Friday, October 3, 2008
Nepharia and Havok -- Leg 3
Just how we got to Ice Station Zebra is a mystery to me. I must have really tied one on the night before – it would explain the headache.
Stepping out of my heated room and into the icy cold outside, Havok was already there.
"Oh, you're finally awake," he said.
"Yeah," I answered wearily, "I'm not sure I really want to be."
"Xavier came by and told us where our bunker is," he explained.
"Don't you remember?" he asked.
"Hmmm, must have slipped my mind," I answered as I massaged my throbbing temples.
He shook his head and grunted. "Must be some of the after affects of the alien ship radiation," he said. "Let's go, I'll fill you in on the details while we walk."
True to form, Havok gave me all the details. Every. Last. One. Even some that I don't think were in the original instructions. But I didn't care at that point.
I got into the bunker and began working. This was actually something I knew a little bit about. I was becoming more effective at blocking out Havok's obnoxious chatter. He had become little more than one of the background noises one learns to ignore and I found my center once again as I worked.
It didn't take long to get the rocket assembled and filled with the liquid oxygen before climbing on board and lifting off to the Starcore satellite.
The trip to the space satellite took only about five minutes, but an exciting five minutes it was: I had never flown in an oxygen-fueled craft before. The fact that I was essentially using something extremely volatile and deliberately setting fire to it to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth was not a comforting thought.
When the engines died down -- spent of the last of their fuel -- we were drifting in space, and within view of the satellite.
"Oh, can I use the maneuvering jets to dock with the satellite?!" Havok asked excitedly.
"Yeah," I answered, "but remember: we will probably have to use some of that fuel to clear the satellite before falling back to Earth, so be careful how much fuel you use."
He grinned madly and took the controls. Why don't I ever trust my better judgment?
After a few spins around the satellite, and nearly out of what little fuel we had to begin with, we….well….I wouldn't call it docked with – more like bumped into the satellite. At least we didn't breach the hull like other contestants. No one admitted to it at the time. We'll see if anyone puts it in their blog entry.
We were greeted by docking droid who logged our time of arrival.
"What detour would you prefer," the droid asked in that monotone voice. "Talk or walk?"
Once again, I looked at Havok to get his input.
"Um," he began, "uh…..talk?" he said slowly.
"For once, I believe you might be on to something," I answered. "Finally something you might be good at."
He grinned, pleased.
The droid directed us to the shuttle bay, where we found our shuttle. On board we found translators that would probably come in handy when dealing with the aliens. It felt good to be traveling in space once again. It's a pity it couldn't go very fast – it was like pedaling a bicycle through space.
After some time, we made it to the pre-arranged meeting place and landed in the shuttle bay on board the alien mother ship. The ship was not big by Republic / Empire standards, but I wasn't sure if this was their largest ship, either.
"To meet you, nice it is," an alien greeted us in our own language as we stepped off our shuttle. Hmmm, s/he must be close with Yoda, I thought.
We made some brief greetings and were escorted to a room. There were many other aliens there to meet with us. They seemed to be as curious about us, as Havok was about them – I don't think he'd actually met any real aliens before.
Requirements of introductions and offers of food and drink were made.
Finally, sitting down and getting to business, what appeared to be the head alien addressed us. He spoke, and we had to wait for the translator before we could form our answer.
"Why have your people disturbed the resting place of our ship and her dead?" came the tinny translation voice.
"Havok," I turned to him, "Can you explain why we were there and what SHIELD was doing?"
And like magic, Havok's gift to talk endlessly, without pausing, was engaged.
I immediately tuned him out and went into meditation. I have no idea how long I meditated, or exactly what was said. All I know is that I sensed a change in the environment and opened my eyes. One of the aliens was addressing us both – again we had to wait for the translation.
"We have concluded that your coming upon our ship was purely accidental and with no malicious intent, as your species does not appear to be smart enough to purposely go looking for something of that magnitude," he began, gesturing to Havok. "However, we would appreciate having the ship and our comrades being returned to us so they may be interred on our home planet."
"I do not think the authorities would have difficulty with that request," I answered.
There were a few more pleasantries exchanged, along with some fair wells, before we were escorted back to our shuttle in the landing bay.
"Let's not dawdle, Havok," I said, hustling him onto the bridge. "You talked long enough, now it's time we get as close to light speed as we can get this thing to make it back to Starcore command center."