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   Chapter 4 No.4

Beyond the End of the World, Lokians 1 By AaronDennis Characters: 5535

Updated: 2018-01-10 12:02


There was no expectation of battle during the mission, but O'Hara mandated a degree of security. Having the top sniper was a good idea. Having the top spotter accompany him was a better idea. Fitzpatrick was a manly, Irish woman. She and O'Hara were family friends. Their familial ties dated back to the initial colonization of asteroids. Helen Fitzpatrick was not a homely woman, but she was tough and butch. She sported a buzz cut, cussed more than Marty, and had been caught checking out a few ladies.

She was known to spot the slightest change over any horizon. If there was movement, or a visual incongruity, her eagle eyes picked it up. She was also fairly good with a rifle herself, though she preferred setting up for DeReaux rather than shooting, so they made a great team.

"Alright, Frenchie, lets grab the doc and move out, " she said.

"Swell, " he responded, nodding ever so slightly. "Mickelson, are you ready to proceed?"

The wreck of a man was more a rock than a man, really. He loved geology, and it took precedence over everything else, which included both his appearance and hygiene. His long, scraggly hair hung loosely on his head, and his thick mustache and goatee were always in need of a trim. He picked his pack off the ground, grimaced, and pushed his glasses back onto his face.

"I guess, " he replied with a smile, revealing yellow teeth.

While the remaining crew set up mobile camp, DeReaux, Fitzpatrick, and Mickelson hiked in cadence for about twenty minutes. Soon, they saw downed rovers in the distance. They knew they were close. Mickelson produced a Geiger counter. He turned it on, creating an obnoxious, clicking sound.

"What's the readout, Mick, " Fitzpatrick asked.

"Oh, nothing out of the ordinary, " he replied as he squinted through his spectacles.

Suddenly, the counter ceased all noise. Fitzpatrick looked for an area to post up, but stopped to look at Mickelson when he hemmed and hawed. Pensively, he pace backwards, and the counter resumed clicking. "I think we should leave this here. I can grab some samples just outside the dig site and bring them back for rad check, " he said, pushing his glasses back onto his face.

"Won't you get sick if it is radiated, " DeReaux asked as he crinkled his nose.

"I'll just be in a sec. I'm sure it'll be okay."

DeReaux and Fitzpatrick glanced at each other.

Chapter Two

Whistles and tweets sounded all around. Creatures in the sky spread their wings to cut circles over base camp. O'Hara had seen pictures of Eon's fauna months prior, but watching them in action held some nostalgic majesty.

A commotion drew his attention; Swain was setting up the Lithium capacitor and chastising Marty for not paying attention to what he was doing. Th

e captain's comm. unit dinged then. It not only displayed 15:00, but the red, flashing light indicated someone was contacting him, so he pressed a button to relay directly to his earpiece.

"O'Hara, " he replied hastily.

"Hey, Captain, what's it like? I'm looking through the screen. It looks wonderful, " Day's voice was cheery and awed. "We're all dying to get out there…."

"I don't know how to describe it. It really is gorgeous, but you'll all get your chance soon, I'm sure." At that time, O'Hara turned to Martinez, who was dragging out green tarps for cover. "Marty, set those up over there, Swain forget the equipment for a moment, and make sure we set up cover first. I have to disconnect, Day."

"Roger."

Swain and Martinez nudged the scientists out of their way. The geeks were so caught up in getting their gear ready for tests, they had no clue what was going on around them. Less than an hour later, the soldiers had posts in the ground, and three, makeshift tents set up. Done with chores, Imes glanced over at Becker. He ran fingers through his thick, spiky, hair as he approached her. She was trying to get a crate on a dolly.

"I'll lift it, you slide it under, " he said without making eye contact.

"I can do this, " she snapped.

Imes sighed while tilting the crate towards himself. He stood there, glaring at her. She didn't so much as glance back, but she deftly slid the dolly underneath the crate. She then hauled it over the bumpy terrain, where the nerds huddled around it. Finally, they began removing more supplies; small, foldable tables, chairs, computers, and scanning devices.

The plan was to study the soil samples Mickelson was recovering. It was going to be an all night process involving composition studies, checking for radiation, magnetism, and Carbon dating. The sophisticated equipment was very costly; the scientists had definitely dipped into Phoenix Crew's budget, but everyone from civilians to government fat cats were stoked to start colonization on an actual planet; the entire sci-fi industry was based on those kinds of adventures.

A moment later, Nandesrikahl approached the captain. O'Hara held his hand over his brow, staring at the twin orbs. Their light was not so powerful as to prevent one from directly observing their beauty.

"Captain, " he asked.

"Nandy, " O'Hara said and turned to him.

He scrutinized his subordinate for a quick moment. Nandesrikahl was a tall, lanky, gentleman, but athletic and very bright. A smile played on his dark complexion.

"'Ow long do you think it'll take them? To return, I mean, " he inquired.

"Shouldn't take too long. We'll be all set up by the time they get back, though. Why don't you round everyone up and take a look around?"

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