Chapter Six. Five Months Ago.
Blade pushed hard on the hatch and held it open above his head to view inside. He hadn't been up to the Ariel Unit nicknamed the Crow's Nest in ages. Before opening the hatch fully he called out,
"Daniel, it's me Blade, are you up here?"
At first glance the circular room looked empty, but then a sudden sharp whooshing sound from the side had Blade ducking down and closing the hatch as something whizzed past his right cheek missing him by a hairs breath. It could have been a small spy drone but on the other hand, it could have been a spinner.
"Danny, it's me, Blade! Stand down! Anthony sent me up!"
Blade waited a few moments, then pushed the hatch door open all the way letting it fall back into the space behind him. Quickly looking around he could see the control consoles. Everything looked in one piece but underneath where maintenance panels had been removed, he could see a jumble of multiple tubular cables and numerous USB ports, their coloured lights and liners blinking frantically.
"What the hell has he done..?" Blade whispered, moving closer to the nearest open panel and looking inside. "he's coupled the relays to the..." he laughed softly, "Of course! No way would I have thought of that. Brilliant! ...Daniel?" he called as he carefully stool up, looking around as he did.
Most of the control screens were flashing. The main viewer showed what looked like a navigational graphic circle, with lines moving clockwise around it. It was quietly bleeping as it swept the terrain outside, monitoring something approaching Home Ground at speed. By the colour of the tiny moving sphere, Blade knew it was SkyCam Three.
There was no sign of Daniel. This was a three-hundred-and-sixty degree viewing orb. The curved windows were very narrow. The only one not covered in grime from the Grit was the one over the main screen where someone had actually somehow gone outside, or climbed up from below and wiped it clean with their hand.
The capsule would normally, in flight, sit tight to the mother-ship but had the means to extend out and was frequently used to collect samples of space particles or debris, sending information straight to the astrophysics lab, main computer, or bridge. Once landed it allowed the occupants a raised platform, a visual view of the landscape around them. It also had, with the aid of O.G.K.M., Optical Gossamer Kaleidoscope Mirrors, the means to appear invisible from the outside; but since crashing this had not been possible. Now the Crow's Nest only had the ability to rise no more than a metre above the body of the mother-ship, but still gave the occupier a good view of the surrounding desert and the closest and only view of the Thorns, East Side, less than half a kilometre away.
Outside the cleared window Blade could see SkyCams One and Five, SkyCam Three had just docked and was already sending information down to Anthony via Malcolm.
"What's SkyCam Three picked up Malcolm?" Blade asked the room.
'Processing now.' answered the computer, 'information download time nine minutes, twenty two seconds to closing.'
'Not really. A lot of pictures of sand if you ask me, a waste of my time.'
Blade grinned..."Well I guess Anthony will find something useful. Can you locate Daniel?"
'Yes...he's behind you.'
Blade grimaced. He was already leaning over the main control panel, his fingers automatically touching the coloured dials, his right hand swiping the screen. Any second now there would be an unearthly scream that, no matter how ready he was for it, would shatter through his whole body, his skull, his ear drums, through to his bone marrow, severing every nerve. The pain was excruciating. How Daniel achieved this abilitally just by screaming, no one knew and anyone hearing it for the first time would automatically drop to the fetal position and cover their ears screaming back. Blade braced himself waiting for the inevitable, but nothing happened.
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Children of The NebulousScience Fiction
After colliding with an unknown entity and thrown from the 'Stream' into Real Space, The Nebulous, largest and fastest ship of it’s kind, automatically sends out the ISP's, escape pods, life-capsules and the unmanned Nebulous Flyer before crashing...