by James Matthews

Chapter 2

Adam awoke feeling worse than ever. His chest was on fire and as he got to his feet a hacking cough took over him producing spots of blood that shot from his mouth and onto the floor. He stood looking at the red phlegm in horror, wondering what the hell was happening to him. Was he dying? Was he going to survive another night?

He wandered over to the back of the laundrette which was located the only working tap. He turned it on and crouched down allowing some of the water into his mouth with the rest falling onto the floor soaking his socks that were full of holes.

Standing back up he wandered over to a large grey duffle bag and pulled out another pair of socks in an equally bad state before pulling his old ones off. On his ankle were 2 brown lesions he had never noticed before. He wondered where they had come from. Had he been bitten by something? He mused, before placing his fingers on the strange marks.

Having not had a full body cleanse for as long as he remembered he'd never really been out of enough clothes to notice the lesions. In what started off more curiosity than worry, he began to check other parts of his body. He took hold of his hoody-sweater together with his t-shirt collar and lifted them over his head before going to stand in front of a dusty cracked mirror located near the front of the laundrette. He brought his hand up to his mouth as he saw his reflection.

They were all over his chest, maybe half a dozen.

"Relshek, what is taking so long?" Lord Kelshen asked, as his assistant frantically pressed buttons on his workstation.

"I'm sorry my lord, I am having problems with the probe here, it is not accepting my commands."

Kelshen hobbled over to Reshek's station and looked at the screen. "Can you get an image?"

"No, my lord, that's half the problem, I am trying to navigate it using the mother ship's guidance system but the signal is so weak."

Kelshen went back to his own station and pressed a button on the panel. A strange figure appeared on the screen wearing a black futuristic uniform and his face looked like it was obscured by a moulded glass mask.

"Speak, Kelshen," said the unknown figure.

"High Commander Zeka , can you bring the Trandor in any closer, we need the ship's guidance system to enable to us to use the scanning probe?"

"Out of the question Kelshen, we would be tracked. I am holding this geosynchronous orbit until the mission is complete. However I will request engineering assist you. I am being informed this planet has a primitive global positioning system we may be able to manipulate."

The screen went blank before lord Kelshen could respond. Relshek was aware of the conversation and banged his fist on the panel.

"Stubborn fool, he could have easily gone into orbit around the planet they call Jupiter, why are they holding course so far out?"

"Zeka is a fine ship Commander but he does play it too safe sometimes, I agree. Calm your anger Relshek and let's see what they can do with the planet's satellites.

Adam was taking a dump in his yellow bucket when he started to feel a tingling sensation in his shoulder. It felt like small bugs were scurrying around just beneath the skin causing him to slap his bare flesh.

At the same time he could hear a noise over near the front of the laundrette in what sounded like the faint motion of musical brass symbols being rubbed together. Adam craned his neck trying to find out where the source was, still contending with the tingling under his skin.

After his evacuation he cleaned himself using water from the tap trying to be gentle with his tender rosebud which had developed weeping haemorrhoids from all the abuse it had suffered at the hands of Sage and probably others. Adam sucked air through his teeth as the pain he was feeling from his ass was too much to ignore. Feeling completely battered he pulled up his jeans and wandered over to the front of the building to see what he could find.

As he slowly moved forward the intensity of the tingling amplified feeling like it was now traveling over most of his body. Not only that the symbol sound was getting louder. His eyes darted around the room as if looking for a fly he wanted to swat. One glance to the left set him in utter panic because hovering above his eye level was a small round object no bigger than a golf ball. It seemed to have a purple light emanating from its top and bottom, complete with a small matchstick like antenna poking out the side. The surface side facing him looked to have a miniature camera lens on it which changed colour as the ball moved around.

Trying to calm himself, panic subsided in Adam, being replaced with a deep sense of amazement as he watched the intriguing object float in the air without anything seeming to hold it up. He stepped forward one pace to try and get a closer look at the object. Then, without warning the tingling in his body stopped and the purple light at the top and bottom of the round ball dimmed.

"I have a picture now my lord. Whatever they are doing on the mother ship with this planet's satellites is working." Relshek announced to Lord Kelshen who was busy analysing data on his own screen.

"Excellent, I am looking at his statistics now. However his weakness may be too much for cellular transport. We may have to initiate a manual collection."

"I agree my lord." Relshek replied as he zoomed in on one of the lesions on Adam's neck."

"What do you propose? Have you seen a safe place to stun him?"

Relshek gently moved the little probe until he came across Adam's mattress and sleeping bag. "My lord, if I can tempt the child over to his sleeping area I could put him down there, but it will be risky. I fear if he goes down at the wrong angle we may have a problem."

"There is no time, do what you must and be careful my son."

"Very well, I will configure the probe now," advised Relshek as he tapped away on his panel.

An hour had passed and it was now getting dark. Adam, still in awe of the little device that appeared to be watching his every move started to slowly walk around the room to see if it would follow him. At brief intervals since it had arrived he had tried to capture it, but its speed of motion was way above Adam's declining reflexes.

Adam noticed out of the corner of his eye that the purple lights had once again become bright. At the same time the tingling sensation he had felt was back. He watched as the probe circled him before heading off in a straight line until it came to a stop above his sleeping bag. Adam, keeping his eyes fixed on the object followed it over taking slow tentative steps like someone might who wanted to pet a nervous cat.

The little sphere was now complexly completely static, just hovering inches from the ceiling. Wearing an intrigued simper Adam briefly forgot his pains and worries as he wondered what it would do next. There wasn't long for him to think about that notion because a split second later the purple light that sat on top of the probe quickly rotated and was now shining directly in Adam's eyes. Startled, Adam brought his hands up to shield them but before they had even above his bare chest the whole building illuminated in a bright white flash sending Adam's body limp and falling onto the soft mattress by his feet. The room fell back to its original illumination and moments later the small sphere seemed to lose power before falling to the floor and smashing into a metallic dust by Adam's motionless body.

Lord Kelshen spuan round on his chair and got up, for a moment giving the impression he was a much younger man. "Relshek, begin!" He commanded, pointing at his assistant.

Relshek pressed his intercom button and 3 men appeared almost instantly in the small command room. "Prepare the evacuation, here are your coordinates," he said, passing the middle man a slim electronic pad. With synchronous bows they turned and left the room.

Lord Kelshen began pressing buttons on his panel and then immediately summoned the commander of the mother ship on his intercom.

"Commander Zeka, come in."

"Kelshen, how may we assist?"

"Your intervention worked. The probe was able to complete its task, the boy is down."

"Very good, what is his condition?"

"We are beginning a manual collection Sire, we will not know until this has been completed."

"Well, if it's not too early Lord Kelshen, I think congratulations are in order, well done to you and the Science Quarter, I will inform High Central Station and pass on the news to Grand Master Telstrek on The home world.

The intercom went quiet and Lord Kelshen walked over to Relshek and grabbed him tight by the upper arms.

"We did it… you know what this means Relshek, you know what this means?"

"My lord, I am as happy as you, but we are not to rest yet, we must get the boy back to the ship and I worry for his stability."

Lord Kelshen let go of Reshek's arms as if coming back to a more realistic mind-set. "We will assist him here first and have him readied for transport. But I am inclined to transport him back as soon as possible. The care we can give him is limited here; we need the resources of the Trandor.

"Agreed my lord…Pod to science team, what is your arrival time?" Relshek asked, turning his attention to his dispatched team.

"We are approaching the location now Lord Relshek, but we may have a problem."

"A problem? Explain yourselves."

"There appears to be a young male, around five point three doons old, he is heading towards the boy's location."

Relshek slapped his hand on his forehead letting his mouth fall open. He turned and looked at Lord Kelshen who gave a gentle nod. Relshek pressed the intercom button on his panel.

"Stun authorised. When he is down put him in a pair of thermo shackles and remotely evaporate them once you are out of the area."

"Very good, Lord Relshek, stand-by."

Relshek paced the perimeter of the room while he waited for his team to confirm his request. "Damn, damn, damn!" he hissed. "If only we knew Adam's vital signs my lord, I would feel a little more relaxed."

"Compose yourself my son, we have much in our favour, let the team do their work."

"Science team to Lord Relshek, please come in."

"Relshek here, what is your status?"

There was a crackling noise on the frequency before voices could he heard in the distance. "Lord Relshek, we are under attack, I say again we are under attack."

The voice went silent as shots could be heard along with localised human screams."

"Lord Kelshen, that was NOT one of our weapons," Relshek cried, running over to the central panel. "Optimus play back intercom activity, timestamp 3.23 and localize weapon fire and display it on my station," he commanded some kind of invisible computer. There was a low bleep before the information appeared on Reshek's screen.

"Lord Kelshen, can you raise the science team with the locator beam while I see what this weapon was?" Relshek asked, sounding frantic. Kelshen went to work on his panel while Relshek did the same on his. "Hmm, says weapon is a three doon old spring loaded metal revolver using smokeless gunpowder."

"Sounds very primitive Relshek, I'm sure there will be no fatalities, although I am struggling to raise the science team."

Relshek bit his tongue and thought for a moment "Optimus, using play back of intercom activity try and work out the trajectory of the weapon, its possible target and distance between both. Please go to voice mode."

"Calculating, please standby four-seven-five-six-one I am attempting to complete your requests," came a smooth slow velvety male sounding voice emanating from the large purple lit dome on the ceiling. "four-seven-five-six-one, your request has been calculated. The weapon has been fired from a distance of twenty-nine earth feet. The target was Science officer Jasplack."

"Confirmed?" he appeared to ask the computer.

"Probability of eighty nine point seven."

"Optimus, please calculate probably probability of fatality at that distan…"

"Relshek, I have the team, wait! Science team, your signal is weak, please confirm your status," Lord Kelshen asked, looking over at Relshek, a worried expression on his face.

"Jasplack has expired my lord, but we have the boy. I regret three humans have had to be terminated."

Relshek placed his hand up on his forehead and puffed air through his lips. "We promised no terminations my lord, what will we do?"

"Stay calm Relshek, let us deal with the arrival of the boy first, this is our mission, we must not deviate. Kelshen to science team, please expedite your return." Lord Kelshen arose from his seat and walked towards Relshek. "I am putting the pod on enhanced security, please inform the Trandor of our current situation, including the termination of the three humans. I need to collect an item from my quarters but I will meet you in the Axillary lab in ten heshtons."

Near the northern end of Heidgate a police patrol car skidded in the entrance of the road, with blue flashing lights that danced on everything they touched in the abandoned street. 3 police officers burst out of the car and switched on their torches and armed their weapons. They were first met by a dazed Sage who was rubbing his head. Suddenly seeing the officers walking towards him, he froze and placed his hands above his head.

"Stop where you are," one of the officers shouted. "Place your hands on your head and drop to your knees! Do it NOW!

"I'm actually already doing that." Sage muttered under his breath. "You… you don't understand, I haven't done anything." He added this time shouting to the officers.

While Sage was handcuffed by one of the policemen, the other two walked off to survey the area soon coming across 3 male corpses lying motionless in the street outside the laundrette.

"What the fuck?" One of the officers muttered as he bent down and investigated. All three of the men were tainted in a toxic smelling scent and their faces were covered in black veined streaks, as if they had been struck by lightning. Their eyes were open but the whites of their eyeballs were red.

"Damn druggies," the officer still standing commented.

"Jim, I don't think this was drugs, and what the fuck is that smell?"

"Calm your shit Don, these guys probably hasn't haven't washed for about five years. Let's just call the coroner and find this weapon that's been reported."

The officer known as Jim pushed his nose closer to the bodies as Don wandered over to the laundrette and shone his touch in through the grimy window.

"Smells metallic," Jim declared, more to himself seeing as Don was now inside the laundrette. Don slowly made his way to the back of the room and came across Adam's sleeping bag. To the side was Adam's large duffle bag, the sleeve of a sweater sticking out. He reached in to his belt wallet and pulled out a single pair of latex gloves before bending down down and fully unzipping the bag. Pulling out the filthy sweater it revealed some more items as he shomeshone his torch inside. Mostly made up of clothes, Don started to empty it out before retrieving a small wooden trophy which was mounted on a granite plinth.

"Hey, whatdaya think of this?" Don asked, hearing Jim walk through the door towards him.

"What is it?"

"Some kind of trophy, looks like someone was here recently, look over there, the floor is wet from that tap. Maybe one of those guys outside?"

Don stood up and examined the object. Screwed to the wood was an engraved brass plaque which was tarnished. "Can you read it?" asked Jim, trying to get his head at the right angle.

"Just about, it says… Awarded to Adam Smith, first place in… hmm, I can't read the rest. Better bag it and the rest of the crap here. Hey, at least we have a name, and I'm betting it belongs to one of those street urchins out there."

"Ok boy, we are gonna do this one more time and I want some answers, and this time no more about little green men!"

Having been driven to the police station on the other side of town, Sage sat in a small box room with a plain clothed clothes officer inches from his nose. It appeared whoever he was had started to lose patience with whatever Sage had been trying to describe.

"I keep telling you, I had nothing to do with those guys, the people you want were… were, I dunno, they had like masks on made of glass and wore black uniforms."

The detective turned to his colleague sitting next to him before looking at Sage's brief. "Look, I know you ain't on private rates or nothin' but can you advise your client that unless we get some answers that don't sound like they're coming from something out of Star Trek then he is in serious trouble."

"If my client is telling you what he saw then there is really not much I can do officer Gates. He looks pretty genuine to me." Replied Sage's supplied Lawyer.

Detective Gates blew air through his lips and leant back in his chair. "Ok, Sage, if that is your real name, let's do this your way and see where we go, I have all night. Let's see who cracks first. Right, so tell me what happened from the beginning, I like a good story."

Sage rubbed his hands together nervously as if not wanting to relive the memory. "So… so I was going to meet a friend, and-"


"huh?" Sage asked, tilting his head.

"The name boy, the name of your friend."

"Adam… so I was going to meet Adam and that's when-"

This boy Adam … what was his last name?"

Sage shrugged. "We were kinda only on first name terms," replied the boy, giving away a gentle smile. The officer rolled his eyes.

"So this meeting, what were you meeting him for?"

"Does it matter?" Sage asked, causing the officer to bang his fist on the table. "I got three dead guys laying on a road in that rat pit you call your home and I have my only suspect telling me Aliens have visited earth. I'm sure you will appreciate SAGE, that YEAH it matters!"

"Sex ok… I was meeting him for sex."

The officer sitting next to detective Gates cleared his throat and fidgeted in his chair.

"Is there something wrong with the fact my client is a homosexual?" Sage's lawyer asked, directing her question at the screwed up face of the accompanying detective." Officer Gates chose to move the interview on.

"So Sage, then what happened." He asked with an exasperated tone.

"Like I told you. I got to the door and waited and then I could hear these these three guys talking to each other getting nearer. I heard them say something about someone being inside the laundrette and then…"

"And then?" Detective gates asked quickly as Sage trailed off.

"Then I had these like rubber feeling belts come round my wrists… they were warm. I remember not being able to move or speak. My arms felt like they were tied to my waist and then I don't remember any more… but I swear to you, the way they looked is the truth, they were different. It was like this glass was moulded around their faces but you couldn't see their actual face through it."

The detective next to Gates leaned in to his colleague. "A cult maybe sir?" he whispered.

Gates shook his head. "Sounds like bullshit to me."

Sage's lawyer had heard enough and got to her feet. She leaned on the table with one hand looking at the men and casually chewed some gum. "Detectives, may I state that unless you have found evidence against my client to support your case regarding the three deceased men then you need to let him leave."

"Very well Sage, you can go, but don't leave town yeahok? We might need to ask you a few more questions. Why don't you use that time to have a think about recent… events!"

Sage got up and thanked his lawyer before leaving the room. As he left the police station he crossed the road and took a short cut through the town cemetery back to Heidgate with a determination to find out what had happened tonight. His first stop would be the laundrette and he hoped Adam would be able to fill him in, not yet aware he was no longer there.

Squinting his eyes in the darkness with only a half moon to guide him, he looked ahead trying to see if the old rusty gates had been locked for the night. As he focused he felt a warm sensation on his neck which seemed to then intensify onto a concentrated spot. Moments later he felt his knees buckle causing him to fall to the muddy ground. He tried to put his hands out to stop the inevitable but he had a sensation like the whole of his body from the neck down had gone to jelly. Having the use of only his neck muscles he tried to lift his now muddy face out of the earth and looked parallel to the ground. He was looking for the cemetery gates and then tried to let out a scream for help, failing on both actions. His eyes soon told him that his view to the gates was being blocked by 2 pairs of legs. Sage tried with all his might to crane his neck and move his eyes to see who the faces were that had seemingly paralysed him but, it was no good.

Seconds later, everything went black, along with Sage's mind.

The Trandor is an orbiting ship the unknown race has used to bring their beings to Earth's solar system. It is currently located presumably circling a planet beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

Thermo Shackles are an organic piece of technology used to hold or restrain an object – Presumably a person or being.

A heshton is a time period that is equal to approximately 45 earth seconds.

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