Cavanaugh Interstellar, Episode 3: Visited

Kristen Humschmid’s design sketches of Shai’Hara-Lee based on my description.

“The thin, kilometer-long ship hanging silently in midair above the city was just too much of a distraction…”

 

Read the whole story so far here… http://neilenock.com/books/cavanaugh-interstellar/

 

Dust and debris rained down again as the vibrations from the second massive boom shook the remains of the garage.  Joel half ducked under  a table but kept his ear cocked to the sky.

“That one sounded much bigger.” He said. “But not as close.”

“Hopefully not as destructive,” I said grimly. “Are you hurt?”

“I’ll have a few bruises. You?”

“I’ll be fine.” I smiled encouragingly at Lily as I moved towards the back of the garage where Vlad lay. “Joel, can you help Lily? Watch out for her arm, it might be broken. Where’s Bruce?”

A muffled noise came from under Vlad. That seemed to jolt the big Russian awake. He rolled into a sitting position, conveniently freeing Bruce. Bruce coughed and sat up behind Vlad who was staring was staring down at the hole in his chest.

“I’m having a large hole.” he announced, before looking up at me and shrugging. “But I’m feeling not too bad.”

“Seriously?” I shook my head.

Bruce scrunched down behind Vlad and peered at me through the hole. “Whatever did this seems to have cauterized the wound.  He’s not bleeding.”

“What the hell happened?” Lily asked.

“Containment failure.” Bruce said matter-of-factly as he stood and helped Vlad to his feet.

“Ya think?” I asked sarcastically.

“I think,” Bruce answered without taking his eyes off me, “that I’d like to know what it is, that we failed to contain.”

Vlad stumbled and Bruce caught his weight.

“Maybe I am not so good,” Vlad’s skin was pale. He looked to Joel. “You are having Vodka here?”

“We need to get you to a Doctor.” Joel said firmly. “You too Lily.”

“I’ll call 911,” I said. “But guys, we have a big problem.  Whatever we did here tore loose and went through Vlad, and then it, kinda… tore though downtown.”

“What do you mean?” Lily asked.

“I mean, whatever went through him, went though everything downtown.” I grimaced. “We may have broken downtown a bit.”

“A bit?” Bruce asked.

“A lot actually.” I admitted. “C’mon, lets get out of here and you can see for yourselves.”

I was dialing 911 as I emerged from the garage. I don’t remember if they answered or not, or if anything was said.  I think I dropped the phone.

Moments later, Joel was standing beside me with Lily and before long Bruce made it out with Vlad.  Eventually we were all standing there, mouths agape.  The destruction we’d wrought upon the downtown core was obvious, but other than a casual glance, nobody was really looking at it.  The thin, kilometer-long ship hanging silently in midair above the city was just too much of a distraction.

The Aurelana had completed its transit and appeared over the city near the source of the event, as programmed. As the incoming boom of its arrival wave faded, alarms went off.  Aurelana flashed pictures of the broken towers on the screens while she analyzed details of the scene below them.

“Captain,” the ship said. “The pressure wave from our arrival has exasperated previous structural damage. That large curved tower will collapse shortly and there are multiple life signs in there.”

Captain Zaughn looked at Jordrye, but the instructor just shrugged, seemingly unwilling to interfere in the process of letting his students figure it out. Zaughn’s brow furrowed, then he ordered the ship forward. As the ship moved into position, he turned to Shai’Hara-Lee.

“You need to take a launch and get this treaty signed. You know the protocol. We can neither communicate or help properly without a treaty in place. For now we’ll try and hold this building up.” He sighed. “I hope that they understand that we’re trying to help.”

“Yessir,” Shai’Hara-Lee said and headed to the launch bay. Jordrye nodded his approval at the Captains actions.

“Aurelana, run a search for a planetary network and get a linguistic analysis,” ordered the Captain. “She’s going to need it.”

“I already have it, Captain.” Aurelana said.

“Send it to the launch.”

The garage was well outside the downtown core, but we could clearly hear the steel grinding on steel as the largest tower, the Bow, wobbled. We watched as the big ship angled about in eerie silence, then somewhat ungraciously bumped up against the building, almost as if to keep it from falling over.

“We had something to do with that?” Lily said slowly, pointing at the ship.

“No,” I pointed at the creaking steel tower. “But look at the holes through the buildings. They all line up with… here.  Whatever we did, it went through everything!”

“And that?” Joel pointed at the ship.

“I dunno where that… Pencil ship came from. I don’t think its from around here.”

As we watched, a portion of the ship about halfway along its length pivoted down from the main hull, looking disconcertingly like the chamber of a six shooter. One of the ‘bullets’ slid out of it’s chamber, then changed direction so it was pointed directly toward them.

“Guys,” I said, taking a step backwards. “I think we’re in trouble.”