Chapter Seven, Then and Now

Chapter 7. Now and Then.

“Well how do you feel? Tomorrow is the big day, we will arrive at Earth,” said Max.

“I am looking forward to it but I have been gone a long time so things will be different. My son will be ten years old, he might not even remember me. I can only assume and hope that my parents have been raising him, there is just so much I don’t know. And what will I tell them, if I tell them the truth, they will lock me up,” replied Helen.

“There is an object ahead,” said the computer.

“Let’s have a look at it,” said Max.

A small space craft appeared on the screen.

“Can you give me a closer image,” asked Max.

A closer image appeared on the screen.

“Can you read that,” asked Max.

“N.A.S.A, is that a V?” said Helen

“NASA, Voyager 1,” said the computer.

“What is it?” asked Max.

“It appears to be a primitive probe, its very old,” replied the computer.

“What level of technology is you planet at?” asked Max.

“Not that,” replied Helen.

“Can we bring it on board?” asked Max.

“I would not recommend it, it is putting out a lot of radiation,” replied the computer.

“Continue on course and scan for any thing like that,” said Max.

“We might have a problem, there is a chance that more time has passed for you than you think,” said Max.

“I don’t understand,” said Helen.

“We don’t really know what happened to us on that Alien ship, lets just wait and see tomorrow,” replied Max.

As they came into the solar system they passed a few gas giants before a ringed planet.

“Computer, this system looks familiar, sometimes this cryogenic effected memory of my can be irritating, have we been here before?” asked Max.

“There are large gaps in my memory due to the damage from the battle but what memory I have says, no we have not been here before,” replied the computer.

“Even if we did pass here while I was in a cryogenic sleep I would not remember it, must be some sort of false memory,” said Max.

“Computer, slow to half speed and launch a probe towards Earth,” said Max.

“Why, what’s happening?” asked Helen.

“Just playing it safe, we don’t want to have problems,” said Max.

“Like what?” asked Helen.

“Earth might think we are Aliens and shoot at us, we just have to be a bit careful that’s all,” replied Max.

“We have information coming back from the probe,” said the computer.

“Well what’s it say?” asked Max.

“This planet is more advanced then we thought, by their calendar it is 2020,” replied the computer.

“What year were you taken?” asked Max.

“1950,” replied Helen.

“Seventy years have passed since you were taken,” said Max.

Helen sat down and put her face in her hands, Max walked over and put his arm around her and said, “I’m sorry.”

“My son will be eighty years old if he is still alive,” said Helen.

“Computer, can you gain access to their computer system?” asked Max.

“Not from here, we would have to land on the planet,” replied the computer.

“Is there any way to do that without being detected?” asked Max.

“I will need more information,” replied the computer.

“Where is the probe now?” asked Max.

“Still on course for Earth,” replied the computer.

“Bring it to a stop closer enough to Earth for you to gather information but far enough out that it want be detected,” said Max, he then continued, “set a course for the forth planet and put us in a stationary orbit.”

“Helen, how’s this for a plan, we will land on the planet, access the computer system, find your son if he is still alive or may be some grand children. Then we will travel to their location and take it from there,” said Max.

“But I want be able to tell them who I am,” replied Helen.

“Well no, but lets just deal with each problem in turn,” said Max.

“Alright,” replied Helen.

“What part of the planet are you from?” asked Max.

Helen pointed at a location on the map on the screen.

“Hay, Australia,” asked Max.

“Yes,’ replied Helen.

It only took a few minutes for the computer to come up with a flight plan that would get them to a location near Hay. But it took some hours for the small maintenance robots to make the correct cloths, money and documents they would need.

They left orbit around the forth planet and headed for Earth, entering the atmosphere above the South Pole and then using the cover of darkness and flying only a few metres above the sea. They made land fall in the Great Australian bight and then continued flying at very low altitude over the deserts of Western Australia and South Australia before landing in a National Park not that far from Helen’s farm.

“Helen, what is your second name?” asked the computer.

“Hunter,” replied Helen.

The computer grained access to the computer network and after a few moments said, “there is a Karl Hunter living at Blue Hill Farm, Corrong Road, One Tree.”

“That is my farms address but I don’t know a Karl,” replied Helen.

“His fathers name is Robert and lives at the same address,” said the computer.

“That is my son,” replied Helen.

“The farm is For Sale, a mortgagee sale,” said the computer.

“What is a mortgagee sale?” asked Max.

“It’s when the bank sell you up,” replied Helen.

“What is a bank,” asked Max.

“They lend money,” replied Helen.

“Computer, how far is the farm from here,” asked Max.

“Twenty two point six kilometres,” replied the computer.

“Too far to walk,” said Max.

“And it would also look odd,” said Helen.

“We need to get a mode of transport,” said Max.

“We need a car and the only place to get one of them will be in town,” replied Helen, she then continued, “there is a camping ground in the National Park, we might be able to get a lift into town from there, but we will need money.”

“We have this,” said Max as he held up money made by the small maintenance robots.

“We will need more than that,” replied Helen.

“I’m sure the robots can make some more,” said Max.

“These cloths want do either we will need to look like hikers,” said Helen.

“What,” but before Max could finish Helen said, “they are people who walk around in the bush for pleasure.”

“Computer, we will need some clothing and what ever else, so we can look like hikers,” said Max.

“Computer can you show me where we are,” asked Helen.

A map of the area appeared on the screen showing where they were as well as where the camping area was.

“Lets get moving,” said Helen.

“May be it would be better to wait till day light,” replied Max.

“Yes off course, I’m just, you know,” said Helen.

They slept for a few hours before the sun came up and then looking all the world like hikers, they made their way towards the camping area. Arriving at the camping area just after 8.30 in the morning to find only two campers there. One of the campers were planing to travel via Hay to their next destination and were happy to give Max and Helen a lift.

The campers dropped Max and Helen in the main street of Hay and wished them well as they drove away. Helen was out of her time but for the most part was fitting in but Max was a duck out of water.

As they walked through the shopping centre Helen saw an add, in a Real Estate Agents window for the mortgagee sale of her farm. As she looked at the add in the window an elderly couple came out of the Real Estate Agents. The man looked at her and smiled and then said, “it’s a good farm, it’s been in my family for a long time.” They then continued to walk away but then the old man turned around and said something to his wife, who then turn around and looked at Helen, they both then continued to walk away.

Helen lent on Max and said, “that was my son.”

“We should buy your farm, what has value here?” asked Max.

“Money,” said Helen.

“If we could get the raw martials we could make enough,” replied Max.

“That would not work, you can’t buy a farm with cash, question would be asked about where we got it from,” said Helen.

“What else has value?” asked Max.

“Precious stones, precious metals like gold,” said Helen and then, “do you have anything like that on your ship?”

“I don’t know, it would help if I knew what they were,” replied Max.

Helen took off her wedding ring and said, “this is gold.”

Max looked at it closely and said, “I think there is a great deal of this in my ship.”

“No it still want work, you can’t buy a farm with a bar of gold,” said Helen.

“Gold is found in the ground, can’t we just say we found it,” replied Max.

“Yes, Yes, but it’s not that simple but I think we can, ask the computer to find out what’s needed to mine gold, permits, permissions etc,” said Helen.

Max talked on what looked like a mobile phone but was actually a communication devise linking him with the computer of his ship. After a few moments talking with the computer max said, “we will need a permit from the Dept of Land and Resources as well as a permit from the Dept of National Parks and Wildlife.”

Getting the permits proved time consuming but other wise presented no problems, their fake ID’s worked without any problems. It was now late afternoon and they still needed to buy a car. 

“Do you think this is enough to buy a car?” asked Max as he handed Helen all the money.

Helen counted it and replied, “two thousand dollars, I don’t know, in my day it would be enough for two or three.”

After asking someone in the street Helen said, “we can buy a car just down the road, lets go.”

They walked a few blocks down the road before finding a second hand car dealer. Looking around the yard it became obvious that they did not have enough money but right at the back of the yard they found and old Ford Falcon for nineteen hundred and fifty dollars. A deal was done and the salesman drove the car out of the yard and parked it in the street.

Luckily the car came with a full tank of fuel as after buying some food they had next to nothing left.

“Do you know how to drive?” asked Max.

“Well I did but it has been a very long time,” replied Helen.

They both got into the car and Helen started the engine.

“So far so good,” said Helen.

Helen put the car into first gear, revved the engine and dropped the clutch, the car lurched forward and stalled. She tried again, this time kangarooing down the road before changing into second gear when things started to go better. She looked over at Max who was hanging on to the cars door and said, “there you go I told you I could drive.”

They drove back to the camping area parked the car and walked through the bush to Max’s space ship.  

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