Chapter 11: Disaster upon Arrival


Because all powers have failed, my transporter is now coasting on inertia. The gravitational pull ensures that I am on a parabolic path to somewhere but it most likely will overshoot David’s house. So at some point I will have to say good bye to my good old transporter and jettison out and parachute down to the destination.

What will happen to my transporter? I don’t know. I had it for almost 15 years so it has seen a large part of my life. These transporters from work are tracked by the insurance company in case of emergency failure like this one. So most likely they are already sending out emergency vehicles to intercept the transporter before it crashes to the ground. It is more about the casualties the vehicle might cause rather than the vehicle itself.

Many minutes have passed and I can see the destination at a distance. I gather my belongings in a satchel and get ready for the jump. I punched in the longitude and latitude into my handheld computer. It calculates the time to jettison and starts the count down. 3 minutes…..2 minutes…..1 minute….30 seconds…10 seconds…9…8…7…6…5….4….3….2….1….I manually pulled the jettison trigger and I was sent high up into the thin air. The parachute opened properly and I started my long descend toward David’s house.

David is sharp as ever and saw me coming in style from far above and so was very kind to flash a red signal so I would know where to land. And land I did, although my knees didn’t like it very much. It has been a while since I had to do this.

David welcomed me with a big hug but Mel has not arrived yet. That’s okay. He is typically late. But behind us the scene is a little more of a surprise. David’s house is completely transformed. The house has a strange dark shade to it making it look like a haunted house.

“David, what happened to your house?,” I ask. “Why did it take you so long to call me about Brutus?”

“Amelio, I should ask you what happened to your transporter?,” David says. “Strange things are happening, Amelio. Very strange things,” he continues. “After I found out that Brutus disappeared, I looked for him around the neighborhood. When I returned to my house, it has been transformed to what you see here.”

“Have you seen the inside of it? Is it still the same?” I ask. “Well, I attempted to go inside but the doors won’t budge and the mold on the exterior creeps. It scares the ()**$(*()%3 out of me,” David recalls. “I think the house is alive,” he added.

I gave him a blank stare. Alive? He must be joking. How can a house be alive? “What make you think so?” “See how it is devouring the edges of the property? Slowly but surely. It is alive, Amelio” “So why didn’t you call me at a neighbors house?”

“Amelio, the neighbors have all disappeared!” exclaimed David.

“Disappeared? And you and your kid are the only one left?”

“That’s right. I don’t know why? It took me a long time to locate a communicator to call you.”

“Where’s that glyph that you showed me?”

“Here it is.”

David handed me the glyph. Sure enough, it is an ancient glyph from Earth. But around that glyph are some drawings of animals that I am vaguely familiar. Off to the upper right region of the paper is a picture of big dipper. Although we are on beta Geminorium b, light years away from Earth, the big dipper is only slightly distorted in our sky. So I can recognize that.

“David, Mel know someone who can read this glyph. Let’s solve that first. Then we figure out what happened to Brutus, your house, neighbors, my transporters and everything else.”

“Sounds like a plan, Amelio.”

“Can I borrow the communicator? I need to call my wife.”

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