“We gotta go people, hurry up.” Captain James yelled over the comms.
“We have plenty of time, relax. Let them get everything I said. We will need it.” The AI, now part of his suit, said directly to James.
They already had three arguments in less than five minutes. One of them is for AI not to interrupt him while speaking to his team.
“God damnit, I am already regreding the decision to let you in!” James said with a sign of frustration.
“Calm down Captain, your vitals are off the charts.” The AI said. “You will get a heart attack.”
James just sighed, arguing with the ancient AI was pointless so he continued to gather some of the machinery that AI instructed him to. He picked up a grayish box that weighed at least fifty kilograms, but with the suit’s help, it was like picking up a child’s toy. James fiddled with the box, switching it from under one arm to another.
“Easy there Captain,” The AI echoed inside his suit once again. “It’s a delicate technology, don’t break it!”
James did not bother to answer as he stood at the entrance of the alien laboratory, his heart racing as she checked the remaining time before Void would devour this entire solar system.
“Come on, people,” James called out once again, “we need to move faster.”
His team was scattered throughout the lab, grabbing as much equipment as they could carry. But they were moving too slowly for his liking.
“We’re almost done here, Captain,” the AI replied, with an annoyingly cheerful voice for a machine. “But we need to be careful. Some of the equipment is delicate. And some of you are real grunts.”
A short time after AI was finally satisfied with everything they could carry away and Chief of Security Lawson instructed his team to escort the expedition out of the lab towards the hatch, while he and Captain James waited for everyone at the door.
“That’s everybody,” Chief Lawson said and Captain James nodded. “Let’s go.”
They raced out of the lab, moving as fast as they could while carrying this additional load. The AI reassured James that there was plenty of time, but the only thing that was on Captain James’s mind was void, it hunting him in his dream and the rest of humanity under the paw of Kraz’ox on Earth. If they fail here if the void engulfs them what would be the faith of Humanity? James did not trust the Qhiks in the slightest but he and the others, including Chloe, Meng, and Luitenant William saw a way out of this mess through them.
Front of the expedition led by Charlie one of Chief Lawson’s most trusted team members quickly reached the elevator that would lead them to the surface. The team quickly filled the large platform some of them resting the equipment they carried on the ground.
“How do we activate the elevator?” James asked the AI.
“Just a second,” The AI answered, and the elevator buzzed into function.
“Wait!” Chief Lawson yelled. “What about the monsters on the surface?” Lawson directed the question at the AI but looked straight at Captain James.
“Don’t worry about them, they are good boys as you humans would say.” The AI answered throughout the comms so everyone could hear him. “They will help us.”
The elevator ride was short. James could not even gather his thought before they reached the surface. To his surprise, the menacing creatures they fought a short time ago now were playful, running around the hatch, crashing into each other, and most importantly ignoring them.
“I see where your ship is located.” The AI said. “We are going to use Qholops to carry both you and the equipment.”
“Qholops?” James asked.
“The big dogs with spikes and horns you see here Captain.” The AI answered.
All of a sudden Qholops stopped playing with each other and turned towards the team, slowly gathering around them. Chief Lawson did not like that and prepared his blasters aiming them toward the monsters.
“What’s going on Captain,” Chief Lawson asked.
“The AI said they are going to help us,” Captain James answered.
The creatures lay on the ground, like a Camel did when it was about to be mounted by a person, and retracted most of their spikes.
“Go on, climb the Qholops,” The AI said through the comms.
“I am not climbing that thing,” Chief Lawson said. “It killed one of our own and we have buggies right around the hill.”
“First of all, I am sorry about that,” The AI said, actually sounding sorrowful. “That was unfortunate, the Qholops are programmed to defend this planet against all threats. Now you are not a threat anymore and they are here to help. Second of all, you don’t have buggies anymore they were destroyed while you fought them here and even if they were not, riding these creatures is the fastest way towards your ship.”
Chief Lawson reluctantly agreed and the expedition slowly mounted the creatures carrying the equipment in their hands.
“So these are also robots?” Captain James asked the AI.
“Robots? Not exactly.” The AI answered. “They were biological life form that was infused with the orange stuff you call Source and some simple programming. When not under the influence of the program they act like normal animals, but once something happens that triggers the code, they act accordingly.”
Qholops carried them toward their ships via a different route, but the AI assured James it was the fastest way.
“Why can’t I reach my ship?” Captain asked. “Are they ok?”
“Oh, sorry Captain. I jammed your signal. It’s lifted now.” The AI said. “They are fine, they fought some of my drones and won somehow, impressive for such a backward species.
“Does every compliment have to come with an insult with you?” James asked the creature before trying to contact his ship. “Pegasus, this is Captain James speaking. Do you copy?”
A few seconds later familiar voice finally came through, and James felt instant relief. “We can hear you loud and clear Captain,” Chloe said. “Are you guys ok, what the hell happened?”
“You won’t believe me when I tell you,” James said. “We are on our way up soon and then we will talk, we do not have time to waste the Void is here.”
“We know, we saw it,” Chloe said. “We were just debating how long to wait for you guys before we leave, we lost your signals some hours ago after the comms went down.”
“You should have already left,” Captain James said. “But thanks for waiting for us. See you soon in person.” James closed off the comms towards the Pegasus and informed the expedition that their ship and crew members were fine.
“She sounds lovely,” The AI said. “I already like her.”
“Unlike you, she really is,” James said. “I have to give you a name so I can cuss you off accordingly. For now, I am thinking parasite.”
“Because I don’t have a body and need you to survive?” The AI said. “That’s clever Captain, maybe even slightly funny.” The AI tried to imitate a laugh.
A few minutes later they were at their landing site and their ships were not harmed. The AI said if it took him a few minutes longer to wake up the ships would have been gone too.
They boarded the equipment and fired up the engines in a hurry.
“We are on our way,” James said to the Pegasus over the comms.