"Reckoning" is a sci-fi series that can be read by the blind. It tells the story of overview of the story
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Relentless sounds tore through the darkness the cold air was filled with deep whirring hums intermixed with repetitive thumps, not as from a boots hitting the ground, but from something heavier, mechanical… something menacing growing louder and now it seemed to come from more than just behind him.
Across the icy soil, on a track leading towards Wyvis Lodge by Loch Glass Charlie Hoskins was running for his life.
His feet were carrying his chubby ill dressed panicked body as fast as they could but no matter how fast he ran the pack was closing in on it's prey relentlessly.
How he, an Inverness resident in his late forties wearing only jeans and T-Shirt ever had found himself in a situation like this was beyond comprehension, his body screamed for air and Charlie solemnly regretted how he had mismanaged his health.
He was going to die if the sound meant what he though it meant, that those mechanical monsters had gotten his scent and were closing in.
Nobody would ever find a trace of his body, that is if the hypothermia did not get him first, what kind of nut-job went driving in this kind of weather without winter clothing, then the absurdity of the thought struck him, Charlie Hoskins knew was a marked man no matter what.
3 days earlier
Heavy snow had been falling for a couple of days now, winter was coming. Charlie Hoskins the anchor of The Heavens Above Radio show on ConspiracyOne Radio was doing one of his better shows.
At Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, Professor Enikõ Hunter and her assistant Walter Königsberg had the show running in the background.
Ogilvy, the observatory janitor wearing his redlight lenses, a remnant he had kept from a previous posting, hummed along with the show theme barely audible.
He could not help to think how funny it was that the three of them got along, the two Astronomers supposedly to be scientific minds seemed to be utterly fascinated by this Charlie Hoskins character.
Ogilvy had never understood their fascination with conspiracy, he was a man with both feet planted firmly on the ground all while the two were constantly chattering about this and that the governments and the powers that be might be up to this evening however Ogilvy's whole belief system was about to undergo a complete katharsis.
Technically speaking he was not supposed to be working at night as his presence might interfere with the observations going on, but Fridays he liked to do his chores in the evening so he could have Saturdays off to be with his family and the two astronomers at work, Walter and Enikõ did not mind as long as he was using his redlight lenses.
Suddenly Enikõ called out.
“Walter get your butt over here something weird is going on with the data readout”.
The assistant hurriedly poured down his coffee and set the mug down, then he stood up promptly from his slouch. Finally some action!
He looked at the readout “Okay this is odd”, he mumbled fingers dancing across the keyboard.
“Exactly, what the hell is going on?”, Enikõ posed in a curious voice.
Gears whirred and the optical telescope re-centered itself on the spot the anomaly in the numbers seemed to emanate from.
“What You think - Ghost in the machine?”, the professor inquired biting her lower lip. She did not dare to hope for anything yet there had been too many disappointments along the road during her career.
“Dunno, let me get the image data before we do any alerting, there is something not quite right here”, Jimmy said tapping his finger next to the keyboard, this could be a biggie.
Ogilvy noticed the two astronomers excitement and inched a bit closer letting his curiosity get the better of him, not that he understood what they were talking about but clearly something out of the ordinary was going on, though curious as hell Ogilvy knew that each minute spent not doing the job was an additional minute before he could get on his motorcycle and an additional minute before he was able to be home with his family, not that they would be awake when he got there.
To weak for the telescope to capture, in the depths of space a minuscule point began visibly vibrating. Space was frothing and boiling away, expanding and stretching until a tear in the fabric of space appeared in a blinding flash sending energy waves pulsating from the rift.
Through the tear something black and menacing came sailing, the hull looked as if taken straight out of a Giger creation. Charged particles were sparking off the hull in bluish bolts of lightning as if they tried to keep the ship from entering realspace, behind the hulk the rift began healing till it was no longer visible then the lightning bolts finally ceased and the scarred ship was released from Riftspace.
The last ship of the QHiliin armada, a medical frigate, all but decimated limped along and in a final defiant maneuver set about heading towards earth engines finally extinct after an excruciating hunt.
When the images came on screen, neither of the astronomers dared to believe their eyes, but the reading checked out, something had just appeared out of that discharge and it was a solid object that had not been there before.
Two hours later a couple of black helicopters descended on Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park as did a number of government marked vehicles running on darklight.
Ogilvy in the boiler room worked completely unaware of what was happening above his head.
He was almost done and had it not been for the scream of the Professor and the subsequent sounds of fighting of people crashing into tables above he would have wandered straight into the thick of it.
Ogilvy's SAS training kicked in immediately, he had done 12 years in the service before a bullet in the kneecap had put a stop to his career.
He quickly peered out the window, noticing the two helicopters and the vehicles. Men were running back and forth outside and Ogilvy hurriedly placed himself behind the hot water tank he needed time to think. If they were doing building heat-scans they might not have picked him out and the noise or the furnace might be loud enough to mask his heartbeat, he began meditative breathing to calm his body hopefully further masking his signature.
He heard a voice from outside “Only these two at work?”
“Yeah Cap, Janitor does not arrive till morning according to the schedule, no other people signed in, we have plenty of time to mop up the premises”
Ogilvy praised his lucky stars that he had found a way to do a remote log in, not by the book, but they weren't paying him enough to do things by the book.
“Okay site secure then, you may stand down gentlemen. The two are in the truck already, Alfa team fall back to the Choppers, Bravo will mop up and be on their way, job well done!!!”, the Captain said.
Ogilvy was jumping mad at the sloppiness of the team and at the same time relieved beyond belief, in his days he would have been caught on the spot.
He heard the silent whisper of the choppers taking off and used the moment to peek out through the window again doing his utmost to assess the situation.
Less than thirty minutes later the last soldiers had jumped onto the cars and headed into the darkness. Ogilvy hurried upstairs finding everything completely tidy and no trace of the two astronomers having ever been at work according to the whiteboard check in ticks.
He snook out the back and got on his electric motorbike and then sped into the darkness in hot pursuit, there was something afoot that was not by the books and he intended to find out what.
A couple og hours later
It was getting late and the commercials before wrap up were running. Charlie hated this part, it felt so forced to hold people captive for this final commercial break all just to hear him babble on with nothing more than a resume of the evenings show and an appetizer for upcoming events and sometimes the odd final comment from a listener, still it was part of the contractual bond that kept the show on the air.
The phone rang, Charlie was in doubt whether he should pick up or not but the producer gave him a nod and Charlie picked up.
“Charlie Hoskins here to whom am I talking?”, he said and took a deep breath.
“Who I am is irrelevant, the information I have is not”, The metallic and distorted voice replied.
“You better be fast friend we are live again in 30 seconds”, Charlie insisted somewhat spooked by the seriousness of the caller.
“Something is coming, check out Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, the observatory. two Astronomers missing - I will be back with further information, once you confirm on air that you have instigated an investigation, be careful, intelligence and military forces involved”.
“How can I do that?”, Charlie Hoskins replied.
“Not my problem, be creative, you have 24 hours”, the voice retorted, then there was a click and the connection died.
“3,2,1 and we're live”, the producer said with a smile, he had the conversation on tape, this could be one of the better ones.
The forum inbox bleeped, there was another post on the forum for tonight's show, the subject spelled Missing Astronomers, vital information forthcoming.
The producer quickly clicked on and opened the forum board to read the message but was met by nothing but a punctuation mark.
Seconds later another bleep from the inbox, this time it was a direct email from a mail-burner service, the subject was identical but the body had the text License Plates followed by two plate numbers clearly military.
With the digits 23:57 and the word Remaining written afterwards.
The producer bit himself in the lip, then nervously started chewing a thumb, what if this was for real?
The next day
Charlie Hoskins had pulled in a couple of big favors, it had cost him, he just prayed it would be worth it.
As the show was coming to an end and the mystery caller had yet to contact them, even though Charlie on air had hinted at a mystery about two Astronomers missing from Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, a rumor vehemently denied by the managing director of the observatory.
As the last commercial break began the phone rang, a chill ran down Charlie's spine.
“Charlie Hoskins here, with whom am I speaking”, he said with a trembling voice.
“Irrelevant, a link will appear on your forum in the observatory thread, I can see you did not delete it, very wise. Also a new thread on the forum called Can You Trust Your Government will appear with a link, the link will lead to a video file accessible only to the one with the correct decryption key.
You will hurry to secure a copy of the file in question before cyber security forces block, redirect or alter the contents of the file like they've done with other whistle-blower material. You will find the decryption clues on a paper note, that will be delivered to you”, there was a click and the connection died.
The inbox bleeped, Can You Trust Your Government, the subject on the forum said and the article body contained the link as promised.
Charlie clicked on and downloaded the encrypted file to a thumb drive, the three of them jumped from their seats when there was a knock on the door.
Charlie nervously peered through the looking hole.
“It's the pizza guy from across the street, any of you order pizza?”, he asked, but before getting an answer from the sound-tech or the producer he ripped the door open, will be delivered, that was what the voice had said, genius.
“Already paid”, the pizza delivery guy said and waved off Charlie's note, he had received a huge tip from the stranger who had ordered the pizza, probably a fan of the show and he'd feel guilty taking a double tip, though it was a tempting proposition.
“Cheers”, he said and turned about crossing the street, it was getting late and he'd better hurry to wrap things up at the shop.
Charlie opened the package, the note inside said calculate hash value, solve, add then de-crypt. In bold letters it said Invalid Anagrams.
Their source sure was a man of few words and a cryptic one, “You're a Linux guy right”, Charlie said to the sound tech.
“Yeah”, the sound technician answered back feeling an additional task coming up.
“Join me for a pint with that computer of yours, we got some hashing and de-crypting to do”, Charlie said holding up his tumb drive.
At TDF HQ the AI Analyst was pinging Kim Suk Ho, it had been analyzing the chatter on the messageboards of the Heavens Above Radio show and had come across a newcomer account fitting the profile of a genuine whistleblower and it was already analyzing the encryption algorithms utilized for the file that bitwise and construction wise with a 99% probability was a video recording and the quantum computational interface had started chewing it's way through the heavily encrypted bits.
Kim sat down in front of the computer slurping up an energy drink, he knew he shouldn't but if the AI called upon him at this hour it just might be something of interest.
“Holy hell”, Billy Parks said as they we're sitting in the pub after running over the video file once more, he emptied the guinnes and waived at the waitress, “Kelly, could you bring us a proper malt, something that kicks”, Billy said as she trotted over to their booth.
“Sure thing Billy Boy”, she said with a smile nodding at Charlie while she picked up the empty mugs.
Once gone Charlie turned to Billy, “Is there anything that indicates to you the recording is fake?”
“I dunno, if fake it has taken hell of a long time to create it”, he paused “I mean all the shakes etc. It really looks very genuine. Looks like someone who had access to extreme surveillance, or combat tech and the timing track… haveto say all looks legit to me”.
Charlie took a deep breath, that was it then, he'd try to set up a meeting with the mystery man in the know.
It was getting dark, Charlie was sitting in his car on the way to the meeting with Ogilvy at Wyvis Lodge, Charlie thought it a
peculiar meeting place, but it was out in the middle of nowhere for a city boy, perfect for a cloak and dagger adventure.
The adventure however turned a bit too real for Charlie, as Charlie went for the papers he had just been jostling and subsequently dropping to the floor on the passenger side, the crashing sound from when the bot hit his windshield sending shards flying through the cabin tore through the Sonny & Cher's I got you babe, that was playing, one of Charlies absolute favorites.
The bot had miscalculated the clearing distance it's learning algorithm not being able to foresee or react swiftly enough to Charlie's terrible diving.
The car had snagged the rear end of the robot sending the robot up across the hood and the into a violent spin with parts sticking in through the windshield and robot parts flying all over the place.
This was certainly something for the algorithm to take into consideration as the fatal failure report was generated while instantly uploaded to the Central Quantum Computer Storage.
The car came to a violent stop as it smashed into a roadside barrier activating the secondary airbag. Charlie blacked out.
This is Raven 606 - Requesting permission for take off”
Control here permission granted proceed to platform and commence flight”, the airspace controller said.
Xia Wen cursed silently and rolled the aircraft onto the platform. It seemed to take forever for the platform to rise to the surface, they really had to think about some sort of rapid launch system, the craft would be sitting ducks if the base came under attack.
Finally the craft emerged onto the surface, Xia checked her instruments, then flicked the com switch.
“Okay boy's and girls, hold on to hats and glasses, we are go for launch, England in T-23 minutes”
In the rear compartment the squaddies clenched their fists and bit their teeth together as the craft took off with a deafening roar from the Sabre Reaction Engines.
Meanwhile Captain Willis Llewellyn Wilde and his SAS squad were having somewhat of a hard time, they had been forced to split up and Delta had bungled capturing the damn janitor, the Captain was far from pleased with the freshmen, fatal mistake to underestimate the abilities of a former service member, lucky that the sarge had pulled through 3 men dead already, though not to any of the Sargent's fault.
They were gaining on Charlie, the Captain just hoped they would get to him in time, loosing the radio host to a pack would look
really bad on his service record, in fact it would likely mean the end to his career. That damn Captain Fester, ther way no way that he would have missed Ogilvy at Galloway Forest.
Something like a half a kilometer ahead Charlie was plunging ahead, his lungs burning and his legs aching.
The whirr whirr and thumping got closer by the minute and now the whirring sounds and relentless thumps seemed to be coming, not just from behind any longer, he tripped over a root but forced himself up again.
I don't want to die, I don't want to die, the thought was racing through Charlie's mind as he willed himself forward despite the agonizing pain from what had to be a sprained ankle.
Moments later the eerie glowing eyes of a pack member appeared in front of Charlie, he stopped dead, then a second set appeared to the side, then another and then a fourth.
A light fixated on Charlie who was standing all but frozen in terror his body trembling all over while he desperately was trying to catch his breath aginst a chestframe that seemed to want to suffocate him. Charlie sank to his knees, with a shaking lip.
Get it done you metal bastards, Charlie muttered with a trembling voice and he bit his teeth together.
The pack closed in with no other sound than the actuators whirring away through the silece as Charlie was surrounded by a pack consisting of menacing glistening turreted hulks of metal and composite materials.
He closed his eyes and made his peace, what an odd way to go, he'd never imagined anything like this, that very instance a couple of pack members started turning about, turret tracking activating.
The stark blue light and the peculiar twirpy electronic thump was followed the sounds of seven robots sinking lifeless to the ground. Charlie opened his eyes.
“Are you allright sir?”, a voice tore through the dark silence that had followed, shortly after a flickering flashlight found Charlie still on his knees.
“Lucky we got to you!”, one of the arriving soldiers said while signalling an all clear to the remaining squad members.
“Who, who are you?”, Charlie stuttered and started struggling his way back up.
“UK military, we need you to come with us Sir”, Captain Willis said confidently and gave Charlie a hand.
Charlie got to his feet, shit shit shit he thought. If the bots were not government wanting to stop him from meeting Ogilvy, then who the hell were they and what in heavens name had he gotten himself into.
There was a hum, then the lights came on in 2 of the dormant pack robots eyes, their self healing was progressing rapidly and at the same time 3 more bots arrived on the scene and all hell broke loose.
Electric ball lightning like discharges filled the air cutting the SAS team down before they could react to the happenings.
A couple of black clad armoured military types arrived from beind the newly arrived pack members while the rest of the robottic team, rebooted systems, calibrating sensors and actuators after temporarily having being put out of comission by the EMP.
“Charlie Hoskins?”, one of the troopers asked.
“Who the hell are you”, Charlie managed to blurt out confusion now complete.
“We're here to extract you, we already have Ogilvy - We're here to help you resolve the issues you might have with your government, trust me, we're your friends”.
“Ogilvy?”, Charlie stuttered.
“Safe, we invite you to come with us. You are however free to go on your way, but with types like this on your tail”, the
Commander pointed at the stunned SAS squaddies, “Well I for one would not like to be without protection, the bot snagging the car was an accident, miscalculating distance between itself and the car, though looking for papers like that while driving is not the smartest thing to do, yup we got that through the vid feed”.
The trooper doing the taking took of her helmet, Xia Wen looked Charlie Hoskins directly in the eyes and smiled.
“We have incoming about one click out, it is this way to the craft, your choice”, she said pointing in the direction of the landing site.
Charlie looked at her, then noticed how the robots seemed to take up positions in the opposite direction.
“Okay, you lead the way”, he answered putting his faith in the newly arrived troopers.
Xia put her helmet back on and waited for Charlie to start running, noticing his limp she quickly lent her support and off they went into the night shoulder by shoulder, mission accomplished.
The rescue of the two astronomers had not been too bad, unless you saw things from the perspective of
the Security Consortium stooges who'd been responsible for safekeeping them while their fates were
being debated, from their perspective things had gone pretty grimly.
Once the rescue was confirmed and the astronomers debriefed the ship left Valhalla station.
“This Caroline White, the team medic, she any good in a fight?”, Valdimir Zhukov asked PFC
Christiansen as they went over the small arms in the storage lockers. He'd heard rumors about a badass
medic that had raised hell on the Janesian homeworld and that PFC Christiansen had served by her side
on the Takyüddin.
“Yeah she's solid”, Christiansen replied closing off the last locker.
“That's accounting for all of them”, he added tapping a confirmation on his virtual keyboard.
“Good”, Vladimir replied he would hate to get into the thick of it without prior knowledge of what his
team was capable off and
White had been the last unknown on his list her records sealed as she was still on the outside doing
things in the 'real world' as everyday life for the masses was referred to.
As expected they found the QHiliin ship in Jupiter orbit, it's features were hard to spor from the
angle they were approaching and the sensor signature was virtually undetectable, the radio noise from
the gas giant did not make things easier.
A bright flash from the side of the ship revealed a boarding attempt in progress multiple TMIC
boarding pods were enroute towards the QHiliin ship one og them had just been oblitterated by the
QHiliin defenses but above it loomed a larger craft concentrating on each defensive port and pulling
their defenses down one station at the time. Smaller fighters were actively engaging the QHiliin ship
that did not seem to be putting up too much of a fight it's defenses seemingly in tatters, a few
cannons were still swerving from side to side spewing death at everything that moved.
Eventually as expected the defenses were disabled, at the same time the Takyüddin came within weapons
range - Rapid bursts from the powerful weapons pulverized most of the small TMIC robottic fighters
whizzing about, spooking the Captain of larger craft who started revving up the drives and quickly
fleeing the scene. The approaching Taküyddin and it's roaring heavy weapons was a menacing sight
“Let it go”, Captain Christian said to his first officer, he'd taken over command of the Takyüddin
after Captain Dunbars transfer to an off ship position as rear Admiral, an odd move, but Christian was
never one for high stakes politics, he was a navy man to the core so he'd taken the commission on the
“This is the Captain speaking, we are preparing to board unknown craft in Jupiter orbit, the craft is
currently under heavy TMIC attack. Beware of potentially fighting multiple boogies if the inhabitants
of the craft take us as additional hostiles with TMIC troopers that are making their way aboard at
this very moment, we estimate something like 15-25 marines may have made it aboard counting the number
of boarding craft currently attatched to craft. Main TMIC vessel has broken orbit so TMIC will likely
not be getting any backup, nevertheless we need to make this as quick as possible, if there is an
opportunity we will attempt to tug the vessel in for inspection at Valhalla Station.
Moments later two shuttlecraft left the Takyüddin one lining up by a big hole in the side of the alien
craft, the other came up on one of the TMIC craft, the TDF shuttlecraft initiating forced docking
manouvers latching itself onto the TMIC boarding craft, why not utilize that the boarders had already
established seal, no point in expending energy on breaching the hull if the TMIC had already done the
There was a loud clank, if there was anyone inside the capsule they would know someone had docked,
though they likely would expect it to be reinforcements.
The airlock hissed, the remaining TMIc trooper never knew what hit him, in the blink of an eye
stunguns blazed and sent him crashing to the floor while the TDF forces poured into the boarding pod.
The viziers of the TDF troopers, instantly turned almost pitch black as they entered the alien craft
itself, the surface of the walls emitted strong light, as if they glowing with sunlight.
Vladimir was up point, he rounded a corner and opened up on the TMIC troopers attempting to fix what
looked like a state of the art mobile turret. Unaffected by the stun barrage they turned about facint
the muzzle at Vladimir, he flicked the switch and went kinetic and before the turret had a chance to
begin spewing death, the protective suits of the troopers were shredded beyond recognition and their
bodies fell to the ground
“Battle intel, troopers and mobile turrets, expect heavy fire”, the BattleAssist AI was sending
information to the HUD of each TDF trooper, flashing relevant information to them as they advanced.
Up ahead a TMIC came charging at them, he sent a volley of explosive rounds raining down on Vladimir
and his group. Vladimir barely escaped the onslaught 3 of his men did not.
Amid the explosions a blaster rain ensued as the TDF forces returned fire multiple rounds burrowed
into the protective armor of the TMIC trooper who threw himself in behind a console.
There was a thud as a grenade blew away both the console and the TMIC trooper encroached behind, the
TDF were gaining a foothold.
Amid the Wreckage, fried wires and twisted machinery Vladimirs group inched forward, lights were
blinking and fluids were leaking down the walls.
Coming through an entrance Christiansen noticed a swarm of small drones attacking the TMIC boarding
party. The drones were small but tenacious, a group broke off from the main swarm and headed toward
Vladimir and his group.
Vladimir fired of a wrapper grenade that exploded right over target sending nonlethal threads down
over the TMIC troopers thin as jellyfish tendrils, the threads attatched themselves to the suits then
tightened, leaving the TMIC's in a bulky bundle unable to move.
The swarm broke off just as it was about to engage the TDF gathered wtih the main group and then
whooshed up through a hole in the ceiling, seemingly in search of further intruders hostile to the
Corridor by corridor they inched forward TDF pushing through the hallways while the QHiliin drones
used unseen pathways.
Eventually the last of QHiliin drones were taken out by TMIC troopers who'd figured out to disable the
swarms using primarely electrostatic tactics.
There was a huge blast as the intruders were finally able to concentrate on their secondary targets
the TDF and Valdimir Zhukov and PFC Christiansen were both thrown against the wall where they slumped
down feeling as is every bone in their bodies had been pounded by a giant jackhammer.
Caroline White was swift and pulled the two aside, she took a quick reading while she patched up the
shreds that had occurred using a duct tape like seal and a nano sealing applicant
She then threw herself across the hallway to the other, in the split second the crossing took she
managed to pick up on two TMIC's manning a mobile turret, they had been engaged in a heavy firefight
with someone in the far end of the room that she could not see but it was clear they were not under
drone attack, these defenders meant serious business.
A series of thuds and an ensuing silence told them either side had been successfull in subduing the
other, Caroline risked a peek, a couple of the TMIC troopers were still standing, the smoldering
remains in the far end revealed the defenders had suffered a worse fate.
She charged forward with two other TDF troopers and managed to cut down one of attackers. The
remaining TMIC trooper cut down her fellow men before she had time to train her weapon on the second.
She had no time to ponder upon why the other two had not opened up against the remaining TMIC when her
weapon jammed leaving her completely open, she was so close now that all she could do was continue her
The remaining TMIC laughed menacingly and pointed the muzzle at Caroline then found his weapon for
some reason jammed as well, he swung his weapon towards Carline as she came upon him, hitting her hard
and throwing her body to the side, Caroline was dazed her weapon flying out of her hands and she fell
to the ground.
She managed to avoid a kick and quickly got back on her feet, as her attacker was upon her grabbing
at her helmet seal, she planted a knee in his groin.
The kick had little effect other than pushing him a tad back as the bulky suit protected him.
He lurched at ther again and landed a punch in her groin that was be felt all the way through the
protective layers of the suit.
Caroline almost lost her wind as she crashed into the wall, the TMIC trooper was determined to finish
her off but approached only to find two fists of fury attempting to beat him into a pulp.
They grappled, smashing each other into the walls in turn, something appeared in a doorway blocking
the intense light emanating for a brief moment.
A series of jabs and a well placed uppercut ended the fight abruptly as the TMIC trooper was speared
on a mangled piece of metal protruding from the torn wall section.
His eyes open wide, a thin line of blood flowed from the side of the mouth followed by a red bubbling and foamy stream, then he died
Suddenly there was another barrage, this time in the other room, Caroline approached the door and released a small buzz drone.
The drone rapidly assessed the situation and returned to her arm, there were two men and another of the mobile turrets that they were turning toward one of the ship's QHiliin inhabitants now on the ground and in in clear pain.
Caroline knew time was of the essence, she quickly lobs in a micro matter destabilization grenade and the turret and a gunner are mangled into an unrecognizable heap together with the floor plating.
With a roar she launched towards the remaining trooper handgun spewing pellets at the TMIC trooper seemingly only agitating him slightly only to a mere second later to find him in a sudden jiggle from a barrage of conventional weapons fire then falling to the ground.
She looked around and saw Vlad and Jasperson both leaning up against each other, Vlad was holding a smoking submachine gun in his hand.
Always have a backup Vlad coughed and smiled, Vlad pointed his weapon toward the QHiliin
“No wait”, Caroline burst out, she had a certainty of no hostile intent manifesting in her mind. The humanoid figure on the deck had limbs much like a human, it tried to sit up, there was some sort of horn like structure embedded in the forehead.
Caroline bit her lip, her mental classification of what clearly was an intelligent thinking being as an it, was exactly the same bigotry she and so many like her had experienced so many times going back years and years, a sadnes came over her as she struggled to see beyond appearance.
The QHiliin struggled onto her feet, her mane flowing gave it a lioness like apperance, this QHiliin did not have any bt several of the figures on the
floor had something like a beard hanging from each side of the nasal holes. They all had bulky clawlike hands, that seemed oddly dexterous.
The skin if you could call it that, was of a scaly structure almost reptile like and yet not.
There was something oddly familiar about the features, then the likeness to the Chinese entrance guardians you so commonly seen on the mainland suddenly struck her. No Way, Caroline though as the wave of recognition washed upon her.
As the QHiliin stood fully erect Vladimir estimated it had to be a full 7 or 8 feet high, the creature stood steadily on hoovelike feet, a braided suit gave an impression, as if the covered parts of the body were covered in pure fire, it was an effect almost overloading the reflective shielding of their helmets.
“This is what you have evolved into?”, the voice was strange and sad as it crackled through their headset.
“What?”, Vladimir sputtered.
The QHiliin did not answer but turned about facing Caroline, Vlad still trained his weapon on her but Caroline gave him a signal to lower his weapon.
They followed carefully after the QHiliin who checked up on a couple of the figures on the deck and entered a room where several QHiliin lay on medical like tables.
“You are a doctor?”, Caroline tried.
“Of sorts the voice crackled back, but I need your help, we're all wounded”
“Woah, I have no idea of what I'd be dealing with”, Caroline began.
“I will guide you”, the QHiliin groaned and almost slipped down clinging on to one of the slabs, “Help me get onto the slab here”, the QHiliin offered.
With help from Vladimir and Christiansen she managed to get the QHiliin safely placed onto the medical slab, a set of lights lit around her body.
Then the commands began pouring into Carolines mind, it was going to be a long flight back home before the QHiliin craft was moored safely in orbit by Valhalla Station and that would only be the start.To Be continued in Part Eight - Of Fire and Ice.