My World is Blue

europa

RON MILLER/STOCKTREK IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES

“Travis. Darling, wake up.”

Travis Fox opened his eyes and saw his wife Cassie. “Good morning, beautiful. How…?”

Then he realized he was in the wrong bed. Why was his wife leaning over him instead of lying beside him? He wasn’t at home. He never made it home last night. Wait. How long had he been away from home?

The time gate. He’d gone through with Byrd and the others to help get Holden’s group back home from the past. The Folsom men. The attack. They’d tried to kill him.

“Where am I?”

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Europa

europa detail

NASA/JPL-CALTECH/SETI INSTITUTE
An enhanced color view from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft shows an intricate pattern of linear fractures on the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The four time travelers who had become reluctant astronauts aboard an alien spacecraft now sat at their stations in that ship awaiting takeoff.

Ross Murdock activated the manual control panel in front of him and opened the large hatch that had been covering the landing bay exposing the ship to space. The tube connecting their Forerunner ship to the interior of the Ceres Forerunner base had been retracted and, as a flight director at NASA might put it, “all systems were go” for their launch and mission to Europa.

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The Encounter

time tunnel

Photo used under Creative Commons from light_arted

The temporal field in the alien time gate sparked and cracked for several seconds before anything came through.  Then it appeared, a single Forerunner, an Orange.

“Watch out!” Murdock sounded almost panicked. “It’s a Forerunner weapon.”

It looked like the same race as the Blues. Skin color was a little darker, but everything else was identical. No hair on the exposed head and hands, human enough eyes, flattened nose, more or less a slit for a mouth, lumpy skin texture that looked like an orange peel. It was holding an object Ross recognized as the telepathic weapon the Blue used on him back at the Soviet base in the Ice Age.

Murdock, Ashe, and Zheutlin all reflexively reached for weapons they didn’t possess. Lynn Huỳnh never took agent training, so her response was to freeze.

The tip of the alien object glowed yellow which Murdock knew meant it was activated. He rushed forward to stop the Forerunner before it could paralyze them all.

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