Chapter Five, Then and Now

Chapter 5. Now and then

“I’m just going to check the boundary,” said Max as he got up from the kitchen table and walked towards the door.

“You have been doing that every morning for the last forty two days, why not except that this is your life now,” replied Helen.

“That day may come but not just yet,” said Max as he walked out of the door.

Max stud on the veranda looking out over the paddock for a moment wondering whether Helen was right, may be it was time to except that this was his life. It was a good life, he had food, shelter, and the company of a nice woman. Deep down he knew there was no chance of getting back to his home world, he had known that for years so why not settle down here with Helen. He sat down on the edge of the veranda and thought about things for a while and started to like the idea.

Helen came out of the back door, saw Max sitting on the edge of the veranda and said, “what, no boundary inspection today?”

“I was just thinking about what you said,” replied Max.

Helen sat down next to him and said, “so life here with me is acceptable then?”

“Life with you has always be more than acceptable, it’s been the here part that I have struggled with,” replied Max.

Helen looked puzzled and said, “I thought you didn’t fancy me.”

“My goodness, it has taken every bit of self control to not, well you know,” replied Max.

“You should not be so self controlled,” said Helen.

Max lent over and kissed her, as he did everything around them flashed like some sort of electrical short circuit.

“What was that,” asked Helen.

“I would like to think it was the chemistry between us but I think it was some sort of problem with our environment,” replied Max.

They both stud up and Max said, “I think we need to pack some food and water and just get ready for,” he paused before continuing, “for I don’t know what.”

They both went inside and organised themselves before coming back out onto the veranda. As they did they found, waiting for them, a small robot from Max’s ship. Max smiled and said, “you took you time.”

“What is it?” asked Helen.

“It’s one of my small robots,” replied Max before continuing, “report, come on report.”

Max lent down for a closer look and said, “this is a maintenance robot.”

“What does that mean?” asked Helen.

“It means it can’t talk, it only communicates with the computer on my ship, replied Max.

“Did it course the flashes?” asked Helen.

“I don’t know, it might off,” replied Max.

Max lent down to the robot and said, “return to the ship, report to the computer and get it to send a communications robot.”

The small robot moved away and a few moments latter everything flashed again.

“I think it’s safe to say that that flashing is coursed by the small robot going through the false wall,” said Max.

“What now?” asked Helen.

“We wait,” said Max before continuing, “with a bit of luck a small communication robot will return and then I will be able to talk to the computer on my ship.

“How will that help,” asked Helen.

“The computer will, I hope, be able to inform us about were we are and how safe we are, as well as if we can escape,” replied Max.

“I thought you were happy to stay here with me,” said Helen.

“I am but we don’t have enough information, the computer will give us that,” replied Max.

“How long?” asked Helen.

“I don’t know, it all depends on how difficult it is for the small robots to get back to the ship and then back here, we will just have to wait,” replied Max.

Helen went back into the house while Max stayed on the veranda. Life was good here but they were in an Alien ship and it could all be taken from them at any moment. But as Max had already experienced that can happen whether you’re in an Alien space ship or on a planet. Outside forces can impact on you at any time, at the end of the day it all comes down to the luck of the draw.

Two days had passed since the small robot had left which meant it was  difficult for the small robot to move around the Alien ship. If the small robot had trouble moving around then it would be even worse for him and Helen may be even impossible.

Max walked out of the back door the next day to find one small communication robot plus two defence robots on the veranda. He looked down at them, they looked a bit second hand, like they had been sitting out in the weather for a long time.

“Report?” said Max.

“Hello Max,” replied the ships computer.

“Hello computer, what is the ships status?” asked Max.

“Fully operational, all systems at full readiness,” replied the computer.

Helen walked out of the back door and stud next to Max.

“Computer this is Helen,” said Max.

“Hello Helen,” replied the computer.

“This is very strange talking to a small machine,” said Helen.

“The small robot is only a conduit, you are actually talking to the computer on my space ship,” said Max.

“Computer, where are you?” asked Max.

“I am six hundred and ten metres from your location in a large air lock with many other space ships,” replied the computer.

“Is there clear passage to the air lock door?” asked Max.

“Yes,” replied the computer.

“Have you seen any Alien activity?” asked Max.

“No not at my location,” replied the computer.

“Have you been able to access the Alien computer system?” asked Max.          

“I have limited access,” replied the computer.

“Have you determined what this ship is for?” asked Max.

“Yes, it is a sample gathering ship, it is collecting life forms for study,” replied the computer.

“Are there any crew or is it automated?” asked Max.

“It did have a crew but they are long dead from some decease they contracted from one of the life forms they collected, it is now automated,” replied the computer. 

“Do you have access to the ships navigation records?” asked Max.

“Yes,” replied the computer.

“Search for a planet called Earth and then plot a course,” said Max.

“Affirmative,” replied the computer.

“Can you open the air lock door?” asked Max.

“Yes,” replied the computer.

“Can you turn off the beam that captured us?” asked Max.

“No not at this time,” replied the computer.

“How can we get to you?” asked Max.

“You will need to pass through four other environments before you get to a corridor that will bring you to my location,” replied the computer.

“I don’t like the sound of that, do these environments have breathable atmospheres?” asked Max.

“Three of them do but you will only be in the one without a breathable atmosphere for a few seconds,” replied the computer.

“Are the Aliens in the breathable atmospheres intelligent?” asked Max.

“Two meet the criteria for being intelligent,” replied the computer.

“When I say intelligent I mean will they want to eat us?” asked Max.

“All three will want to eat you,” replied the computer.

“That’s great, what are the environments like?” asked Max.

“Very harsh, one is a desert, one is a jungle and the third is a swamp,” replied the computer.

“We are better off staying here,” said Helen.

“I agree,” said Max.

“Is there any reason why we should not stay hear?” asked Max.

“The ship is very old and it is only a matter of time before it fails, some environments have already failed, resulting in the life forms dieing. Some of the force walls have failed resulting in the life forms eating each other but these failures are minor when compared to the propulsion system, that could blow at any time,” replied the computer.

“Well that makes deciding what to do easy, is there a optimum time to leave that will get use through these hostile environments with less chance of contact with Aliens?” asked Max.

“In two hours time, that will take you through two of the environments at mid day when the inhabitants are not as active but in the third it will be late afternoon which is a dangerous time,” replied the computer.

“You should of sent more small defence robots,” said Max.

“I sent all that are left, a lot have not returned from there search for you,” replied the computer.

“Will you be able to turn off the beam that captured us by the time we reach you?” asked Max.

“No,” replied the computer.

“Hopefully we will be able to deal with that as we leave. How many space ships are in the air lock?” asked Max.

“Nine,” replied the computer.

“Do you know where the life forms from those ships are?” asked Max.

“Five of them,” replied the computer.

“Is there any way you can communicate with them?” asked Max.

“No,” replied the computer.

“Can you turn of the force walls to their environments to give then the chance to get to their ships?” asked Max.

“Yes,” replied the computer.

“Do that once we are on board,” said Max.

“Once we are out of these environments, does the corridor have a breathable atmosphere?” asked Max.

“Yes,” replied the computer.

“Well all we have to do now is wait for two hours,” said Max.

“What should we take with us?” asked Helen.

“Nothing, I think we will need to travel very light,” replied Max.

“You will need a small length of rope,” said the computer.

Helen and Max went into the house and sat on the lounge. They did not talk or do anything, they just sat there hoping everything would turn out alright. 

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