by James Matthews

Chapter 18

"You are one fucking stubborn bastard you know that?" Brandon spat at Fred. "I don't see what the big deal is, it's not like I am going to keep it!"

"It cannot leave this house Brandon, I'm sorry!"

"You know, we both might have a chance to find out something about this useless lump of metal, hell… you might even have your crazy theory proven correct, but instead you wanna keep it locked up like some ingot of gold, and for WHAT?"

"Boy, if it fell into the wrong hands it might…"

"Might what? What the fucking hell does it do? What is it worth to anyone… fuck, you don't even know what it is, I mean, wouldn't you like to find out? I might be able to get those answers."

Fred didn't say anything causing Brandon to just stare at him angrily before pacing round the tatty lounge. He stopped at the window before chipping some old paint from the wooden frame with his finger, looking up into the stars.

"What are you scared of?" Brandon asked, now calmer, his back to Fred.

"I ain't scared of anything, I just don't want to be responsible for what might happen if people in certain places knows this exists. What you gotta remember boy, is that beyond your fluffy world of reality TV shows and mundane shit there is a murky world of secrets and dark places. There are people I know that could have anyone buried in the ground if they knew the UFO crazies… as you call them… were on to something."

Brandon turned around and lend back on the window sill, now facing old man Fred. "Sometimes you have to take risks, you must know that doing what you did for a living. Perhaps… perhaps you were meant to find out what this was, I mean who knows, they might have left it on purpose. It might be like the sort of shit the Americans put on the side of that Voyager space thing, you know with the disc and pictures."

"Something tells me they didn't leave this on purpose. The feeling I get is they left in a hurry for some reason and I think that reason may have been your brother."

Brandon shook his head. "You know, I am starting to wonder if my brother is the bait you use so I buy into all this shit. Just give me the fucking artefact, let me take it to a friend who knows a friend and lets find out what this thing is once and for all!"

"I said no!"

"Then… then I am taking it anyway!"

With that comment, Brandon snatched the box from the beat up coffee table and slung it under his arm. Fred tried to get up and stop him but his advancing years defied his attempt to move quick enough and he fell back into his chair bellowing Brandon's name. But, it was useless.

Brandon was gone!

Having arrived about 20 minutes ago Sage was sitting in Adam's apartment waiting for him to say something, now aware that he had said barely a word since Adam had let him in. Adam just sat there, resting his chin on his hairy legs due to only being dressed in some rather skimpy boxer briefs.

"You know I really don't know how these people survive without entertainment, like TV and stuff," Sage remarked, trying to break the now noticeable silence.

"I didn't think I'd miss him you know," Adam said, ignoring Sage's last comment and replying with one of his own.

"Yeah, where is lover boy anyway, and do you think you might let me have a ride on him?"

Adam looked up at Sage not impressed which pretty much killed Sage's laughter.

"He's at life school and your comment was NOT funny!"

"Life what?"

"It's a place the new-borns go to, to learn about the planet and their place in it."

"Sounds boring, but each to their own."

"You know Sage, I really think I have worked you out now. You really are just a useless chunk of meat aren't you? You have absolutely no interest in anything unless it entertains you or gives you sexual gratification. Everything is boring to you because you show no interest in how it works or why it is here. You take no pride in anything and I really do think you have got to theeeee most ungrateful person I have ever met!"

Sage got up, his mouth open, eyes wide and silent. "Wow, Adam, say what you feel why don't you! Fuck me!"

Adam got up and walked over to his water dispenser. Taking a tumbler from the shelf he placed it on the tray and pressed a button on the panel, filling it half way.

"I'm sorry, I just really do not get you sometimes. When I think of everything these people have done for you and your reply to everything is… oh, how boring this is, or how shit that is. Well Sage, sorry but if you really don't like it, and it really is that shit for you then be my guest and leave, we'll cope without you!"

"Fucking hell, they really have brainwashed you haven't they. Just remember where you came from asshole!"

"I do remember where I came from, and I also know when I have been given a second chance, something you might have considered at some point."

"Second cha… are you fucking kidding me? Sure, I might not have had a proper home back on earth but at least I was-"

"Entertained? Yeah you were. You took drugs, got drunk, raped me and then fell asleep. Yeah great life Sage"

"I was going to say, at least I knew where I was going ACTAULLY!"

"Sage, you weren't going anywhere. These people have given you somewhere to go and you just treat them like shit… anyway I am tired of having this conversation."

"Then stop having it then, I don't need to the fucking Puritan propaganda shit anyway. But since we are on the topic of how good it's been, just to refresh your memory if I may? These people didn't, and don't want me here. I have been threatened with termination, I have been told by Relshek there is nothing here for me, I have almost been blown to bits by some alien terrorists and on a daily basis I am either cooking to death or lying in a bath full of sweat with fuck all to do, so please tell me what I am to be so grateful for?"

Adam creased his forehead. "Hang on, back up a moment. What do you mean Relshek said there was nothing here for you?"

"It's why I came to see you today."

"You make it sound like you need an appointment."

"I stayed away because you had company… anyway there is a deal on the table from your friend Christian."

"Sage, the Puritans don't do deals, what's this about?"

"It seems Christian does."

"Ok, humour me, what IS this deal?"

"I have been given the opportunity to go back to earth."

Adam's eyes went wide and he slowly walked over to his sofa contraption and sat down opposite Sage before placing his glass down on the table fixed to the wall.

"Excuse me?"

"Yeah, I was surprised too."

"So where does a deal fit into all this?"

"Well, in order for me to be able to go home I am not allowed to try and convince you to come with me."

"Christian said this?"

"Yep! This was the same conversation which included the words there is nothing here for you, Sage."

"Are you're sure he said that?"

Sage rolled his eyes. "I'm not fucking deaf Adam, yes I'm sure!"

"Ok, ok!"

"So there we are, I get to go home but I'm not allowed to influence you in any way."

"Or?" Adam asked, raising a brow.

"Or the deal is off and I have to stay here."

"I don't understand, I mean, the whole reason they brought you here was because they were worried you might reveal them to people on earth, and now they are going to just drop you off and that doesn't matter anymore?"

"That's what I said, but apparently they have a thing they can do on the planet here that will erase parts of my memory by zapping certain cells in my brain or some shit like that."

Adam got up again and paced the room, running his hands down his face. Sage sat back down. "So what are you going to do?"

"Sit down, and I'll tell you." Adam went back towards Sage and sat again next to him. Sage, in an uncharacteristic manner softly took Adam's hand in his and gently squeezed it. "Look, all that stuff you said about me earlier…"

"I know, I'm sorry I was angry, you're not always like that."

"But I am sometimes. You know, I think a lot of you, more than you'll probably ever know, or I ever thought I would admit, but Relshek? He had a point Adam, there is nothing here for me… apart from you of course. All I am going to say is that I really want you to think carefully about your future and make your own choice about what you want to do. I am not going to try and convince you to come back with me because I can't risk the consequences… knowing them, they probably have this apartment bugged. But look, in all seriousness; if you chose to stay here I wouldn't blame you. It's like you said, they were expecting you and certain things have been set up for you which they haven't for me."

"So you're going then?"

"Yeah, Adam, I'm gonna take the offer and go. Looking at the way things have gone for you since arriving I actually think your life would be better remaining here, I mean you have Castro now and a life of comfort. It's just not for me Adam, and while I accept that I have been treated well here I really don't get it."


"Yeah, I just can't seem to adapt to the culture shock that this place is. I know what you're thinking and yeah maybe I need to give it a chance and embrace it, but when certain forces are subtly working against you it's hard to see forward, you get me?"

"I think so," Adam replied, slightly dejectedly.

"It's hard I know, because I will never know if you are ok and you will never know if I am, but I think each of us… with me going and you staying, are making the right decisions."

"You're right, I am staying. Here I can be someone. Here I can have a family, live in peace… make something of myself, you know?"

"I know, Adam, that's why I took the assumption that you were going to stay. How do you feel about me wanting to go?"

"You wanting to go is not the shock Sage, the shock is finding out you having that chance. I don't know how I'll feel once you have gone. I had…I have feelings for you."

Sage chuckled. "Meh, all we ever did was argue anyway."

"Hmm, true I guess," Adam replied forming a shy smile. "So when do you leave?"

"Wanna get rid of me already?"

"You know what I mean!"

"I'm just playing… uh, well I would be going in about three days."

"What?! THREE DAYS?!"

"That's the schedule apparently yeah. The only reason I'm having the chance to go is because this is a spaceship going that way."

"But three days?"

"Adam, it wasn't my choice."

"I know, I know, it's just a bit soon I guess."

Sage sighed. "I still can't believe that soon I might be back on earth, like MY planet, it actually starts to freak me out when I think about it, I mean, it's not like I have just come back from holiday or some shit like that. AND just think, what I've done, well it makes the Apollo missions look like child's play eh?"

"I think you are forgetting… if you pardon the pun coming up… you won't remember anything Sage!"

Sage suddenly thought about that and his shoulders dropped. "Yeah, I guess I got carried away there. Damn though, how crazy would it be to have the chance to go on TV and say, hey, I've been to another world?"

"Crazy would be the word everyone would label you for a start, but yeah, I know what you mean."

"So I got three days left here, now you know, so what do you wanna do?"

"Sage, I have the rest of my life here, I think the question should be, what do YOU wanna do?"

"Well I wouldn't mind having a threesome with that absolute GOD of a boyfriend you have?"

"Ha! You wouldn't be able to handle him. If you look at Human sexuality as Diesel, Castro is like rocket fuel!"

"You do know you are making me dribble involuntarily now right?"

"Bah! You keep your hands off, don't destroy his innocence, that's my job."

"So when does he get back from this life school thing?"

"I get to see him in three moons and I cant wait!"

"Three moons? Jesus, you are actually turning into one of them aren't you?"

"Well they don't call them nights here and besides, it's easier to try and adapt to their words rather than keep explaining the earth term."

"In that case, I forgive you. Hey you know one thing that has crossed my mind?"

"What's that?" Adam asked, getting into a lying position on the sofa.

"Like, where you're going to be when I get back."

"Huh? I'll be here."

"Yeah, but I won't know that will I?"

Adam scratched his head. "Hmm, didn't really think of that. I wonder if you'll search for me, worried."

"Nah!" Sage replied, smiling. Adam punched him on the arm. "Ouch!"

"So, you're gonna go back to Heidgate?"

"I guess… I won't know any different will I? The way Relshek explained it, I will just wake up feeling a bit groggy and then think nothing of it."

"Fucked up!" Adam commented, shaking his head.

"Yeah!" Sage agreed.

"Anyway getting back to your question about what I wanna do?"

"Oh, yeah… sure what?"

"Well, apart from fuck your boyfriend senseless which is true, I thought maybe while I still have my memory we could take a walk?"

Adam laughed for a moment. "Huh? You walking… they guy who never stops complaining about the heat?"

"I thought maybe at night, when the sun goes down. Maybe we could see what other places there are here. After all what have we seen so far? Our little housing patch and those high rises just up the hill."

"We saw the Council of Living."

"Yeah, thrilling!" Sage barked. "No, I mean, maybe if we took a walk down the hill there might be some things to see."

Adam shrugged. "If you want… or maybe we could get one of those Magnacars to take us further out… OH, I got an idea, what about if we try and find the nearest coast?"

"A coast?"

"Yeah, like when we were coming down to the planet's surface didn't you see all that water, like a massive ocean? Jeez, I wonder what THAT would be like to see."

"Wow, you look suddenly enthusiastic, ok, well I'm game. So these car things they use here, do they have drivers… I mean, can you just hire them?"

"Hmm, dunno," Adam replied. "I'll ask Christian, he'll know."

"Ok, you do that, in the meantime I'm gonna go back to my apartment and take a shower, I stink from all this sweat!"

"Jeez, you really know how to turn a boy on Sage!"

Sage poked out his tongue and got up, heading straight for the front hatchway. "I'll see you later, let me know about our little trip."

"Yeah cool, I'll speak to Christian and let you know."

Adam put his hand up and gestured a small wave and Sage did the same before heading out into the scorching heat of the day. A heat that Adam never failed to be shocked by as a wave of hot air smashed against him before the room started to cool again.

Back on earth Brandon was hurriedly making his way on foot into the University campus where is friend Sam resided. With the box gripped firmly under his arm he took one last look behind him before travelling through the main gate and stopping at the security hut. For some reason he kept getting the overwhelming feeling Fred would come after him for the box, or he might send an old friend to take it back by force. This was of course all paranoia Brandon tried to rationalise.

"ID Please." A uniformed man said from the hut. "What room?"

"Two twenty one, Sam Mendez."

"One moment."


Brandon waited patiently while the security guard called Sam's room.

"Yep, ok off you go."


Brandon walked on relieved the man didn't ask to look in the box. After all, what WAS in the box should he have been asked? It was an answer that he didn't even bother to try and think up such was the weirdness within the small wooden case.

Approaching the dorms Brandon felt a cold wind hit his face making it feel prickly. Somehow he connected it to the fact of what he had done, which was stealing the box from Fred, was wrong. He tried to reason with himself that the act would be worth it in the end and even Fred would realise that as soon as the answers came flooding through as to what the hell this thing was. But would they? His mind rolled around as he buzzed Sam's room.

"Hey, I got it… the artefact." Brandon declared as the box on the wall crackled.

"Hello to you too!"

"Haha, sorry Pal, just cold out here and I'm kinda excited."

"It's open, just pull."

Brandon pulled open the door against a strong breeze and made his way down the corridor to Sam's room before knocking. He could hear some activity behind it before it clicked and opened. Sam appeared in the doorway rubbing his eyes, standing in a pair of stripy boxer shorts, complete with bed head.

"Hey, you better come in, sorry I was asleep." Sam said.

"Yeah I can tell by your morning wood!" Brandon added, chuckling. Sam looked down and grabbed his stiff dick and wiggled it about a bit.

"Yeah, sorry for subjecting you to that, I didn't even notice."

Brandon just smiled and walked into his room. Sam, unlike most students was a clean freak, so his room was spotless. In other ways though, it was typical of a Uni dorm with posters of scantily clad women on every wall, A white board with notes scribbled on it and a computer station which sat under a towering bed frame.

Brandon placed the box down on the TV unit and slouched in one of Sam's chairs. "You know, I had such a fucking argument with that guy, he was adamant I wasn't taking the box!" Brandon called to Sam who was now in an annex room brushing his teeth.

"So how come you got it?" he called back sounding like his mouth was full of toothpaste.

"I just took it, so now you have to find something out about it so I can justify taking it," Brandon called back with chuckle.

Sam appeared back in his room wiping his mouth with a towel. "You know it could be nothing, it could be a hoax, have you thought about that?"

"Sure I have, most of the time actually but something is telling me to find out, and you know me Sam, I don't really get worked up about anything, but this thing… grrr, I dunno, it's just screaming at me to solve it!"

"Any news on Adam?"

"Nothing, no."

"Bran, why don't you call the police, tell them what's happened, tell them he's missing?"

"Because if I do that it will drag everything that's happened up and questions will be asked of my parents and then if that happens they will have to admit they threw him out, it could go in the local paper and then I'll be thrown out too for ruining their precious reputation."

"Jesus man, we are talking about your brother's wellbeing, fuck what your parents think dude!"

"I know, I know, don't lecture me, I've been wrestling with my conscience the second I knew he was missing, but part of me wonders if he wants to be found as well. I mean he might have just packed up and left for another place, hell, he might even have found a rich sugar daddy to take care of him, then what, do I trounce in on all that?"

"Or he could be in trouble and need his big brother. Anyway, you know what is right and wrong, now show me what's in the box."

"Yes Sir!"

Brandon did as instructed and picked up the locked case, placing it on front of Sam.

"Er Brandon? It's locked!"

"Two one five."


Same slid his fingers over the reel and put the correct numbers in sequence before clicking the container open. He slowly opened the case and peered inside.

"Well, first thoughts?" Brandon asked as Sam seemed to be paused just looking at it.

"It looks like a lump of metal shaped like a crescent moon," Sam replied as he slowly placed his hand in the box and picked up the strange object.

"I know that."

Sam twisted and turned the object in his hand, studying it. There were indeed markings on it but they were too small to see with the naked eye, plus they were not instantly recognisable like numbers or letters for example.

"I really don't know what I'm looking at Brandon, like I said, I will get my expert Professors to take a look if you want. Here hand me that Camera," Brandon said, pointing at a small Cannon 35mm.

"You can take it with you if you like, You don't need to take pictures."

"Yeah I know, but pictures always help for when you have to take it back, and besides, if your friend Fred has stumbled across anything exciting then at least we will have the pictures right?"

"True enough."

Sam placed the object down on to his cream coloured carpet and lined up the camera with his eye. He waited for the red light to appear and then pressed the button. Brandon watched him as the Camera's flash briefly lit up the room making him blink. As his vision returned to normal he was astounded to see that the object now glowed.

Sam leapt back in horror wondering what the fuck was happening. "SHIT! Did I do that to it?"

Brandon looked fascinated. "Wow, I dunno."

"I'm sorry, but the laws of physics says that a lump of non-radioactive metal cannot glow unless it is heated." Sam rushed the words out, now trembling slightly

"Our first mystery Sam!" Brandon said as they both looked at the object in awe which was indeed glowing a shade of bright purple.

"Does… does it feel warm?" Sam asked, still too timid to come near the artefact which Brandon didn't appear to be fazed by. Instead Brandon placed his hand close to the object to see if he could feel heat radiating from it but there didn't seem to be. Then, without warning the glow dimmed and the object went back to its original state.

"Man that is FUCKED!" Sam yelled.

"Stop being a baby, I'm relying on you for answers."

"You… you want an answer? That thing could not be made here, hands down, no fucking way, it's not possible!"

"So what is the alternative? You really wanna assume the alternative?"

"Just put it back in the box, that thing has freaked me out for the week I tell ya!"

Grand Master Telstrek sat upon his raised chair as Lord Kelshen and Relshek came in to his grand reception room, both holding a flexi pad.

"Lords, thank you for visiting me. Space Operations have confirmed through our intelligence that the Silga race are preparing another attack. This time our listening posts have confirmed they are sending at least twenty ships."

"My High Lord, I have heard this too." Kelshen said before bowing before the old man.

"I am preparing extra security for Adam now, your excellency, and I can confirm the Boy Sage will be leaving us, bound for earth with your final agreement."

"The boy Sage does not interest me Lord Relshek, The safety and continuation of this planet does. When can we expect some progress with the earth boy in regards to the plague that haunts our planet?"

"Yes my High Lord, we are expecting to begin in just under six days." Relshek replied. "The procedure will take around four days to complete and then a further fourteen days to start synthesising the genes needed for a cure."

Relshek looked on at his Master noting that he looked uncomfortable. Add that to the fact he wasn't bringing forth a response as he expected.

"My Lord, is everything ok?"

Telstrek cleared his throat. "Lord Relshek I am fully aware of how close you are to the boy, and in some way you too Lord Kelshen. However I have spoken with my advisors and there is a possible way to appease our enemy whilst saving our planet from both the disease and possible destruction."

"My Lord?" Relshek asked, innocently, wondering what was coming.

"Once the procedure with the earth boy Adam is over he will be relieved from your care and will be handed over to the Silga's. They will believe we have surrendered without curing our planet and this I am told will be enough to ensure we do not get another visit from them."

Relshek fell backward a step, his posture changing to one of limpness and shock. "But Grand Master, this a betrayal of Puritan principles and against the constitution. We are bound by a duty to protect all Alien visitors and inhabitants."

"Lord Relshek, these are strange times and worrying ones. I cannot risk all-out war with the Silga people, we do not have the fleet for a start and we are facing a genetic crises not seen for hundreds of years. I agree this goes against our way and will not be popular with the people of Purity but the alternative is what? Certain death for our race… extinction!"

"I understand Sir, really I do but please, I beg you, do not do this!" Relshek fell to his knees like a desperate man but was helped back up by Lord Kelshen who gripped his shoulder as if telling him he felt for him.

"Is there anything else you wish to discuss?"

"But, Grand Master, I cannot-"

"Cannot is not a word said in my presence Lord Relshek. The decision has been made, unless of course you are questioning my authority?"

"Deepest apologies My Grand excellency, there is nothing else I wish to discuss." Relshek forced a bow feeling utterly shattered.

"Lord Kelshen?"

"No my Lord, nothing further."

"Very well, you may both leave."

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