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   Chapter 36 No.36

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 13302

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04


The ship

The news caused quite a stir at the breakfast table. "You what?!" Sandy switched the telephone to the speaker.

Alexander repeated what he had said. "And if you want, we can come to pick you up and show you where it is. Lester asked me to collect as many people as possible, so we all know where it is. And be sure to bring boots or other sturdy footwear. The field is still very soggy."

"Give us half an hour and we'll be ready, " Paul said. "Or make that an hour, Sandy's not too quick these days." He grinned at her as she stuck her tongue out at him. He was right though.

An hour later, Alexander and Daryl were at their door. They didn't want to waste time coming in and being sociable, so the four went to their car and drove off.

"It was a big surprise finding the ship, " Alexander told them. "It's in a deserted field, near some trees. We ran into it before we knew it was there."

"I understand, deserted fields usually have no lights, " Paul said.

"It wasn't that, " said Daryl, Alexander's wife, "you can't see it unless you hold a device against it. Mark found that out."

"More by luck than wisdom. He slipped in the mud, device in hand, and that bashed into the side of the ship, which then became visible, " Alexander clarified the proceedings. "It remained visible for about ten minutes. Then it just disappeared again, until we held a device against it once more."

"Did you find a way in?" Sandy asked.

"We did. There is a huge hatch near the end of the ship, but we didn't get it to open. Everyone's going there again this morning, so maybe we can see some more. Daylight should help, and thank god it's not raining any more."

After the drive to Whitchurch, Alexander parked the car near a few others. "Yup, we're not the first ones here. Not that I had expected to be."

Paul and Sandy looked over the fields. "So where is the ship? I am sure it should be visible with more people there."

"Ahh, " Alexander laughed as he put on his boots, "we told you it is near trees. You can't see it from here. Not even something that size. See those trees there? The ship's behind them."

The group started ploughing through the mud. Paul held Sandy close, moving forward only slowly. He knew better than to suggest she stay in the car; she was at least as curious about the find as he was. Daryl said it wasn't far, but still it took them over fifteen minutes to get to the line of trees. Once they passed that barrier, the two stood still and stared. There it was. A giant space ship, exactly the way they had seen it on the photographs, only... real. Dozens of people were swarming around it, and at the back of the craft a large hatch was open.

"Oh, they discovered where the doorknob was, " Alexander grinned. "Come, let's have a closer look!"

Before Paul and Sandy walked on, Sandy looked up at him. "It's real, Paul."

"Yes. It's real. And it gives me the shivers." He knew she did not feel entirely happy about it, he sensed it all too clearly. The ship gave body to the fears they had talked about; leaving their life behind, and what would happen when their child was born. "Come. We can at least have a good look at it."

They walked along the row of trees, where a trodden patch of grass made it easier to go forward. They passed what had to be the front of the ship. Its strange round head, it reminded Paul of an enormous white visor, stood out sharply against the dark grey of the rest of the hull. The hull itself was unmarked, save for scratches and several black streaks that were all over it in a random pattern. They saw no windows, nor other ways to enter the ship. The entire craft rested on low struts that were evenly distributed under it, about fifty yards apart.

"It's an ugly box, " Sandy commented as they approached the huge hatch. "If it's the same kind of dull on the inside, we're not going."

They were greeted by many people and learnt that several of their friends had already been insid

of luck. Their devices complained with the same strange sound. "Very weird, " she said, but then they remembered the note in Matthew Breuer's first message: doors would only open to people who had access to the space behind them, but how the ship decided who had access to what was a riddle.

"Is there a way to go up?" Sandy wondered.

"We suspect that these niches are lifts, but we haven't dared to try anything with them yet, " Lester said. "But then, we've been here for only a few hours. There's still a lot to explore."

After a while Sandy became tired of walking up and down the ship. "I would like to sit or lie down a bit, " she told Paul. "Perhaps that room we opened is a good place."

Paul escorted her back to the room, tapped the disc, and they could step inside. The bed was uncomfortable and hard, lacking a mattress, so they settled for the chairs instead.

"Looks unfriendly here, " was Sandy's first remark. Even the chairs were quite hard.

"I doubt the elders had comfort in mind when they designed these things, " said Paul. "I imagine we can put in here what we like, to make it feel more like home." He put his device on the table, looking at the little display which still was motionless.

"I don't like how there are no windows, " Sandy commented, as she looked around. "Why didn't they leave a user manual for the ship on the table?"

Paul grinned as he took her hands. "At first we knew nothing at all. Then Matthew had this information, and we knew a bit more. If we are meant to leave, then we shall probably get more information from some source or another. At this moment we are like medieval people trying to understand a modern car, I think."

At that moment a gentle sound rang through the room, making the couple look around.

"Paul. Look there." Sandy pointed at his device. The top button on the right side of the unit was glowing yellow. Sandy took her own device and also on that one the button was yellow. Before Paul could comment, she pressed the button. "Hmm, that's disappointing, " she said as the light on both devices went out.

"No, it's not, " said Paul, whose face had lit up. "Look back." He had a good view on the wall behind her.

Sandy turned around. Part of the wall behind her, an area of about two by four feet, had changed into a display, and there they saw a few people standing outside a door. "Is that our door?"

"Well, there is only one way to find out, " Paul thought. He took his device, walked to the door, and tapped it with the unit he carried. The door opened, and the people they had already seen on the display were there, looking slightly worried.

***

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