE10 – Destiny – Screech (pt.1)

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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!” 

Rings of Fate S2xE9 – Destiny – Life (pt.4)

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​Damp air surrounded Mirella as she awoke. Something had woken her, unable to tell what it was she rose, clutching the bedsheet to her chest. Beside her the bed was empty, had Phineas gone? She saw a cold glimmer of light from the adjacent room. As Admiral she had the luxury of a bigger quarters, even though she was single. Sometimes it bothered her that she lacked the greatness of character to deny these. 

The cold light emanated from a tablet, it was in Phineas’ hands, he typed frantically. It was that light thatn had woken her. “Chatting with your other girlfriend?” She joked, got chuckles from Phin as a reply. “No. Killian contacted me to ask where I was, and after I had told him I was sleeping out, he replied with a winking smiley face and went to bed. After that I thought, why not get a bit of work done?” He showed her his screen. 

It was split in two, the upper half showed various images, the lower half was text. “I received another interesting information just now.” He smiled. 

As Mirella sat down on the cushioned seat in front of him he opened something on his tablet. “You convinced gamma. The motion carries, Destiny is not going to disturb the natives on RV-p296.” Biting her lip Mirella nodded. “I can be convincing, it was just a matter of history.” 

They both leaned back, staring at each other. Where would they go from where they were? “What kind of time consuming work awaits you and the other scientists now?” Mirella feared the answer to the question of their relationship. 

“Sadly, not much. Most of the research will be done by Explorer, what they don’t work out, we get. Horizon is, understandably short on man power, they are currently trying to figure out, how to build something out of the nothingness of space.” Although dark, they both snickered at his remark. “But what interests me more at the moment than the colonisation of 296, is, where do we go from here?”

The question she had dreaded to ask, finally spoken out. 

Still biting on her lip Mirella shrugged her shoulders. “Where these things normally lead to. Us being together, maybe move in together?” 

Phineas nodded with a smile. “Yes, I think I’d like that.”
After the crawler had returned to Eagle the drone set off. It had received new orders from the orbiter, avoid contact with the natives. Ascending higher to avoid being too obvious the Eagle continued with its original purpose. 

It mapped the volcano in greater detail, found it was active, but currently dormant. Turning north it furthered the mapped out regions. 
“Hawk and Eagle found the Twins,” the unofficial nickname for the two landmasses separated by the straight, “are populated all over. The natives are scattered, much about the way they live resembles nomadic, and semi nomadic tribes on earth, like the native american people.” It had been three weeks of daily updates from the probes. Of course they were old when they reached Destiny, but to her crew and scientific community, it was new. Phineas glanced over the table, to his joy he found Mirella attending the meeting. He did these every third day, when enough information had been gleaned from the sent data.

“However, the Owl on the largest continent has found that its inhabitants live in conditions more similar to the bronze age.” Images of towns and cities appeared on the screens. “They have agriculture and as far as the Owl could could find out, they have trade, and they sail the oceans.”

Orbital images of sailboats and ships in harbours and the sea popped up. “It is only a matter of time, until they find out there’s another continent.” Someone else in the room said, commenting on the images. 

Most of the conclusions and results were drawn by the Explorer crew, as Phineas had told Mirella, the Destiny scientists had not much to do. “Audio recordings of the different tribes, and nations, led us to conclude that they speak different languages. We haven’t deciphered any of them, but we’re working on it.” Proud of the work his department had finished so far and were in the progress of doing, Phineas let that information sink in with his guests. 

What followed was a excerpt of the Bussard on Equatoria, no traces of the native people, plenty of wildlife, fertile soil. 

“That was the good news, but there is a downside to it.” He displayed a short video, it showed trees shaking. “That was day 1. Bussard deployed crawlers, and seismographs. Day 3 and day 4, earth quakes. Day7, day 9, day 10 earth quakes. Then there was five days of rest, until it went on. The entire northern half of equatoria is unstable.” The orbiter image showed a series of fault lines running through the continent. “Bussard was sent to the southern half, which seems to be stable, but we have no information yet. I’m afraid the northern half will soon dislodge from equatoria. At least, that’s the conclusion that the Explorer geology department reached.” Soon, in a geologic manner of speaking. “Only one of the quakes was truly worth mentioning, the first one, then others were more like tremors, but still, any settlement plans have to take this into account.” 

After a few more minutes the meeting was adjourned, and Phineas headed over to Mirella. 

“I have had a glorious idea!” He smiled across his whole face, gently grabbing her hand. 
After they had enterd the cab he blindfolded her, before telling the cab where to go. She noticed only that they became weightless for a while, and returned to a ring. By the duration of the ride she assumed theiy either had gone to alpha ring, or subalpha.  

Leading her by the hand she soon smelled moist soil, and plants. 

After a while he stopped. She heard a door open, and a gust of wind blew in her face. 

It had come so sudden, so unexpected that it thrilled her. 

Goosebumps ran over her skin. 
He led her through the door, more wind gushed over her, again unexpected. It wasn’t like traditional wind simulations, not a continuous blow that varied in intensity. It stopped from time to time, came back in a gentle breezee, stopped, blew hard, and weakened. 

To her it seemed to change direction too. “I hope you like the wind, it should quiet down soon, otherwise my plans will be ruined, or so I’ve heard.”

He lifted the blindfold from her head. They were at the tracks, at the tea plantation. From the corner of her eye she saw the wind turbines, they paused blowing, turned, blowed in a random setting of intensity, and paused again to turn, also randomly. “It was a minor adjustment to the program.” Phineas explained the unusual wind patterns that had thrilled her. At his feet was a picnic cloth, and a basket waiting for them. 

Intrigued Mirella sat down, gladly accepted the sparkling water he poured her. Taking in the unusual scenery and setting, she was about to take a sip, when she noticed something at the bottom of her glass.

“I’ve always been an old school guy.” He gently took her hand in his. “Will you be my wife?” 

Stunned Mirella managed to stammer “Yes.” 

Rings of Fate S2xE9 – Destiny – Life (pt.3)

image

​The tripedal aliens looked directly at the eagle module. Mirella looked back at them through time and space. Into those three frightened eyes, on each of their faces. A sense of failure overcame her. They already had tainted their culture and development. 

To her surprise she had received a communique from Kismet. The emir and his advisers had decided to follow Explorer’s example and settle for grounds that wouldn’t influence the natives. Coming from a group that, only two generations ago, was profit driven, who had sold tickets on their ship after their needs of scientists and engineers were met, she was genuinely surprised. 

Phineas had called. 

She hadn’t answered. He sent a message, apparently the decision of the Kismet crew had swayed beta’s governor, he too favored the non invasive plans now.

Still. 

She looked into those frightened eyes. Were the natives on earth equally frightened when more advanced groups of people came in contact with them? 

No, they weren’t. What stepped out of the ship, or plane, was people like them! In this case however, there was just a giant metallic thing that hovered above the trees. In one generation there would be creatures arriving so vastly different to them, that all they could do was meet them with fear. 

With humanity’s advanced technology the natives would view them as what they were, other worldly. Perhaps divine. 

Even if humans managed to keep away from the natives, if they were seen by them, it was enough to influence their culture, or cultures, beyond repair. 

Mirella couldn’t help but doubt their right to colonise that planet, now that they knew it was inhabited. 

Those frightened eyes.

She turned to the next image. From the crawler this time. An alternate image of the same event. Taken from the side, the faces of the natives weren’t visible as good, so she could at least look at it without a feeling of guilt.

The next image, also from the crawler was surprising her. The crawler was up in the air a bit, the natives still staring in the sky. Eagle had retreated out of sight, but they clearly looked where it went. Quickly she switched to the next image, a face with three eyes was up close, it seemed smaller, younger. Mirella gasped.

A child! It had picked up the crawler, investigated it with childlike curiosity. Staring into the curious, friendly eyes of the child she decided to make this the face of the natives in her mind, instead of the worried, frightened faces of the adults.

Over a series of images it became clear that the child had called for an adult to explain the unusual animal it had discovered. 

The crawler later had been thrown into the underbrush around the camp, further images taken by Eagle revealed that the hunters abandoned camp, in a great haste. 
“Governor Petriev, we have to evade the natives at all costs. There is no way to say what impact our arrival will have on these people.” The Admiral ignored the nagging voice in her head telling her again that they already had made an impact. At least on that group of hunters, and the stories they undoubtedly told after the encounter. 

“Admiral, to establish a thriving colony, without the need to continue the infringement of our reproductive rights, it is essential that we have enough room to grow. I am willing to concede on settling on Equatoria,” they nicknamed the continent on the equator, “but if we discover that the aliens have spread there too, I will still motion to settle there.” Lights inside the governor’s office were bright, the interior was spartan. Although he had a wife and two children, there wasn’t a single picture of them to be found.

“Governor, how would you have reacted if the linkers had amassed on your domain, gamma ring? How would you have felt, or reacted, if they had taken not only part of your ring, but all of It, as it happened with Beta on the Horizon? The claim the linkers laid on the parts of our ships was as valid as is yours. They need room to grow, but would you have fought them? Even if that meant your certain demise?” Vladimir Petriev grew pale. Of course he would have. But was the Admiral really comparing him to the linkers? “We are, in this case, the invaders. The ones who want to take away that land from those who live on and off of it. That said, I direct you to our history, not just recent events. We can not, and shall not continue our forefathers mistakes. I hope you’ll consider this. And I can only hope that the crews that will arrive there, will also consider this.” Mirella got up, bid the now pale and silent governor a good day and left. 
After her talk with Vladimir, Mirella wandered through the hallways of the gamma ring, paid a short visit to the gardens full of orchards. All the while pondering how fresh air truly felt. How wind, caused by nature instead of fans, truly felt. 

From her pocket she drew her glasses. 

“Phineas Branston, PhD.” She ordered the software to call. “Meet me, subalpha gardens, 1800. Where I was the last time.” She left a message, hoping he’d get it in time.

On her way to the gardens she dropped by her quarters and changed from her uniform into casual clothing. 

As she arrived the bench was empty, as she assumed it would be. The tracks on the training grounds were empty, save for a few workers maintaining the garden, they were remarkably empty. “Your call sounded urgent.” Phineas’ voice startled her, but in a weird, pleasant way.

Calming her nerves she sat down, she felt like a schoolgirl, and that was what she didn’t want to appear like. “It is, somewhat.” She admitted, gesturing him to take a seat. 

Confused as to what was so urgent he sat down. 

“You know,” she stammered, paused and sighed, causing Phineas to squint at her. “I reckon that this is not a conversation between the Admiral and Doctor Branston, right?” Mirella nodded with a shy smile. 

From her expression Phineas took everything he needed to know. “Mira, would you go out with me?” A warm smile washed over her. “Gladly!” Squealing? I don’t think I should be squealing! Mirella cleared her throat. “I was hoping we could stroll through this garden.” Phineas looked around, and finally up. “Tonight there’ll be rain here.” The dimming light had a blue hue to it, gently informing anyone in the garden of the planned rain in a subtle but noticeable way.

“Exactly!” Again she squealed, immediately clearing her throat again. “I was looking at the images from RV-p296, and I hunger for this. For wind that is not artificial, rain that is not artificial, but I can’t have any of that. I realised that I had stayed away from even the fake rain here, and that I need to go in the rain. I realised that, even after your divorce, I had remained steering clear from you, out of fear of being rejected, hurt and because I was a little angry. But I was angry at the wrong person, I was angry at you, when I should have been angry at myself. Now you are aware of what I felt for you, and still feel for you. I want you to be in the rain with me. Dance in the rain with me.” She sprang to her feet, extending her hand to him. A boyish smile on his lips he grabbed it and sprang to his feet as well. “I’ll gladly dance in the rain with you, every day.” A few drops came to their attention.