Barren Archipelago IV
by Christopher W Gamsby
X and I flew in circles from the ruins until we came to a command center. I hovered next to the station's heridium containment spheres and landed on a semicircular pad. The platform's mechanisms whirled the ship around, and I lunged from the cockpit as the ship's nose came to rest. I dashed to the building's main entrance and flew through retracting automatic doors.
I over-zealously flung myself in front of a Krovax, who was making entries on a glass tablet. He perked up from his work, and five diodes on his face plate flashed a quizzical teal. I launched into a tirade.
“There's something happening on this planet! We found a secret research facility in the ocean's depths. The door was blasted open and strange algae, or something, filled the chamber. The logs, wow, the logs told the story. Sentinels did something to the station's inhabitants! They turned into the algae; the sentinels pervert life. We need to let the galaxy know! They must avoid the same fate!”
The Krovax's faceplate alternated between teal, green, and red. It looked back at X, who stood at the command center's entrance with a pink flashing faceplate. The Krovax punched a code into his tablet. Islands, ocean, and hills stretched on the main console's glowing 3D display. The stretch of ocean was where I found the beacon displayed on the terminal.
“You are not the first to discover that run down facility; just the most... enthusiastic. We've known about those ruins for a long time. About 50 years ago, the facility's alarm sounded, and we sent a drone to investigate. The door was breached, and the beacon activated, but the infiltrators were already gone. We deactivated the beacon and shut off the alarm, but it somehow keeps turning back on. Eventually, someone went inside and came here and brought up that story.”
“So it's not real? Any of it?”
“Parts of it are true, which is why it is believable. The facility was just as it seems, an old geographic survey site. It was built on an island before we understood the tidal patterns of the Barren Archipelago. The tides eventually encroached on the facility, and it was abandoned. There are no reports of missing, lesser species or sentinel experiments. We deleted the fake logs, but they somehow come back. We seal the door, and someone breaks it open again. We deactivate the beacon, and it turns back on. This is funny to something, but it's just a magnet on my faceplate!”
The Krovax clicked on his tablet, and the 3D image evaporated.
“How could that be right? Why didn't you destroy the facility if this is an issue?”
The Krovax's faceplate turned red.
“I don't care if you believe me, or not. That is the truth of what happened.”
The Krovax looked to X and he rushed over, grabbed my arm, and ushered me from the room.
“Don't provoke him! If he called you a lesser creature, he wouldn't think twice about marking you a traitor to the Krovax. If that happens, you will have to leave the solar system, and anywhere the Krovax dominate.”
I fumed at the encounter and didn't want to hear any decent. I regret my decision to this day.
“Let's leave this planet. It gives me the creeps, and I don't think we are welcome.”