Novelization verison by: Reba Grayladyfalcon
Written by: Erin Weinstock
I don't hold any of the copyrights in this story, and this story was made without profit.
A little girl holding a hologram ball. Her mother sitting beside her. They're in a place that looks like it could be fitting to the inside of a commercial plane. The girl is smiling watching the holo-ball. Soon after, the little girl frowns. She stares at it in annoyance for a beat before turning to her mom who's been looking out the window. "Mommy?" the little girl said.
The mom turns to the little girl. "What's wrong honey?" mom asked.
"My holovid-ball stopped," the little girl replied.
"You want to watch it again? Did daddy show you how to restart it?" mom asked.
"No," the little girl replied with a frown.
The mom motions to the little girl. "Let me see your ball," mom said, reaching for the little girl's ball.
Little Girl hands it to the mom. The mom takes on a playful, happy look and rapidly shakes it in both hands in a motion you'd normally think of with a snow globe. Not shaking it anymore the mom hands it to the little girl. "There you go," mom said, handing it back to her daughter. The holo-ball then begins to repeat the video it showed a short time ago.
The Little girl takes the ball. "Thank you mommy," the little girl said, cheerfully. The Little girl stares at her ball smiling. "When are we going to be here?" the little girl asked.
"What?" Mom asked.
The Little girl points at the ball, "Gally-leo City?" the little girl said.
"Shortly honey, very shortly," mom replied.
At the Galileo City, Shuttle Park, a passenger-shuttle is getting ready to land as it begins getting closer to the ground. Now firmly on the ground, its door opens up to let passengers go.
The Little Girl begins to step out with her mom following close behind. The Little Girl blinks at the sight. Little Girl gives a couple of coughs. "Mom, this air doesn't feel right," she says semi-hoarsely.
Inside the Holographic Training Simulator, Huer and every pilot but Buck and Wilma are wearing their breathing masks and standing around a device that's the size of a refrigerator and has a very high-tech look.
"Ladies, gentlemen, and those of neither. What we're doing here today is I'm going to refresh your memory about the importance of the device you see here before you and inform you of a mission all of you must take on that is of the highest importance imaginable." Huer hesitates for a moment. "After this planet was nearly destroyed over five hundred years ago, our ancestors. Well of those here of Human ancestry, our ancestors set out to rebuild this world and restore its environment to its former glory, to even long before the war took place and pollution wasn't killing it." Huer points to the device. "Before being tested on Earth the proposed idea was that in case of unforeseen danger of its use it should be tested on the nearest celestial object to Earth, its moon. This action also needing further justification if an atmosphere could be established though this an atmospheric generator." Huer said, pointing at the machine before them.
In the Control Room. Buck is watching the group of pilots and Huer on a monitor. Before Buck is a small microphone.
"Being the colonization of the satellite, today and here's where I get to the point of the meeting. The atmospheric generator that is literally the heart that keeps the moon alive with life has been stolen," Huer said.
Buck takes on a look of deep concentration. "The security video wasn't reviewed till after the crime took place. We know who did it, the only fault to that fact is we don't know who the contractor was."
The atmospheric generator is replaced by an image of an Alarr. Alarrs have no hair and five eyes across the face, the one in the center being the largest. A small mouth with a long chin under it, whips of flesh hanging from the sides and back of the head.
"This Alarr named Courbaker is our thief. He's been taken into custody, but when questioned all we could get from him was he believes his contractor doesn't intend on taking the generator off planet, and what I mean by that when I say that is the Alarr home world Avapos One." Huer hesitates. "We need to find the generator before the moon's artificial atmosphere vanishes. This act the Scientific Research Directorate believes will fully occur by the end of the coming week. Now some people do not understand what it is to suffer unless they've done so themselves. I want you to know what the residents of the lunar colony will be feeling in a stronger sense soon if the generator is not found soon," Huer said.
Buck bolts for the door half way down the hallway. "For no more than three seconds I want all of you to remove your masks. I have a medical team waiting close by in case any of you react harshly to the gases," Huer said.
A few minutes later, the medical team start treating a few of the pilots for exposure to the gas.
Buck starts running towards them. "What the hell has gotten into you?!" Buck asked,
"I should be asking you the same thing. You're not supposed to be here right now," Huer replied.
Buck stops running when he gets in front of Huer. "The stuff in here can make your lungs feel on fire! That was no way to make a point by asking them to suck it in! And why wasn't I invited in to help on this mission! You need every able fighter you have!" Buck shouts.
"How did you even find out about this meeting, Buck?" Huer asked.
"Wilma told me!" Buck replied.
"I should have told her to keep quiet about this," Huer said to himself. "Is she getting any better?" Huer asked.
"She's still pretty frightened over what happened, can't say I blame her. If I had my memory erased I'd be pretty freaked out too," Buck replied.
"She seems to talk to you better than even the Directorate psychologist about dealing with what happened at Compart Defense. In fact Buck, it's because of what happened at Compart Defense why I don't want you on this mission," Huer said.
"Dr. Huer, what they did to Wilma and what they were doing to those animals, I had to," Buck said.
"True, but you were told to keep your actions on that mission low-key, which is a fact you failed at miserably. You even took Twiki along!" Huer shouted.
"I didn't ask the robot to join me, he decided to come on his own!" Buck shouted back.
Huer starts walking towards the airlock door and Buck follows him. "Buck, I'm sorry but I can't have you doing any work for the Defense Directorate till I can clean up the political mess you helped make on your last mission," Huer said.
Both of them get to the airlock door. "Sir?" Buck asked.
"No," Huer said, shaking his head.
Buck is alone, he takes off his mask. "Like you telling me no has ever worked much," Buck said.
Courbaker is inside one of the holding cells. "So you want to question me too huh?" Courbaker asked.
"That and an amount of brief freedom," Buck said, standing on the outside of the cell.
"I've heard that before." Courbaker lowers his head. "But I'm sorry, I don't know any more than what I've told you guys already," Courbaker replied.
"You tell me everything you've already told I bet more than one interrogator. Plus help me in catching your contractor," Buck said.
"But I don't know who they are!" Courbaker said.
"But you know how to get in contact with them," Buck said.
"THEY CONTACT ME!" Courbaker shouts.
"And if you were back on Avapos One do you think they'd contact you again?" Buck asked.
Courbaker pauses considering what Buck is proposing. "They .. they might," Courbaker replied. A minute later. "Why don't you know what I've told the Directorate already?" Courbaker asked.
"That's none of your business. Will you help?" Buck asked.
"Will I have complete freedom after this is over?" Courbaker asked.
"No," Buck replied.
Courbaker thought over his options. "But I'll be free while I'm helping you, right?" Courbaker asked.
"In a sense," Buck replied.
"I'll see what I can do," Courbaker said.
In Buck's Living room quarters.
"Theo, have you ever contemplated which came first, "the chicken or the egg"?" Buck asked.
"No, I haven't because in 2212 scientists discovered .." Theo started to reply.
"Never mind. Um, have you ever wondered if a tree fell in the woods and no one was there to hear it fall, did it make a sound?" Buck asked.
"Of course it would still make a sound. Captain Rogers, do you have some point to feeding me these pointless questions?" Theopolis asked.
"I do. Theo, those are just a couple questions people couldn't answer back in my day. But now here in the 26th century they now have well-known answers. I was wondering do such mind-boggling questions still exist in this day and age?" Buck asked.
"Human and alien alike never seem to cease in feeding me questions, Captain. So I would have to say yes that questions still exist in this day and age," Theopolis replied.
"No, that isn't what I meant. What I meant was do such brain teasers like the chicken and the egg, the tree in the woods still exist?" Buck asked.
"I understand now what you meant, but I don't believe that there are any such brain teasers left in the world," Theopolis replied.
"Then what about the universe, hmm? What about in the universe AND the answer to the brain teaser?" Buck asked.
"Will this knowledge serve some purpose, Rogers?" Theopolis asked.
"To give people a new curiosity to think about. Theo, if you, an A.I. computer, can make humanity's next great brain teaser, I swear to you you'll make history," Buck said.
Looking now inquisitively at the computer and speaking with a good show of authority. "Do you accept this challenge?" Buck asked.
"If this task pleases you, Captain? I accept," Theopolis said.
Walking towards the door out of his living quarters. "Thanks," Buck said, as he left his living quarters.
In Courbaker's cell. Courbaker is sleeping on a small bed when he hears a crackling snap. Courbaker wakes up, his eyes widen and he smiles, then sits up on the bed. "No guards?" Courbaker asked.
Buck draws his blaster. "Only me, come on," Buck replies.
Courbaker walks out of his cell after Buck deactivates its force field then turns his head to look both ways in the hallway. "What about the computer?" Coutbaker asked.
"Contemplating philosophical mysteries of the universe," Buck replied.
Ticwor, a cityscape that's very complex, busy and stuffed to the gills with shuttles of every kind flying everywhere.
On the shuttle Fox who doesn't look to be enjoying himself. Suddenly Fox takes on a queasy look.
Fox rolls his eyes.
"What's the matter Fox, not used to grav-bolts?" Flash asked.
"I've never been here before or any planet that uses the blasted things in their cities," Fox replied with a weak voice. The shuttle jerks again and Fox puts a hand over his face and opens his mouth.
"You'll get used to it, I did," Flash said.
"Earth doesn't use, where did you get used to them?" Fox asked.
"I spent half my childhood here. This planet needs them, especially in the cities. You know the Alarrs, they're quite a people to make deals with anyone. Strangest neutral planet in the galaxy," Flash replied.
"Land it!" Fox said, covering his mouth again.
"What?" Flash asked.
Fox takes his hand off his face. "Land the shuttle. There's something I want to do, I shouldn't do in here," Fox replied, coving his mouth again.
"Easy Fox, we're nearly there," Flash said.
On Ticwor, The shuttle moves through the sky traffic. As the ship moves once in a while it jerks in multiple directions. This happens as other ships get close to it. The shuttle is heading towards a very strange looking skyscraper that has a half-finished look of countless docks sticking out for ships of every make. The docks with ships sitting on them from nearly every angle. The shape is also twisted: not moving straight up into the air, but more looking like a tree that didn't know how to grow right. The shuttle takes another jolt due to a ship moving past its left side. The shuttle is nearly at the strange building when another ship moves past its right side fast, the shuttle does a football spin left. The shuttle rights itself from the spin and looking forced, flips over. Then it settles upside down at a dock.
Flash exits the shuttle as the Phasoft rear of it disappears. Fox follows Flash out only at a much slower pace holding on to its inward curved wall as he moves. Flash looks to Fox, as Fox stares out from the strange building at the cityscape before them.
"We need to get to the trading center to check the records. Think you can recover fast?" Flash asked.
Fox looks to Flash annoyed and the Phasoft-door on the shuttle closes up. "I DO understand the urgency in finishing this mission fast," Fox replied. Fox and Flash standing at the dock upside down along with the shuttle in the same stance. "But some of us weren't born .. weren't born with an iron stomach!" Fox said.
"With or without an iron stomach we're all on this mission," Flash said.
Flash starts heading towards the building. Fox follows. "Not all of us," Fox said, softly.
"Depending on how long this takes Colonel Deering might be joining us. As for Buck, he shouldn't even be with us period," Flash said.
"I'm sure Doctor Huer had a good reason to keep him out of this. Whatever he did I'm sure it isn't as bad as what we've heard," Fox replied.
Flash: "Rogers isn't like us, Fox. The man will go out to a wrong length to get a task done," Flash said.
Fox stops and looks out towards the city again. "Not the wrong length but I'm sure he can be counted on for a task getting done," Fox said in a low voice. Fox turns back towards the building and continues.
On the rooftop of a skyscraper that's about medium sized, sits a Z-87. Inside the building are Buck and Courbaker.
"They're not just going to come to my door and ask to come in! I never even saw them, I don't even have a clue as to what species they are!" Courbaker said.
"Give them a ring," Buck said.
Courbaker stares at Buck oddly for a moment. "A What?" Courbaker asked with a confused look on his face. "How on Avapos One will trying to give them an "O" shaped object help this?"
Frustrated, Buck puts a hand on his head. "Give them a phone -, send a transmission to them," Buck replied.
"I don't know their transmission code," Courbaker replied.
Buck starts paceing. "How did your first encounter go with them?" Buck asked.
"They destroyed my computer," Courbaker replied.
Buck folding his arms. "Well that's a good way to start a contact deal," Buck said.
"The form of language they used to communicate with me forced my computer to erase its hard drive down to its bare bolts. It took a while for me to figure out how to communicate back with them. They communicate in a language that looks something like old Earth computer hexadecimal," Courbaker replied.
"NOT telling why you are telling them this, could you send a message to them now saying you're back on Avapos One?" Buck asked.
Courbaker glares at Buck.
"There should be nothing wrong in fulfilling that request unless you want to find yourself back in a Defense Directorate holding cell faster than I told you, you'd be back," Buck said.
As Courbaker continues to glare at Buck. "The Defense Directorate confiscated my computer when they arrested me," Courbaker said.
Buck takes on some look of shock at hearing this. "In your talks with your contractor, did you ever get any idea from them where they might be?" Buck asked.
"Due to the speed at which they were able to communicate with me, I believe they're still somewhere on Avapos One. No ships have left this planet since the Defense Directorate still hasn't found its atmospheric generator," Courbaker replied.
Buck gets angry after hearing that and grabs one of Courbaker's arms and starts to give him an Indian burn. "This investigation will not be hauled by your current lack of information. You're a VERY CRAFTY fellow, you do have some idea where the generator could have been taken to, it's too large to just shove into some nook in the wall!" Buck said.
"Stop! STOP! What are you doing to my arm!?" Courbaker said, trying to pull his arm away from Buck.
"It's called an Indian burn, now tell me where could they have taken it?" Buck asked.
"I don't know," Courbaker replied, whispering.
In the junkyard, old wrecked dirty looking space ships in piles along with strangely built devices and machines littering nearly every inch of the place. Janet is holding a very tiny glass ball with a Therbidian crystal firing off its energy into a pair of grips containing the ball with buttons on them. Taindair just finished putting small devices all around a wrecked looking small ship.
"This won't harm us?" Taindair asked.
Janet not looking up from the device she's holding which has just had a light blink into life, this light being the last in a series of lights shown lit. "You're done, it has a lock now. Step away Taindair," Janet said.
"First you answer me whether it's dangerous to use this or not? It's based off of Bercy technology!" Taindair said.
Janet looks like she's not sure how to answer. "I - I've been assured it's safe. Better step .. far away," Janet replied.
Taindair looks at Janet then backs a few feet away from the ship. Taindair takes on a look that he's not happy with where he is and walks further away from the ship.
"The Directorate wouldn't have approved this if it was truly dangerous," Janet said.
Taindair gets behind a pile of wrecked machines. "You take your chances," Taindair said.
A bright light fills a very clean sewer. Only unlike a normal sewer its flowing water is
being contained under a thick sheet of glass and along its walls and heading up into the ceiling are all sizes of pipes and cables. Fox has his small flashlight close to a thick bundle of small wires, trying to put up with Flash who is still holding his flashlight close to Fox's face.
Flash trying to stereotype a doctor's voice. "So are you feeling any better now, Hieronymous?" Flash asked.
"Knock it off Flash, I need to find the wire that leads to Courbaker's apartment," Fox replied.
Flash takes his flashlight out of Fox's face, looks at the bundle of wires he's working with and trails his flashlight's beam down the bundle to the floor that he then crouches down to.
Flash: "A needle in a hay stack," Flash said. Flash starts picking through the small wires.
Fox returns to his work now doing the same as Flash. "What I don't understand is all the secrecy around this. There's so much we don't know, why would anyone want one? There aren't many planets in the known universe that don't already have atmospheres or atmospheric generators or something like one!" Fox said.
"There are just some people in this galaxy that are really messed up. It's why we joined the Directorate Fox, to help keep the peace," Flash said.
Fox continues his work till something out the side of his eye catches his attention and he stops working. "Stay here Flash, I think I just found something important," Fox said, as he starts walking towards what caught his attention.
Inside the service tunnel.
"Scrap that, Fox. What we're doing here is important, we're working together on this!" Flash said.
"Flash, this won't take..!" Fox replied.
"On this mission -!" Flash replied.
"HERE!" Fox points to the ground where Flash is squatting.
Flash gives Fox a sarcastic mean look and Fox walks away. "Don't blame me if you're alone when something kills you," Flash said, softly to himself.
Fox has just come to a place in the tunnel where it has a sharp corner that indents the passageway greatly. Without even looking around the corner and speaking softly "Buck, how long have you been down here, and second, what are you doing down here?" Fox asked.
Buck now pokes his head out from around the corner. "I just got down here a moment ago and I'm pretty sure what I came down here for is for the same reason you and Flash are currently engaged in," Buck replied.
"You were never briefed on the mission, how is it you knew to come here?" Fox asked.
Flash walked up behind Fox. Buck notices him and gives a pained look. "I..I was in the control room when Doctor Huer was briefing everyone on the mission and Courbaker has been helping me," Buck said.
Flash is standing right behind Fox. "Buck, I know you, WHERE IS COURBAKER NOW?" Fox asked.
Buck looks embarrassed. "Fox.."
"I'm amazed you haven't been thrown out of the Directorate, Buck! How could you?!" Flash asked.
Fox turns around quickly to Flash. "He's been somewhat of a good help in this investigation!" Buck steps towards Flash and Fox. "It's because of the information I've been able to get from him that led me down here to pursue ..," Buck replied. A very noticeable swooshing sound is heard as Buck makes his step. Closing his eyes, "No one tell me what that was," Buck said.
Fox looks down towards Buck's feet. "It looks like some kind of thick cyber-organic wire. Buck, I think you've just found what we've been looking for," Fox said.
Buck opens his eyes and looks down. Beneath his foot was a thick spread of normal-looking wires and a fat one that was nearly covered in transparent gel, with wires inside along with one thick one.
"Bet your guess is right, only thing now is finding out who or what put it down here," Buck said.
"That's what Flash and I were sent down here about. Locate the outside connection into Courbaker's computer commutation line and follow it to its source," Fox replied.
"Or just ask Courbaker if he's ever seen anything like it before," Buck said.
Inside Courbaker's Apartment. Courbaker is sitting on a couch looking at a window when he turns his head to some clicking and mechanical noises coming from the door.
Courbaker takes on an angry look, before seeing Buck quickly enter, followed by Fox and Flash moving a bit slower holding a chuck of the cyber-organic wire that is no longer lit. Flash doesn't look too happy to be holding it as it is also dripping out goo.
"You didn't have to lock me up!" Courbaker said, with anger in his voice.
"Don't argue," Buck replied.
Flash presents the cyber-organic wire to Courbaker.
"Have you ever seen anything like this before?" Buck asked.
Courbaker stares at it for a moment. "Yes, I have," Courbaker replies.
"Could you tell us some about the beings who use technology such as this?" Fox asked.
"As soon as you get it to stop dripping on my rug," Courbaker said looking at Flash.
"Where's your kitchen?" Buck asked.
"At the end of the hall," Courbaker replied, pointing to his right and towards a hallway near the apartment's entrance.
Flash rolls up his eyes. "Thank god," Flash replied as he heads for the kitchen.
"Who are they?" Buck asked.
"They have no name," Courbaker replied.
Buck gets an angry look and balls up a fist into being white-knuckled.
Courbaker noticing Buck's mood. "No one knows what the name for them is, I'm not making this up," Courbaker said.
"We NEED a bit more info than that, that thing is what was tapping into your computer's communication line," Buck said with anger.
"You're going to cooperate better now?" Fox asked.
Courbaker's look turns to a look of fear. "The Defense Directorate might execute you for your crime if it isn't located," Fox said.
Looking more fearful. "I deserve to be executed." Courbaker begins to weep.
"Who are they?" Buck asked.
"I..I've doomed the planet," Courbaker said, still weeping.
"Explain," Buck said.
"They've been living on this planet for the past 79 years. They made a deal and got a good 50 square miles to live on. I don't know what they're called, nobody knows what they're called. They keep to themselves, they're not like us; they don't breathe air," Courbaker said.
"But they couldn't survive here at all in that case," Fox replied.
"They wear artificial environment suits outside their enclosure." Courbaker hangs his head. "I've doomed the planet," Courbaker said.
Buck turns to Fox. "Outside generating the gases needed to create an atmosphere we can breathe, can an atmospheric generator create the gases needed to create a different kind of atmosphere?" Buck asked, softly.
Without even nodding his head to Buck, Fox gives him a look that says "yes".
Buck turns back to Courbaker. "If you tell us where their enclosure is and your planet will be saved," Buck said.
Courbaker looks up at Buck and stops crying.
In a Defense Directorate shuttle. "Weird," Fox said.
"I don't see any areas on it that look like anything could leave it," Buck said.
"Buck, the fact this picture was taken from 20 miles above it could be the reason behind that," Flash said.
Flash, Fox and Buck are gathered around the shuttle's dashboard that was showing a radar picture of the area around the ship. Only now it shows a large object that looks like a shiny anthill, with no hole at the top. Colored by shades of pink and purple. Beyond this object are small mountains that have thin tall trees growing on them.
"I wonder how we could get inside that thing, or for that matter get the generator out?" Buck asked.
"I can answer getting in.." Flash turns to Fox. "Have you heard how it tested because I haven't heard anything?" Flash asked.
"I heard Taindair and Janet were going to jump on it but nothing else," Fox replied.
"What are you two talking about?!" Buck asked.
Fox turned to Buck. "Remember when the Bercy visited?" Fox asked.
"Something which I'm sure the whole of New Chicago and myself haven't had slip far from out of mind since," Buck replied.
"They gave us the specs on some of their technology to say they're sorry," Fox said.
"Their technology is dangerous to us," Buck said.
"Thomas and Mallory have made technology "based" off their's. It shouldn't create any omega radiation," Fox replied.
Buck stares at Fox for a moment then turned his gaze back to the screen.
"Exactly what is it T and M have made from Bercy technology that can help us?" Buck asked.
"Some kind of jump matter mover," Flash replied.
Buck looked to Flash. "Come again?" Buck asked.
"It can.." Flash quickly looks like he's not sure what to say.
Flash then backs away from the dash a few feet. Then looks to Buck. "OK you see where I am right now, well with this technology if it works right, Boom," Flash said. Flash does a small jump forward. "Boom, in a heartbeat instantly you're in another place, no moving by you required," Flash said.
"This matter shifting technology, do either of you know where Taindair and Janet are so we can..?" Buck asked.
"More than one prototype was made. Each team on this mission got one," Fox replied.
"Are there any gas masks on board?" Buck asked.
"Yes," Flash replied.
"Then we're ready to rock," Buck said.
All three put on their mask. A small part of the enclosure's wall which is colored in shades of pink with once in a while purple. The wall isn't transparent but light is coming through it and as the result of that we see Buck's, Flash's and Fox's silhouettes through it.
"It's Phasoft?" Buck asked.
"Something like that, that's the rumor," Flash replied.
Buck starts moving into the enclosure slowly. As he moves in Fox and Flash follow him. As soon as they're fully in, Buck first on this look, they get stunned by the sight before them.
A massive area with many entranceways to corridors covering the walls and ceiling. But that isn't what has caught their attention. What has caught their attention is an alien standing before them. It looks to be nine or ten feet tall. A skinny ridged body with arms set far apart from each other, back hunched over with a two-foot neck that comes out to a thin head with a tiny mouth and two large eyes that look like they have a bad case of cataracts. The forearms look like they have an exoskeleton that's too big for them and what acts like its fingers are three worm-looking whips that look to be two to three feet in length each. This worm-look also goes for the lower halves of its legs, which it has four of. This thing seems to be looking right at Buck, Flash and Fox.
The behavior of the sentinel-looking beast has Buck, Fox and Flash looking at it in wonder. A moment later they start moving around it. "Do you think it knows we're here?" Fox asked.
"You've never seen one of these things before, Flash?" Buck asked.
"If I ever saw one of these things before it's something I don't remember," Flash replied.
Buck gives Flash a look. "I was a kid when I lived on this planet. I left it when I was ten," Flash said.
Fox starts to pick up one of its worm-like fingers.
In a snap the alien starts moving as it turns to Fox and whips the finger out of Fox's hand, then raises its untouched other arm quickly into a striking pose.
Fox moves backwards from it just as fast as it moved the arm now in the air. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Fox said, holding his hands up in the air, showing he didn't mean any harm.
Just as the alien starts bring down its arm to hit Fox, Buck smashes down a foot on one of the alien's feet. The alien now whips around to face Buck and at that same moment wraps the former striking arm's fingers around Buck, pinning his arms to his sides. The alien then raises Buck into the air. Buck makes a noise of discomfort. The worm-like fingers hugging him tighter than when they first took hold of him. Flash fires his blaster, which after only half a second the beam puffs out into countless shards of its own light.
The alien notices what Flash has done, drops Buck out of its fingers and leans forward to look at the beaded light hanging in the air from the blast.
Flash takes on a look of shock as the alien just stands and stares at the blast hanging in the air. "Oooowww," Buck said, holding his sides.
Fox in just as much shock as Flash: "Why is it doing that?" Fox asked.
"The alien or the shot from my blaster?" Flash asked.
"Both," Fox replied.
"I have no clue as to either," Flash said.
Buck sounding a little pained. "The alien I'm with Flash on, but the shot from the blaster, I have a bet on," Buck said.
"And what would that be?" Flash asked.
"Our blasters, I have a bet they were never tested to work in an atmosphere like this. Could just be how the energy from the blaster reacts to the gases here," Buck replied.
The team hears a noise. They look in the direction the noise is coming from. Buck looks up. "WOW," Buck said, loudly.
Fox and Flash turn their gaze upwards. "Moving kind of funny isn't it?" Fox asked.
Above them on the ceiling another one of the aliens move along it into an entrance to a corridor. "Well wouldn't you if you had four legs and could move upside down?" Buck asked.
Flash gently points up. "OK despite having four legs and defying gravity, THAT looks off," Flash said.
A different type of alien comes out of the corridor the second alien enter from. This one however is walking on the ceiling, staggering like it's intoxicated.
"I wonder what's back there?" Buck asked.
Buck and Fox continue looking up with Flash. Flash takes on a smile. Fox notices the smile first then Buck. Flash then looks to them puzzled but still smiling.
"Flash?" Fox said, with a confused look on his face.
"I wonder if jump-belts are still around?" Flash asked.
"What are..?" Buck started to ask.
The team is by the shuttle and Flash is setting three boxes that are identical in appearance on the ground. The boxes have a picture on them that looks like it could come straight from a piece of Golden Age sci fi pulp art, showing Humans and aliens with jet-rockets controlled by
handlebars for grip strapped to their backs and flying over the land. Also printed on this box's lid is the label, "Jump-belt! Fun for all ages!" This appears in a faded red and yellow, in bold text.
"Flash, you know I have a love for history but these things are truly vintage, retro, I don't think they'll work! In fact I think they stopped being sold because..!" Fox said.
"Because a few morons didn't read the instructions right. Thank goodness for flea markets," Flash replied.
"If these jump-belts do what I think they do, this might be a very bad idea," Buck said.
"How old were you when you last wanted one of these?" Fox asked.
The team has the gas masks and the jump-belts on.
"For the mission, only for the mission could you talk me into this," Buck said.
"You shouldn't even be on this mission, remember?" Flash said.
Buck, looking at Flash coldly. "You weren't there," Buck replied.
"Disobeying orders and making a scene, don't tell me about what it takes to get the job done being something," Flash replied.
"They were killing..!" Buck started saying.
"Press in the button on the left hand steering bar to initiate the jet, right?" Fox asked interrupting Buck.
"What?!" Flash asked.
"The jump-belt, Flash, remember?" Fox asked.
"Yeah, that should be it," Flash replied.
The team fires up their jump-belts and heads up.
The Chamber looks like a massive cavern some of which heads off into darkness, with columns that reach up into the ceiling, in straight and improper angles. In the center of this cavern, raised from the rest of the floor which is extremely bumpy by half-formed bubbles linked into
root-looking ridges that take origin with the center, is the atmosphere generator. Coated over by a nearly transparent skin of what the enclosure is made out of. Surrounding it are dozens of the type of alien that live here. All of these aliens are doing one of four things. One, forcing themselves low to the ground with their mouths punched into one of the half-formed bubbles. Two, moving around in that intoxicated, awkward way. Three, leaving the cavern in this state. Or four, coming back in to the cavern moving normally and then finding a bubble or root-ridge to stab their mouth into.
"I don't see were the gas is coming out. I wonder what they could be up to with it set up like that?" Fox asked.
"It looks to me like they're drinking up the atmosphere its making, if.. if that's possible?" Flash replied.
"Buck?" Fox asked.
"I don't believe this," Buck replied.
"Don't believe what?" Flash asked.
"If they're.. if they're doing what I think they're doing," Buck said.
Buck looks to Fox and Flash. "I feel like right now I should be cracking an egg over a hot frying pan," Buck said.
"You've lost me," Flash replied, confused.
"They're sucking in the gases and acting all wacky after having done so. Guys they're getting stoned!" Buck said.
"They're using the atmospheric generator like a giant bog!" Buck said.
"That would explain why that one did that freak out on us earlier," Fox said.
The team touch down on to the floor to start moving towards the generator.
As they move past the aliens, the aliens seem to take no notice of them. "Maybe Fox knows what you said but I don't. "What about cracking an egg over a hot frying pan"?" Flash asked.
"Drugs, they'll fry your brain," Buck replied.
Now that the team is at the generator, Buck grabs from the satchel one of the devices that Taindair earlier put around the junked ship. "OK so I put these things all around the generator so the matter-jumper can lock on to it to transport it?" Buck asked.
"That's my understanding," Fox replied.
Buck looks at the device then sets it down in front of the generator, then walks a little around the generator, starts to reach into the satchel for another one of the devices. "I'm missing something here aren't I?" Buck asked.
Flash goes up to Buck and takes the matter-jumper out of the satchel.
Flash, looking at the matter-jumper. "You need to surround it with six more of those keys before it can lock for jump," Flash explained.
Buck grabs out another device or "key" from the satchel and places it on the ground before the generator.
"Four," Flash said.
"How do you think they'll react?" Fox asked.
"Who? The aliens?" Flash asked.
"Yes, when they no longer have a generator?" Fox asked.
"Three. Properly like how the ones on the moon started reacting to the loss of atmosphere. Very slowly realize something is wrong," Flash said, counting down.
"Good because, think you might have noticed how well our blasters work in here. Think they'll try something like this again?" Fox asked.
Buck returns from behind the generator, putting down another key. "Not with more than one planet after them knowing they're behind it as the contractor," Buck said.
"Two," Flash said, counting down.
"Flash?" Buck asked.
"Not now Buck, I need to concentrate on this," Flash said.
Buck moves a little more around the generator and puts down another key. "Flash, where is the generator going?" Buck asked.
"One...Buck, move away from the generator!" Flash said loudly.
Out in space, the moon is orbiting the Earth, but unlike the last time, its atmosphere now looks dim.
The Generator Room on Galileo City is large with only one wall that surrounds the whole thing curved upwards. The place has an odd-looking air to it of looking high-tech but at the same time dated to its 26th century surroundings. At the center of the room sits the atmosphere generator, sitting on top of a number of busted cables and cut wires. Five ambuquads come running into the room.
"Atmospheric generator in place, Luna atmosphere at 39.7," Red Bot One said.
Red Bot Two is at the atmosphere generator. "Solder for reconnection at best possible speed," Red Bot Two replied. Red Bot Two completely twisting its head backwards. "Units 42, 43, 44 and 48 are needed," Red Bot Two said, then twists its head back into place.
The other red bots come in fast to join Red Bot Two in soldering the cables and wires back into places on the atmosphere generator. The soldering tool is located inside their fingers. All of them but Red Bot Two say at the same time. "Solder for best reconnection speed granted."
Inside Courbaker's Apartment, Courbaker is by the door to his apartment trying to work with some wires he's pulled out of the door's locking and unlocking access panel. A moment later, Courbaker hears the same noises coming from the door. "Yes!" Courbaker said, with excitment.
Courbaker looks at the door smiling, but his smile dieswhen Buck enters the apartment giving a cold look to him.
Return to Earth