Chapter 2: Inside Ceres
Mira led Jake down the long corridor until she came to an opening in the far wall the size of a normal man, that is to say, if a normal man was ten feet as tall as the soldiers were. The soldiers were able to transverse the hallway two side by side. A brilliant green stone was embedded in the wall above the entrance, with a light that shone through the stone, bathing the entrance in a greenish hue. A strange mist hung in the doorway.
As they entered the smaller corridor, Jake felt his skin begin to tingle as if a million ants were crawling all over him. The feeling passed a few steps into the hallway. Lights embedded in the ceiling overhead came to life, illuminating the long hallway before them which had seemingly no end. Jake was amazed at how smooth the arched ceiling and walls were. He placed his hand on the wall as he followed Mira, astonished to find the surface was warm to the touch. The wall was also smooth as glass, it even had a slightly reflective property to it. As he slid his hand along the surface an interactive display appeared, causing Mira to stop suddenly and Jake to bump into her.
“Keep your hands off the walls. Don’t touch anything.” Mira snapped at him.
“I was just admiring the architecture. I had no idea that touch screens were embedded in your walls.” Jake defended himself.
“Well, now you know. It is forbidden for any outsider to access the touch screens without authorization. You could inadvertently kill yourself. That wouldn’t be much of an issue but you’d kill me and the soldiers along with you and possibly many others. That we cannot have.” Mira touched several places on the display and the display disappeared. “Come. We must make haste. Your dawdling is taking way too much time. We must reach my Master’s chambers in ten of your minutes.”
“Yes, ma’am. You wish is my command.” Jake sarcastically replied bringing a huff from Mira before she turned and continued walking.
“It was not a wish but a command.” Mira quipped over her shoulder as she began to take the stairs two at a time.
“Yes, ma’am.” Jake smiled, as he tried to follow her by taking two steps at a time, but he was sorely out of shape for this type of activity. “By the way, how is Ceres’s gravity changing? I’ve been feeling it increasing since I entered this cavern. It is almost that of Earth.”
“We can increase and decrease the gravitational field of this satellite. It is a technology that we have possessed for millennia, ever since our home world was destroyed.” Mira explained.
“Homeworld?” Jake decided that the best tactic at the moment was to engage Mira in conversation and gain as much information as he could in hopes of returning to Odysseus.
“Enough talking. Everything you need to know will be explained once we reach my Master. If it is his will, then you should know it.” Mira fumed at him, so much for conversation.
Jake was getting the feeling that meeting Mira’s Master was not going to be pleasant for him. He slowed his pace somewhat by returning to taking the steps one at a time. By the time Mira was twenty or so steps ahead of him, her temper flared. She stopped for a moment until Jake and the soldiers caught up to her. Jake came to a halt, smiling at Mira. She spoke to the soldiers in an anger-filled voice, in a language Jake could not understand. The soldiers behind him were stoic and said nothing nor made any facial expressions that would help Jake judge their attitude or thoughts.
Jake had no concept of the distance they had been traveling but the chronometer of his suit showed that they had been traveling for four days. The corridor expanded and contracted in height and width numerous times while curving this way and that. They had ascended and descended stairs. They had turned off into adjourning corridors more times than he could remember. Several times they stopped to rest in areas along the corridor that seemed designed just for that purpose. Each of these rest areas had four, five, six, and even eight intersecting corridors converging on the locations.
At each rest area, Mira and the soldiers had produced food pelts from unseen pouches within their garments yet did not offer any to Jake. At each rest stop, there were casks of water that the group drank sparingly from. Jake was afforded a half pint of water and no more. They never offered him any food.
“How long is it going to take to get to your Master? I haven’t had anything to eat in four days and little water. You can’t expect a person to survive like this.” Jake finally said as they stopped at a water location.
“There is no need to feed the condemned,” Mira responded.
Jake caught a flash out of the corner of his eye. Two soldiers that were ordered by Mira to guard Jake fell to the ground with several solid obsidian bolts in each of their chests. Then chaos erupted. There were six additional adjoining corridors to the rest stop the corridor Jake and his captors had traveled down. From each of the additional corridors appeared two dozen half-naked warriors, each pointing a small, slim crossbow. Black obsidian stone bolts were poised in each crossbow, aimed at Jake’s captors. These individuals were the size of normal Earth men, the tallest being around six feet in height. The tallest strolled forward, lowering his crossbow as he neared and drawing a long, thin silvery blade from a wide leather belt that was attached to his waist and ran up over his left shoulder.
“High Priestess Mira.” The man nearly spat out the greeting.
Jake noticed that even though he was hearing the individual speak English, his lips were out of sync with his words.
“Galantine. How dare you attack the Master’s High Priestess and her guard.” Mira demanded.
“I dare by the one and true God and not your puny upstart.” Galantine responded as he grabbed Mira by her garment.
Galantine placed his thin blade against Mira’s chest as he one-handed released her golden belt. He tore the diadem from her head before cutting the gown off of her body. A soldier lunged towards Galantine to assist Mira but was stopped in his tracks when three bolts appeared in his torso. Jake wondered what type of material the bolts were since it seemed once struck, the victim was dead before they hit the ground. They had to have been tipped in a poison of some type.
“You insolent worm. Gilgamesh will eat your heart for this atrocity.” Mira fumed as the last fragments of her gown hit the rest area floor.
“You know as well as I, that Gilgamesh is not all-powerful or all-seeing. If it weren’t for ancient technology, he would be nothing more than a giant cannibal.” Galantine stated. “The rest of you, remove all your garments. Remember that my men can kill you in an instant if you try to pull a weapon or attack us.”
The remaining three soldiers began to disrobe under the watchful eyes of the newcomers.
“Not you, Earthman.” Galantine said as Jake began to take his suit off. “You are the reason we have shown ourselves. We are here to rescue you.”
“How is it that you speak English?” Jake asked.
“We all are implanted with language translators when we are very young. All upon this satellite have been forced to undergo the procedure for ages past. Gilgamesh refuses to allow us to learn other languages for fear of an uprising. The central translator is secured somewhere near the core. Gilgamesh controls it and keeps the inhabitants from communicating with one another. What he doesn’t know is that we were able to gain limited control generations ago. We can turn it on and off when needed. The issue with that is, Gilgamesh’s technicians can triangulate our location while we use it. Therefore, we must cease using it shortly. Just know that we mean you no harm. When we can, we will access the translator again to speak with you.” With the explanation, Galantine touched a spot just behind and below his right ear and his words were lost to Jake as the man spoke to Mira.
Jake noticed that the newcomer and his warriors were half naked, and carried long swords that resembled Damascus blades and odd-looking crossbows made of some black material resembling obsidian stone but mailable. Whereas the soldiers had scimitars used to slash, the warriors had straight swords for thrusting. Even their belts and harnesses were different, plain without decoration or jewels. They had plain sandals and none of the bindings along their legs as the soldiers had. Even their features were different. The newcomers had dark brown hair but the leader had red. On each hand and foot, Jake could see that they had only five digits on each compared to the six of the soldiers and Mira. The newcomers resembled ancient slaves more than fighting men.
Jake watched as Galantine placed his blade against Mira’s neck, below and back of her right ear. The thin blade sliced like a surgeon’s scalpel, barely separating the epidermis skin layer from the dermis layer. A small red bean-shaped object popped from the wound and landed in Galantine’s hand. With a smile, he held it up for Jake to see before touching the spot on his neck to speak. He dropped the device into Jake’s hand.
“See? This is the device that allows the inhabitants here to converse. Without it, we would be speaking gibberish to others, not of our tribe.” Galantine touched the spot on his neck once again and Jake was unable to understand him.
“How is it that I hear you speaking in English yet I don’t have such a device implanted?” Jake asked.
“The device has the capability of sending the translation directly into your brain.” Galantine replied.
“Like telepathy.” Jake wondered.
“Along the same lines, yes except we cannot read your thoughts nor you ours.” Galantine continued.
Mira’s hatred showed hot in her eyes and the rigidness of her body. The three soldiers were relieved of their communication devices as well. Two warriors knelt and removed the slain soldiers’ devices and their attire. Numerous objects were pulled from their garments and Jake could only assume the objects were valuable or weapons of some sort.
“These weapons and explosives will come in handy.” A warrior was saying as Jake held the device to his skin just under and behind his right ear.
The device worked. Jake lowered his hand to notice that the device had a slight red light that emanated from it. Slowly the light dimmed.
“The device must remain in contact with a living being to work. It is powered by the body’s natural temperature and components in the bloodstream. Once it is removed, it loses power rather quickly. The problem that we are encountering is that once outside the host body, it cannot be reinserted into another living body and function. It’s kind of a failsafe. Some devices have special properties that we haven’t been able to replicate, mainly a direct link with Gilgamesh. If we could unlock that secret, we could pinpoint where Gilgamesh is at all times and stage a formable attack.” Galantine explained as he saw what Jake had done with the device.
Jake placed the device in a pouch on his suit for later examination. It would be a great discovery if he could bring it back to the people of Earth. Instead of individual translators and miscommunication, people could resolve conflicts themselves without the language barrier, if he ever got back to Earth that is.
‘Die!” Mira screamed as she stared at the warriors binding her soldiers.
The warriors in turn screamed in pain, blood running from their ears and noses. Galantine quickly wrapped a strip of cloth over her eyes, tying it behind her head. He placed a gag into her mouth even though she continued to scream in muffled frustration. He forced her to turn away from the warriors.
“Gilgamesh’s priests and priestesses have all been genetically altered and enhanced by technological implants. I have seen a priest kill a dozen people just to prove he had the power to do so. Once the translation communication device is removed, I have seen that they lose the ability to use their voice in such a manner but their eyes must be covered at all times or they can still get into your head or cause slow bodily damage,” Galantine explained.
The three soldiers were bound by their belts, harnesses bindings, and clothing that were cut into strips for bindings. Jake couldn’t miss the fact that many of the warriors had wanted to permanently remove the threat the soldiers posed to them but Galantine seemed to be the voice of wisdom and stayed their hands from carrying out their intentions.
“Come. We make for the Pass of the Ages before it’s too late.” Galantine stated holding his hand to his neck.
“Pass of the Ages?” Jake asked. “Is that near my ship and my comrades?”
“Yes and no. In a way. What do you know of quantum physics and time and space dilation?” Galantine asked.
“Time and space are dimensions as much as our three-dimensional world. We just cannot perceive them.” Jake replied.
“In a manner. With the right technology, you can pass from place to place while folding space. In the same manner, you can travel forward in time by folding it and passing from one time period to another. The theory is that once something has happened though, you cannot travel back in time along your timeline but you can travel forward in your own time. Traveling back in time is in reality traveling to another dimension where the events that have occurred in your timeline haven’t happened yet. In this manner, you were brought here.” Galantine explained.
“Wait. What? I was brought here? I landed on Ceres in my spacecraft with my crew mates. I didn’t travel across timelines or to another dimension.” Jake interrupted.
“Once you exited the large cavern, did you not pass through a doorway with a green light shining through a stone over the door? At the doorway, there was also a mist?” Galantine asked.
“Yes. I do remember a green light and a mist. What was it?” Jake was falling down a deep rabbit hole that he felt had no bottom.
“That light and mist were the mechanisms to convey you over to our dimension, one that resembles your dimension but that you are thousands if not millions of years ahead of us on the galactic timeline.” Galantine elaborated. “I cannot explain it any further since that is how it was explained to me many centuries ago.”
“I’m in a different dimension? Incredible.” Jake’s head was swimming with all the possibilities.
“You could say a pocket dimension. And our dimension is shrinking with every passing solar day. In another million years, our dimension will collapse in on itself. Once that happens, no one knows what comes next. Maybe a black hole. Maybe nothing. Maybe we give birth to a new galaxy. I pray I am not here to see that though.” Galantine said. “But now, we must go before the opportunity is gone to get you back to your time and comrades.” Galantine motioned to two warriors.
The two warriors walked up and took hold of Mira’s arms. They bound one of their wrists to that of Mira’s so that she could not escape. Two more followed behind Mira and her guards while the others led off down one of the corridors. Galantine and Jake walked side by side. Gilgamesh’s soldiers were left at the rest area, bound and gagged but alive. Galantine explained that travelers commonly used the rest area and another group would likely be along within a day or less. If not, the next settlement they came to, they would relay the whereabouts of the soldiers. But he was concerned that they would not be welcomed with open arms by Gilgamesh who punished failure by executing those that displease him.
They walked for several hours before Jake saw the first settlement on Ceres. It was a large cavern where dozens of holes dotted the cavern walls. Tables were set up as merchants plied their foodstuff and products.
“Where do they grow the food and other things they are selling?” Jake asked.
“There are hundreds of thousands of caverns within the satellite. The ground is fertile and the water flows through canals throughout the subterranean world. There are also numerous domes on the surface that produce food but those are restricted for the rich.” Galantine explained.
“This is so incredible. If Gilgamesh is so bad, why haven’t the people revolted?” Jake asked.
“Superstition and tradition hold the majority back. Our movement is old but we have few members. Only those that have been on the receiving end of Gilgamesh’s rage have decided to revolt. This is why Gilgamesh shields himself from the populace. He knows he is the one that would cause a revolt so he hides and even at times acts in a benevolent way to hide his true nature. Few have ever seen him and live. Priestesses and priests like Mira are the faces of Gilgamesh. Only those unfortunate enough ever see him and then they adorn his table later.”
“Then, he really is a cannibal?” Jake asked.
“Yes, but he is selective on whom he preys upon. There are tribes specifically raised to sacrifice one of their own to Gilgamesh. I should have asked this before.” Galantine stopped and turned to speak to Jake. “Did they feed you at all?”
“Nothing,” Jake replied.
“Here, try these. They don’t taste that good but they will nourish your body.” Galantine stated as he handed several small cubes of brownish objects to Jake.
Jake bit into one and the taste was a mixture of beef and potatoes. A smile crossed his face as he devoured the cubes.
“These are delicious,” Jake exclaimed as he finished the cubes.
“Interesting. They are made from livestock and roots that we grow. My people mostly eat vegetation. Only the very rich partake of animal flesh since it is so rare. I had a chance once to taste fresh animal flesh when I was young. It was a taste that I did not enjoy.” Galantine mused.
Jake noticed that the attitude of the warriors was drastically different from the soldiers and Mira. Instead of indifference or neglect, Galantine and the warriors treated him as a friend, attentive to his well-being. Even though they seldom used their communication devices, Jake still had the feeling of being accepted. Galantine had even begun to teach him their language, at first how to ask for water or food and then more complicated words and phrases.
It was disturbing to Jake that it seemed that it was taking longer to get back to the ship. Galantine explained that they couldn’t return the way Mira had brought him due to Gilgamesh’s temple soldiers and patrols. When asked why he hadn’t seen any patrols or other soldiers while with Mira, Galantine explained that they may have been observed but Mira was in such a high place and favor with Gilgamesh, others shied away or hid when she was near.
“I’m sorry. How can I believe you and not her? Sure, you’ve been nicer and offered me food and drink but you haven’t proven anything beyond that. Even the settlements. Mira may have been taking me to one of those as well.” Jake questioned.
“Fair enough. All I have is my word as does Mira. But I will prove this to you, I just hope we don’t pay with our lives.” Galantine conceded.
The group doubled back to the rest area they had left the soldiers. When they arrived, the soldiers were still where they had been left. Galantine led them beyond the rest area. They continued for about an hour before being confronted by an armed procession of seven-robed individuals. Each was over seven feet tall, had red hair, six digits on each appendage, a golden diadem on their head, and similar attire which Mira had been wearing before Galantine removed it, denoting them as priests and priestesses of Gilgamesh.
With uncanny ability, Mira seemed to sense the priests or could see through the blindfold she was wearing. She was able to force the gag from her mouth and scream for assistance from the priests.
Once the priests saw the captive Mira, bound between two warriors, Gilgamesh’s priests attacked Galantine’s warriors. Two of the priests fell immediately as bolts from the warriors’ weapons struck the in the chest, passing through their hearts. The crossbows were quickly dropped as the battle became close-quarters combat. The warriors drew their long swords as the priests wielded their scimitar blades.
The two groups entered into a lengthy battle where neither asked for mercy nor gave any. One of Mira’s guards cut his bindings to Mira and entered the fray. Jake was left with the other warrior and Mira as Galantine and the eleven warriors fought the priests. The one warrior still bound to Mira had to wrap a cloth tighter about her mouth and head to silence Mira who had started screaming even louder in her strange language. Her voice seemed to be affecting the warriors. Her voice seemed to be causing the warriors to become unsteady on their feet until Mira was silenced.
The battle drew to a close with Galantine finishing the last priest with a thrust of his silvery blade and stroke of his long sword. The slain priests were searched by the warriors, retrieving anything of use or value and soon they were on their way once again. Jake had to admire the depth of the faith the warriors and priests exhibited as they fought to the bloody end in service to their faith and convictions.
“There will be many more battles before we arrive, I am afraid. Do you have any experience in the use of a sword or crossbow?” Galantine asked.
“I’ve used a crossbow before but my society has evolved beyond swords,” Jake replied.
“Yes. We have seen your transmissions on the atrocities your weapons have committed. Swords and crossbows would be more humane I believe,” Galantine said.
“You are right about that.” Jake agreed.
“What happened earlier when Mira was screaming? I saw your men almost stumble over their own feet.” Jake questioned.
“It is an ability the priests and priestesses of the highest order possess. We are not sure if it is a genetic enhancement or technological in origin. All we know is that a High Priest or High Priestess can even kill with their words, but they must also be able to see their victim. Without their eyesight, they can affect a person’s muscles, and eyesight or even cause them to stop breathing. We are not barbarians that we blindfold and gag her, it is out of self-preservation.” Galantine explained.
“I can understand that more now that I have seen it with my own eyes. But not all the priests and priestesses have the ability?” Jake replied.
“No. Only the highest-level priest and priestess. I believe it is because they do not have enough resources to give the ability to all. It may also be because Gilgamesh fears that one day that one in his loyal priesthood will turn on him and use the alteration and enhancements against him. Here, you may need my crossbow in the future. The bolts are tipped with a rare poison so try not to touch the tip.” Galantine offered him his crossbow and pouch of bolts.
Jake took the weapon hoping he would not have to use it. Unfortunately, half an hour later, he was forced to use it against two of Gilgamesh’s soldiers that had rushed out of an adjoining corridor with fifteen other soldiers. One of Galantine’s warriors received wounds to his stomach and his right leg. Another received wounds to both of his legs and needed assistance if he was to continue with them. The two wounded warriors urged the other to leave without them. Even though Jake could not understand them, their looks spoke volumes.
Before Galantine could respond to his wounded companions, Jake stepped forward to take the less wounded warrior’s arm. Seeing the Earthman was not willing to leave a comrade behind, the wounded warriors accepted the aid. The warriors rigged a litter for the more severe wounded warrior to carry him between two warriors. So, the entire group moved on as one, leaving none behind.
At an intersection of four corridors, Galantine turned them into one that Jake did not recognize. A short time later the sounds of footfalls and the clatter of weapons and accouterments of a large group approaching the intersection were heard. The sounds died out as the unknown group continued along the route Jake’s group would have taken if Galantine had not turned them towards their new path. All remained silent as the warriors moved slightly faster but with additional caution.
It took Jake and the party a week to return to the corridor from whence he had been led by Mira into the subterranean corridors and passageways of Ceres. The wounded warriors had made miraculous recoveries. The one warrior that Jake had been assisting was able to walk on his own after two days. By the end of the sixth day, the other wounded warrior was able to leave the litter and continue with the aid of only one warrior.
Jake was surprised when they arrived at the doorway to find that the mist and green light were still in the doorway. But something looked off about the doorway as he studied it.
“We cannot travel beyond the cavern. There is no atmosphere to breathe beyond. We will accompany you into your dimension but must turn back before the atmosphere bubble ends.” Galantine said as he stood at Jake’s side, having toggled his translator on.
“This is the doorway I entered. I am sure of it. But the door is open.” Jake observed.
“The dimensional device is still functioning it seems, which is a good thing. I pray that we are not too late for your shipmates. Does the stone still cast the same color? Is the mist the same?” Galantine asked as he looked towards Mira.
“It seems so. I cannot be sure. But I don’t remember the mist being green. It was just a mist in the air, grayish if anything.” Jake replied.
Jake and Galantine looked toward Mira who held her head high and had a broad smile on her face. The sinister look in her eyes screamed of a trap or something worse.
“What means this, priestess?” Galantine demanded, removing Mira’s gag.
“Gilgamesh has claimed the spacecraft for his own. He shall use it to return to the sister world and conquer it as he did our homeworld so many millennia ago.” Mira taunted them, Galantine translated her rant for Jake.
“My crew mates? What have you done to them?” Jake demanded.
“Nothing, time outside the passage hasn’t advanced as rapidly as it has within the domain of Gilgamesh.” Mira laughed and froze when she realized she had given too much away.
“There may still be time to rescue your ship and shipmates. Gilgamesh has lain claim to your vessel.” Galantine exclaimed as he stepped through the mist from the corridor into the cavern, followed by Jake and the others.
“The dropship has moved into the cavern,” Jake exclaimed as he passed through the mist and spotted Penelope a few hundred yards away.
Over three dozen individuals were walking along with the spacecraft as it was being towed further into the cavern by some odd chariot-looking vehicle. The chariot had no driver and was moving along with no sign of power from what Jake could see.
Jake rushed across the cavern towards Penelope followed by Galantine and his warriors. He raised the crossbow to his shoulder as he realized that the individuals were the priests of Gilgamesh. Mira screamed a warning to the priests who immediately drew odd-looking handheld weapons. Bolts from the warriors flew from behind Jake as the warriors engaged the priests. A dozen priests were no match for the surprise attack of Galantine’s men. The priests fell before they could bring their weapons to bear. Mira screamed in anger and frustration over which she had no control.
“Energy weapons.” Galantine stated as they stopped to examine the priests. “These are Gilgamesh’s Elite High Priest Soldiers. He equips only his elite with these rare and sought-after weapons.”
Jake nodded before heading to the still extended ramp to enter Penelope. Two warriors remained behind to gather Gilgamesh’s Elite Soldiers’ weapons and other items from their garments. Once they had looted the bodies, the warriors raced up the ramp to join Galantine and the others.
“Bring her.” Galantine ordered as he raced after Jake.
Jake found that gravity was reducing every step he took towards the ramp. At the top of the ramp, he palmed the control for the outer airlock. He was followed by Galantine and his warriors into the drop ship. The outer airlock door slid closed as Jake palmed the pressurization button. A hissing erupted in the chamber as the air was pumped in. A moment later, Jake had palmed the inner airlock door. He rushed to the final door that easily slid open.
Jake led the warriors to the command deck. All about, the crew of the Penelope and the security force lay unconscious. Jake and the warriors knelt beside the crew members to arouse them.
“They have been neutralized. It’ll be days before they will awaken if they awaken at all,” Mira laughed as one of the warriors translated her statement.
“You won’t be laughing if I push you out an airlock while in space,” Jake fumed.
“Easy Jake. They will recover. We will stay with you until they do. The first thing we must do is to ascertain if we are still in our dimension or yours,” Galantine said calmly.
“What’s going on outside?” Jake asked as he spotted movement on one of the monitors on the control deck wall.
“Sacrifices to Gilgamesh, selected from the different tribes of Ceres. The priests will shed their blood to appease Gilgamesh before he arrives. After, he will dine on their corpses,” Galantine exclaimed as he looked at the monitor.
“Not if I have any say about it,” Jake said. “Free them.”
Twenty-four half-naked women and men were being forced towards Penelope by two dozen soldiers. The men and women were all bound together by heavy chains around their necks and feet. The soldiers stopped when they saw Gilgamesh’s Elite Soldiers dead.
Galantine took one of the handheld energy weapons looted from the elite soldiers. He rushed to the airlock, repeating Jake’s movements he opened the airlocks. This time the airlock doors remained open since the internal sensors read a breathable atmosphere on the outside of the ship.
The soldiers had advanced rapidly to the ramp only to face Galantine and his warriors. Each warrior wielded an energy weapon. The soldiers had only their swords. The battle was over before it began thanks to the energy weapons.
In the distance, another group of soldiers leading captives towards Penelope was spotted.
“Get the captives to safety.” Galantine said motioning to the captives near Penelope.
“No time,” Jake said. “Bring them on board.”
Jake turned and rushed into the ship, passing the smiling Mira as he did.
“Don’t count us out just yet, lady,” Jake said and was comforted by the scowl that replaced the smile on Mira’s lips.
Jake went to the cockpit and began prepping Penelope for take-off. The maneuvering thrusters came online first, allowing Jake to turn the ship around and face towards the entrance of the cavern.
“Everyone, get ready for take-off. You need to brace yourselves.” Jake called.
Jake looked to see that the ramp was clear of individuals. Monitors showed that the soldiers were on the ground, unmoving. There was no sign of the captives near Penelope. He raised the ramp just as a score of soldiers appeared in the cavern firing similar handheld energy weapons that Galantine’s warriors had taken off the dead Elite Soldiers. The Penelope was rocked over and over as the energy weapons impacted the hull.
“Galantine, I’ll get you back to Ceres but I’m getting my crewmates and the Penelope out of Gilgamesh’s reach. We can ferry everyone back to the corridor with our space suits in waves but I will get you home.” Jake said as he throttled Penelope’s engines to the max.
The main thrusters ignited, sending a plume of hot expelled rocket fuel into the midst of the soldiers, melting their flesh and eliminating their threat to Penelope and the crew. The ship slowly gained speed. Soon they were passing into the valley, their speed increasing as they did. Before long, Jake was able to lift the nose of the ship and a moment later, Penelope was gliding into the space above Ceres on its way to dock with Odysseus.
Galantine and the warriors crumpled to the deck as a burst of energy rocked the ship. Jake heard the voice in his head but without the implant, he was safe from the effect it had on Galantine and his warriors. The captives all screamed at the same time from the cargo hold of Penelope.
“I will have my revenge.” Gilgamesh roared over the communication device.
Those with devices implanted were struck with an energy burst meant to kill the recipient. Luckily for the warriors and captives, Jake had put enough distance between them and Gilgamesh’s emitter that he was using to send the killer beam. Instead of being killed, those still with the implanted device were subjected to extreme pain and knocked unconscious.
Jake watched the monitors as Ceres was left behind. He turned his head to view yet another monitor and was surprised to find a planet a little larger than Earth taking up the center part of the monitor. He adjusted the trajectory of the Penelope to avoid being caught by the gravitational pull of the planet. He homed in on Odysseus’ beckon signal and set course for the main ship.
Checking all the monitors and sensors, Jake found that the asteroid belt had disappeared and been replaced by the planet that now occupied many of the monitors on Penelope. As the drop ship came into the visual range of Odysseus, Jake saw that many of the beckon lights were out. The ship’s docking system was still online and functioning allowing Jake to dock the Penelope.
“We are no longer in your dimension or ours.” Galantine stated as he rose from the floor, looking out at the planet. “It appears we have traveled to another dimension where our home world has not been destroyed.”
“The asteroid belt was the remnants of your planet?” Jake questioned.
“Yes. That is why we migrated to one of the two moons. Others were able to migrate to your homeworld before it was too late.” Galantine explained.
“I know there was a theory concerning the asteroid belt and how it had once been a planet. How was it destroyed?” Jake asked.
“War. The war between the Anunnaki and our ancestors. Our space vessels were not long distant spacecraft as were the others. Gilgamesh was the last Anunnaki in our home world, left behind by his brothers and sisters for unthinkable heinous crimes, even for the Anunnaki. Being one of the descendants of the Anunnaki, Gilgamesh has longed to rejoin his race so that he could exact his revenge. Alas, he has been thwarted once again.” Galantine smiled.
Jake shut down the engines as the sensors collected all the data that the planet held. The shipboard chronometer showed that only twenty-three hours had elapsed from the time Jake had entered the corridor where he had met Mira.
He made his way to Odysseus’ main command deck. He couldn’t get the AI to work correctly and then he remembered that Mira had stated that they had been in contact with the AI on the Odysseus and the drip ships.
Thinking and moving quickly, Jake was able to get to the AI’s main server section to disable it. He did the same to the two drop ships. He had to wipe everything from the memory in case Gilgamesh’s technology had corrupted the entire system, which it had.
With a dread deeper than he had ever had, Jake disconnected the AI completely from all three ships, severing every cable connecting it. The crew could fly the Odysseus manually and there was a basic computer system that could be linked to the systems but he had to wait until the crew was all conscious.
About the Creator
Prior Service, saw the Berlin Wall dismantled and the aftermath of the Gulf War/ Desert Storm/ Desert Shield. He has drawn upon his unique views of life and science fiction to bring together an alternate reality of excitement.