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78. The Unnatural City, Part XIII   Leave a comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 78: The Unnatural City, Part XIII: Kill it With Fire
Astralyn, Timmy, and Sundance quickly stood up and backed away from the opening doors. They all stood wide eyed in terror, not knowing what else to do. It was fine when the robots were underground, but now they were planning their escape. What would happen once they got top side? Timmy already had a glimpse of the chaos that would ensue in his dream world. He did not want that to become a reality.
Without thinking, Timmy ran over to the right side of the sliding doors and placed his hands on them. He hoped that he could use his new ability to hijack control of the doors again. He made them open, hopefully he could make them close. “Timmy, what are you doing?” Astralyn shouted. “Sundance, no!”
Sundance saw that Timmy was in trouble and quickly ran over to him. He pulled Timmy’s hands off the door and dragged him away just as the doors slid completely open. They made it just in time for the robot army to start stomping its way above ground.
“Now what do we do?” Timmy asked Sundance.
“Get down!” someone shouted from behind them.
Everyone turned around as they saw three large army trucks drive down the street. The men and women in the back of the truck were standing with their weapons drawn. Their weapons happened to include laser bazookas. When the trucks stopped, the S.P.A.C.E. agents jumped out of the truck and created an defensive line. Sundance, Timmy, Astralyn, and Colonel Graves made sure that they were behind the line.
The troops didn’t look like they were surprised at all by the appearence of large man eating robots. They simply picked up their laser bazookas and aimed to fire. When the commander gave the order, the troops opened fire on the robots, causing them to short circuit and explode. When robots spilled out of the tunnel, the troops didn’t waste any time in destroying them.
Sundance and Timmy just watched gleefully as the robots exploded into fiery heaps of metal. When it looked like the final robot had fallen, they high fived each other and embraced in a hug. The scientists gave a might cheer as the smoldering pile of robot remains sent smoke up into the sky.
Timmy walked over to Colonel Graves, who was hugging Astralyn, and tapped him on the shoulder. “Colonel, how did these troops know where to find us?”
“I called for back up after we had split up from that weird wire thing,” the colonel replied. “Though, I figure they wouldn’t have known where to look if it hadn’t been for you getting us out of there. You did a fine job, Lieutenant. A mighty fine job!”
“My hero!” Astralyn gave Timmy a kiss on his right cheek and a hug.
Timmy turned to Sundance and smiled. Sundance raised an eyebrow and smirked.
“What, you’re not getting a kiss from me, Timmy! You can forget about it!” Sundance slapped Timmy on the shoulder. “Now, how about we go and get some clothes? It’s cold out here.”
While Colonel Graves stayed behind to delegate orders on the destruction of the robots’ underground facility, Sundance, Timmy, and Astralyn huddled together on their way to the army trucks. They were more than happy to put the whole incident behind them. If they saw another robot again, it would be too soon.
————
“So, when did you notice that it wasn’t real?” Sundance asked, before taking a bite out of a blueberry scone. It was the following morning and Timmy and Sundance were having breakfast in the cafeteria in S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters. They were fully rested after they had a chance to shower and sleep. “I mean, I was convinced that I really was on Rylan 4 with all of those party girls! Man, some of those girls…” He held his hands out in front of his chest and made cups. He looked up at Timmy and winked.
Timmy shook his head as he stirred his oatmeal. “I kept seeing the robots’ faces everywhere I went. It was so bizarre. You, Astralyn, and the colonel were all robots, out for my head on a plate.” He didn’t want to think about it. The idea that the robots were inside his mind while they were harvesting his fluids weirded him out. “Nothing was making sense. Then all of the robots attacked me and I ran back to Christopher City…” Timmy stopped and smiled. “I realize that I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Oh, come on, Timmy! You can’t leave me in suspense!” Sundance sat back in his chair and folded his arms. “I mean, how did you get out? How did you free us? What was that thing you did with that control panel? I want answers!”
“I think it all has something to do with my blood,” Timmy said sullenly.
“I thought Dr. Page said she didn’t know what was going on with your blood.”
“And as far as I know, she’s still working on it.” Timmy scooped up a spoonful of oatmeal only to let it drop back into the bowl. “The Mother Computer told me that she had taken blood like mine from other people before. It’s special somehow. It allows me to do things… with technology.” That was all Timmy wanted to say about it because that was all that made sense to him. He left out the one thing that made him worry. The Mother Computer told him that his blood was alien. What did that make him? He didn’t want Sundance to think any different of him, not that he thought he would, but just in case.
“So, you’re thinking maybe your blood is what powered that machine back on Deimos?” Sundance asked. Timmy nodded. “Wow. I don’t know what to say about that. But, don’t worry about it too much, Timmy! I’m sure that Dr. Page will find some answers for you.”
“I hope so,” Timmy said, but he wasn’t sure if she’d be able to. It was entirely possible that he was the only person on New Earth that had his blood type. If he really was an alien, where would he even start looking for answers?
“Well, the whole robot nest has been destroyed, so there’s nothing else to fear from them ever again,” Sundance said, stuffing the rest of his scone in his mouth. “Remind me to ask Astralyn what she dreamt about, I’m curious!”
Sundance continued to speak, but Timmy wasn’t listening. He was too concerned about what was going to happen to him next. What effects will happen because he had alien blood? What will he become? These were questions he was afraid to know the answers to. He hoped that he could put all this behind him and move on with no further incident, but he’ll always wonder.

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71. The Unnatural City, Part VI   2 comments

Meanwhile in Space

Episode 71: The Unnatural City, Part VI: The Great Escape

The robot that was previously Sundance gripped its cold metallic fingers around Timmy’s neck. Timmy reached up and tried to pry the fingers off his neck, but the robot was stronger. The more he struggled, the less he was able to breathe. He knew his time was running out. He planted his left foot into the center of the robot’s abdomen. The robot was surprised and its grip loosened. Timmy took this opportunity to take a deep breath and plant another kick with his right foot. The robot stumbled backward.

“Timmy, what’s wrong with you?” The robot transformed back into Sundance, but Timmy knew better. “Timmy!” Sundance’s voice morphed into something dark and electronic.

Timmy pushed past him and ran out of the bathroom. “Everyone needs to get out of here, now!” The air caught in his throat when he looked at everyone in the restaurant. The entire restaurant was filled with robots. There were robots sitting down enjoying their meals. There were robots cooking meals. There were robots giving other robots glasses of water. Timmy stared in horror. How had he not noticed this. His eyes darted to the table he was sitting and saw that Astralyn and Colonel Graves were also robots.

“No,” Timmy moaned.

All of the robots turned and stared at him with their red hot eyes. Then in unison, they all stood up and slowly marched towards him.

Timmy reached for his laser pistol and remembered that he didn’t have it with him. He cursed himself. He started eyeing the exits. There was the front door and the emergency exit near the far right corner of the dining room. There was too much distance between the bathroom and the front door. There was no way he could make it without being caught by one of them. The emergency exit had just as many robots, but the trek wouldn’t be as far. He decided that’s where he’d make his escape.

The robots extended their arms out to him as if they were wanting a big hug. Timmy cautiously stepped forward and prepared to make a run for it. The bathroom door opened and the robot that was inside stepped out and grabbed Timmy by the waist.

Timmy cried out and tried to kick the robot, but couldn’t get his bearings. He struggled as the other robots moved in. He decided if he couldn’t kick them, he could at least use gravity against them. Timmy pushed back on the robot so that it crashed up against the wall behind them. The robot released him as it tried to regain its balance. Timmy immediately made a dash for the door. Two robots stepped in front of the emergency exit and prevented him from leaving.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Timmy quickly scanned the dining room for anything he could use as a weapon. All he saw were plates full of Italian food. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do. He grabbed two plates and promptly shoved them in the robots’ boxy faces. The robots scrambled to unobscure their view. Timmy used this opportunity to pull the robots towards him, away from the door. He slipped between them and pushed the door open. A high pitched alarm sounded. The robots seemed to be irritated by it and they froze.

Timmy stumbled into the alley and checked to see if the robots were behind him. They weren’t pursuing him so he ran to the streets. He bumped into a few people as he rushed by them. He looked up to apologize but gasped when he saw that the people he ran into were robots! He shouted and ran away. The robots proceed to chase after him.

The entire street was full of robots pretending to be people. Timmy couldn’t believe it. How could this be? There was something definitely wrong. How could no one notice that robots had replaced every living person? He needed to get to the bottom of this, but he needed to get out of the reaches of the robots first.

Timmy knew that he couldn’t hope to outrun them; he needed a speedy escape and he knew exactly how to go about doing it. He ran to the parking lot where there were a plethora of different cars to choose from. Timmy found the one the robot formerly known as Sundance drove to the restaurant. He thought that it was only right to steal his car. The top of the car was down, as usual, so Timmy jumped right into the driver’s seat. He reached beneath the steering column and broke open the control box. He tinkered around with the circuits until he found the one he was looking for. In a snap, the car activated and lifted off the ground. Timmy laughed at his accomplishment. He had never hijacked a car before.

Timmy drove the car away out of the parking lot. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw that the robots were still coming for him, but they had no way of catching him. He hoped that these robots didn’t have rocket packs like the previous set did.

As he drove away, Timmy had many questions running around his head. Had all of Citadel City been taken over by robots? How had no one seen them coming? Why was there no warning? Where were the people that the robots replaced? Could he fight them alone? He couldn’t make any sense of the situation. Everything about this was wrong.

As he made the right off of Broadway Street, he asked himself another question. Where was he going?

“To the beginning,” he uttered under his breath. He needed to get back to the source, the place where everything started. He decided that he was going to go back to Christopher City. Timmy leaned over to the passenger side and opened the glove compartment. There was a laser pistol resting on a pair of white gloves. He pulled the pistol out and set it on the seat next to him. With pistol procured, Timmy navigated his way through traffic and headed towards the city gates. 

27. Return to Mechatropolis, Part IV   1 comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 27: Return to Mechatropolis, Part IV: What Lies Beneath

Panic set in as the entire crater began to quake violently. The people at the dig site started running in all directions. Astralyn, Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy stood and watched as the ground cracked open.

Everyone out of the crater!” Sundance commanded. They did not need to be told twice. People ran to the nearest declared exits.

What is going on?” Kjartan asked.

I think they’re leaving,” Sundance replied.

The shaking became more intense. Pieces of the ground started to give way as the cracks grew wider. A low humming noise joined the chaos. The sound caused the ground to vibrate more than it already had been. Before, it had been sinking, now the ground was starting to rise.

Oh my god,” Astralyn gasped.

To the car, to the car!” Sundance shouted.

Everyone that had a vehicle hopped in it and quickly sped away. Kjartan and Astralyn jumped into the back seats of Sundance’s car.

Everyone buckle up!” Sundance started the car as he hopped in it. Timmy climbed in and buckled his seat belt. Astralyn and Kjartan did the same.

The hovercar lifted off the unsteady ground and flew off into the distance. The ground continued to rise beneath them. At one point, the ground threatened to come crashing down on them as it crested into a large wave. The loud humming grew even louder. The hovercar drove as fast as it could but it didn’t seem to be fast enough.

Astralyn covered her ears as the wind whipped past them. She looked back and saw that the spaceship was rising out of the crater. It spun around, sending the dirt that had once rested on it flying everywhere.

Oh my god,” she whispered again.

The spinning saucer was finally free of the ground. It hovered over the fleeing humans for a moment and then flew off into space.

Sundance and Timmy could see that S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters had begun firing at the ship, but its shields protected it from getting damaged. Sundance didn’t care if the robots were destroyed; he was just glad they were leaving. He stopped the car and let it hover in neutral.

Is everyone okay?” Sundance looked back at Astralyn and Kjartan. Both of them looked shocked beyond reason. “I’ll take that as a yes. Let’s go home, people.”

———

Just what the hell was that?” Colonel Graves sat down at his desk. Sundance and Timmy thought it best to check in with him as soon as they got back to base. “One minute it’s peaceful and then the next, there’s an earthquake!”

Astralyn and one of her assistants stumbled upon a book…” Sundance tried to explain.

A book?”

Well, it looked like a book, but it opened a door in the hut that led to a giant space saucer that was trapped underground.” Sundance spoke as quickly as he could to prevent the colonel from interrupting again. “I pushed the button to the book and that’s what started everything. The ship came back to life and the carnivorous robots woke up and tried to eat us… sir.”

Carnivorous robots?”

They had huge teeth, sir.”

Sundance and Timmy saw that the colonel was having a hard time with the scenario. There wasn’t anything they could say that would make it any more believable.

You mean to tell me that there was a ship full of sleeping carnivorous robots underneath Citadel City for years and no one knew about it?”

Well, the previous civilization might have known about it, sir,” Timmy said. “But they didn’t leave any notes behind.”

Well, they’re gone now, right?” Colonel Graves asked.

I believe so,” Sundance replied.

Good riddance. Now I have to calm the people down and assure them that the worst is over.” The colonel stood up and dismissed Sundance and Timmy.

As they left the colonel’s office, Timmy felt a knot developing in the pit of his stomach. He tried to attribute it to all the excitement that happened earlier, but he knew better.

———

Later that night at the New Earth Museum of Artifacts, Kjartan sat alone in Astralyn’s office staring at a black backpack. He had been sitting there for twenty minutes just staring at the backpack, willing himself to just open it.

Man up, Kjartan!” He took a deep breath and reached for the bag. He punched in a four digit code on the lock and the backpack opened. He reached inside and pulled out a metallic book and set it on the table. He let the air out through his teeth and created a whistling sound. He pressed the button on the spine and the book opened. With great care, he flipped open the first page. He examined the writing inside and felt he recognized it.

He stood up from his desk and scanned the bookcase. He found the book he was looking for , sat down, and scoured both books for a translation. The first word he translated was ‘Mechanomitron’. He took out a notepad and started taking notes.

An hour later, Kjartan had finished going through the books. He got on the phone and called Astralyn.

Ms. Winner, you have to come to the museum and see this!” He hung up the phone and waited. Twenty minutes later, Astralyn strolled into the office. She gasped when she saw the Mechanomitron sitting on her desk.

Kjartan, you didn’t…”

I did! You were right, there were people on this planet before us.” Kjartan stood up from his seat and pushed Astralyn towards the book. “The robots brought them here. They used this planet like a farm. They would bring humans here, let them flourish, then come back and harvest them. They leave a few behind so that they would repopulate, then go to another planet to harvest humans there!”

The robots must have crashed here on their way back to harvest and couldn’t get free,” Astralyn whispered. “Until today.”

Astralyn noticed that a little red light on the book had been flashing on and off on its spine. “How long has it been doing that?” she asked.

Kjartan picked up the book and looked at the spine. “I don’t know.”

Astralyn knew that this was not good news. “They’re coming back.”

Ellipsis: Episode 27   1 comment

This was a great episode for me. I got to include to Colonel Graves in it. He is mostly inspired by General Hammond from Stargate SG-1. I love that character. I am happy to be able to bring that energy to MiS…  I fear we don’t get to see enough of Colonel Graves. Get him out of the office.

I think the bit at the beginning of the episode where the space ship is rising from the ground was great! The visual in my head is similar to a big blockbuster movie special effect. I hope I conveyed the correct amount of “I need to get the hell out of here” energy! Sometimes I’m good at writing action and other times I’m terrible. I think I did good here.

Kjartan was busy this episode. He is the guy who can’t let it go. He thought that because the robots left it would be safe to go about his life. He hasn’t been adventuring with Sundance long enough to know better. I do adore me some Kjartan.

How’d you like the bit with the Mechanomitron? Of course I’m drawing from the Necronomicon. If there was going to be a Big Book of Doom involving carnivorous robots, what would you call it? Ha ha!

The ish hits the fan next episode! Stay tuned!

Till next week, thanks for reading.

XJ

26. Return to Mechatropolis, Part III   1 comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 26: Return to Mechatropolis, Part III: Escape from Mechatropolis

Sundance slowly backed away from the pod as the robot inside jerked back and forth. The pod to the left of it lit up, then the one to the right of it. Pods on the south wall started to light up.

I think now would be a good time to get out of here,” Astralyn said. She and Kjartan slowly backed out of the room. Timmy was right behind them.

All of the robots were reactivating and climbing out of the pods. Timmy and Sundance took out their laser pistols and took off running down the corridor. The robots immediately ran after them with surprising speed. Sundance and Timmy turned around and shot at the robots with amazing accuracy. This caused the robots to slow down in their pursuit of them, but not completely shut down.

Captain!” Timmy called Sundance’s attention to the fact that more robots were joining the chase. “There’s too many of them! We can’t fight them all off!”

Just keep shooting!” Sundance commanded.

Astralyn and Kjartan led the way through the corridors, trying to remember which way they had come. Astralyn knew that they didn’t take too many turns, but even the simplest of directions under pressure could easily turn complicated.

They stopped at a four way intersection. “I don’t remember being here,” Astralyn said. “None of this looks familiar.”

All the walls look the same,” Kjartan added. “I knew we should have brought some bread crumbs! I even had a sandwich for lunch.”

Not helping,” Astralyn mumbled.

Sundance and Timmy, who were bringing up the rear, caught up with Astralyn and Kjartan. “Why has the running stopped?” Sundance demanded. “Must go faster!”

Astralyn didn’t want to tell him that she didn’t know where they were. She looked at all three directions and took a deep breath. Let’s try forward, she thought. She ran straight ahead and the group followed.

The short pause allowed the robots to gain some space. They reached out their arms for them, yearning to touch them. As Sundance continued to pummel the robots with laser beams, he took time to realize that they had mouths. Before he could question why they had mouths, he saw that when they opened, there were rows of sharp metallic teeth.Why in the world would robots need teeth? Sundance thought. Just keep shooting them and hopefully we won’t need to find out.

Timmy and Sundance continued to fire at the robots, but they seemed to be impervious. Sundance tried shooting the first line of robots in their eyes, but the robots kept coming. There didn’t seem to be any weak spots.

Oh come on!” Sundance shouted.

Astralyn led the group down a corridor to right and was relieved to find the bridge that led to the tomb they entered from. She ran towards it as fast as she could. The bridge trembled with each footstep. She thought it was because of the combined weight of everyone on the bridge, but as she neared the end of the bridge, she realized that the bridge was withdrawing back into the ship.

Hurry up,” Astralyn shouted. “The bridge!”

The others already knew. Astralyn was first to make the leap from the bridge to the sandy floor of the hut. The gap between wasn’t that wide. Kjartan had to jump a little further, but he managed.

Sundance and Timmy were still walking backwards, shooting at the fast approaching robots. They seemed to be walking in place, like a metallic treadmill. The gap was growing wider.

Timmy, go ahead and jump,” Sundance commanded. “I’ll be right there.”

Timmy wanted to argue, but he knew that there was no time. He placed his laser pistol in his belt and turned to jump. He made the mistake of looking down into the black abyss below.

Timmy, hurry!” Astralyn said. She held out her hands as Timmy made the jump. She caught him and pulled him onto the ledge. “Sundance!”

The robots were now on the bridge with Sundance. No matter how many laser blasts he fired off, they kept coming! There was no point in firing anymore. He placed his pistol on his hip and turned around to make the jump, only the gap was too wide and growing wider.

Captain, come on!” Timmy called. “We’ll catch you!”

Sundance looked back at the alternative. He had no choice. He took a deep breath and jumped from the bridge. It was in mid jump that he realized that he was going to come up short of the ledge. He was going to fall to his death in the abyss below. The edge of the spaceship, assuming it was saucer shaped, would catch him and break his fault.

Kjartan! Timmy!” Without communicating her thoughts, they quickly linked elbows as Astralyn leaned out into the gap. She reached out her free hand and with amazing strength, caught Sundance. “Don’t let go!” she commanded.

Kjartan and Timmy pulled Astralyn and Sundance back into the hut. They collapsed in a heaping, panting pile, thankful to be alive.

Kjartan was the first to sit up. “We’re not out of the woods yet.” They all sat up and saw that the bridge was no longer retreating. Once they learned that their prey had escaped, they flipped a switch and now the bridge was extending towards them.

The door!” Sundance shouted.

They all got up and ran to the open door. Since it swung inward and to the right, they all got on the left side and began to push. The door did not want to move.

Push!” Sundance commanded.

What do you think we’re doing?” Astralyn replied.

A little help!” Kjartan called out.

The other archeologists ran into the hut and immediately knew what to do. They all gathered at the door. With their combined strength, they were able to shut the door. The robots pounded on the door, demanding to be let in. Sundance leaned with his back against the door and wiped his brow.

Humans 1, robots 0,” he said.

As if on cue, the entire tomb began to quake. The ceiling cracked and threatened to come down on them. Everyone ran outside just in time for it all to collapse into a pile of dirt. It was then that the entire crater started to shake. Something bigger was coming for them.

25. Return to Mechatropolis, Part II   1 comment

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 25: Return to Mechatropolis, Part II: The First Civilization

 

Sundance and Timmy kept their guns aimed at the door. When nothing immediately jumped out at them, they slowly lowered them. Kjartan looked pale as he shut the book in the slim hope that the door would disappear.

Did the book do that?” Astralyn asked. She walked over to him and took the book from him. He was only more than happy to return it to her. She opened the book again and tried to recreate the results. Nothing happened.

That is one scary book,” Timmy said, taking a step back.

Astralyn walked back over to the door and peered inside. She whistled and the hallow echo traveled for what sounded like a far distance. Her eyes lit up immediately as she looked back at everyone.

No.” Timmy and Kjartan said.

No?” Astralyn asked incredulously. “You have to be kidding me! This is the most important discovery in the history of New Earth! We could find out who lived here before us.”

Or we could not,” Timmy mumbled.

Captain?” Astralyn turned her green eyes to Sundance for support.

I think S.P.A.C.E. should take a look at it…” Sundance started, but Astralyn cut him off.

Excellent. Kjartan, go get a light, we’re going in.” She ushered the poor assistant out of the tomb. “This is so exciting! Boys, we’re making history.”

Why do I feel like we’re about to BE history,” Timmy said.

———-

Astralyn led the way into the newly discovered cavity. With her lantern held high, she navigated the cold, dark hallway. Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy (under protest) followed closely behind. The floor was made of metal so their footsteps echoed around them.

Timmy thought it was rather strange that there was so much metal inside when the outside was dirt and sand. This thought was compounded when the walls stopped and the suspension bridge began. He gasped as he looked down and saw what looked to be a huge spaceship in the shape of a saucer.

Oh my goodness,” Astralyn said, looking down at the cold blue ship. “Could this be a giant space saucer?” She raced down to the end of the bridge which led inside the ship. “This is a spaceship, a really old model; probably one of the first.”

What is it doing here?” Sundance asked.

Is it possible that the first civilization crashed here?” Kjartan asked. Astralyn nodded. “That would be amazing! If the bones we found are indeed human, then…”

That could mean that Old Earth started to colonize other planets before the Space Chicken War,” Astralyn added.

They stepped inside the giant spaceship. There were no lights on at all. Astralyn turned the light in the lantern up to better view the environment. The walls were metallic and had symbols matching the ones on the book. Other than that, there was nothing really special about the corridors.

This reminds me of a hospital,” Timmy said woefully. “I hate hospitals.”

Me too, Timmy,” Sundance patted his friend on the back and pushed him forward.

Astralyn led the parade down the corridor to the left and found more of the same. They took a right turn and found themselves at a closed door, but it wasn’t closed completely.

Oh look, a dead end.” Timmy turned around and started to head back the way they came. He stopped when he realized that no one else was following him.

Kjartan, help me with this door,” Astralyn commanded.

Astralyn and Kjartan pressed themselves against the door and tried to slide it to the left. It refused to budge. Then they tried sliding it to the right. It moved an inch and then refused to move.

Sundance took out his laser pistol and shot it. Astralyn and Kjartan cursed and ducked out of the way. The door slid to the right, allowing them access. “I finally got to shoot something!”

How nice for you,” Kjartan mumbled, readjusting his glasses.

Astralyn was already on the other side before Sundance could warn her to be careful. There was another bridge that looked down on a lot of tall, metallic silos. There were large wheels that were attached to giant gears and the like. It definitely looked old, but nothing was rusted.

What is it?” Sundance asked.

It appears to be a processing plant of some kind,” Astralyn answered. “Just look at those silos. Ingredients were stored in there. I think further down is where things get processed. The people who flew this ship processed their own food while they traveled through space. Real pioneers!”

But why live in huts?” Sundance asked.

Maybe they lived on the ship until it could no longer provide for them.” Kjartan tapped the railings of the bridge and whistled. “They had no choice but to move outside.”

I don’t think that’s it,” Timmy said, entering the plant. “I found something.”

Just then, there was a loud pop. Everyone was startled. A soft whirring sound was heard and it gradually grew louder. Then the wheels began to turn; slowly at first, then faster. Things below came alive with lights and hissing.

Things are reactivating,” Astralyn said, looking around. “The plant is reactivating.” She could not contain her excitement.

Guys, you really need to come and look at this,” Timmy said, the urgency in his voice rising.

Sundance and the others left the plant and joined Timmy at the other end of the corridor. There was a room and Timmy was standing in the doorway. Timmy only pointed inside; he didn’t dare take a step inside.

Sundance walked past him and saw that there were pods lined up against all four walls. The windows were dark so he couldn’t see anything inside.

Sleeping pod,” Sundance said. “But I can’t see if anyone is inside it.” Just as he pressed his face against the glass of one pod, a light flickered on, revealing a menacing looking box headed robot with glaring red eyes– eyes that glared at him.

 

24. Return to Mechatropolis, Part I   2 comments

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 24: Return to Mechatropolis, Part I: Hidden Treasure

Sundance and Timmy raced along the New Earth desert landscape in their trusty hovercar. Timmy was holding three cups of coffee in his lap uncomfortably. They were very hot and in the process of burning his thighs something awful.

I don’t see why we couldn’t have gotten a cup carrier,” Timmy complained. “And who drinks coffee in the desert? It just doesn’t make any sense!”

Shh, we’re almost there!” Sundance accelerated the car unexpectedly, causing Timmy to almost spill the coffee. “Astralyn will be happy to see us.”

What is the deal with you two?” Timmy asked. “Ever since we got back from the Venga System, you two have been acting weird. She said something about you and some maidens…”

I don’t know what you’re talking about, Timmy.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

Sundance continued to drive until they reached a remote archeological dig site. People were gathered around a large crater that had to span for several thousand yards in diameter. At the southern most rim, Sundance parked the car and climbed out. “Come along, Timmy.”

Without any assistance from Sundance and some creative juggling, Timmy managed to hold on to all of the coffees and climbed out of the car.

Astralyn, wearing a pair of khaki shorts, a faded blue button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and what looked like a fishing hat with misters all along the rim; all of them dirty, walked over to them and smiled.

You found us, great job,” Astralyn said. “I was afraid you’d get lost coming from Citadel City.” Timmy offered her a cup of coffee. “I’ve got some, thanks.” Timmy rolled his eyes. “Come with me, I’ve got something really great to show you.”

Astralyn led her two friends down into the crater and passed several people on their knees picking away at the dirt. Timmy offered the people they passed Astralyn’s coffee; they were not interested.

A couple of days ago, one of our interns found an ancient tomb that we believe to have housed the leader of the village and their family.” Astralyn informed.

I am so over tombs and temples at this point in my life,” Sundance replied. “Tell me we’re not going to a tomb or temple.” Astralyn didn’t say anything.

She continued to lead them towards a large hut that was close to the rim of the crater. “We are pretty excited about this find. This could give us a glimpse into the life that existed here before the Old Earth Colonists arrived.” She stopped at the hut and insisted they go inside. They reluctantly acquiesced.

Inside was a thin man with short, spiky, blonde hair, fair skin, wearing gold rimmed glasses, bent over in a the farthest corner staring at something. He didn’t acknowledge their entrance.

Kjartan, this is Captain Sundance Starmont and Lieutenant Timmy Falken,” Astralyn said. “What are you doing?”

Kjartan stood up and brushed the dirt off his knees. “Oh, Ms. Winner. I didn’t hear you come in.” He wiped his hands on his green button up shirt and extended his hand to Timmy. Timmy only placed Astralyn’s coffee cup in it. “Thank you?”

Don’t mention it,” Timmy replied.

Did you find something?” asked Astralyn, staring into the corner.

I think so.” Kjartan stepped aside and let Astralyn access the corner. On the floor was a raised rectangular mound of dirt with a couple of pick holes in it. “As I was digging, I came upon this. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I think it’s a box.”

Astralyn reached into her back pocket and pulled out a mini pick and chisel. “Let’s find out, shall we?”

She got down on her knees and began to pick away at the dirt.

Sundance grabbed his cup of coffee from Timmy and sipped as he watched her.

Astralyn kept tapping away until there was a lot metallic thunk. “Kjartan, I think you might be right. Come and help me with this.” Her assistant got down on his knees and helped her excavate a large silver box from its earthen prison.

This is unlike anything we’d seen before,” Astralyn noted. She held the box in her hand. “Everything else we found have either been bones or pottery. This is something else.”

It’s a metallic box,” Sundance scoffed. He took another sip of his coffee.

Actually, Captain, I think it’s a book.” Timmy said.

Astralyn turned the box about in her hands and noticed that there was a clasp keeping the metallic pages within bound. “Good eyes, Timmy.” She wiped the remaining dust off of it and tried to read what was inscribed on the front. There were jagged symbols etched all over the book, nothing legible. “I can’t make out what it says. Some ancient language no doubt.”

I don’t think it’s human,” Kjartan added. He yearned to hold the book. “May I?” Astralyn handed him the book. “I’ve seen something similar to this during my work as an undergrad at Citadel University. If I could see inside, I might be able to tell you more.”

Kjartan tried to undo the clasp, but it refused to open.

May I?” Sundance reached to his utility belt and pulled out his laser pistol.

Sundance! You can’t do that!” Astralyn shouted. “It’s a relic of the original civilization!”

Sundance sighed and placed his gun back on his belt. He sat down next to Kjartan and examined the book. “Oh, I see it.” He pressed a little silver button on the spine and the clasp popped open. “Shooting it would have been more fun though.”

Kjartan opened the shiny book and instantly the tomb began to shake. Everyone braced themselves against a wall. The wall Astralyn was leaning on suddenly opened and revealed itself to be a door. The tomb stopped shaking. Mist flowed out of the room and collected at their feet. Timmy and Sundance dropped their coffees and pulled out their pistols, waiting for something to come for them.