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*** BEST SELLER *** And if, we too, were nothing other than the mere characters of a great novel entitled ”Man”? In this third episode of the series ”The adventures of Azakis and Petri” our two lovable inhabitants of Nibiru must face a terrible threat from deep space. This time, however, their strength and their incredible technology may not be enough. And if help were to come from a completely unexpected source? 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. VOLUME 3/3 (First book: Back To Earth) (Second book: Intersection With Nibiru) PUBLISHER: TEKTIME
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The adventures of Azakis and Petri
Original Title: Lo Scrittore
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.
Copyright © 2016 Danilo Clementoni
First edition: April 2016
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 third 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 two volumes entitled respectively“Back to Earth” and
“Intersection with Nibiru” (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.
A special hug for my mother and a huge kiss for my father who, although ill and suffering, motivated me, with his presence and his gaze, to put all my heart into this wonderful story.
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.
Theos spacecraft – The evacuation
Tell el-Mukayyar – Flash in the sky
Shuttle six – Lunar inspection
Tell-el-Mukayyar – Contact with Nibiru
Pasadena, California – The nerd
Taurus constellation - Planet Kerion
Tell-el-Mukayyar – The pyramids’ energy
Pasadena, California – The News
Planet Kerion – The tragic discovery
Tell-el-Mukayyar – The footage
Pasadena, California – The hideout
Planet Kerion - The Supreme TYK
Tell-el-Mukayyar – The President
Pasadena, California – The test
Planet Kerion – The departure
Shuttle six – The recovery
Pasadena, California – The repairs
Orbiting Saturn – TYK’s arrival
Tell-el-Mukayyar – The plans
Santa Monica, California – The wait
Solar System – Uranus
Tell-el-Mukayyar – The doubt
Santa Monica, California – Revenge
Solar System – Neptune
Island of Hawaii – Surprise in the night
Santa Monica, California – The news
Nibiru – The message
Nevada, Area 51 – Contact with Nibiru
Pasadena, California – The agreement
Solar System – Pluto
Nevada, Area 51 – Plan “B”
Los Angeles, California – The meeting
Nibiru – The final battle
Channel of Sicily – Telandis
Los Angeles, California – The buyer
ELSAD secret base – The message
Telandis – The laboratories
Mexico - Bahia de Kino
Orbit of Jupiter – Change of plan
Bahia de Kino – The apprehension
Washington – Oval office
Ethiopia – City of Aksum
Ethiopia, Aksum – The Ark of the Covenant
Aksum – The Epafi
Unknown place – The Writer
Area 51 – The return
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 parts formed in 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 area 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, 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 had seen 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 rapidly approaching 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 two previous books ("Back to Earth" and "Intersection with Nibiru"), despite countless difficulties, the protagonists of this adventure managed to save the Earth from disaster, but now a new adventure awaits them. Azakis’ and Petri’s return journey home has been sabotaged and an even more terrifying threat is about to befall the entire solar system.
In the last book we left the occupants of the majestic Theos grappling with the sudden activation of the spacecraft’s self-destruct sequence and that is where we will resume the tale of this fantastic new adventure.
"Abandon ship" shouted Azakis desperately.
The Captain’s peremptory order spread simultaneously over all the levels of the Theos. After a brief initial hesitation, the few crew members automatically followed the evacuation procedure they had simulated so many times during emergency drills.
"Eighty seconds to self-destruction" announced the warm, calm female voice of the central system again.
"Come on Zak" shouted Petri. "We haven’t got much time left, we must get out of here."
"But can’t we do absolutely anything to interrupt the sequence?" replied Azakis incredulously.
"Unfortunately, no, old chap. Otherwise, don’t you think I’d already have done it?"
"But it’s just not possible," said the Captain as his companion in adventure dragged him along by the arm, in the direction of internal communication module number three.
"Well actually we could try to manually interrupt the procedure, but it would take at least thirty minutes and we only have more or less a minute left."
"Wait, stop!" exclaimed Azakis, yanking himself free from his friend’s strong grip. "We can’t leave it here to explode. The wave of energy the explosion generates will reach Earth in just a few minutes and the exposed face of the planet will be struck by a gigantic shock wave that’ll destroy everything in its passage."
"I’ve already set up remote control of the Theos from the shuttle. We’ll move it once we’re on board, as long as you get a move on,” scolded Petri as he again grabbed his friend’s arm and bodily dragged him in the direction of the module.
“Sixty seconds to self-destruction.”
"But where do you want to move it to?" Azakis continued, as the internal communication module door opened on the shuttle’s bridge, on level six. "A minute won’t be enough to make it reach a sufficient distance to..."
"Will you please just stop babbling on?” Petri interrupted him. "Shut your mouth and sit down there. I’ll handle this now."
Without further comment, Azakis obeyed the order and sat down in the grey armchair at the side of the central console. As he had already done dozens of times before, in equally dangerous situations, he decided to rely completely on the skill and experience of his companion. While Petri feverishly fumbled with a series of three-dimensional manoeuvre holograms, he thought he’d check on the result of the evacuation of the rest of the crew, simultaneously contacting the individual pilots. In a few seconds they all confirmed the successful detachment of their shuttles from the mother spacecraft. They were moving rapidly away. The Captain drew a big sigh of relief and went back to giving his attention to his friend’s skilful manoeuvring.
“Thirty seconds to self-destruction.”
"We’re out" shouted Petri. "Now I’ll move the Theos."
"What can I do to help you?"
“Nothing don't worry. You’re in good hands," and he winked at him with his right eye, as his terrestrial friends had taught him to do. "I’ll position the ship behind the moon. From there it won’t be able to do any harm."
"Gosh," exclaimed Azakis. "I hadn’t thought of that."
"That’s why I'm here, isn’t it?"
"The wave of the explosion will break on the satellite which will absorb all its energy. You’re a phenomenon my friend."
"And it certainly won’t do any damage on the moon" continued Petri. "There’s nothing but rocks and craters there."
“Ten seconds to destruction."
“Almost done....” said Petri faintly.
“Three... Two... One...”
“Done! The Theos is in position."
Precisely at that instant, on the moon’s hidden face, at the decimal degree coordinates latitude 24.446471 and longitude 152.171308, in correspondence to what the terrestrials had called the Komarov crater, there was a strange telluric movement. A large, deep slit with incredibly perfect edges opened on the crater’s barren, rough surface, as if a huge invisible blade had suddenly been stuck into it. Immediately afterwards, a strange ovoid-shaped object darted out at incredible speed, as if it had been shot directly from inside the crater and headed into space, with an inclined path of about thirty degrees with respect to the perpendicular. The object remained visible for only a few seconds before disappearing forever in a flash of bluish light.
On the shuttle, through the elliptical opening giving a view of the exterior, a blinding flash lit up the black, cold outside space, flooding the inside of the shuttle with an almost unreal light.
"My friend, what about getting out of here?" suggested Azakis worriedly, as he watched the wave of energy expand and rapidly approach their position.
"Follow me," shouted Petri into the communicator, to the pilots of the other shuttles. Then, without adding anything else, he manoeuvred his vehicle and quickly moved it to shelter behind the side of the moon that always faces the Earth. "Hold tight," he added, as he firmly gripped the armrests of the command seat where he was sitting.
They waited, in absolute silence, as interminable seconds went by, their gazes fixed on the central display, hoping that the sudden movement of the Theos had managed to avert a catastrophe on Earth.
"The wave of energy is dispersing in space,” Petri said quietly. He paused briefly then, and after checking a whole series of incomprehensible messages that had appeared in the holograms in front of him, he added, "and the moon absorbed the portion directed towards the planet perfectly."
"Well, I’d say you did a really excellent job there, old chap," commented Azakis after he had begun to breathe again.
"The only thing that really suffered was the poor moon. It took a proper beating."
"Think what might have happened if the wave had arrived on Earth."
"It would have burnt up half the planet."
"Are you all okay?" Azakis hastened to ask all the other pilots through the communicator, who, following Petri’s manoeuvres, had also positioned their shuttles in the shelter of the satellite. Comforting answers came back in sequence and, after the last captain had also confirmed that both his crew and vehicle were in perfect condition, he let himself slump back against the back of his armchair and let out all the air in his lungs.
"That went well," commented Petri satisfied.
"Yes, but now what do we do? The Theos no longer exists. How are we going to get back home?”
At doctor Elisa Hunter’s base camp, after jumping out of the archaeologist’s arms, Lulù, the little kitten, had begun to prowl around nervously with her gaze fixed towards the sky. The sun was going down and a beautiful, almost full moon was already high on the horizon.
"Lulù, what’s the matter?" asked Elisa a little worried, looking at the restless kitten.
"She must be sad because she’s realised our friends have left," commented Jack laconically, trying to comfort her by stroking her gently under her chin.
The little cat initially seemed to relish the attention, purring and rubbing her nose against the Colonel’s big hand. All of a sudden however, she froze, made a strange sound and turned her eyes straight towards the earth’s pale satellite. Both of them, intrigued by that bizarre behaviour, instinctively, also turned in the same direction. What they saw after a few moments, left them both breathless. An abnormal glow seemed to wrap around the moon. A brilliant white light, that extended about ten times the diameter of the satellite, then formed a sort of crown around it. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was almost as if another sun had suddenly appeared in the sky at dusk, illuminating the whole area with a decidedly unnatural light.
"But what on earth ..." managed only to whisper the stunned Colonel.
Just as it had appeared, the abnormal light vanished, and everything seemed to return exactly as it was before. The moon was still there, and the sun lazily continued its descent behind the dunes silhouetted against the horizon.
"What was that?" asked Elisa in amazement.
"I haven’t the faintest idea."
"For a moment I feared the moon had exploded."
"It really was quite incredible" exclaimed the Colonel while, with his open hand resting above his eyebrows, he scanned the clear sky looking for clues.
"Azakis.... Petri..." said Elisa suddenly. "Something must have happened to them, I can feel it."
"Go on, give over. Perhaps it was just the effect of their ship’s engines starting."
"It’s not possible. That seemed like a real explosion. You should know more than me about these things, no?"
"Darling" the Colonel said patiently. "To see the effects of an explosion like that from all this distance, there would have to have been at least a hundred atomic bombs explode simultaneously on the moon or maybe even a thousand."
"So, what happened then?"
"We could try asking our military friends. After all I am still part of ELSAD. With all that equipment always pointing at the sky, an event of this kind will not have escaped them for sure.”
"Even Lulù noticed it."
"I think this kitten is much smarter than the two of us put together."
"Felines are a superior race," said Elisa as she picked the kitten up again. "Had you still not realised?"
"Yeah. I think the ancient Egyptians adored them too, almost like deities."
"Exactly, my love," said Elisa, happy that the discussion had moved into a field in which she was well versed. "Bastet, for example, was one of the most important and venerated deities of ancient Egyptian religion, depicted as or with the appearance of a woman with a cat’s head or directly as a cat. Originally Bastet was a deity of the solar cult, but with time she became more and more a goddess of the lunar cult. When Greek influence extended to Egyptian society, Bastet permanently became a lunar Goddess, as the Greeks identified her with Artemis, the personification of the ‘Rising Moon’."
“Okay, okay. Thank you for the lesson, eminent doctor" said Jack ironically, emphasizing the phrase with a slight bow. "But now let’s try and understand what the devil just happened up there. I’ll make a couple of phone calls."
"Any time darling, I’m always here for you," replied Elisa, gradually raising her voice as the Colonel walked away in the direction of the laboratory tent.
Lulù, calm once again, her eyes closed, was enjoying the petting her human friend was dispensing without parsimony.
After the invisible hand of fear that had gripped his stomach, finally disappeared, leaving him in peace, Azakis had begun to pace nervously around the shuttle’s bridge muttering unintelligible phrases.
"Will you stop going around and around in circles like a spinning top?" Petri scolded him. "You’ll wear the floor out and we’ll end up drifting about in space like two old disused satellites."
"But how can you be so calm? The Theos has been destroyed, we’re millions of kilometres from our own planet, we can’t contact anyone and, even if we were to succeed, it would be impossible for someone to come and fetch us, and what do you do? You lay there slouched in your armchair as if you were on holiday, sitting on the cliff at the Gulf of Saraan enjoying the view at sunset."
"Calm down old chap, calm down. We’ll find a solution, you’ll see."
"At the moment I can think of absolutely none whatsoever."
"Why are you so upset. It’s the gamma waves that your poor tired brain is emitting, that are preventing you from reasoning with lucidity."
“Do you think so?"
"Of course," replied Petri with a lovely big smile. "Come and sit down beside me, take some deep breaths and try to relax. You’ll see, before long everything will seem very different."
"You may well be right, my friend" said Azakis as, following the advice of his companion, he threw himself heavily into the second pilot’s grey armchair, "but at the moment I can do everything but relax."
"If you promise to calm down, I’ll even let you smoke one of those filthy smelly things you always carry around with you."
"Well, actually that might be a good idea. I’m sure it’d help me a bit." Having said that, he pulled a long dark hand-rolled cigar from a pocket and, after having cut the ends with a strange multicoloured contraption, put it in his mouth and lit it. He quickly inhaled several puffs letting small bluish smoke clouds disperse into the room. With a slight hiss, the shuttle’s automatic air purification system was activated. In a few moments the smoke vanished and with it also the pungent sweetish smell.
"But, this way, there’s no fun," exclaimed Azakis who was already in a much better mood. "I’d forgotten how efficient our purification systems are."
"You designed them," answered Petri. "They couldn’t be otherwise."
The tension seemed to be slowly melting away.
"Let’s take stock of the situation," proposed Azakis as, with his cigar still between his lips, he enabled a series of holograms which positioned themselves in mid-air all around the two aliens. "We’ve got four operational shuttles including our own. The Theos-2 has now landed on Nibiru and both are outside the range of action of the optical vortices communication system." He puffed out another couple of little clouds of smoke, then he continued, "Propellant and food stocks are at ninety-nine percent."
"Well done, I see you’re taking control of the situation again. Go ahead" Petri urged, satisfied.
"All the remaining six members of the crew are in perfect condition. Shields and equipment are at maximum efficiency. The only problem is that we no longer have an H^COM to contact the Elders and report on the situation."
"And that’s where you’re wrong" exclaimed Petri.
“What do you mean?”
"I mean there’s still one working H^COM."
"But if the only one we had was destroyed with the spacecraft."
"What about the one we left with the terrestrials?"
"Gosh, you’re right! I hadn’t thought of that. We’ll have to return and get them to give it to us."
"Calm down old chap, calm down. We’ve got time for that. First, I’d go and have a look on the moon to see if we can recover anything from our beautiful ship that you merrily smashed into pieces."
“Me? What have I got to do with it? It was you who made it explode up there."
"And who was it who lost the remote-control system?"
"But that was your fault. The clasp was defective."
“All right, all right! What’s done is done. Now let’s try to get to grips with this situation. Although I’m an incurable optimist, at the moment, I can’t see any brilliant solutions."
"That’ll be the gamma waves" retorted Azakis, repaying his friend with the same currency. "Assuming of course that those four neurons lurking in your empty head are still able to emit them."
"After that pitiful joke, I can finally announce that the old Zak is once again amongst us. Welcome back."
"So, can you manage to get this shuttle to the explosion site without crashing into some lunar elevation?"
"Certainly sir. At your orders," exclaimed Petri, imitating the military ways he had often seen used by his terrestrial friends. "Destination moon" he added cheerfully, after having started the engines and set the course towards the satellite.
It took only a couple of minutes to reach the place where the Theos had disintegrated. The shuttle began to slowly fly over the area of the hidden face of the moon that had suffered the impact of the explosion. The ground, normally very bumpy and full of craters caused by ancient impacts of hundreds of meteorites that, over millions of years, had literally riddled it, now appeared incredibly smooth and flat for about six hundred square kilometres. The wave of energy generated by the explosion had swept everything away. Rocks, craters and depressions no longer existed. It was as if a giant steamroller had passed over the area, leaving behind it an endless expanse of soft grey sand.
"Incredible," exclaimed Petri. "It’s like flying over the immense Sihar desert on Nibiru."
"We’ve made a big mess" said Azakis dejectedly.
"No. Can’t you see how beautiful the view is now? Before the surface had more wrinkles than our Supreme Elder, now instead it’s as smooth as a baby’s skin."
"I don’t think there’s much of our beloved spacecraft left."
"I'm running a full in-depth scan of the area, but the biggest piece I’ve found is approximately a few cubic centimetres."
"There’s no denying it. The self-destruct system worked really well."
"Hey Zak" exclaimed Petri suddenly. "In your opinion, what's that?” and he pointed to a dark spot on the main screen.
"I wouldn't know... You can’t see it very well. What do the sensors say?"
"They’re not picking anything up. According to them there’s nothing but sand there, but I think I can see something else."
"It’s impossible that the sensors can’t pick something up. Try doing a calibration test."
"Just give me a second." Petri fiddled with a series of holographic controls then sentenced, "The parameters are within normal range. Everything seems to be working properly."
"Strange ... Let’s try and get a little closer."
Shuttle number six moved slowly in the direction of that strange object that seemed to emerge from the layer of dust and grey sand.
"Maximum magnification" Azakis ordered. “But what is it?”
"From the little I can see, it looks like part of an artificial structure" Petri tried venturing.
"Artificial? I don’t think any of us have ever installed anything on the moon."
"Perhaps it was the terrestrials. I seem to have read somewhere that they’ve completed several expeditions to this satellite."
"What is decidedly strange is that the sensors are not picking up anything of what our eyes instead are seeing."
"I don’t know what to say. Perhaps the explosion has damaged them."
"But if you just ran a test and everything is working," answered Azakis perplexed.
"Then that stuff we’re seeing must be made of some material that is unknown to us and therefore that our sensors are unable to analyse."
"Are you trying to tell me that the terrestrials have managed to invent a compound that not even we know about, they’ve brought it up here and they’ve built a base or something with it?"
"And, moreover, now we’ve even destroyed it for them," commented Petri dejectedly.
"Our friends never cease to amaze us, do they?"
“That’s true... Well, we’ve had a look around here. I’d say we should leave it for the moment. We’ve got rather more important things to do right now. What do you say boss?"
"I’d say you’re absolutely right. Considering that there doesn’t seem to be anything usable left of the Theos anymore, I think we can leave."
"Heading for earth?"
"Let’s return to Elisa’s camp and try using her H^COM to contact Nibiru."
"And our travelling companions? We can’t just leave them up here" said Petri.
"We’ll have to organise a support base on earth. We could set up a sort of camp close to that of our friends."
“Sounds like a good idea to me. Shall I inform the rest of the crew?"
“Yes. Give them the coordinates of the excavation site and ask them to organise the preparation of an emergency structure. We’ll go down there first, and we’ll set about contacting the Elders."
“Let’s go” said Petri cheerfully. "And to think that, until a little while ago, I was getting worried about how I was going to overcome the boredom of the return journey."
At the same time, at a distance of about 500 U.A. from our sun, a strange ovoid shaped object appeared practically out of nowhere, preceded by a streak of bluish lightning that tore through the absolute blackness of space. It moved in a straight line for almost a hundred thousand kilometres at an incredible speed before disappearing again, swallowed up by a sort of huge silvery vortex with golden reflections. The whole action lasted only a few seconds and then, as if nothing had happened, that place so remote and desolate, deep in space, plunged back into the total quiet in which it had been immersed until then.
"Yes, Colonel," said a very refined voice on the other end of the phone. "We have received reports, from several observation points on earth, of an unnatural flash presumably given off by the moon."
“But the moon doesn’t give off ‘flashes’,” said Jack vexed.
“You’re right there, Sir. All I can tell you is that our scientists are still analysing the data we’ve received in order to identify who or what caused it."
"So basically, you haven’t the faintest idea what it was.”
"Well, I wouldn't have put it quite that way, but I think your inference can be considered a fair one.”
“Just listen to this guy” said Jack, turning to Elisa who had joined him, as he covered the microphone of his mobile phone with his hand. “Okay. Thank you for the information,” he continued. "As soon as you have further news kindly contact me immediately.'
"Yes Sir, with pleasure. Goodbye have a good day," and he ended the conversation.
"What did they say?" asked the doctor.
"Well, it looks as though something strange actually happened up there, but nobody has found a decent explanation yet.”
"I’m increasingly convinced that something happened to our friends."
"Come on, don’t say that. With their fantastic spacecraft who knows where they’ll have got to by now.”
"I really hope so, with all my heart, but I still have a strange premonition."
"Listen, to get rid of any doubts, why don’t we use that thing they left us and try to contact them?"
“I don't know ... They said we would only be able to use it after they arrived back on their planet ... I don’t think ...”
“Just go and get it,” the Colonel cut her short. Then realising he had perhaps been a little too abrupt, he added a gentle ‘please’, followed by a dazzling smile.
“Okay. At worst it won’t work,” said Elisa as she set off to retrieve the portable H^COM. She returned almost immediately and, after rearranging her long hair slightly, she put on the kind of weird and bulky helmet.
"He said to press that button there," said Jack indicating the button. "Then the system would do everything by itself."
“What shall I do, shall I press it?” asked Elisa hesitating.
"Go on, what do you think is going to happen?”
The archaeologist pushed the button and, perhaps exaggerating the words a little too much, said "Hello? Anybody there?”
She waited but didn’t receive an answer. She waited a little longer, then tried again. “Hello... Hello... Petri, are you there? I can’t hear anything.”
Elisa waited a few more seconds then spread her arms and shrugged.
“Press the button again,” suggested the Colonel.
They tried repeating this process several times, but the communication system failed to give them even a measly rustle.
“Nothing doing. Perhaps something really did happen to them,” whispered Elisa as she removed the H^COM from her head.
“Or perhaps they still haven’t arrived within this thing’s range of action.”
The Colonel hadn’t finished his last sentence when a strange noise from outside caught their attention.
“Jack, look” exclaimed Elisa amazed as she looked out of the tent. “The spheres... They’re being reactivated.”
With their hearts in their mouths, they both ran outside and, to their amazement, saw the virtual landing pyramid that was again taking shape. Their friends were returning.
"See they didn’t explode," said Jack greatly cheered-up.
"Perhaps they forgot something.”
"The important thing is that they're okay. Let’s try and keep calm. We’ll soon find out what really happened.”
The landing procedure went ahead without problems and, in no time at all, the large figures of the two aliens appeared on the descending platform.
“Hello guys,” bellowed Petri, waving his big hand above his head.
"What on earth are you doing here again?" asked Jack, as the two aliens were carried down to ground level by the moving structure.
"We were missing you," replied Petri jumping down from that sort of lift, even before it had touched the ground, immediately followed by his travelling companion.
"We were worried" said Elisa finally reassured. "We witnessed a strange event that occurred on the moon a little while ago and we seriously feared that something terrible had happened to you.”
"Unfortunately, my dear, something terrible really did happen," said Azakis with a forlorn air.
"There you are, I knew it," exclaimed Elisa. “A little voice inside me kept telling me so. But what happened?"
"It all happened really suddenly.”
“So, are you going to tell us? Come on, don’t keep us on tenterhooks. Just tell us everything, now.”
"Our spacecraft no longer exists," Azakis announced all in one breath.
The two terrestrials looked at one another for a moment, absolutely stunned. Then Jack spoke, saying "Are you joking? What does ‘no longer exists’ mean?”
"It means that, right now, the biggest piece of the Theos could quite easily fit on the tip of your index finger.”
"But what happened? And the rest of the crew, where are they? Are they all well?"
"Yes, they're fine, thank you. Right now, they’re on the other three shuttles and very soon they’ll be here too. If you don't mind, we will set up an emergency structure around here and we’ll try to organise ourselves somehow."
"But of course, that's not a problem," said Jack. "We’ll give you all the help we can. You don't even need to ask."
“So,” blurted out Elisa who could no longer hold back her curiosity. "Are you going to tell us yes or no what the devil happened up there?"
"It's rather a long story," said Azakis seating himself on an upturned tin pail. “Make yourselves comfortable.”
After about ten minutes, the alien had pretty much told them the whole story. From the loss of the remote-control system, to the attempt to deactivate it. From the recklessness of having given up on its recovery, up to the sudden reactivation of the instrument which had then caused the launching of the self-destruction process.
"But that’s shocking," said Elisa appalled. “Whoever can have caused a disaster like that?”
"Probably," said Azakis, “somebody must have found that strange object and began to study its features. Then they must have found some information among all the data we downloaded onto your servers and, somehow, managed to turn it back on, so causing the result we now know.”
"For crying out loud!" exclaimed the Colonel upset. "It seems such an absurd story... And, knowing the danger of a device like that, you didn’t do anything to recover it?”
"It was my fault," said Petri, joining in the discussion. “I thought I’d completely deactivated it and that no terrestrial, even if somebody did find it, would be able to reactivate it.”
“And yet it happened,” said Jack. "Do you have any idea where it was lost?”
"We honestly thought we’d lost it while retrieving the Zenio crystal but, most probably, it must have ended up somewhere else, that was much more crowded. There was no one at all down there.”
“Zak, I’ve had an idea,” said Petri standing up. "I think that if I worked on it a bit, I might be able to backtrack and trace the moment the remote control was unhooked from your belt."
"It’s not all that important now, but I must admit I too am a little curious about it."
“Good. So first of all, let’s try and inform the Elders about our situation and as soon as we're organised a little, I'll try and retrieve this information."
“Elisa,” said Azakis. "Unfortunately, the only H^COM we had was destroyed with the Theos. Would you kindly lend us the one we left you before we took off?”
"Do you mean the helmet? But of course. I’ll get it for you straight away."
"Unfortunately, the situation is serious,” whispered Azakis turning to the Colonel, as soon as Elisa had moved far enough away to be out of earshot. "Even if we do manage to contact the Elders, the chances we can get back to our own planet are virtually nil now. "
“But can’t they send someone to pick you up? Hasn’t Zaneki also got a ship like yours?”
"Unfortunately, the engines installed on his ship are considerably less powerful than the ones we had on ours. That’s why he had to leave almost immediately after Kodon’s passage. If he hadn't, he wouldn’t have been able to reach Nibiru anymore, because it was moving rapidly away. We were able to stay here much longer precisely by virtue of our experimental engines. Unfortunately, the Theos was the only ship in our fleet with that type of engine. The production and installation of two more new ones like that could take a lot of time. A lot of ‘our’ time."
"You mean you might have to stay here until Nibiru’s next passage?”
"Here it is," said Elisa as she came hurrying back towards them.
"Unfortunately, yes Jack," said Azakis in a whisper, as he rose to take the H^COM helmet that the archaeologist was holding out to him.
“Thank you, Elisa” said the alien as he put it on. “Let’s see if it works.”
"Actually, we tried it ourselves, but we didn't manage to talk to anyone."
"That’s my friend’s work," commented Azakis looking towards Petri. “Nothing he does ever works.”
“Nice as always,” said Petri with a serious air. "I'll remember that when you ask me to fix your bathroom.”
“Oh yes,” exclaimed Elisa smiling. “I remember only too well how your bathrooms work. A truly unforgettable experience."
All four broke out into a roar of laughter at the end of which Petri slipped the helmet out of Azakis’ hands and said, "Wait, you ungrateful old thing. First, I need to change a setting. The system was programmed to call us on the poor old Theos and I don’t think anybody will answer you there now.”
The alien fiddled around for a bit with the controls of the portable H^COM then, when he was satisfied with his work, he passed it back again to his companion saying "Try now. Hopefully my memory hasn’t betrayed me, and I’ve been able to configure it to connect you to the right person.”
Azakis didn’t doubt his friend’s memory even for one moment and put the helmet on. He pressed the start button and waited patiently. Almost a minute went by before the three-dimensional image of the bony face of his direct line Elder was projected directly onto the retina of his rather tired eyes.
“Azakis, how nice to see you,” said his white-haired contact, raising his slender right arm in greeting. "But where are you calling me from? Your picture looks a little strange and rather distorted."
"It's a long story," answered the alien. “I'm using a makeshift device for long distance communication."
"But aren’t you on your ship? Don’t tell me you still haven't left. You know that your time limit for reaching us has almost run out now, don’t you?"
"That is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.” He paused briefly to try and find the most appropriate words then continued saying, "There’s been a setback... Our spacecraft’s gone."
“Gone? What do you mean?"
“It exploded. The self-destruct system was activated, and we only just made it to safety in time, before everything exploded into thousands of pieces."
“But only you could activate that procedure with your personal remote-control system. How could something like this happen?” asked the stunned Elder.
"Let's say there were a series of particular events, and I must have dropped it.”
"And someone else found it and activated it for you?”
"We still haven't been able to determine what really happened but that's a distinct possibility."
“And now? How do you plan to get back here?”
"That's exactly why we're contacting you. We could do with a nice quick solution to this little problem.”
“Little?” replied the Elder jumping to his feet with surprising nimbleness. “Do you realize what you're saying? Your time frame is already almost at its maximum limit. You should have already left and you’re telling me that the Theos no longer exists and you’re pretty much stuck on earth. What are we supposed to do now?"
“Well, I don't really know. You're the Elders. We’re trusting that, with your experience and your infinite wisdom, you’ll be able to help us out of this unfortunate situation."
The old man sat down again, letting himself fall heavily into his soft grey chair, then he leant his elbows on the table in front of him and put his hands in his long white hair, remaining in complete silence. He remained still for a few seconds then he lifted his gaze again and said, "I’ll try summoning the Council urgently and I’ll put all our best Experts to work. I hope to be able to give you good news very soon” and he ended the communication.
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