chapter six. russ and anne jorden
"Anybody ever tell you you look dead, man?"
-Alien, 1979, Parker
On Acheron, during the day, in the middle of nowhere, an eight-wheeled tractor roared across corrugated rock, and it blasted through soggy drifts of volcanic ash. Strange wind-etched rock shapes were all around.
Inside of the tractor, at the controls, intent on a pinging scope, was Russ Jorden, independent prospector. Beside him, was his wife|partner Anne Jorden and in the back, their two children, Rebecca "Newt" Jorden, and Timmy Jorden argued over a game.
"Do too. You go in places we can't fit."
Timmy complained to his sister.
"So! That's why I'm the best!"
Rebecca retorted, smartly.
"Knock if off! If I catch either of you playing in the air ducts again, I'll tan your hides."
Anne scolded, as she turned around to face them.
"Mom. All the kids play it..."
Rebecca started to say, but before she could finish, Russ Jorden cut off their conversation, and from the tone in his voice, he sounded extremely excited.
"Hey, wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait a minute! Come on, Anne. Take a look at this, will ya'."
Russ said, as he looked through the front window.
A bizarre shape loomed ahead. An enormous bone-like mass projected upward from the bed of ash. Canted on it's side and buckled against a rock outcropping by the lava flow, it is still recognizable as an extraterrestrial ship. Bio-mechanoid, and of non-human design.
"Folks, we have scored big this time!"
Russ said, clearly excited at his find.
The tractor moved around the base of the vast enigma, and it passed under part of it that had jutted up into the air, while headed toward a gash in the hull. Rebecca looked up through the clear roof at the ship.
"What is it, dad?"
Now, everyone had looked up with Rebecca at the strange object.
"I'm not sure."
Russ said, just as they pulled up.
The gash in the ship is right in front of them.
"See if we can't get a closer look at this thing. Maybe through that crack down it's side."
Russ suggested, just as Anna pitched in.
"Shouldn't we call in?"
She asked, as Russ turned to her.
"Let's wait 'til we know what to call it in as. That's as close as we can get."
Russ said, as he looked out the window, before back at Anne.
"Should we take a look inside?"
Anne looked at him and then at the ship with a worried, but curious look on her face.
A few moments after, Russ and Anne stepped down, carrying lights, packs, camera, and test gear.
"You kids stay inside. I mean it! We'll be right back."
Anne said, looking at her two kids.
Rebecca and Anne said goodbye, before Russ closed the door, and Russ and Anna trudged towards the alien derelict.
Inside of the tractor, Rebecca had her face to the glass of the window, as she steamed it with her breath, as she watched her parents head to the ship.
Jorden and Anne paused at the enormous gash in the hull. Blackness inside. They entered slowly, their lights played off the walls, showing strange formations. They moved deeper into the ship.
It was now nighttime. The tractor and the derelict were dark and motionless, as the wind howled around them.
Inside the tractor, Rebecca looked away from the window toward Timmy, who was asleep in the front passenger seat. Rebecca shook him awake, as she tried hard not to be worried.
"Timmy... they've been gone a long time."
She said, quietly.
Timmy opened his eyes, and considered the night, with the wind, and the vast landscape, before he bit his lip.
"It'll be okay, Newt. Dad knows what he's doing."
Timmy whispered, as he tried to reassure his sister.
CRASH! Rebecca jumped as the drive door beside her was ripped open, and a dark shape lunged inside. Anne, who panted and looked terrified beyond belief. She lunged her arm inside, past Rebecca, and she grabbed the dash mike.
"Mayday! Mayday! This is Alpha Kilo Two Four Niner calling Hadley Control! Repeat! This is...."
As Anne shouted the mayday, Rebecca looked past her, and to the ground.
Russ Jorden lay there, inert, dragged somehow by Anne from inside the ship. There was something on his face. An appalling multi-legged creature, as it pulsed with life. Rebecca started to scream hysterically, as her scream competed with the shrieking wind, which had already risen to a crescendo.