The double doors opened with a swish.
The vast room ahead lit up brightly, causing Alnold to squint his eyes. Empty stalls stretched all the way to the far end of the room, and, laid out in rows, to the side walls also. All of the stalls closest to Alnold were clear of anything but a few of the stalls at the outer edges had some merchandise. “I wonder what Orgol looks like on this planet?” Alnold mused as he walked through the empty stalls. “And I wonder where the traders are?”
The first stall he passed that actually held items appeared to sell electrical cables and components. The next stall along had canisters of beans. The third stall, thin layers of a green-coloured slimy substance. And the fourth had multicoloured blocks of some kind of chalky substance.
“I thought Orgol was a liquid element, so none of these seem to fit the bill.” Alnold thought as he felt one of the green slimy sheets. “This is almost liquid,” he pondered and then looked at the stall with the cubes, “but these could possibly dissolve in water.”
The lights in the room dimmed suddenly, causing some of the coloured cubes to glow.
“Yes! Orgol is temporarily illuminous, so these cubes, or some of them, could be Orgol.” Alnold remembered his handheld scanner, and scanned the cubes. The scanner displayed that they were all Orgol, even the ones which weren’t emitting light. Curiosity got the better of him, and he scanned the green sheets. Orgol. He walked back to the canisters of beans and scanned them as well, and the scanner revealed they too were Orgol. He pointed the scanner to the cables and got the same response there. “This can’t be right!” He muttered, tapping the scanner on its side. He pointed the scanner to himself, and clicked the button to start the scanning process. Once again, the result came back as Orgol.
Alnold pinched his left earlobe, which activated his portable journal. “My name is Alnold Kahh, and I think I’ve made a very big mistake.” He stopped speaking as soon as all of the wall lights around the room lit up. He pressed the central button on the amulet just below his neck, and was startled by a sudden burst of static. This was then replaced by a strange fluctuating radio noise, as though the amulet was attempting to connect to a radio channel.
The noises stopped abruptly, and were followed by another burst of static making Alnold jump again. Finally a voice came through over the channel. “Al” was all it said, briefly.
“Nebula!” Alnold smiled as he recognised the voice of his artificial companion he’d been travelling with over the past few months. “Nebs!” he spoke clearly into the communications channel, hoping this would get his message back to the computer on board the Expansion. “The readings are fake! I don’t think there’s any Orgol on this planet at all. I’m heading back to the Cruiseship.”
“Almond!” Burst Nebula’s voice through the communications channel once again.
“You sound funny, Nebs. Are you back on line?”
“Almost. There is a malfunction within my dictionary processing unit, causing some words to be replaced by chickens.”
“Almond, your sensor is malfunctioning, but there is Orgol in very close proximity to you. Point your sensor to any item in your immediate vaccination and I will tell you whether it is Orgol or not.”
He pointed the scanner to the beans first, as a test.
“Beans. Not Orgol.” Nebula confirmed.
Alnold then pointed to the electrical items.
“Very faint traces, Almond, so they must contain Orgol, but they aren’t a true source. Continue scanning.”
Alnold then pointed the scanner at the slime sheets.
“Almond! Ninety-six per cent Silken. We need that. Obtain some of that!”
Alnold found a crate inside the stall, and placed a large ream of the sheets inside. He then scanned the chalky cubes.
“One hundred per cent Orgol. Almond, obtain some of that also.” Static burst through the connection.
Alnold used his arm to push quite a lot of the cubes into the crate.
“Almond, you must return to the Expansion immediately. Our guest in the Moonlight Bay is awake, and is none too pleased. I’m trying to sedate him, but he is fighting it. I’m afraid if he escapes the Moonlight Bay he will commandeer the ship and steal it for himself.”
“Guest in the Moonlight Bay…” Alnold tried hard to work out what Nebula was meaning. “The Medic Bay! That man! He’s awake!” Alnold lifted the crate but before he could take a step toward the exit he felt something firm press into his back.
“Alnold Kahh” he heard a female voice say close to his right ear. “You cannot be leaving so soon.”
Oh dear. It never stops raining then it pours. What’s wrong with Nebula? Is the Expansion’s patient as hostile as he seems? Will Alnold be able to get back to his home? Is the woman the mysterious Queen Braye? And will these questions ever end? The answers will hopefully be revealed when Space – There’s a lot of it! returns later in the year. Indeed, this is the final part of this first series. Cliff-hangers, eh?!
If you need to know what has happened so far, the previous parts can be found in the Storylines menu. Click HERE!