Space Explorers (Dropped) - Chapter 4 Terror and Trust (Part 2)
Blaze awoke to the feeling of his body being moved and sunlight on his skin. Blaze felt extremely weak. Wanting to know what was happening Blaze opened his eyes and looked around. He was on a stretcher being carried out of the main doors of the institute by droids towards a waiting shuttle bus. Kate was being princess carried next to his stretcher by another droid and had a splint on her leg made of broken boards and cut up sheets. Kate was awake and scowling at the droid carrying her. Trask was passed out in a stretcher being carried by two more droids in front of Blaze’s stretcher. Melinda and Eve were talking and walking next to Trask’s stretcher with a group of medical personnel.
Blaze croaked out, “What is going on?”
Kate looked over to Blaze and smiled, “We didn’t think you would be waking up anytime soon. We are officially being transported to Molokai now.”
Blaze croaked out once again, “More details. Tell me everything you know.”
Kate had a sheepish look on her face seeing how tired Blaze looked and berated herself internally for making him talk more than was necessary. “You have been asleep for six hours. The Tempio di Puro attacked ten branch offices of the institute. They released a statement to the public claiming credit for the attacks. They also said attacks would continue until all current mutants were destroyed and human experimentation was stopped.”
Kate frowned and stopped talking for a second then continued, “They attacked with drones not droids. The one we fought was being remotely controlled. Apparently, if we had fought a real droid its reactions would have been quicker and we would most likely be dead. The drone we fought neutralized or trapped everyone in the building using the internal security of the institute and sleeping gas. Its objective was to kill us and not kill any regular humans.”
Blaze feeling a little better asked in a rough voice, “Drone?”
Kate nodded and said, “Yeah apparently they also don’t like droid technology. They said droids were also another attempt on playing god. I watched the news feed after I woke up. The leader had his face covered by a white mask you would see at the theater. The mask also had a symbol of a human inside some circles in gold relief on the forehead area of the mask. The guy seemed like a dick with his condescending speech. He also spoke in Italian. The news feed suggested that the Tempio di Puro has to be based in Italy because of the name of the organization and the leader speaking in Italian.”
The group had arrived at the shuttle which looked like a silver school bus. Glass like solar panels and an electric motor ensure clean and effective mass ground transportation that utilizes the road infrastructure of the twentieth century. However, the roads of the twenty second century are quite a bit different. Roads are now a standard four lanes and the roads are made of black and silver solar filament that keeps the road warm in the winter and collects solar power that is distributed to nearby residents.
The droids carrying Trask stopped before loading Trask into the back of the shuttle. The medical personnel that were talking with Melinda were trying to get an IV setup for Trask but it seemed like they were having difficulties. Blaze could not hear what was being said so he pointed at Trask and said, “How bad?”
Kate replied, “We all are fine according to the scanners. Trask took the most damage. He is stable now thanks to his lizard like regenerative powers. The medics are just worried because his body is using up a lot of his internal resources to heal. They want to get some fluids and injections into him before we leave.”
Blaze still felt exhausted and thought it would be good to go back to sleep. Kate began talking again in a sulking voice before he fell asleep, “Eve is different now. Before if I was hurt she would not leave my side but now she is paying more attention to what the medics are doing than me.”
Kate cleared her throat and continued talking, “Do you think we were wrong for taking the injection? Do you think we are playing at being god?” The last question came out as almost a whisper making Blaze have to strain to hear it.
Blaze replied to Kate’s inner doubts with as steady a voice as his weak body would allow and said, “We had a choice and we took it, nothing more nothing less. Was the choice right for you? Only you can decide that, but I think you did it for the right reason. Your sister would agree with me I am sure. Are we playing at being god? It could be seen that way, but I am not playing at becoming a god and the only persons actions I can control is my own. I don’t think you want to become a god either.”
Blaze was completely drained after that short speech and passed out once again. Kate felt Blaze’s thoughts slip back into oblivion. His thoughts were completely unguarded while he was awake and she felt his intellect, pain, drive, and determination. She liked his straight forward attitude and his compassion for his friends. However, she picked up on something while he made his short speech she didn’t expect. He liked her as a woman. He had his feelings for her locked down so deep that she wondered if he even realized it. Kate was intrigued and somewhat upset that she made him promise a date to Melinda.
The medics finished setting up Trask’s IV. They then started injecting some vitamins into his IV and let the droids load him into the back of the shuttle. Eve finished watching how they got his IV in and went back to Kate and said, “Let’s sit in the front. Trask is ok now. Any change in Blaze? I hope he is just worn out from whatever it is he did.”
Kate shook her head and smiled towards Blaze, “He woke up for the short walk to the shuttle. He seems fine. No I think I will sit in the back and watch Blaze.” Kate realized how that sounded and said, “I mean I will stay with them in case they might need something.”
Eve looked back and forth between Kate and the sleeping Blaze. The look Eve was seeing from Kate towards Blaze was warm and tender. Having a good guess what that meant Eve giggled, “Sure. Let’s sit in the back but remember you said Melinda has a crush on him as well.”
Kate frowned ground her teeth and said, “I know and I even made him accept a date with her.”
Eve giggled some more and said, “You usually are mistrustful of the cute ones. He can block our “Hearing” so what happened that made you more interested in him?”
Kate realized she slipped up again and might as well come clean, “I can “Hear” him a little sometimes when he is confused but this time I could “Hear” everything. He is really a good guy and he has feelings towards me.”
Eve was happy for her sister but also shocked, “You mean the “Space Cadet” has thoughts other than outer space and star ships?” Space Cadet is the nick name that Kate gave Blaze behind his back and she wanted to kick herself for giving him such a horrible nick name.
Kate nodded but didn’t say anything else. Blaze was loaded next to Trask and the droid holding Kate went around to the front passenger side sliding door and up into the vehicle. Kate directed the droid to move down the aisles to the back and place her in the last seat closest to Blaze. Eve sat in the seat next to Kate and started in on some small talk.
Melinda joined them at the back of the shuttle and handed a package to both Kate and Eve. Inside the package was the latest model personnel H.A.L.O device crystals. H.A.L.O crystals don’t need a setting like Melinda’s bracelet to work. Settings are used to give more functionality to the crystal. It also personalizes and makes it easier to keep track of or wear.
Melinda said, “There are also crystals for Blaze and Trask. These are the packages that Director Timmons talked about in his call. I scanned them and nothing seems wrong with them but I don’t know who should be trusted in the institute anymore. They have already attacked ten branch offices and killed all the injection recipients in eight of them. There was only one survivor at the Cairo branch. The Tempio di Puro must have agents inside the institute.”
Kate said, “How many were killed and what are the authorities doing now?”
Melinda activated her H.A.L.O device and launched a news feed while saying, “I know that seventeen injection recipients were killed in the attacks. We survived along with the one in Cairo so that totals to six survivors. I am not an injection recipient so that would mean only five injection recipients survived the attacks. Taking into account that only ten out of the over eight thousand branches on earth that participated in the Mana injection were attacked my guess would be that over ten thousand injection recipients are still alive.”
Melinda stopped talking to read some news flashes and summarized the news flash by saying, “The Mars Republic and Moon Federation are refusing to send their injection recipients to Earth. They are saying that the Earthen Alliance has been too lax in security and that they will not subject their citizens to terrorist attacks. Our government is protesting the actions of the other governments stating that security is rounding up the terrorists as we speak and that Mars and the Moon are only trying to use this incident as a way to withhold vital research candidates.”
Kate’s ears pulled back because she was upset and said, “They say research candidates like we are some lab rats and a tradable commodity.”
Melinda closed her H.A.L.O screen and with wet eyes on the verge of crying said, “I hate the way this is all happening. The institute asked people to try out the injection as an experiment but you guys still are people and deserve to be treated as such.” Melinda could not hold back her tears any longer and cried into her hands.
Eve moved over and hugged Melinda to her and asked, “So are we going to accept the crystals or leave them?”
Kate replied, “Melinda scanned them so they are not a hazard to or health. We might as well accept them for now. I wish I still had my old H.A.L.O though.”
Eve said, “Yeah I miss my old H.A.L.O as well. Can’t do much about it though, H.A.L.O’s only work for the person who’s genetic makeup is registered to the crystal and we have changed too much for our old ones to work. Didn’t the director say a message was in the packages? Should we use them now to view his message?”
Kate replied, “I think we should wait to watch the message until we are on the flight to Molokai. We should wake Blaze before we do because he has more technical knowledge than us so he would know how to ensure we are not making a big mistake using them. How long is the trip going to be?”
Melinda raised her head out of her hands and with a tear streaked face quietly replied, “We are scheduled for a direct private flight on an outer atmospheric Slip Stream Liner. We should arrive at Molokai in two hours. How can Blaze help us he is still in a coma?”
Kate, “He woke up while you guys were working on Trask’s IV. He talked and seemed normal. He was just tired. We should be able to get him to wake up again if we just let him rest until we are in the air.”
Melinda’s mood brightened a little with hearing the news that Blaze had woke up. She feared that whatever he did had put him in a permanent coma. With one less fear Melinda began to get a hold on her emotions that have been swelling in her heart since the attack.
The shuttle pulled to a stop outside the Slip Stream terminal. The round building had a lot of windows and metal support structures. A large long check in counter and a security check point were the first things seen inside this huge building. Melinda exited the shuttle after cleaning up her face and walked up to the counter and talked with the droid receptionist behind the counter. Melinda’s H.A.L.O crystal was scanned to verify her identity and virtual tickets were downloaded in one swipe of the droids hand.
While Melinda was checking the group in, other droids went to the shuttle and unloaded the luggage and carried Trask and Blaze into the terminal. Kate turned down another droid carrying her and had Eve help her into the terminal.
The party of two droids carrying luggage, four droids carrying the stretchers, Blaze, Trask, Eve, Kate, and Melinda all processed through the security check point quickly. They then walked another ten minutes to the private terminal loading dock for Slip Stream flights. The walk was quiet and uncomfortable for the group. Because, everywhere the group went people stopped what they were doing and stared.
Kate and Eve was the most affected by the atmosphere in the terminal. They had decided to “Listen closely” for hostile thoughts with Blaze and Trask being unconscious they had to fill the roles of lookouts and protectors for the party. The thoughts they were “Hearing” ranged from pity to vulgar but no one seemed hostile. Of course their “Hearing” did not work on mechanical things so they could still be attacked by droids or drones without having advance notice.
No new attacks happened and they boarded the private flight for Molokai. Once the party was buckled in and their luggage was stored the droids left and the pressurized door shut on the model XR-765 Slip Stream Liner. The Model XR-765 Slip Stream Liner looks like an airplane modeled arrow head with dark blue pulsing energy lines leading back to the engines. The ship is painted a light silvery blue. The XR-765 started to taxi out onto the run away and was in flight as soon as the Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer fired the engines.
Once the flight leveled out and the “Fasten Your Seat Belt” sign blinked off the girls started moving around the passenger cabin. Kate, Eve, and Melinda moved to the seat Blaze was sleeping in and started to wake him. While hearing a male AI voice say, “Thank you ladies and gentlemen for flying Excelsior Private Liners I am your AI navigation computer Mark. We are currently flying at forty five miles up and traveling at seventy five hundred miles per hour. Our estimated arrival time is in forty minutes. The weather at Molokai is currently eighty four degrees with thirty three percent humidity. I hope you enjoy your flight.”
Blaze was shaken awake by Melinda and he saw Kate and Eve hovering nearby. His broken short nap made it so he didn’t feel in danger of passing out again. However, his body was tired like he had just finished running a marathon.
Melinda, “Blaze we need your help. We got H.A.L.O crystals in a package from the institute but do not know if we should use them. They are supposed to have a message in them for us from Doctor Hale and Director Timmons.”
Blaze recalled the H.A.L.O conversation with Director Timmons and remembered the part about a package for each of them. Thinking about the potential hazards of receiving an unknown H.A.L.O device and how he could view the message safely he formulized a simple plan. Blaze said, “I need my bag and I need Melinda to give me administrative access to her H.A.L.O”
Eve went and retrieved Blaze’s bag from the overhead compartment while Melinda opened her H.A.L.O and gave the verbal command for Blaze to have administrative access. Blaze gave some advanced verbal commands once he was given access to Melinda’s H.A.L.O and had a virtual keyboard and monitor with base coding information appear in front of him and he began to change the programing in his terminal window. Once Eve returned with his bag he had her get his old H.A.L.O out.
Blaze’s H.A.L.O setting is a heavily customized gauntlet design with hundreds of smaller H.A.L.O module crystals, flattened circuits, and five separate full H.A.L.O crystals installed. The five main H.A.L.O crystals are located one on the back of the hand, one at the wrist, and three on the knuckles of the setting. One open slot is available on the pinky knuckle.
When Eve handed Blaze his old H.A.L.O she asked, “What can you do with your old H.A.L.O? It is locked to your DNA right?”
Blaze answered absentmindedly while his fingers were a blur on the virtual keyboard, “Yeah my H.A.L.O is locked like normal. I am just going to change the lockout to my new DNA pattern.”
Eve never knew that it was possible to unlock an H.A.L.O from a DNA pattern but after Blaze hacked into the scanners at the institute she figured he could do it. She asked for clarification, “Um, how are you going to input your new pattern when we don’t know it? Melinda has a scanner but that can only take scans for treatment they don’t have a copy of your DNA profile”
Blaze took off his left shoe and dumped out two data crystals. He grabbed the crystal he remembered held all the test results and data from their week in the institute and plugged it into the open pinky slot of his gantlet. He placed the other crystal back into his shoe but left his shoe off. Then he went back to modifying code on Melinda’s H.A.L.O device and said, “Remember I hacked into the institute and got the evidence against Doctor Sebast. While I was hacked in I also downloaded all of our medical data to this crystal as a backup.”
Kate grabbed Blaze by his shirt and got right in his face and said, “You have a copy of our medical data? Did you look at it? That’s personal information you know!”
Blaze was confused and said, “No. I didn’t look. I just copied the folder. Why?”
Kate realized how close she was and blushed. Kate backed away from Blaze quickly letting go of his shirt and said, “Good. You will give a copy to each of us without looking at it as soon as we get some data crystals. It is an invasion of a girl’s privacy to have data like that.”
Blaze still was confused about Kate’s reaction but it is what he planned on doing anyways so just left it alone and got back to finalizing the adjustments he was making to Melinda’s H.A.L.O.
Kate said under her breath after she was sure Blaze was occupied again said so only Melinda, and Eve could hear, “The dunce has data that says EVERYTHING about our bodies and he is acting confused as to why I am upset.”
Melinda and Eve nodded together in understanding and Melinda added, “Yeah, and it is insulting in a way that he does not even seem curious as to what it might say. I mean come on at least look at my three sizes.”
Eve giggled and Kate blushed because of Melinda’s forward comment. Before the three could say anymore Blaze said, “Done! Where is the crystal for me?”
Melinda got into her hand bag and pulled out Blaze’s crystal and asked while handing him the crystal, “What exactly did you do to my H.A.L.O?”
Blaze pulled out the data crystal and inserted the new H.A.L.O crystal and said, “I didn’t do anything to your H.A.L.O. I just used it as a terminal to access the back door on my old H.A.L.O so I could update my new DNA profile into it using the data crystal. Now I am just going to use my data port to scan the crystal and localize the imbedded message. If the message is clean then I will play it.”
Blaze pulled on his gauntlet H.A.L.O device and activated it. Once he activated it screens began to pop up with his every hand movement. Blaze was done with his scan after a few minutes and said, “It is a good thing you did not active the crystals. This crystal has a location dump program installed that would give our coordinates away during flight. Making it simple for the Tempio di Puro to target our flight and shot it down. The messages are clean I am going to play them now.”
A hollo-projection of the blond haired green eyed young Doctor Hale seated at a desk. In the background behind Doctor Hale the group saw the red planet scape of Mars colony. “I would first like to apologize for the extreme mutations you the recipients of the Mana Injection have had to endure.”
Doctor Hale bowed her head down in apology and kept it that way for a whole minute before she raised her head and began to speak again, “The simulations and animal experimentation showed only a slight possibility of this happening in clinical trials. We are currently working towards correcting the mutation factor but due to the nature of the injection formula and the major changes in DNA structure hopes of reverting current recipients to their previous genetic makeup are non-existent. Also due to the extreme nature of the mutations that have occurred all current injection recipients fall into the newly discovered alien species category and no longer citizens. The Mars Republic is lobbing to reinstate citizen ship to injection recipients. I am also receiving reports that the Moon Federation is also taking steps to protect injection recipient’s rights.”
Doctor Hale sighed and said, “I have received no word from the Earth Alliance about protecting injection recipient’s rights. Taking into account the attacks this morning from the Tempio di Puro and the Alliance’s inaction to secure injection recipient’s rights I would recommend that all injection recipients leave Earth and seek shelter with either the Republic or Federation.”
The H.A.L.O message just cut off after that and the other message began to play. The new image showed a smiling Director Timmons at a desk with a concrete background, “Hello injection recipient I would like for you to disregard Doctor Hale’s message because her information is out of date and you should rest assured that The Alliance is taking steps to secure rights for you and should have them finalized by the time you arrive here at Molokai. I look forward to meeting you when you arrive.” Then scenes of different facilities at the Molokai site began to play like an introduction film to a resort.
Blaze frowned and thought, ‘Doctor Hales message looked like it was overwritten buy junk from Director Timmons. I am guessing that he could not delete the message section that was already received by the crystal. So he instead high jacked the signal and created a short welcome speech and inserted that infomercial to cover up the rest of her message.’
Blaze thought furiously he really did not want to have to deal with all this political and hate based junk. He has a mental schedule for preparation to the game and he is falling behind. He should be practicing his Mana use right now not dealing with this. The Federation and Republic both seemed like better options for him, Kate, Eve, and Trask. Blaze doubted that once they landed in Molokai everything would be as great as the cheesy infomercial proclaimed it to be. But how could he even get to either government to ask for asylum?
Kate was watching Blaze’s reactions and was trying to figure out what he was thinking. She did not trust anyone right now but the people in her group. She was looking at Blaze because he seemed the most capable due to his previous exploits. He had found incriminating evidence and released it only for the information to be hidden. Then he warned every one of his suspicions and right after that we were attacked and only survived because of his quick actions. Now he has warned us that a tracking feature was added to the crystals given to us by the institute and found a way around that. Normally, she would be suspicious of him because he seemed too capable. But she had gotten a good look inside his head and knew that everything Blaze has done has just been a series of luck, hacking, and guesswork. Add in Doctor Hale’s warning and Kate was truly concerned about what they should do and was looking to Blaze to see if he could come up with a plan.
Eve on the other hand was frightened by everything that has been happening. She has kept it together so far on sheer determination. Once healed by the injection Eve thought she could once again live her life and have fun with friends. But now people are trying to kill her just because she was different. Eve was hopping for someone to come up with an idea to protect her and Kate.
Melinda has a mixture of different emotions swirling around in her. She thinks Blaze, Kate, Eve, and Trask do not deserve extremists targeting them just because they are different now. She also feels betrayed because it is obvious that more than one person in the institute is helping the Tempio di Puro. Melinda also feels determined to fix this situation and to help in whatever way she can to protect her friends.
Blaze broke the silence, “I have an insane idea. It has maybe a fifty percent chance of working and failure will mean death.”
Kate smiled to show her support and said, “Well I am glad you have an idea. The only options I thought we had are go to Molokai and be killed or be turned into lab rats. What’s your idea?”
Blaze blurted out, “Let’s hijack the flight and fly to the moon!”
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AN: Sorry for slow release. Real life is not giving me much chance to write. Don’t worry I will continue to post more chapters and feed the penguin nation as fast as my life will allow. Please review and provide comments. I did not have a chance to polish this part of the chapter. Look forward to some action in the next chapter 🙂