What Kurt saw that day would haunt him for the rest of his life. Keat? It was a few hours drugging himself up before he managed to forget. They managed to get back to base after contacting Mute, who was on his midnight walk. He woke up Robertson who got them a new MIS to retrieve them, as well as the other two fried by the light. The latter would be used for research.
Kurt had stayed up for the rest of the night smoking, when one cigar went out another was lit. He looked at photos on his phone. Photos of his home, his childhood, his friends, his wife. Memories of times long passed flooded into him. He couldn't help but reminisce of went life wasn't complicated. He had fought a war and was leading an expedition into unknown territory, life was as far from simple as it could get.
Keat spent the night drugging himself into forgetfulness. While Kurt had been turned into a mess, Keat finally had some excuse to spend the day trying out new drug combinations. The sickbay and laboratories were all unguarded so he had no reason not to experiment. Mute had caught him during this escapade and had given the man disapproving looks until he left.
No one knew what had been in that cave save for the two men. They had simply reported that it had been cleared while sparring all the details.
The next day a discovery was made. Particles of the blue light that remained on the MIS were nearly identical to the radiation in the atmosphere. Robertson managed to restore one of the MIS's hard drives with a little technobabble and some spare parts. The scientists took great interest in what they found on it.
Omar had hooked up the drive onto a spare computer and found the latest video file. There were two of them, a normal view and a thermal view. The normal was tried first, but the thickness of the foliage combined with the dark night made the footage useless.
The thermal footage revealed four humanoid figures spread out and looking into the clearing. Blue light began to swirl around one of them and with a tap of their staff, a blanket of it blew forward. The footage ended just as the light collided with the MIS.
"Quid est haec?" Ilhan asked. She and Omar were showing Fuku the footage from the incident. John had a datapad and was taking notes. The four were on the bridge of the Covet, they watched the footage from a terminal just off the main walkway.
Magia? Ego sum incerta." Fuku's ears twitched thoughtfully.
"She says it might be magic, but doesn't know for sure." Ilhan translated for John and Omar.
"Magic? You sure you didn't mistranslate?" John asked. He looked at Ilhan and then to Fuku, who tilted her head in confusion.
"Perfectly sure." Ilhan thought for a moment. "For all we know it could be nothing but fancy terminology. Perhaps a device was made to gather up those particles from the atmosphere, but the primitivism of that village makes me question it..." She trailed off.
"Could be that only higher members of society have access to advance tech," John commented as he tapped the data pad's pen against his chin. John had been promoted and ordered to serve as note taker. He was given a pack of gummy worms per paragraph written down.
"Another thing your read in a book?" Omar deadpanned.
"Yes," John responded.
"Quam provectus vestra tribus?" Ilhan asked.
"Regnum comparari?" Fuku asked.
"Quod sic." Ilhan responded.
"Nos pauci sumus non sine machinis." Fuku replied
Ilhan took a few moments to process the words. "Did you hear that? Th-this is amazing, do you not understand what we have uncovered?" She shouted.
"Well, no. We don't speak Latin." John spoke.
"Machines! They have machines!" Ilhan sprung up from her chair and made a beeline toward the door. She stopped just before it and said, " John I need a synopsis of every book you've read! I'm getting Kurt!"
"Huh?" John glanced at Omar, who shrugged in return.
Kurt was no stranger to death, he had fought pirates. They were the type to play cards beside a pit of human corpses, and many times he had caught them doing just that. Men and women who couldn't find employment in mercenary work commonly turned to pirate groups. War affected those people in the wrong way, instead of fear and despair, they felt excitement and joy.
The number of times Kurt had seen things he had wanted to forget kept growing and he knew there was no way a normal person could get used to those sights, they could only get better at hiding the way they were affected. Kurt never did get better at it, he wasn't the type of person to be able to hide strong emotions. Nor was he the type to lean on another's shoulder and spill out what he bottled up.
He was a simple farmhand, he wasn't built for situations like that. Kurt was approaching his thirties with an endless bottle of stress, he wasn't sure which was keeping him sober anymore, the cigars or his wife.
Several knocks at his room's door stole his weariness. "Enter." He said. The half woken man put down his phone and sat up on the side of his bed, just as a giddy-looking Ilhan opened the door.
"I need you to..." Her smile faded. "Are you alright? You look exhausted! Do you need a trip to the sickbay?" She barraged Kurt with questions.
"I'm fine, I'm fine, calm down woman. Just a bout of insomnia." Kurt eyed the not even slightly calmed Ilhan.
"I don't trust that one bit." Ilhan pulled out an ice pack and stuck it to Kurt's forehead. "Lay down."
"I told you... I'm... fine!" Kurt grunted out as he fought to keep the woman away from him. He coughed once, then twice, by the third he was doubled over on the ground as his left hand covered his mouth.
"Okay... Maybe you do need to-" Ilhan was interrupted.
"Dammit woman, what the fuck do you want!?" Kurt snapped.
"Ah... fuck... I'm sorry, it's been a rough few weeks." He sighed and rubbed his face. "What do you need?"
"I- we- uh, we were hoping to see if you had anyone that's a decent infiltrator. That's all." Ilhan spoke softly. She had moved a few feet from Kurt in light of his outburst.
"What kind? Sneaking in and nabbing something or being a spy?" Kurt asked. He clutched his closed left hand close to his chest.
"Either or, we don't need too much, but the more the better," Ilhan replied.
"Mute for infiltration, Robertson for spying," Kurt stated.
"Robertson? Are you-" Ilhan hesitated. "No, I trust you."
"The man can break just about anything, no matter how secured, but also fix it with spare parts and a few hours. I've seen him make miracles outta paper clips. He used to be an actor and if you've seen his movies, you'd know he's a damn good one." Kurt explained.
"I don't like that you're taking two of my boys, but I can't come up with a reason why you shouldn't." He continued.
"Thankfully, we only need one. We opted to let you decide."
After several moments of thought, Kurt spoke. "I'll let Robertson go, Mute needs to watch over Kenley, make sure he doesn't drug himself to death."
"Is that where my Ibuprofen has gone to? I'll be having words with him." An irritated look crossed Ilhan's face.
"Well, you got your answer. Go brief him, do whatever... I need a nap." Kurt stared mindlessly at her.
"R-right, I'll be going then. Take care!" Her once cheerful expression had been morphed into fear and confusion by the end of the conversation. Kurt now had to pay attention to see the flowers, but even then it was a challenge.
'Why did I sign up for this?' Robertson thought. He was getting a new job, one that required skills he hadn't used for several years. He was to infiltrate a city along with Fuku and gather as much information as he could. He was an actor some time ago, and as much as he would like to re-live those days, he would've liked a rehearsal.
The city was some fifty miles away and they had pictures, thanks to the drones, but nothing to tell him what to expect. From the looks of it, the city looked to be ancient European in design and had many, many residents occupying the streets. The drone camera wasn't good enough to make out any details on the people, but it did capture miles of farmland outside the city walls.
"And this is supposed to be a good idea?" Robertson questioned. He, Ilhan, Fuku, Omar, and John were on the bridge of the Covet. An impromptu briefing area consisting of a dry erase board and some markers had been set up in the center of the room.
"Not particularly," Omar commented as he gazed at pictures of the city a projector displayed on the board.
"Then why do you expect me to go through with it!?" Robertson cried out.
"Because it's the only one we have. We don't want to sit on our asses all day while we wait for someone to contact us. Our only contact with alien life has been the young Miss," Omar gestured to Fuku. " and some less than pleasant green skins. We would like to expand our influence as quickly as possible without being seen as a threat."
"If someone were to stumble upon us now, we would be seen as invaders. But if we extend our open arms first? We might be treated as friends or at the very least, guests." He finished.
"I still don't like this. We don't have a common language for crying out loud!" Robertson nervously exclaimed.
"We do, they, or at least Fuku does, speak Latin," Ilhan explained.
"Oh... Well, that changes things." Robertson seemed shocked.
"How so?" John asked as he looked up from copying from a book.
"I studied Latin in middle and high school. I was really into those old Roman plays and wanted to read them in their original forms. They're what got me into acting in the first place." Robertson said.
"Alright then, talk with Fuku," Ilhan said.
"What?" Robertson replied.
"Just say something!" Ilhan exclaimed.
"Uhhh... Can you understand me?" Robertson looked at the girl next to him and asked.
"Yes... Can you understand me?" Fuku shyly replied.
"John!" Ilhan shouted. "Stop looking and get back to summarizing or you won't get any gummy worms!" Ilhan gleefully shouted.
The flowers had come back.
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