Nice to be getting back into the editing phase once again for SHADOW OF TUNGUSKA. I promise that this story ending for Hill of Great Darkness is going to leave you speechless! But, in case you haven’t read the first installment of the adventure of a thousand lifetimes, here’s another brief installment from the unedited files. Enjoy!
CHAPTER 9: CONTACT
Commander Moore had just finished his video message to Mission Control and was headed over to Simone’s station to gather any more current scientific data that she may have uncovered. He could easily tell that she was deeply engrossed in her endless lists of readouts and computations, so he walked slowly watching for an opening to present itself and before he had the chance to say a word Simone sat straight up and proclaimed, “Dr. Armone, you have to see this.”
Dr. Armone was standing, hands clasped behind his back, gazing out at the gas giant before him. He turned and as he proceeded over to Simone he stopped at the navigation console and, leaning over Deborah Deans’ shoulder, spoke almost in a whisper. “One point two million miles away and look how big she is!” He heard a ripping sound from Simone’s station and looked over to see her standing up and, making eye contact with her, she gave him the old ‘follow me’ body language that only close friends can sense of each other. She began to make her way toward the door and, turning her head to confirm that her colleague had responded, she stepped out into the corridor.
Simone was waiting for him when he came through the doorway and looked both directions before she began to speak. There was a sense of urgency as well as excitement in her voice as she spoke. “What do you think doctor?” She asked.
“Uh-oh, every time you ask me that question you have something up your sleeve.”
“Doctor,” she almost seemed as if she was about to explode with excitement now. “You DO realize that we have shattered the illusion of light speed travel, don’t you?”
The doctor was eyeing up his friend as he answered, “Yes I do, we were hoping to break it just getting halfway to Mars, but not by breaking it a thousand times over.” He paused for the briefest of seconds then continued, “But that’s not what you’re being so secretive about, is it? Really Simone, everyone on board has already figured that one out.”
“No, you’re right. There is something else. I’ve been going over the grav data and, well, I want you to look at this.” She was handing him a hard copy of what she had been so diligently working on since their arrival some forty-five minutes ago. It was a comparison chart. On one side was the digital printout of the Earth’s gravitational wave that they had supposedly tapped into, and on the other side was the G-wave that was actually locked onto.
“Whoa, this can’t be right Simone.”
“I know Jon, but I have checked and rechecked the data, the systems, and the IGS memory.” Simone looked deeper into her friends’ eyes as she spoke again, “We didn’t lock onto the Earth’s G-wave at all. Something else locked onto us.”
Simone paused letting the weight of that statement settle upon him, then continued, “The G-wave that carried us here was at least one thousand to the twenty-third power times more powerful than the Earth’s entire gravitational field. Jon, that’s a billion times more powerful than the sun!”
“It’s a good thing we only had a five second burn programmed or it’s hard telling where we would have ended up.” The doctor was thinking out loud now, his eyes squinting as he did some abstract equations in his mind.
“There’s something else Jon. The G-wave that propelled us here was not a wide-band wave. It was more like a beam, a, oh—“ She was obviously searching for an analogy or example to use, then it came to her. “It was like a laser beam of amplified g’s, if you will.”
Jon Armone was as white as a sheet now. Facts and data do not lie. “What in the world could we have stumbled upon? It almost seems like, no, that would be too ridiculous to even think.”
“A black hole?” Simone was standing fully erect now; staring down at the six-foot tall doctor with an intensity that was almost overbearing as she continued. “Right now, that is the only thing that fits. I guess the real question is; where was it? All the gear and the drive system were focused on Earth’s own gravitational wave emanations. The only place it could have been was-“ Her voice now trailed off as her human reasoning began to catch up with her faster than light train of thought.
“On Earth?” Jon Armone was helping her now.
“On or in the Earth.” She responded.