Things are not what they seem on board the Explorer!Standing before a huge rounded window facing out toward the centre of the Explorer, was his old friend Altazar.
Zephour again completely forgot about his reason for being on the Explorer, he even forgot about Alura standing next to him. With a huge grin he darted across the office, “Altazar, what the? How? When did this happen?” Zephour was confused but overwhelmed with excitement. When planning for this mission he was expecting to be alone on earth for a long time, and combined with the potential dangers of the mission, he had no plans of becoming too friendly with anyone aboard the Explorer. But there, standing in front of him was his close friend, Altazar. He was the last person he expected to see, but was so happy to see him.
Altazar joined the academy with Zephour, but didn’t pass the physical aspect of it. The training was intense and not many people did. He was however a technical genius so found himself recruited to the artificial intelligence division. The techs were responsible for developing the AI according to the species of the planet to be explored so they could have a fully integrated machine that provided them with mountains of useful data. Although abductions still take place, AI was the new alternative to reconnaissance and fact finding missions where a civilized world existed. Even with all their technology they found that there would always be memory “stains’ implanted in the abductees sub conscience mind. It didn’t happen often, but occasionally these memories would be brought forward to the conscience mind and be extremely traumatic for the individual concerned. This was not what they wanted. The AI unit was mostly based on the Dark Star, but the explorer did have a team of 12. After joining AI, Altazar had only one mission on his mind, and that was to work on the Earth project. No one really knew why he was so committed to it, there were many projects ongoing throughout the multiverse which were controlled from the Dark star, but it paid off and he made it to the Explorer to head the on board team.
“Zep, it’s been too long my friend. You look great. When I heard you were coming to the explorer I just had to pull a few strings so you and I could have some time to catch up.”
“So you are going to be my AI support? Well, at least I know that I have the best watching my back.”
“Come, sit with me.”
Altazars office was pretty basic. A simple white curved table in the middle of the room with a high back chair facing the door, back to the window. His desk was empty except for a few buttons on the right hand side.
“Have you seen your digs yet? They look after us here on the explorer. We don’t get to visit the dark star much so they try and keep us pretty entertained.”
“I have yet to take him there,” Alura said with her grin. “I thought you would want to see him first Commander.”
Zephour almost forgot Alura was standing behind him. After she spoke, he and Altazar both turned and look at each other with a boyish grin. Altazar knew what he was thinking.
“Keep your mind on the mission Zep. There will be plenty of time for fun.”
“Deliberate?” Coty was taken aback. “You mean someone or something is out there and this someone or something is the cause of this apparent sonic boom?”
“All I am saying Coty is that this is not just a natural space phenomenon, it has to be deliberate. We don’t find “bangs” coming from space of this enormity and there are no man made objects or crafts out there that could cause this either.”
Coty was caught up in thought. He could hear Nick talking but it was turning into a muffled sound. He became anxious. Aliens? This was not the logic his mind had been trained to absorb. Being an astronomer, he was open too all kinds of suggestion when it came to space. He of all people knew how endless it was and how the possibility of life being sustained on other planets was something to be considered, but in all their studies they have never come across any physical proof that aliens exist. After all this time he had put to rest the idea and carried on with his focus on astronomy.
“Chief wants to see you in the boardroom now, both of you.” Coty snapped out of his day dreaming.
Nick was still talking when Geoff, the office intern, threw open the door and yelled in.
“What now,” Nick said.
Walking down the passageway to the boardroom, Coty was still slightly dazed by the morning’s events. Could it actually be? Will this happen in his lifetime? He never dreamed of this.
Approaching the glass walled boardroom, Coty noticed a familiar face in the chair, sat next to the Chief with two high ranking military personal opposite them. Dr Williams? What was he doing here? Coty walked in and sat down.
“Coty, “the chief said. “I take it you know Dr Hank Williams?”
“Yes,” There was a pause. “Yes, of course chief. I am very familiar with Dr Williams work.”
“Well good, because he has something very interesting to tell us.”
“Come Zep. Let me walk you to your digs and then we can go for a drink and a catch up.”
They left Altazars office and proceeded down the passageway the same way Zephour had just come, with Alura following closely behind them.
“You know Zep, a lot of people are counting on this mission. It’s been something we have worked towards for a very long time. Now that earths solar system is moving through the age of Aquarius and venturing to the centre of the galactic plain, we will finally get the chance to re unite our two planets.”
“Let’s hope I can pull it off then,” Zephour said with giggle.
“Commander Altazar please report to the AI deck,”
“Commander Altazar please report to the AI deck,”
The PA system on the explorer was clear.
Altazar looked up as if he was looking at the sentence been displayed in the air.
“I must go Zep, Alura will take you to your digs and then bring you to me. We can have a catch up then. This shouldn’t take long.”
Zephour seemed impressed at how important his friend had become on the Explorer. He felt proud of him. Altazar left in the opposite direction in a hurry.
‘This way,” Alura gestured in front of her. “It’s not far from here.”
They walked along the passageway, with Alura glancing back every so often with that grin. Turning the corner Zephour saw a blue door with a sign on it showing Oxygen.
Suddenly, Alura grabbed him by the arm, pushed open the door and forced him in, slamming the door behind her. It was a small space with lots of valves on the wall opposite the door.
“Whoooaaa, now you heard what Altazar said, there will be plenty of time for this,” Zephour said jokingly.
“Keep quiet communicator and listen.” The grin had turned into a serious face expressing urgency.
“There’s more to this mission than you have been told.”
Zephour looked concerned. He was just with his close friend who seemed excited about the mission. Surely he would have mentioned if there was something to be concerned about.
“There are things that you have not been told,”……Alura stopped suddenly and listened. Footsteps came down the passageway past the door.
“It’s not safe here. It will have to wait. Meet me later at the Supernova lounge. I have friends there. We can talk then.”
Alura pushed open the door and walked out.
Zephour was confused. What the hell was going on?
Next! What is Alura wanting to reveal to Zephour and what has Dr Williams got to say?
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