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The Lost Martian Antarctica Treasure Map

 

 

 

The Lost Martian Antarctica

Treasure Map

 

V Bertolaccini

 

 

 

This edition published 2016 by CB

This is a Shakespir edition 2017

 

Copyright Victor Bertolaccini

 

ISBN: 978-1-3110-4142-5

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the copyright owner. Nor can it be circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without similar condition including this condition being imposed on a subsequent purchaser.

 

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

 

Prologue

 

The Martian Discovery

 

Loud explosions and blinding flashes from the crash haunted Anders as he watched the remains of his rocket vehicle burn out and vanish into the dark desolate Martian night.

The vehicle had come down to the surface of Mars too fast and the two astronauts had hardly been able to land manually in the darkness, and they had just escaped as the vehicle had started exploding, and sat at different places against piles of rocks, watching its fuel burn away furiously, and he wondered how long their oxygen would last.

He felt painful bruises covering his entire body and checked his oxygen supply again, and checked for any escaping air in his spacesuit, while watching Robertson, the scientist, repair a hole in his with a small repair kit from his suit.

He realized that they had to find another way of landing on Mars, and that it was far too dangerous! Although it had been their fault in carrying out the unscheduled ludicrous landing, in search of wealth! They had gambled and had lost!

Robertson claimed incredible diamonds of immense value were on the surface, in the unexplored region of the south pole, and they had made a great mistake in landing in the dark, as it had been their only real opportunity to carry it out without being caught, and they would not know of them being out there as they had not used any communications to the space stations and Martian ground bases, and there were no satellites overhead!

Mars was not like what he had imagined it and it now felt like he was on a world in another solar system buried away in the deep depths of the universe as he stared out into the depths of space, in the dark night sky, and at what seemed to look like the furthest stars of the universe, and he watched them wondering what horrors existed there, realizing what they had encountered there, which had also made them crash!

There were billion of light years of stars out there and he gasped just thinking what could be on the nearest stars, and they had just had an encounter on Earth’s nearest world.

The world about him seemed a flat stretch of ground full of nothing but space dust and piles of rocks, with no real atmosphere, resembling areas on Earth’s moon in the dark, and some large asteroids had clearly hit areas nearby.

He wondered if their crash remained undetected and unregistered by them if their skeletons would be found lying there by future astronauts, and he considered if such an occurrence could really happen, over a long time, and if he could end up in a museum back on the Earth, or if his ghost would be trapped there forever on the desolate lonely planet!

The last burning region of the rocket was a sphere of light floating like a ghost in the darkness, and he realized that something had been there, right there on Mars, and he had telepathically felt its presence!

A silent roar vibrated through the ground and he expected a sudden explosion, and he thought of it as a tremor from some fault line, and a blur of light swirled in the blackness from an area of the space vehicle and he realized it was the last of the fuel dwindling away.

Memories of its strange sounds and lights sent sensations through his body and he realized how close to death he had been!

The world seemed unique but there were trillions like it through the unexplored galaxy.

He recollected a full vision of what could have attacked them and he felt his blood explode through his veins, and he realized how little oxygen he had as he was starting to feel like fainting!

A dull yellow and red radiance gleamed from the remains of the rocket and illuminated his shadow casting a crimson shadow like a hideous devilish figure, with peculiar features, and he thought of it as what had attacked the vehicle.

He glared unmoving at the silhouette in shock, studying it, almost hoping it would come alive and answer what it was.

The blackness was so deep and vivid as the light and flames vanished completely, and the thing there felt so real, and alive, he felt deep horror – and he thought of it as they had first discovered it up in space – and he was surprised that he started to see something in the blackness, and he realized that he just wanted to die, and its glowing shape floated towards him, and he watched Robertson react to it.

For an instant it altered formation and he wondered what the hell it was! Where the hell had it come from? What was it doing there in such a desolate place?

It lunged over Robertson first, like the grim reaper, taking his soul, and he watched him go lifeless, fall over, and collapse, and it moved to him, with its black shadow shape shifting over the ground, and he felt its vibrations go through the rock, and he sensed its powers, and he clung to jagged black rocks and its swirling mist shifted over him, and shifting outlines magically formed about him, and he realized how painful death would be from slow oxygen starvation, and he welcomed death, and as he did he realized it was Christmas and that the star he was gazing at was really the Earth.

 

Part I

 

The Martian Discovery

 

 

Chapter 1

 

The Antarctica Encounter

 

Something startled Commander Cronenberg and he struggled to grasp what and focused on the deformed sun, as it went below the Martian horizon at the side of the shuttle, and he gasped as he watched the golden landscape below grow dark!

They had to land! Soon! Surely they should not take the risk continuing to fly to their destination at night! The shuttles were new and recently completed and they were trying it out for the first time, and testing it for the first time over Mars!

Something staggered him about the mission and he sensed something was going to occur, and had seen it approaching, edging its way towards him, which he knew he could not avoid! He had to go through with it! He believed he could survive if he did everything he could and avoided any deadly mistakes!

It was Mars! It was the new dangers there! It was exploring where nobody had been, and the great deadly environment and hidden dangers! The region they were in was the least explored!

They were approaching the south pole, the legendary Martian Antarctica, and he now sensed there was something strange there! Something he had not encountered before! Something that could only exist in such a place, in such a place, and in the depths of space, which might not be able exist on the Earth, and it gave him chilling and peculiar sensations, but he could not grasp what!

As the shuttle accelerated on he increasingly felt a presence of something, somewhere, in the chilling darkness of the alien world around them, and it started to become visible that the five other members of the crew of the shuttle.

At a distance the shuttle resembled a highly advanced early twenty-first century space shuttle, but far larger, and was designed for the exploration of worlds, especially Mars, and future explorations in the solar system.

Most of the crew, including him, were also scientists and explorers, wanting to see the universe and discover new things, and were testing and improving the space vehicle, like the other twenty space shuttles being tested on Mars, and were from Base One, the largest structure in space and on Mars and the headquarters of all the operations, bases, and space stations on or over Mars.

The commander of the base and Martian operations was Base Commander Clarke, an associate of Commander Carl Cronenberg.

All the information from the shuttles was being gathered and transmitted to the base, and studied mainly by the shuttle builders and scientists.

The other five members of the shuttle crew were Orwell the shuttle science officer, medic, and biologist/exobiologist, Stanley the shuttle pilot, and an expert shuttle pilot and navigator, and Lyndon the co-pilot, navigator, expert on most of the Martian world, landscape and locations, and expert on shuttles, like most of them, and Deputy Commander Tom Campbell head flight engineer, and an astrophysicist/planetary geologist, and Rosenberg a flight engineer, and an astrophysicist/planetary geologist, and all basically checking the performance of the shuttle and findings the new detection equipment aboard gathered, especially in the unexplored regions they were entering.

Cronenberg knew that they were finally properly exploring Mars, and they were properly filming and mapping the landscape, and entering regions never properly explored.

He had recollections of seeing the shuttle for the first time, and its abilities, and ability to fly in the almost empty Martian atmosphere, and he knew they were a breakthrough that could lead to immense discoveries and the proper exploration of the smaller but vast world.

Their explorations of the whole world had been little so far – with only probes and satellite explorations – and he grasped the chance to be a part of it, but the dangers had not been apparent until he had started their mission.

After hours of intense training, medical examinations, and every form of screening, the astronauts were finally carrying out the first mission, and future missions.

“This technology is a scientific breakthrough!” Orwell announced to Cronenberg, as he sat monitoring newly installed equipment, over at his side, which was to survey the ground, and had a clear image even in the darkened landscape.

“It’d be a mistake not to use it to its full potential for science!” he replied.

“They’ve been redoing scanning and carrying out tests for months, back on the Earth, and seem to have progressed the technology far further than we thought. The views and information received is far greater …”

Cronenberg wondered if it was good enough to detect what was there, and realized whatever it was he had sensed there might be reacting to it and he considered having it turned off.

He was starting to suspect that some of them had discovered signs of something of unknown origins somewhere, and were either not sure and leaving it until they had enough evidence or they did not want to confront what was there, and, of course, it could be both.

Finally Rosenberg muttered to him, “There’s some form of powerful magnetic influence – or something of that nature – around here somewhere!”

Cronenberg swiftly checked it to see what it was and moved away, and considered what it was, and if it belonged to Mars.

From a side window he watched shades of light play with his vision in animated motions, as the shuttle rushed on, and he watched the crew at work, constantly examining the new technology, getting use to using it.

The Antarctic had a great potential with the ice and its other features and he wondered if any of it had been there for millions of years like the Antarctic on the Earth! If Mars had seas or large lakes there could have been amphibious or even prehistoric creatures that could be buried frozen away there!

For a few seconds he watched blankly as crew members gave reactions about something unbelievable, and he reacted when he spotted the equipment showing strange reactions that he could not comprehend, and he considered if it was because things were too vague, with insignificant reactions, which could be off anything, but he was sure something nearby was creating a disturbance or being detected for some reason.

The problem was they had not fully checked everything with the equipment, and its reactions to everything, even though it had been tested back on the Earth, and they were sure that something was ahead! The equipment was more powerful and sensitive at detection than ever before, and had even been modified before the trip, for detection at distances, which they had to work at there, which would speed up future searches of the vast terrain.

The shuttle rushed on across the immense desolate landscape and the equipment gave increased strange reactions and accounts, and they checked for equipment problems, and they gradually perceived that there was definitely something ahead that had similarities to something artificial with immense proportions

 

Chapter 2

 

The Attack

 

Cronenberg never got who was the most baffled by the situation, and if they were in danger, and how they should proceed to deal with what they had! No danger to them had arisen and nothing showed they would crash but they sensed something!

They had gradually realized something was emerging, with them studying the slightest reactions created by it, while still trying to prove the new equipment had nothing wrong with it.

Nothing seemed to be visible ahead and where the disturbances had been found to be generated.

Was it a coincidence that the equipment was malfunctioning at the same time? He knew there could easily be still hidden flaws in the technology! It was valuable and might still need to be advanced further, in its new state!

He checked Deputy Commander Campbell’s map, which he claimed was the most accurate up-to-date map available, and Rosenberg helped, but they found little ahead, and the facts showed little existed there, and the region had not been explored by anything other than satellites.

Their records showed nothing had been recorded of such a disturbance, even though he was sure there had been mentioned past events discovered on the Earth, but they were too vague and too proven to be false for him to be believe.

It was then that he realized that all the communications from and to the outside world had gone and the pilots reported it to him when he asked, and he expected them to offer help or at the least their scientific theories, and they just looked confused.

They just left pilots on their own to handle all the problems themselves, with the shuttle’s flight! They were better off without them being in the way.

It was incomprehensible and crazy, and would surely be recorded as such a discovery! Investigations proved that nothing could be there!

Would they even survive to see what was there? The equipment and plane had increasing signs of being dangerous, at an alarming rate, as they advanced forwards, and they surely would have to land, and their constant attempts to turn back had failed.

Something was either wrong with the shuttle equipment or something was taking them forward, and its power was increasing as they went forward, and the pilots seemed to lose more and more control, and he kept on believing it was the new equipment, and even considered if they had deliberately invented the situation to test their ability in handling such a scenario and were also trying to test the shuttle, or someone needed the information.

Shudders and fluctuations ripped through the plane and him and the others as what seemed like strange unknown energy surges swept through the region, threatening to rip it to shreds and scatter it and them across Mars, and he imagined his remains being recovered days later half buried away in sand.

The rest of the crew also started to realize it and that they might not even see what was there, but he decided to insist in ignoring it! He gasped when he realized that they should have turned back as soon as there had been evidence something was occurring, and even because it was getting dark! Surely there was a way to change the course of the shuttle, and the new shuttle and equipment had only confused them! Perhaps it was a built in programming that had been somehow activated, which had not been known by them, and had perhaps been on an earlier version of the programming or was used for some other reason.

He considered what it could be and what would happen and how to combat the occurrence! Whatever it was it had control of controlling the shuttle!

He decided to ignore the dangers and to examine everything that was occurring to try to explain things, and fit things together and get a proper picture of what might happen, and if they could do anything. In the past he, and surely the others, had pulled themselves out of dangerous and tricky situations, and he thought that they could do it once again, even if there was a slight chance.

He examined the strange alterations, with erratic characterizations, in the equipment and realized there had been a change, and they all started examining how it was now affecting the shuttle and its performance, and he checked the pilots and saw that they had seen something in the increasing darkness ahead and wondered what the shuttle was going over, and was surprised at how fast it was getting dark and he managed to adjust his eyes and followed one of the pilot’s eyes to a location ahead.

He joined in examining there in detail. It was incredible! There was nothing visibly there but he knew there was something! He had seen nothing like it! At that distance it seemed normal though, and he was left confused as he was sure something was going to happen there, and he and the pilots started preparing for something to occur, and he decided to ignore the dangers and to handle everything he could as best as he could as it appeared.

The area was not properly charted and there was nothing shown there, and the satellite photos showed nothing but another area of Mars, and he suddenly wondered what was there and where the hell it had come from!

Areas surrounding the region had a volcanic appearance, and it was definitely old.

Campbell discussed it with Stanley the pilot and tried to get anything he could from the pilot.

“We should get someone to check out what’s there as soon as our communications return!” Stanley replied. “It seems to be where the disturbances are from!”

“That looks empty?” Orwell announced, looking into the front window with high powered binoculars, hardly able to see in the blackness there.

Campbell took the binoculars and searched where he was looking, and stood confused, and replied, “What happens now? How the hell could anything be there?”

“I think we’re going down …” Stanley shouted, and the shuttle started going downwards.

“I’ve recovered control of it!” he gasped, after a few minutes of struggling to control it.

“We’ll have to land!” Lyndon announced, checking everything about him, preparing himself.

Cronenberg gasped at the situation and rushed into his shuttle commander’s seat, one of their impact protection seats, designed for him, and the shuttle started reacting crazily and viciously shuddered, as if caught in some force, and they started descending swiftly and he realized like most of the crew that the worst outcome could become real, and he saw them reacting and preparing themselves for their worst fears.

He copied positioning himself in his seat and prepared for what was ahead, and considered using something for violent impacts.

As it hurtled downwards he spotted the last shreds of sunshine illuminating the sky on an area of the horizon, and he spotted the startled faces of the two pilots recalling emergency procedures, and others swiftly securing equipment or themselves.

He wished he had a better view at a main window of what was happening! He imagined it bursting into flames with the powerful fuel and the entrance being blocked.

The last shades of weak light pulsated, in various motions, through the front pilots window, and he considered what could happen! Would it ruin everything if the shuttle was destroyed and they survived?

Yet they had revealed something, and with incredible powers, powerful enough to take down a powerful large shuttle, with such high technology, and he wondered if they could discover what it was and save the day! If they survived to see what was there!

All they could do was wait for the outcome, and try to do everything they could, and he realized he was actually part of a real drama and occurrence, perhaps for the first time in his life!

He started realizing how professionally skilled and proficient the crew actually were, and how far they had gone out of their way to get them and carry out the Mars operation, and he realized why they had chosen him, and had realized the dangers!

Everything on the shuttle appeared in order, and it was only being influenced by something clearly below, somewhere, and he wondered if it was a natural phenomenon, and if it could be a danger to flights over that region. He was sure it was forcing them to land – or was it their imagination, and some force like gravity, and he wondered if there were disturbances like it on the Earth.

He saw that they were having a hard time controlling the speed of their descent!

How could anything take control of such a powerful shuttle, and at such a distance? What form of technology was behind it? Could they use it in warfare? Was it a form of military technology? Could they figure out a way to block and stop it?

Surely there had to be a way to obstruct it or just weaken it?

One of the crew called out, “It’s not increasing in power!”

He realized that some of them were holding back information about it, and he considered if he should try and get it!

The pilots tested and did what they could perceive and he realized that it was a more interesting trip than he had even imagined! Nothing anywhere seemed enough to understand it, and he was sure none of them had anything to properly explain it!

There had to be something irregular, visible, and solid behind it, and he wondered if he could get it if he had long enough and the right means!

“We’ve still lost all contact with the base!” Campbell confirmed loudly, as he examined his equipment.

He noticed as it got lower to the ground the crew started avoiding looking at each other, with occasional horrified glares, realizing they that they were going to land soon and they might not be any longer in control of their fate!

“I don’t get this!” one of the pilots uttered, as he looked up startled. “It is as though something kicked in there and has started landing it, and I cannot discover why and why it is going to a different destination than we were set to land!”

“Is there anything visible there?” Cronenberg asked curiously.

“Nothing visible! It seems to be carrying out some form of alternative plan – to land us!”

The shuttle shifted down low, but still at a regulated pace, almost as though it were being overwhelmed by something.

Occasionally the crew started monitoring what was happening about them as it happened, and Cronenberg realized that they liked to handle things rather than ignore them, and they were not fully confident of surviving!

Even the most professional pilots on the Earth would have a hard time finding a landing site below, and they were allowing it to land them there.

The shudders from turbulent energy surges made them jerk forwards and backwards, making them all go silent and stop silent conversations, and they started putting on their spacesuit helmets.

At times he felt as if he were drifting down to a hideous death!

It plummeted and suddenly administrated what was an almost perfect landing, but smashed hard into something, and his eyes bulged brightly, and he barely believed the destructive forces lashing out at the shuttle.

When he realized that they had avoided dieing, when it stopped, flames bursting out, and an alarm blared out, and a sudden explosion smashed it with tremendous force!

Then as he caught sight of something in the obscurity out in the distance, through a window, he heard them all trying to escape and realized that the shuttle had acquired serious structural damage and fuel was leaking out and had ignited.

 

Chapter 3

 

The Crash Site

 

After the astronauts had jumped onto the Martian soil Cronenberg and copied the others lifting out oxygen tanks and he rushed away from the crash site with them, and he had a strange sensation and thought that he was somewhere far more than an uncharted desolate region of Mars!

It was as though they were entering somewhere else, and making the first step for mankind to something!

He did not know what their next biggest problem would be!

Was it even dieing of starvation? Or was there something there after all, which had brought them there, which was getting ready to kill them all or what?

They never had any communications with the outside world and the shuttle was damaged beyond what they could repair and the last of the fuel was burning away, and they were lucky as the shuttle had been designed right and it did not have a fatal explosion, but they never knew if what had taken them there would allow them to leave, be found, and allow them to live!

The next peculiarly that they saw was the strangely tinted night sky, and nobody could recall seeing anything like it but they had not been outside the base at night that much.

Yet he was sure it had not been there when they had landed!

There was sand and rocks everywhere, unhampered by humans, and it was very dry and he watched the astronauts return and get fire distinguishers and help control and put out the flames, while others removed equipment and things they needed outside the shuttle, and he watched their speed increase, and slow when the flames started going out, and their reactions when it was annihilated, and they started moving back in the shuttle and fixed its lighting and heating.

They eventually all started resting and went to sleep to conserve energy supplies, and left everything for the morning.

Cronenberg woke early, after sleeping too long, and examined the outside world lighten up as the sun rose above the horizon, and he watched the other astronauts slowly awaken, eat, and start work checking the damage.

“There’s some form of powerful energy influence,” Rosenberg announced, after checking things, “and it’s still stopping us scanning what’s out there!”

“Just as it was on the airplane?” he replied.

“Well, it seems to have altered – and we could have found another encounter and it’s tremendous!”

“What could it be?” he moaned, confused, and wondered if he had known something of it before the shuttle had come down.

“It could be that on the shuttle we were not able to properly check anything as it was so far away and there was too much disturbances! Now that we have landed we are detecting it and it is also more powerful this close …”

“Is it near us?”

“I don’t have a clue where it is! It could be anywhere! I will try to get the information on it!”

He handed him some readouts and Cronenberg stared at them with amazement, gasping, and muttered, “What the hell could create such power? It’s colossal!”

“It’s also like someone is playing around with something out here! Has anyone got any science or military establishments or anything at all out here?”

He considered it for some time and was amazed that someone could build something like it there, but he could not grasp what or why it would be put there.

“Nobody has been near here as far as I’ve heard!”

“But it could be confidential?”

“Yes! But why would it be built out here? Why would they be using anything or experimenting on anything?”

“Perhaps they are using or creating something too dangerous to be activated in an inhabited zone!” he replied firmly.

“That would explain it being so secretive and at an uncharted region but it does not explain anything of its use!”

He kept going, curious in what the scientists would make of things if he pushed them further.

“How did they manage to hide something of its size and power though?” he moaned. “Nothing seems to add up here!”

“They surely would have to have technology beyond anything we’ve heard of!”

Cronenberg stood still, staring out at the Martian landscape through the front shuttle window, unable to grasp it!

“What could create such power and what is its use?”

“It could be someone using a natural phenomenon or something? Like someone harnessing and manipulating energy in the planet’s core or something?”

Nothing added up though, as it was only used to control the shuttle and take it there, and they could easily have hidden away, and never be found, and they would be found out eventually.

He could not realize what it was and realized that the real solution to what it was would be far more unbelievable and crazy than what they would come out with, and he wondered if he could get what it was, and it could be far too ridicules for them even to assume existed.

The night before when it had taken control of the shuttle he had detected something of unknown origins, and it had been like that when it had made a full appearance.

Yet there clearly was no evidence of anything and only someone making a ridicules mistake would add anything to what had been said, and he filled in his account of what had occurred on the flight, and going by what all the crew about him indicated it was a crazy occurrence and they never had any proper facts anything was there.

“To discover whatever is here we’ll need more reasonable and solid clues!” he finally announced, especially to Rosenberg, who seemed to be the most interested and knowledgeable on it.

They eventually left the shuttle through the airlock wearing their suits with extra oxygen tanks on them, and they started to go further out from the shuttle to a nearby small hill with a view of the surrounding view, where they blankly viewed the surrounding area, and Cronenberg looked back and down at the shuttle, which resembled an airplane brought down in a desert region like the Sahara, surrounded by bright reddish sand and rocks in bright sunlight, in a cloudless white blue sky.

The surprising thing was his spacesuit’s high temperature and the surrounding view combined to give the impression of it being incredibly hot, instead of incredible cold and at the Antarctica of the world, and he even considered if any of them were capable of making some form of mistake because of it.

The adrenalin of the crew was visibly rushing through their veins, overwhelming them, as they checked their new surroundings, and most realized where they were, and he thought he saw the Earth in the sky.

All around them they examined things like they were strange new phenomena, and he wondered what they thought they were discovering.

Even though they had been exploring areas of Mars, especially about the base, they had not been to an unexplored area like it, and they moved over to an area where it looked like a cold region like the Antarctica, and they looked for ice and water.

“Look at all this!” Campbell explained, picking up a strange rock, and none of them could recall seeing it before, and he then looked as if he recognized it.

“What do you think brought us down now?” he asked, curiously. “There’s nothing out here! Nothing can grow!”

They all discussed it and it was apparent none of them properly knew, and they started examining the landscape and giving facts and their thoughts of it, and Cronenberg and Rosenberg examined the best map they had of the region and discussed it, and they all then discussed what to do.

Rosenberg pointed at the highest hill, buried away in the landscape, in a southerly direction, in the direction of the southern pole, where they had been traveling to, and he examined why most of it was covered up and saw small sand hills in front of it, covering up most of it, and what was below.

“There’s a better chance of finding water there!” Rosenberg announced.

The more Cronenberg examined what was there the more he thought it was a good place to go and he announced that he would like to go and check there.

It looked familiar to him, as a place with something, and he was sure it was where the shuttle had been going.

“It’s as though it has formed differently, by some means, by something else …” Campbell mumbled, looking at it through his binoculars.

“Could be a fault line?” Rosenberg replied.

They all examined it and avoided replying, and Cronenberg wondered if they agreed or disagreed!

 

Chapter 4

 

The Haunted Hill

 

Cronenberg leapt onto his feet when a strange explosion shattered his sleep and he stared out into dark Martian night!

They had wrongly calculated the distance and time it took to get to the hill, and they had only been able to leave late in the evening, and it had become dark on the way and they had rested and had fallen asleep below the hill. The long day and march over small hills in the thick heavy spacesuits, marching through deep regions of sand carrying large amounts of equipment, including oxygen tanks and supplies, had tired them, and they were unable to do anything but sleep anyway.

Cronenberg was staggered when he considered what the noise was, as it had sounded like an artificial explosion, and he stood trying to explain how it could be there, and he wondered how the atmosphere could even carry the sound through it, and he realized Mars was different, and it might even be some form of volcanic disturbance from below, blasting up through a vent.

The other two astronauts, Rosenberg and Campbell, who had accompanied him either ignored it, or were asleep, or had not heard it, and he examined them through their dark helmet faceplates but could not see what they were doing.

When a second explosion blasted out he stood shocked, as he had just started to ignore the first and had considered it to be his imagination, and the powered rifle blast exploded into the empty silence staggering him, and the explosion sounded so powerful he believed it had some form of powerful explosive in the bullets!

The other two astronauts at first never reacted or even moved and he finally spotted Rosenberg opening his eyes, and watched him looking startled and realized he had also heard it and had been trying to ignore it.

“What the hell was that?” he finally asked, as he stood.

“It sounded like a gun!”

“We don’t have any guns on Mars though?”

“There’s nobody out here either!”

Rosenberg yawned, and replied, “It has to be something else!”

Rosenberg went back to where he was sleeping and tried to go back to sleep.

Whoever was there had to be crazy or up to something and he realized he might even get the answer to what had brought them down there and decided to investigate it.

He silently crept away, and tried to creep up on whoever it was to observe them and realized that if there was someone there that they surely had to have left traces of themselves, as there was sand everywhere and there had to be footprints or something.

It felt silly looking for someone there, in such a desolate place, where nobody should be! He could not realize who was there and just accepted that they might be trying to do something! Perhaps it was the shuttle they wanted, as it was priceless and its technology highly confidential on the Earth.

It had to be located in the coldest and most remote place on Mars, and its southern pole! Even in the summer the place was deadly cold without the spacesuits!

As far as he was concerned there was nothing to be there for! The hidden coldness around him at times made him cringe, and he, almost blindly, rushed on to where the sound came from, and for some reason when he reached a specific region he realized it had to be where the noise came from.

Suddenly a loud explosion blasted out and a bullet thudded somewhere nearby and he automatically switched off his light and ran through the darkness for his life!

He dared not use his light now and he could barely see, and regularly tripped up and continued!

He realized that he could have an infrared filter on is faceplate, to see in the dark, and he searched for the switch to activate it, and realized it was a different version that had it, and he just dived into a pile of sand behind some rocks, and hid himself. Surely he would not be found there, and he had not left any footprints nearby and had changed direction a few times!

Once he realized that nothing was happening he started to enjoy the rest and being free from being attacked, and he considered how to get back to the others, and if it was actually safe there. His mind raced through what had occurred! Yet he only realized that the location that he strolled into had to have something, and he started to wonder what was there.

Who would go to such lengths to kill him? What could possibly be there? What could be there in such a desolate place? Was there another space vehicle there?

Suddenly he saw something buried in a region of the darkness to his side, and he shifted behind a large boulder at his side and hid from there, and his heart leapt as he studied the dark spacesuit figure shifting lifelessly forward, and it shifted out from the darkness into where some starlight was beaming down, and he studied the figure not realizing what would happen!

He felt like moving away from the figure but he would be spotted for one, and he studied the gun and it looked like an old one, and he wondered who the hell was there and where he had got the spacesuit and gun, and noticed that the spacesuit was an old version.

There was something strange there that he could not grasp and he studied everything over and over trying to grasp something, going over everything he could think of, and it was like there was something there that should not be there, but it was there!

He studied the spacesuit faceplate and could not see through the dark shiny material, and the figure never reacted, and he wondered what would happen if he rushed towards it

He sensed he could do something stupid and he studied the faceplate of the spacesuit more and more, and stood back shocked!

He thought he saw a skeleton, and it moved away, and realized that there usually was a name on most spacesuits, even the old ones, and he tried to see it and though saw it he could not see the letters properly, and as it vanished into the darkness he thought he saw it said Anderson.

He was confused, trying to work out what they should do, and what it might do, and what could happen!

When he finally returned to where the others were he soon found the other two astronauts at exactly where they had been, but noticed that their positions had altered as though they had done something and returned to where they had been.

While he rested over the ground he wondered what the hell an astronaut, or even a ghost astronaut, was trying to shoot him, or what he was actually doing, and realized again that the shuttle was unbelievably valuable and worth it, but why had they not just taken it, as they never had guns, and he realized they might be just after its technology and he considered if they could take it without them suspecting it.

 

Chapter 5

 

The First Death

 

Once the sun rose above the horizon Cronenberg went out and explored where the other astronaut had been and was surprised that there were no marks anywhere, and found where he himself had been there and where he had been behind the boulders and found his own footsteps in the sand.

He searched everywhere and started to think he had imagined it, and he examined the hill over at his side in the sunlight and realized it would be quick to climb and decided to go up and explore the region from the top, as he had intended.

If he needed the others he would return and go back up, and he quickly climbed up and at the top stood staring at the fascinating view, with Mars stretching out into the horizon all about him, and he spotted the shuttle, and spotted a large short message beside it, written in the sand and with boulders, with a SOS message, showing their destination and they had crashed, and he was sure the satellites would spot it, and most could spot any changes in the landscape and environment and detect anything unusual and take close up photos, which would be sent back to the base – and they would be looking for it after the communications stopped!

He examined everywhere with powerful binoculars, including where the southern pole was, for anything unusual and for water if they got trapped there but never saw anything and realized they would have to be saved by the others shortly or they would die of oxygen starvation.

Yet as he was about to move away he wondered where the hell the thing that had taken them there was, if it actually existed, and he removed a device he had brought and checked for any traces of it and found nothing and wondered what the hell the outcome of it would be, if they survived, and if he would always wonder what they had encountered there.

When he arrived back where the other two astronauts were he discovered Campbell still asleep and Rosenberg gone, and he began watching Campbell strangely, and his lifeless unmoving figure, and realized that he had not moved since he had left, and he considered if it was just his spacesuit that made him not move, and he started to wonder if there was something wrong and rushed over and showed himself to him, moved up close, and examined his unmoving face and gasped when he saw his hidden mouth expression, as if he was screaming at something.

He firmly shook him, still not believing anything was wrong, and shook him hard, and he unzipped and removed his glove and felt his cold hand and arm for a pulse, and saw his cold lifeless complexion, and was amazed that there was no pulse, and that he had been dead and had not noticed anything.

He searched his spacesuit for any rips or holes, and wondered if it had been a fault in his spacesuit, and he realized that he had best record a message on their camera of the incident and gave a record of the occurrence, and checked the various functions of the spacesuit, and had its computer check him further and was surprised his death had not been oxygen starvation.

In the end he removed his helmet and whole spacesuit and sat back staggered, as large sections of his body were gone, as though something had removed them viciously, as though a wild animal had attacked him.

Suddenly he spotted marks on the ground where something had obviously happened.

Rosenberg suddenly rushed out from behind him and gasped, and crouched over the body, and he observed him examining the body, and fall back with blood covering his gloves.

 

Chapter 6

 

Anders

 

What astounded him was how deadly and vicious whatever it had been was! If it was what had taken them there!

What the hell was it? How could it be so advanced and vicious? Was it some form of alien animal that got its prey with special powers? Yet how did it manage force an entire shuttle into going there and what form of prey did it live on? The planet was virtually empty of life!

In the end he realized he could not believe it without more evidence, and whatever it was it would have to be left until they could check it out.

What also surprised him was that Rosenberg had been away, and looking about like him, since he woke up!

He was also surprised that he had found something hidden away in the distance, which he never knew the identity of, and Rosenberg took him over to a region at the other side of the hill, from where he had gone, and he showed it to him and they examined it with their binoculars, and he realized it was artificial, and that it had been there some time and partially buried in sand, and was hidden behind a small hill from where the shuttle was, and from it being observed from where he had been at the other side of the hill, and on the above hill there.

After examining it he was surprised that it was at about the same distance away as the shuttle and virtual in a straight line with it from there, and just hidden away from it, and he wondered how the hell it could have ended up so close to it. The planet had hardly anything on it and the south pole even more so.

The chances of two objects coming down there was immense, and after examining everything he wondered if it could be just space wreckage. Something from some space station or rocket had been discarded and had fallen there.

Rosenberg wanted to check it, before they returned to the shuttle, and so did he! But their main problem was their oxygen was running out, and they only had a little left, even after taking Campbell’s, and they swiftly left, and left Campbell where he was, for investigators to find him, and they saluted him, at where he was, and went away from the hill wondering what had happened.

When they finally approached the place they both started to gasp as they realized that they had lost more air than they had thought they would, and Cronenberg even thought his last tank was empty a dozen times, and felt like collapsing, and he approached the site struggling to focus on what was there, seeing a distorted form of the sun, shimmering around, and he again adjusted the hot temperature that built up in his spacesuit, and wondered what had happened to its stability and ability to control its temperature, and he realized it could be him, and his struggle to get there faster, and he sighed as his spacesuit adjusted and he felt its coolness cool his body, with ecstatic pleasure.

The site looked incredible as they staggered into the area, a miniature valley, and crater in the landscape, hidden at three sides from areas further out, and only visible from where they had seen it on the hill.

It had resemblances to volcanic desert region and Rosenberg started analyzing and taking soil samples about him, while he inspected what was there and found the wreckage of a space vehicle, and on a closer approach he saw that most of it was buried in the ground, and had structural damage from an explosion, and fire.

The heat from the explosion had had more of an effect on it than he had realized further out! Things somehow took a different perspective than the damage of a normal fire.

He asked Rosenberg for his advice, recalling Rosenberg was experienced in space vehicles, as well as being one of the flight engineers like Campbell was, and he had some experience in the old stuff.

They rushed around and investigated everything, thoroughly.

Cronenberg examined it in detail and half-heartedly observed the soil and rocks – while looking out for traces of anything within the layers of ground.

Rosenberg examined things, as swiftly as he could, clearly running out of air and trying to quickly finish the investigation so they could rush away to the shuttle.

Suddenly he yelled out and Cronenberg rushed over and found him standing next to a partially buried spacesuit, stuck in the sand, with the top part resting over boulders, and they examined the helmet faceplate and Cronenberg lifted it up and saw a skeleton inside and he followed its stare going up into the Martian sky, and he read the nameplate on the suit, and realized it his name was Anders, and he recalled his name.

“Did he not go missing?” Rosenberg gasped.

“Years ago! They never found where he went …”

He recalled reading about it when he was younger, and him thinking of becoming an astronaut.

“This place is incredible!” Rosenberg announced. “What are the chances of two space vehicles coming down here?”

He nodded back amazed and examined the rocket vehicle, and wondered what it had been like, and Rosenberg rushed away and continued his investigation of the crash site.

Cronenberg started examining the pockets and contents of the spacesuit and was surprised at how preserved the things were and that one of the items was an old map, with names and locations on it, which clearly had been used a lot by Anders, and he studied the area on it and realized it was the area they were at.

 

Chapter 7

 

The Rescue

 

While they marched swiftly back to the shuttle Cronenberg kept going over the events trying to piece them together but he could not grasp something! Something hidden or obvious! Some clue that they had not noticed!

The heat from bright sun shining straight into their faces, through the thin atmosphere, resembled the blazing sun in space, with its high radiation, and it exhausted them, especially with lower level oxygen they had altered their spacesuits to.

He thought of Anders and the way his body had been resting and his stare and he looked there now, to the location in space, and was surprised to see the Earth.

What surprised him was another large object raced passed it, and faster than it should go, and he slowed, shaded his eyes, and struggled to focus on it, covering up a distorted form of the sun, shimmering around, and he recalled where his spacesuit helmet’s polarization adjustment was and adjusted the polarized faceplate to compensate for the extra light, and started studying the object’s incredible velocity and shape, and even thought it looked like a small alien spaceship.

When Rosenberg stopped and stood dazed he knew it was something big, and when he rested he realized its true identity and that it was one of their shuttles, and they both rushed on.

Their speed increased vastly and he knew he would not die before they reached the shuttle, and knew he had to go faster, and he was surprised when they got over a hill and saw their shuttle was resting at the bottom, and they watched the other shuttle come down from the sky and land next to their shuttle, and they ran down the hill as fast as they could, not wishing to miss anything and to get a new supply of fresh air.

At the shuttle he was so out of air and suffocating that he ordered them to get him into the shuttle, where he removed his helmet and collapsed over the floor, recovering from the run, and breathed the incredible air in, and Rosenberg copied him, and he realized how wonderful it was not to have the helmet on, after sleeping in it, and he studied the amused face of Stanley sitting in at his pilot chair, and he wondered what had happened while they had been away.

He was surprised beer cans were lying over the floor, and tried to work out where they came from, and if anything had occurred.

“Did you manage to contact the base?” he panted, curiously, breathing in the sweet air, seeing the remains of the food they had been eating, and discarded food containers lying about the floor.

“So you made it …!” Stanley murmured, grinning at him, and at the state he was in, lying over the floor.

“When did you know that the shuttle was coming?”

“Just before you arrived! It was lucky! Our oxygen is starting to get real low!”

“Whose idea was the SOS message over the ground?”

“That was Orwell! He claimed he had seen it done before! And calculated the size it had to be to see from up in orbit! We all worked on making it!”

“It worked! Any food?”

The pilot jumped up and removed a container of food he knew he liked, and gave it to him, and got a drink dispenser!

He watched Cronenberg and Rosenberg sitting on the floor eating through the food hungrily.

“Where’s Campbell?”

Cronenberg gasped and nearly choked, and saw Rosenberg look startled, and watched the others look up with looks of astonishment, knowing something had happened.

“We found him dead!” Rosenberg announced. “Something here kills humans! When we woke we found his body and that he had been partly eaten!”

“What! Something ate him! And neither of you heard anything?”

“The spacesuit and the thin atmosphere don’t carry much sound, and we were heavily asleep in our spacesuits!”

They all seemed to consider what had happened astonished!

“Perhaps that’s what took us here! To eat us!” Lyndon gasped.

“What did you see over there on that hill?” Stanley asked, curiously, examining them, and the state they were in.

“I saw little!” Cronenberg confessed.

“Where you there early in the morning?” Stanley asked.

“Yes!” he replied.

“I thought I saw you! I got up early! The top part is visible from over there!”

“Find anything else? Why did you come from over there …?” Lyndon asked

“We found another space vehicle over there!”

“Where did you find it?”

“He found it!” Cronenberg pointed at Rosenberg.

Rosenberg replied, “I searched the other side of the hill! I saw it over there, hidden away … It was in a direct line with here!”

They looked at him confused, wondering what it was.

“We found a crashed space vehicle there! It was an old rocket spaceship! We found two pilots! One was called Anders!”

“I recall him!” Stanley replied first. “He vanished with another astronaut on Mars years ago!”

As Cronenberg thought of Anders he realized he had looked identical to the ghost astronaut he had seen in the night over at the hill, which he had searched for signs of in the morning before he climbed up the hill, and he wondered what the hell it meant, and he decided not to mention it unless there was more evidence of whatever it was existing.

They all looked up and watched pilots from the other shuttle enter their shuttle, and them examining everything about them, and one trying to check the damage done to the shuttle.

Cronenberg got up and watched one at work, and recalled him, and his job, and realized he was the best person for the job.

“You’re Commander Cronenberg! What happened before you landed here?” he asked, curiously.

“Something attacked the shuttle and took control of it!”

He looked up, and stared at him with surprise.

“Are there flights records that can confirm that?”

“And we can to!”

He looked confused, wondering what it could be.

“Wait until you see the other space vehicle …!” he told him, still amazed at the find.

“What other vehicle is that?”

He pointed over in the direction of it, and replied, “Did you not see it while landing? It’s away over there!”

“What could it be?”

“Anders! Remember him! It’s an old rocket vehicle …”

“I remember him! What do you think he was doing out here?”

“I don’t have a clue!” he announced, and he thought about it and realized how intrigued he was, and realized he really wanted to know, and what was there and what was going on there, and why he had seen a ghost astronaut.

Cronenberg went over to Orwell, the shuttle science officer, to see what he had.

“Did you get anything on what happened to the shuttle, and how it came down here?”

“A few things! It sure as hell was not the shuttle itself. I checked records, and also proved it could not have done what it had. There had to be something else that did it!”

It surprised him that he was also questioning what had happened had happened! He also realized Orwell knew that they were also going to have a problem explaining what had happened to them. Would they accept what they told them, and if they did not what would they do about it?

He could try to get a full investigation, as they had been nearly killed, and the highly expensive shuttle could have been destroyed, and it might cost a lot to get it properly repaired.

“There was a strange magnetic phenomenon detected …!” Orwell gasped.

“I wonder what that could be …” he asked, confused, copying one of the rescuers investigating it, to see what he replied with.

“Something of incredible magnitude created a form of powerful magnetic influence, or something of that nature!”

“What could create such power? It had to be tremendous!”

“Someone may have been playing around with something somewhere! I was thinking if it was not from around, as we have seen, then something could have created it somewhere else, by some unknown means!”

“Why would they be experimenting on something out there though? Could it be the southern pole creating a magnetic influence?”

“How could it have controlled the shuttle and carried out what it did!” he moaned, confused. “Someone may be playing around with something in this region!”

“Why would they be experimenting on something out here though?”

“Perhaps they’re creating something big to influence Mars itself!”

“In what way?”

“They could want to alter Mars!” he mumbled to himself. “If they could move it close to the sun or use it to melt all the ice here they might be able to create immense lakes of water and create an atmosphere. They might be able to colonize it one day!”

The idea surprised Cronenberg and he realized that he might even be suggesting it was a secret government or group of governments plan, and he considered why it would be so secretive.

“What are your assumptions?” Orwell uttered, breaking the deep silence, seeing him thinking it over.

“I’ve not drawn any proper conclusions!” he confessed, considering how he could check if it would work. “Whatever it is – it has incredible power! We need more reasonable clues.”

“Even with all our technology, unknown and unexplained phenomena still exists! Who knows what exists out there in the depths of space – and even unseen about us – which could very well be beyond our detection methods and comprehension.”

Some strange thought was going through Orwell’s mind and he was figuring through possibilities and Cronenberg could not fully understand why his view of things had so vastly altered and he wondered what had happened when he was away.

He also occasionally had the look of a person who somehow sensed an oncoming consequence, and was checking ways to tackle it.

Had he found something? Or had he dreamed of scientific finds far too many times?

“At any rate, there might be other mentions of such occurrences on the Earth!” Orwell continued. “Even if most are antiquated and mythological! For instance there are zones like the Bermuda Triangle! Which was reputed to cause a similar effect – before ships and planes vanished! There could be some sort of mass of something around – perhaps a mass of magnetic iron …! Our detection methods on Mars and even the Earth may be small, and far smaller than we think …The magnetic field of the globe has been found to have altered in many ways over Earth’s existence!”

Orwell searched his face, wondering what he thought, and Cronenberg was sure he was thinking of questioning and getting answers from him.

“I have not heard of it properly doing anything though!” Orwell replied. “Though not altogether investigated – it is very unlikely to have such an intensity and nature – even in northern regions …”

“Okay!” he replied firmly, determined to force Orwell into giving him something. “It’s coming from somewhere and we all know it exists … And it will be beneficial to check the disturbance – which cannot be explained by normal science – and find what we can on it.”

“I’ll attempt to find out if someone had something around here, or was using something capable of doing it!”

“Did you find anything while I was away?” he finally replied.

“I checked all the records and found one thing and just before it took control of the shuttle something appeared and flashed on and off, and was just recorded, which I think was unintentional, and I took a photo of the unusual formation, which was buried away in the blur of flickers!”

Cronenberg was surprised when he produced a photo of a complex sphere, which was clearly artificial and of a highly advanced nature, and he realized it looked of highly advanced alien origins!

 

Chapter 8

 

The Lost Library

 

Eventually, after hours of searching records, Cronenberg entered Base One library, after being given recommendations to go there, and glared at vast bookshelves, covering the library walls, as he entered, and gasped at how empty of people it was.

It amazed him that such libraries once were the source of information for the human race, and as he approached the books it became clear that it had a great deal of unidentifiable information, and he put it down to laziness that the stuff had not been added to the computers.

At first he had dismissed that there was a library, as the others had not been aware of there being a book on the entire base.

He had just grabbed some books and sat down when Orwell marched in smiling, and marched up to him and sat next to him.

“I saw you coming in here at the end of the corridor!” he laughed, and picked up a book off the table, at his side, and flickered through the pages. “What you looking for?”

“I’ve checked everything about Anders everywhere and have not found anything!” he moaned back.

“Anders!” he replied, surprised. “What do you want to know about him for?”

“Why was he there, for starters? It’s an incredible coincidence he crashed at the exact same place, in a desolate region covering such a vast region, and it was one of the only crashes on Mars!”

“You’re correct! What’s the connection though? Why do you think he was there, anyway?”

Cronenberg just shrugged back.

The furniture about him held his attention, and amused him, and was clearly used to make it look like an original Earth library, to give it authenticity, like many of the rooms and objects about the station, to give it the look of a normal place, as the astronauts had to live there for a long time, and stay indoors, without seeing a normal world.

The vast size of Base One was incredible now, and had been slowly built up over decades, with many countries helping build sections, and them wanting to increase the inhabitants on Mars, and explorations there and in space. It was as though they were on the Earth most of the time, even after being there for years! The military and police had recently been increased to compensate for increases in the inhabitants!

It was now like a small town, in a strange place, and Cronenberg kept realizing how little he knew of the inhabitants, as many he had never seen, and many left and many were new there, and he realized how little of it he had actually seen.

He still regularly returned to the Earth and visited places like where he had been born and the people he knew back there!

The library now had the look of an ancient study, and he started examining bookshelves, and he even wondered if the books were mostly all too old.

The furniture there grasped his attention as it looked expensive, and he realized that they had lowered the production costs and amount of materials used in the furniture about the base, and he was surprised at the quality of it and how far they had lowered the quality and he realized the seats and other furniture there were also far more comfortable and usable. It gave the whole room an atmosphere that was not elsewhere and he considered trying to use it in his apartment at the base and considered where he could get it and if it was still available there.

He soon started examining bookshelves searching for anything on Anders, astronauts, things of that era he was in, and he and Orwell worked away for hours searching, and started speeding their search up and he soon realized that there was nothing there, and he slowly grew depressed and started trying to consider other methods of getting what he wanted.

It was then he spotted a closed door at a hidden part of the library, which had ignored as it had looked like another entrance into the outer corridors or just a locked storeroom.

On his close approach he realized it was something else and grabbed at its stiff brass handle, and felt it had been that way for a long time, and he realized how long the place had gone unused and how aged it was, and he gave the door a hard jerk to make it budge, and it creaked open, and a black switch became faintly visible on an interior white wall and he activated the lights, which flickered and grew bright.

It took a few seconds for the sight before him to sink in, and he stood steady, glaring at shelves of books there, covering its walls, realizing that they were far more different and what he was looking for.

It was clear it was a small room of information about Mars and its history, and detailed information that was not available elsewhere and on the computers, and he found official documents about the base and bases, findings about Mars, explorations, and astronauts, and he started searching for information about Anders and Orwell joined him, and he was surprised at how interested in it Orwell became after reading it.

They started to realize most of the stuff had been classified stuff that they would not have been allowed to read, due to their low classified status, as their line of work never warranted it, and the stuff had declassified stamped on most of it and that the rest had been declassified without stamps, and they sat for hours at a table there examining the fascinating stuff they never knew existed and had occurred.

They were even to astonished at some of it to mention it to each other, and they realized the mistake they had made in leaving the material there for anyone to read, as they clearly had not fully read through it all, and it mentioned things that were still classified, and about their introduction, with them only missing out things of what their current state was, and some of it gave away stuff that had been highly illegal and deadly, of a military nature, which they surely had been breaking laws creating, and it gave away the nature of their current classified material.

He searched for anything at the region that they had crashed at and anything they worked on or had found that could have caused what had happened, and of what Anders had been doing there, as he suspected he had been doing something there.

He even thought, after reading one paper on some military research, that they had created something there!

He jolted when Orwell called out that he had found something and he dropped what he had and rushed over!

If an answer to what existed actually existed he knew that it could well be there! Even though most of it seemed to be only outdated.

What he found was about Anders and his disappearance and he collected all the material he could find on it to read afterwards, and they searched everything that they could, and he scribbled down notes about what he found, and added any interesting facts that he noticed, and he grew determined to do something and carry out his mission. If he could find out more about Anders, and what subjects he had been interested in and had been doing, and doing there, he might be able to discover what he had been like and what he had been doing when they crashed.

He started to consider that they might have something over there, at the southern pole, and that it was still highly classified, and that they might find suggestions of something from before it was created, and perhaps what had led to its introduction.

 

Chapter 9

 

The Lost Treasure

 

Cronenberg reluctantly dragged himself away from all the files he was studying, which he had been going through for many hours, for over a week, and he watched Orwell march in the library, for the first time in days.

Orwell was still fascinated at why he was so obsessed with searching the information, and only seemed to turn up occasionally answer it, and seemed be trying to answer other unanswered questions, and he believed that he wished to know what had nearly killed them and took control of the shuttle, and why, and perhaps why they survived. What had the whole episode been about? Nothing seemed to add up!

“Come over here …!” he called out to Orwell, and Cronenberg moved over to the end of the table and removed a pile of files, and returned to where he was and dumped there.

“What are they of?”

“I’ve put together everything with the information I want on the table, and all the files about Anders and things associated with him and that site, and I’m going through it all searching for the slightest clues …”

“What’s the point? You’ve searched through the main stuff though!”

Cronenberg had realized that he would have to let someone else in on what he was doing, as he could not do everything himself, and was sure that he could answer stuff he could not, and he had checked him out everywhere, and he knew him more than anyone else there.

A glance into the main library showed it was empty, and he listened to the deep silence, and he listened into the deepest depths of the base, and outer corridor, once again, and it showed him that there were still only workmen building a new ceiling in a nearby apartment, replacing an original ceiling, with modern materials.

The wires from the electrics had rot and webs over them, and had been easily broken, and were in bits on the floor, and he had studied the room and people.

He had been surprised that spiders actually existed at the base years before, and must have been in things brought to Mars.

“So what is it?” he asked Cronenberg, sitting at his side. “If you find something you’ll have to let it out eventually!”

“I think Anders was looking for valuable diamonds!”

Orwell gasped and his face showed he was startled by the final reply, and he sat thinking it over, and then looked confused, and finally asked, “What makes you think he was looking for them?”

“I’ve found various things … I still have not proven anything though! But I believe that was why he was there! And it made him the only person in history to steal a rocket vehicle, with such an expense, right under their noses!”

“Ah! He stole that vehicle, with another astronaut …”

“Who, according to this, they both managed to cover up where they went, but crashed in the end, and they even thought he got away with it, which was why they never searched here for him! They believe he could have been working for another government and had taken it and its highly advanced technology for them – as they might have not been able to get hold of anything on it!”

Cronenberg removed a document that he had marked and handed it over to him, and he started looking for another.

Orwell read it swiftly, examining things, and put it down over the table, thinking about the stuff in it, and Cronenberg handed part of an old newspaper with part of the story in it, showing where they believed the vehicle had been taken.

“What he was after must have been incredibly valuable?” he silently moaned to himself. “Are you sure it was diamonds?”

For a moment he never seemed to accept the space vehicle had been taken – not believing such a fact. But the official documents confirmed what had occurred, and he had not seen such documents and information being wrong.

“There is still a small chance it could have been something else though?” he finally confessed.

Cronenberg just nodded in agreement.

“Are you saying the diamonds are at where they crashed?”

“That’s what I’m searching for! If only we can find something on it! We need a location!”

Cronenberg never said anything of the map he had found in Anders pocket, and a mention of diamonds on it, and though he had not found the location on it he decided to try and keep it that way, if he could.

“So you think we should start looking for it?”

“If we find a more accurate location!”

 

Chapter 10

 

The Investigation

 

Cronenberg could not believe the police investigation into Campbell’s death! The strange way they had approached it was unbelievable and surreal! And it left him gasping at what would happen, as they insisted he was killed, and they believed there were no animals outside the base.

How could an animal or anything live there? He and Rosenberg had a hard time explaining what had happed to them!

There had been barely a killing in space or there, and the crime was low, and it was mainly made up of scientists and other professionals working there.

He was baffled! What the hell had killed the flight engineer, and how had it made it into his spacesuit?

There was only one explanation and it was what had taken them to the destination! Yet what the hell could be that advanced and that savage? And why had it only attacked him?

Orwell soon started asking questions, after he told him of what occurred, and he wanted his thoughts on it.

His first question was, “Who found him dead?”

“I did!”

“He managed to stay alive until the morning?”

“We were with him up until the morning! And I’m sure nothing happened while we slept …”

“When was the last response or movement you saw from him?”

“It was at night when we went to sleep! We hardly moved while sleeping in the spacesuits!”

Cronenberg avoided telling him and them about the ghost astronaut he had seen, as it was not linked to the incident, and he was now unsure if he had imagined it.

“How did he die?”

“He looked as if he had been eaten by something!”

If it had been one of the others in the shuttle, who had followed them there, and how could the person have done it? They had been in a group!

And it could only have been done while Rosenberg was away investigating the other side of the hill! He believed there was something out there, which had to be with what had taken them there or it was it itself, which he had explained to the police, and he had told Orwell and he agreed it could have been, as what had happened to the shuttle was far stranger and difficult to occur.

He realized that he only needed to explain what it had been, and he realized it might have taken samples of Campbell’s body for some reason, and he wondered why.

Had this infernal place a killer alien or not? Yet why would it want anything from him?

Still nothing about it made sense – and neither did anything else there – it was obvious it could have attacked all of them.

From the looks that he caught from the police he knew that the incident had affected them! The police were now aggressive! And he was sure that they had not found any other clues.

His killer, whatever it was, had to be ruthless and carefree to have done it in the way that it had been done it.

He wondered if something was on the southern pole that did not need proper supplies of oxygen, and had been there from when Mars had an atmosphere and water, and had adapted to survive in the harsh climate!

Fish survived with barely any oxygen in water, and lived off miniature life forms, he wondered if it had tried what they had been like as a food supply, and he wondered if it liked it!

Yet that was fantasy, and they had not found anything like it, and why had they not found anything like it and what would it have normally have consumed? Yet was a big planet and they had hardly explored the surface and there was water and life forms that froze and dried out and returned to life, including plants …

He and Orwell marched along a corridor to the library, for their regular visit and they occasionally looked into rooms with their doors open, as it interested them what people were like there.

“It’s also incredible,” Orwell muttered, “that most of the people that investigated the body thought it was some form of animal!”

They then entered the library, and he asked Cronenberg, “Have you found anything else?”

“I found a photo of a newspaper article of Anders, found in his apartment, about a scientist that found something, which I’m sure was the diamonds … I’ve been trying to trace information about him and what he was doing.”

 

Chapter 11

 

The Deaths

 

It was almost a week later when he saw Orwell again and he thought he had lost interest and was glad to see him and was surprised that he had been searching elsewhere in his spare time, and had arrived with some news.

Cronenberg search in the library had just about become exhausted when he saw him enter the outer library, marching over to him, and he studied him trying to see what he was up to.

“What you got?” he swiftly asked.

“There’s been another death!” Orwell replied, making Cronenberg gasp.

“What happened?”

“The person was found in the same condition as Campbell! Large regions of the body were eaten! And they’ve found Campbell was definitely eaten in the same way.”

Cronenberg was confused, and wondered what was going on about, as the day earlier he had found declassified material in the library showing similar attacks and deaths at the base and that they had covered it up.

“I’ve also found stuff on deaths here!” he replied, and flicked through a pile of documents he had at the end of the table, and handed him over two documents about it, which were of deaths occurring there over a decade, five years from then.

Orwell searched through it in surprise, and stood confused, staring a section of one document.

“In one case they were unable to find out if it was an animal or human!” he finally replied, and put the document down.

“We could have been followed there, by someone?”

“Or there are things of Mars that kill? They might have been covered up? They might not have declassified the stuff!”

Cronenberg nodded his head, and agreed it could be the answer and he wondered why they had not been warned by some means about there be a possibility of them being there, and he gasped when he realized that they could enter the base.

“Found anything new about the diamonds then?” Orwell finally asked, after a few minutes of stunned silence, with Cronenberg realizing he could have been the one.

“Yes!” he replied, firmly, searching through another pile of documents, and pulling documents out.

“What you go there?”

“I found stuff on the scientist that found the diamonds! It seems he was working with a new satellite, at the time, that could magnify into areas of the Earth and Mars far greater and clearer than before, and he was the first to use it on Mars! I think he found the diamonds with it!”

“From up in orbit! I never knew that could be done!”

“I reckon he knew where to look for diamonds and that he discovered them!”

“So if we managed to get the use of it we could explore the area where the shuttle went down for them …”

“Or where the diamonds may be under the ground …”

“I’ve not heard of any diamonds being found on Mars yet!”

“Exactly! And their value would be great!”

 

Chapter 12

 

The Satellite

 

Cronenberg could not believe the length Orwell went to find and get the use of the satellite, and he was sure they were now being watched by security agents, and was sure the satellite was still highly classified, even after decades, and perhaps vastly improved and used for some military purposes.

He was sure that he only gained use of it for them to get what he was up to, and he realized why they had started watching Anders, and he had also highly illegally taken an expensive classified space vehicle.

Orwell had updated himself on where to look for diamonds, and techniques used to locate them, and he searched the region where the shuttle had gone down.

Cronenberg was invited to join them and welcomed it and he became sure they had little on them other than they were trying to use the satellite for a project, and if they found the diamonds, they were an interest to science and their missions there anyhow.

They used it to search everywhere they could on and around the hill, searching there in such incredible detail that he was sure he would never think he was not being watched outside again. It was incredible and he managed to examine where the shuttle had come down, and the massive amount of footstep and vehicles marks left there, and where the shuttle had been and had been repaired and taken away, and he studied where Anders had been, and the remains of the rocket, which had been dug up and examined, with its interior searched.

He realized it was the ultimate way of searching for it, as he could search everything there, hill by hill, but realized that where the diamonds had been may now be buried deep beneath the sand, but the area looked unchanged to him, and the sand was not as deep as it seemed, and he proved that they could not be properly hidden away.

Eventually he returned to finish the last of his research in the library, and searching through the last of the documents.

What was peculiar was he somehow sensed that there was something missed out in the documents! So he was not surprised when he found it, and it was hidden away in the last of the documents, and it was a document about security services watching Anders’s wife and he was sure they believed he intended to meet her at some point, and it never happened, and he found a photographed letter from her to him, which was her last letter to him from the Earth to him on Mars, which mentioned his search for something, which he was sure was the diamonds, and that he intended to return to the Earth for good, and it mentioned the map and Anders’s belief that the scientist, who actually was the astronaut with him, had recorded the location wrongly.

Cronenberg discovered suggestions that the map, which had been made by the scientist, had more information hidden on it, and Anders thought he was up to something!

 

Chapter 13

 

The New Mission

 

For an instant Cronenberg thought he could die a hideous death, and he even considered what it would be like being a ghost trapped out there on the desolate world.

They had to land! Soon! Surely they should not take the risk continuing to fly to their destination at night! The shuttles were still new and the repairs on theirs was only recently completed and they were trying it out for the first time, and testing it for the first time over Mars, and he was sure they had hardly even tested the thing out before they had given them it back!

Loud explosions and flashes had suddenly appeared from somewhere out in the dark Martian night sky, and had sent the whole shuttle shaking about, and he realized it had to be some form of storm, created by the weak Martian atmosphere, and he heard the other astronauts talking about it and announce it was, from the information from their equipment.

The entire crew was the same except for Campbell who was replaced by Deputy Commander James Mitchell as the new head flight engineer, and who incredibly resembled Campbell, and had the same experience and was an astrophysicist/planetary geologist, and was being helped by Rosenberg the other flight engineer, and they were all basically checking the performance of the shuttle and findings the new detection equipment aboard gathered, especially in the unexplored regions they were entering.

He realized the shuttle might not be designed for the storm and it could be far different from Earth storms, and have incredible wind speeds, and he realized the shuttle could go down and again crash on the surface of Mars.

Though he could not imagine the empty atmosphere coming out with a powerful wind, even though a high speed wind could be generated, and he considered what had actually taken them down the last time.

The sky outside, over the space vehicle, was so peculiar and strangely colored that he was sure that it was no longer in the universe, and at the outer limits of the universe, floating outside it somewhere.

The problem with the mission was that they were ordered to stick to the route they were given no matter what, and he realized that if they were confronted by a storm ahead that they would go straight through it.

He recalled the shuttles were now shielded to stop anything, after being taken down at the Antarctica the last time, and they thought it would stop anything taking control of the shuttles, and he thought it might help protect them from the powerful energy disturbances in the outer storm.

He switched on a small powerful light over him, to properly see the booklet he was given with his orders and the mission described on it, and he stared out one of the windows at the surrounding darkness, and into visible stars there, and started properly examining the details in the booklet to see if he was missing anything he should know.

It was the perfect time of the year for the mission, for it to be light enough in the Artic and Antarctica, and the mission was for all twenty shuttles to go to and assemble at the Martian Antarctica, going there at their different sections, and the first sections to leave would cover the current daylight region of the world, would do their first scan, and a practice scan of Mars from the Artic to the Antarctica – as all the shuttles were to scan a section of Mars from the top to the bottom, over many months, and they would all scan an equal amount of Mars, and map it in more detail than had ever been done before, giving people the ability to study anything on the surface of the world back on the Earth, and someday people on the Earth would completely explore the whole of Mars!

They had to properly check all the shuttles were working and giving them the exact information they needed, and satellites would make sure they followed the exact routes and control them.

If successful it could be used to explore many worlds and moons, and in other solar systems, and he wondered if someday they would replace them with computers, and create the ultimate probe voyager that would scan entire worlds.

It was an incredible piece of luck for them as they were getting to scan every square foot of the world and they could use it to find the diamonds there, at whatever location they were at.

He was positive it was located at the southern pole though and he was starting to believe it could be at the pole itself, and Orwell had agreed and they had eagerly joined the new mission.

The world that they were exploring was like it had no sun, and it was like there were billions of light years of space between them and the nearest stars.

 

Chapter 14

 

The South Pole

 

Something startled Cronenberg, when he stepped out the shuttle and stepped onto the south pole, and he struggled to grasp what as he focused on the bright sun, over the Martian horizon at the side of the shuttle, and he gasped as he watched the glowing landscape.

Other shuttles were resting behind the shuttle and he saw that five were still landing, making it all twenty being there.

Something staggered him about the mission and he sensed something was going to occur, and he shivered, and examined the ice around him, and that it was hard and had been there a long time, and he realized how ancient the world was.

He saw the sun edge its way along the horizon, and he realized he could not avoid whatever he was going to encounter! He had to go through with everything! He believed he could survive if he did everything he could and avoided making any deadly mistakes!

The world about them was a flat stretch, with occasional large asteroid dents.

“What a place?” Orwell finally moaned, and tried laughing, and moved close to him, and Cronenberg watched him, wondering what he was talking about.

“There’s something not right about this mission!” Cronenberg confessed, considering if he could give him anything that he might have missed.

He realized it could be just Mars affecting them! It was the new things and hidden dangers there! It was exploring where nobody had been before, and the great deadly environment and mistakes they could make being somewhere with such an environment for so long! The region they were in was the least explored!

It was the legendary Martian Antarctica, and he still sensed there was something strange there! Something he had not encountered before! Something that could only exist in such a place, and in the depths of space, and it gave him chilling and weird sensations, but he could not grasp what, and he wondered if he was destined to die on the remote world.

As the shuttles completely turned silent he watched the rest of the crew rush about observing the whole south pole, and he increasingly felt a presence of something, somewhere, in the chilling distance of the alien world, and it was clear that the five other members of the crew said anything about it.

A silent vibration went through the ground and he expected to hear a sudden explosion sound in the distance, and he knew it was only a tremor, but it gave the world a feeling of being unstable.

All the crew slowly vanished behind the shuttle, over where the main shuttles were, and Orwell walked around its edge to see what was happening, and stood with his mouth open and Cronenberg wondered what it could be and if it was his reaction to nothing, and he went over to him, and he then stood with his mouth open.

All the astronauts from the shuttles, a hundred astronauts, were standing in a group discussing something and he suddenly realized, from their communications from their spacesuit communicators, that it was a search for the diamonds and he wondered how the hell they had heard of them and started watching Orwell and he realized he had to have been behind it.

But he then knew he had not by his reactions! But he had to have unknowingly done it!

He was surprised when two of the other shuttle commanders looked directly at him and started discussing something, and he gasped and realized his luck was vanishing.

Cronenberg marched in close and observed all their spacesuits standing about a central area, where there was a large meteorite boulder, and he anxiously started listening into their communications.

After a few minutes he showed a glint of humor, followed by some sadness, as he realized that they never had any real information about the diamonds he then realized that they could gain knowledge of what they had.

“Are you saying that you think that there’s treasure here too?” one astronaut that had not properly heard them asked with amusement and astonishment, wondering what they were really talking about.

Everyone listened, and some stopped doing things.

“There’s a page missing from this,” one of the astronauts broke in the conversation with, and Cronenberg watched him with astonishment holding a diary.

“Yes, and I found it,” one of the other shuttle commanders, called Tom Eagle, forced himself to reply, walking out of the crowd of astronauts, and he stood in front of them all, and they formed into a crowd in front of him, and Cronenberg and Orwell rushed over and stood at the side of them.

Eagle took the diary and held in up and took the missing page out of his pocket, and continued, “It was on the bottom of the bookshelf, where it was found!”

Cronenberg wondered what the hell he was talking about as he had not heard anything until then and he knew that they had something, and he could sense something was coming, and Eagle even seemed to warn him of it.

Eagle took the page and spread it out in front of him, and all their eyes seemed to go on it at once, and he muttered, “It refers to a clue that the scientist with Anders gave! It says it is on a map that Anders managed to get from him!”

 

Chapter 15

 

The Treasure Hunt

 

Now Cronenberg entirely apprehended how complicated and messed up things had really become, and that things had gone far further than before, which he had originally not been able to accept, and he started disbelieving what he had thought as fact and what was fantasy.

He did not know if he believed there were diamonds as when he read all his notes and checked documents looking for the mention of a diary by the scientist he found nothing and there was even a suggestion there was none and he started to realize that all the information showed little of if the diamonds existed, as there was barely a proven fact in them, and the scientist could easily have been wrong or up to something else, like many of the documents claimed that they wanted the rocket vehicle.

Commander Eagle seemed to have talked every astronaut there into seeking the treasure, even though most were unsure what they were going to find or were even doing, and most seemed to think he was going to take them for himself at some point.

All the shuttles in their sectors had left as the day went on, carrying out their first scan of Mars, as the sun moved over their sectors of Mars, and Cronenberg had finally left to do his, and had sat confused in his seat, examining facts over and over, and realized that Orwell had to have let out the information about the diamonds and the map out, and he could not fully realize what he had intended to do and if he had even deliberately told them to carry out some elaborate plan, but if he had was he crazy doing it or had he made a mistake in depending on Commander Eagle?

He was surprised when Orwell approached him, when the rest of the crew were occupied, and started apologizing for his mistake, and for what Eagle had done, and Cronenberg realized that he had known the shuttle commander before they had gone to Mars, and he recalled it and that they were both connected to other influential people, and at the base.

“What was your agreement?” he asked, confused at what the situation was.

“Well, he is a distant relative of mine!” he replied, surprising Cronenberg, and he watched his face and saw his resemblance.

Orwell rested against a wall, and looked at him.

“I told him only about there being diamonds and we were searching for them! I figured we would have a better chance of finding it, as for starters we only cover one small sector of the area of Mars being checked.”

“You’re correct there! We will have to search through all the stuff recorded …”

“Exactly!” he swiftly replied. “And if we’re not able to find it on the recorded stuff we’ll not get it! But now all of them are searching with their detection equipment, which can’t be used on the map, and could very well spot something …”

He realized that it was a good point and that they could all together detect something, and their chances of finding them alone were low, and he was sure the method the scientist that originally found them had used to get them with the satellite were unknown.

He thought of how long it would take to map the entire world and rested back into his seat, and he wondered what would happen, and if he had really blown it, giving the information Orwell and to every astronaut there, and he realized that Orwell could have made a mistake and that he should have had them looking for something else, and he realized that it was Eagle that had ruined it and he was sure he never realized what he was doing.

He thought over what he had said and realized that Eagle had only known the diamonds were there, and could be found, but he had found the scientist’s diary, and Cronenberg recalled that there had been other libraries at the base, but small ones and were not for the public, and he recalled what he had said and that the diary said it was on the map and he wondered what information was in the diary and wondered if it gave how the scientist had located the diamonds on the satellite.

Cronenberg had searched the map repeatedly for the clue, after he had read a mention of it on Anders’s wife’s letter and he decided to try to find it later and started searching for information on the scientist and other scientists of that time, on his computer, and how they might have hidden it away.

 

Chapter 16

 

The Missing Shuttle

 

Cronenberg was almost asleep when an urgent communication was received and he partially grasped one of the pilot’s urgent voices and he rapidly realized it was something important and started to comprehend what it was to do with!

“Our mission has been cancelled!” Lyndon, the pilot, called out.

“What?” he moaned.

“For the moment! One of the shuttles has just vanished, and they’re starting to search for it!”

“Whose shuttle?” he called back.

“Wait a minute! I’ll ask! Whose shuttle? It’s Commander Eagle’s shuttle!”

Cronenberg gasped and jumped up and saw all their faces lit up, after Eagle’s name was mentioned, and he watched Orwell slowly move over to him, and he considered what to do.

“Tell them we’ll search for it too!” he announced, and he asked them to go to the location where the shuttle was last seen.

He was amazed when he replied, “They’re at the location we went down at!”

“What at the exact location?” he gasped, considering changing the order, considering them crashing down again.

It was a dangerous mission and he just had to go there and investigate what was happening, and he wondered why the hell Eagle had chosen that route, and he realized that the diamonds could be there and hidden at some place he had not noticed.

“It’s not the exact location!” Lyndon replied, looking over at him, and searching his face. “It’s further south!”

After a few minutes considering it he noticed he knew something else, and asked, “Is there any other information, and anything unusual you can find?”

He announced, “We’ve detected the shuttle! I cannot discover if it is damaged but there is no communications from it, and no information from anyone aboard! It seems dead!”

“If you detect anything trying to take control of this shuttle turn back! We cannot afford to crash again! We can go there later!”

“They want to explore what’s there – if nothing happens – and check what’s happened!”

 

Chapter 17

 

The Second Occurrence

 

In the distance he spotted the crashed shuttle, and it rapidly expand in size, and Cronenberg saw their crash site over at their side, and watched the hill he had stood on, where Campbell had died, and he sensed something, even though there was no sign of what had brought them down, as well as Eagle’s shuttle.

When they reached Eagle’s shuttle their acceleration automatically decreased and they flew in a circle around the shuttle, and he spotted damage to the shuttle, and signs that a fire had damaged it, and he saw there were no signs of anyone, or anyone leaving it.

It looked as though it had been brought down the same way as them but had sustained more damage, and he asked Lyndon to try to contact them again, and was immediately replied with there was nothing there to contact.

He struggled to grasp what was there and saw that the whole area was just a flat area of ground, similar to a desert region, with the hill he had stood on behind them and another hill at the same distance in the opposite direction, towards the Antarctica, and where Eagle’s shuttle had come form, and he focused on the deformed sun below the window, as it went along just above the horizon, and he gasped when the pilots announced the other shuttles in their group were arriving, in the distance, and he ordered them to land!

There had to be something there! He wondered if it was the hill after all! It was exactly in the middle between Eagle’s crash site and their crash site!

He looked for the diamonds and anywhere he could see that looked like where they could be and realized he could not see anything, and even wondered if they really existed.

The shuttles were new and recently built and they were still testing them for the first time over Mars!

Something staggered him about the mission and he sensed something was going to occur, and had seen it approaching, with it edging its way towards him, and he felt he could not avoid it! He had to go through with what was going to happen! He believed he could survive if he did everything he could to avoid any serious and deadly mistakes!

He watched the pilots do a perfect landing next to the shuttle, and he put on his spacesuit, and followed Orwell out the shuttle, and marched over to the other shuttle, and he wondered if they were still alive, as it looked like they had landed to fast and hard, as the shuttle looked embedded in the soil.

 

Chapter 18

 

The Second Hill

 

What had he done? Cronenberg completely realized his mistake and gasped, and examined the dark Martian landscape about him, with some amazement, astonished he was on another world!

Out of the silent empty Martian night high-powered rifle blasts were astonishing, especially in the deep darkness engulfing him, threatening to totally blind him! The explosions were so powerful that he believed a powerful explosive was used in the bullets, and again he was staggered that he could hear anything in such a thin atmosphere!

Someone definitely was trying to kill him, and as he rushed furiously away through thick reddish Martian sand, with his legs sinking deep, deeper and deeper in regions, threatening to impede him completely, and even turn to some form of quicksand!

Why he had been so stupid as to leave the shuttle without anyone else, and without saying anything, and even without any form of communications, and he wondered why he kept doing such things on Mars, which he never did on the Earth!

He had left the two shuttles, on his own, and as it was getting dark, and he had entirely underestimated the depth of the sand there, and that there was even anything there, which had impeded his speed for a long time and by the time he reached the hill, in the southerly direction, south of the last hill he had climbed, when they had crashed there.

He had to see the hill as he was sure it was really where there was something, and he was sure it had been where Anders and the scientist had intended to land, and he had known that he would never have a chance to search there again!

More high-powered rifle shots blasted out and hit the ground behind him and he realized how deep the darkness was now, and why he had survived, especially when the person had been close!

His pale cold complexion had entirely altered now and his face was bright red! Sounds of his heavy breathing and outer sounds took strange tones as he started trying to explain what they were, and he strained his eyes trying to see in front of him, and in the darkness he spotted the mountain stone was nearby, and that he would entirely escape the sand there, where he would have to escape from the gunman behind him!

While he rushed furiously on he thought of the injured state the survivors of Eagle’s shuttle crash had been in, and their account of what had landed them there, and he thought of all the things they said, and when he had realized that something had definitely landed them there, as the they had approached from the south, and he had worked out the distance that they had claimed it had taken control of their shuttle, and then the distance it had been taken control of at the other side, as they had approached from the north, and he had worked out where the central point was, and the hill that he was going to had been directly in the middle, and he was sure it was where there was something, and that it had been only able to use its powers on both shuttles at a certain distance, at either side of it.

Though there was no sign of the diamonds being there he was sure they had to be there somewhere, and he wondered what the hell the connection was between them and what had made them crash there.

The solid ground ahead of him increased in size, as he slowly got nearer and nearer, and he considered using his light, by flashing it, to get a brief view of what was fully there, and where to run, but he decided not to as the person would see him and could easily shoot him.

He was sure it had to be someone from one of the other shuttles, as he had the same reactions, and he realized how desperate they had become to get the diamonds and he blamed it all on Eagle and his scheme to get the treasure, and have all the shuttles search and have himself go to that site, and crash.

Something staggered him about the mission and the fact that from the very start he sensed something was going to occur, and had seen something approaching, edging its way towards him, which he knew he could not avoid! He had to go through with it! And he somehow thought he could survive if he did everything he could and avoided a deadly mistake!

It was unexplored Mars! It had new dangers there! It was exploring where nobody had been before, with its great deadly environment with its hidden dangers! The region they were in was the least explored and the great Antarctica!

He could hardly believe he was at the legendary Martian Antarctica, and he still sensed there was something strange there! Something he had not encountered before! Something that could only exist at such a place, out in the depths of space, which might not be able to exist on the Earth, and it gave him an even more chilling sensation of something he could not grasp!

As he accelerated on, closing in on the dark stone of the hill, he increasingly felt a presence of something, somewhere, in the chilling darkness of the alien world around them, which he realized never existed earlier.

Whoever was after him had to be stark raving mad and out for the kill, and was stupid for going to such levels to kill him, as if they found his body, which they would surely discover, as they would find his footsteps in the sand from near the shuttles and would be able to trace him, and the other person’s prints, and there would be someone that noticed the person had not been around, and he could not realize who was there and just accepted that he was trying to kill him to get the diamonds, which might have been detected by them!

The place had to be located in the coldest place he had been in and he detected it in places all about him, and it had the look of being the most remote place! Even in the summer the place was been highly deadly to any form of life!

He could not grasp why the person was so positive that there were diamonds, and could go so far to get them!

The dangers and the coldness made him cringe and blindly rush on through the blinding blackness, almost lost, and he wondered why people took such risks and gambled so far.

A loud explosion blasted out and a bullet thudded somewhere nearby and he had to jump through the sand into the dark landscape for his life! He dared not use his light now, and he could barely see anything!

The man could be heard over to his side behind him and he realized that he could have an infrared sight and was playing with him and when he reached the stone area below the hill he just dived at it and ran as fast as he could into the darkness, going straight to an area of small hills nearby, at the bottom of the hill, and that was covered up from being seen by the gunman, and once there he rushed round a hill and rushed towards one of another five hills, which he chose randomly, and immediately rushed around, and realized he had finally got away from him, and with delight saw many more small stone hills going over to the base of the large main central hill, and randomly kept rushing through different hills, covering up any sign he was there, and made sure his footsteps were not visible and he was not being watched, and he saw the gunman had vanished behind him.

Once he realized that he had escaped he started to enjoy going slower and being free from being attacked, and he thought through what had occurred!

Why would he go to such lengths to kill him? Surely the diamonds were not worth that much? There had to be something else! What else could possibly be there? What could be there in such a desolate place?

Suddenly it was like he recognized the place and mysteriously followed routes through different hills, and was constantly surprised that he knew things were there before he arrived and went around corners, and felt he could find somewhere to hide there and when he finally found a hiding place at the hill itself, in a small tunnel in a large pile of large boulders, and he rushed into the small tunnel going through and around the boulders until he reached the hill itself and found himself surrounded by a small hidden cavity, where he hid, and faced outwards, buried away in the boulders, seeing if he could see anything, and checked for any gaps in the boulders, and when he found there were no holes or places light could escape he turned on his light and quickly checked his oxygen supply, and spare tanks, and realized he could escape in the morning, before it was light, and realized the person would eventually return to the shuttles, if he never found him, as he saw the person never had extra oxygen tanks.

He rested and started going over everything and what had happened and he wondered if something else was occurring that he never knew of, and why they had been so determined to get the diamonds as there was no real proof of the diamonds existing, anyway, and he had seen the diary Eagle had, which had belonged to the scientist, and the diary had virtually nothing in it as far as he was concerned, and he recalled Eagle mentioning that that the location was hidden away on the map and he realized that Orwell had to have told him, and convinced him there was definitely something there, but Orwell never knew of the map, and he had not told anyone, and he had been sure Eagle thought he had it, and he recalled that someone did know he had it, and it was Rosenberg, as he had seen him take it out of Anders’s spacesuit!

 

Chapter 19

 

The Light in the Night

 

Cronenberg’s dreams were strange and as though he was floating through mist, which shifted about beneath him, and he never recognized anything, and he was too tired to awaken, and he observed it all with amusement, and an annoying whispering sound that he kept listening to, from some unseen place, which sounded artificial when he firmly listened.

The events of the past days haunted him and he kept wondering where things were going, and it was incredible as he had not done anything like it in years, and even then it was nothing like it!

Lights twinkled through thick areas of mist on the horizon. A bright light suddenly appeared, deep in the vapor. It oscillated and intensified.

He tried imagining the astronaut who had chased him as he tried to realize something that he could not grasp about him and he was surprised that he appeared and how authentic he was, and he studied the perfect copy in detail, with the strange light there glowing over him.

He resembled someone! He could not grasp! He realized no face features had been visible, and the person was somehow different, and he nearly grasped it when a strange loud gurgle came from somewhere. He sensed the presence of something mysterious somewhere nearby, or existing about him, and he felt danger existed and he swiftly opened his eyes and was surprised to see a light in the cavity, and he rapidly searched the tunnel where he had come in and saw there was nothing there, and turned to where he had been facing while dreaming and adjusted his blurred eyes, and sat upright staring at it trying to see what it was, and realized it was there and was not projected there, and he wondered if it was some form of volcanic disturbance, and a crack into some form of volcano, where there was molten rock, and realized it was Mars and things were different and that molten rock might not explode out, as the lava flow was nothing like on the Earth

It was not there before he went to sleep, as he would have seen a crack there, and the crack was too new looking, and he realized that it must have appeared about when he started dreaming, and he tried to work out why and he decided that him being there, and his weight and frantic rush into the cavity might have altered the weakened rock and allowed it to break, and he realized that if it got worse it could breakthrough.

A deep thud appeared within the rock and he heard a familiar sound and realized it was the annoying whispering sound in his dream that he kept listening to, from some unseen place, which had sounded artificial, and he listened to it with his ear against the rock and he heard it was a powerful vibration from something, and when he firmly listened he was sure something was breaking through, and he checked his watch and wondered if the astronaut with the gun was still about outside, hunting him down, and he examined the crack in the rock and was surprised when he checked it lower down and his eyes adjusted and he saw a cave there and the powerful light was coming from something strange in the distance.

What amazed him was before he checked he knew he could enter the cave, and he grabbed the edge of the crack and started pulling chunks of crumbling rock away, opening the gap wider and wider, until he had a hole large enough to enter, and he stood blinded by the bright light beaming out into the dark night, and surrounding cavity, and prepared to enter it, and was surprised at the formation of the cavity and it looked almost artificial made.

As he swiftly entered the hole he was surprised that it was a very long tunnel and he cautiously marched along it, going deep into the hill.

Mind-bending sounds and echoes from what he was sure was volcanic activity increased and came through the shaft with fury and left him stunned at the dangers, and no matter how he tried to shake it off and contemplate its full identity he never formed stable recognitions of what was occurring there, and why the light was so powerful, and almost like laser light or light from the sun!

The vibration going through the rock reminded him of a fault line and he accepted it had to be some form of volcanic activity, and he slowed down and prepared himself to run if he anything came towards him, and he probed his way through the large hole in the hill, and as he went along he realized that there was some form of breeze blowing from ahead and he realized the dangers he could be in and that there could be highly explosive volcanic gases, and that if he never caused a spark it could be ignited by the volcanic activity, and he checked the walls and ground around him searching for signs of it having occurred before, and if the lava had been through there, and he saw nothing, and there was no sign of scorch marks or anything, other than it was as if something had blasted its way through it.

 

Chapter 20

 

The Alien Sphere

 

A loud screech ripped through him and he nearly leapt off the floor, and he stood dazzled by the bright light blasting into his eyes, and he had to recall what had just occurred, and that he had sleepily just staggered straight into the blinding light, in an immense cavity, situated at the center of the bottom of the hill, and he tried to grasp what was in front him!

The thing resembled a magical sphere, and he tried to grasp what was really there, and why it was there!

In the blinding light he could not grasp if it was just energy or what, and he saw a blast of stars exploding by him, as though he was shooting through space in some strange galaxy, and he gasped again, and wondered if it was causing him to imagine things.

Its formation seemed to constantly change, as though unstable, and he watched it shift around a central region, of the cavity, as though trapped in something, and some force field, and for a moment something seemed to form in it that seemed alive, and its formation kept altering, as though its energy was constantly altering and trying to control itself, and altered and whirled within occasional hideous energy surges – while it kept consistently stopping itself from vanishing.

It looked like something had been caught in some energy field there and had altered itself to survive, and he was staggered at the power the field had and what was caught in it!

It surely had to be artificial, but he could not prove it, and nothing was normal or familiar, and the cavity looked natural, but unusual, and he tried to establish if it had alien origins but could not, and he believed if it was it was of a highly advanced species of some sort.

For a few seconds he was sure something formed in it and looked out at him, and into to his very soul, and for a second recognized something, and he tried to place it and realized that it had reminded him of what had landed their shuttle, and had made them crash, and for some reason he felt it had not deliberately caused them to crash and he wondered if it was trying to communicate with him or state information like a computer.

Surely the sphere could not create such a thing!

But he was sure it was something artificial and decided to leave it until he had slept and he considered staying in the cavity, and he realized that there was air around, which could be breathed, and for some reason he unlocked his faceplate and opened it and breathed air there, which was fresh and he wondered where it had come from, but could not find anything anywhere, and he decided to leave and closed his faceplate and went back into the tunnel, and back to where he had been sleeping, considering if it was sort of entity/life form combination, trapped there, and he wondered what the scientists at the base, and the Earth, would think of it, and he realized he would be famous and remembered in history books for the discovery, and the biggest discovery ever find in outer space, and he wondered what would happen to the energy bubble – and if they could remove it what would happen? Surely they would fully check the energy bubble before it was taken to an inhabited region of the Earth!

 

Chapter 21

 

The Scientists

 

The cavity was full of scientists, technicians, and archeologists going in a circle around the energy sphere, crowded around it, in groups loudly and excitedly discussing hundreds of scientific details, not going passed a white painted line circle going around its sphere, where alterations to things had occurred, and Cronenberg went behind them and took a seat at a table beside some scientists, and with the astronauts of his shuttle, and he watched the astronauts startled faces, still recalling his arrival back at the base, and his description of it, and they had immediately sensed that it was something immense of alien origins, of a highly advanced civilization, and had only been slightly surprised that he had gone to the hill.

Who had the gunman astronaut been? Who had wanted to kill him? He even wondered if someone had known of the alien sphere, and had tried to stop them finding it for some reason!

What had astonished him was that none of the astronauts had actually left the shuttles, and they were positive of it, and he had even proven nobody had sneaked away by recordings of them on the shuttle recordings, and it had left him bewildered.

He had been told confidentially that there had been occurrences at that region of the Antarctica before their shuttles had been brought down, and they had been highly classified occurrences, and Anders crash had been recorded, but they had not found their remains and wreckage.

The events of that week were incredible and he saw the whole base react to the alien discovery, and the information had appeared all over the media there, and it had finally reached the Earth, and he had even become famous there for finding the discovery, and had returned to see it with the other astronauts, and they had told them of the occurrences that had taken the shuttles down, which the scientists believed it had been responsible for the occurrences, and they believed that the sphere had something wrong with it, which nobody fully understood, and that it had not been able to take the shuttles where it had wanted and had landed them where it was safe to land, and that the rocket vehicle Anders and the scientist had been in had been too hard to land properly, leading to its crash.

They believed it had tried to take them to where it was to have them find it, and he was positive of it now, and also going by the accounts the scientists there gave of things that had happened since they had entered the cavity, and it later enlarged the tunnel into the hill, and the appearance of strange things!

They believed it was trying to make contact with them, but nothing had been established, though it had communicated with many of them, as he had done, but they had been confused by it and had not achieved much and it revealed little, but he was surprised that the astronaut with the gun had been seen the night before and he had questioned the scientists that had seen him and they gave him a photograph of him and he had identified it as the astronaut, and they were sure it had used the generated astronaut copy to get him to go to the cavity to the discovery, which he surely would not have gone to if he had not been chased!

But he also thought it generated it to do things and they were there for some other reason, and nobody had given a full and proper explanation of why, and they never fully got the alien sphere’s actual function, or if it was just an advanced life form and what it was really like, and what it was doing there and what environment had it originated from, and what it really wanted, other than the fact it had wanted to be discovered!

The scientists were mainly involved in trying to monitor and analyze everything they could about the sphere!

 

Chapter 22

 

The Cavity

 

A panoramic spectacle view of the Martian landscape stretched out all the way around Cronenberg as he rested on the top of the hill, almost over the cavity, and he watched the fascinating rugged golden shapes of the world beaming in bright sunlight everywhere, and in the thin blue sky he studied stars, and where all the vehicles and shuttles were below, and below where the archaeologists were working away, checking if there was anything in the ground everywhere, and he heard their excited conversations, talking of the discovery, which had to their ultimate find, and perhaps the best find in centuries.

He liked archeology, especially there, and liked exploring the past and the occurrences that had taken place.

The world below now looked like it had been frozen in time, and was a fantastic surreal prehistoric times world, and he recalled why he had even wanted to be a paleontologist. It conjured up great visions of the original primitive worlds of the universe, with its astounding untouched magnitude.

While he moved over and rested against a large boulder he occasionally examined clouds of dust from the stone and debris, the archeologists sifted through, and he still listened for anything of interest to him, and he watched the sky in a place that he had not examined before and wondered what existed there and what other strange worlds there were to explore, and he started to realize he was starting to like the world more than his own, and that he would miss being there if he left, and the stars on the Earth would not be the same.

The cavity had fascinated everyone there and he watched them dig away the hill, enlarging the tunnel out, more and more, to allow them to get proper large equipment in.

An image was still in his mind! Something about the astronaut with the gun fascinated him, as if it had tried to kill him, and he wondered if it meant the alien sphere was a killer life form, and was it waiting for its chance to do something?

He could not grasp why it had not shown it intended to do harm, but he was sure it used the astronaut to get him there!

What had eaten Campbell and the other people at the base though, and yet the alien sphere could not reach the distance of the base and he began to suspect there was something else!

The entire outside of the cavity and the boulders there were destroyed and their remains removed, and everything there and further out was being checked by archeologists, as they searched for the remains of anything that could give them the slightest clue to the energy sphere’s origins or anything else.

It was incredible that with the entire incident he had forgotten about the map and the diamonds, and he was amazed that he was actually sitting on the spot where he had intended to look for them, and he still had not done it!

He looked over to where the other hill was, where he had climbed up when they had crashed there, and looked over at where the shuttles had been, where Eagle’s shuttle had crashed, and the shuttles had landed, and examined all the mess it had left.

Eagle and the other astronauts had now entirely lost interest in the treasure map, and that made him happy, and he recalled Rosenberg knowing of the map, when he saw Cronenberg taking it out Anders pocket, and he was sure it was him that had told them of it, but he had not gone near Eagle anywhere.

He spotted where Anders’s rocket vehicle had come down, and where their shuttle had been over at its side.

He removed the treasure map and studied it, and the entire region about him, sure that it had to be out there or about him somewhere, and he was surprised at how bright the map was there and how details on it became visible, which were not visible before, and he studied it with some surprise, and in an entirely new light, seeing the entire area and map properly, and as not the vague jumbled muddled scrap of paper as it had been, but as the scientist had made it, as he knew what he was like now, now that he had all the information of the scientist, and how he did things!

To his surprise he spotted a mark, like a vague small hill with a cross marked on it, and it was surely the hill he was on, and he started searching about the hill for the place, and for anything that looked like it, and went to a slightly higher point behind him and he measured the hill and mark on the map and saw the place close to him, to his surprise, and he searched where it was marked at, and spotted a bright gleam nearby and rushed over to it.

 

Chapter 23

 

The Awakening

 

Cronenberg stopped dead, confused, bewildered, and he rushed down the hill, gasping hysterically for air, thinking of the diamond in his spacesuit pocket, and in the deep silence of his spacesuit it sank in that something else was occurring simultaneously with his incredible discovery, and the discovery of the first diamond on Mars and with an immense size he had never seen before!

Saliva poured down his mouth, and he had to calm himself, and rest, to see what he was missing!

When he had rested he examined everything over at the cavity entrance and watched scientists rushing out, and falling about, and technicians and archeologists swiftly removing expensive equipment, as though something deadly of immense proportions was occurring, and he tried to recall what they had been doing.

He stood baffled with his mouth open, as he had not even seen them react anything like it before!

What the hell was going on? He did not know what to do? Would he lose what he had found?

The diamond had astounded him! It was just lying out in the open, shining in the sunlight, embedded in a strange form of Martian rock, which he used a tool to hack out.

He sat down, still exhausted, thinking of all the things he could use the cash on back on the Earth and slowly started realizing the ground was vibrating and dust and stones were shifting about him, and the intensity of it was increasing, and he started to see something unbelievably dangerous was going to happen, and large boulders at his side started rolling about the hill, and as he stood he started falling about as though in an immense earthquake, and saw and heard boulders rolling down and smashing into things on the ground, and he ran down at full speed as he saw the ground starting slide down and form a landslide.

The bottom of the hill was now being smashed with more and more large boulders, and everything was collapsing about him, and he searched everywhere until he saw a place that was free from the destruction and he swiftly took the safest route across to there, and fell over, over and over, and kept immediately rushing back on his feet.

Once on the ground he used the last of his energy to escape from the hill, but he collapsed against a pile of boulders, with his eyes still on the hill, and he grasped what the incredible force behind it was like.

To his shock he spotted all the scientists and others still running and escaping for their lives – and they were further out than him – and he rushed away on his weakened limbs and ran away from the site as fast as he had ever tried to run, and he even thought of removing the lower part of his spacesuit to get away!

When he heard the explosion he just dived straight over some boulders, to an area behind them, and covered himself by burrowing himself below the boulders, and covered his ears as the blast intensified and he felt the blast hit the other side of the boulders, and he gritted his teeth as he waited for the powerful impact to kill him!

 

Chapter 24

 

The Artifact

 

Once the dust cloud slowly vanished, with no sign of anything else occurring, they all started returning to the remains of the hill, and mainly in rubble heaps across their front.

Cronenberg watched the dead and injured being taken away in undamaged shuttles, and he wondered what was going on, and swiftly approached scientists he knew.

“What did you do?” he moaned to one, and he just laughed back, feeling his arm trying to find how damaged it was, from a rock that had hit it, as they went back to where the alien energy sphere had been.

A horrendous sensation struck him as he felt energy from something pulsating through the ground – the same energy that he had felt from the energy sphere, going through the ground, but it had far more power and energy to it. He was so startled that he was not able to exhale properly and he checked his oxygen supply, and wondered what they had done to the energy sphere.

“They never did anything!” one scientist replied, and stared at him.

“What happened then?” he replied firmly.

“Nothing! They were trying to dig it up and we were setting up equipment, and massive energy surges appeared, and the ground everywhere started shaking, and we detected something was going to occur, and we had to run out and escape as the hill started collapsing everywhere …”

When they approached where the center of the hill was they all started slowing and examining there and Cronenberg saw it was different from everywhere else, and as they moved closer saw all the rubble had been pushed away from the central region by some force, and that the energy sphere was there, hovering over a black artificial object, which had been buried away under the rock, and that it had clearly used the force to free itself from beneath the hill, and they all approached it cautiously now seeing the dangers of it, and that it had clearly taken the whole hill down on top of them, killing and injuring people there.

Though as they approached it he sensed that it had not purposely killed anyone and had done its best to avoid it!

At the edge of the energy bubble, altering wildly, gleams of light shone like bright miniature stars were being held there motionlessly, and some scientists filmed it and studied it, and started recording information about it, and he heard one of the scientists give the exact time the disturbance started and he was surprised that it was the exact time that he had removed the diamond at the top of the hill, and he realized that it had been directly above it.

 

Chapter 25

 

The Strange Black Object

 

For days he watched the archeologists at work removing the black object beneath the energy sphere, and he watched them discover it was made of something they could not recognize, and none of the scientists had any proper theories what it was, as there were no clues anywhere to anything, and the energy sphere refused to give any proper communications, and most of the things it gave were beyond their understand, and it became clear to him that every time he appeared it started to give communications, which he originally thought he was imagining, and then he thought it was the scientists doing something that they wanted to do when he was there, and then the scientists started questioning him about it!

They questioned him about everything they could and never got anything, and the only proper theory put forward, by a leading scientist, was it had connected itself to him for some reason, and perhaps because he found it and perhaps it trusted him, and it had allowed him to find it, and he was the chosen one to make communications with, even though it answered them while he was there, and they tried occasionally to discover why, without much success, and they could not grasp something.

The work continued for days, and they all accepted that there was an existing danger from it, and its form altered – and shrank to nearly fifty feet across from every side – and was suspended over the artifact, in a large cavity that was dug around it.

The entire top region was covered in equipment and scientists studying the alien object and energy bubble above, trying to find what connected them, as there had to be some form of communication between the two, but they never found anything and it was agreed that it was either undetectable to them or it connected when the object was activated in some way, and some thought that the energy sphere had to be created by the object below as nothing was found that could give its vast powers.

Detection equipment was everywhere all around it and at the end of cables entered into areas of its field, where they found it could now be entered further, and the scientist reacted immediately when they received results, and one time they found that digital numbers were frozen on an atomic clock entered into its field, and even created multidimensional forms through the air, and they studied the suspension of partially transparent layers, and saw them vanish somewhere.

Paranormal scientists were even brought in and were left staggered and bewildered at what it was, and there was in fact little that was identifiable, and even after immense amounts of experiments little was found, but vast amounts of research and recordings were done, which might be used to find a solution to its identity one day, and they were sure if they could grasp some clue about its identity that they might be able to start solving their unanswered questions.

One day Cronenberg got up early in the morning with his shuttle crew, as they were to return to the base for the first time in a long time, and he was surprised to see the scientists monitoring the equipment in large shuttles there, and had just been woken up and had started checking information on what was happening, and he was about to announce that they were due to continue their mission of mapping Mars when he spotted that they had raised the object below the alien sphere.

The size of the cavity beneath the object below the energy sphere had been increased and they had removed the giant block and raised it up over the Martian landscape.

Cronenberg and his shuttle crew stood by its side examining the object with amazement.

“It must weigh tons …” Rosenberg gasped, checking the equipment that they had used to lift it over the ground.

“Well, they’ve virtually carved the entire block out!” Mitchell continued. “It was not as deep downwards as they expected, and they’ve tunneled under and around it to get it up. It’s incredible! It resembles a black version of the flying saucers they use to claim to see years ago on the Earth!”

“What the hell is it though?” Cronenberg replied, making all of them gasp, and look above it to the energy sphere floating over it, and he felt the surface of it and felt a firm vibration from something, showing it was functioning.

“It’s like there is something missing from it!” he replied. “It’s as though it’s somewhere else at the same time – and we are only seeing this part of it …”

“That could explain why they got so little information from it!” Orwell answered firmly.

 

Chapter 26

 

The Gateway

 

Cronenberg sensed something strange that he could not grasp, when he returned to the alien energy sphere, with his shuttle crew, and he tried to get what it was but failed!

Before he had left on his mission he had returned to the energy sphere and he and the rest of the crew had immediately seen the energy sphere had altered completely, and its outer fringes had a sphere of energy accelerating around it at an incredible speed, and the ground below vibrated furiously, and he felt there was something about to happen.

He shuddered as he studied its powerful sphere shape, with no blemishes or openings, vibrating with colossal powers.

The abnormal antics of the scientists also captivated him – mystifying him with the depth of their nervousness – and their fear of something colossal! They repetitively studied their highly advanced equipment and an immense sophisticated laser, with alarm, and he realized it was all new stuff there, and that it had just been brought in from the Earth, and was of a highly confidential nature, and he and the others with him knew it was there for a reason, and whatever that reason was it surely was dangerous, and he finally talked a scientist into getting a leading scientist to come over and explain what was happening.

“We have successfully communicated with it!” the leading scientist announced. “There was a first contact scenario put together to handle first contact situations, and one of the outcomes was an alien source code, designed to communicate with any extraterrestrials through communications, which has been vastly improved, and we used it to make communication with it.

“Well, special equipment here was used and we found out a few things! Even though we never got what the energy sphere and artifact was we discovered how to activate it!”

“Activate it!” Cronenberg gasped.

He and the other astronauts stood stunned with their mouths open, realizing the true situation!

“You’ve the technology to properly communicate with it …” Cronenberg moaned. “What will activating actually do?”

“Perhaps make a first contact situation occur!” he replied, making them gasp more, and wonder what the hell they were going to contact and how dangerous it was, and Cronenberg gasped when he realized that the thing was attached to him and he might be made to make contact.

“Another classified element of it is we communicate with it telepathically!”

“So what’s happened?” he replied, anxiously waiting for a reply, and an answer to what was occurring.

“We’ve just started, and we needed you here to go further!”

They watched scientists activating equipment in front of them, with the energy sphere in front of them, and the artifact below resting over the ground.

A swift flash of light exploded out and a highly advanced strange laser beam blasted into the energy sphere – silencing all the scientists all around them.

In the blinding light, with him shading his eyes, he saw something was going to happen and he prepared himself, and watched it trigger it to unlock and open the flying saucer shaped black artifact below it and with a deafening bang he watched it split in half and the top half lift upwards into the air, until it was a certain position above the bottom half, which if the area between the top and bottom was filled in would make the whole artifact a perfect sphere, and they watched an energy field in the gap become visible.

Cronenberg with surprise watched the alien energy sphere above it shift down and enter the energy field, and fill the gap between the top of the artifact and the bottom, and it became a black central region between the top and bottom, and he knew it was complete and detected it from it, and from its central region where the energy sphere was.

It left them staggered, at what it was, could be, and the sheer power of it, and he watched the scientists communicating with it, and some rushed away to do things.

The whole artifact looked a perfectly symmetrical black sphere, and scientists and archeologists shifted a ramp over to it, which had been used to climb on the artifact, and they lowered it to where the alien energy sphere was in its central region.

What surprised him was they were now able to go right up to the energy sphere region, and they knew they could, and they started putting equipment there, and he spotted scientists removing what looked like a highly advanced probe of some sort and taking it to it and he realized that they intended to send it in and investigate what was there.

While the scientists were away Cronenberg and the shuttle crew decided to take what might be their only opportunity to check it and they marched up the ramp to examine it, and stood in front of the region the alien energy sphere was, and examined it inches away, and its now motionlessly perfect surface, and he tried to detect anything from it but could not, and realized that it had to be what had taken the shuttle down, and he recalled his original thoughts of it when he had sensed it in the shuttle going towards the Antarctica, and he realized it was it!

The echoes of things the scientists said about it in their last conversations haunted his mind.

What the hell had he done? Why had he done it? Surely he should have just left the thing in the cavity! They had no idea what it was, and it could be the end of mankind!

He watched the probe and a robotic device they were maneuvering there!

It had to be some form of ancient voyager, which could very well be billions of years old, which they had only been able to check a few basic functions of, which nobody had shown any proper awareness of the function of.

Even though they had found a way to activate it could they finally find a way of finding out what it was for?

For some reason, without thinking, he felt the diamond in his spacesuit pocket.

He tried to communicate with the alien sphere like he had done when he had first found it in the cavity at the center of the hill and tried to find out what its function was and what it wanted.

He thought of all the occurrences and facts about it, as he tried to grasp something he had missed, and he felt its powerful energy, like it went out across space and somewhere else, with so much force that it even threatened to make space and time warp or completely rip away, and he wondered what damage the Earth could be subjected to.

A sudden explosion of energy blasted out at him and the other members of the shuttle crew, from the energy sphere, and left them stunned, and by its colossal power surrounding them, and they contemplated its vast dangers and that they could not escape.

The strength of it was staggering, and they plunged into its confines, hurtling into a black abyss, where only a strange faint existence existed, and an explosion of movement, frenzy of activity, located them at different points in space and time, making vast leaps across the cosmos, emerging in vast mind-bending star regions, with a capacity inconceivable, searching for something!

 

Part II

 

The Dyson Stargate

 

 

Chapter 1

 

The Black Hole Discovery

 

The shuttle crew astronauts entered a laboratory in their Mars base in their spacesuits, entering its vacuum, and they stood staggered with their mouths wide open, wondering what the hell was going on, as they observed a pulsating black hole, inside a chamber, surrounded by heavy equipment.

Commander Cronenberg was the first to spot the equipment was creating a powerful magnetic field, concentrated in the chamber, holding the black hole firmly in place, as it attempted to escape and expand, but only gave occasional swift surges and spins, and he listened to the leading scientists carrying out a series of experiments.

The magnetic fields they had originally been using had not been powerful enough to contain explosions and the discovery of the alien energy sphere had altered their research, and their research on it had come up with new findings, and new technology to create and manipulate magnetic fields, and they had found ways to create black hole particles, in high explosion particle accelerators.

They had been able to slow the particle size black holes disappearances with new more powerful and concentrated magnetic fields, to study, and had been able to alter and increase the magnetic fields to freeze them, keeping the miniature rips in space and time in existence, and they had found ways to create vast amounts of them, combining them, creating one large black hole, which they slowly increased in size to its current state.

Ever since their shuttle had crashed on Mars incredible discoveries had been emerging all around him!

When they had been drawn into the alien energy sphere blackness had engulfed Cronenberg and the five shuttle crew members as they had hurtled out the universe, into an abyss, and they had been found lying on the ramp going up to the energy sphere screen, and none of them had properly recalled what had happened later and why they had awakened there!

Back at the base the scientists had continued to question them, and had not let it go, as they were determined to get answers, as their attempts to communicate with the alien energy sphere now failed and they were unable to send anything into it.

They were getting desperate for answers, and other scientists were getting more and more desperate to get them from them, and they had done everything they could to bring their memories back.

It was incredible, and it was incredible that they had been carrying out experiments in the secret laboratory they were now at, which he had not heard anything about, from anywhere before, and he realized just how secretive the place was, and that they had not even allowed it to be built on the Earth, as it would have been found out by someone at some point!

They had been trying to create black holes and keep them in existence but had constantly been failing, and they had even used powerful particle accelerators and powerful explosions, and he believed that they had made holes in space and time but they had been unable to keep the gateways open.

The abnormal antics of the scientists there captivated him – mystifying him with the depth of their nervousness, and fear of something! They repetitively studied everything, with alarm – preparing themselves for some unknown event!

What were they going to do? Had something else been discovered, with their new experiments?

Suddenly a swift flash of light exploded out and a flickering beam blasted into the black hole’s sphere – silencing everyone. It vanished into its depths and they monitored it with equipment, and checked results.

The black hole, trapped in the middle of its chamber, was spinning swiftly, and he wondered again why there was a vacuum there, and they all had to wear spacesuits, and he recalled it was because the chamber and black hole were not covered by anything as the black hole would have sucked the atmosphere out the room.

Scientists wheeled out a large object, with the shape of a rocket, and he followed them and the five astronauts to a white line on the floor, marking the closest region they could approach the black hole, and they watched how powerful it was there, and with its powerful vibrations blasting through the floor.

One of the astronauts decisively asked the leading scientist there what it was and he turned and examined them, and gasped!

“A black hole probe!” he swiftly replied. “We are going to send it into its confines, and it is designed to return out its confines and give us accurate data of what’s there – and we’ll perhaps be able to use it to examine the outer universe, and what’s there!”

Cronenberg was surprised that they could send something into it, as it looked so dangerous and powerful, and he was sure that it could destroy anything in its confines.

A cable was also attached to the end of the probe, to help receive information and pull it out if it never emerged outwards itself, and he watched its forces pulling it into it, and they used equipment to shift it accurately into the black hole, and it motionlessly hovered over the floor.

The probe resembled some form of highly advanced black missile, and he examined it for damage, and for any signs of the powerful forces acting upon it as it approached the black hole.

With a loud blast, the probe launched and shot straight into its central region and vanished, and approximately a minute later it reappeared, after the completion of its mission, with it having traveled out the universe, and he watched scientists celebrating their success, and they rushed to their equipment to start their long research of what it found.

Cronenberg gasped at all the technology they were using and realized that they might be able to detect a hidden universe about them – and outer dimensions.

Its lethal appearance was now astonishing, and resembled a large black bubble of pure energy of unknown origins, buzzing wildly and dangerously, ready to discharge.

While they stood waiting for the completion of the mission, and any findings, he sensed something peculiar about the black hole and he kept his eyes there, and he listened to the five astronauts and scientists further out, with their captivating facts, through his spacesuit communicator.

He recalled things about black holes and one old theory that space was full of black holes from events like the big bang!

Suddenly he realized what was different about the black hole and that the vibrations from it, going through the floor, had altered, and he saw that the black hole now had a strange look, as though it was doing something, and he knew that something must be happening to it for the reaction to occur, and its shape started visibly vibrating, as if affected by a powerful pressure.

While he carefully listened and searched everything everywhere he noticed the other astronauts noticing it, and determinedly checking it, and he tried to detect what was happening first.

At the side of his spacesuit faceplate, while he watched and listened to them, he glimpsed its hideous black shadow expand across the floor, and horrific shape coming towards them, bursting out of its magnetic field, and he stood frigid as it exploded out, and in an instant they and the black hole vanished from the laboratory, and his last memory was of the laboratory erupting into a frenzy of activity as he hurtled into blackness, and them shooting through something, as if the entire universe shot by.

 

Chapter 2

 

The Extraterrestrial Force

 

Blackness engulfed them as they hurtled out the universe, through an abyss, and stars and galaxies shot by!

Startled last cries and conversations from them and the scientists swirled through Cronenberg’s mind, and tormented him!

Had what had happened actually happened, and where were they hurtling to? He had never seen and sensed so many stars and celestial objects, and emptiness in dark regions they entered, and so many stars glowing so brightly, and for the first time in his life he realized the vast depths the universe had.

Why had they not just left in the shuttle on another mission? Why did they have to have stayed and watched the scientists activate the black hole?

At times he felt something there! Something none human! A form of intelligence, far different from any form of intelligence he had ever encountered, and even of the alien artifact energy sphere, when he had discovered it in the cavity in the Martian hill.

It was as though it was trying to become part of them, but he could not detect it doing anything!

He had even unsuccessfully tried to find out information about the diamonds he had been looking for on Mars, and his treasure map, and the diamond he had found above the alien artifact energy sphere in the hill, directly over it, and what it was doing there!

He was now sure it did something, but he could not grasp what, and tried to examine it as a vast star constellation exploded across his spacesuit faceplate, dazzling him with brilliance and dangers.

For a brief moment he had sensed that there might be diamonds somewhere else on Mars, and that their long search for them could be fulfilled, and as they were blasted through the cosmos he watched the greatest ever wonders float by and he thought through what had occurred, and his group of astronauts, and shuttle he was the commander of, and them mapping the surface of Mars, advancing and testing their new 22nd century advanced technology, and their arrival at the unexplored Martian Antarctica when something powerful and strange had been detected there.

They had crashed at the Antarctica, after the encounter with an unidentified force, which they traced to the energy sphere and the alien artifact under it, and they had been left marooned!

From the start they knew something was buried away on Mars, but he had originally believed someone had built something there of colossal power, with powers beyond anything else they had ever encountered.

When rescued, and they arrived back at their Martian base, they checked out dead astronauts, which they found the bodies of, with a map, and checked why they were there, and discovered hundreds of declassified military and security service material buried away in an old library, where they answered some of their unanswered questions, and he found out about their search for diamonds there, discovered by a scientist searching for diamonds with a new highly advanced satellite, and they had returned there to look for them and he had discovered the alien energy sphere and artifact, and later a form of diamond on the hill over it.

It was something with tremendous powers, as ancient as the universe, and he had felt it had been waiting on their arrival on Mars since the beginning of the universe.

He tried to compare it with what he detected was there, and knew they were different and could not be connected.

At times he thought it was only a faint consciousness, which he could not understand, which never even seemed to check what they were or anything, and he still could not fully grasp what it was or anything, and he continued to study what was there, with interest, and he detected something else existed, which was not there, and he detected great danger there.

Explosions of radiance of powerful stars exploded about them stunning him, and they slightly spun, and a colossal whirlpool of lines magically formed around them, and he studied it for a long time and realized he had no proper bodily presence.

He seemed to vanish out of existence and was startled and saw that he was accelerating through a form of tunnel through something at hyper speed, and realized that streaks of light shooting passed him were powerful outer suns further out, blasting their radiance through its shield!

He fell through a gateway where there were stars everywhere, and he could not guess what the place was, and he realized that they were now moving outside the transportation field and he wondered if they could get trapped there, with decreasing oxygen supplies in their spacesuits.

 

Chapter 3

 

The Lost World in the Stars

 

A spectacular world stretched out below, where they reentered the universe, in an explosion of streaking lights, and the astronauts stood staggered, at the world, at what they had encountered, and them being so close to death and emerging so near the edge of a gigantic cliff face, going straight down to the ground.

For a few seconds Cronenberg clung to part of a large boulder behind him as they fully realized the rock under them was not as firm as they had thought, and what they had landed on the top of, and that it was a flat top of a massive rock pinnacle, towering over a mind-bending world, surrounded by a sky that would have startled any life form in the universe with its stars and phenomena, covering everywhere he looked, blasting their large shapes of radiance through the light blue sky.

He glared out with the others, looking everywhere, gasping at what they were on, and staring over the edge, at the depth of it, stretching down to what must be miles below, and he realized the extraordinary low gravity of the world, which allowed it to exist.

He was sure the world was a young one and that the pole shaped tower might have fallen down a long time ago if it had been the age of the Earth or Mars.

They soon started searching the top of the pinnacle looking for anything, and why they were there, and they found little, and they all walked separately about it searching everything they could, baffled by the lack of anything.

It was Rosenberg that noticed boulders with cut stone and showed them there could be actually an artificial structure below!

Most of them liked archeology, and the thought of searching ancient structures on alien worlds, and exploring new finds, and what past races would have been like.

The world below now looked like it had been frozen in time, as the sun was going into the horizon, and it was a fantastic surreal prehistoric times type world, and it conjured up great visions of the original primitive Earth, with its untouched environment.

The structure below was fascinating to him and Orwell as for the most of their lives they had wondered what aliens and their civilizations were like and buried away below them there was an ancient alien structure they could investigate, and he had fantasies of them finding something valuable that he could use if he ever returned to the Earth.

The place was fascinating, with rugged golden mountains and hills and shades of the starlight beaming everywhere, creating immense beams of colored lights streaking everywhere, and he tried to see if there were signs of life in the darkening landscape.

The giant pinnacle was tremendous, and he kept thinking that no sane alien could have built anything on it! Anything staying in it must have been mad or determined to avoid something immensely deadly on the world below!

It was also beyond comprehension how it could have stayed up and not crashed down below long ago, and he gasped at how they must have built it.

It looked dangerous and incapable of supporting itself, and looked impossible to climb. There were no paths visible that could have been used to climb it. It was so high up that he was sure that they would not be able to breathe properly when the atmosphere altered, and that they would have to put on their spacesuit helmets, and he made sure all their spacesuits were full of air, and that they filled their oxygen tanks from the atmosphere.

It was strange being surrounded by air, as they had been on Mars with their spacesuit helmets on outdoors for so long it felt like a like mistake being out in the open without their helmets on, and he watched how the men reacted, and some surely missed being on the Earth.

While he rested against the flat edge of a massive boulder next to Orwell and Rosenberg he examined the boulder in the vanishing sunlight and saw it was actually a meteorite and he realized the dangers of a world with so many stars, and being located in such a place, which he was sure was near the central part of a galaxy, and he examined the stone and debris on the ground like an archeologists, sifting through it, looking for anything of interest, and anything artificial, and he examined the sky in places that he had not examined before, and wondered what existed there and what other strange worlds there were to explore, and he started to realize he and the others were starting to like it there, and if they returned to the Earth that he would miss it, and the stars would never be the same again, and they would be empty.

In the distance he spotted an incredible immense meteorite crater with a strange mist cloud hovering over it, only filling its dent in the surface of the world, fitting itself into its shape.

The atmosphere grew slightly thinner as it grew darker and he watched their faces alter and their breathing grow heavier.

When the night emerged, and the blue sky covering the stars vanished, they all stood staggered, examining stars covering the whole sky everywhere with their eyes wide open, from the immensity and colossal dangers facing them, and in the end they sat back in their spacesuits staring up at the incredible sky and stars everywhere, which would have had every astronomer on the Earth going crazy examining and documenting for the rest of their lives, and he wondered what the hell the most highly advanced telescopes back on the Earth would show existed in its depths, and what all the undiscovered things would be, and how it would alter the way they thought of the universe!

The sky was truly unbelievable and he spotted one of the astronauts in the distance now standing filming a section of the sky, and their eyes went on the region trying to see what he was filming, and Cronenberg spotted it, and it was tremendous, and worth being there for, and it had to be the biggest galaxy he had ever seen, and he was astonished that he could see it with his eyes.

Suddenly he heard someone shouting in the distance from a hidden area, and they recognized it was Stanley, the main shuttle pilot, calling them over to him, to what he had discovered, and they all leapt onto their feet and rushed over to him, wondering what it was, and what else could be so fascinating.

They approached him at the same time, with their mouths open, seeing all the stars blazing out everywhere around them, and some racing across the sky, and lights shifting about everywhere, and occasionally making them shudder at the power and immensity of them, and the dangers there were there.

Stanley was bent over something, buried away in darkness, and Cronenberg spotted what looked like a boulder lifted up and saw there was a massive gap going downwards where it was, and they saw what looked like a form of steps going downwards.

He did not know whether he was happy with the find and wondered if they intended to go down into it, and if he should stop them going down into at night, as the dangers of the place looked immense, and as he watched on he actually saw a large planet visibly going into a nearby large sun.

Before he said anything Orwell rushed forward, and announced, “I’m going down! Who’s going?”

Straightaway he knew he would have to go too, and yet he wanted to go down, but he was unsure if they should go at night, but he did not have any evidence that there was anything there, but it was an extraterrestrial world, far out of their region of space, and they had not even visited any other solar systems or anything like there, and they had no idea what could exist there, and if they returned to the Earth they might never get the chance again!

 

Chapter 4

 

The Alien Structure

 

It was spectacular, as the world rotated around its stars grew in immensity, as the central region of the galaxy went directly overhead, everywhere, glowing brighter, glowing all around them, blinding them in regions.

They stood at the edge of the entrance going downwards, still contemplating the dangers, and it was like standing on the top of the world, as though the world below were stretching away out into infinity all around their sides, and he wondered what kind of aliens had lived in such a place, and he realized that he might soon find out!

Nothing yet had properly showed what their civilization and technology was like, and he wondered if it was the remains of the last civilization there, and he wondered if something there had destroyed their civilization, and he gasped at the height they were above the landscape of the world as he spotted the sheer drop of the pinnacle in the dark, going off into the distance below.

The long day made them slow and sleepy and they slowly prepared themselves to enter the structure below, on their first search of an alien civilization.

A gray shade appeared at his side on the horizon and he studied it and realized that it was a large moon appearing from below the horizon, and he consistently checked the differences in it to Mars and other worlds he had seen in the solar system, and he watched in awe as a massive asteroid blazed across the sky in front of them in slow motion, and they stopped what they were doing and listened to it in the distance and watched the massive blazing ball of flames intensely light everything up about them and finally blast into a distant hill with such force it exploded apart, and a cloud of smoke go up.

Its shockwave blasted out with such force its blast went straight across the world, as they heard its distant blast, and eventually the shudder hit the pinnacle violently, and making them gasp and fall over, shaking the stones around, giving them thoughts of the whole pinnacle collapsing down, and Cronenberg finally realized that it had to be firm as it would have fallen a long time ago, especially with deep impact craters nearby.

Eventually everything calmed down and he stamped on the surface to check its safety again, and wondered what form of structure was below, and what thickness its roof was, and he decided to enter it first, before Orwell, and he eagerly explored a ramp of stone descending below, and marched down into its darkness searching the ground, and dirt there, and testing its safety and if it could withstand his weight, and as he descended further he turned his spacesuit light on, and watched Orwell and the others follow him down, into its hideous depths, wondering why they had not just left it until the morning.

They were all forms of scientists as well as astronauts, and explorers, and had been on Mars to see space and another world, and now they were living out their dreams of exploring an authentic alien world, and a highly advanced civilization, and they examined everything about them and checked the descending tunnel and how the rock had been cut, and how perfect it was, and he brushed his glove over it feeling its smoothness, and knew something had powerfully cut the hole straight into the rock.

Orwell observed the peculiar shape of the structure, and the tunnel not being perfectly square but with other shapes, and considered if had been designed for looks or there was another reason for it and noticed there were signs that something a long time ago had been there and had left vague prints buried under deep dust on the ground, and he marched downwards.

It was strange, as none of them thought anything had been there and yet they were prepared for an encounter with something else below and he wondered if it had been the energy sphere and alien artifact in the hill, what they encountered in the gateway, or was it the strangeness of the place and why they had been put there, as it was like they were put there for a reason and he sensed there was something.

After they had checked an area of rock, which looked different from any natural rock that they had seen, they marched on, and jerked when a heavy thud shook the whole pinnacle around, from another deep meteorite impact, and he continued at a slow pace considering how the thing had managed to stay up in such a place, and he recalled the meteorites on its above structure and wondered what it would be like living on such a place, and how many deaths and injuries people would have.

After a few more minutes he realized their enthusiasm had increased in discovering what was there, and it was now as though it was an ultimate treasure, and some form of treasure they were going to find, which was buried away there.

What was strange was that he had watched things moving over the surface of the stone, and had just dismissed them as insects, but he realized that they were not just insects but were alien insects on an alien world and he suddenly stopped and examined a few with Orwell, and they stood speechless, as the insects there were unknown to them, with characteristics that they had not seen anywhere. A yellow piece of flying gel hung in the air by some means they could recognize, hanging in the air, even after many close examinations they could not pinpoint how it remained in the air, and he believed it had thousands of miniature wings or something similar that allowed it to hover and propel it forward that could not be seen by them.

A distant wind occasionally howled strangely around through the top of the tunnel behind them, as it was caught by gusts.

Eventually the stone tunnel finished and they entered an artificial structure and they examined it trying to find what it was made of and found it was too hard to even scrape a sample off, and were unable to realize what it was.

The inside of the structure was incredible and it at first looked like they were encountering something from Earth’s early past, and the inside of some form of ancient pyramid and an earlier version of what the aliens had, but its look altered the further in they went and he realized that it was far more advanced, even though they had not come across any of their technology and only forms of advanced corridors and forms of rooms, and yet they had not seen anything of the aliens themselves and what they had.

For a swift instant he felt a strange feeling that something had detected them there from some further in region, where he was sure there was some highly advanced structure and technology, and he was amazed that Orwell and the others behind him had also picked it up, and were reacting simultaneously with him, and he even saw them discussing it and something, and he wondered what the hell it was, and if they should have turned back earlier, and he wondered how they could profit from such an encounter, and he spotted Orwell holding a weapon, from his spacesuit.

 

Chapter 5

 

The Astronaut

 

As they entered a large chamber Cronenberg felt shudders and deep vibrations going through the floor and walls and his eyes fell upon a large sphere object spinning with tremendous force, trapped in a form of cage, clearly using tremendous forces to keep it there, and they got to a point near it, staggered at the dangers it had, and watched the power of it, like it could destroy anything put against it, and he watched the other astronauts and started to notice their reactions to the dangers and that they were going to keep away from it, and it looked as if it had recently altered in some way, and he wondered if it had been there the amount of time he thought it had been, and where it was getting its power from, and considered if it was a new source of immense power and what it would be worth!

Gusts of wind occasionally howled about in the chamber in front of them, as air was caught by its forces, and he kept wondering if it created power, which was used by its creators as a power source, and he considered if it could be the reason it was there, and that it was so dangerous it was put there on top of the pinnacle, and had connections going below.

Yet he could sense it was more, and that they could have been put there for a reason!

The antics of the astronauts captivated him more and more – mystifying him with the depth of their unsaid thoughts! Orwell wondered around the chamber examining everything he found, repetitively looking for controls to it or something else, and he realized he might be intending to do something, at some point!

Suddenly, the reactions of the sphere altered, and he sensed something had happened and he felt a shiver run through him as he felt massive shudders of energy blasting through it, and he turned and realized that Orwell had activated something, and he slowly backed away from it, as it looked more and more deadly and pulsated with violent energy surges, and looked and sounded on the brink of something, or exploding!

None of them spoke and he considered what it really was and how it was formed and he believed that they should start leaving the chamber, but he never knew what direction to go in. Should they go back up to the top of the pinnacle or continue going down, and maybe get trapped below if there was an explosion.

He saw how big it really was, as it expanded out. Its size was huge and like a massive ball of different energies.

Suddenly Rosenberg called out, “What’s that?”

Cronenberg spotted what looked like the shape of something inside it, as though a life form was there, and after a long time of carefully examinations he realized he and the others were unable to properly see it and identify it.

It looked powerful and deadly! It also looked like some form of freak of nature!

He offered the others to give vague explanations, even if fantasies, and they occasionally gave detailed explanations of what could be occurring and Stanley finally explained that particle accelerators experiments on the Earth had now had forces that were able to accelerate particles to velocities beyond anything before, but he was unable to connect the occurrences, and Orwell finally claimed it could be a form of time warp, and could have forces like intense magnetic fields holding it.

Cronenberg realized that they never had anything like it, unless it was kept secret, and he compared it to the energy sphere and the artifact back on Mars.

At one point the thing looked entirely deadly and was pulsating with energy blasts, which looked and sounded on the brink of doing something.

At times they spotted it looked like it turned vaguely translucent and they saw the shape of something inside it, and after along time of carefully examinations and discussions they believed they saw a life form inside it, in some suspended state, in some form of rest, and they stood confused, wondering if they could be on the brink of making a proper first contact situation.

It looked powerful, and deadly! But he could recognize what it was or what it could do, and kept glaring at it trying to get a clue.

At one point Stanley moaned loudly, “What are we doing here? If this thing is as dangerous as it looks …”

His reply surprised him, and he wondered what their reply would be to it, and he allowed them to reply.

“It could be of great value to us!” Orwell replied, firmly. “We were surely put on this pinnacle for a reason … And this is all there is here! It has fascinating properties, and I believe it is not as dangerous as it seems! There would be signs of something having happened before if it had …”

Cronenberg just agreed with him, and examined it in a glance, and replied, “We have been investigating it with everything we have …!”

“The artifact may exist in other dimensions?” Mitchell, the shuttle flight engineer, replied, surprising Orwell, and Cronenberg recalled recent stuff about investigations into other dimensions on the Earth, and he tried to recall what the outcome had been, and realized it had mainly been theories about things.

They all sat down and rested against an area of the chamber wall, at a more distant position, and they started trying to get some rest and sleep, and when Cronenberg finally fell asleep he was soon awakened by Rosenberg giving a loud gasp, making him swiftly awake, and he looked into the sphere and saw a man standing near the center of the sphere and he also gave a loud gasp himself, and he kept trying to see properly what was there, and he finally went silent, and was sure it was a humanoid alien.

The being was in a central denser region, and the whole sphere was turning brighter and louder, and it started shaking everything about them, and it even started knocking them furiously about, and they fell over, and while he was considering evacuating the chamber a sudden shockwave blasted out from it and through the whole structure, throwing them over dangerously, and he heard a distant rumble of rocks falling off the outside pinnacle.

Suddenly everything turned silent and the bright light vanished, and they started to recover, and check the damage, and he noticed Orwell dramatically talking to Mitchell and Cronenberg checked where they were looking and realized that the energy bubble had returned to normal and that a being had appeared from inside it and was standing in front of them, wearing a human spacesuit, and he immediately recognized it, to his horror, and it was the astronaut that he had seen on Mars, which had chased him into the cavity in the hill with a gun, where he had found the alien energy sphere and alien artifact.

 

Chapter 6

 

Anders

 

One of the biggest surprises, after seeing the astronaut emerging, had been when the astronaut removed the spacesuit faceplate, and revealed his true identity, and Cronenberg had been staggered and stumped, as the astronaut was Anders, one of the two astronauts who had crashed and died on Mars, trying to get the diamonds!

He had seen Anders’s skeleton, lying on Mars, staring up at the stars, and when he had seen him standing in front of him he had been totally staggered and had just stood staring, and Orwell had been baffled, and Rosenberg had been dumbfound too, as he had only seen Anders’s skeleton!

For a few minutes they actually stood considering the unthinkable and that they were standing in front of a ghost!

How had he managed to appear in the places he had seen him as an astronaut in a spacesuit, and why was he the same age as he had been, and he would have been dead a long time ago, going by what year he had crashed in.

Anders finally examined them confused, and examined everything about him surprised, and finally asked them what he was doing there, and they just stood staring at him dumbfound, and considering all the possible explanations.

The whole affair seemed to be building up to it – with their space shuttle being brought down by a mysterious force, the discovery of Anders in the crashed space vehicle, right next to where they had crashed, the astronaut that had been haunting him, and the discovery of the alien energy sphere, and the eventual discovery of the alien artifact buried below, under the ground below the hill, the explosion of the whole hill, and their trip through the universe, and being found below it not knowing how they got there, and the mysterious discovery of the laboratory black hole and it exploding out and taking them there.

They were positive the black hole had connected to someone’s gateway, and that they were deliberately taken to the incredible world, and now they had found Anders there, alive and in the same state as he had been on Mars.

The place startled Anders and he had never seen anything like it, and he could recall nothing other than what he was sure was him dieing on Mars, watching the Earth in the sky, and he recalled encountered something alien and it taking him away, and he had no recollection of meeting Cronenberg or shooting at him.

Cronenberg watched him in partial horror and amazement! Astonished that he was alive! Something he had not even thought of! He had thought of him and his map many times over since finding his skeleton, and especially when he had been in the Mars base library, investigating him and where the diamonds were, and he could only watch him, examining him.

He looked slightly different, from his skeleton and photos, but he knew it was him, and he wondered if Anders could help him!

He noticed Rosenberg could hardly believe it was him and kept examining him and trying to fit things together, to explain something he could not grasp, and it surprised Anders that the scientist with him, who had found the diamonds with the satellite, was not there, and Cronenberg realized that he looked more disappointed in that fact than anything else.

Cronenberg could not grasp what had taken him away on Mars, as his descriptions of it were fascinating, and he realized it had to have been the force that had landed them and he had encountered within the energy sphere, and he realized that they had not fully contacted it, and that it could have two identities, as it had to have put Anders on Mars as a form of ghost as the astronaut with the gun, which had shot at him and nearly killed him.

He was unsure how dangerous it was, as it had done many dangerous things to them.

Anders started believing that he had been transported there through a vortex and had religious beliefs of what had occurred, to their surprise! He surely had thought he had gone into his own place in the afterlife but was unsure where the hell he was, in heaven or hell, and they watched him praying to be saved.

Yet after what they had been through there, and all that had happened everywhere, some of the crew even looked like copying him, but he thought better of it.

One of the problems that faced them now was there was hardly any food, and the stuff they had was running out, which was mainly emergency rations in special pockets in their spacesuits, and they were tired and had not slept properly!

So after they had all slept they carried out a great deal of examinations of the structure they were in, but found little, and seemed mainly to be some sort of base, and they investigated the sphere of energy as far as they could, but still found little!

None of them could explain much, as it never even fitted into any of their fantasies! They were more confused than he had ever been, as he no longer just ignored all the mysteries and he just could not explain things, with anything that he could now accept, and why they had gone through the vortex and black hole in the laboratory, which was an incredible piece of luck, and Anders did not explain anything for them either!

His secretive questioning of Anders about the map, when the others were away searching under the structure, gave little other than the fact he had believed the diamonds had been there, and had partially suspected they were elsewhere when the scientist with him kept suggesting it, which he was unsure of, but he was sure that he had been hiding things and that he had not been fully positive that they existed, and had been confused about many things! He must have been the only person in the history to have such an occurrence occur to him and find himself in such a place and have no way to return to the world after such a long time!

Anders never recognized anything there and kept wondering where the structure was, and why they all acted strangely to the outside world, and why they kept talking of the lower world, and he even surprised them by claiming he had been put there to start over again and repent, in another attempt at entering an afterlife.

Anders spent most of his time studying everything that he met with in fascination, and they confused him by their reactions and that they might be going to encounter aliens visiting there.

Their investigations of finding a way down to the ground and world below were useless, and they were convinced that they had used another means to get there and they tried finding it, but it proved useless, and they only had the energy sphere, where Anders had appeared from, and most of them believed something was there, and had put them there for a reason.

 

Chapter 7

 

The Exit

 

Golden radiances of the morning beamed straight across the top of the pinnacle, and created an immense shadow of the pinnacle’s shape stretch across the landscape below for many miles, pointing to the opposite horizon, where the nighttime darkness vanished.

The top of the pinnacle was the same except a sphere of blackness was floating in midair over the central region, which had just been found there by them, and all the shuttle crew and Anders were there, and Anders was the most curious, and strolled around it examining its shape, confused, and was staggered at the outside world he had not seen, and regularly stood with his mouth wide open watching stars of colossal size doing strange things.

The sphere had clearly recently appeared there and nobody there could account for it being there, and Rosenberg, who had found it, had thought the sphere had some form of intelligence, which they still had not proven to be not, or anything.

Cronenberg watched Anders, still amazed at him, and with horrific thoughts, realizing what was there could pull virtually anything out on them, and he was amazed that there definitely were diamonds on Mars, and Anders had confirmed it, and the diamond or crystal he had was not it, and he was now sure that the scientist, with Anders, had been going to check it, and he wondered again why Anders had been put below in the structure, and thought over what Anders had said about it.

They never knew where they were but at least they had Anders, and lots of information he had about the scientist’s discovery of them, and he wondered if they could return.

Looking at the top of the pinnacle it was clear that something had flattened it with its incredible weight, and he could not grasp if it was deliberately created or something had happened there!

Had something of immense weight, like a large solid meteorite, smashed into it?

Their search of the structure below was useless, and the sphere there did little, and they were unable to activate it again, and he was sure there were actually objects inside the pinnacle keeping the pinnacle up and stopping it falling.

Had something smashed a region off the top of the pinnacle away and had whatever was there held the rest of the tower and structure from being damaged and smashed away.

The hideous condition of the world below was now even more obvious and astounding, and had been subjected to incredible damage. He even liked being on the tower and finding its wonders, and he knew they would even miss being there, if they escaped from there, and he wondered if there was a way to create a gateway there – and some day sell holidays to there, to see the amazing world!

They were all now positive the sphere there was not from there and had appeared there for a reason, and they waited for something to happen, and when it did it surprised them with its swiftness and unexpectedness and he glided away, with the others, out of the universe, and they shot through blackness, as they left the universe, and stars shot by in streaks as they blasted through the gateway, voyaging away.

 

Chapter 8

 

The Circle of Mirrors

 

All the Astronauts gasped, when they came to, lying across the ground, looking around them, and at a circle of mirrors surrounding them.

Cronenberg leapt onto his feet first, staggered at missing what had happened, trying to recall losing consciousness, and he joined some of the others, and cleaned dust away from his spacesuit faceplate, and examined what the circular region they were in, and the mirrors evenly going around its radius, and he saw the circular ground was made of some strange alien material, and covered over in dust, and it seemed to connect the mirrors.

He examined what the strange mirrors were, from the central region, watching them go around him in a perfect circle, and felt like he was being watched, and not just from through the mirrors themselves, which he sensed and knew were far more, and he eventually moved behind the mirrors and saw that the mirrors were not visible there, and there was nothing there, and he stood considering what they were, as the entire circle was like some highly advanced device, and he even considered if magic existed and that they were magical.

Further out from the circle of mirrors he realized it was another pinnacle, and walked around its edge, and it was identical to the last one, but the colossal pinnacle was on top of a colossal mountain, and there was no way to get down, and they were trapped again.

The surrounding world and sky was also staggering and Cronenberg stood with his mouth open staring at a vast world like Saturn, with massive rings, stretching into the atmosphere of the world they were on, and the Saturn world dangerously covered most of the southern horizon and its rings went across the eastern and western horizons.

The world was either doomed to destruction or had some phenomenon holding the worlds apart!

The astronauts lifted their faceplates when they realized there was air there and Cronenberg gasped at the smell of peculiar gases, and some of the astronauts filmed the world with their spacesuit cameras, and examined the strange mirrors up close, and walked through them from behind, proving they were not there from behind, and at a close distance from the front saw they were not mirrors but something else reflecting light.

The sun of the world was the only normal thing there, except the world’s orbit of it was far faster, and it was racing into the horizon, and the sky was swiftly turning darker!

As the night sky emerged, and blue sky vanished, they watched large meteorites blasting out of space everywhere in the distance, in the southern horizon, scattering beams of bright light, and he saw that it was in fact the merging of two solar systems, being pulled together, and the world’s solar system had been damaged by it, and one of its major planets, the Saturn world, was being pulled into it, and on one of the horizons he discovered the cause, and that they were at the center of a galaxy and were being pulled into a black hole, and he started spotting more and more of the destruction it had done, and he saw the whole sky full of debris from destroyed worlds and suns.

 

Chapter 9

 

The Haunted World

 

At night the mirrors of the circle of mirrors altered into different and altering views of clusters of gateways, going back into them in lines into what looked like infinity.

In the end they chose to enter one, which left them staggered, as they walked through and shot through an infinity of gateways, going back in lines everywhere, and they were all entirely different, and they had never seen anything like it.

They entered one with more and shot into a colossal dome, the size of a solar system, full of gateways everywhere, with views of incredible places and things, and they were able to randomly choose the most interesting.

Once they emerged into it they immediately became trapped there, in a dark strange wood, with altered trees, freezing in deep snow, where they spotted strange dark figures hiding behind trees, examining them, while mysterious lights startled them, and they heard them occasionally violently smash things about them, but they had weapons in their spacesuits.

What staggered Cronenberg the most was that they never knew how to return, and as they rushed away, they held their belief that they would be saved once again and that there would be an eventual conclusion, but the snow grew thick and shrouded everything everywhere, creating a mind-bending landscape, while a massive moon swiftly emerged above, swiftly orbiting the world, and they soon became too exhausted to recognize anything.

It was shocking how lost they were, but the moonshine showed them the strange mind-bending landscape ahead!

The sounds of the life forms and other strange things hidden away there became dangerous and astonishing, and at times they came screaming out of the dark endless alien wood, and also through what sounded like shafts in the ground somewhere, and with a dangerous fury that stunned Cronenberg, and no matter how much they tried their thoughts never seemed to properly achieve stable recognitions.

For some reason he began to believe there were supernatural regions in the universe, and that they had entered one version, and he was surprised that the others in the shuttle crew mentioned it openly, as if they knew he had known it, and he tried to grasp what the place and places were for, and considered all the gateways and their destinations, trying to grasp what the place was doing there. He was sure that they had discovered far more than they realized and that it could prove the existence of colossal magical abilities and energies and he analyzed everything in a far greater degree, searching for an answer.

Out of nowhere a colossal light emerged from the undergrowth, and pulsated like a living thing, magically illuminating the deep lifeless snow and trees everywhere they looked, and seemed to silence the noises and life forms surrounding them.

The light allowed them to see everything across their front more, and they spotted what was a structure buried away in the trees, and Cronenberg realized that it was an alien form of castle, buried and hidden deep away in the landscape and wood, and he examined it astounded at its immense size and how it could be built there, and he wondered if the whole world was covered by the trees and wood and if the builders normally built their structures there, and he had a sensation that the structure had colossal power, which would eventually leave him staggered!

The deep snow and cold turned to a nightmare, and their legs sank into stinking vegetation and muck that started to resemble quicksand, and another light emerged deep in the undergrowth and pulsated like a living form, magically illuminating the snow and trees going everywhere, and they increased their speed.

The castle became the most blissful thing he could think of as he saw the dangers there and it radiating through the wood like a spellbinding castle, and they forced themselves on.

Its appearance, amidst the hell there, was staggering! It was like a dream phantom castle glowing in shining moonlight, like it was magically glowing.

Behind them the shifting lights of glowing life forms became vicious and darted about everywhere in the blackness and landscape, and Cronenberg thought he saw ghost images of intelligent humanoids doing hideous things.

 

Chapter 10

 

The Lost Castle

 

At the front of the colossal extraterrestrial castle structure, when there were no more trees, and they were about to reach its large entrance, the whole structure lit and radiated through the whole region, mass of trees and foliage, silencing what was there to their astonishment, with its colossal powers, and they examined its colossal size going out into the distance all around them and its height going away high over the trees, where a thin fog slowly got thicker and engulfed it.

Vivid streaks of colored lightning exploded all over the top cloud region, and they saw the peculiar sky surrounding the fog, surrounding the castle, and it altered like a form of atomic explosion had blasted out, and massive blinding colossal stars further out blasted out their bright light.

Entering a veil of mist, forming at its entrance, created sensations that they were being summoned there, for some hideous purpose, and they blindly entered the ghost oasis, out on the edge of reality, on the bounds of what lay beyond the universe, bordering death, near the depths of hell, with them seeking sanctuary and reality.

On their entrance, and exit from the hideous jungle, the entrance closed behind them, trapping then there, and the interior illuminated it dim light, and Cronenberg heard vicious heavy beast sounds furiously exploding out outside, clearly making last attempts at threatening to destroy them.

Somewhere over to the side of structure they heard powerful movements rapidly taking something near them, and they wondered what was protecting them, and had stopped them doing anything to them, and Cronenberg gasped and saw a faint colossal ghost shape in an area of deep blackness inside the structure, further along a corridor, and it altered to demon shape floating through the darkness, snapping massive jaws, before it vanished.

The situation was bad and Cronenberg wondered what the hell the place was doing there, and why such a place should and could even exist, without destroying itself!

What the hell had built such a place? Should they leave the place until the morning, and they had rested, before exploring anything? Was there even a morning there, as there was no sign that daylight existed? There could be great dangers there, but they could move to a region where they never existed, and survive!

They had to survive! There was air there! There was life forms and vegetation for food, and they had shelter! Something had to be giving the world heat and light as the trees existed, and by their looks he was sure that it was winter, and that they could survive, and that someday they could find an exit gateway!

 

Chapter 11

 

The Ultimate Existence

 

Cronenberg flicked his eyes open in an instant and wondered where the hell he was, and could not recall how he got there, and he recalled the last memories he could recall, which were of them going through the outer jungle, and he was left staggered, and for a few seconds, for some reason, he never knew what he was!

Was he actually a normal life form of the universe, as he had always thought, or was he a strange phenomenon?

He was sure he was being examined by one of the real inhabitants of the universe, and he gasped and jumped upwards, and checked the air supply in his spacesuit and realized it was low, and realized that he had been lying in a sort of black room with nothing else in it except a strange alien doorway and window.

He had no recognition of what was there or where he was in the castle, or even that he was in one of the rooms in the castle, and he tried to recall more of his last memories, and he started to walk over to the window in the room to see what was there, and he was staggered again and stood upright and turned on his spacesuit light and examined the strange empty room about him, wondering how the hell he got there, and wondered if it was caused by his exhaustion the night before, or his lack of proper food, or the severe cold and snow falling outside, or was something there in the castle influencing him.

He recalled surreal dreams, which had been incomprehensible and he wondered if they had actually been dreams! They never made sense, and one in particular had been made up of nothing but shimmering lights and freakish sounds and him being whirled about somewhere, similar to being in a colossal vortex, where he never thought or even did anything, and had been like he never existed and just experienced what was there.

Suddenly he recalled his first dream and he realized something had been trying to make contact with him! Something strange! Something that was not physically part of the universe! Something put there, to do something he could not grasp!

He detected it had a purpose to do something! Something he could not grasp, and he wondered if he had missed something or if it had missed out something!

He then recalled the thing in the gateway, and the thing in the energy sphere and alien artifact, and he wondered if it was the same thing! Yet he had no proof that it was or was not, and he wondered what it wanted, and he realized that he could discover what it was all about, and he went over and over it and realized it had suggested something else existed. Did it want to contact it or was it doing something?

Suddenly he recalled something and gasped and nearly fell over, and remained silent, and realized that it was warning them of something, and that something similar to itself was there and was checking them out, and was of great danger!

What could exist in the gateways and be of great danger? What was its purpose?

He gasped at what they could have encountered in supernatural gateways in the circle of mirrors, and the dangers that they were playing with, and he thought of some of the most highly advanced deadly races that they could have encountered, and he wondered how the hell they could get back to Mars without entering them.

When he looked up at the window he was amazed that the sky was now everywhere, and dark and full of strange stars, and saw that the jungle was no longer there, and he looked below and saw thick mist, and looked out into the horizon, and the mist went out into the horizon, with no sign of the jungle, and he saw that the castle was floating over clouds away over the world below, and he saw the whole galaxy arranged around the castle.

He was sure it was in another dimension and on the world below, and he noticed the stars there were entirely different from in the jungle, and noticed the castle went far higher above, and he marched out the room into a long, endless corridor, and he heard the other astronauts talking away in the distance, and he marched towards them, and he wondered how the hell he had got there and had not remembered anything, and he recalled the horrors that they had witnessed at the bottom of the castle, and he thought of the dangers.

Suddenly a flash of red flashed, out of nowhere, and he realized that an enormous blood red devil shape had shot through one of the walls in a room, like the wall was mist, and that it was furiously searching for something, with vengeance, and its speed seemed to be increasing, and the wall seemed to alter and glow in flickers after it had left, and he heard it rage on into the distance.

It surprised him as he detected it was different from everything else they had encountered, and it was strange as it was evil but seemed to be different and have a purpose, and he even sensed madness, as though it had altered from something into something else, and that its madness or something was to blame, and for no reason he realized it, or what had put it there, or what was behind its existence, and it was far more powerful than anything else there, and it had become dangerous because of some occurrence, and he was sure the thing in the gateway had been protecting them from it, and that they could be destroyed by it.

In the distance of the corridor he caught glimpses of its distant lightning materializations in flashes of red, as it shifted around, and he wondered why an ultimate existence would give such an appearance, but he realized it was somehow mad, and had even taken a red energy formation with devil features, straight out of the realms of hell, and realized that they were confronting something that could believe it was a devil, and he watched its giant demon shape glowing, altering, within hideous energy surges, while it stood further down the corridor, and stared straight at him, and he watched it consistently stop itself vanishing.

It was a freak of nature, and he wanted to handle it as he thought he had no choice, as he knew he could not escape!

In ancient times on the Earth people witnessing it would have either just freaked out and ran and escaped for their lives and later given accounts of confronting the most deadly powerful evil from the deepest depths of hell or would have perhaps have been brutally killed, and their bodies would have perhaps been found drained of blood or energy, with their remains found in hideous forms, and perhaps found so unrecognizable that they would have thought they were not human.

He rested against a wall listening to the shuttle crew in the distance discussing something he could not grasp, and sometimes he saw the thing lurking in dark shadows of the castle corridors, doing unseen hideous things, and examining the formations.

At times it seemed to detect their thoughts with curiosity and tried to understand what they were and it seemed to detect strange forms of energy or energy sources from somewhere and alter.

The thing seemed damaged to him, and perhaps mad, but it was by far the most advanced existence he had encountered, and for some reason he wondered what had created it, and was left staggered, and he studied its vast unstable energy surges, sensing they went across vast outer dimensions, and it was part of something incredible, which had so much force and powers that he was sure it could destroy space and time.

 

Chapter 12

 

The Moon Encounter

 

A moon appeared about them, going out into a distant horizon, and Cronenberg stood staggered with the shuttle crew, wondering what had happened, as he had been just about to approach the thing in the corridor, to get to the room the others were in, and he seemed to enter a gateway with them, and he felt something was playing with them, and he had a strange feeling that there would be far greater danger than there and the moon, and he checked the stars above, and how unusual they were, and that they could alter so much, and he realized that it could even be another galaxy, and that they could have instantaneously jumped from one galaxy to another, which fascinated him, with him being an astronaut!

Orwell, the shuttle science officer and medic, slowly shifted over to him, looking more disorientated and baffled than he had ever seen him, or any of the shuttle crew.

Even when they had crashed and were in front of the alien artifact discovery, or any of the occurrences, as their trip through space was so mind-bending and deadly!

“What now?” he moaned, to Cronenberg, and the others, breaking the deep intense silence between them.

Cronenberg could do little but shrug, and studied the alien sun that was just over the horizon, and they all stood staring about them confused and Cronenberg checked the stars again trying to identify anything in them, and realized how unusual they were!

He gasped as he looked over the moon surface in another direction and considered what lurked there, and he altered his faceplate’s shading of the sunlight.

Sunlight in space was blasting through blinding him with its intensity and he quickly altered it. The conditions of the moon were incredible and he never thought that he would confront anything more than Mars! And he gasped at the temperature his spacesuit recorded there!

Nothing added up now! Why had it left them at such a place? Yet were they a danger to it?

He considered why and if they were a danger to it and why! Yet he recalled there were two! But he was unsure if it was true, and what the hell they could do about invisible highly advanced aliens!

There had to be far more behind it! Surely they would profit little from what they were doing!

A sudden explosion from what seemed a fired missile made a tremendous explosion, but lacked sound, as there was no atmosphere, but the damage and blast of stone was immense and shuddered through the moon’s surface and knocked them about, and went across the ground, and Orwell leapt back on his feet from where he had sat, and rushed close to him.

“Someone seems to have fired some form of energy beam!”

It was strange as it looked as though it was a missile and that it was intended to hit or scare them and all he could do was get them to rush over to a hiding place nearby, behind a large boulder.

They were shrouded in moon dust, after they managed to cover themselves from being seen, and he realized that they might be able hide in the deep regions of moon dust, as they had oxygen supplies, and he gasped again at what would happen when they ran out, and he just rested back and left it, and he considered if some alien species would find his remains there one day, frozen and in an unaltered condition, and be their only alien discovery, like them finding aliens in spacesuits dead on the moon, and he wondered if he would end up in an alien museum.

The landscape was gray everywhere and was untouched by water or life, and was empty and hollow with no sound, and had a deep haunting silence in its environment that went further than any desolate snow landscapes. He was on another world with another star! An empty lost world lost in the depths of space, absent of life, and a dead world.

Something startled him, over at his side, as he dreamily listened to the others giving their thoughts on what had happened, and he and Orwell struggled to grasp what was there, and focus on anything, and they altered their faceplates back to normal, for normal levels of light, and he saw what looked like a sheet of blackness, which had not been there before, and he heard Orwell gasp at it.

Orwell leapt on his feet, and held his hands over his eyes, shading them, and shouted, “It’s the gateway … It has to be the only way to leave …”

They watched him rush away, attempting to run, but making vast leaps over the low gravity world, and they decided to follow him at their normal speed, and as they approached it Cronenberg was tempted to run to it but avoided it, and wondered what the hell would happen next, and gasped at what the future would be and if they could survive the encounter.

 

Chapter 13

 

The Moon Station

 

Echoes of the astronauts’s startled cries and the remains of their last conversations swirled through his mind, and he attempted to recognize what was actually occurring about him as he exploded out the universe, and he tried give himself a proper scientific account of it this time, especially if he survived!

It looked as if the gateway had followed them to the moon, but it had been there already and he could not grasp why it had left them there and returned.

He sensed again that something was chasing them, and it had not properly detected them and that it was attempting to check what they were, and he knew that something else was there was covering what they were and their presence, and he wondered if it had put them there and if it was why it had put them there, and he sensed there was a powerful reason and it might tell them.

The universe seemed to explode with energy about him and he sensed that they were the chosen ones and that something incredible would occur that was one of the greatest occurrences to occur since the beginning of the universe, and that it had been created for it, and that it would one day replace the other that was chasing them through the universe.

For some reason his mind seemed to remember it as though it had been put there to stay there, and he knew that he would always remember it, no matter what occurred.

Powerful stars exploded through colossal black tunnel shooting through the universe, stunning him with its brilliance and majestic creation, and a colossal vortex of trillions of straight lines magically blasted by, and he studied it for a long time and realized that he had no proper bodily presence, and he slowly lost consciousness, as though entering an altered sleep state.

He sensed something, and he realized he was at another destination! Something of ancient origins was there.

For a moment all six of them stood in complete darkness, trying to see what they had entered, and a vague light emerged, and Cronenberg examined Orwell and was surprised that he now looked confident, and he wondered if he had something planned and what it could be, and wondered if he had detected something that he had not and what he would do, and he had a weird sensation of something happening, and he examined himself to see if there was anything different about him now!

It was incredible! It had only been hours ago that he had been sleeping, and it was as if it was days ago, and he realized how little he remembered of things! All their minds and bodies were affected by the gateway and what they had experienced, and he even recalled losing consciousness and he could not fully recall anything after it! It felt like an incredible amount of time had passed, and he wondered if time had been altered, and if they had traveled through time, and he realized that it could have been a time effect of the gateway!

He realized that he had actually survived though, and what must be the most dangerous anything that he had undertaken, and he realized that he could have actually avoided the whole lot by doing other things, and he wondered if he would have ended up there anyway, and had even been waiting for them.

The astronauts searched everywhere about them for anything that showed why they were there, and what was there, and he searched for Orwell as he thought if anyone could find answers he was the one to do it.

The blackness about him reminded him of an empty region of space, and he examined it in awe, wondering if it was somehow representing something, to show them something, but he could not grasp anything and knew it was something else.

In a region of blackness he spotted something shift, where Orwell was, and Orwell’s eyes adjusted and Cronenberg saw a faint blue radiance, which he considered as a blue star, and that it might be a section of sky or somewhere and he made a closer examination of his surroundings by feeling around him, like Rosenberg was doing, at another region, and he immediately felt it was something artificial, and part of some form of structure, and he felt the strange floor, with his thick spacesuit boots, and he watched Orwell lift up his faceplate and slowly breathe in air there and nodded to them that it was breathable, and he slowly copied him and smelt a strange odor, and a little dizziness, and just ordered the astronauts to copy him to save their oxygen supplies.

With it off he heard a faint vibration from something and felt it running through a wall when he touched it and he tried to realize what it was, and what material it was made of, and wondered if he could get a sample of it and if it was worth anything, but he never bothered as he did not know what it was and if it did anything, and could not remove anything as it was too solid!

He returned to staring at where the faint blue radiance was as Orwell and Rosenberg shoved something into the wall and as more light came in he realized that he was actually in some form of room, and had been looking through a crack in a form of entrance to the structure.

For a second his emotions ran amok thinking of what incredible things could be there and what their voyage through the universe could give them, even if it had them on the brink of existence, but the spectacular views of the universe were worth it!

In the darkness he felt an eerie sensation that the place was stranger than he thought, and he sensed a hidden presence somewhere, as though something was nearby, and he wondered if it was what was in the gateway, and why they had not been put somewhere else, and he marched forward through the entrance as Orwell and Rosenberg watched there, and he realized by their reactions how strange it was, as they would normally have just marched in!

Strange lights blasted out at him everywhere from things he could not see, blinding him in the surrounding blackness, and he examined flashes and beams of radiance!

He staggered in and it became more and more perceptible and he saw a room full of beaming colored lights and controls and he examined how strange it was, and clearly designed for some alien creature, and that it had a strange form of claw, and he even spotted scratch marks where it had scratched the bottom of a complex control panel, and he tried to examine it in the dim light to see what it was, but nothing indicated anything and gave anything away as to what it was for.

Suddenly he spotted Orwell and Rosenberg over at something at his side and he spotted speckles in the darkness, and he moved over to them, and realized that he was glaring out at the stars of deep space, and he saw the ground below, outside the structure, and he realized where he was! He was actually on a moon station in the depths of the stars!

He searched through the blur of controls in the dim room behind him, only lighted by controls, looking for anything familiar now he knew what the structure was, wondering if they should avoid touching anything.

He realized it was actually out in the deepest depths of a group of stars! Further than any human had been before, and many galaxies away from the Earth!

“Where do you think this place is?” Rosenberg moaned, searching about the landscape outside, trying to find something that could give him a vague clue to something.

“If it is a race of aliens like humans,” Orwell replied, firmly, “I’d say that it had to be part of their civilization, on a moon, and for carrying out research!”

“There could be a planet nearby!” Cronenberg continued.

“It seems to be abandoned, left out in the depths of space, endlessly trapped in time and space.”

“We can check it and see if we find anything of value here!” Rosenberg announced.

“Value to us trapped in space?” Orwell asked. “Or value to us if we get back home!”

Rosenberg shrugged, and followed Cronenberg going back to the controls, where the other three members of the crew were standing examining them, discussing them, and they tried activating one, and they all watched strange reactions about them.

Their thirst for knowledge was increasing and they insisted in checking everything that they could for the slightest clue to what it was for and why they had been put there, and Cronenberg suddenly spotted the room that they had appeared in and realized that it was strange and he attempted to examine it in the dim light from the controls, and discovered that the entrance to the gateway had appeared there and he wondered if they should enter it, as they would eventually, and Cronenberg sensed that it had reappeared for them to reenter the gateway.

 

Chapter 14

 

The Monster

 

While the gateway shifted them through galaxies at one point it altered considerably and Cronenberg instantly started examining what was happening, and they were being shifted somewhere else, and he detected the other presence and its danger, and he realized the gateway systems stretched everywhere through the whole universe, and called the Dyson Stargate.

Even though he did not know what was happening he knew it was their only chance of survival, and, as they shot through the outskirts of a small concentrated galaxy, seeing it as a faint ghost shape of large celestial objects shooting by, he and the other members of the crew were surprised to see a cloud of energy form far behind them, and it was their first visional detection of what was there, and he looked for a central point of it. He was sure that something was there, and he looked for anything else, or if it was being projected from somewhere. Yet there was nothing anywhere that could produce anything like it!

What could exist in a gateway? What were they up against?

It never accelerated further! It hung there thickening, directly behind them, swirling around in intelligent ways, with intelligent formations, and as he watched it to see if it was being controlled or controlling itself. Yet he was sure it was a form of probe attempting to check them out!

He mentally detected it doing something, and wondered what would happen next, and he watched Orwell examine it, as they all spun through space, as mind-bending lines of stars shot by, as they accelerated faster at a hyper speed, and he was sure Orwell was going to say something. He was sure he was not fully able to fully explain its presence, and how it got there, but had an idea.

The probe shifted creepily, forming a more turbulent thickening formation, forming shapes in itself, and they checked it with horror as well as excitement.

Strange sights and silent sounds began manifesting everywhere about them – like partially visible life forms were appearing – and it was forming something around them.

Strange glows and swirls formed and reformed, while the energy around them increased and increased, as though something was manifesting, and creating itself about them, almost in a bubble formation, surrounding them.

 

Chapter 15

 

The Living Jungle

 

They woke on the ground in a strange jungle landscape, and they examined what was there with interest, wondering what was there and why it was there, and in the trees formations above Cronenberg saw a strange weird cloudless ivory sky, and he spotted an easy way to climb up, using strange formations like branches, and he realized how peaceful it was there and he rested on a boulder, and smelt a scent in the atmosphere, which he could not recall, and he suddenly detected it was an animal smell.

He knew it was not a normal jungle, for some reason, and it was not like any other jungle that they had been in, and he suddenly saw Anders climb up the tree he had been examining, which he found a way to climb up, and he realized he was taking the route up it that he saw.

The others all stood looking up at him as he reached the top, while they shaded their eyes with their hands, and Cronenberg took a good look around and saw their problem and that they could not see through the tree formations and ground vegetation further than a short distance, and it confused him and them, as they for one never knew where on the landscape of the world they were and where they should go to, and he could not grasp how they would leave there and if they should just remain there.

Anders looked out, at the top, and shouted down that the jungle region vanished at a region, away in the distance, and he pointed in the direction, and Cronenberg noted the direction, and tried using a compass he had to see if there was a magnetic pole on the world that they could use to navigate, and he found there was a weak movement at the direction Anders had pointed at, and he examined it surprised and wondered what it was, as it seemed different from the Earth’s magnetic field.

It surprised him how swift Anders was at climbing, and that he had some experience, and he realized how things had changed.

Cronenberg realized how much the place reminded him of the Earth and he allowed his spacesuit to fill its air tanks with air, as some of the other astronauts were doing, and he was amazed at the environment and how he reacted to it instinctively, realizing how much he missed being out in the open on the Earth.

He suddenly felt something hidden below was on his ankle and that he had noticed it before, and he wondered if it was one of the species of the world and he realized that he had not even heard a noise on the world or seen any form of animals and it seemed strange, and it was also strange as nobody had encountered any normal life forms on other worlds and they were now, only days from being on Mars, treating such things as normal, and he gasped at what could be there and felt something grab his ankle and he jerked, and he looked but in the dense undergrowth around his legs he saw nothing, and never felt it anymore, and ignored it.

What sort of world were they on? What did its empty silence mean? He could not hear anything away into the distance, and realized that it could be in a cold region and wintertime there and that the silence was due to it having been a deep cold winter there.

The others reacted by almost whispering to each other, and when Anders climbed down on the ground from a lower branch Cronenberg took them away in the direction where Anders had spotted the jungle ending.

As he walked away his leg became painful, and he felt something rapped around it, and tried to pull the thing off it, which looked like a plant or vine around the lower part of his knee but as he pulled it hard it grabbed him harder and it felt like an animal. It was strong and went down his leg.

He checked a front pocket of his spacesuit for something to remove it. Yet it was too close to his leg for him to use anything that would damage his spacesuit, as it would be dangerous if it was damaged. In the end he grabbed a sharp piece of rock on the ground and struggled to cut it off, and when it fell he lifted his leg up and stamped down hard on it.

“Did you see that?” Rosenberg announced, warning him of something he seemed to notice he had missed, as he moved up to his side, and he marched out in front of the group, and he looked out where he pointed, but saw nothing, and stopped and looked more firmly.

“What?” he finally asked, wondering what he was suggesting.

He suddenly saw a small tree that Rosenberg was looking at and that it was moving about at the roots, as if struggling to do something, and he examined it more, and to his surprise saw it was attempting to move itself towards them and he saw it carefully moving its large clump of roots over the ground.

On the ground near him he saw a glimmer off a rock and he picked it up and examined what it was and saw it had a shiny stone in it, and he examined it to see if it had any value, and he removed the shiny stone, from the chunk of crumbling rock, and watched Rosenberg trying to remove something from his leg.

At the side of his eyes he saw Anders pick up a similar large rock, and as he examined his rock he watched him hurl it at the small tree, which was moving faster towards them, and he watched it seeing what it would do, and watched the rock smash into its tree shape, and to his surprise it jumped at another tree close to it in Anders direction, like a life form, and the other tree fought back as it attacked it furiously and they all stood with their mouths open as the two tree life forms fought each other with all their strength, and other trees and areas of vegetation joined in, and the whole area around them seemed to react to it, and started preparing itself for something, and a massive a riot of tree shapes broke out between all the tree life forms, with the bottoms of many still embedded in the ground.

Everything around them seemed to be smashing, grabbing, and fighting in a frenzy of fighting, and fighting to the death, and he wondered how such life forms could survive so close to each other, and he started examining them trying to grasp something!

The fighting life forms spread out across their sides like a wave in a lake, with a speed they could not understand.

All the life forms at every level going down into the ground were attacking each other, and he kept trying to grasp how they were so responsive to the reactions. When they moved swiftly away to an unaffected region they felt it below them, under their feet, they seemed to sense the tension in what was below, and brace themselves, preparing for the silent wave of savagery to fully reach their place, and he was sure their main level of intelligence and brain area was below the ground.

As they attempted to move forwards all the life forms about them grabbed at their legs.

A sudden silent rustling and whipping noise came towards them as they rushed away.

When they looked back they saw the entire jungle fighting, and entire trees jumping at each other at every place visible, in an immense frenzy of activity. Even the lower areas were now wrestling and struggling with each other.

When the ground below them started vibrating furiously and underground plants and roots started becoming furious they started running fast, just avoiding hitting things, and started running at full speed for their lives, as they frantically tried to kill them!

 

Chapter 16

 

The Dark World

 

The last shreds of sunlight vanished beneath the trees behind them, swiftly going under the horizon, and a deep black winter night engulfed them, and Cronenberg studied his surroundings over and over trying to explain why the jungle had entirely altered, and in a matter of a few miles, from where they had arrived on the world, the entire jungle, landscape, and temperature had altered incredibly, and he had a hard time believing the life form trees were all gone, and replaced with normal forms of trees.

Though they were gone the place was as deadly as ever, there were deadly tremors blasting through the ground there, and the temperature was still furiously falling, and falling to the temperature on Mars, and rocks from hills regularly came crashing down, smashing into trees, and there were landslides, and tremors had even shaken them off their feet.

Yet the trees were vanishing, and the region Anders had seen from the treetop was appearing, and they still plodded on to get there to get rid of the tree life forms, which they still watched out for, and at the side of their eyes.

The whole place looked different, and he considered if there was something there that the life forms were avoiding, and he wondered if it was a far greater danger to them! Yet he was sure it was the tremors, when they were at their worst!

He regularly stopped and looked for miles fascinated, seeing endless miles of damaged smashed up landscape, and he realized it was some form of fault line, and perhaps an early Earth one, when its thickness was not great, and starting to harden, with thin areas of crust with vast and powerful tremors.

They were now like an army group, after the jungle attack and vicious tremors, who had far more experience in searching, examining, documenting, and detecting what was there, and what others might miss.

It was bringing them back to life after a long length of inactivity, and lack of anything of interest, and he could not recall ever doing anything like it before. At times he still could not believe that he was on another world, lost in space galaxies away from the solar system!

In a matter of an hour the entire place was deep in snow and it shrouded all the hills and tree formations and they could barely believe that they had landed in a jungle, and it had been like a really hot jungle location, and he realized the dangers, and he wondered what a world with its climate changes would be like living on, and what the animals would be like.

The snow landscape was untouched by any intelligent life forms, but they had only seen that location of the world, and at times it was empty of sound, and like Mars, but with a deep silence that he had only heard in thick winter snow landscapes. It reminded him of what he thought another alien world would be like! An empty desolate world, and lost away in the stars!

What was shocking was they could not even get lost as they never knew what the world or surrounding stars were like, or where anything was, and all they could do is lose their way going to where there were no trees at all, and he was unsure if they even knew accurately where that would lead to. All that they had was their faith in a gateway emerging and taking them away.

He never knew what was actually happening and what was there was doing and what its intention was, and what the eventual outcome would be.

There was nothing to recognize anywhere and he watched some of the astronauts attempt to pick up any communications with their spacesuit equipment, and eventually give up.

They all started getting too exhausted, wading and wading, through deep snow areas, and not recognizing anything, and he realized it was time they looked for shelter, and perhaps somewhere with some significant to rest and spend the night, and while he searched everywhere, and had the others searched too, and he started to notice a distant and peculiar hum, similar to a distant engine whirling, out at an unknown place, which was shadowing them, and he started trying to grasp the source.

The altered route they took, going to the hum and where there were hills and rock faces, and he was disappointed to find their legs almost becoming stuck in deep bogs of stinking vegetation, buried below the snow there, which started to resemble a form of quicksand, as it grew in depth, and he started to wonder if they could even find somewhere there where they could actually be allowed to shelter, as they were sure as hell not going to stay under the trees or vegetation anywhere, even though they had tested it out there, as there could be some of the life forms hidden away there. There was a definite look of a swamp emerging around them, but the hill became closer and closer, and the only refuge from the cold winter environment, and the depth became deeper and deeper, just as they were about to make it to safety!

A cold haze edged its way around them and the undergrowth there as well, as though something saw them being trapped there, and they started slowing and calming themselves, preparing for the worst, and allowing themselves to rest and gain energy.

The place and situation was nothing like anything any of them had seen before elsewhere!

He could not get if it was a strange environment about him, something strange existing there, or a combination of things that created reactions.

He watched strange vapor clouds shift within the mist, as if hiding within the mist, and perhaps a form of intelligent mist, always shadowing them – as if probing them, and analyzing them for some purpose.

Nobody said anything and they looked like they were wondering if it had real intelligence, and he noticed some of it around them, and them vaguely watching it linger over deep pools of slime in the mind-bending swamp.

Could it do anything other than probe them? How could it detect them? What did it use to exist? What was it doing there? Did it have some form of animal food source or was it after something else?

As a scientist, as well as many other things, he wished he could get some samples from it, but decided to wait until they had properly checked if it was dangerous.

Gusts of freezing wind blew and withdrew in opposite directions, blowing and sucking, shifting the cloud about, giving him the feeling that something else, invisible and nearby, was breathing over them or something! Something of supernatural or advanced alien origins, but with an animal nature, or something was there and the environment was reacting to its presence or its paranormal powers!

 

Chapter 17

 

The Mist Formation

 

His legs became stuck in deep bogs of freezing icy water, even through his spacesuit, and he wondered if it could damage it, and he knew that they would have to do something soon, and he waited and watched and noticed that the others were mainly waiting for something.

It was then he gasped and realized what he had missed and that the fog formed a perfect square shape right about them, with them directly at the center, and it intensified, and he realized that they were trapped.

“Where are we going …?” Anders spluttered, fighting for air, furious that he had been put in such situation.

He stopped and showed how annoyed he was at the way things were going, and started kicking the muck under his feet up and grabbed a clump of it and threw it hard into the square mist cloud and they all watched on with horror and curiosity, and Cronenberg was amazed that it bounced of it, as though repelled by some force within it, and he wondered if it could crush them if it contracted.

“Perhaps it’s a life form trying to protect something over at the hill …” Rosenberg moaned, giving glances about at them and their reactions, and Cronenberg realized that he could be right and that he had not thought of it as a normal life form.

“Where can we go?” Anders continued, wondering what they’d do next. Barely able to realize what the outcome of such a situation would be.

They all stood and examined other areas of the hill they could go to, and they went in a direction that was entirely different and away from where they had been going, and the mist there!

“What’s there?” Anders asked, vaguely confused, not seeing anything but the surrounding square mist cloud getting in the way.

Everyone watched on in horror and confusion when the square mist cloud started altering and rearranging itself, getting ready to do something, and the mist formation also altered at the hill, and it started to move to a new location!

 

Chapter 18

 

The Entrance

 

Once they set foot on the hill, out of nowhere, a light emerged in the distant mist formation, and Cronenberg stood considering if it was going to contact them or attack them, as a first contact situation or something else, but he never fully knew what to do, and if it was something entirely new.

Its radiance pulsated like a motorized life form, magically illuminating areas of the hill, stretching shadows from formations everywhere about their front as it intensified.

While he silently observed loud thuds of something he thought it was the earthquakes reoccurring but after listening to it intensely it became clear it was like something of immense weight shifting around, and he considered if it was still reacting to them or it carrying out what it normally did, and he realized that he could not tell as he had never heard anything like it.

Out of nowhere, other lights emerged through the undergrowth nearer, with their radiance pulsating like living things, magically illuminating everything far more brightly, blinding their eyes with intense beams, lighting everything about them everywhere and fully showing them their surroundings and all its detail, and they decided to scurry away to the most distant location.

While they moved away faster he silently observed deep pounds and creature sounds with immense weight coming at them, out of view, causing them to scurry away faster and faster.

They furiously moved their legs in and out of bogs and snow until the finally reached rocky regions, and they all became confused and unable fully discover what they were up against!

Had they failed, and were they to get it for visiting the hill?

They ran almost blindly over rocks and rough ground, rushing through thick tree objects and heavy snow, while heavy beast sounds furiously exploded out, and they occasionally heard smashing objects and heavy boulders tumbling away in their way, like something out of a dark nightmare.

Suddenly Anders shouted, “Look out there!”

“There’s something!” Rosenberg confirmed. “Quick! Move over there! There’s something …”

Over to their side there was a cliff front facing them, almost the only place there without any snow.

For some reason Cronenberg just knew it had to be a place of sanctuary for them, but he started wondering why as he could not see anything!

What was there? Was it just a hill and cliff? Could these things not climb or something?

A deep thud like an explosion appeared just behind them and he studied the area they were going to for anything and suddenly spotted a black region, like a black curtain in the dimness there, and he studied it, seeing them going straight to it, and he felt the ground around him shudder like an earthquake, and he watched Anders and Rosenberg jump into the black curtain and he followed them and realized it was the entrance point of a gateway, and he shot through stars, and he saw the entrance close behind them, as the last person jumped through.

 

Chapter 19

 

The Center of Space

 

Blasts of radiance exploded everywhere stunning Cronenberg, leaving him staggered, and a colossal whirlpool of shifting outlines of globes magically shifted by, and he studied them with the others for a long time and could not grasp what they were, or where he was, as the gateway had entirely altered.

It was like something was trying to find them and something was hiding them in the new gateway, and he could not realize why, and he felt like he was being played around with, by two mad eccentric life forms, playing a deadly game with their prey.

He saw that now they had no body, or proper presence, and were some form of force formation, and were swirling out into a vortex of reshaping energy patterns that replaced reality, with surreal transformations, and were gradually altering to something they could not recognize.

He was mesmerized, and wondered if he was even classified as being alive!

He gave vague gasps as reality magically spun around in patterns, while he wondered how worse the things could get!

Could they actually get trapped there, for all eternity, and was he even underestimating that?

Something grasped his attention ahead, and he studied it, and a white blur emerged in a central region of darkness ahead, as they slightly swirled around, and he grew more interested in it, and wishing it would be an exit, and he started to recognize detail to it as it grew, and they shifted into it, and once within its depths he saw magnificent giant distant stars of the universe blazing out, blending into his surroundings in brilliant magnificent colors.

Spectacular beams of light exploded out, and stars shot to and by him at incredible velocities, and he realized the tremendous speed they were accelerating at, and realized it was a different form of gateway with a far higher velocity.

Space was expanding all across his front, and they shot into it.

The stars filled his entire vision everywhere as magnificent bright white and golden lights, and like a cartoon universe.

Stars turned dazzling, and he could not recognize what forms of stars they were, and he wondered if they had actually entered another universe! Space was so condensed he could not believe the density of the stars everywhere, and he was staggered that they could exist in such a state, without being pulled together, into a colossal explosion.

At his side he spotted Orwell staggered at something and he followed his vision and back at where they had come from and saw the most colossal anything he had ever seen! A colossal black hole was stretching out everywhere, going straight across space, and he actually saw it entering other dimensions and regions beyond the universe, and he realized the true immense speed that they had been traveling at, and that they had just shot through a black hole gateway, the size of a small galaxy.

 

Chapter 20

 

The Mind-Bending Black Hole

 

For a moment Cronenberg was blinded, as a powerful dazzling radiance blinded him, and he thought he had been thrown into somewhere deadly!

The entire sky was filled with trillions upon trillions of magnificent incredible stars everywhere, turning the whole sky a magnificent white and gold, and Cronenberg stood upright with the others, and watched the colossal black hole shift across the sky above, and he realized it had to be the center of an enormous galaxy, and suddenly he realized it was more than that, and it was the central galaxy, and center of the universe, and they were on a world that was going into it, and slowly entering its confines.

The sight was fantastic, and probably the most magnificent sight he had seen, and he sensed mysterious and dangerous things existed out in space there, in the deepest depths of the universe.

Cronenberg stood examining the flat top of the massive mountain they were on, which had to be the highest on the world, and he watched it overlooking the world for immense miles in every direction, going out into distant horizons, and he watched a distant fog blanketing an entire region going into a horizon, which was glowing from some form of sun the world was orbiting.

It was incredible that they could feel the colossal gravity of the black hole from there, and he was astonished!

Its entire massive galaxy seemed to be orbiting it, and he gasped, wondering how they had managed to enter and escape from it, and he gasped at how much power what had put them there had.

For a moment they were all blinded, from a powerful dazzling radiance in space, and they shaded their eyes, and he saw it was a bright sun exploding apart in the depths of space, and he wondered how deadly it was on the world, and how protected they were, and he realized that they were on a large world, with high gravity, and he watched another dazzling radiance of another massive sun explode.

Strange multicolored streaks of starlight exploded through thin regions of fog around them, reminded him of lasers, and in the sky on the horizon massive blinding stars were appearing, as the world’s rotation showed new regions of space.

It was a truly unique world that saw no darkness, and probably would never know it, and he realized it was also a doomed world, and would be destroyed in the black hole.

Stardust fell down from space and covered everything, including their boots, and lower spacesuits, and he imagined the mind-bending landscapes out in space there, on magnificent worlds, and he watched an altering mist surrounding them, and he wondered what the hell the place was originally like.

 

Chapter 21

 

The Ancient World

 

They found parts of an ancient structure buried beneath sand and debris from the sky, from the vast mysterious galaxy surrounding the doomed world.

There had been an advanced civilization there once, and what was left of a structure was buried away in a region nearby, on the edge of a vast cliff face, going straight down for miles.

The area was now had vast nearby suns overhead, and in the brightness Cronenberg spotted the shuttle crew excavating an interesting part of a structure, and he wondered what they were up to, and started examining what they had revealed and stood back and started to see how advanced the race had been, and realized there could be something of value buried away in its interior.

The air at the incredibly high region was fresh and breathable, and he believed the mountain was not as high up as it had seemed, and that the area across their front there was an immense cavity and that the world’s normal surface was far higher.

He felt the temperature at the area increase, and his spacesuit altered to compensate, and he realized how well his spacesuit controlled its temperature.

There were no clouds, or the mist, and they were glad, as none of them wanted to enter any cloud formations if they had to.

They were lucky to be alive after everything they had been through, and they all now realized the dangers of being in such places and on such a world!

He studied the bright, now warm stars, and observed faraway sand being blown about by gusts of wind. The area was like an oasis on the world, but he was unsure what the rest of the world was like in its different regions.

Even though the world was doomed to enter the black hole and be destroyed he was sure most of the world had something wrong with it and he tried to prove it by studying the landscape in greater detail than he had, looking at places he had missed out, and he was sure it had immense earthquakes that had destroyed vast regions.

He was surprised when a creature of the world appeared and darted by, close by, examining them, looked like a miniature monster, and he examined it, looking for why it did.

A structure the others started entering looked primitive, but he was sure it was advanced, and it was the fact it was buried away like it was.

He strolled through heaps of sand entering the structure, and he wondered if the Earth would ever fall and turn into the place, and have beings like them from other worlds exploring their remains.

Gusts of air, like breezes coming in from the colossal stars, threw sand and red dried out bushes about wildly, into different directions, as if unable to decide where to go, and he wondered why there was no sign of rain, and if that was what was wrong with the world, and that all the water was nearly gone.

The temperature was now higher, and he rested and watched a small lizard-like creature rushing away, showing them it was there, and he heard others.

In the interior of a structure they entered an underground chamber and he heard underground creatures burrowing behind the walls, as they burrowed through hard ground and sand.

Under heaps of stones and debris they had uncovered a form of skeleton, looking like a fossil, with close resemblances to an upright ape creature, and he was staggered that anything there could be close to looking like a human, and he uncovered its skull, covered in sand, and finally proved it had a far more unusual shape, which disappointed some of the others, and he wondered why they wanted it to be like a human, and he realized that they might want to settle somewhere on the world or another, if they could not return, as they would eventually be killed by something, as the dangers were immense, and seemed to be increase.

He believed the skeleton was of an inhabitant that had lived in and had built the structure they were in, and it surprised him that they thought it could have been more advanced than them, and he realized that there could be far more advanced versions of humans, perhaps in city type regions there, and still alive, and they could have a highly advanced civilization and he started to realize the dangers that there were there.

 

Chapter 22

 

The Extraterrestrial Castle

 

At the edge of the cliff further along there was a structure like an ancient monastery, where they found water from a stream, and they managed to find food, which they had found the alien civilization had eaten, and they collected supplies, water supplies and they rested and tried to find the entrance to the structure, as if they were to stay there it was best that they were inside it and protected from the outer dangers.

Though they could not find any entrance and they started examining regions of the ground below it, as there could have been an area below it that was covered over, by the ground building up along its sides over decades, and they kept searching until they found the entrance was above, and it was lowered by forms of ropes, so it was better protected.

They rested below, when the sun of the world was down, even though there was far more light there from the stars blazing out.

They rested staring up at the immense wonders that existed in the sky, and he realized the speed the world was actually traveling at, and the pull of the black hole was incredible, and he was sure the world had far less time left than he had imagined and he watched the debris of old worlds come shooting through the sky faster than he had ever seen meteorites. Some appeared and hit there so fast that he never saw them and all he saw was their impact, and now and then he saw them approach in deep space.

He was sure the structure was a castle they were under, and an alien castle.

Some form of alien race had to have built it there to defend it, and perhaps had been at war!

What surprised him was the way it had been built and that it was far more different from the last structure, and he was sure the builders of it had been far different, as he could not imagine the other being that they had found the skeleton of actually building it, and it seemed a far more advanced species that built it.

It also amazed him how close to a human castle it was in places, and he realized he really wanted to get inside it, and he thought through everything he had seen there for something and recalled an old rope nearby, and rushed away and got.

He tied a loop in it and swung it around his head and threw it at where there were entrance ropes lying in a pile over the flat castle roof bricks, and kept throwing it at it and retrying, trying to throw it around it, until he got lucky and he managed to pull it down, and realized it was not the advanced way up he had imagined, and it was just a form of rope ladder.

At the top he immediately thought no sane life form could have built it, and the castle bricks were not even cemented together, and the roof, buried under layers of stardust and debris, was made of unstable planks and wood that he was sure could not properly hold his weight, and looked as though they had started rotting through!

Rosenberg and then Orwell joined him when they saw him and they climbed up, listening to all his scrabbling around sounds at the top, watching what they did on the badly made rope ladder.

Anything staying in it must have been mad or extremely determined to avoid something deadly there!

After examinations of it and the immense cliff at the other side it amazed them how it could have stayed up and not crashed down below long ago! All its giant boulder were chunks of rocks fixed together, and barely straight, and stayed up with its weight, and Cronenberg realized that there were no major earthquakes, but he was sure immense stellar objects could destroy it, especially at the velocities they traveled at.

They carefully examined around its thick gray stone walls examining it in detail, over the edges of the roof, and still they found no real way into it, even after carefully examining the whole floor. They spotted small gaps in the roof, for breathing inside, which suggested there was not enough air inside, but going by them not being human they could live on very low amounts of air.

He waded his feet through thick mud covering an area, while trying to see if there was anything below, and he stopped to view the unbelievable sky, which was tremendous there now, and he was sure the immense black hole had actually increased in size, because of the world’s incredible velocity, and it had to be one of the biggest object he had ever seen, and stretched across space like a colossal black galaxy devouring space! Its stars in its confines were all over the outer regions going straight towards it everywhere, and the whole of space seemed to being pulled into it.

He stood at the edge of the structure, over the cliff face, like he was standing on the top of the world, as though on the highest area on the world below, and he wondered if the aliens that had built it had been or were the main race of the world. Yet nothing showed their civilization and technology, and it was like the remains of a last civilization that never advanced, and he gasped again at the height that it was over the world, under his feet, and the sheer drop of it astounded him, going off into the distance.

Rosenberg stamped on the surface of the roof to check its safety, and show what his thoughts about it, and Orwell joined in but used it to try and find the entrance under the areas covered in muck, and he stopped and brushed it away and revealed a thick stone slab below, and they watched him brush it away and reveal a slab over the center of the roof.

The hinges on it were made of some unknown metal and held it in place, and there was no indication on how to open it, and they stood examining all its edges for a noticeable way, and Rosenberg began smashing them in at one side where they were corroded and it fell down at the side he hit it, and the whole heavy stone crashed into the structure, throwing up a cloud of dust into the air, and they were glad it was dry inside.

Layers of dust hung in the air as Cronenberg marched down its stone ramp first and they followed him down into it, and he considered what could possibly be there and if he was going to make a mistake, and he thought about the scientific viewpoint of what they were doing, as he turned on his spacesuit light.

He jerked backwards, when a loud thud came through the floor and whole castle, from the lower world, from a massive meteorite impacting nearby, which sounded close, and against the cliff, and again he wondered what the inhabitants of the world had like.

They walked into its darkness almost in a straight line going downwards and explored the first floor, full of large empty rooms, and realized the holes in the walls were not just for air but to let light into the rooms, and he observed the rooms with interest.

He watched the dust in their lights fly about as they marched down the stone ramp going deeper into it, and further down the dampness of the outer stone walls increased and gave a stale scent through the air, and they went down all the floors, after examining the empty rooms, and at the bottom they found a hidden entrance that entered the ground below, and he continued walking deeper into the stone corridor, searching the floor for any damage to it and for anything that they could fall through, and go crashing down below.

At one place he found something made of metal embedded within layers of mud in the wall of the corridor and he gripped a metal bar attached to it and gave it a sharp pull, and yanked it hard, and a sheet of corroded metal came loose out of the wall, where it had been stuck on with two rotted hinges, and he lifted it up and over, and placed it against the side of a wall, and stood mesmerized by a beam of starlight from a giant single star brightly beaming through a window hole into the dark confined space, like a laser beam, and he explored the room and found that they were deep in the cliff and in caves, which had been hollowed out, and they realized that the occupants had lived there for a long time, and had gone to great lengths to build it, and he thought the lower part in the cliff was there in case the above castle was attacked and entered, and there were other hidden lower caves.

When they reached the bottom of a corridor Orwell, who was at the front suddenly stopped, startled by something, and Cronenberg felt vibrations blast through the stone walls and thought it was an earthquake, and when he moved in front of Orwell he gasped loudly as he heard it far louder, from something whirling away, and realized that someone had to be there, and realized that they could be about to meet an alien below, and he stood considering if they should, and they agreed to continue on to see what was there, and stay at a distance, and if there was anything there to silently approach it and observe it.

It grasped their imagination and he approached it in confusion, as the sounds not only increased in volume, not only because they were getting near, but because something was increasing them, and flashes of light started appearing along the cave roof, from an area below, and shapes and colors formed, and he finally saw a humanoid form, which glowed and created the lights and sounds, and he measured the alien at over eight feet tall and at least four feet wide, and as he shifted silently forward he saw its skeleton through its body, and realized it had a translucent body, and he wondered what the hell it was.

A blast of brightness exploded out from its center, with beams of colored light, and he saw its skeleton more clearly, with surprise, and he was surprised at how identical it was to a human!

For a few seconds he stood stunned, wondering what the hell it was doing there, and he sensed it was a form of human, and he sensed the existence from the energy sphere, and the other deadly existence, and their surroundings vanished into blackness, and they shot through an infinity of gateways, going back in lines everywhere, and he continued to wonder what it was, as well as where they were going, and he realized the thing had been watching him when he had vanished, and though it was different he thought it was human, and he saw all of shuttle crew with him, and they were shooting through galaxies, and gateways.

 

Chapter 23

 

The Edge of the Universe

 

The peculiar black empty sky of the destination instantly grabbed his attention, as it was empty of stars almost everywhere, and he barely saw anything, and it was the complete opposite of the other world, and he was left confused, as he had not seen space so empty of anything.

He suddenly realized the world had to be at the outer limits of the universe, and he sensed it was the most distant world, and he considered what could exist there in such an empty region.

A red glow soared out, as the sun raced up the horizon, and he sat with the other astronauts on flat rocks watching a beam of light blast out as the sun swiftly came over the horizon in front of them, beaming across the small rocky world, creating long dark shadows from mountains and hills going straight across the desert world towards them, and he had sensations of balancing over the world, on a spectacular bridge of rock, which they were on.

The world looked lifeless but he knew something had to exist there, and that it was early in the morning, and he wondered if there would be a difference in them.

The atmosphere was warm, evening for so early in the morning, and the ground had warm rock, and he gasped at how hot it might be in the day, and there were desert sand regions nearby that were identical to the hottest deserts on the Earth, and he smelt odors in the air from what had to be volcanic gases, and going by the reactions of the others he was sure it could be toxic gases.

He realized that his spacesuit had the capacity to analyze it and determine what it was, and he quickly checked and was surprised that it was marked as unknown, and they just breathed it anyway, as it was weak and their oxygen supplies would run out if they never, and he realized the distance they traveled, and why it had taken so long, and that they had traveled from the direct center of the universe to the most distant, and he wondered if it was possible to guess the distance, and size of the universe.

The sun rose swiftly, and he was surprised at how fast the sky changed color and a crimson sky engulfed them, and he realized that they were on another world, and at a point nobody on the Earth would ever see, and they had gone far further than anyone would, and he had originally believed that nobody would even see another solar system or step on another world.

Orwell was fascinated in the worlds, as well as the other astronauts, as he was the science officer, and as a scientist, seemed to examine the world, and he was sure he was thinking of a way to escape from their voyage through the universe, and its dangers increasing, as they were surely going to get it soon, if everything went the way it was going, and if there was no chance of returning to the Earth why not find the best place, and even though it was so barn, and empty of life, it had air and surely water, and he also spotted rain type clouds behind him.

Was this world good enough to live on? It was better than the vast dangers of the last worlds, and again he wondered why they had been put there, and he realized that there had to be something buried away there!

He lurched forward, and moved over to where there was a cliff edge, and instantly saw a panoramic view of an area of landscape, with a mass of gray stone stretching out, and he moved further along where loose rocks went down in a slope, and he considered going down to the lower ground below and he balanced on the edge of it.

A cold breeze blew across his face, and the rustle of dry dirt came from beside him, and as the sun rose he looked back at the last region of space vanishing into a blue sky, and he wondered what existed beyond the universe, which he was sure was there, and he could not imagine anything for some reason, and he wondered if it just vanished into no existence.

The figures of the other astronauts shifted over to him, after talking about it, and where they should go, and Orwell moved over to his side.

They studied the contours of the rocky hills and mountains, and in parts of it where sand stretched out, with them looking for signs of life and plants.

“Well, it looks like water over there!” Orwell announced, to his great surprise, calmly scanning the shapes in the land.

“Where?” he gasped, searching for where it was.

Orwell pointed over to the side, where he had not really looked, and he saw water shinning, which had looked like flat shiny rock or something.

“That’s water! What makes you think it’s water?”

“I can tell! And I can see the sky around it …”

They decided to go down the hill, across it, and their feet rhythmically crunched into stones, and they breathed fast.

A light gray rock plane mostly filled up the landscape directly below, and they went to it, and he saw pockets of what looked like water and vague splashes of red in places, which looked like water and vegetation.

When they reached the ground at the bottom, where the light gray rock plane went out at their fronts, he examined chunks of stone that covered the ground of the world.

The planet had large areas of its surface smashed into pieces of shrapnel. The rocks were scattered through the lengthy rock plane zones, and round holes perforated the stone in the form of large potholes.

In the silence of the cool morning he felt the sun and heat start to increase, and he watched the land stretch out across their front, and the gray shingle rocks become thinner at their front.

The large holes surrounded their front, going deep into the ground, which looked strange, and they kept examining them wondering what the hell they were, and when they ignored them, and started to look for other things, a distant low pitch tone of something came from some distant place, like some inhabitant of the world had been watching them and had reacted.

They rushed through the last of the shingle and arrived at the flat rock of the rock plane, and they walked there properly, unimpeded in their spacesuits, where their heads darted about, looking for traces in the landscape of any signs of life – and anything that would indicate the presence of anything that they would encounter.

The strangeness of the place bewildered him, as it never actually had much, and he wondered if there was something missing from the place, with it being located so far away from the rest of the universe.

Their figures cast deep shadows against the rocky background, as the sun accelerated up into the sky, and their glances looked for nearby water.

His gaze went out across the rock plane, which went away out to faraway mountains, near the skyline, and he examined a small nearby red patch, out in the rock plane, for a long time, and he realized that it was not as far from there as he had thought.

He sniffed the air as the wind blew from where he was looking, and out from the rock plane, and he thought he saw the shape of something moving, and he stared in disbelief, and tried to explain the confounded shapes of the smashed rocks about it.

Orwell showed him some large holes in the ground nearby, hidden behind a small hill, and they rushed over to them, and as they approached them they all saw the holes had the same unusual shapes, and up close they saw that they went deep into the world below, and he was unable to see the bottom of them.

He automatically lowered his head to the ground, over a hole, and listened for sounds, and any sound, even a crackle of stone, and stood up and thought about it, and realized it was not as new looking as it looked!

What could make such a hole? Was there something on this world they should see, and should they avoid direct confrontation with it? Could it even be watching him there?

While he moved away, Orwell stopped at the edge of a nearby rock pile, and he went over and found him standing examining a blob of reddish slime, and they watched its veins take blood through its slimy shape, and they allowed it to slither down into a crack in the ground, and they watched its organs vibrating as it vanished out of sight, and went into the ground and rock.

While they walked away, going across the rock plane, a loud shriek came from there, and in the thin crack in the rock he saw its shape, and wondered what the hell it was.

They cautiously shifted on, across the hot plane of rock, to a red patch, and their vague view of it increased in clarity, and a waterhole became visible at its center and to their surprise the red color was miniature red forms of thin plants, like cactus, growing like grass around its perimeter.

They sat and rested at the small waterhole, and watched a gust of wind whirl a cloud of sand up and into strange shapes.

To Cronenberg’s surprise he saw the horizon was altering and darkening and the sun was quickly going below distant mountains, and he realized it was turning dark already, and they were away out there, and he had wanted to return before it got dark, and he wondered if it was dangerous there.

In the end they decided to stay, as there was water, and they could see everything about them, and it had to be safer, and it turned dark fast, and darker than he had imagined, and the night sky was totally empty of stars!

At times he wondered why they had even gone there, and been left on the desolate world, in the remote stars, on the boundary of the universe – with such a dark, moonless, and starless sky, where there was little – and out of nowhere an explosion blasted out across the alien world night, almost making them jump out of their skin, and look everywhere, and look for cover, and protection!

All they could see were rocks smashing and exploding out and showering the ground of the rock plane in the darkness, at a nearby region they had come from, and he recalled the deep cavities he had seen in the ground there, and their strange shapes, and tried to explain what had created them, and he realized how powerful it was, and that its forces had smashed the rock to pieces.

It was like it was something smashing its way out the depths of hell, crawling up into the upper world in the dark desolate world!

With a final blast it smashed its way through a pile of solid gray rocks, sending up splinters of rock and dust across the ground, and its loud thundering thuds blasted out into the silent world, on the brink of existence, at the furthest reaches of the universe, and it rushed straight towards them, like an earthquake, making the ground about them furiously shudder from its force.

Its black shape rushed wildly over the rocky plane seeking, and ready to pulverize any life form that it sensed, and anything that crossed its path, and the ground pounded and shuddered furiously, and they froze, hoping it had not seen them, and as it approached them they saw the beast’s red glowing energy formation, and red devil features, and their minds screamed in horror, and they were astonished to see the universe exploding away, and it with it, and them blasting through a gateway, going further out, and taking them to another destination.

 

Chapter 24

 

The Outer Universe

 

At first they could not comprehend anything and form mental recognitions of their surroundings, and Cronenberg conclusively wondered if it had accidentally killed him and sent him to some form of its afterlife, and examined what was there, and considered if they were still in one of the sections of the gateways, and considered what would happen if they were trapped there, or their consciousnesses were, after them being killed there, and he examined everything about him in as much detail as he could and saw his entire field of vision full of celestial whiteness.

His spacesuit faceplate automatically shaded the light as far as it could, and though it was still blinding he saw things about him!

After some time his eyes adjusted and he saw his legs, below his spacesuit, and them looking like they were hanging over nothing, and he tried to feel what was below him through his thick spacesuit boots, but could feel little!

There was an intense glow below, creating the intense light, and he was unable to see virtually anything, and he checked the surrounding temperature in his helmet, and it was normal, and he checked if his surrounds had an atmosphere, and it was normal, and he examined the blinding light beaming up at him.

He felt some pain in his eyes, and knew that they had to find somewhere to shelter, and he felt tears pouring down from his eyes as they reacted to the intense light, and he was sure that it could blind him, and he searched around to see where they were and where they could go, and saw little, and decided they should move away and try and find somewhere elsewhere.

The place was like heaven and he occasionally heard the others give gasps at it as they marched away as fast as they could, in a direction where there looked less light.

It was incredible and he could not see or feel anything below him and everywhere else was white, but not blinding like from the entire region below, and he searched through it seeing nothing anywhere, and stopped occasionally frustrated at their lack of progress of discovering a way to get away from there, and wondered how long they could survive there, and wondered if he would die there wondering where the hell he was.

For some reason he thought his size had decreased, and he continuously measured himself, and he wondered if the gateway had shrunk him, and he considered if it was the lighter gravity, and he finally felt the ground with his spacesuit glove detached, and discovered it was some sort of energy force.

Away in the distance he finally saw something shift out of the light and he studied it gasping, for a long time, and they rushed on, silently trying to grasp what was there, and even tried to listen to the strange ground with his ear.

At a closer position they saw something large going across the horizon, and at more closer position they realized it was land, and he felt ecstatic, after what had happened, and he thought of it like being a castaway out in the sea finding land, or an island, and he increased his speed and they finally rushed over the land, and climbed up an area of sand, like a beach, until the light was out of view, and they rested, and allowed their eyes to return to normal.

It was incredible he had never seen anything like it, and he wondered what sort of world it was, which had an energy that glowed brightly and was solid, and had areas of land, and he wondered if it was some form of early world of the universe, and that the land was normal matter and the other an early form of it.

When their eyes recovered from the bright light, and they had rested, they climbed a hill behind them, and they saw an astonishing sight and the world beyond that was more immense than he could imagine could exist and its horizon was flat and went out hundreds of miles all around his front, and there was no real distant curve, and the horizon disappeared into hills and mist hundreds of miles away, out in the distance, and they could not explain how it could be that way, and he wondered if it was a flat or square world, and they just explained it as being an early form of world that had less gravity and an immense size, and he considered if the energy they saw below it filled the entire world, and the energy had little gravity.

They spotted large regions of water and what looked forms of vegetation, and they rushed over to the nearest area with water, and had a last look at where the massive central energy was.

Many miles away, he saw types of volcanic phenomena, which looked strange and he and Orwell studied it with interest, to check it and they considered if the stuff given out from below was the same as normal matter, and they examined the ground more and more and found it had unknown substances, but was basically normal soil and rock.

The incredible thing was there no sign of a sun, and they never realized what could be constantly lighting the sky, if was a sky, as it just glowed like something else, and the rain clouds and mist formed far below it.

The first plant was found by Orwell, buried away in rocks, and they examined it and tasted it, and they were sure it was edible, and left it until they checked what else there was to eat.

At times, as they shifted on, constantly examining everything around them, and on the horizon, seeking answers, he was sure the world was far more than a natural occurrence and had been created by something incredible, and he was not even sure it was a race of beings, and constantly considered different forms of things.

What type of inhabitants could build and live on a place such as it? Had the creators of it actually lived there?

Yet why was there no sign of their existence, and why had it just been built in such a natural state, and not a highly advanced top layer and with structures, but what if it had been built for something else, which they had not yet seen, and the ground was not its proper state, or what if it was to be populated by some species in the future, and he wondered if the creators were in fact inside its interior, and that the outer shell was there to protect it.

He thought of the colossal size of it and what could be buried away below, and he then realized that it could be built by anything for anything!

The horizon was astoundingly strange all about them, and not quite the same as any world they had been on.

Finally, after climbing a large hill, they spotted complex artificial lines of silver marking the surface of the energy shell below, in the almost blinding light of the energy shell there, in a vast flat region at the other side, where there was no land, and they sat studying millions of patterned lines that were mathematically perfect, going out into the distance, at every angle, like a complex circuit, with thousands of different objects the silver lines entered, and they studied it trying to discover what its proper use was, and anything that matched it, and none of them recognized it, and Cronenberg studied it going up to the bottom of the hill below, and tried to see where in went in the ground, and realized that there had to be something under the hill they were on.

They remained there, hidden away, waiting to prove something existed there, and that whatever it was it was still functioning, and they detected it activating in different places, and they wondered what had created it, and they finally left, and as they went to go down the other side of the hill Cronenberg took one last look there, wondering what he had missed, and saw a blinding flash from a large object within it, and a streak of light shot over a silver line, and he saw it glow and thousands of lines of it shoot all about it, carrying out a task, which he unsuccessfully tried to identify.

After days of journeying across the vast world they realized there definitely was no night or day, and he wondered if had a dark side that was covered completely ice and snow, and they checked the world continuously wondering what they were missing, and they finally came to the remains of an ancient civilization in a large valley, where there were the remains of structures everywhere, and they realized that it was of an entirely different race, and that they had to have been like humans as their structures were almost identical, and they realized the value of it, and that there might be something of great value there, if they ever returned to the Earth.

When they arrived at the first structure he felt the hot temperature at the area, and felt it coming from the ground, and the energy shell below, and he realized that they had to have deliberately built it there for it.

They strolled through the sand in the streets and buildings, and found the remains of furniture and other objects, and wondered where the race had gone as they had clearly left all their objects and possessions.

Gently breezes blew sand and bushes over the sand covered streets and between buildings, and he saw the sand everywhere, and bits of metal from old vehicles that had rusted away, and the remains of other objects.

Types of rats, they scared away, scavenged there, and ran about when they arrived, and some followed them about, and some leapt into the air and glided on early forms of wings, and sometimes glided about them and the buildings they were in.

At the center of the civilization they spotted a large circular structure, and largest there, and they observed it from the top of many buildings, and they slowly worked their way over to it, where they looked around, and they found the building remains about it were different, from the rest of the civilization.

Massive vegetation similar to trees grew in the lanes, and some in structures, and had broken through the roofs, and plants and other types of vegetation densely covered the whole area, and layers of mud and sand covered everything, and forms of insects pestered them, and flying animals dived from buildings and dived at them, and altered their course when they saw them up close.

Inside the central structure they found a large round central area and explored it for signs of what its inhabitants had been like, and found most it had caved in and was buried under bricks and sand and was grown over with forms of moss, shrubs, and weeds, and thick layers of dirt covered the stone walls, and they were surprised at how close it was to human structures, and that it was like a different form, which seemed to have had something different influencing its construction, and they were surprised at different things being virtually identical and some with strange characteristics, which they attempted identify, and some were more advanced, and with unknown technology!

Cronenberg had no idea how long the civilization had remained buried away there, in the vegetation, but it proved that the world was stable enough to allow life forms and civilizations to survive.

Clouds of dust blew about inside it, as they entered the massive building further, and they marched through giant stone corridors, and it became dark, and they turned on their spacesuit lights.

In places they heard incredibly loud sounds of small creatures that had entered regions of the structure.

They went through corridor after corridor into its mysterious maze, which was sealed and untouched by the outside, and animals, and they searched everything.

The greatest mystery they wished to solve, which kept them searching to discover, was what sort of beings would have built the building and civilization, and what had happened to them, as they could not find any trace of anything showing what they had looked like or anything! There had to be something there but they just could not find it, and they kept trying to find it.

Most of the time it was like exploring the remains of a ghost race, and them wondering what had happened to them, and they felt happy that they had not found their skeletons or signs of anything having happened and an immense war taking place.

He could not accept that they just died away, and he kept trying to accept the idea, but he could not accept that the place would look like it did, and he kept believing from everything he found that they had just left there, leaving their vehicles and other possessions behind, and because they were not human.

He kept attempting to find the central part of the central structure and eventually he found it, and it was a giant dome hall, with small windows high up on its roof that dimly lit it, and they all silently explored the structure, like it was the remains of the Earth in the future, and he realized by its appearance it was a type of governing place for the civilization.

In the darkness of a small room, at its front, they found a trapdoor, and he pulled it up, and they marched down a stone ramp going below, and he used his spacesuit light to illuminate a large room full of large stone squares, and they tiredly shifted about them, and their shapes intrigued him, and he lifted up the stone cover of one and placed it down at its side, and vaguely perceived, in the light in it, a skeleton of one of the beings.

Its size and shape was virtually identical to a small human, and they watched it glowing with a purple radiance, and he sensed the existence of the energy sphere, and he knew they were leaving there, and he saw a gateway forming, and he wondered where the world had been, and he realized that it had not been a world and that it had been the energy shell of the outer universe, which had been exploding out since the big bang, where matter and highly advanced civilizations had explored and settled.

The place furiously vanished and the astronauts exploded out and into a new gateway, blasting across the vast reaches of space.

 

Chapter 25

 

The Mind-Bending Gateways

 

A brilliant radiance of blue blasted through what looked like a crack in the universe, which he knew normally never existed, and if he had not been through what he had he surely would not have recognized it, and have mistaken it for something else, and in his alert state he positively recognized it and entered it knowing it was a gateway of great significance.

For some reason, which he could not grasp, he thought the universe had altered in some way, and that things had somehow changed, and that it was the dawn of a new era in its evolution!

His emotions ran amok as they leapt through, seeing the spectacular view of space about him, and in the darkness he saw the circle of mirrors, and the world it was on emerged around him, and he no longer had eerie sensations of the mirror gateways and knew that they would return home. He sensed a presence, of the existence from the alien energy sphere on Mars was nearby, and he realized that the other existence had been destroyed, and the astronauts stood in a circle facing the mirror gateways, waiting for some form of indication of what one to enter.

How was this existence associated with what was trying to kill them? Why had it done what it had? He just had to know!

There were no signs of Mars in the depths of the gateways in the mirror gateway he studied, and he was sure that it existed.

He tenderly approached one, seeing one of the astronauts had discovered something there, and he entered it with them, hoping they never entered another supernatural gateway in it, and they rushed through and shot through blueness and vast amounts of gateways, appearing everywhere in trillions, in a region outside the normal cosmos, which had the size of a small galaxy, and he wondered how anything could create such a place, and in wonder he realized he was being taken somewhere, and soon spotted a gateway away in the distance, and them going there.

He could not fully imagine what it could be as he could not imagine them getting away from there after all their attempts, and he started realizing things were now different, and he waited to find the outcome.

Even with so much there the place seemed empty, without life and a desolate place, buried away in the depths of space, endlessly trapped in infinity, where life never existed.

The entrance became more visible, and its shape, he started to get ready to leave there, and he suddenly saw surreal blue shades wavering about, in patterns of whiteness.

By the amount of worlds that he had seen, and had been on, he knew that the universe must be far more organized and vaster than he had ever imagined, and he had never even fantasized alien worlds and civilizations were all connected, and being controlled, and he could never have realized it was possible, unless he had witnessed what he had, and an existence put there by the creators of the universe, at the dawn of time, controlled it all.

He was beginning to believe that mankind had a powerful presence in it, which few civilizations had ever had, and he realized mankind had existed in vast highly advanced civilizations since the beginning of the universe, and that the Earth was buried away in an empty region of space.

At his approach to the gateway he saw something strange and thought he saw a sphere rotating, and its familiar pattern of movements fascinated him, and he felt as if his appearance was timed to coincide with something, and he rested, and left it, and when they entered the gateway he was blinded by light, and it and everything about him vibrated furiously, and saw something in a blur of images.

Though it was bright it was not daylight, and he spotted artificial lights beaming down, as they entered further, and to his delight he saw the laboratory on Mars, and all the scientists stood staring, as they marched out.

 

Chapter 26

 

The Laboratory

 

At the edge of the black hole, altering wildly and stabilizing, gleams of light blasted out like miniature bright stars, being held motionlessly, and were being filmed and studied by the scientists, as they continued their series of black hole experiments.

The entire laboratory was now covered in equipment, scientists, the media doing news coverage, for back on the Earth, and were studying the black bubble of the black hole, in its chamber, and a leading scientist there gave incredible evidence of their findings, recent discovery, and discovery made earlier in close examinations of the black hole.

A special reinforced camera was placed and entered into its field, and the scientist reacted immediately when they received results, and concluded that it was moving out the universe and entering a gateway, where they had fully entered the probes, and that they were working on a probe that could be entered further into the gateway, exit into another place, and be returned.

They occasionally gave detailed scientific explanations of what was there, and believed was occurring, and they had a probe released more further into it than before, edging it into the confines of the gateway, creating spectacular optical effects on their screens, of the inside of the vortex, making light distort in twisted forms, like shaping beams of light with matter.

The entire story had been released to the media after the loss of the astronauts, and for the science world to know that they had created and had a laboratory black hole.

Only parts of what had occurred had been appearing all over the media for weeks, and the media, science world, and public wanted more information about it, and they had received little, and they had all been invited to Mars to see the black hole phenomenon, and they were there in the laboratory seeing it for the first time.

It looked like a rupture in space, and the scientists were playing with it, gathering as much as they could on it, and the media continued over and over to question them on the astronauts that had been involved in an accident there, and what had occurred and where they were, and the scientists could give them little information on what had happened.

They were answering what they could about the incident, and many other leading scientists, visiting there from the Earth, were being allowed to carry out numerous basic and complex experiments all around it, using their own equipment and theirs, and others were recording various things about it, and great amounts of detailed information were finally being given to the media, to analyze, in a far greater degree than ever before.

Most of the media never seemed to grasp what they meant by gateway, and there was much confusion, and some kept trying to get answers and asked questions in different forms on the information received from the probes and they finished by telling them they were still advancing them and carrying out examinations of the highly complex information they got.

Many gasped as they studied its shape hovering about, and its deadly appearance, and they consider it dangerous.

The abnormal antics of many of the scientists at times captivated them, mystifying them with the depth of their nervousness and fear of something! Some still repetitively studied the readings from their equipment, and with alarm, preparing themselves for something, and eventually the media and other scientists started using information about the dangers of it and the deadly occurrences that had happened!

It was then Commander Cronenberg escaped from the black hole, and rushed out of the black bubble in his spacesuit, and stood dazzled, at the laboratory, mass of scientists and media, vast amounts of equipment, and noise, and the extraordinary scene that developed about him, and the other astronauts rushed out.

A mass of shuffling, activities, and flickering lights erupted everywhere about them, and they ignored their shouts and activity, as they asked them questions.

They swiftly shifted out the radius of the black hole’s confines, and tried to grasp what was happening there, all around them, drawing their attention away from the leading scientists, and they removed their faceplates and the scientists all gasped, and many stood dazzled by them, and many thought of questions they wanted answered, about where they had been, and what existed outside the universe.

 

Chapter 27

 

The Treasure Map

 

Cronenberg, sitting next to Anders, reluctantly dragged himself away from all the files they had been studying for hours, in the Mars base library, and for over a week, and he watched Orwell stroll into the outer library, for the first time since their return to Mars, and he seemed amazed at the sight of the place now, after all they had been through and seen.

“Come over here …!” he called out to Orwell, and Orwell shifted over to him, at the end of the table, and looked amazed at the piles of files.

“What are they of?”

“They’re recently declassified documents that were dumped here, since we were last here! I was even able to get other stuff to! They wanted to help us research the alien artifact and get more information on it! I’ve put together everything with the information I want here, and all the files about Robertson, the scientist with Anders here, and things associated with Robertson and the diamonds, and his search with the satellite for them, and I’m going through it all searching for the slightest clues, and with Anders help …”

“What’s the point? We’ve searched through the main stuff though!”

“I gave him some new information and clues, which will help us get it!” Anders announced, searching through some old documents, astonished at them, and the age of them now.

Orwell was fascinated and fascinated that he was still searching for the diamonds on Mars.

They were amazed that they were now actually sitting next to the guy that they had been studying in the documents and they still had not found the location!

Cronenberg was amazed that they had not fully accepted that it was Anders, as it was far too unbelievable it was him, and they had not been able to prove it was him from the information on him and their examinations of him.

“So what is it?” Orwell finally asked, moving over and sitting at his side. “Have you found something? You’ll have to let it out eventually!”

“The location of diamonds is hidden on the map somewhere!”

Orwell gasped and his face showed he was startled by the reply, and he examined Anders and asked him, “Do you know where it is then?”

“No!”

“But you must remember something?”

“That place we crashed at was on it!”

Orwell thought over it for a few minutes, and wondered what Cronenberg meant, and replied, “So it was buried there after all?”

“It was not!” Cronenberg replied first.

“Where was it?”

“It was buried somewhere else, remember! Remember Robertson’s diary!”

“So we need the map, and we need to find another destination hidden away on it?”

Anders agreed with them, giving them his opinion of it!

“Correct!” Cronenberg finally replied, deciding to reveal it to them, and put his hand in his pocket and pulled out the map, and held it up to the light and showed it to them.

They both looked at him with strange expressions, and gasped, and Orwell then looked like he was wondering what he was now getting into, and Anders looked at it with fascination, and a deep hidden desire!

“Well!” Orwell replied. “So you think it is hidden away on it?”

“I still have not proven anything though! But I believe that Robertson was there checking out something first when he landed at the site! And he intended to go to the real site afterwards!”

“What was he checking?” Anders asked surprised.

“I think that alien energy sphere there had him looking there, and had planned it many billions of years ago, when it buried itself away there, and that it and had left something there to get him to go there, which would make its plan work, which Robertson decided to check, and that it chose somewhere that looked the same as the place with the diamonds, which he thought might have more diamonds, buried away there – and the place was virtually identical to it!”

“So we only need to find somewhere that’s identical to find it?”

“Yes! I think I found it!” Cronenberg announced, removing a map of the Antarctica, and he showed them a place at the opposite side of the Antarctica. “I’ve been trying to confirm it! It’s location is exactly opposite it – at the other side of the Antarctica!”

“So you have it!” Anders replied. “What about the hidden message on the Map? Will that confirm it?”

Cronenberg nodded, to confirm it, still wondering if he was wrong about it.

Anders took the treasure map off him and held it up to the light, and turned it around and did it again, and nodded his head in agreement, and replied, “Yes! It’s there!”

Cronenberg examined the treasure map and turned it around and held it up to the light as well and was surprised that the location names on the map when viewed through the map from the back of the map had accurate location names at the other location, at the exact opposite side of the Antarctica.

 

Chapter 28

 

The Diamonds

 

Once the sun shifted over the horizon Cronenberg left the shuttle and pilots and other members of the crew and joined Orwell and Anders outside, and they stood examining the landing site with astonishment, as it was identical to the other site that they had crashed near, where the diamonds were supposed to be.

He closely examined the hill, and it was identical to the hill the alien energy sphere had been found under, and he joined Orwell and Anders as they started climbing up it, and he recalled the explosion on the other hill that had destroyed it.

It was incredible, and identical to the other, and he believed that that the alien existence in the energy sphere had copied it and had constructed the whole area where they had crashed the shuttle, and why parts of it had been so strange looking.

He could even see an identical other hill and crash site, and where Campbell their flight engineer had been found dead, and he realized now how he had died, and that it had been Rosenberg all along, and he still could hardly believe it.

They had discovered Rosenberg and Commander Eagle had been part of a group of cannibals, and he was astounded that he had attacked and killed Campbell over at the hill, which he still had a hard time believing, and that he could have actually eaten parts of him, and he was sure it had been Rosenberg behind Eagle going so far in his search for the treasure, and he was the only one who had been with him and seen him taking the treasure map from Anders’s skeleton, at their crash site near their crashed shuttle.

In the end he just laughed at it, as it was a joke, with him wondering how he could have missed such a thing, and he wondered what they really had been up to!

At the top of the hill he thought of all the events, since they had crashed, and knew he wanted the diamonds, as they had hardly found anything worth anything, and even the diamond he thought he had found at the other hill, over the alien energy sphere and artifact, was a crystal, and made of an unknown material, and had little value, and he believed the energy sphere had been connected to it, and the hill had been destroyed when he had taken it away, and that it had been connected to it all along, and the energy sphere had only communicated with the scientists when it had been there, and he was sure it had used it for some purpose, as well as to get them to find it.

At the top of the hill they searched everywhere, and it looked so empty, and just like another Martian hill, and he started to think he had imagined its existence there, and he examined the hill over at his side in the sunlight and realized it would be best to walk along the length of the hill, and explore the top, at both sides of them.

He realized that they had actually found out what had nearly killed them and took control of the shuttle, and why they had survived, and they had actually had found out what the whole episode had been about. Nothing had seemed to add up anywhere, and he could never have grasped anything if he had not witnessed everything that he had! The real explanation was far more than he could have imagined!

The events of the past months had been unbelievable, and all the astronauts had become famous over it, even though the media and scientists had believed a lot less than they thought, and had not accepted their accounts of many things, which was clear in all their descriptions in news reports there and on the Earth, and the scientists had avoided telling them vast amounts of details, even after them giving them all their photos and film footage from their spacesuits, to their astonishment, and going by what he had heard and seen governments and scientists had started classifying most of it, and the black hole was no longer being reported anywhere, and the information was being hidden away.

The whole universe seemed to be altering all about them, and improving, and he realized that the deadly crazy gateway existence that had wiped out entire civilizations had been destroyed and replaced, by the other existence, which had been hidden away in a dormant state in the energy sphere and alien artifact in the hill.

He now knew what it had done and why! The original gateway existence had been too deadly and crazy, and the other existence from the energy sphere had been infiltrating and destroying vast regions of it, without it knowing it was there or what was happening, as it had been designed to do, and had hidden itself away in places it could not detect it, and in the crystal, and it had transported them to the vital areas, where it also had control of the gateways, while it had made many attempts at trying to discover their identity, where they originated, which the other covered up.

It was ancient and deadly, and as old as the universe, and badly damaged and insane, and confused by them being humans, as they were the same race that created it, and had helped it defeat many deadly highly advanced races, and they had built it as a defense existence system, and it had not been able to properly recognize them in their state, as original humans, and it had only known them as a far different highly advanced race, which had been one of the most powerful in the universe, at the start of the universe.

He realized everything, and knew the universe would become far better, and he watched Anders staring at something ahead, and he looked there, and realized it was the exact place that had been over the energy sphere on the last hill, where he had found the crystal, and they ran over to it, and they stood gasping and looking everywhere at piles of colossal diamonds.

 

Epilogue

 

The Deadliest Danger in Creation

 

From the dawn of the creation of the universe the existence had one main purpose that it existed to fulfill and that was what its creators had created it for and to control the universe.

The Dyson Stargate had been created by the creators and used in the complex creation of the universe, and used to shift through the vast reaches of space, and throughout the vast galaxies, but its use was hidden from the civilizations of the universe.

Although the highly advanced technology of highly advanced civilizations at the beginning of the universe allowed them to gain control of vast gateway networks, and they built others and vast complex networks into the deepest reaches of the universe, and used them to take control of vast regions of the universe, and deadly wars between them, with colossal ultimate weapons, raged through the stars.

A single more highly advanced civilization consequently gained control of the entire Dyson Stargate, including the other gateways, which the Dyson Stargate always detected and connected to, including artificial black holes, and the universe existence helped the civilization construct a vast defense existence, and the defense existence stopped highly advanced civilizations of the universe using cosmic gateways!

It was perfect, and virtually perfected beyond anything created, to accomplish its goal, to infinity, and its energy field was almost undetectable in the outer universe, with it mainly being scattered through vast dimensions in various complex formations.

What they had not foreseen in its creation, and in its long term use, was it having the ability to improve itself and its technology, to compensate for alterations, and it eventually started to destroy vast civilizations and species throughout the universe!

Highly advanced civilizations consequently created another like the defense existence, which annihilated vast regions of the defense existence, before it was damaged, and nearly destroyed, and it hid itself away, but continued its mission, and it searched through the outcome of vast trillions of scenarios, with its highly advanced ability to discover the outcome of events in the future, until it found the best way to complete its mission.

It had hidden itself away at the Antarctica on Mars, where the human race would eventually discover it and fully awaken it, for it to carry out its plan, which its real creators, the creators of the universe at the dawn of the creation of matter, invention of the universe, had programmed it to do, and it, the new existence of the universe, had one main purpose it existed to fulfill and it was to take control of the universe, and to conclude the next stage and completion of the creation of the universe.

 


The Lost Martian Antarctica Treasure Map

Astronauts map the surface of Mars with a new highly advanced technology and detect something strange at the Martian Antarctica. They discover an old crashed space vehicle, hidden away in a meteorite crater, and they investigate it and discover it is an old space rocket vehicle, and discover a map, an old treasure map, which brought the dead astronauts there, searching for diamonds, which a scientist located with a new highly advanced satellite. They return to their Martian base and check out the dead astronauts, and why they were there, and discover hundreds of declassified military and security service material buried away in an old library, and uncover old documents on the dead astronauts taking the crashed space vehicle and their disappearance, and discover the location was not the location of the diamonds located by the satellite, and they race to get to the real location of the treasure first.

  • ISBN: 9781370718351
  • Author: CosmicBlueCB
  • Published: 2017-07-11 20:20:17
  • Words: 53854
The Lost Martian Antarctica Treasure Map The Lost Martian Antarctica Treasure Map