Blobs of red light floated behind Adam's eye lids as he found himself in the now. His body shivered feeling unusually cold as he began to open his eyes with a flicker.
He was alive!
As he came to, he felt his right cheek was wet so he wiped it with his hand revealing a white frothy looking substance that must have appeared from his mouth. Moving his arms and legs as if to check they were still connected and working he heaved himself up onto his elbows and looked around the shattered room. The lights within flickered and flashed causing a strobe affect he felt was somewhat alarming.
Adam noted the room was empty, void of any life or noise. "Hello?" he struggled out, his voice hoarse. Where was Relshek? He mused.
He eyed the two broken looking machines next to him on the outside of the glass with one appearing to still be connected to his body via a white translucent pipe. His incubator had a large crack right across the top and down the leading side which he followed with his eyes until eventually settling them on four motionless and badly injured Puritans slumped against the wall on the far side of the room. Adam winced at the site as he could see two of them had limbs missing while one other had half his face blown away.
"Hello, is there anyone here?" he called again, looking towards the half open door which looked bent and buckled. Through the gap he could see the familiar blue strips of light flashing silently warning all on board of an alert.
Where was Castro? He wondered after remembering he was going to visit him after which he decided to pull out the pipe that sat lodged in the side of his belly.
"Ouch! Szzzp" he hissed as he pulled on the device causing blood to spurt out up the glass. He began looking all around the incubator wondering how he was going to get out. Since there was no one there to help him a little feeling of claustrophobia crept into his mind so he took a deep breath trying to surpass it.
Unable to think of a viable exit without help he drew his right foot back and kicked on the glass. With the help of an already existing crack the incubator smashed and imploded with glass showering both him and the bed he lay on.
"Fucking hell!" he cried, hoping he hadn't got cut.
Taking the small piece of cloth covering his genitals he used it as a barrier and brushed away some glass to give him a clear space to manoeuvre off the bed. There was still the problem of the glass all over the floor but he clocked that[JM1] and managed to leverage himself clear of it, landing on the floor with a thud. He felt weak, just like Relshek had said he would, but there was a gentle and noticeable adrenaline giving him just enough energy to move around. Two thoughts entered his mind almost simultaneously. Firstly he needed to get a bandage to stop the blood that was seeping from his side and secondly he had to find Castro and Relshek. The latter worried him the most as he looked back briefly at the expired Puritan corpses.
He took another look round the room noticing how much damage there was and wondered what state the rest of the ship was in. His body felt lighter than usual and he quickly noticed that some very small objects and debris were floating just above the floor causing him to wonder if there was something wrong with the ship's gravity field.
Still feeling cold he clocked his view onto a white robe that was hanging on a hook in the corner of the room. He started to make his way over to but was stopped as he tripped over what he noted to be someone's foot.
"Shit!" he blurted out, almost falling over. "Hey, are you ok?" he asked, just before noticing the large shard of metal sticking out of the Puritan's body, his clothes saturated in blood. "Hey, uh, you don't look so good; we might need to get you some help."
Adam reached behind the Puritan's mask and unclipped it before pulling it off. What he saw caused him to lunge backwards in horror and he quickly pulled his hand up to his mouth and heaved.
"Oh my fucking…Nooo!"
Relshek lay against the broken incubator, his face as white as ice and his lips a tinge of pale blue. It was clear to Adam he was dead but it took his mind a few seconds to process what he was seeing. Now on all fours he crawled over to his friend and guardian and gently felt his neck. As he expected there was nothing.
"Christian, no, please, why you!" he whispered, tearing up.
He slowly got to his feet and continued heading for the white robe feeling cold again. Pulling it from the hook he used every ounce of energy to tear off the bottom segment of the garment and used it as a wound cover. Using what was left he wrapped himself in it shivering again before walking towards the door that led out into the corridor.
Once outside it was clear the ship was in a bad way. Both directions laid waste in the destruction caused by the Silga as Adam saw smashed up bodies and bits of bulkhead all around. Trying not to look at anyone lying dead on the floor he kept his view straight ahead and headed down the dimly lit corridor to the end where he knew an elevator would be.
"HELLO!" he shouted once again, hoping someone might hear him and come running out. Part of him felt they wouldn't but it was worth a try. As he got to the end of the corridor he stopped and grimaced as slain across the open elevator door was a dead Puritan half inside and half out, a circular pole impaled clean through his skull.
"Fuck!" he muttered, looking away. As he did he saw to the left a panel on the wall that appeared to be working. Stepping over to it he pressed a button and started to speak.
"Adam of Earth how may I be of assistance."
"Oh Optimus, at least you work."
"I am operational Adam, do you have a question?"
"Optimus, I need to get help where can I go?"
"I am sorry Adam; I do not understand your question. Do you require medical assistance?"
"No I don't think so, Can you tell me where Commander Skada is, Relshek is dead and I don't know what to do."
"Standby." Adam waited for a few moments, immediately lost in thought. "Adam, Commander Skada has expired. Therefore he cannot be contacted."
"Huh? You mean he is dead?"
"Is there anyone alive? I feel like I'm on this ship alone…Oh god CASTRO! Is Castro alive?"
"Oh god please let him be-"
"Adam, Castro was put in an escape pod and sent back to Purity for Safety reasons."
"But he said he would… I mean why would he leave me?"
"Adam that is a question I am unable to answer."
"No I guess not… but anyway he got back safe yes?"
"I am showing a decontamination time stamp for his Podling on Purity as clear. This would indicate a safe return. However due to a damaged mainframe central computer located on this ship I am unable to scan outside its confines at this time."
"So is anyone left on the ship alive?"
"I am only able to scan a person if you present their name."
"Well I don't know anyone else… Oh, what about Kelshen?"
"Sorry Adam, Lord Kelshen is not aboard the ship."
"Does that mean he is dead?"
"No Adam, I am not locating Lord Kelshen's bio -signature which means he is not here."
"Ok, uh, well can you direct me to the bridge?"
"Of course Adam, however there are a number of access ways blocked due to damage, you will need to take an elongated route to reach your destination.
"Fine, just help me please." Adam commanded, now feeling the pain of his operation starting to bite.
Adam stood in the last elevator which Optimus confirmed would take him to the bridge. He'd been shocked at how many dead Puritans he had seen and wondered if there was indeed anyone still alive on the ship seeing as he had not seen a single person throughout his 20 minute journey. The elevator sounded rough as it grinded upwards, screeching now and again as if metal was rubbing against metal. Finally it slowed before coming to a stop and the door attempted to open but got stuck at roughly an inch wide. Adam pried the two doors apart with his fingers until they opened half way.
What he saw when he walked onto the Bridge made him fall to his knees and almost vomit. In front of him were the remains of Commander Skada, clearly recognisable from his Uniform. His left arm and leg had been blown off and half his face was missing with the remaining shock to Adam being the insides of his stomach stretched two feet across the floor. Adam closed his eyes tightly and looked away.
Nothing much seemed to be working on the bridge which looked to have taken a heavy punishment after whatever went on and Adam started to wonder why he had taken the time to come here. He looked around the room for a working terminal and found one next to the Commander's chair in the centre. Pulling bits of wire and debris off of the seat he sat on it and tried to gather himself while thinking of what to do next.
"Uh, Optimus, please contact the surface and… no wait!" he blurted wondering if that was a good idea seeing as no one knew he was here. "Optimus, where are we?"
"We are located in the Puritas system, the nearest planet is Purity."
"Good so we're still here," Adam muttered to himself. "Optimus, how badly damaged is the ship?"
"That question is too unspecific, please narrow your parameters"
"Is there a way I can get off this ship?"
"The usual route off a ship is via podling."
"Right, so where can I get one of these podlings, the hanger bay?"
"There are currently no Podlings aboard the Selsha."
"Optimus, where has the view screen gone?"
"The view screen is currently damaged and not operational."
"Can you fix it?"
"I will need to assess the damage, please standby."
"Ok, but please hurry."
"Adam, my program enables me to work at a specific pace, I can neither slow down my actions or speed them up."
"Forget it; it was an irrational human emotion."
"Very well, I will erase it as you wish."
Adam rolled his eyes.
"This is Commander Moorabak of the Tomleek, come in Selsha," came a voice suddenly out of nowhere.
"Yes, yes this is Adam, I'm on the bridge, hello?"
"Selsha, this is the Tomleek, come in please."
"Damn it, YES I CAN HEAR YOU, HELP ME!" Adam bellowed getting out of the Commander's chair and pacing the room.
"Selsha, do you read us, we are ready to assist you, come in please, anyone!"
"Optimus, how can I answer that person?"
"If you are referring to the Commander of the Battleship Tomleek I am able to create a two way link should you wish."
"Yes, fucking do it, NOW!"
"One moment Adam."
"The link is now complete, you may respond."
"Uh, hello, this is Adam Smith, I'm on the Selsha… on the bridge, can you help me? I am in quite a bit of pain and have an open wound"
"Adam of Earth?"
"Yes that's right. I think lots of people are dead, how can I get off this ship?"
"Adam, where is Commander Skada?"
"He's dead, I can see him behind me, it's pretty bad here. There are lots of dead guys and some have really bad… god I think I am going to be sick soon!"
"Yes Adam, we have similar damage. Please do not worry and try to calm yourself, I am the Commander of the Tomleek and I am going to dispatch a podling to extract you. Can you get to a Pod bay?"
"Uh, I guess, I will ask Optimus."
"Yes do that. Please also inform Lord Relshek we stand ready to collect the gene sample he was extracting."
"You knew about that?"
"Yes, I was told on a need to know basis should anything happen that was unfavourable."
"Ok, well, I'm sorry to say that poor Relshek passed away."
"I'm sorry I don't understand."
"I mean he expired, as you guys say."
There was a brief silence. "Erm, that is unfortunate. Adam, I know you have been through a difficult ordeal and you will no doubt be very weak and scared but-"
"If you are going to ask me to collect whatever was made during my operation then I'll do it. I know how important this is. Just tell me how."
"You are right about its importance Adam, but telling you how is something I cannot. I was not involved with Lord Relshek's procedures. However I do have two Scientists aboard my ship who may be able to assist you. I will dispatch a podling to you now. Please make your way to a Pod bay to meet them and show them where your operation was conducted, they will do the rest."
"Ok… Oh and Lord Moorabak?"
"I'm sorry so many of your people died for me."
"Adam, if it means anything, the Silga are a warring race, you may have been an objective, but you were not the cause, remember that. My concern is the safety of you and anyone still alive. We will attempt to complete a scan to locate others."
"If you say so."
"Go Adam, and be careful."
Back on Earth Brandon carefully placed the box containing the artefact down on Sam's computer table and sat on his chair.
"So what now?" Sam asked, looking at Brandon like he was going to reveal an answer to work everything out.
Brandon shrugged. "You heard them, they both agree, it wasn't made here."
"So are we really saying that aliens visited our planet, left this thing here and then zoomed back off to outer space?"
"Look I know what you are saying and yes it sounds really farfetched, but look at the evidence. I can't help feeling my brother is mixed up in all this and I need to find the truth."
"I personally think that you are getting carried away with this runaway train of heresy, we can't be sure about anything, not least the origins of this hunk of metal."
"Hey, you were the one who said it could possibly be alien, but was the sceptic remember?"
"Yeah well, it just gives me the creeps that's all, I don't wanna believe anything like this could really happen if I'm honest. What started out as a light hearted theory has just got a whole lot serious."
"True, but something tells me whoever left this could be back, and I wanna be there when they return."
"So what do you plan to do?"
"Well I really should go back and see Fred, I feel bad for stealing this from him."
"What?" Sam blurted, getting up. "Are you mad, you can't give this back to him," he added, pointing to the box.
"I'm not going to give it back to him, but I think I should at least go see him and tell the old bastard he might not be as mad as everyone makes him out to be."
Later on that day Brandon turned into Heidgate and walked along the street keeping his eyes peeled for any trouble that might come his way. Things seemed quiet until he was just about to walk past the old laundrette when a boy appeared from the front door and stepped outside.
Brandon decided to cross to the other side opting to try and avoid being robbed or hounded as he thought about past visits here but just as he veered off the kerb him and the boy locked eyes.
"Hey!" the kid called as Brandon stepped into the road.
"Uh, I don't want any trouble, I'm just here to see someone," he remarked, starting to quicken his pace.
"You wouldn't happen to be Adam's brother by any chance?"
Brandon stopped in his tracks and looked back at the boy who was now leaning against the building wall smirking.
"Who wants to know?" Brandon replied.
"It's just, we don't get a lot of people around here dressed like you and the whisper on the street is that Adam's brother has paid a few visits here. I'm just putting two and two together dude."
Brandon turned his whole body round and slowly walked towards the boy. "And you are?"
"Hey I asked you first," he cockily replied, pushing off the wall.
"What if I am Adam's brother, would you tell me where he is?"
"Cause I don't know."
"Ok So I am Adam's brother, your turn!"
The boy held out his hand. "Sage, my name is Sage and I happen to be a friend of your brother."
"Sage eh? Is that like your real name?"
"As far as I know, so anyway, what are you doing here, this place ain't safe for homers."
"Homers?" Brandon repeated, raising a brow.
"Yeah, people who have a nice warm home to live in. Well-dressed rich looking punks like yourself who have been given everything and had to work for nothing, or worry about when they were next gonna eat."
"Ok, ok, I get the point jeez!"
"So what are you doing here?"
"Haven't you worked that out yet, I'm trying to find my brother."
"Yeah well, good luck with that, no body has seen him in ages, apparently."
Brandon folded his arms and looked at Sage suspiciously. "Thought you said he was your friend."
"He is kinda… at least we used to fuck a few times a week."
Brandon rolled his eyes and cleared his throat. "So when did you last see him, can you at least give me some clue as to where he might have gone."
Sage's stance seemed to soften slightly on this question. "Look, to be honest with you, I'm not sure what's going on ok! I feel like I have seen him recently, but people tell me I haven't. I wanna know where he is as much as you do."
"What do you mean you FEEL like you have seen him?"
"I don't know, just that, ok? Things have been pretty weird for me lately. I seem to be missing a gap of some sort in my life and I think Adam has got something to do with it, but I can't be sure."
Brandon chuckled lightly. "You uh… you been on some kind of trip?"
Sage narrowed his eyes. "No, what do you mean by that?"
"Nothing, I just heard that most round here take a few lift-me-ups shall we say."
"Fuck you; you don't know anything about me. It's a hard fucking life on this street, people do what they can to get by punk!"
Brandon stepped towards Sage and held out his hand. "Look pal, I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything by it. I get that you have a rough life… fucking hell your eye!"
"Yes its purple, tell me something I don't know!"
"Were… were you born like that?"
"Firstly no, and second, can you stop fucking staring at me like I'm some freak?"
"Sorry, it's just…"
"Yes I know, it's not conventional"
"Did you get beaten up badly or something. I understand you have it rough here."
"How can you, from what Adam tells me you come from a well to do background and have very little to worry about… and no, I didn't get beaten up, at least I don't think I did."
"Ok you got me, I ain't gonna win any prises for my own struggles but from what I see here and now we both want the same thing and that is to find Adam, so maybe we can help each other in that cause, right?"
"And what plan are you brining to the table."
"I'll admit not a lot, all I have heard so far is some story from an old guy called Fred who says my brother was taken by aliens wearing masks and-"
Brandon stopped as Sage seemed to real backwards slightly and shake his head.
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah, it's just something you said then, it seemed familiar for a moment."
"What like De-javu?"
"No, not really, I just…"
"Yes, what… what is it?" Brandon asked sounding impatient and lurching forward.
"When you said aliens with masks I…I saw a picture in my mind."
"Of an alien?"
"Yes… well I'm not sure. It was real and I saw it clearly for a second."
"Can you still see it?"
"No it's gone, like I said it was just for a second."
"I wonder what it meant."
"Not sure but it almost freaked me out."
"Yeah it looked like it, listen about helping each other find Adam, how much do you know about the old guy Fred who lives here?" Brandon asked, taking out a chewing gum from his pocket and offering one to Sage.
"No thanks… hmm, old man Fred? Well he's been here a long time. He is like a sort of conspiracy theorist… believes in all sorts of shit. Some say he used to work in a secret job for the government where he saw stuff, but I don't know how much of that is true. Why do you ask?"
"Well this is going to sound crazy but you know I said he thinks Adam might have been taken by aliens… and yeah I know this sounds bollocks, but I have something of his that might just prove something."
"Prove what?" Sage asked, frowning.
"There's a rock type thing that he showed me and I ended up stealing it from him. Not because I wanted to sell it or anything but because I wanted to get it tested."
"Tested, what for?"
"To see if it was made on earth."
Sage let out a laugh. "A rock? Where the hell else could it have been made."
"Well it's not really a rock, but more a lump of rare metal and two guys at my friend's university think that…"
"Well they say that believing it might have come from out of space might not be so farfetched after all. Anyway put that together with that image you just saw in your mind which looked pretty powerful I'm starting to think…"
"You're starting to think old man Fred's bullshit is true perhaps?"
"Yeah I know, sounds fucked up right?"
"Maybe, maybe not. But either way, he ain't here so I don't see how we can help each other. It was nice meeting ya, I gotta go find some food now. See ya around!"
Sage began to walk off leaving Brandon standing there with his mouth open suggesting Sage's lack of interest all of a sudden had taken him aback.
"Hey, wait up," he called running after Sage. "What, so that's it, you're just gonna walk away?"
"What, you want me to fuck you or something… Brady, we have-"
"Whatever, we have nothing more to say to each other. Sure we have talked about little green men from out of space and the fact Adam is missing. It hasn't helped us to find him so I don't see a point of standing here listening to my stomach rumble while we try to make conversation."
Sage started to walk away again. "Look," Brandon said, grabbing his arm. "Look, I'll do you a deal."
"You have nothing that could interest me apart from possibly your ass, but something tells me you aint into that."
Brandon smirked. "You're right, but hear me out."
"You have ten seconds and then I'm walking!"
"You live around here, and that lump of metal was found around here. If I buy you McDonalds will you at least come and look at it and see if you have any idea what it might be?"
"How the fuck would I know what it might be?"
"Look, I'm not ruling anything out right now while I am trying to find my brother. Little green men or not, that image you had in your head? Well, I'm thinking, if you see this item it might make another one show itself. Just humour me will you?"
Sage stood and thought for a few seconds. "Fine, but I get to order as much as I want and you can't say no!"
"Fine," he chuckled, shaking his head. "Whatever you want, and by the way, how did you get that awesome looking eye?"
Sage chose to ignore his question. "Let's just go shall we?"
Feeling weak and scared Adam had managed to make his way through the long corridors laden with debris and twisted metal towards the hanger bay that was still operational. The horrors he had seen on his journey left mental scars he feared would never leave him as mangled and twisted bodies with parts missing greeted him at almost every turn. Whoever was still left alive on the ship wasn't in any hurry to show themselves as Adam walked into the observation room having not seen a single living soul.
He found an intercom terminal inside and pressed on it to summon Optimus.
"Optimus, please connect me to Commander Moorabak."
"One moment Adam."
"Moorabak here, Adam have you reached the hanger bay?"
"Good, now listen carefully. You will need to manually unlock the bay doors in order for our pod to dock. Our systems show the main computer is damaged and so the auto function will not work."
"How do I do that?"
"Are you inside the observation room looking down over the bay?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Ok, if you are you will be using the intercom in the middle of the room. To your left you will see a computer terminal."
"Yes, yes I see it."
"Good, now walk over to it and tell me what colour lights are on in the small area on the top right of the interface."
"Ok, give me a moment."
"Sure Adam, just take as long as you need."
"Ok there are four lights. Two of them are white and the other two are blue."
"Damn it!" Adam heard Moorabak mumble.
"Is that bad?" Adam asked, starting to worry.
"Yes Adam, two blue lights mean the motors to two sections of the door are inoperable and they cannot be fixed without a repair crew."
"So how are you going to dock?"
"We need to blast the door off using the Tomleek's plasma rail."
"But there is a problem Adam."
"How did I guess!"
"The Selsha has sustained heavy damage and is drifting. At the same time our weapon targeting system is offline and cannot be fixed. In order for us to be accurate and not risk hitting an already damaged part of your ship she will need to be steadied."
"Yes Adam, the ship's bow Pulse thrusters need to be activated to stop the ship drifting forwards."
"But I haven't seen anyone on the ship who can do that. Everyone on the Bridge is dead."
"But you are not Adam."
"Adam listen to me! I can get you off that ship but you need to trust me and do exactly as I say. Now I want you to go back to the bridge and tell me what state the navigator's station is in. You cannot miss it; it is a large terminal that sits a little forward from the Commander's chair."
"Ok, but I really don't think I can drive something this big, I mean, I don't even know what all the buttons do."
"You'll do fine young earthling, you have a fine teacher."
Brandon led a very full Sage out of McDonalds and on to Sam's university, hailing a cab to make the journey quicker.
"That was amazing! I haven't had McDonalds in like two years!"
"Glad you enjoyed it. My pocket certainly didn't."
"Hey, you made the deal, not me," Sage said smiling.
"Yeah, and you changed it!" Brandon replied as they got into the waiting car.
As it pulled away Sage got another flash of an image in his head and shivered. "You ok? Eaten too much?" Brandon asked, looking over at him.
"I'm fine." He replied, turning away and looking out of the window.
The Taxi pulled up at the university gate and the guard called Sam's room who said it was ok for them to enter the grounds. Brandon led Sage up the path towards the dorms and opened the door letting him in.
"I always wanted to go to University; I think I would have done well." Sage remarked, as the door closed behind them.
"Why didn't you?"
"My shitty life just didn't have that in store for me I guess." Sage replied, causing Brandon to Frown.
The two boys walked down the corridor until they reached Sam's room and Brandon knocked three times. Moments later Sam opened it and greeted them with a smile.
"You must be Sage, nice eye!"
"You must be Sam, fuck you!"
"Come in." Sam replied, smirking.
Sage did as he was invited and stepped into the room, making himself right at home on Sam's computer chair.
"So has Brandon filled you in on the piece of metal?" he asked Sage who was fiddling with Lego models which sat all over his desk.
Sage shrugged. "Sort of, not sure what I can do though, I'm not a scientist, I'm just a bum!"
"Wanna take a look Sage?"
"Go on then, let's get this over with and then you'll realise I can't help you."
"Hey, cheer up, even if you don't know what it is, at least you got a free meal out of it," Brandon smirked at an unimpressed Sage. Sam walked over to his bed and took the box down containing the artefact and clicked it open before pulling it out. He placed it down on the computer desk and Sage swivelled round and placed his gaze on it and immediately grimaced.
"What?" Brandon asked, jumping up, seeing his reaction.
Sage coughed and got up from the seat. "I know what that is."
"Are you fucking around, kid?" Sam asked, not looking impressed.
"So what is it then?" Brandon asked, excitedly
"It's a Signal booster."
"For what?" Sam asked.
"I don't know," Sage replied, heading for the door.
"Hey where are you going?" Brandon asked, jumping in front of Sage's path.
"I need to leave."
"Why, what's wrong?"
"I don't know, I just feel weird ok?"
"Ok, just calm down and tell us what you feel."
"I can't even explain it to myself let alone you, now will you let me go?"
"Sage," Sam started. "Could you at least tell us how you know what this is, it could be important."
"I can't!" Sage replied.
"Why not?" Brandon asked, confused.
"Because I don't know what it is."
"But you just said…"
"So, uh…" Brandon scratched his head.
"Look, you guys ain't getting me. I know what it is but I don't know how I know what it is. As far as I know I have never seen anything like that in my life and yet somehow I know what it is, do you know how fucked up that makes me feel in the head?" Sage hissed sounding frustrated.
"Wait, let me get this straight," Sam started. "So you have just told us quite confidently that it is a signal booster and yet in the same breath you are saying you don't know why you know what it is?"
"Bingo! Now can I go?"
"NO!" Brandon blurted, surprising both Sage and Sam.
"So I'm a prisoner here?"
"Sorry I didn't mean to make it sound that way… no, look Sage. Look at it again; see if you can give us any more."
"I don't want to look at it again; I want to go back to Heidgate."
"Sage, I'll let you go, just answer me one thing. Do you think… or feel that this item has anything to do with the images you saw in your head?"
Sage looked at Brandon and thought about his question. As much as he didn't want to he thought as hard as he could and tried to make a link between the two, but there was nothing.
"Nope, can I go now?"
"Sure go, glad you enjoyed your meal."
"Is that supposed to make me feel guilty, because if it is you are working the wrong person?"
Sage didn't hang around for answer he just opened the door and left, leaving Sam and Brandon looking at each other.
"That kid is one fucked up puppy." Sam commented, shaking his head. "And what the FUCK is that eye all about. Never mind that artefact coming from outta space, he looks like something related to the Borg!
"For some reason he is being coy about it, I just think he has a defect. A pretty cool one though. So anyway do you think he knew what it was?"
Sam stroked his chin. "At first no, but then I was thinking, what has he got to gain by lying. I mean if he wanted to steal it, or get something out of us then I could understand it, but the whole thing seemed to freak him out so I don't see why he would just say he knew what it was and then want to leave all of a sudden with nothing."
"True. He kept going on about seeing some images of an alien in his mind when I mentioned what old man Fred had said. That was weird too."
Sam laughed. "Perhaps he needs to be regressed."
"Yeah… hey wait a minute."
"Regression? That's like a form of hypnosis right?"
"I think so, but to be honest Bran, I don't know anything about it."
"I have a theory."
"No serious, hear me out. What if I could convince him to be hypnotised?"
"What's that gonna do?"
"Well you hear of these people who are put under a spell and they start revealing things they thought they had forgotten."
"I still don't see why this kid would benefit from that."
"What if these images and the fact he knew about the artefact but didn't know why are something to do with locked up memories that he can't access."
"Pfft!" Sam rolled his eyes.
"Hey don't knock it. I read once that a woman who had a feeling she was raped after someone spiked her drink was able to recognise her attacker after being hypnotised. Apparently while she was under she was able to tell cops about his house and what colour cat he had, even what car was in the drive way… you got to admit that's pretty neat?"
"Ok, so let's just say you convince him to do this, who is gonna be the hypnotist, cause I'll be honest, I might have a friend who specialises in Quantum Mechanics and another who does Taxidermy, but I am fresh out of hypnotist friends."
"I know someone." Brandon revealed.
"Debbie Landers, we went to school together."
"The fat girl with the wonky tits?"
"Yep, and she is doing well for herself now, unlike some of the guys who used to tease her."
"And you're friends with her?"
"More like acquaintances, but look the point is, if I can get her to do it we might be able to get a breakthrough."
Sam sighed. "Bran, you're my friend and I love you but sometimes you worry me."
"Because like it or not, whatever is going on here it is highly unlikely to prove we have been visited by little green men who took a liking to your brother to the point where they beamed him up to their spaceship!"
"There is no need to make fun!" Brandon barked.
"I'm not making fun, I'm just trying to put it in a way that will bring you back down to earth, if you pardon the pun. I want to make you aware that YES, I agree things we have found out are a little strange, but as with most things in life there is normally a perfectly reasonable explanation and if for whatever reason Adam is not found at the end of all of this well… I just don't want you to be disappointed that all."
"Point taken, now I need to find Sage again!"
Sam slapped his cheeks and closed his eyes as Brandon got up and ran out the door.
Stepping over the body of a dead Puritan Bridge officer, Adam had now successfully made his way back and now stood in front of what used to be Commander Skada's chair. He edged backwards until his calves hit the material and fell back into the large seat before looking down at the arm containing a small screen and built in intercom.
"Shit!" he muttered as it suddenly sunk in he was sitting in virtual command of a colossal space vessel. "If only my parents could see me now." He pressed the intercom button and called for Commander Moorabak. "Ok, I'm here!"
"Adam, well done! Now on the terminal in front of the chair is the navigation station, can you see it?"
"I can… what's left of it, it looks burnt."
"Are you saying it has sustained heavy damage?"
"Yes, the surface looks like it has melted and there are no lights coming from it."
"Ok, Adam, one moment I need to speak to my engineering team to see if there is another way."
"What should I do, just wait?"
"Yes Adam, I will return back to you as soon as I can."
The link went dead and Adam sat still in the oversized white leather like chair looking straight ahead at what used to be the view screen, but now just a blank wall where the device had been damaged. He got up and took a step forward before making his way slowly up towards the rear of the ship's nerve hub to look at the damage.
"Fucking Silga!" he muttered, feeling sorry for the Puritans, wondering how long it had taken them to build such a prestigious craft. As he neared the very rear of the Bridge he came across the huge electromagnetic fields that were the only thing bridging the gaps between the damaged holes in the ship's skin and cold space. He couldn't help thinking they looked like large sheets of frosted ice and immediately felt the urge to touch one of them before thinking better of it.
"Probably be electrocuted or something you stupid boy!" he said to himself. Turning round he walked over towards what was the tactical station - a long bench that sat behind the commander's chair on a plinth giving a good view over it and the rest of the forward Bridge. He felt sad as he looked down and saw another body of a Puritan and wondered if he had been the person responsible for this station. He imagined him standing at his post working furiously to defend his Vessel and commander from the attacking fleet of enemy ships. Ultimately the Puritans looked to have won the battle but the price had been high.
"Adam, this is the Tomleek, come in."
"Yes, yes I'm here."
"Good, ok, I have spoken with my team and they tell me that there is a way to control the ship from the small command module that sits on the right hand arm of the Command chair, can you see it?"
"Hold on, I'll go to it now," Adam replied, hurriedly walking back to the chair as fast as his weak body would carry him. "Ok, I'm here, yes I see the panel."
"Good, we are going to attempt to upload a primitive command template using universal earth symbols so that you can understand a little better how the panel is laid out."
"You can do that?"
"Yes, every terminal can be designed to a user's preference; we just need to translate one for you to understand."
"A re-skin," Adam mumbled, suddenly having a memory of an IT class enter his head.
"Nothing, I was just thinking that's all."
"Ok you should now be able to access the panel, does it look familiar?"
"Wait lemme see."
Adam sat back in the command chair and looked at the panel that had now come to life in a totally different format.
"Oh your shitting me, this looks like something I can work." He said, managing a cheeky smile.
"We are glad you like it Adam, now tell me what you see."
"Ok, so I got pulse thrust power with a small slider. Port, Starboard, bow and aft buttons and there is some more but the screen is cracked."
"No problem what you have described you should be able to use for our purposes. Now listen carefully. Due to most of our systems being offline on my ship we will need to monitor your movement the old fashioned way."
"We will look out of the window." The commander replied dryly. Adam wondered if he understood the comedic value that answer would have got back on earth but thought he probably didn't.
"My team will monitor the Selsha's drift and relay back to me and I will tell you when you have done enough"
Adam took a deep breath. "This is making me kinda nervous."
"Adam, you are probably the bravest boy I have ever met, I would gladly have you as part of my crew, and you have the making of a true Puritan warrior!"
"Really… now get ready."
"Ok, just tell me what to do."
"Standby, my crew are finding a suitable place to monitor you now."
Adam sat patiently while there was a brief silence. There was something scary about moving an object this big but not being able to see outside. At the same time there was the odd feeling of how natural it felt sitting in the chair he was in.
"Ok Adam, I want you to press the bow button twice until you see a white light appear above it."
Adam did as he was asked. "Ok it's done… yeah a light has appeared."
"Excellent, ok, very gently I want you to move the slider one notch upwards and hold it there until I say."
Adam closed his eyes and swallowed before trying to stop his hand from shaking as he lowered he thumb onto the virtual slider and moved it. There was a very gentle hum before Adam heard loud creaks and clunks as the ship's pulse engines burst into life on the fragile damaged vessel.
"Is it working?" Adam asked. As Commander Moorabak came back over the intercom Adam could hear the cheering of people aboard the other ship.
"Yes Adam, we can see your ship is starting to slow, great work!"
"Wow, thanks, I've never driven anything before, this is kinda cool!" he replied, feeling a sense of pride.
"Just hold it there until I give the word."
"I will, I will."
Commander Moorabak listened for a member of his crew and sure enough he was given the word to cease power.
"Ok Adam, move the slider back you should now be stationary." Adam quickly carried out the Commander's instruction and shifted the slider back down a notch effectively shutting off the pulse engines.
"Well done my son. We will now attempt to blast off the hanger bay door to enable us to dock a pod on your ship. Please remain on the bridge until I send for you, you will be safe there for the moment. We will also arrange a breathing suit so you can make the journey from the observation room onto the pod ok?"
"I understand, and Commander Moorabak?"
"My friend, Lord Relshek, he…"
"We understand Adam, Lord Relshek will be brought home to rest as soon as we can arrange a crew to dock your ship and remove its dead."
"Please take care of him; he was the closest thing I had to a father for a while."
"His body will be treated with the upmost respect Adam, and I mourne his death with you, be sure of that. Lord Relshek was a much respected and loved scientist."
"Thank you." Adam replied, tearfully.
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