Chapter Three, Then and Now

Chapter 3. Now and then

After five and a bit years of living alone on an Alien planet Max was finding life just a bit boring, same things day after day.

As he sat in his comfy old lounge chair reading the same book for the tenth time he heard an alarm sounding in the ships cock pit.

“Computer what is it?” asked Max.

“Sensors have detected a ship in orbit,” replied the computer.

“What,” said Max as he jumped to his feet and headed to the cock pit and climbed into the pilot’s seat.

“How big is it? Where is it? Show me? asked Max.

“If I turn up the sensors they will detect us,” replied the computer.

“OK there is two ways to deal with this, I can get on the radio and say hello and hope they are friendly or I can assume they are unfriendly, hunker down, and hope they don’t detect me,” said Max.

“What would you like me to do?” asked the Computer.

“Are they scanning the planet?” asked Max.

“No, they seem to be scanning out into space,” replied the Computer.

“If they scan the planet it want matter what I do as they will detect the ship,” he paused for a moment before continuing, “keep scanning at low intensity, power down all non accentual equipment,” said Max.

“Another ship just came into orbit,” said the computer then adding, “it’s of a different design.”

“Are they in range of the SDS yet? Can you give me video? Asked Max.

“Just coming into range now,” replied the computer.

Max looked at his video screen waiting for a picture, after a few moments he could see the ships. One looked like a large missile and the other was more like a very large ball. It seemed to Max that they were so different that they were more than likely made by different Aliens. Both ships did not look particularly high tech but looks could be deceiving.

Both ships just stayed in orbit not moving for some time before the ball shaped ship suddenly opened fire with missiles quickly followed by the other ship returning fire. As the missiles hit there targets the ships started moving apart but they both had sustained a lot of damage. Both ships seemed to be trying to make emergency landing on the planet. The ball shaped ship was the first to reach the atmosphere but it started to break up into many pieces before hitting the planet. The missile shaped ship made it into the atmosphere but as it got closer to the surface there was a large explosion.

“Did you track the wreckage?” asked Max.

“Yes,” replied the computer.

“Is this ship able to fly within the atmosphere?” asked Max.

“Yes,” replied the computer.

“Make all preparations for flight, how long before we can lift off?” asked Max.

“Twelve minutes,” replied the computer.

Max climbed out of the cock pit and did a walk around the ship, removing things that were to close. He then went back to the cock pit, and started his pre flight check list.

“The ship is now ready for take off,” said the computer.

Max turned a switch on the instrument panel to the ‘on’ position and crossed it of his list and then said, “ready for take off.”

The ship raised slowly into the air for the first time since arriving there all those year ago.

“Co-ordnances for the nearest crash site,” asked Max.

Co-ordnances flashed up on the screen and the ship accelerated away.

“How long before we arrive?” asked Max.

“At present speed six minutes, twenty eight seconds,” replied the computer.

As they approached the crash site Max said, “scan for signs of life.”

“No life signs,” replied the computer.

Max flow over the crash site a few times before landing. He sat in the cock pit for a few moments looking at the wreckage before asking the computer again, “any life signs?”

“No life signs, but there is some organic matter in the wreckage,” said the computer.

“Any danger from radiation,” asked Max.

“There is some radiation but it is within safety margins, I recommend no more that fifteen minutes of exposure,” replied the computer.

Max climbed out of the cock pit and explored the crash site. The wreckage covered a large area and was made up of twisted pieces of metal no larger than a few metres long. Only one large part of the ship had remained intact, as Max approached he could see that it was more than likely the flight deck. He went inside for a closer look, there was a lot of organic matter around but nothing to indicate what the Aliens looked like. He returned to his ship and got ready to fly to the second crash site.

“Give me the co-ordnances to the second crash site,” said Max. 

“Sensors have detected EL32 in the wreckage,” said the computer.

“How much?” asked Max.

“More than a kilogram,” said the computer.

“Wow,” replied Max and then, “leave six small robots to collect enough to repair this ship, I’ll pick them up on the way back.”

Max then flow to the second crash site where he found the crash site to be more compact and the ship more intact. It had broken into three pieces which were only a few metres apart.

“Any sign of life?” asked Max.

“No,” replied the computer.

“How is the radiation?” asked Max.

“High, I recommend no more than eight minutes exposure,” replied the computer.

Max climbed out of the cock pit and went to investigate the crash site. He climbed into what looked like the main part of the Alien ship where he found a number of what looked like Alien bodies in space suits. There were tall, at least a metres taller than Max with most of that being in long legs. There arms were short and there body slim but basically two legs, two arms and one head.

Max headed back to his ship just inside the eight minutes and took off. He set course back to his camp site via the first crash site in order to pick up the small robots.

Back at his camp site Max instructed all the small robots to work on making the ship take off ready as soon as possible. Max could do nothing but wait, wait for the small robots to do there thing. He sat in the cock pit with the scanners turned up to maximum as well as SDS on full scan. If one of those ships managed to get a distress call out before crashing, well one of their friends may well be along anytime.

“How long before we can take off?” asked Max.

“One hour sixteen minutes,” replied the computer.

An alarm sounded and the computer said, “an Alien ship just entered orbit.”

Max turned the scanners to minimum but kept the SDS on maximum as it was less likely to be detected. The ship in orbit started scanning the planet, it was a missile shaped ship and going by its scan pattern it would discover the ball shaped ship first. And if it continued with its scan patten then it would discover Max’s ship before its friend’s ship.

“Can you estimate when they will discover us?” asked Max.

“If they continue to scan at their current rate and pattern it will take them two hours and six minutes before they discover us,” replied the computer.

“Can we still fly within the atmosphere?” asked Max.

“No not until the small robots are finished,” replied the computer.

“OK we need to plot a course away from their scanner, I think we should stay in the atmosphere till we get to the other side of the planet before heading into space. With a bit of luck the planet will hide us from the Aliens,” said Max.

“There is a chance they will detect up as soon as we lift of due to our energy output, our sensors would,” replied the computer.

“We will just have to hope their sensors aren’t as good as ours,” said Max, and then added, “don’t be so negative.”

Time seemed to slow down for Max as he sat in the cock pit waiting for the small robots to finish the repairs to the ship. When the Aliens found the other Alien ship they stoped for some time scanning the wreckage which was good news for Max as it gave him more time before they would reach him.

“The ship is ready for take off,” said the computer.

This took Max by surprise as he was so focused of the Alien ship that he was not paying attention to the progress of the repairs.

“Lets get out of here,” said Max, then adding, “keep power output low and speed to a minimum until we get some distance between us and the Alien scanner.”    

The ship slowly rose into the air and moved off, away from the Scanner.

“Have they detected us?” asked Max.

“Not at this time,” replied the computer.

“Maintain this course and speed for the next hour,” said Max.

The ship flow at low level for the next hour on auto pilot but Max did not leave the cock pit, he just monitored the Alien. As the ship flow along Max started to think about what to do next, shore he could now leave this planet and he had no other option then leaving, but were could he go?

“We have been travelling for one hour,” said the computer.

“Increase speed to two thirds and maintain course,” replied Max.

After another hour it started to get dark outside, a sign they were getting to the far side of the planet. Max could no longer detect the Alien on his scanner so it was time to leave the atmosphere and head into open space.

“Set a course for that small moon,” said Max.

As the ship left the atmosphere an alarm sounded.

“An Alien ship is taking off from the planets surface,” said the computer.

“Were did they come from?” asked Max, and then asked, “what configuration are they?”

“Ball shaped, their firing a missile,” said the computer.

Max opened the weapons controls and fired at the missile, destroying it, they fire two more missiles which Max destroyed without problem.

“Maintain course for that small moon and increase speed,” said Max.

“They have fired another missile,” replied the computer.

Max destroyed it and said, “these guys are a bit low tech.”

“Open a communicate channel with them,” said Max.    

 “Open,” said the computer.

“High guys, no need for all this hostility, I had nothing to do with the destruction of your other ship, you need to talk with the guys currently on the other side of the planet.” said Max.

“They have fired another missile,” replied the computer.

Max fired at it and destroyed it.

“Hay guys, do you want me to start firing at you?” asked Max.

They stoped firing and reduced speed but continued to follow. Max could not be sure if that was because they understood his message or that they had run out of missiles.

As Max came around to the far side of the moon he could see what at first looked like another moon but as he got closer it became apparent that it was an enormous space ship. It must have been over a two thousand metres long and may be six hundred metres wide. He tried too turn away but he was court in some sort of beam from the ship, his ship started to shack its self apart so he powered down. As he was being pulled into the large ship the Alien who were following Max came around the moon and was court in a beam from the large ship.

As Max watch on, the Alien ship exploded. It might have been to fragile for the beam or they might have been trying to break away what ever the reason it exploded. Large doors opened in the side of the Alien ship and Max’s ship was pulled in. As the ship pasted through the doors there was a blinding light and Max lost consciousness.

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