Ephulea III
First Contact – Part 16



Time to read



Monday & Friday

James walked towards Youx’s cell before going to the bridge. He had more questions for him and the Alien seemed willing to answer everything he threw at him. But the alien was asleep, one of the guards said that he fell asleep not so long ago, so James let him be.

He had more important things to do, and he would tell Chloe to visit him once he goes down to explore the planet. Chloe was to stay on the ship and take charge while they do the expedition on Ephulea III.

Once he entered the bridge, everyone salute him, James saluted back, but the feeling was still not natural to him. James asked Lieutenant William if they could remove saluting on Pegasus, but William was persuasive that they needed to keep some form of human military ranking and customs. James complied, it made sense, but the feeling of it being unnecessary was still present.

“Captain, we got the ship in the position from which you can safely and easily leave and land on Ephulea III,” Chloe said.

“Great and thank you XO,” James said looking around the busy bridge crew. “Where is chief Lawson?” James asked.

“He is getting his crew ready and doing one last check-up before the expedition,” Chloe answered.

“Good,” James said and nodded. “Make the announcement we leave in an hour. I am going to get suited up myself in the meantime.”

Before he left the bridge, James pulled Chloe to the side and told her to keep an eye on Youx, and gave her a list of the questions to ask him.

Getting into a new human spacesuit was easy, it was made so one person could quickly suit up on their own if it was necessary. But since there was no rush James was helped by one of the staff. The suit had three parts, boots that went up to almost a knee, a helmet, and the rest of the shit. James put on the boots, and was helped with the suit and helmet could wait until they board the landing ship. He clicked a few buttons on his suit control panel that was located on his left forearm and the suit tightened and adapted to his body.

James made a short walk towards the hangar where Chief Lawson lawson and his team were already suited up and were boarding the landing ships with the necessary equipment and rations to last them a week, although the mission was supposed to be only two or three days, they agreed it was smarter to bring more.

Fifteen people were selected to go down to Ephulea III including James, Chief Lawson and, three members of his team, and the rest of the crew was compiled of scientists and researchers. For James time always seemed to slow down before the mission started, seconds turned into minutes, minutes into hours, he kept checking the countdown on the suit’s control panel, fifteen more minutes. He paced around the hangar waiting for everyone to arrive and for the ship to be boarded, before giving a short speech. He didn’t prepare for this one, just a few short and simple sentences for both the crew going down and staying at the Pegasus. For someone who had the yips whenever he was supposed to speak in front of more than five people, he was growing accustomed to them now.

The expedition crew was split into two landing ships piloted by Chief Lawson and his second-in-command Aleisha Gray. Ships were boarded, supplies and equipment triple-checked, the timer showed zero and James found himself on the way toward Ephulea III.

The Qhiks never got to explore that planet, once they found out about it, the Void already became too large of a threat so they caved back into their home systems along with their enemies. Qhiks believe it’s one of the Ellad’s original planets, one of the first they colonized after their home planet, so in their opinion, it could hold more information on the Void and Ellads themselves.

Entering into the atmosphere was rocky, similar to when James entered Earth’s atmosphere on board Kraz’ox ships three years ago. Once they cleared the clouds James could enjoy everything the Ephulea III had to offer. The planet was similar to Earth in size, it had three huge continents surrounded by large oceans. Two continents run almost parallel to each other, one starting from the north pole and stretching towards the south, and the other doing the same from the south pole upwards. The third continent, and their location, was lonely on the other side of the planet. The continent was huge, almost twice the size of Asia, some eighty million square kilometers.

James expected a somewhat apocalyptic look for a planet, the image of scorched earth was embroidered in his mind, but Ephulea III was everything but that. Once they came closer to the ground it was clear that the planet was booming with vegetation outside a few mountaintops that peaked with their white coat everything else was a mix of green, red and yellow. Scientists aboard James’s landing ship were already documenting everything they saw with their suits. James just enjoy the view, there would be plenty of time to document things.

Their spot was on the northern part of the continent and didn’t seem to differ any from the other scenery, only once they came closer to where they didn’t need to enchant the view, James started to notice skeletal remains of alien structures that towered over the trees. Vegetation grew around them, but those grayish remains were clear. There was even some clear space in between threes near the location Qhiks provided for them.

“I think the best course of action is to land in the clearing, Sir,” Chief Lawson said. “And make the rest of the way on foot or with buggies, it’s not more than a kilometer from our location.”

“I agree,” James said through the comms. “I will radio the other ship, you lead the way.”

The landing went smooth, Chief Lawson practiced it in their simulators at South Pole Station what seemed like billion times, and the other ship followed half a minute later. It took them less than 10 minutes to unload all the necessary equipment and assemble the buggies. They decided on assembling buggies to at least carry some load of the equipment for them.

The trees were not dense on the surface, but there were a lot of smaller plants and rocks in the way, but one of the buggies that took the front cleared it without much of a problem. Some 800 meters in the trees got denser and the terrain was too much for buggies, so they took the equipment and decided to walk the rest of the way.

The map showed their mission location just behind a small hill, an alien structure now was clearly visible, reaching for the sky way above them. The structure tentacles that reached towards the sky had a biological feel to them, and vines that looked like veins that used to give life to the structure were dead now. Qhiks have said that Ellads have combined technology with living organisms to reach new unimaginable levels of development and advancement.

Climbing the hill was not much of a task since most of them were in their best year and trained hard at the South Pole Station. Once at top of the hill, James could finally see what their mission was. There was a small building at the bottom of the hill, with a large hatch at the top. The building went underground and the large structures that were poking like Antena were some kind of an extension.

They made their way down the hill easily, their radars constantly scanning the area around them for any form of life outside the plants, scans came back negative.

Once down the hill they look for a way in, but the structure withstood the test of time, that’s something Qhiks have said as well, Ellads building and ships didn’t seem to decay. And all the time Qhinks studied Ellads and their technology they didn’t find a way to open their building without blowing them up. Luckily, while the buildings and the rest of their technology were powered down it was easy to blow it up with almost any form of explosion, human explosions would suffice as well.

Since there was no clear way in, Chief Lawson started setting up the charges around the large hatch, James kept looking around the strange alien plants and trees, from the distance they didn’t much differ from the earth, but now up close and actually looking at them all off it looked odd to him.

Chief Lawson gave the command for everyone to clear the area for the blast and they spread around the bottom of the hill. But before the countdown reached zero James heard a scream coming from his right side. Turning around he managed to see a large creature dragging one of the scientists and tossing them around, two seconds later James himself was on the ground, something thugging on his legs.

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