Marooned on Planet X – Part Eleven

Marooned on Planet XIn our last episode, the crew of the GSF Destroyer, Pickett, learned they were being used as bait. Central Command (CentComm) felt that this would be a perfect opportunity to attack the Corpellians as they sought to finish off the marooned crew. Meanwhile, the crew discovered a mysterious staircase leading to an even more mysterious elevator.

Captain Jake Evans followed Lieutenant Decker along with Doctor Clint Norwood to the mysterious site.

“Why didn’t you call us on the conn, Decker?” Evans asked. “We would have come out. We didn’t even know you were safe, Lieutenant.”

“Sorry, Captain,” the lieutenant explained. “Our conn devices were burned out when the attack began. Almost like a reverse EMP. Jenkins said the same thing happened at Rigellus 7 when the Corpellians attacked.”

“Jenkins was at Rigellus 7? I thought all the survivors were blind or went nuts.”

“He is a little weird, sir. He knows he stuff, though.”

Evans turned to Norwood, “Did you know about this, Doc?”

Norwood nodded. “I couldn’t tell you his medical history, Jake. Just know that I checked him out thoroughly before I cleared him. I tested harder than anyone on this ship.”

Decker spoke up. “I’m not sure we would have made it back without Jenkins, sir. He knew the Corpellian blaster pattern and kept us from being hit. He actually found the stairway. We went down until we saw the elevator. We waited until the attack was over and made out way back.”

“You sure it’s an elevator?”

“We touched the glowing button, the door opened. There was another button inside. It had a glowing green arrow pointing down.”

“Jake, what are you expecting to find?” Norwood asked, sounding a little irritated.

“Somebody built that thing, Doc. Maybe they can help us get out of this mess.”

“’From the frying pan into the fire’ I’d say,” Norwood muttered.

“Maybe, but sitting around waiting for our doom is not my style,” Evans said.

Decker stopped and pointed. “It’s right around the small hill, Captain.” She continued to walk.

As they reached the small hole with the dim outline of the stairs, Evans saw three dots in the sky.

“Damn,” he muttered. “It look like they are sending three ships.”

“We’ll be no used to them, Jake. Irene seems like she has everything under control.”

Evans nodded. “Lead on, Lieutenant.”

Decker started down the stairs, Evans followed, and then Norwood.

The darkness became absolute. All that could be heard was the shuffling of feet on the stairs and breathing. Evans held onto the wall for balance. He hoped the others did the same.

After five minutes of steady descent, Decker spoke, “Slow down, Captain. It will level out soon.”

Sure enough, Evans felt a solid rock floor. He walked a couple of steps hoping not to fall any further. He saw a floating soft glow ahead.

“Head for the button, Captain and Doctor.”

The trio continued. Decker stopped at the button. The glowing seemed brighter.

“Well here it is, Captain. Do you wish me to stand here and wait or return to the ship?”

“Is there a reason you would not go with us, Decker?”

“Meeting other races for the first time is for field grade officers or better, sir. I wouldn’t want to mess things up.”

Evans smiled. “Perhaps a path to becoming a field grade officer is to go and meet new races, Decker.”

Decker took a deep breath, “Perhaps.” She reached and touched the glowing button.

The doors slid open with no sound. The interior was brightly lit, even though no light source was evident. The three stepped inside.

Evans touched the glowing button with the green downward symbol. The doors slid shut. A hiss followed.

They waited.

“Should we be moving, Jake.” Norwood said.

Decker reached in her pocket and brought out a small device.

“According to the omnitrak, we are descending at twelve hundred feet per second and accelerating.”

“Impossible!” Norwood said.

Evans examined the interior of the elevator. “Not if we were surrounded by a small gravity field. That hiss might mean we are in some sort of vacuum, which would minimize any friction. Perhaps they are using some sort of magnetic drive, which would eliminate any noise or even moving parts.”

“Captain, we are beginning to slow down,” Decker announced.

“How far does this that put us below the surface, Lieutenant?”

“Best estimate is twenty kilometers, sir.”

Evans nodded. “Hopefully, whoever meets us will know we mean no harm. I’m not sure I would be very receptive to people that brought a war to my planet.”

“We’re stopping, sir,” Decker announced.

“We’ll find out soon, Jake,” Norwood said.

Decker turned off the device, placed it in her pocket, and faced the door.

Evans straightened his stance and took a deep breath.

With a small hiss, the doors opened. Evans stepped out.

The landing was mostly dark with glowing lights. There was a clear pathway. Evans took several steps hearing Norwood follow. He turned back to look for Decker.

Other than him and Doctor Norwood, there was no one there.

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