AVAILABLE: Saturday, November 9th
Jason, the pilot, his co-pilot, their security guards, and a few scientists are sent to an alien moon called Gray Six because the scientist’s job requires them to find dinosaur bones, then bring them back to their home planet.
It was the year 3993. Conq Corporation had set up 209 settlements on three planets, Baoe, Carlet, and Strun, celestial bodies that orbited the star Tau Ceti. Within a few years, more humans, millions of them, along with Aito beings, and other races and robots arrived. They built cities, towns, villages, schools, universities, colleges and training centers.
It was late afternoon on Strun. Conq’s CEO, D. M. Fresk ordered two pilots, Jill Res and Gary Eba, to fly an experimental aircraft named X Forty-Seven.
Fresk pulled a two-inch long spacecraft out of a small box and placed it on the ground. The ship expanded until it was forty–feet long.
Jill pointed at the spacecraft. “Is it safe?”
Fresk grinned. “Of course.”
Gary scowled. “Mr. Fresk, according to four holographic simulations, it’s unstable.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
Gary looked at me. “Jason, do you think it’s safe?”
My stomach muscles tightened.
Fresk snapped, “Don’t talk to him, speak to me.”
Mark Smith whispered in my ear, “My guess is that this prototype is dangerous.”
I bit my lip, frustrated.
Fresk announced, “Jill, Gary, climb aboard. Everything will be okay.”
Both of them grimaced, stepped inside and the hatch clinked shut. The engine started humming. Seconds later, the craft rose, then sped up.
Fresk bragged, “I’ve invested over nine hundred million dollars in this great machine.”
Without warning, the prototype exploded and broke apart.
What I saw horrified me.
Mark spat, “Son of a bitch.”
Fresk shook his head. “That was an expensive failure. I’m going to fire six of my engineers.”
Mark announced, “Fresk, you should have listened to Jill and Gary.”
He glared at him, then turned and walked away.
Mark said, “Jason, Fresk only cares about money. He’s an asshole.”
I took a deep breath, trying to relax, then examined my trembling hand. “Keep your voice down. If you don’t, Fresk will hear your complaint and fire you.”
“I don’t care.”
Mark Smith’s background appeared in my lenses. He had a Master’s Degree in Stellar and Interstellar Travel.
The following morning, Fresk entered my office. “Jason, Mark, I have a new assignment for both of you.
Fresk announced, “After picking up passengers, you will head for Gray Six.”
My adrenaline sped up. “Is that a moon that has been explored several times?”
“Who are the passengers?”
Mark asked, “What are their names?”
Fresk clenched his teeth, then said, “Dr. Fine, Dr. Aaron Gam, Dr. Pam Jones, and Dr. Nathan Mand.”
Mark scowled. “Where are they?”
“In the Nas.”
I blinked. “That jungle is treacherous. The fastest way to pick them up is with an STJ.” STJ was short for Stellar Jet.
When there wasn’t enough space to touch down, a spider-like web shot of the bottom of this aircraft. Then the aircraft landed between trees, its web attached to them.
Fresk snapped, “That is your assignment.”
Mark exclaimed, “We’ll need guards. We aren’t soldiers.”
Fresk scowled. “An SR and a few guards will accompany you.”
SR was short for Security Robot. I asked, “Does the SR have an MK?” Eighty percent of these androids had medical kits.
Fresk snarled, “Of course.”
“Will Dr. Fine contact us before we land in the Nas?”
Mark asked, “When will he do that?”
Fresk snapped, “IT will soon send you a message to answer that question. Go to the security annex right now. Tom, one of your guards is there. The rest are in different parts of Strun. Introduce yourself to Tom, then walk to Hanger Five. Your ship will leave a few minutes after you meet him.”
Mark asked, “What’s the big rush?”
Fresk glared at him. “That is your job. Do it.”
I asked, “Mr. Fresk, different parts are vague. Could you be more specific?”
“IT will send you more information soon.” He then did an about-face and stomped off.
A life-size three-D hologram of Dr. Fine, appeared…a slender human with red hair. Information created by my contact lenses appeared. He had a bachelor’s degree in Genetics, a Master’s in Paleontology, and a Doctorate in Quantum Mechanic Manipulation. This scientist received his bachelor of Science in Genetics from Tamb, a university in the Taar Republic, a country on Carlet. He earned his Master’s in Paleontology from Ven, a university in the Union of South Laot, a country that was south of Taar. He was awarded his doctorate in Quantum Mechanic Manipulation from Ven. The hologram along with text vanished and was replaced by another.
Dr. Aaron Gam, a muscular Aito humanoid with cyan blue skin, received his bachelor’s in Genetic Evolution from Raace College, a school in Alet, a country that was north of Taar. He obtained a Master’s in Cell Evolution from Denm University, a school in Alet. He earned his doctorate in Bone Forensics.
Dr. Pam Jones, a beautiful, slender human, received her bachelor’s in Genetic Chaos Science from Osbo, a university in Noba. She loved studying strange attractor evolution in the genome. She acquired her Master’s in Morphology from Keln, a university in the Union of North Laot. She received her doctorate in Paleontology from Jennon, a university in Noba. This hologram and the text faded then more appeared.
Dr. Nathan Mand, an Aito with turquoise skin, obtained his bachelor’s in Genetic Turbulence from Denm. After studying eighteen species’ bones for three years, he was awarded a Master in Paleontology from Osbo. He received his doctorate in Paleontology from Keln, graduating cum laude.