Chapter 47 – The Silver man refuels
By the time the Silver man returned to the planet three more of the sensors had experienced stealth activity. He did not go to the site where he had put the three men on horses and the woman who tried to attack him, into molecular stagnation. Since then his instruments told him, there had been about 1,000 of the planet’s orbit around the small star.
Instead he went to the site where the sensor had invoked its stealth mode twice in a short period of time. This was because his scan of the planet had shown that this site was free of activity, while the other site was not.
The Silver man landed the craft and set it up to refuel from a large water supply nearby. He saw immediately that the ground on the site had been disturbed, so he retrieved the sensor using an extendable probe he had carried from the craft.
On arrival at the planet, the Silver man was taken aback by just how fast these life forms had developed. He had sensed orbiting space craft, and there were many vehicles capable of flight. The volumes of electronic communications were impressive. Of course they were still a long way from inter-stellar space travel, and could not yet communicate beyond their sub-galaxy. It was a shame that the destruction was necessary, it would be interesting to see how they could develop further. His craft needed a little more time to refuel, so he decided to move towards the nearest town and observe more. He would then travel to the other sensor sites.
However he would not take too long. There was still plenty of time before the destruction capsules arrived, but there was another reason to hurry. He was also due to be re-born again soon, and he didn’t want to get caught on the planet again when it happened. He needed somewhere more remote. The re-birth process was a regeneration of his body tissues. It was a process his people had evolved over the millennia. They were not immortal, one day he would not be able to be re-born. The re-birth allowed them to regenerate their body tissues so they had time to travel the vast distances across the cosmos. The re-birth process had lasted 20 revolutions of the planets star last time, or 20 Earth years. This was a slow re-birth, his next re-birth would be quicker but he wanted to be away from the planet before it happened.
The techs at Fort Mead had run a number of computer simulations about the origins and threats of the sensors, and had concluded that they may be able to entice whoever planted the sensors to return. While the US Military conducted elaborate military exercise near the other sensor sites to create a distraction, the Admiral waited at the site in Bend, Oregon. In fact he was with three other men, his trusted Marine Colonel and two hand-picked Navy Seals.
This was an operation requiring the utmost discretion and the NSA Director was getting increasingly nervous about the leaks to the Weekly World News, so he ordered the Admiral to conduct this operation himself. The Admiral did not understand the science, but the techs at Fort Meade had equipped them with some of the latest equipment for the job. They were camped under a tent lined with a new type of anti-detection material, and they had blankets and clothing made of the same material. The Admiral understood it was a new so-called miracle material called Graphene. He had been told that it was a special type of advanced carbon, really thin, and inside it – they were undetectable, invisible – or at least the techs claimed. It was strange because the blankets were ultra-thin lightweight blankets that you could see through, and appeared to offer no protection at all. The material resembled a fine spider’s web.
It was a little after 3AM in the morning and still dark. The Navy Seal on watch, had woken him when a silver object had appeared by the river. From their elevated position above the dig site, he was watching a silver clad figure through his night vision goggles move in their direction. The large silver object near the river, had not moved since it had first appeared. It was too distant from their position to see it clearly.
The Silver figure drifted towards them. To say he walked was over stating it. His silver boots floated a few inches above the ground and he moved at walking pace, but without actually moving his feet. Their Orders were clear. They were to observe, capture if they could, but not destroy. In fact the two Navy Seals, supporting the Admiral and Colonel were equipped with a number of restraining and non-lethal weapons. In truth, the Admiral had no idea what they were up against.
The Silver man passed about 100 yards from their positions, moving toward the town of Bend. The Admiral gave a pre-arranged hand signal, and the Colonel and one of the Navy Seals began moving towards the silver object. The Admiral and the other Navy Seal began to follow the Silver man.
Once they had crawled over a low ridge and were out of sight of the Silver man, the Colonel gave a gesture to stand, and wrapping his stealth blanket like cloak around his neck, the two fit men covered the mile or so distance to the silver object in a little under 8 minutes. The Colonel grunted with satisfaction when he looked at his watch. Not bad for a 42 year old man, carrying full kit and over sandy terrain.
About a 100 meters from the silver object, the Colonel called a halt. They stopped to catch their breath behind a rock. They discarded any unnecessary equipment and checked their weapons. The Colonel took out his night vision binoculars and examined the object. It was clearly a vehicle or craft of some kind. It appeared to be taking in water from the Deschutes River through a long tube. There was a blue glow to the craft, which appeared to be spherical. It had several pointed triangular shaped struts protruding from it, which looked a bit like aircraft wings. It was the size of small house and appeared to float slightly above the ground.
The Colonel pointed at the Navy Seal’s helmet camera and both men pressed a small red button clipped to their jackets. This started their helmet-cams. The units were perfectly capable of transmitting live pictures to Fort Meade, but the techs thought any form of communication may get detected. So there was a black-out on all comms. The recorders had limited memory and battery-life, so they were to record only when necessary. The Colonel pointed left and then right, the Seal nodded and set off to one side of the craft while the Colonel went in the opposite direction.
The purpose now was to observe and to capture as much information as they could on the helmet-cams. The Colonel had chosen the side where the tube went down to the river. He could hear the water being pumped along the pipe, and then realised it was going both ways. Water was being taken in and then returned to the river. The pipe was transparent as he got closer, he could see two halves to the pipe separated by a membrane inside. He got closer so his helmet-cam would get a clear picture, he figured the techs would be interested in that.
As he leant over to get the picture a gust of wind blew his stealth blanket against the pipe, just the slightest feather touch from the lightweight material. Then faster than he could blink, the pipe retracted and the craft vanished. Leaving only a small impression in the dirt on the river bank here the water pipe had been.
The Colonel and the Navy Seal now stared at each other over the empty space where the craft had been, cameras still rolling.
The Silver man had almost reached the small town when he had the signal from the craft. It had been touched by an advanced carbon material that it diagnosed as a weapon. Hard to believe that these people had already developed advanced carbons, but he immediately turned back, heading back to the craft’s landing site as fast as he could go.
The Admiral led the Navy Seal, as they followed the Silver man at a distance. They too had tied their stealth cloaks around their necks. Since they had no comms, they did not know that the craft had disappeared.
Suddenly the Silver man turned and raced back towards them. The Admiral thought they must have been detected, and he gestured towards the ground. He dropped to the dirt, and saw from the corner of his eye that the Navy Seal had also dropped to the ground with his weapon ready. The Silver man seemed to be coming directly towards their position. The ground on either side was flat rocky terrain that offered no real cover, so he lay as flat as possible, and covered himself with the protective cloak. The Silver man still moved directly towards them. He pressed his record button, and tapped his helmet, the Navy Seal tapped his helmet signifying he had understood the command to begin recording.
He lay as still as he could, and tried to regulate his breathing. Now just a few meters away it was clear that the Silver man was going to bump into the Navy Seal. The Admiral realised it must have taken all his training and an incredible amount of self-control and courage for the Navy Seal to remain completely still while the Silver man came straight towards him.
Then the Silver man literally bumped into him, not aggressively, but just kept going as if he didn’t see him. In fact the Silver man had not seen the Navy Seal, because he lay perfectly still flat against the ground in the dark with his camouflaged uniform blending with the ground. But as the minor collision happened, the blanket was dislodged and the Graphene blanket brushed against a sensor in the Silver man’s suit.
The Silver man stopped and looked down at the Navy Seal. But his surprise was not so much the man lying on the ground, but the fact that this was confirmation from the senor in his suit that these people had developed advanced carbons. Then everything went black.
The Admiral had moved like a cat. He pulled the trigger on the 100,000 volt Taser as he pressed the electric shock weapon into the Silver man’s back. The Silver man collapsed to the ground.
‘Now let’s see who the fuck you are,’ he said.