Chapter 15 – Elimination Capsules
Keith didn’t know it, but his spade had snapped the sensor placed by the Silver man almost 1,000 years ago. It was a million to one chance. If he had carried on digging in his gentle way and moved the sensor it would have gone immediately into stealth mode.
While it was active, the sensor was a thin tube about the size of the inside of a ball-point pen, but with its own nuclear powered battery. The minute radiation from the battery was being detected by the highly sensitive Geiger counter. The NASA data had detected the blast of data being sent. As Keith had plunged his spade in frustration after snagging his trousers on the bramble, he snapped the sensor. The short sharp burst of radiation was sufficient to unmask the four people and three horses that had been held in molecular stagnation since the 12th century.
While Keith sat cradling Patch’s body, in a remote part of the Cosmos the Silver man was analysing the data from the sensors he had placed on Earth in the 12th Century. The sensors showed an alarming increase in planetary activity and sophistication to the human race. The civilization had developed much quicker than had been predicted, especially as he had doubted when he first visited Earth some 2,000 years ago that human beings would ever become civilised. Projecting the data forward, he could see that within another 50 star rotations, or 50 Earth years, there was an 85% probability of detection. This could not be allowed to happen, and this data analysis would trigger an automatic response from his people.
A different Traveller was dispatched. These craft contained the elimination capsules. Sensor Travellers like the Silver man were not permitted to carry elimination capsules for fear of action without considered council. It would take about 5 of the planets star rotations, or 5 Earth years, for the elimination capsules to reach the planet. When they capsules reached the planet 99% of all life would be destroyed. The elimination capsules were not designed to create Armageddon, but to take the life forms back to a point in their development where there was no threat of detection.
However, 5 Earth years was more than enough time for the Silver man to reach the planet for one last look. He was curious.