Saving Starbird

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Chapter 22

Back to Harbour

They continued to stand together for quite a time without moving. Suddenly and without warning the familiar green light shone out from the spacecraft. This time it was not a narrow beam as before but a much wider and less intense light. The light shone across the lake slowly towards the two children until it lit them and the area around them.

As soon as the light reached them they both felt the feeling of calm and relaxation as before.

A firm voice filled their minds. This voice was far deeper than Starbird’s, but was a very friendly voice and neither felt any fear.

He spoke about his thanks for their help in rescuing Starbird. The voice reassured them that although he was very weak, with almost all his powers gone, Starbird was still alive and in time should recover completely.

The strange person went on to explain that he was Starbird’s commander and was the head of the mission to monitor Earth. The spaceship they could see was a Transporter and the main ship was far above them in space.

Shortly he would be returning to the mother ship taking Starbird back so that they could restore all his powers. The voice went on to tell them that explorers from his planet had been visiting Earth for hundreds of human years. The early ships had been very crude compared with the ship they now used which had many more powers to help them monitor the human race.

He confirmed what Starbird had already told them that they had strict orders not to interfere with any thing that happened on Earth. Their role was just to monitor and never make direct contact with humans that could be remembered by them.

Now however, Sally and Archie had changed all that.

In their brave actions to save Starbird the rules for their contact with humans had been changed. They now looked on Sally and Archie as their friends, and should the need ever arise in the future they may contact them again for help or advice.

He also told them if they were ever in any trouble where they thought that they needed help from space they could contact them.

The commander went on to explain that they were very worried about peace on Earth. He said he was sure that a terrible war would come shortly and how it would affect the lives of both Sally and Archie. He told them to remember they may need help if things got very bad, they would always try to give them assistance.

Finally, the commander explained another thing Sally and Archie would need to know. The spacemen had the power to put the human mind in a trance as they had already seen. This was done not to harm anybody, but to protect the secrecy of the observation mission the space crews were on.

Back on the Lifeboat Archie’s dad and the coxswain were still safe and able to control the boat safely. However, once the trance was lifted they will not remember anything about the probe, Starbird or anything else concerned with the rescue. As far as they are concerned it never happened!

Sally and Archie must promise never to tell any other human about the spacecraft and its crew.

Both the children agreed quickly to this demand.

The commander went on to tell them that this would be the only time that the memories of all their missions would not be erased from human minds. Their memory of what had happened would be a special token of thanks to Sally and Archie for saving Starbird.

They would be able to remember everything and could also discuss the visitors from space between them selves, but once again the commander forcibly told them never to tell anyone else.

Sally asked, “What about Jack and Jane, they knew a lot about the rescue?”

The commander told her that they had already removed most of the memories regarding the past hours.

However, they would remember helping to decorate the trolley with fishing gear, but not the probe. They would also remember winning the cup and Sally and Archie going out for a trip on the Lifeboat. Not however, why that trip was so necessary.

Now it was time to return Sally and Archie to the Lifeboat. To do this they would need help, as it would be very difficult for them to get the dinghy back through the tunnel against the current. Also it would be very dangerous as the tide had turned and the water was rising.

However, the commander said to get you safely back to the Lifeboat he would have to use a trance once more, but he would not make it too deep so this time they could see, hear and talk, but not move for their safety.

He continued by saying it was time for them to say goodbye.

As the voice said this, a door in the spacecraft opened and a platform appeared below it.

On to the platform came several of the spacemen. The strange group faced the two watching children. Then they all began to wave their tendril arms in the air and a wonderful musical sound filled the cave.

Sally and Archie waved back and shouted goodbye. Sally added, “Get well Starbird. We will always remember you.”

The spacemen returned into their craft, the musical sound ceased. Just one spaceman was left standing at the edge of the platform. He raised his strange arm above his head in a final salute. He turned and walked back inside the spacecraft and the door shut behind him.

Sally and Archie were left standing alone once more.

As they watched the familiar beam of green light moved across the lake towards them. They both stood completely at ease, as they now trusted these visitors from space not to harm them.

As soon as the beam of light reached them they found that they were unable to move, but unlike before, that were not on a deep trance. They could still see, hear and talk. Slowly they both lifted up in the air and they were transported across the platform and then they hovered above the dinghy.

“Gosh Sally we can fly!” said Archie.

“What a wonderful feeling, “Sally replied as she looked down at the water below her without any fear.

Very gently they were put down in the boat and they discovered that they could use their legs to sit on the dinghy seats. Once seated, they found they could move their heads but nothing else. However, they were both quite comfortable on the seats.

For several minutes nothing happened, although they were still bathed in the green light. Then the spacecraft started to rise up in the air very very slowly. When it was about half the way up to the top of the rocks it just hovered.

The children then felt the dingy tremble. The rope that was still looped around the jutting rock freed it-self and the end of the rope floated in the air and flew back into the boat, where to Sally’s amazement the rope proceeded to coil it-self up in the bottom of the boat.

At once the dinghy started to move away from the platform towards the centre of the lake. When it was almost, but not quite, below the spacecraft the dinghy lifted off the water. The dinghy had become a flying boat!

The spacecraft moved slowly upwards until it was well above the top of the rocks while the dinghy below just hovered.

Once clear of the rock it was the spacecraft that hovered. Then it was the turn of the dinghy to fly up above the summit of Smugglers Rocks.

Neither Sally nor Archie were at all frightened. Although they were now several hundred feet above the sea it did not worry either of them; in fact they were fascinated to look down at the rocks below them.

They could now see the whole of the centre of the rock formation was open to the sky. They could also clearly see the lake in the centre of the rock circle far below them.

Archie told Sally, “That is the perfect base for Starbird, as the centre of the crater is completely hidden from any passing ships. It is like looking down into a volcano”

Sally agreed and said, “I agree. I now know why people that had seen lights would think it was haunted.”

Archie agreed, “I also understand now why there are no nesting birds or other wild life on the rocks.”

With the spacecraft still hovering above them, the beam of light moved away from the rocks. The beam of light was like a strange arm of a giant crane with the dinghy on the end of it.

Looking down the children could see the Lifeboat far below them still in the same position. They could just make out the figures of the coxswain and Archie’s dad in the small cabin. The dinghy began to lower towards the Lifeboat, but neither man seemed to notice anything unusual as the dinghy gently came to rest back on the deck of the boat they had left earlier.

Once on deck the children found that they could move once more and scrambled out of the dinghy.

They could see the blue light around the silver spaceship, but the green beam of light that had transported them so carefully had disappeared.

In a sudden flash the spacecraft shot upward at a tremendous speed with the blue light fading.

“That is the most beautiful firework I have ever seen,” said Sally.

“November the fifth will never be the same again,” laughed Archie.

As they continued to stare up into the sky they both saw a circle of coloured lights high above the vanishing spacecraft.

Then they glimpsed what looked like a shooting star speed upward straight into the centre of the circle of coloured lights and disappear.

After a short pause the circle of light joined together to form a ring of bright light that suddenly shot across the night sky at fantastic speed and out of sight.

Sally turned to Archie and held both his hands. “We have done it. Starbird is back where he belongs.”

Archie hugged Sally close to him and whispered, “It was down to you Sally. You were the one who always believed we could do it.”

Archie quickly secured the dinghy with its mooring ropes, and then they both crossed over to join the two men standing by the wheel.

The coxswain started talking as if nothing had happened.

He said to Archie’s dad, “I am very pleased with the engine tests so we better get back to harbour.”

Soon they were speeding through the water at a fast pace, sending up spray from the bow that splashed in the faces of the two happy children.

Archie’s dad asked Sally, “Have you enjoyed your first boat trip?”

Sally burst out laughing and with a big wink to Archie replied, “Mr Smith you will never know just how much it meant to me. You can be sure I will never forget it.”

Mr Tampling said again, “I am very pleased with all the tests. It makes an enjoyable change for Archie’s dad and me to be on the Lifeboat when there is no rescuing to be done, or any danger to the crew.”

Archie just smiled at Sally and put his arm around her and gave her a really big hug.

Sally thought about Starbird speeding through space far above them to the safety of his mother ship. She silently wished him a safe journey and hoped he would soon be able to resume his mission watching England.

She wondered if they would ever meet again, and how she would be able to contact him if she was ever in need of his help.

It was getting light but the green and red lamps showing the mouth of the harbour still shone brightly as the Lifeboat slowed.

Both Sally and Archie stood looking towards the village wondering if the commander’s action had removed the memory of Starbird from Jack and Jane. Sally knew they could not have managed the rescue without them. Archie thought that not ever speaking to them about the last few hectic days was going to be the most difficult part of their promise of silence.

As they gazed at the sea that was becoming lighter as dawn approached, Archie suddenly asked Sally, “Did you see what I have just noticed?”

Sally replied, “No, I have not seen anything unusual. What do you think you saw?”

Archie pointed back towards the direction they had come. He said, “I thought I saw a flash of green light skimming the waves behind us.”

Sally was just going to say that he must have imagined it, when she also saw it. It was a small pool of light appearing to be coming from under the waves and was heading quickly towards the Lifeboat.

Suddenly two small dark objects flew up from below the water and shot straight at them. It was two small stones!

One flew into Sally’s hand and the other came to Archie. They both looked down at their hands together at the warm object they were holding. In the palm of their hand were small stones with strange markings. One part looked like a closed eye.

Sally looked at Archie and they smiled at each other. They both knew now how they would be able to communicate with Starbird in the future should the need arise.

Sally looked down at her stone again. The eye opened then slowly winked at her twice. Sally let out a contented sigh. She and Archie were, safe and so was Starbird.

The End

The end of this story, but only the beginning of the next exciting and even more frightening adventures for Sally and Archie and their spaceman friend Starbird. Further adventures for Sally, Archie and Starbird can be found in the second book called Starbird at War. Set in 1940 it continues the two friends many adventures as wartime teenagers. They live through the terrible days of The Battle of Britain, The London Blitz, as well as battles at sea. Will the children survive with a little help from their strange friend from outer space?

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