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VOLUME 2 - The adventures of Azakis and PetriA catastrophe of biblical proportions is about to befall our planet. But this time the terrestrials are not alone. Some of the inhabitants of the planet Nibiru are standing by them, risking their own lives, to try to oppose the terrible forces of nature that are about to be unleashed. In this second episode in the series ”The Adventures of Azakis and Petri”, our two lovable aliens must make use of all their experience and their incredible technology to try to prevent the event already dramatically announced in the previous episode entitled ”Back to Earth”. Twists, revelations and reinterpretations of events and historical incidents will keep the reader waiting with bated breath right up to the very last line of this novel.PUBLISHER: TEKTIME
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Intersection with Nibiru
The adventures of Azakis and Petri
Original title: Incorcio con Nibiru
Translated by: Linda Thody
This book is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places and organisations mentioned are the work of the author's imagination and are intended to make the narrative authentic. Any similarity with real events or persons, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.
INTERSECTION WITH NIBIRU
Copyright © 2015 Danilo Clementoni
First edition: February 2015
Self-published and printed
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including by any mechanical or electronic system, without the written permission of the editor, except for brief passages taken for the purposes of review.
This is the second volume in the series"The adventures of Azakis and Petri” To fully enjoy this exciting adventure, before starting this book, I would advise reading the first volume entitled"Back to Earth” (Author’s note)
To my wife and son, for their patience and their invaluable suggestions, which helped me to improve both my story and myself.
Special thanks to all my friends for their continuous encouragement and support, and for spurring me on to complete this work. Without them it may never have seen the light.
I would like to thank Linda Thody, my translator, for working on this book and for the passion she has shown in completing this translation.
Tell el-Mukayyar – The escape
Theos spacecraft - The superfluid
Camp Adder air base- The get-away
Theos spacecraft - Action plan
New York - Manhattan Island
Theos spacecraft - The gift
Nasiriyya - The dinner
Theos spacecraft – The Admiral
Nasiriyya – The ambush
Theos spacecraft - The President
Nasiriyya – Hisham
Theos Spacecraft – Return to Earth
Nibiru - The preparations
Tell el-Mukayyar – The trap
Nevada – Area 51
Nibiru – The inspection
Tell el-Mukayyar – Bad news
Area 51 – Contact
Nibiru - The departure
Tell el-Mukayyar – The message
Area 51 - Countermeasures.
Theos-2 - Contact with Earth
Tell el-Mukayyar – The accident
Area 51 – The secret base
Tell el-Mukayyar – The kitten
Theos-2 - The asteroid
Area 51 - The technological revelations
Nasiriyya – The Shans
Theos-2 – The calculations
Area 51 – The co-ordinates
Nasiriyya - Return to camp
Theos-2 – The fault
Area 51 - The money
Tell-el-Mukayyar – Return to base
Theos-2 - Spacewalk
Area 51 - The project
Tell-el-Mukayyar – The Capture
Theos-2 - The repairs
Area 51 - Call from Theos-2
Boston – Massachusetts General Hospital
Theos-2 - Theories
Area 51 – Hope
Atlantic Ocean - The Recovery
Theos-2 – Plan "B"
Area 51 – The agreement
Theos spacecraft – The tests
Area 51 – The Confession
Theos-2 - Earth orbit
Area 51 – The release
Theos-2 – Point "X"
Area 51 - Evacuation Check
Theos-2 – Final tests
Theos – New revelations
Planet Earth – California
Theos – Newark in action
Planet Earth – The reactions
Earth orbit - Kodon
Tell-el-Mukayyar – The farewell
The twelfth planet, Nibiru (the planet of the passing) as it was called by the Sumerians, or Marduk (king of the heavens) as it was referred to by the Babylonians, is actually a celestial body orbiting our sun with a period of 3,600 years. Its orbit is significantly elliptical, retrograde (rotating around the sun in the opposite direction to the other planets) and distinctly tilted in relation to the plane of our solar system.
Each cyclical approach has almost always caused huge interplanetary upheavals in our solar system, both in the orbits and the conformation of the planets it consists of. It was during one of its more tumultuous transitions that the majestic planet Tiamat, located between Mars and Jupiter, with a mass approximately nine times that of the Earth as it is today, rich in water and endowed with eleven satellites, was destroyed in a cataclysmic collision. One of the seven moons orbiting Nibiru struck the gigantic Tiamat, effectively splitting it in half, and catapulting the two sections into opposing orbits. In the following transition (the “second day” of Genesis), the remaining satellites of Nibiru finished off this process, completely destroying one of the two sections formed from the first collision. The debris generated from multiple impacts created what we now know as the “asteroid belt”, or “hammered bracelet” as it came to be called by the Sumerians. This was partly swallowed up by the neighbouring planets. It was Jupiter, in particular, which captured most of the debris, thus noticeably increasing its own mass.
The satellite artefacts of this disaster, including those surviving from Tiamat, were mostly “fired off” into outer orbits, forming what we now know as “comets”. The part that survived the second transition then positioned itself in a stable orbit between Mars and Venus, taking along with it the last remaining satellite and thus forming what we now call the Earth, together with its inseparable companion, the Moon.
The scar caused by that cosmic impact, which occurred approximately 4 billion years ago, is still partially visible today. The scarred part of the planet is now completely covered by water, in what is now called the Pacific Ocean. This occupies about a third of the earth's surface, extending over 179 million square kilometres. Over this vast area there is virtually no landmass, but instead, a large depression extending to a depth of over ten kilometres.
At present, Nibiru is very much like Earth in its conformation. Two thirds of it is covered in water, whilst the rest is occupied by a single continent that stretches from north to south, with a total surface of over 100 million square kilometres. For hundreds of thousands of years now, some of its inhabitants have been taking advantage of the cyclical close approaches of their planet to our own, making regular visits, each time influencing the culture, knowledge, technology and the very evolution of the human race. Our predecessors have referred to them in many ways, but perhaps the name that represents them best has always been “Gods”.
Azakis and Petri, the two lovable and inseparable aliens who are the protagonists of this adventure, have returned to planet Earth after one of their years (3,600 earth years). Their mission? To retrieve a precious cargo that they had been forced to hastily abandon on their previous visit, due to a fault in their docking system. This time however, they have found a very different terrestrial population to the one they left behind. Customs, traditions, culture, technology, communication systems, weapons. Everything was very different to what they found on their previous visit.
On arrival, they came across a pair of terrestrials: Doctor Elisa Hunter and Colonel Jack Hudson, who welcomed them enthusiastically and after countless adventures, helped them bring their delicate mission to an end.
But what the two aliens would have preferred never to have to tell their new friends was that their own planet, Nibiru, was approaching rapidly and in just seven earth days would intersect the Earth's orbit. According to their Elders' calculations, one of its seven satellites would come so close as to almost touch the planet, causing a series of climate disruptions comparable to those of its previous passage, which had been summed up in a single definition: The Great Flood.
In the first part of the story (Back to Earth - The adventures of Azakis and Petri), we left all four of them inside their awe-inspiring spacecraft, the Theos, and that is where we will resume the tale of this fantastic new adventure.
For the last few hours, Elisa had been swamped by such a vast amount of information that she felt like a little girl who had eaten too many cherries. Those two strange but lovable characters, who had suddenly appeared practically out of nowhere, had very quickly undermined many "historical certainties" that she and the rest of mankind had always pretty much taken for granted. Events, scientific discoveries, beliefs, cults, religions and even human evolution itself, were about to be completely revolutionised. News of the discovery that beings from another planet had so skilfully manipulated and guided the development of mankind, since its very earliest days, would have an impact on society like that of the revelation that the Earth was round, not flat.
Azakis and Petri, his trustworthy friend and travelling companion, stood motionless in the centre of the command bridge, their eyes trying to follow Elisa who was pacing nervously around the room, hands in her large trouser pockets, muttering incomprehensible words.
Jack by contrast was slumped in an armchair trying to support his head, which suddenly seemed incredibly heavy, with his hands. But it was Jack who, after a few endless minutes of silence, decided to take matters in hand. He abruptly stood up and facing the two aliens, said in a firm voice "If you chose us for this task you must have had a reason. All I can say is you won't be disappointed." Then he looked Azakis directly in the eyes and resolutely asked, "Could you show us a simulation, with that little bit of wizardry of yours," and he pointed at the virtual image of the Earth that was still slowly spinning in the centre of the room, "of your planet's approach?"
"With pleasure," answered Azakis immediately. He retrieved all the Elders' calculations through his N^COM implant and conjured up a graphical representation, right there, in front of them.
"This is Nibiru," he said indicating the largest planet. "And these are its satellites that we were talking about."
Seven, considerably smaller, celestial bodies, were spinning around the majestic planet at very different distances and speeds to one another. Azakis placed his index finger on the one orbiting the farthest away of them all and enlarged it until it was almost as big as himself. Then very solemnly he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present Kodon to you; this imposing rocky mass has decided to create a lot of trouble for your beloved planet."
"But how big is it?" asked Elisa, intrigued, as she observed the lumpy dark grey globe.
"Let's say that it is slightly smaller in size than your moon, but its mass is almost double." Azakis made a rapid gesture with his hand and the entire solar system appeared before them, with the planets slowly moving in their respective orbits. The trajectories of each one represented by thin, different coloured lines.
"This," continued Azakis, indicating a dark red line "is the trajectory that Nibiru will follow in its approach to the sun." Then he accelerated the planet's movement until it was close to the Earth and added "and this is the point where the orbits of the two planets will intersect."
The two terrestrials watched the explanation Azakis was giving them of the event which, in just a few days' time, would upset their lives and those of all the other inhabitants on the planet, in astonishment, but with great attention.
"How close will Nibiru come to us?" asked the Colonel quietly.
"As I was saying earlier," replied Azakis "Nibiru won't bother you excessively. It’s Kodon that will almost touch the Earth and create quite a lot of problems." He brought the image a little closer and showed a simulation of the satellite when it would be at its closest point to the terrestrial orbit. "This will be the moment of maximum gravitational pull between the two celestial bodies. Kodon will only be 200,000 kilometres from your planet."
"Heck!" exclaimed Elisa. "That's a pittance."
"The last time," replied Azakis "exactly two cycles ago, it went by at about 500,000 kilometres’ distance and we all know what it managed to do then."
"Yes, the famous Great Flood."
Jack was standing with his hands clasped behind his back, rocking slowly back and forth, rising slightly first on his toes then on his heels. Suddenly, in a very serious tone, he broke the silence, saying, "I'm certainly not one of the greatest experts on this subject, but I'm afraid that no terrestrial technology would be able to do anything to counteract an event like that."
"Perhaps we could launch missiles with nuclear warheads against it," hazarded Elisa.
"That only happens in science fiction films," replied Jack smiling. "And anyway, assuming we could land vectors of that type on Kodon, we would risk shattering the satellite into thousands of pieces, causing a deadly shower of meteorites. That really would be the end of everything."
"I beg your pardon," said Elisa addressing the two aliens. "But didn't you say earlier that, in exchange for our ‘very precious’ plastic, you would help us solve this absurd situation? I hope you really do have some good ideas to help us out here, otherwise we're done for."
Petri, who had been standing quietly on the sidelines, smiled slightly and took a step towards the three-dimensional scenario represented in the middle of the bridge. With a rapid movement of his right hand he conjured up a kind of silver-coloured doughnut. He pointed at it with his index finger and moved it until it was exactly between the Earth and Kodon, then he said, "This might be the solution.”
In the laboratory tent, the two fake Bedouins who had tried to steal the shuttle’s ‘precious content’ from the two aliens, were gagged and securely tied to a large drum of fuel. They were sitting on the ground with their backs against the heavy metal container, facing in opposite directions. One of the doctor's helpers stood guard outside the tent and looked inside, every so often, to check on them.
The thinner of the two, who definitely had a couple of broken ribs from the Colonel's blow to his side, despite the pain which was almost preventing him from breathing, had not stopped, even for one moment, looking around in search of something that might come in handy to free himself.
The light of the afternoon sun timidly penetrated inside the tent through a small hole in the wall, throwing a thin beam of light into the hot dusty air. That sword-like ray of light painted a small white ellipse on the ground, that was moving very slowly in the direction of the two prisoners. The thin guy was watching the slow progress of the bright patch, almost hypnotised, when a sudden flash of light brought him back to reality. Half buried in the sand, about a metre away, something metallic reflected the sunlight straight into his right eye. He moved his head slightly and tried to figure out just what it was, but in vain. So, he tried stretching a leg in that direction, but a terrible stab of pain in his side reminded him of the state of his ribs and he decided to desist. He thought he probably wouldn't reach it anyway and, trying to talk through his gag, whispered "Hey, are you still alive?"
The fat guy was no better off. After Petri had sent him flying, a large bruise had appeared on his right knee, he had a nice bump on his forehead, his right shoulder was killing him and his right wrist was swollen like a balloon.
"I think so," he answered in a small voice, mumbling through his gag.
"Thank goodness! I've been calling you for some time now. I was getting worried."
"I must have blacked out. My head is splitting."
"We've absolutely got to get away from here," said the thin guy with determination.
"But, how are you? Nothing broken?"
"I think I may have a few broken ribs but I can manage."
"How come we let them take us by surprise like this?"
"Never mind now. What happened, happened. Let's try and free ourselves. Look to your left, where that ray of sunshine falls."
"I can't see anything," replied the fat guy.
"There's something half buried there. It looks like a metal object. See if you can reach it with your leg."
The sudden noise of the tent's zip opening, interrupted the operation. The guard appeared and looked inside. The fat guy went back to pretending to be unconscious while the other one remained absolutely still. The man glanced at them, then cursorily checked all the equipment scattered around and, with a satisfied air, withdrew and closed the entrance again.
The two remained still for a while, then the bigger guy spoke first, "that was close."
"So, can you see it? Can you reach it?"
"Yes, now I can. Wait, I'll try."
The burly fake Bedouin began to rock back and forth trying to loosen the ropes that held him a little, then he began to stretch out his left leg as far as he could in the direction of the object. He could just reach it. He began digging with his heel until he managed to uncover a bit of it.
"It seems to be a trowel."
"It must be a Marshalltown Trowel. That's the tool of choice for archaeologists to scratch the ground looking for old crocks. Can you get it?"
"I can't reach."
"If you'd just stop stuffing yourself with all that junk food, you might be a little more agile, you fat ugly thing."
"Now what has my powerful physique got to do with it?"
"Come on then 'powerful physique', let's see if you can get hold of that trowel or they'll find a way to make you lose weight in jail."
Images of unsavoury and malodorous pimps suddenly appeared before the fat man's eyes. That terrible vision released a strength in him that he no longer thought he had. He arched his back as far as he could. A stab of pain shot straight from his sore shoulder to his brain, but he ignored it. With a decisive lunge, he managed to get his heel behind the trowel and, quickly bending his leg, drew it towards himself.
"Done it" he shouted from behind the gag.
"Will you just shut up, you ugly idiot? What are you screaming for? Do you want those two thugs to come back in and punch us up again?"
"Sorry," the big guy replied softly. "But I did manage to get it."
"See? If you put your mind to it, even you can manage to do something useful. It should be sharp. See if you can cut these damn ropes."
With his good hand, the big guy grabbed the handle of the trowel and began to rub the sharper edge on the ropes behind his back.
"Assuming we can free ourselves," the fat guy murmured "how are we going to get away from here? That site is full of people and it's still daylight. I hope you've got a plan."
"Of course I have! Aren't I the ingenious mind of the two of us?" exclaimed the thin guy proudly. "While you were having your cosy little nap, I analysed the situation and I think I've found a way to beat it."
"I'm all ears," replied the other one continuing to run the trowel up and down.
"That chap standing guard looks in here approximately every ten minutes and this tent is the outer one on the east side of the site."
"How on earth did I get you as a partner for this job? You've got the imagination and the intelligence of an amoeba; hoping the amoebae don't take offence at the comparison."
"Actually," retorted the fat guy slightly piqued, "it was me who choose you, since the job was given to me."
"Have you managed to free yourself?" cut short the thin guy; the discussion was taking a turn for the worse and his accomplice was absolutely right.
"Just give me another moment. I think it's about to give."
Sure enough, shortly afterwards, the rope used to tie the pair to the drum broke and the big guy's belly, finally free of its constraints, resumed its normal size.
"There, done it!" exclaimed the fat guy satisfied.
"Great. But now let's keep this up until the guard comes back. We have to make everything look the same as before."
“Okay partner. I'll go back to pretending to be asleep."
The two didn't have long to wait. A few minutes later, the doctor's assistant was back to peep inside the tent. He gave his usual cursory glance around taking in the situation and, not noticing anything strange, closed the zip, then repositioned himself in the shade of the veranda and calmly lit a hand-rolled cigarette.
"Now," said the thin guy. "Let's get moving.
With all their aches and pains, this turned out to be rather more complicated than expected but, after letting out a few dull groans of pain and several curses, they found themselves standing in front of one another.
"Give me the trowel," ordered the thin guy removing his gag. The pains in his right side prevented him from moving very easily but, by laying his open hand on his side, he managed to alleviate some of the pain. He reached the side opposite the entrance to the tent in a couple of steps, knelt and slowly pushed the Marshalltown Trowel into it. The trowel's sharp blade cut through the soft fabric of the east-facing side like butter, creating a small slit of about ten centimetres. The thin man put his right eye close to it and peered through the slit for a few moments. As he had expected there was nobody there. Only the ruins of the ancient city could be seen, about a hundred metres away, where, beforehand, they had hidden the Jeep that was going to be used for their get-away with all the loot.
"All clear," he said, using the blade of the trowel to lengthen the small cut he'd just made down to the floor. "Let's go!" And he crawled through the slit.
"You could have made this hole a little bigger, couldn't you?" muttered the fat man, between one groan and another, while he tried with difficulty to slip outside.
"Come on! We need to get away as quickly as possible."
"Easier said than done. I can hardly walk."
"Give over, hurry up and stop complaining. Remember, if we don't manage to get away, nobody's going to stop us spending a good few years in jail."
The word "jail" always managed to instil extra strength in the fat guy. He didn't say anything else and, suffering in silence, followed his companion who crept stealthily away towards the ruins.
It was the rumble of an engine in the distance that aroused the suspicions of the man on guard. He looked at the now finished cigarette for an instant, then flicked it away with a quick gesture. He slipped inside the tent with decision, but could barely believe his eyes: the two prisoners were gone. The rope lay abandoned untidily next to the drum of fuel, a little farther on there were the two pieces of fabric they had used as gags and on the end wall of the tent a large gash that went right down to the ground.
"Hisham, guys," yelled the man with all the breath he had in his lungs. "The prisoners have escaped!"
The image of the object that Petri had placed in the space between Kodon and earth had left both terrestrials flabbergasted.
"And what's that thing?" asked Elisa curiously, as she went nearer to try and see better.
"We still have not given it an official name." Petri brought the strange object back into the foreground again and watching the doctor, he added "Perhaps you could choose one."
"If you could at least explain what it is, I might perhaps try."
"Our best scientists have been dedicated to this project for some time now." Petri clasped his hands behind his back and began to slowly walk around the room. "This equipment is the result of a series of studies that, partly, go even beyond my scientific skills."
"And I can assure you they're remarkable," Azakis added, giving his friend an affectionate pat on the back.
"In a nutshell, it's a sort of anti-gravity system. It's based on a principle which, as I said, is still being studied but which I can try to summarise in a few simple words."
"I think that would be much better," commented Elisa. "Don't forget we belong to a species which, compared to yours, could easily be defined as underdeveloped."
Petri nodded slightly. Then he approached the three-dimensional representation of the strange object and calmly continued his explanation. "This - what you called a ‘doughnut’ earlier - is geometrically defined as a toroid. The tubular ring is hollow, while what we might simply call the ‘central hole’ contains the propulsion and control system."
"Up to here it's all clear," said Elisa, ever more excited.
"Very good. Now let's see the system's principle of operation." Petri spun the image of the toroid around and showed its inner section. "The ring is filled with a gas, usually an isotope of helium which, cooled to a temperature close to absolute zero, changes state and turns into a liquid with very particular characteristics. In practice, its viscosity becomes almost null and it can flow without generating any friction. We call this characteristic 'superfluidity'."
"Now I'm getting a little lost," said Elisa sadly.
"To put it simply, this gas in its liquid state, appropriately stimulated by the ring's structure, will be able to travel inside it, without any difficulty, at a speed close to the speed of light, and manage to maintain it for a theoretically infinite time."
"Amazing," was all Jack could comment, who hadn't missed even a syllable of the whole explanation.
"Okay, now I think I've understood," added Elisa. "But how will this gadget counteract the effects of the gravitational pull between the two planets?"
"This is where things become much more complicated," replied Petri. "Let's say that the rotation of the superfluid at speeds close to those of light, generates a space-time continuum curvature around it, causing an anti-gravity effect."
"Good grief!" exclaimed Elisa. "My old physics professor will be turning in his grave."
"And not only him, my dear," added the Colonel. "If I have rightly understood what these two gentlemen are trying to explain to us, here we are talking about toppling a good many theories and concepts that several of our scientists have spent their entire lives trying to analyse and study. The principle of anti-gravity has been theorised more than once before but nobody has ever been able to prove it completely. Now we finally have the proof, here in front of us," and he pointed at the strange object "that it really is possible."
"I'd be a little more cautious," said Azakis, dampening the Colonel's excitement a little. "I feel obliged to inform you that this thing has never been tested on large objects like planets, or rather, we tried it two cycles ago but it didn't turn out exactly as we expected. Moreover, events might occur that we have not anticipated and..."
"There you go, bringing bad luck as usual," said Petri interrupting his companion. "The mechanism has been demonstrated more than once. Our own spacecraft uses part of this principle for its propulsion. Let's be optimistic for once!"
"Because there don't really seem to be many alternatives anyway, or am I mistaken?" asked Elisa in a disappointed voice.
"Unfortunately, I don't think so," said Petri disconsolately, with his head hanging down slightly. "In fact, the only thing I really fear is that, given the reduced size of our toroid, we will not be able to completely absorb all the effects of the gravitational pull and a part of the gravitons will manage to do their work all the same."
"Are you saying that this thing might not be sufficient to prevent a catastrophe in any case?" asked Elisa approaching the alien threateningly.
"Perhaps not completely," replied Petri taking a small step backwards. "From my own calculations, I would say that about ten percent of the gravitons could escape this kind of ploy."
"So, it could all be wasted effort?"
"Not at all," answered Petri. "We'll reduce the effects by ninety percent. There'll be very little left for us to manage."
"We'll call it 'Newark'," said Elisa satisfied. "Now we'd better get a move on. Seven days go by quickly."
The two strange characters, still dressed as Bedouins, had just walked into their hideout in town when a faint intermittent sound from the laptop, still running on the living room table, attracted their attention.
"Who the devil's that?" asked the thin guy annoyed.
The big guy, who was limping more than ever now, approached the computer and, after keying in a decidedly complicated password, said: "It's a message from base."
"They'll want to know if the operation was successful."
"Give me a second to decode it."
A series of incomprehensible symbols appeared on the screen then, after entering a combination of codes in sequence, the message slowly began to appear.
General captured and taken to the air base at Camp Adder. Requires immediate rescue operation.
"For crying out loud!" exclaimed the fat guy. "They know already."
"How on earth did they manage that?"
"Well, they've definitely got more direct links than us. They don't miss much."
"And what do they expect us to do?"
"I don't know. It just says here that we must go and free him."
"Dressed like this? I don't think that's a good idea at all."
The tall, thin guy pulled a chair out from under the table, spun it around ninety degrees and then, uttering a series of intermittent groans, slumped on it. "This is all we needed!"
He rested an elbow on the polished surface and looked absently out of the window in front of him. He noticed the windows were decidedly grimy and the one on the right had a crack in it running almost its entire length.
Suddenly, he raised his eyes towards his companion, and with a sardonic little grin said, "I've just had an idea."
"I knew it, I know that look."
"Go and fetch the first aid kit and let me have a look at that bump you've got on your head."
"To tell the truth I'm more worried about my wrist. I wonder if it's broken."
"Don't worry, I'll fix it for you. I wanted to be a vet when I was a boy."
After a little more than an hour and massive doses of painkillers and various ointments smeared everywhere, the two cronies were almost as good as new again.
After looking at himself in the mirror hanging on the wall next to the entrance door, the thin guy said with a grin, "Now we can get going," and slipped into the bedroom. He emerged shortly afterwards holding two well pressed American military uniforms.
"Where did you get those?" asked the fat guy in amazement.
"They're part of the emergency kit I brought with me. You never know."
"You're completely crazy," said the big guy, shaking his head slightly. "And what are we supposed to do?"
“Here's the plan," said the thin guy, with a satisfied air, throwing his companion an XXL. "You'll be General Richard Wright, head of a top-secret government agency that nobody knows about."
"Obviously, if it's top-secret. And you?"
"I'll be your right-hand man. Colonel Oliver Morris, at your service, sir."
"So, I'm your superior. I like this."
"Don't get used to it though, okay?" said the thin man raising his forefinger. "And these are our papers with our identity badges."
"Heck! They look real."
"And that's not all, old chap," and he showed him a sheet of letterhead signed directly by Colonel Jack Hudson. "This is the official prisoner handover request for transfer to a 'safer place'."
"But where the devil did you get that?"
"I printed it out earlier while you were in the shower. Did you think you were the only computer wizard?"
"I'm astounded. It's even better than the original."
"We'll get into the military base and let them hand over the General. If they should object, we could always tell them to call Colonel Hudson directly. I don't think mobiles work in space," and at that they both roared with laughter.
About an hour later, when the sun had dropped behind a high sand dune, a military Jeep, carrying a Colonel and a General in full dress uniform, stopped at the entrance barrier of the Imam Ali air base or Camp Adder as the Americans had renamed it during the Iraq war. Two servicemen, armed to the teeth, came out of the armoured sentry box, and moved quickly towards the vehicle. Two others, at a distance, kept their sights on the passengers.
"Good evening Colonel," said the nearest soldier, giving a smart military salute. "May I see yours and the General’s documents, please?"
The tall, thin Colonel who was sitting in the driver’s seat, said nothing. He took a yellow envelope from the inner pocket of his jacket and handed it to him. The serviceman spent quite some time reading and shone his torch in both their faces a couple of times. The General distinctly felt the drop of sweat which, starting from just under the bump on his forehead, began to slowly trickle down his nose, to then drop onto the third button of his jacket, which was being unbelievably strained by the mighty thrust of the enormous stomach underneath.
"Colonel Morris and General White," said the serviceman, again pointing the torch in the Colonel’s face.
"Wright, General Wright!” answered the skinny Colonel in a decidedly annoyed tone of voice. "What's the matter Sergeant, can’t you read?"
The Sergeant, who had pronounced the General’s surname incorrectly on purpose, smiled slightly and said, "I’ll get someone to accompany you. Follow those men," and with a nod ordered the two servicemen to lead them to the prison.
The Colonel slowly started the Jeep. He hadn’t gone barely a dozen metres when he heard a shout behind him, "Stop, Sir!"
The blood froze in the veins of the vehicle’s two occupants. They remained motionless for a few very long moments, until the voice continued saying “You’ve forgotten your documents."
The corpulent General drew such a large sigh of relief that all the buttons on his uniform risked popping.
“Thank you, Sergeant," said the thin man holding out his hand towards the soldier. “I'm getting old faster than I thought."
They set off again in the jeep and followed the two soldiers who, proceeding apace, quickly led them to the entrance of a low and decidedly shabby building. The youngest soldier knocked on the large door and went in without waiting for an answer. Shortly afterwards, a large, completely bald, coloured man, with the stripes of a sergeant and the face of a tough guy, appeared on the threshold and stood to attention. He saluted and said, "General, Colonel. Please come in.”
The two officers saluted in response and, trying to ignore the various pains that were starting to reappear, entered the large room.
“Sergeant" said the thin guy with determination. “We have a written order here from Colonel Hudson authorising us to pick up General Campbell," and he handed him the yellow envelope.
The large sergeant opened it and took his time reading the contents. Then, fixing his dark, penetrating eyes on the Colonel’s, he sentenced, "I’ll have to check."
“Go ahead,” replied the officer calmly.
The large coloured man drew another sheet of paper out of a drawer in the desk and carefully compared it with the one in his hand. He looked at the Colonel again and, without showing any emotion, added, "The signature is the same. Do you mind if I call him?"
“It’s your duty. But let’s try and be quick, please. We’ve already wasted too much time," replied the skinny Colonel, pretending to be about to lose his patience.
By no means frightened, the sergeant slowly put a hand into the pocket of his uniform and drew out his mobile phone. He dialled a number and waited.
The two officers held their breath until the serviceman, after pressing a key on his phone, laconically commented "he can’t be reached."
"So, sergeant, shall we get a move on?" exclaimed the officer with a decidedly more authoritarian tone than before. "We can’t stay here all night."
"Go and fetch the General”, the large Sergeant ordered one of the soldiers who had accompanied the two officers.
After a couple of minutes, a totally bald man, with a large moustache and grey eyebrows, and two small bright black eyes, appeared on the threshold of the door behind the sergeant. He wore the uniform of a General, but one of the four ordinance stars was missing on his right shoulder. He was handcuffed and, behind him, the soldier from before held him at gunpoint.
The General jumped for a moment at the sight of the two officers, then, guessing the plan, remained silent and looked as sad as he could.
“Thank you, Soldier," said the skinny Colonel, removing his Beretta M9 from its holster.“We’ll take this scumbag now."
"Isn’t it exciting to think that the two of us are going to save the Earth, my love?" said Elisa, gazing at the Colonel with the eyes of a loved-up kitten, as she reached for his hand.
“‘My love’? Isn’t that moving a little fast?” Jack chided her frowning.
Elisa winced, then when the Colonel smiled affectionately and stroked her cheek, she realised he was teasing her. “Swine! Don’t play tricks like that on me again or I’ll show you” and she began pummelling his chest with both hands.
"Okay, okay" whispered Jack, hugging her lovingly. “It was just a silly game. I won’t do it again.”
The sudden embrace had a calming and relaxing effect on Elisa. She felt all the tension she had accumulated up to then, suddenly melt away like snow in the sun. After all that had happened in the last few hours, it was just what she needed. She melted into his arms and slowly closing her eyes, leant her head against his strong chest and let herself go completely.
Azakis, meanwhile, had slipped into the dreadfully cramped H^COM booth and was waiting for an answer to his communication request on the holographic screen in front of him.
A series of multicoloured waves, starting from the centre of the screen, began creating an effect similar to that of a stone thrown into the calm waters of a pond. All of a sudden, the waves gradually began to fade and the hollowed and time-marked face of his Elder superior, started to appear.
“Azakis," said the man smiling slightly, while he slowly lifted his bony hand in greeting. "What can this poor old man do for you?"
"We revealed the truth to the two terrestrials."
“A bold thing to do," commented the Elder, holding his chin between his thumb and forefinger. “And how did they take it?"
“Let’s say that after their initial legitimate amazement, I think they reacted very well." Azakis paused briefly then said, in a very serious tone, "We suggested using the superfluid toroid to them."
“The toroid?" exclaimed the other, rising to his feet so fast even a youngster would have been jealous. “But it hasn’t been fully tested yet. You do remember what happened last time, don’t you? We could create an uncontrolled gravity fluctuation with that thing and there’s even the risk of creating a mini black hole."
“I know, I know only too well" replied Azakis quietly. “But I don’t think there’s an alternative. This time, if we don't use drastic measures, Kodon’s passage could be fatal for the terrestrials."
“What’s your plan?"
“The orbits of the two planets are estimated to intersect in just under seven days. If you could get them to prepare the toroid and have it brought here to me at least a day in advance."
“That’s not much time, you know."
“You’ll have to leave me a small margin for the positioning, configuration and activation procedure."
“I’ve got a bad premonition," said the Elder running a hand through his silvery white hair.
“Petri’s with me. It’ll all be fine."
“You’re two clever guys, I don’t doubt that, but be very careful. That thing could become a lethal weapon."
“You just try and let us have it in time, leave the rest to us. Don’t worry."
“Okay. I’ll get back to you as soon as everything is ready. Good luck."
His superior’s face vanished from the monitor that went back to showing the same multicoloured waves as before.
Azakis slowly rose from the uncomfortable chair and stood with his hands resting on the top of the narrow desk for a while. A thousand thoughts were flooding his mind and, while a slight shudder ran down his back, he had the distinct feeling they were about to land themselves in a sea of woe.
“Zak," exclaimed his companion in adventure cheerfully, when he saw him emerge from the H^COM booth. “What did the old man say?"
Azakis stretched then answered calmly, "He gave us his approval. If everything goes according to plan we’ll have the toroid, or rather Newark, the day before the planets’ orbits intersect."
“Let’s hope we manage it. It’s not going to be easy to configure that thing in so little time."
“What are you worrying about my friend?" replied Azakis with a slight smile. "If the worst comes to the worst, we’ll just open up a space-time distortion. That’ll swallow up the Earth, Kodon, Nibiru and all the other satellites, all in one go."
The two terrestrials, who were standing a little way off but hadn’t missed a single word of this conversation, were petrified.
“What are you saying?” Elisa managed to splutter, while looking at him appalled. “A space-time distortion? Swallow up? Are you telling me that if this plan doesn’t work, we will be creating the destruction of our people and yours?"
"Well, there is a small risk," commented Azakis quietly.
“A ‘small risk’? And you tell us just like that, with that calm, serene look on your face? You must be crazy! And us, more than you."
“Calm down darling," intervened Jack, grabbing her by the shoulders and looking her straight in eyes. “They are much smarter and better prepared than us. If they’ve decided to go down this route, we cannot do anything other than support them and give them all the help we can."
The doctor let out a long sigh then said, "I need to sit down. Too many emotions today. If this goes on it’ll kill me."
Jack took her by the arm and led her to the closest armchair. Elisa fell into it like a dead weight, with a low groan.
“Perhaps we’ve reduced the percentage of oxygen in the air a little too much," Azakis whispered to his companion.
“I tried to make it as compatible as possible for us all and avoid having to use those awful respirators."
“I know my friend, but I’m afraid they’re being affected excessively by it."
“Okay, I’ll change the mixture. We can adapt much more easily."
The Colonel, however, didn’t seem to be affected at all and was more high-spirited than ever. Action and risk were his bread and butter and he felt perfectly at ease in situations like this. “Well," he exclaimed, as he positioned himself just below the three-dimensional image of Newark, which still rose majestically in the middle of the room. “This thing could save us all or lead us into absolute destruction."
“A succinct but effective analysis," commented Azakis.
“At this point," said the Colonel in a serious tone and with a deep voice, "I believe the time has come to warn the rest of the planet of the impending catastrophe."
“And just how are you thinking of doing that?" asked Elisa from her chair. “Are we just going to pick up the phone, call the President of the United States and say: ‘Hello Mr President. Do you know, we are in the company of two aliens who have told us that, in a few days’ time, a planet will get here that is going to sweep us all away?’"
“At the very least he’ll have the call traced, get someone to come and fetch us and take us straight to the madhouse," answered Jack smiling.
“But don’t you have a global communication system like our GCS?” Petri asked the Colonel, intrigued.
“GCS? What do you mean?"
“It’s a general communication system, capable of memorising and disseminating Information on a planetary scale. We can all access it, at varying levels, by means of an N^COM, a neural system implanted directly into our brains, at birth."
“Cool!" exclaimed Elisa, surprised. Then she continued, saying, "Actually, we do have a system of this sort. It’s called the internet but we are nowhere near your level."
“And would it not be possible to use your ‘internet’ to send a message to the entire planet?" asked Petri intrigued.
“Well, it’s not quite that simple," replied Elisa. “We could enter information into the system, send messages to groups of people, perhaps even a short video and try to disseminate it as much as possible, but nobody would believe us and it certainly wouldn’t reach everybody." She thought for a few seconds, then added, "I think the only way would be with good old television".
“Television?" questioned Azakis. Then, turning to Petri, he said, "That wouldn’t by any chance be that system we used to receive images and films when we were on our way here?"
“Yes, I think so, Zak," and so saying, he began to tinker with a series of commands on the centre console. After a few seconds, he brought up some of the sequences on the giant screen that they had recorded earlier. “Is this what you’re talking about?"
A multitude of films of all types began to appear in rapid succession: advertisements, news broadcasts, football matches and even an old black and white Humphrey Bogart film.
“But that’s Casablanca," exclaimed Elisa in amazement. “Where did you get all this stuff?"
“Your broadcasts also radiate into space," answered Petri calmly. “We had to work on our receiving system a little, but we were able to receive them in the end."
“It’s thanks to them," Azakis added, "that we managed to learn your language."
“And some other much more complicated ones," commented Petri sadly. “I almost went crazy with all those little drawings."
“However," intervened the Colonel abruptly, "this is exactly what we were talking about, but I don’t think even this is the best solution."
“Forgive me Jack," intervened Elisa. “Don’t you think it might be best, first of all, to warn your superiors at ELSAD? After all, unless I misunderstood you, none other than the president of the United States himself is at the top of that organisation, or am I mistaken?"
“And how come you know all these things?" objected the Colonel, astonished.
“Well, even I have my sources" said Elisa, mischievously pushing aside a lock of hair that had fallen onto her right cheek.
“Do your women act like this too?" asked Jack, addressing the two aliens who were observing the scene with an amazed air.
“My dear chap, women are the same throughout the universe," replied Azakis smiling.
“However," continued the Colonel after the rather risky joke, "I think you’re absolutely right. We need a trustworthy and credible institution to broadcast such serious and distressing news. I’m just a little worried about these external infiltrations which involved General Campbell and the two guys who attacked us. The General was actually my direct superior, but apparently, it would seem he’s corrupt and a traitor."
“So, in the end we really will have to make that phone call we joked about before?" replied Doctor Elisa.
“Although it seems absurd, perhaps that is the only solution."
In Manhattan, New York, in a luxurious office on the 39th floor of the imposing skyscraper located between 5th Avenue and 59th Street, a rather short man, with a stylish and well-groomed appearance, stood in front of one of the five large windows separating him from the outside environment. He was wearing a dark grey suit, undoubtedly Italian, a flashy red tie and had smooth, sleeked back, greying hair. His deep, dark eyes looked beyond the glass of the window, in the direction of Central Park, scrutinising the magnificent park which, from virtually right under his feet, stretched four kilometres in length and eight hundred metres in width, representing an invaluable green space, a source of oxygen and recreation, for the almost two million inhabitants of the island.
“Mr Senator, may I?" said a small bald man, with an expressionless face, knocking timidly at the elegant entrance door in dark lacquered wood. To the side, a small gilded nameplate in black italics announced, "Senator Jonathan Preston".
“What is it?" answered the man without even turning around.
“There’s an encrypted video communication on hold for you."
“Okay, I’ll take it from here. Close the door when you leave."
The man walked slowly towards the elegant dark desk and sat down on the soft black leather desk chair. With an automatic gesture, he touched the knot of his tie, placed the earpiece in his right ear and pushed a small grey button located underneath the top of the desk. A large semi-transparent monitor, began to descend from the ceiling with a slight hissing sound, until it gently came to rest on the top of the desk. The man touched the screen and General Campbell’s large face appeared before him.
“General, I note with pleasure that you are no longer a guest of the nation's prison service."
“Senator, how are you? I wanted to thank you, first of all, for the rapid and efficient recovery operation.”
“I think the credit all goes to the two individuals I can see behind you."
The General instinctively turned around and saw the fat guy and his accomplice, who were trying to get themselves into the webcam's range, just as the public usually does when everyone crowds behind a journalist doing a live television broadcast. He shrugged his shoulders slightly and went on saying, "They’re not exactly the brightest sparks but they’re very efficient for certain types of work."
“So! Now tell me everything. Your report should have been on my desk more than twelve hours ago."
“Shall we say I’ve been rather ‘busy’ lately”, answered the General ironically. “Anyway, I can confirm that your intuition on Doctor Hunter’s work was spot on and, thanks to your discovery, I was able to personally be present at an event that was nothing short of amazing."
The General paused a moment, hoping to increase the other’s curiosity even more, then added, "Senator, I’m not sure how, but our doctor’s discovery of the infamous ‘vase with the precious contents’, must have somehow activated a system that attracted none other to our planet than..." He stopped, aware that the phrase he was about to say would be a little difficult to actually take in, then took a deep breath and, without further hesitation, solemnly announced, "An alien spacecraft."
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