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   Chapter 54 No.54

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 11149

Updated: 2018-02-11 19:04


Terra Firma

The entire crew on the bridge worked as one all of a sudden. Paul projected the outline of where they had to go. Jess filled in the details where he wasn't too clear and the ship followed as Laverne and Tamara gave the ship free rein to go fast for now. Paul tried to remain calm, as he feared that his mood would affect the others. He could not believe they were tearing through space at a mind-boggling speed, following a beautiful line that would throw them into the earth's atmosphere. The first minute nothing seemed to happen, then the view started moving, faster and faster. It was awkward to talk about a 'view', as they were connected through the ship and they all were treated to a marvellous combination of outside camera images and computer-generated lines and flows of information in the strange scribbly language which no one could read very well yet. More minutes passed and the earth came closer and closer in all its amazing splendour. Once it was visible things started to change rapidly, and even faster as they approached the planet.

"Oh god!" someone uttered and immediately after that there was a change, as if everything was thrown in a slow-motion machine. Calmly the ship touched the upper layers of the atmosphere and turned so it would not sustain any damage from the heat of the entry. For a moment or two there were red and yellow flares on the screen, and then they were over the Atlantic ocean. Paul let Ben and Jess take control and saw how they projected a nice line towards Bristol, a course that the ship followed immaculately. Tamara seemed in full control of the ship's speed, and the way the flight went, slow and somehow fast at the same time, was slightly unsettling for the astrophysicist. In a nice wide semi-circle the space ship shot towards the British island and several hundred miles from the coast it dove to a height of perhaps fifty feet over the water to avoid radar detection. No words were spoken or transmitted through the ship, everyone simply knew what was going to happen, and hardly any time later the ship was on the ground and cloaked while the propulsion systems were still shutting down.

The strange slow-motion feeling dropped away. Paul took a deep breath, opened his eyes and sat up. A slight dizziness was his to enjoy, but the others seemed to entertain something like it as well.

"What was that?" Matilda asked. She was the first one to speak.

Samuel rubbed his face. "If you ask me, I would say that the ship kicked our brains into a higher gear for a while so we would be able to deal with that ludicrous speed and the things we had to do very quickly to get where we are now. But that is just my opinion of course."

"That idea scares me, " Laverne said as she sat up as well, "that a machine can influence our brain to function faster." Paul agreed with her. The technology of the ship and the ancient people was amazing, but this felt like an intrusion on a very intimate level.

Samuel announced to all passengers that they had arrived back on earth and everyone was free to walk around in the ship again. "Please wait inside while a few of us determine what time it is here, so we can call for the buses to come and pick us up." He looked around on the bridge. "Would anyone have a mobile phone that tells the proper time, or a clock?"

" Adele reminded him, "but I see what you mean. Can't you fall sick or something and be out of circulation for a while?"

"Nice idea, Mum, but we also want to sell the apartment and sick people don't do that, " Sandy replied as she tucked Angelo in his bed.

Adele said that she'd call Timothy and let him get in touch with Sandy and Paul. At this moment they didn't see a way out. To their relief Timothy called back very quickly and he was very business-like about things. "Hi you two. Adele told me what you're facing. I see how that makes things hard for you. I placed a call to a friend who had this suggestion. If you can leave the selling of your house to a third party, like a realtor, then do that. We can create a fake problem here which requires that you both come over here for the time being. That way you are out of the hot water, your house is up for sale and nobody can argue that you are somewhere that you shouldn't be."

"What kind of fake problem, Dad?" Sandy wondered. She did not like the sound of the word problem.

"Nothing real, Sandy. If you tell your university people that mom had an accident and is in hospital, and that you both have to come here because it's looking bad... would they check on that?"

"Hardly, " Paul answered for her. He thought for a moment. "It would however mean that we can't do our work on the ship here."

"We have one in our neck of the woods too, remember?"

Paul then recalled that there were only few astrophysicists available for 'their job', so theoretically they could be on any ship once they departed. "What do you think, Sandy?"

Sandy looked at her husband. "I think we should do this. Today was all kinds of awful and I'm afraid it will only get worse when their hunt for the ship intensifies. They have it on a photo, they won't let off quickly because of that. They know it's real."

Paul nodded. "Timothy? It looks like this is the way we have to proceed."

"Good. I'll call Adele to look for a place where you can live for the time being. Meanwhile you arrange things on your end. We'll stay in touch, let us know when you arrive." Timothy was silent for a moment. "Will you two be all right?"

"The three of us will be, Dad."

***

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