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   Chapter 24 No.24

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5478

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"Listen, I don't know who you are, but--"

The voice cut him off. "If you are looking for motivation, take a look at all of those craters. Then look up. That mess you came crashing through is none too stable on a good day. There are about two dozen impacts per minute, so if you haven't seen one, that means you're overdue. The chances of you getting hit are pretty low, but one of those hunks poking a hole in the planet tends to make the area inhospitable. Also, if you're outdoors come nighttime, I hope you brought a parka, since last night it hit negative forty."

"Uh. . . okay. But how do I know--"

"If you are dead, I'm going to salvage that ship, assuming there's any of it left. Hell, if you're alive I'm going to salvage it, too."

"Hey, that's my ship you're talking about, you--"

"Also, in case you haven't figured it out, this is a recording. This is the only chance you're gonna get to partake of my hospitality, so I suggest you step aboard. Doors close in five. . . four. . . three. . . two. . ."

Lex hopped inside just as the doors closed. Regardless of who this guy was, or where this bus was headed, it couldn't possibly make his situation worse than it was now. . .

Could it?

Chapter 7

The inside of the bus was as typical as the outside. Row after row of uncomfortable seats, windows that could barely open, and upholstery the color of mulch and chewed gum. The only significant difference was the lack of a driver in the driver's seat. Automated cars weren't outside the norm these days, but they still stuck a driver in the school buses to supervise things. This one was puttering along all by i

t wasn't a good sign.

The bus slowed to a stop in front of the doorway of one of the three buildings. The door was in the center of the wall that faced the landing pad, and beside it the word "Lab" had been crudely spray-painted. The doors opened, letting in the icy air.

"End of the line. I was in the lab when I recorded this. I'm probably still there now. Busy. Just follow the green lights, but don't bug me unless I'm done, " the recorded voice buzzed through the PA speakers.

Lex grabbed his things and limped down the steps of the bus. Once he was out, the door snapped shut and the bizarre vehicle whisked off toward one of the other buildings.

The injured pilot eyed "Lab" warily. He wasn't terribly confident of the wisdom of entering a strange building on a strange planet after a surreal trip, but the alternative was sitting outside until the cold became lethal. He shrugged and stepped up to the door.

"Greetings, unknown person. You are new to this facility, so please answer a few short questions before entry, " said a female voice--or rather, several of them.

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