Here’s the gripping continuation of Mia’s story, which she submitted for last month’s Dream Weaver Challenge:
“Me?” I gasp in surprise. “You mean you don’t believe I am who I say I am?” I can’t believe it. I had done everything the way they had taught us about negotiating. Mason Sile mutters some more. A hacking cough interrupts their discussion. I raise my eyebrows at Lizzy as she meets my eyes, showing my confusion. Once more, the speakers come to life.
“Captain Augustine,” This time the voice is sickly sweet and cunning. “The Council would greatly appreciate it if you came down to meet us in person. You can bring whoever you like. Does tomorrow during the 27th hour work for you?” I am suspicious. This is obviously a trap, or else something similar, but it may be a risk I need to take. I make my decision.
“Mr. Mason Sile, I will meet you at the specified time.” I notice I’ve been holding my breath. I let it out, then look directly at Jake and make a small indication to cut the line. A hubbub begins as soon as the High Council can’t hear us. I have to yell to be heard over all the voices.
“Everyone quiet!” The bridge quiets to whispers. “Will the first officer, communications officer, deck chief, pilot, gunner, and security chief please follow me to the, er, conference room? If there’s a crew member missing next to you, take over their controls momentarily if need be. Right, follow me.” I lead the crew members to the conference room. It’s only meant for three to four people, so its a little squished. There is complete quiet. I survey the room. Ian (a short, strong boy with a quick mind, but not much patience) is gunner. Casey, the security chief, is a pretty blonde who is even younger than me. Jake breaks the silence.“Soo, David. What did you call us here for? ‘Cause we’ve got stations to attend to.”
The words jump out of my mouth before I can think about them, “It’s captain.” I say. “Not David. I mean, um… yeah. Captain’s fine.”
“Whatever you say, cap.” I sigh inwardly. Sometimes you just can’t win with people. “Anyways. As many of you have probably realized, we’ve almost certainly fallen into some sort of trap. I’m not sure what kind of trap or why the Council wants to trick us, but we need a plan. I’m splitting us into two groups. One will stay back and work with the crew and the other will come with me to help negotiations. So, first group. Lizzy and Ian, you’re coming with me.” I look, and they nod confirmation. “Which leaves Rosie, Jean Luc, Jake, and Casey to watch the crew. I really believe I can trust you with this, okay?” Casey nods emphatically, and I can tell she and Rosie are going to do well. I glance at Jake out of the corner of my eye. Can I really trust him? I’ve got to, since Admiral Starblayze and Admiral Rigorious put him on the team. Finally, I speak my mind. “Jake?” He looks up, and in his eyes hold an emotion I can’t quite tell. Anger? Fear? Worry? I shake it off. “As communications officer, I need you to be constantly ready for anything. I have no clue when or how I’m going to get back up here, but I need you to be on the constant alert.”
Jake’s normally laughing face is now serious. “I hear you, captain.” His eyes meet mine for just a second, and then he looks away. I stand up and leave, indicating that they should leave as well. Back in the bridge, I glance at the time on Lizzie’s clock. It’s the 25th hour, so I’ll be getting ready to go down in little more than an hour. I cough and sit in the black captain’s chair. “For those of you who don’t know, Lizzy, Ian, and I are going to go to the Council.” Once more, talking erupts in the bridge, some of complaints, others of surprise. I wait for the noise to cease. I need every one of you to be on alert and waiting and ready. Best of luck.”
Time ticks slowly by, and finally, it is half way through the 26th hour. I walk to Jean Luc, and tell him to approach the planet and dock. We complete the landing, and I start to head out with Lizzie and Ian. We open the airlock and I step out into a flat concrete slab. Tall marble pillars stretch in front of it. On top of those, a marble ceiling of great dimension. Magnificent murals spread across the ceiling. Awed, we slowly walk forward toward the heavy-looking wooden door at the end of the pillars. A man with brown puffy hair in a crisp white and blue suit meets us.
“Ah, the Infinity Knights? The High Council is waiting for you in the main conference room. You can’t miss it.” We cast a quick look at each other before walking towards the doors again. They swing open of their own accord. Nervous, I glance around me, but head in anyway. At the end, is another large door with the words conference room in heavy letters.
“This has got to be it!” Lizzy undertones. Ian nods. I take a deep breath. The three of us push open the doors. Neat, pressed, tan chairs line a plain wood conference table, but no one is sitting at them. In fact, there’s no one here at all. Not a sound is uttered.
“Um, hello?” Ian calls into the silence. “Is anyone here?” There’s no response. “So, what now, captain?”
“Er, Lizzy, look for the controls which Mr. Sile used to contact us,” She beckons me over and selects I.K.S. Titan from the screen. Then, she leans back and lets me come forward.
“Hello? I.K.S. Titan?” Static is the only response. The full danger of the situation enfolds me like a heavy winter jacket in the middle of summer. As captain. I need to show them I can do this. I need to come out strong and ready. But how? I shake my head. “Something is happening the way it shouldn’t. Everyone, be on your guard and follow me!”
To be continued…