Starlight Antiquities

by

Spacerin

Chapter 27 - I Want One of  Them Ships

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Timothy went out to get the box and then placed it right in front of Jammie.

“This is what you’re transporting?” she asked.

Timothy sighed. “We don’t know what this thing is. Other than being very… important. Maybe even powerful.”

Jammie took out her gadgets, her atomic scanner, a few different analyzers.

“Have you ever seen anything like that before?” Timothy asked her.

“No. When you said, a blue screen, this can produce that?”

“Yes. We do not know how.”

“The one I saw before… was more like a helmet.”

TImothy twitched, remembering his childhood ‘accident’. “Funny," he said. "My father had a helmet-like model too. I put it on when he left it in his office once unattended. It fucked my life ever since.”

“At first, I thought it was some kind of a game,” Jammie said as she worked her instruments.

“I wish it was.”

They left her work in peace, the screens of schematics and analysis of what she was finding out starting to be projected in the air around her.

“See, your comm can project images and videos, but there is a light trace to it. This thing, it does not have that.”

“It would be good to see it work,” Jammie said.

“Maybe later. It scares the shit out of me, to tell you the truth. Besides, we tried to use it just before you arrived, but it did not work.” Timothy admitted.

Marv cleared his throat. “I thought about that. The thing requires a lot of energy. It seemed to feed itself wirelessly. We used it with the transporter, and then it worked fine. But we could not get it to work using the freighter’s power plant. Maybe if we move it to the transporter and fire it up again?”

“That’s a new Union’s transporter, right?”

“Yes.”

“They use new model engines.”

“I’ve noticed,” Marv said. “No transmitters.”

“Yes. It’s an adjustable multip-current juicer. Supposed to be way more powerful than a conventional power plant, yet more compact.”

“I see,” Marv said, wondering what next they'll come out with. "And I thought I knew stuff."

Jammie pulled up a few more screens and run a small scanner over the box again. “Hum,” she said. “This is very interesting.”

“What is?” Sornia asked.

“And you sure that this is what you were supposed to transport?”

“Yes. We have a scanner capable comm like you. And it has an app that identified the thing for us. You see, it even leads me to it,” Timothy said as he demonstrated it.

Jammie took Timothy’s comm from his hand, examined it for a few moments, and smiled. “No, that’s just a regular comm. It identifies the shape of the object and picks on the tracking code installed in the object for you to track it. It’s nothing like my scanner.”

Then, Jammie realized there was no reason for them to believe her, so she added. “I’ll show you.”

She pulled the 3-D scanned image of the box and placed it in the air above them. “Now, this is what it looks like, and in this window here, you can see what it is made of.”

“A lot of oxygen, I see…” Marv said, looking at the screen.

“That’s because it’s mostly hollow inside. Well, there is an object inside that has a completely different structure. And you will be shocked to see what it is.”

“What?”

“I’ll show you,” she said and threw in a few more screens in the air. “Or even better, let me open the box and take the object out.”

“What?” Timothy asked again, not sure if he heard it right.

“You think you can open that box?” Sornia asked.

“Are you sure it’s safe?” Slicky added.

Marv had a question of his own. “And what is it, the thing inside?”

Instead of answering with words, Jammie pressed one of her instruments next to the box. “This has a magnetic sealant around, and the edge is invisible because the edge is completely evened out. I’ve seen this kind of technology before, the ability of the metal to melt into anything. But certainly not for a purpose of being used as a packaging box for transporting an object inside. So, if I de-magnetize it, like this,” she said and pressed a few keys on her instrument. “You see the shape of the box changing slightly.”

“Yes, I can see. There are lines there,” Timothy said and pointed his fingers at the top edge of the box.

“Yes, and then we just push against those lines, and here, the container opens up.”

“Wow,” Slicky said, unable to hold his surprise.

Jammie smiled and said. “Wait till you see what is inside.”

“What is inside?” Timothy asked, not ready to hold his patience in check anymore.

Jammie put her hand inside and when she took it out, there was an old ceramic yellow-colored vase in her hand.

“What the fuck?” said Marv, but everyone else had the same kind of words on their lips.

“What is it?” Timothy asked, not really ready to trust his eyes.

“It’s just a vase,” Jammie said.

He could not believe it. “It can’t be just a vase.”

Jammie nodded her head and said, “It is. Look, this is its composition, mostly materials you find in clay. I can even date it. Made about fifteen thousand years ago. One very old vase. All the materials are easily detectable. Nothing foreign here."

“It can’t be.”

Jammie smiled, sighed, and repeated. “But it is. My instruments cannot lie.”

“So, it must be a very special vase then… maybe has some…”

“No,” Jammie said shaking her head. “You’re missing seeing the right picture.”

“I don't understand. What am I missing?”

“Look,” Jammie said and walked a few meters away, and placed the vase down on the floor. “Look at your comm. What does it say?”

Timothy was not sure why that was even asked of him. His comm pointed the green arrow leading him straight to stand next to the vase.

“It works,” he said and shrugged his shoulders.

“Yes. Because inside that vase, you will find a small tracking bug, probably not bigger than the nail on my little finger.”

Timothy put his hand inside the vase, scooped the very button of it, and did not take it out till he held a little black bugging device in his fingers.

"Yes, that's what my scanners picked up," Jammie said satisfied.

“So, we got what was asked of us,” Timothy said happily.

“Yes. But…” Jammie was growing frustrating, trying to tell him when Sornia stepped up and said, “So, it’s the box then.”

“Yes,” Jammie said and smiled, happy that she did not need to spell it all out for them

“All these weird elements and their combinations,” Jammie said, portraying the screen of her scanning analysis. “Is part of the box. Not the vase.”

"What are those?" Slicky asked, pointing his fingers at a bunch of UNKNOWN signs on the screen.

"If my analyzers cannot tell me, how can I know?"

"So, then what do we do?" Timothy wanted to know.

Jammie took a few deep breaths. “I do not know what this is made off, but... I’ve seen tech like that before. Things that can change their compositing and morph into others. It’s rare, but I’ve seen it before,” Jammie said, not ready to explain it any further.

Then she thought about it and decided to correct herself. “Seen something like it, but not exactly like it.”

She looked at the box more, its composition, her instruments, and finally had to admit. “This is like, a way more complex than what I have actually seen and worked with before. It’s way over my head. I do not have the proper instruments to be able to manipulate this thing. Have not even a clue at what kind of instruments would allow me to do so... I probably would need years of studying this thing just to be able to know what it is.”

Timothy sighed, took it in his hand. "So, then, what do we do now?" he asked and flipped the box's opened top down, closing the box. As soon as he did that, it sparked and he instinctively threw it out of his hands. When it hit the floor, it started to fizzle.

“Oh, great,” Marv said, “Now you broke it.”

Suddenly the fizzling stopped, and it started to spin around, first slow then faster and faster, till you could not even make out its shape.

“I think we better move,” Timothy said, pushing everyone back, expecting something horrifically bad to happen.

Slickly was ready to run for the door. “You think it will blow?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Jammie answered, shrugging her shoulders. “I wish I knew.”

She moved together with them, slowly toward the door when the box stopped spinning in the air and dropped down with the clank on the floor

The box was not the shape of the box anymore. It changed shape. Timothy could see it even before he approached it to pick it up.

When he did, it did not even cover the palm of his hand.

He turned it around to examine it closely and showed it to others. It looked rounded and smooth, almost like a cup holder.

“And how the fuck do you activate this now?” he said, holding it in the air with his fingers.

A moment later, the whole ship went dark. Only for a second. Because the next one, the blues screen popped up.

It said,

 

Activation Successful

Welcome back, Timothy the Seventh of Fareline Family.

You have nine free connections still remaining.

 

Timothy giggled as he touched the screen, still not getting used to how it felt to the touch.

“You seem so alive. I almost wish you would talk.”

'Your command for audio has been confirmed,' suddenly said a warm, female voice.

“Holly, shit.”

'Would you like to see your stats now?' asked the female voice.

“What’s new?”

'Your WISDOM has been raised two levels up,’ the voice said as the cartoonish image of an old man with a long white beard suddenly materialized. Your new ranking is Nine. Glad to inform you that after the next ranking, you would be able to select another occupation.'

"And what is my occupation now?"

'Now you are a Soldier-of-War, Rank Five’

'Would you like to see the jobs currently available for your ranking?'

Timothy did not quite know how to answer that.

The blue displaying cloud seemed to have picked up on Timothy's indecision and offered something else, saying, 'Or would you like to purchase some new equipment?'

"New equpment? Like spaceship? I certainly could use one of those," Timothy said, half as a joke.

But instantly, the images of different vessels suddenly started to flow in the blue monitor, moving along. They all looked somewhat strange, their designs, coloring, armaments.

"Wait!" Marv suddenly shrieked at the image of the ship being displayed. “Doesn’t that look like the flyers the Shadow Men used?”

"What Shadow Men?" Jammie wanted to know, but for the first time that day, they all ignored her.

“Yeah,” Sornia answered. “It actually does. The same coloring too.”

“Shit,” Marv said.

“That much for this just being a game.”

 

“A game that had me almost killed,” Timothy said.

"Shit," Slicky said from the back, extending his hand toward the blue screen. "I want one of them ships."

Timothy sighed. "Well, if we can purchase this... tell me, that ship, multi-decker, model R205," Timothy said as he tapped on the nice looking vessel in the blue screen and read its numbers. "How much does it cost?"

'The Base model is 500,000 credits.'

"Reasonable," Timothy said.

"Very reasonable," Marv confirmed, with sudden optimism in his voice.


'You would need to add defensive and offensive weaponry. You could also upgrade the engines, and design your living quarters. Would you like to see the options now?'

Timothy was ready to scream, "Heck yeah," when he was interrupted by the woman's voice.
'Warning! Warning!' she said in an alarmed voice.

"What is it?" Timothy wanted to know.

'Your energy source is rapidly depleting. We will be forced to shut down in three seconds…”

The screen went dark, shutting all the lights in the space around them.

They waited in darkness and silence for something to happen, but nothing did. Not till a long moment later when Lion’s voice came from the other ship over the open speakers, followed shortly by the blinking light. “Hey, guys. Are you okay? I think we have lost power on both ships for a moment there,” he said innocently.

His voice was followed by Rummy's, coming from the Engineering. "Guys, I promise. It was not me. I did not touch a thing."

Nobody dared to say anything in the room till Timothy started to breathe deeply and then announce to those around him, full of determination. “Fuck the old man. We’re fucken' keeping it.”

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Spacerin

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