Monday, April 13, 2015

The Strange Red Rock - Mission Impossible 33

The coordinates given by the Vaxe copy took them a ways off from their original destination - the Hnnesset. But the darkmatter starcraft took the lightyears in it's stride and they were soon done with the jumps and gliding towards a lone solar system, which had an unremarkable star in the center of the system. There were three planets which dotted the star, one of which was a red rock. That was their destination. Dranke looked at the image in the center of the bridge as Sette pulled up the sensor data, which scrolled over the three dimensional image. Vaxe exclaimed "I see the electromagnetic signature - this is clearly the jamming device." 

Kell and Dranke watched as Dex scanned closer. The Raven was now in the outer atmosphere of the red rock, which now looked more like a planet.. Closer to the tiny planet, the surface looked brown rather than red. Clearly the 'atmosphere' had been largely dust and refraction from the star. The unbroken landscape was brown and dusty, with very few mountains and no sign of life. Dranke checked his readings; the electromagnetic signature had disappeared altogether. They would have to land and check this out. Dranke again had a feeling of unease, but he brushed it aside "Prepare to land where we had identified the electromagnetic signature." Dex nodded "We are already preparing the suits. The atmosphere is non-existent. There is just some heavier gases on the surface, the rest seems to have leached into space." Kell watched the hologram lazily revolve in the center of the bridge as the surface features became clearer. It was a forbidding landscape. Sette was getting the gear ready for exploration, when Dex grunted "This is the place. I am certain." The darkmatter starcraft landed with a soft hiss and they headed to suit up. 

Dranke, Kell and the Vaxe copy stepped out of the ship, after going through the airlock procedure, and saw nothing which could give them any clue. The same unbroken brown greeted them. Due to the scant atmosphere, there was no sound, even though the dust storm continued unabated. 

They looked around. Hand sensors tapped the ground, searching for any clue to where the Jexx hacking device was hidden. A voice made them freeze. It spoke gibberish. The Vaxe copy was changing back to the Hnnet shape and the voice was being translated though the Hnnet now "What brings you here? I noticed you trying to sense me." Dranke spoke to the Hnnet "We are looking for a device which has been used to jam our signals." The voice spoke again "There is no device. I am reading the Jen subroutine." A figure came up to them. It was barely up to their knees. And it was moving on something which resembled a small pair of treads. There were a bunch of appendages which were extended from a main trunk, and some ended in what looked liked lenses. The lenses turned towards them. The Hnnet kept translating "So what do you want?" Dranke gulped "We would like you to stop hacking the Jen subroutine." He waited for the reply.

Two large lightning arcs crashed into the little figure which stood before them. But the arc did not dissipate. It danced as the figure seemed to be harvesting its power, drawing from it. "I do not agree to what you like." It seemed to decide that the meeting was over, and it trundled away, without any sense of urgency. Dranke said "It interferes with our communications." The figure stopped and seemed to contemplate this "I will ensure it doesn't." It disappeared into a crevice. What could one make of this?

The Hnnet resolved back into Vaxe "The Hnnesset want you to meet them Captain. We must leave immediately." Dranke nodded. He was mystified by this strange species, and wanted to know more, but the alien was completely uninterested in the visitors from another galaxy. It seemed so strange.

The trip to the Hnnesset was uneventful. The Vaxe copy seemed extremely subdued and stayed in her quarters. Just as they were nearing Hexe, the gateway to the Hnnesset, she resolved back into the Hnnet shape. It was just as well. It would not do to have two Vaxes running around. 

After teleporting to the Hnnesset from Hexe, the crew took some time off. Dranke and Kell were greeted by the real Vaxe who hugged them both. She grinned "That must have been some experience. Meeting another me." Dranke grinned back wryly "You bet. We were not sure what to make of it." She laughed, just as Ed came and joined them, shaking hands formally "We were told of your escapades. It seems that we were wrong about the Jexx being behind the hacking device." Dranke nodded. Ed smiled, much more genuinely than they had seen him smile before. The emulator was getting better. He said "The Jen subroutine should be good. We have contacted the Tewwn you met on the red planet. He is a gatekeeper to his galaxy. He has agreed not to listen in. It seems he actually uses all EM transmissions to feed himself." He turned on his heel and walked away. The Hnnet were not very forthcoming with the behind-the-scene machinations they carried out. 

Vaxe was overcome with emotion of meeting with Dranke and she held his hand all the time they were at the Hnnesset. Soon it would be time to return back to space command. Kell looked at him meaningfully as they spent the false 'dusk' watching the two artificial stars slide down below the horizon. 

Pic courtesy: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon via Wikimedia commons under the commons license (Hubble website).

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