Ikeda led Adam, Bear, and Evelyn through another pivoting door made of solid stone, tripping as he climbed the one step up to it. After they all passed through the door, he turned around and began to whisper. “It happened about 40 years ago. There were five crafts, twenty-five of us in total.”
He turned toward the staircase and lifted his short legs much higher than he needed to as he made a clumsy effort to climb the winding flight of stairs. Only this time he didn’t go all the way up. He ran his hand along the wall and applied pressure in a certain spot on the rock wall. A section of the wall pivoted to reveal a tunnel barely wide enough for Bear to squeeze through.
“It was a trap,” Ikeda continued. “Your government possessed a weapon we weren’t even aware they had.”
Ikeda continued. “It was like they were ready for us. We couldn’t outmaneuver their weapon. It was a powerful electromagnetic pulse that damaged our propulsion and navigational systems. The other four craft were directly hit and dropped to the ground like stones.”
Adam gave Evelyn a concerned glance, worried that Ikeda was distracted and getting them lost through the never ending maze of tunnels and passageways. Suddenly he noticed a shaft of moonlight shining down from the top of the last small flight of stairs.
The reward for the arduous climb was a striking view of the city. Unbelievably, the skies had cleared and the wind had begun to calm down to only a gentle breeze. The group stopped and stood there on a grassy plateau enjoying the view of the twinkling stars and bright city lights.
Ikeda broke the silence. “I managed to keep my craft airborne long enough to get away from where the rest went down, and I landed right here in the hills. It was a rough landing, they eventually found me but they never found the ship. Luckily, I managed to hover the ship into these thick woods, away from the impact site.”
“The ship was badly damaged. Through the years I’ve been collecting metal scraps here and have repaired the exterior of the craft, but a vital part of the propulsion system is missing. This, unfortunately, I can't duplicate. The metal alloy is not found on this planet.”
Ikeda used a small flashlight to make his way through the underbrush, pushing a few of the thick vines that so cleverly camouflaged the craft aside to reveal a small section of silver metal. “You’re the only ones I’ve ever shown this to,” he said, putting his finger against his lips as he rapped on the metal with his knuckles. The knock produced a dull resonation like a huge bell.
“It’s all making sense,” Adam said as he stood back to take in the big picture. “Yes, this disk is almost identical to the one they have at XenTek in the Phoenix Collider, only this one is much larger.”
Bear ran his large, rough hand across the seamless metallic skin of the craft. “I’ve heard people talk about these things but never thought in a million years I’d see one up close, let alone touch one!”
“Ikeda, please tell us,” Evelyn begged. “Where did you come from?”
“Oh, right about there,” Ikeda said with an ornery grin as he pointed straight up to a constellation just to the left of the moon. He bent down and began to climb through the underbrush beneath the craft, motioning for the group to follow.
“You're kidding me,” Adam said as branches snapped beneath his feet. “Okay, you mean to tell me you're from outer space? You’re an alien?” he asked as he pushed the twisted vines away from his face and held them for Evelyn and Bear to pass through.
Ikeda chuckled as he looked back to Adam. “We are alien by your primitive logic, I suppose, but you must learn to open your mind. We are just like you, only we are from a different part of the universe and my people are far more ancient.”
“We’ve always been led to believe that we were alone in the universe,” Adam said.
Ikeda reached out to grasp Adam’s hand. “Can’t you now see how egotistical that belief is, Adam? You have been deceived, my son, but those of you who listen to your hearts have never really believed you're alone."
"See this?” Ikeda pointed toward a beautiful flower. Under the light it was a vibrant purple with a yellow center, growing from a razor-thin crack in the thick bedrock.
“It's quite amazing. No matter how harsh the environment, given even the slightest of opportunities, life flourishes. Children, I can tell you intelligent life out there is the rule, not the exception, and it’s more alike than it is different. The collective knowledge of these ancient civilizations that are peppered throughout the universe is beyond your wildest imaginations. We are all born of the same source and forever linked by our genes. You have billions of brothers and sisters scattered throughout this vastness of space who are eagerly awaiting the reunion.”
“Ah, here we are!” Ikeda flipped open a small panel on the smooth underbelly of the craft. Beneath it was a touchscreen that glowed a soft blue. Adam instantly recognized some of the small hieroglyphic symbols on the keypad from the ones he’d seen on the cavern wall as well as on some projects at XenTek. As Ikeda drew a symbol with his finger on the touchscreen, a hatch on the bottom of the craft slowly opened. The stale air that escaped had a strange metallic scent.
The group followed Ikeda up a small ladder. Once inside the craft, Adam saw that the interior was illuminated with the same blue glow as the touchscreen on the outside. The inside of the ship was far bigger than he could have imagined and seemed incredibly light, as he could feel it rock back and forth slightly with each step he took.
...To Be Continued.
Tune in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new episodes of Alarm Clock Dawn! The final episode including a ENORMOUS plot twist will be read by yours truly live at the first annual SteemFest in Amsterdam on Saturday, November 12th.
Alarm Clock Dawn is the first novel of a trilogy. The sequel entitled, Truth Is Stranger, will be published in the Spring of 2017.
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