Periodic East, Chapter 25 – Jack’s Explanation & Request

“What did you just say?” Sam asked, his face beginning to sweat and his hands beginning to tremble. 

“I said, ‘I’m here, Sam,’” Jack began. “I have spent so much time trying to get to you,” he continued. 

Sam was now convinced that he was having a manic episode. He looked around his office to find anything out of place, anything off that would confirm his suspicion that he was dreaming, hallucinating, or dead. Jack watched Simon as he was beginning to hyperventilate and Jack quickly rose to his aid, but with gasping breath, Simon said, “Don’t touch me. Don’t come near me.”

Jack’s eyes went wide. “Sam,” he began.

“Shut up! SIS, who is in my office?” SIS’s familiar muted clicks preempted its response. 

“Samuel Ng is alone in his office,” it said. 

“You’re not Simon,” Sam started as he was wheezing for a normal breath. “Simon died over six years ago. He-“ and then Simon vomited all over his desk before passing out. (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 24 – Our New Home

Daniel, Miles, and the rest of us were being guided by the alien creature. Its voice reverberated off the walls of buildings. Miles and I couldn’t stop staring at its feet that seemed to match the imprint we had found in the snow a few days before.  Miles approached me and spoke softly.

“We need to ask Daniel to ask if flat out if it killed Josh,” Miles said. 

“Not yet,” I replied. “I don’t know for sure if Daniel would be able to translate that exactly, besides, do you want to be the first to test how it responds to that kind of accusation?”  (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 23 – Six Years Ago (Part 3) Initiating Operation Periodic East

“Come with us, Simon,” President Eastman ordered as he walked towards a corner of the War Room with Sans and Eastman closely behind him. 

Simon followed closely behind to a corner of the room where there was no furniture, no painting or map on the wall. Nothing. 

“My kids used to play Hide and Seek in here,” President Eastman began, “the Joint Chiefs would get furious with me over it. Though they all knew better than to publicly say anything. I didn’t care at first, until I remembered why they objected to them being here in this particular spot. It wasn’t because they were concerned about them being exposed to information sensitive to our national security or risk leaking out classified information. They were just worried about the kids finding the false wall.”

President Eastman put his hand flat against a specific spot on the wall and out of nowhere a glowing console appeared with a low hum. His palm print suddenly appeared on a digital scan and the wall pushed back and swung open leaving Simon with a shocked look on his face. 

“Not that they’d be able to open it without cutting my hand off first,” President Eastman said with a smile as the men walked through the newly appeared door down a cavernous hallway. “You can shoot this wall with a grenade launcher point blank and it wouldn’t even scuff the paint.” (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 22 – The Day Samuel Ng Met Jack

As the liaison on Icarus, Samuel Ng’s duties had become needed more often, but the reasons for his services had become more trivial. Domestic disputes were obviously almost dead in the understood sense of being primarily being between spouses. When Icarus first launched, he acted like a bonafide therapist. He helped nearly every crew member, including Captain Bellamy, with issues such as survival remorse, separation anxiety and feelings of isolation. No matter how big a space (or space itself) may feel, and no matter how much free time you have to do anything you wanted, alone is alone… is alone.  (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 21 – The Alien & A Common Language

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Daniel had finally stopped after we all reached a vast, wide opening in the cave. It stretched further than I could see. I was starting to wonder how a cave like this forms and how long it took. 

It appeared as if a city had been erected in here. Buildings made of wood, clay, ice, or a combination of the three surrounded us. Some up to three stories tall and that didn’t even reach half the distance to the top of the cave. In all this splendor, Miles, Sara, Ada, and the rest of us were speechless. But Daniel, Daniel kept shouting in his native Basque but we didn’t see anybody else. And the replies stopped.

“Daniel,” Miles began, “What are you saying? What was being said? ¿Comprende? Who were you talking to?”

Then a loud shrill came out of Sara that startled all of us. She pointed to… something in the distance walking towards us. Miles had gotten into his military stance and was about to step forward, but Daniel reached for Miles’ shoulder and stepped in front of him.  (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 20 – Six Years Ago (Part 2)

The “down stairs” that President Eastman was referring to was a staircase located in the War Room of the White House. The War Room was the room that had been used for centuries as the location where wars were started and avoided; won and lost. Inside was only one analyst in a room usually occupied by dozens of the most experienced military strategists on the planet. Now all you needed to get in was a key card. Eastman, Sans, and Keats each had that key card.

General Frank Keats swiped his card and the door clicked open. He held the door for President Michael Eastman and Vice President Patrick Sans. The lone analyst stood (as is the custom) and Eastman immediately motioned for him to sit. 

“Thank you, Simon. Have a seat,” he said soothingly. Simon sat and continued working his console. General Keats approached Simon standing over his shoulder. 

“What have you found?” Keats asked.  (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 19 – Captain Bellamy

Captain Katherine Bellamy stood in her spacious, but sparsely decorated Captain’s quarters, not to be confused with her personal quarters. Some framed family photos on her desk of her husband, children, and one grandchild; all killed in “The Blast.”

She was staring out her window facing the heavens contemplating (as she often did) while sipping a hot chocolate. A muted chime interrupted her trance-like thoughts as she turned towards her door. 

“Come in,” her soothing but commanding voice replied.

Katherine Bellamy was an Army brat through and through and then became the mother of Army brats. Both her parents, her four grandparents, as well as her great-grandparents all served. Katherine lived all over the world and on her 18th birthday, she enlisted and never looked back. The first woman in United States history to achieve the rank of Five-star General. Nine months later, she received unanimous nominations and votes to be named captain of Icarus. She didn’t even have to campaign.  (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 18 – A New Discovery

Deeper and deeper the cave went. We felt actual, natural warmth. That should’ve been my first clue that something was not normal. 

Daniel pressed on desperately. Imagine not being able to speak to anyone in your own language because they had all presumedly died out. But we still hadn’t seen anyone or anything. 

“Daniel, what have you been saying?” I asked. But all Daniel could say in response is what he always said,

“It’s good, Tiberius. It’s good,” as he began to try to run. I tried to get him to slow down but he wouldn’t listen, or didn’t understand. (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 17 – MAC Scrub

Sam saw Kairi surprisingly still sitting in the same spot. Normally when Kairi was seen about the ship, she never stayed in the same spot for more than a few minutes. Sam looked down at his tray still filled with food and dumped it in the bin as he made his way back to her table. 

“I need to ask for a favor,” he said.

“Again? I told you I’ve had worse. Take it as a compliment,” she replied not looking up from her digital pad. (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 16 – Rediscovered Language

Daniel shouted again the same phrase as he enthusiastically but slowly made his way through the mouth of the cave. “Zure Mende hemen sago.” I was right behind Daniel holding onto his shoulder.

“Daniel, what’s going on?” I ask. 

“It’s good, Tiberius. It’s good,” Daniel whispered back. (more…)