This story contains sex between minor boys and teen-agers. If such things
offend you, or you are not at least 18 years of age, then please don't read
on. This story is not true, but who knows, maybe some day it will be.


CHAPTER 48

The Ancients

by Douglas DD

"You mean the all the people on Hakaan were wiped out?" Douglas asked.

"I don't know," Mike answered. "All I know is I don't hear anybody talking
anywhere on the radio. It's silent."

"Scooter, can your telescopes and viewers see anything on the planet? Like
cities or anything?" Douglas asked.

"It's cloudy in a lot of places, but there are cities down there. I can't
tell if anybody is in them. I can see what looks like farm land though."

"You mean like prairie?" Mike asked.

"No. I mean farmland. Like somebody has been taking care of it. At least
through my telescope it doesn't look wild. It has patterns to it."

"Let's see what happens when we go around the dark side of the planet,"
Douglas said. "Maybe we will see if the cities are lit up."

After about an hour they were on the dark side. Scooter and Jim were both
looking through telescopes trying to see something, especially lights.

"I don't see cities all lit up like I think you would on Earth, but I think
I can see some kind of lights burning. I just don't see a lot. I don't know
what it all means," Scooter said.

"What I think it means is there just might be somebody alive down there. It
looks like some people might have survived the plague," Alex
said. "Whatever, we need to go down and check it out. We're going to have
to go down anyway."

"But the `Survivor' only has enough fuel to go land on the planet.
There is not enough for it to leave the planet," Mike pointed out.

"True," Jeremy said. "But don't forget there are three other shuttles
here. They all have a half load of fuel for landing. We can fill the tanks
of the `Survivor' and have enough fuel to come back."

"Super idea," Ryan said.

"How would we get the fuel transferred?" Alex asked.

"I don't know," Jeremy said. He knew it would mean taking a space walk, and
he hated space walks and was hoping somebody would figure out a better
idea.

"It's too risky," Mike said. "We have no idea how to do it, and we'd have
to do it out in space and none of us are trained for that. We all know how
lucky we've been doing space walks."

"But if we don't, how will we get back?" Travis asked.

"Hope that we find the fuel supplies Quan told us about. He said each
airport has them," Mike said.

"I think you mean to say that each airport HAD them," Travis shot
back. "And besides we don't even know if there are airports left to land at
down there."

"If the Hakaan don't even have electricity," Ryan said, "they sure won't be
able to help anybody on Inferno."

"Well, no matter what, everything we need is going to be down there,"
Douglas said. "Fuel, some better star maps, things to help Inferno, food,
and maybe a way home. None of that is here. The shuttle has to go down no
matter what the risk is.

"So, are we going to vote on it now?" Jeremy asked.

"There is not going to be a vote. This is going to be my decision."

"And who made you God?" Jeremy asked. "I thought we left...."

Douglas glared at Jeremy. "Jeremy there are things we can vote
on. Important things. But when it comes to running this mission, you picked
me to make those decisions. And I am going to make them, right or wrong. If
you don't like that, Jeremy, you're welcome to call for an election so we
can pick another leader."

Jeremy flinched. "I didn't mean it that way, Douglas. I just meant that we
all should have a voice. Not just you and your buddies."

"Speaking of buddies," Douglas said, ignoring Jeremy, "I'm want to meet
with Alex, Mike, and Scooter." He got up from his chair and walked off the
bridge and into Captain's Ready Room. Alex, Mike, and Scooter followed
him. Jeremy stood there with his mouth open.

Brett came up to him. "That wasn't right, Jeremy."

"Yes, it was Brett. I don't want us to just be told what to do like RC
did."

"Douglas isn't RC and you know it."

"You're right Brett, but it doesn't mean I'm just going to take his making
decisions for us and us not having a say."

Brett wanted to say more, but he didn't want to upset Jeremy. He loved him,
but he was always afraid of losing him, even though he was sure that would
never happen.

In the Ready Room Douglas faced his three friends and advisors.

"What was with Jeremy?" Mike asked. "I was ready to kick his ass!"

"He's scared," Douglas said. "Just like all the rest of us."

"Even you?" Mike asked.

"Especially me," Douglas said.

Mike gave Douglas a quick squeeze.

"I couldn't let an argument get started. I know how you guys stand. I think
the rest are the same way, but no way can we have a vote on decisions to
run the mission. Now, that said, we're going down to the surface. We all
know we have to. I am going to give a little bit of a vote, though, by
asking for volunteers. Nobody is going to be forced to go down."

Scooter, Alex, and Mike immediately volunteered. Douglas knew they would,
and he knew without them they might as well sit on the ship and die.

"I know Stevie will volunteer too," Alex said.

"Stevie's not going," Douglas said.

"What do you mean he's not going?" Alex sputtered. "Of course he's going!
He's my brother and more important, he's my copilot! I need him." Alex was
working hard to control his temper.

Douglas could see fire burning in Alex's eyes. He looked calmly back at his
friend. "Who is the next best copilot?" Douglas asked.

"Don't try to give me your double talk, Douglas!" Alex yelled. He started
pacing around the room. "You better have a good reason for not letting
Stevie go, or I'm not going!" Alex glared at Douglas, thinking like Jeremy
that maybe the power of being leader was going to Douglas's head.

The boys on the bridge could hear Alex yelling. They could tell he was
yelling at Douglas, but they couldn't tell why. Jeremy got a little
self-satisfied smile on his face. So, I'm not the only thorn in Douglas's
side, he thought.

In the Ready Room, Douglas stayed calm as Alex stormed on about his not
being appreciated, and his brother not being appreciated. Mike looked at
them both, wondering if something more than yelling might start, like maybe
fists starting to fly. In his own personal life, Douglas could lose his
temper just as well as Alex, maybe even better. But he usually could dig
deep and stay calm when he had to. It was part of what made him a good
leader.

Douglas watched Alex pacing and breathing hard. Finally he said, "Alex,
think about it. If something happens to the `Survivor' we might need one of
the ship's shuttles to rescue us. I don't want to make it so we all stay
separated forever. Stevie is the best pilot we have after you. I need him
here in case we need him to pilot another shuttle. I can't have you both
going down."

Alex took a couple of gulps and caught his breath. "Sorry, Doug. You're
right. I'm sorry I flew off the handle. That wasn't right. And right after
you had to listen to Jeremy. You need us all together right now. Whatever
you say is fine with me."

"No, that's not what I want Alex. I don't want you guys being yes men. I
asked you back here for a reason. I need to know what you think. I can make
the final decisions. I HAVE to make the final decisions. But I can't do it
alone. I can't come up with all the ideas or see everything. I need you
guys. You have to tell me what you think. But we can't argue. In the end I
have to make the final decision."

"I know. I'm sorry, Douglas." Douglas walked up to him and the two boys
hugged each other. Then Douglas gave Mike a hug, followed by a big hug for
his love, Scooter.

"Okay, that is out of the way. Now, who is going to be your copilot, Alex?"

"Well, you know that during the trip I had guys using the shuttle simulator
program. It's a little different from the `Survivor' but close
enough. Travis did the best. He could fly by himself I think. Then Stevie
could...."

"Alex. Stevie has actually been in a cockpit during flight. Travis hasn't,"
Douglas said.

"I know. I got to wishing again. But Travis was the best."

"I want you to have the best. Then Travis is it is. If he volunteers. And
I think he will."

They talked over a couple of other things then went back out to the
bridge. Douglas took Travis aside and talked to him. Travis smiled and
nodded yes. Then Douglas talked to Stevie. Stevie looked a little unhappy,
but Douglas said a few more things and then he nodded yes and smiled.

After having his private chats, Douglas talked to the group. He told them
the "Survivor" was going down to the surface in the morning. It would have
five crew members. All volunteers. All hands went up, including Jeremy's
and Stevie's.

"Hang on," Douglas said. "I already have the following. Alex will be the
pilot. Travis the copilot."

The boys were surprised it wasn't Stevie. Douglas explained why he picked
Travis and they understood. He said that Scooter would be going because he
was needed to translate. He would go to lead the mission. Mike would go to
be an enforcer if they needed it. He said he needed one more volunteer to
be extra help. Again, all the hands went up. Douglas pretty much expected
this and had made up his mind who he wanted. He took Jeremy because even
though they never really got along Jeremy was good to have around in tough
situations. He didn't back down to anything. Jeremy was surprised he was
picked, but it made him happy.

Jim was put in charge on the ship. Staying behind with him were Stevie,
Ryan, Brett, and the twins.

Oh great, Brett thought, the little weak ones are left to baby-sit the
ship. He wished he was bigger and stronger.

They agreed that they would leave in the morning. Scooter, Jim, and Alex
would check the maps with the instructions they got from Quan about where
the capital city of Haakan was. They needed to find the right place to
enter the atmosphere. They only had enough fuel for one chance.

That night in bed, Scooter and Douglas made sweet love. Kisses and hugs,
rolling on the bed, and finally Douglas entering Scooter, pumping his cum
into him. In each cabin boyfriends made love to boyfriends. The ones who
would be separated hugged extra hard; Ryan and Travis, Jeremy and
Brett. Mike let Alex and Stevie sleep together that night. He made love to
Jim. Even the twins got caught up in it all in their room, finishing their
night with a sweet 69.

Everybody slept hard and deep, nervous, but ready for the new adventure to
start.

When morning came, Mike and the twins got breakfast ready. Then everybody
met in the bridge waiting for Douglas to give final instructions. As
Douglas opened his mouth to talk alarms started going off.

"What's going on?" Douglas asked.

Alex and Stevie looked at the control panel. "Something is ahead of us,"
Stevie said. "And it looks like it's something very very big. In fact, it's
humongous and is right in our path." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dralkan walked along the weed covered runway. In places he could see big
chunks of concrete covered with plants and weeds. The 13 year old boy was
naked in the summer sun, along with Trundall, his 14 year old Meshanna, and
his little brother Shamene, who was 11. He liked coming to the old airport.
It was surrounded by woods and gave them plenty of places to play and to
make up adventures. There hardly was anybody there and they were hardly
ever bothered. They had just finished playing some hide-and-go seek, with
sex play added in.

Dralkan enjoyed playing space explorer around the old airport. From the
time he was little his dad had told him, Trundall, and Shamene about how
the great airport of the Hakaan capital had sent huge supersonic airliners
around the globe connecting them to the other great cities of the
planet. Trundall's dad was his dad's Meshanna and partner. He and Trundall
had grown up like brothers, and were so close they could almost read each
other's minds. In fact sometimes Dralkan swore that they did. He felt
closer to him than he did to little Shamene, who was his real brother. He
loved his little brother in every way, in bed and out, but Trundall was his
soul mate and Meshanna, and would for sure be his partner after they grew
up. They had been Meshannas from the first Joining after they each had had
their first wet cum (Dralkan was proud that he had gotten his before the
older Trundall, when he was 12). That event had been all they had been
waiting for, because the decision to Join had been made from the time they
first understood what a Meshanna was. All they had to do was make it
official.

The stories that excited him most were not of the great airplanes that flew
around the globe, but of the great spaceships that took people to the two
lost colonies and sent explorers out on the adventure of exploring the
galaxy. The passenger space shuttles landed here at the airport of Kana,
the Hakaan capital city, but there was another spaceport deeper in the
woods that the cargo shuttles, the shuttles to the exploration ships, and
the shuttles that went to the Merr space station took off from. At night
the huge space station could still be seen as it orbited the planet.

Dralkan had studied in history how one of the exploration ships brought
back the plague and over half the population of Hakaan died before doctors
could find a cure. They not only found a cure, but also found a way to
prevent similar plagues. They were too late, however, because the
Ancients, who were the oldest rulers to survive the plague, had been
elected to rule Hakaan. Long before the cure was found, they promised to
end all space travel so that evil would never again come from space to
their beautiful planet. As the exploration, cargo, and passenger ships
returned from their trips, the ancients had them destroyed. Although
Dralkan's grandfather was one of the Ancients, he didn't like how far they
were going. He wanted space exploration stopped, but didn't want to cut off
their two colonies. The plague wasn't coming from the colonies. They had
been settled by Hakaan. They were Hakaan. He felt they should not abandon
their own people. He finally convinced the rest of the Ancients to at
least send a starship manned by volunteers to each planet to tell them why
no more ships were coming from Hakaan, so that they could take measures to
survive. They agreed to do it, as long as the colonies thought that the
ships were unmanned robot ships and the crews never left the ships. The
last two starships left were sent off to the two colonies. They never came
back. By the time the cure and prevention was found, the rule of the
Ancients was solidified. The fear of a new, even worse plague, was always
used to justify their policy.

The Ancients decided during the early stages of the plague that it was
science and technology that had ruined the Hakaan way of life. So many
people had died that a lot of the factories couldn't run. People who knew
how to do things died. Machines quit working and the Ancients made it
against the law to fix them. Then they decided to destroy the
machinery. Airplanes, cars, factories, electrical plants, were all
destroyed. Most of the Hakaan who were left went along with it because they
were frightened. People were dying all around them and science couldn't
save them. Science had brought the horrible disease from somewhere out in
space. By the time doctors found the cure and a way to prevent the disease
it was too late to reverse the toll of the deaths or the policies of the
Ancients. The technology and way of life that the Hakaanen had spent
centuries building up was gone. Even some hospitals and medical facilities
were destroyed. People blamed the doctors for not finding a cure
earlier. When the time came to have a new election the frightened people of
Hakaan reelected the Ancients. That was the last election ever on
Hakaan. By the time the Hakaanen realized what the ancients had done to
them it was too late. The Ancients instituted an oligarchy, suspending
elections and placing themselves in charge of governing what was left of
Hakaan. They ruled that science and technology must never return to bring
more ruin to their beautiful planet. Except for the Shkah, whose small
number had been all but wiped out by the plague, the Hakaanen weren't the
type of people to start an uprising, and it became easy for the Ancients to
rule the planet. Only the Ancients were allowed to have radio, so they
could connect the entire planet. Only the ancients had any kind of
machines. For example, they had two airplanes that were stored at small
government airport in Kana. The Ancients had started out with good
intentions, but now that they had absolute power they had no intention of
ever giving it up.

For the Ancients had become consumed with an illness that was in many ways
as devastating and deadly as the plague had been. It was the same illness
that afflicted Robert Charles Power. Having it. Using it. Loving it. They
allowed only themselves the use of technology, such as airplanes and
radios. They controlled the planet's energy And to maintain control, the
Ancients had allied themselves with the surviving Shkah, whose ruthlessness
and cunning made them ideal for the role as the Ancient's secret police.
Not everybody sat still letting things happen, however. Even though
Dralkan's grandfather was an Ancient, he disagreed with them and their
quest for power. He started a secret resistance movement. One of the
things he did was make sure the spaceport out in the woods wasn't
destroyed. It became camouflaged to look like was being overgrown with
weeds. He held out a dream to his followers that someday a ship would come
back from one of the lost colonies to help bring Hakaan back to where it
was. He said the lost colonies would keep Hakaan science and technology
alive. His followers would take their vacations at their "vacation homes"
in the woods which were right by the space port. They kept the runway
intact and serviceable, but they put a covering over it that made it appear
crumbling and covered with weeds. They even added little trees after a
while.

They had a space radio, procured by Dralkan's grandfather, so they could
listen for the return of one of the messenger ships, and later to listen
for a ship coming from one of the lost colonies when it looked like the
messenger ships would never return. At first, somebody was always at the
airport, but as the years went by they kept worked on the runway and
equipment whenever a member of the group took a "vacation" at the old cargo
port.

Trundall's grandfather was an inventor. He worked kept their radio
operating, and used spare electrical parts to make mini-radios for the
resistance.. Dralkan had a small radio in his pack which he could use any
time to contact his dad's radio. It was constructed so the Ancients could
never pick up its signal on their radio. But his major invention wasn't
the mini-radios, it was something far more far reaching. It was the first
warp space radio, which he almost had completed before the plague hit. When
the Ancients started destroying machines and technology, Dralkan's
grandfather warned Trundall's to hide is invention and to tell the Ancients
he was never able to make it work, so he destroyed it. Their two
grandfathers knew each other because their sons were best friends and were
soon to become Meshannas.

The boys all liked visiting their summer home. They'd been going there
since they were babies. They played naked out in the woods and played with
each other. Shamene got his first blow job there when he was six. Trundall
gave it to him. His brother Shamene let him up his own butt when he was
eight, and fucked him when he was nine. The first time was always in the
woods at their summer home. The summer home brought fond memories to all
three boys. Dralkan's summer home was actually the old terminal. It had
been rebuilt into summer apartments. Everybody who lived there knew what
the project was about and helped with it.

Right now, though, Dralkan was at the old main airport with Trundall and
Shamene. Dralkan was sitting up on a chunk of concrete from the torn up
runway of Kana's airport. Chamira, Hakaan's sun, shone down on his naked
body. He was ready to challenge Dralkan and Shamene to a game of king of
the hill. Shamene was kind of disappointed that Almontzo, his best friend,
couldn't come, but he had broken his arm the week before and still had to
stay home.

"Drally, when can me and Almy become Meshannas?" Shamene asked. He like
using nicknames.

"You know when, brother. When you can both make seed."

"I wish it was tomorrow."

"Well, it won't be, you're both still too young. I was twelve and Trundall
was thirteen before we could do it. I beat him by a month," he said
giggling. Trundall glared at him, then smiled. He looked down at
himself. He was the one to get hair first.

Dralkan looked down the old runway. There were still some fuselages of
supersonic jets and shuttle craft left along the sides of the runway. They
had been stripped of everything.

"Let's play king of the hill," he said, changing the subject.

The other boys agreed and were ready to charge up the concrete slab when
they all heard a deep rumbling boom which seemed to shake the ground, and
then a strange steady noise. They froze and looked around. It seemed to be
coming from above them in the sky. They looked up but saw nothing. Dralkan
looked all around and saw nothing. Then Shamene pointed to the south end
of the runway. The other two boys looked down there. but still couldn't see
anything.

"No, look up," Shamene said.

They both did and saw what Shamene has seen. Up in the sky was a black dot,
which kept getting bigger. Suddenly it looked like it had two bright lights
come on.

"What is it?" Shamene asked.

"I don't know. But I bet it's a space shuttle," Dralkan said. "It has to
be."

"From where? A lost colony?"

"I don't know. But I do know it's trying to land here. And if it does it's
going to crash. There isn't a runway here any more, and they don't know
it. If they try landing on it they will be killed."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Alex could see the city of Kana to
his left and the runway of the airport straight ahead of him. They were
flying over water toward land. He flicked on the landing lights even though
it was obvious nothing else was flying and that the airport was
abandoned. Travis sat next to him checking out the instruments. Scooter was
in the seat behind him trying to raise somebody on the radio.

The cockpit door was open. Douglas was strapped into the first seat in the
cabin, thinking about the morning. After the alarms went off, the ship's
automatic pilot turned it before they could do anything. Then they passed
by a gigantic space station. It was dark and looked abandoned. There were
the hulks of a couple of starships close to it. They stared at the dark
shape going by, lit up on one side by Chamira, the Haakan sun. It was an
awe inspiring sight, but it was a sad one too.

Alex's voice took him out of his day dream. "I don't know if we can land
there, Douglas. It looks overgrown."

"How much fuel do we have left?"

"An hour."

Damn, Douglas thought. The plan was to land at the airport of the
capital. They never thought that they couldn't use it, that it would be all
overgrown. If the main airport on the planet was overgrown, then there
would be no place to land, and they didn't have enough fuel to launch back
into space.

The closer the shuttle came to the airport, the more Alex realized that the
airport might be too overgrown to use. He saw that one of the runways
looked better than the others. It was the middle one and didn't seem to
have trees growing out of it. It was hard to tell how safe it really
was. He aimed for it. If it looked too bad he could always pull up and go
back around. However, if they couldn't find a place to land, then they
would have to ditch the shuttle in the ocean. If they managed to survive a
water landing they would have no way to return to the starship, so they
desperately needed a place to land. Alex started his landing procedures as
the "Survivor" headed for what looked like the best of the three runways.

I got us down in a desert, he thought, I can land this one on a
runway. There was one difference though. The "Survivor" couldn't hover like
the "Moonduster" could. He had to land it like an airplane, and he needed a
long, perfect runway to do that.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Thaller watched the shuttle
approaching the airport. His radio in the capitol building had alerted him
to the mysterious shuttle. He had been trying hard not to be bored. Hardly
anybody dared to use a radio any more. They knew they would be caught and
punished by the Ancient's Shkah policemen; men like him, who had power on
Hakaan for the first time in centuries. Men who no longer had to hide out
in the woods, and who were getting what they deserved. Of course he didn't
know about the secret radios invented by Trundall's grandfather.

When the radio went off he listened carefully and started running checks to
see where the broadcast was coming from. But as soon as he started
listening, he realized he didn't need a check. It wasn't a broadcast that
was trying to hide itself. It was coming from space, from a starship- a
starship from a lost colony. The Ancients told him to ignore it. They had
no place to land, so could not present a danger. If they heard nothing,
they might think Hakaan was dead and not land or come down. Even if they
did attempt to come down to the planet, there would be no place to land and
they would either go back to their colony or crash.

The Ancients met when they heard about the radio contact. The Ancients were
upset that the shuttle was coming in to land. They didn't think it would
succeed, but just it's being there meant that people would see it and
remember the lost colonies. They were angry that after all these years a
colony had sent a ship back. They were worried that the shuttle might bring
more disease, even though the plague was no longer a danger on Hakaan, and
obviously had not affected the incoming colonists. They hoped it would
crash and would be the only one of the two starships to return. The whole
group of seven stood on the balcony of the capitol watching the shuttle
head for the airport. They knew if it tried to land there it would be
destroyed on the deteriorated runway. Brennin, Dralkan's grandfather, had
died a few years ago, so the entire council now thought alike. They all
wished for the destruction of the shuttle. They all watched it, hoping it
would try to land. They had no intention of rescuing anybody after it
crashed. It could sit at the airport and burn itself out.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dralkan pulled his radio out of his
pack. He didn't know if he could reach the shuttle with it, but he knew the
big one at the other space port could, if anybody was there to answer his
call. He pressed the send button and got an answer. It was Corinna, his
mother. She must be there with her Meshanna, and with his little sister,
Morgott. He smiled. He loved all three of them. This made it easier.

"What is it you want, Drally? You know this is only for emergencies. We
need to keep it priv..."

Dralkan interrupted her. "Mother this IS an emergency. A shuttle is coming
down, landing, right now, and we need to tell it not to land."

"What do you mean a shuttle is landing?"

"Mother! There is no time. We both need to call it and tell it not to land
here."

"Where? Where are you? What are you talking about?"

Dralkan looked at the shuttle coming down. He could see the wings now. The
lights were bright and the navigation lights were blinking. It was getting
close. Time was running out. He didn't have near the number of channels on
his radio that the big radio did, but his mom wasn't understanding him. He
let go the send button. He changed to the first channel and radioed the
shuttle. Nothing. Second channel. No answer. Third channel. The shuttle was
closer and louder. He could see that the flaps were down. No answer on the
third channel. Fourth channel. No Answer. The little pocket radio only had
ten channels and time was running out.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Alex could see that the third
runway was covered with weeds. But weeds were okay. It was trees he worried
about, and the third runway didn't have any trees growing out of it. What
he couldn't see was that under the weeds parts of the runway was broken up
and huge chunks of concrete protruded out of it, hidden by the tall
weeds. He lowered the flaps, slowing the big space shuttle way down. He had
landed it before on Inferno, and knew how it behaved. Even without runway
lights and radio help he could see that he was perfectly lined up with the
runway. This was going to be a perfect landing. Everything ahead looked
smooth. He told Travis to lower the landing gear.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dralkan saw the landing gear
go down. Even though he had never seen any kind of aircraft land before, he
knew what was going on. The sight of the big shuttle coming in to land
almost hypnotized him. He switched to the fifth channel. No answer. No way
would he have time for the last five channels. He ran to the center runway,
pulled Shamene up behind him and waved at Trundall to follow him. They all
stood up on the block and started waving, trying to signal the shuttle not
to land, ready to bolt fast if they weren't seen, hoping they could get
away. Dralkan waved and jumped. He wished he had some clothing or something
to wave, but the three of them were naked. All they had were their arms and
hands. But as much as the waved the shuttle didn't alter course. It was
almost to the edge of the runway. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Ancients saw the shuttle at the tree tops. They expected to see it drop
below the trees and then hear the crash and the explosion. If it was this
close to landing it means they couldn't tell how bad the runway was under
the weeds. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Travis looked through the
cockpit at the runway ahead. It looked rough but useable. Of course they
couldn't tell for sure what was under the weeds. Then he blinked and
looked again.

"Alex, look! I swear I see three naked boys ahead."

Alex squinted his eyes some. He saw the three boys too, jumping, waving and
pointing up. They were standing higher than the runway. Which meant they
were on something hidden under the weeds. They were signaling the runway
was unsafe for landing.

"Raise the landing gear!" Alex shouted as he pulled back on the throttle
and started pointed the nose up. Travis raised the landing gear as the
shuttle rockets roared. The runway was coming closer and Alex pulled up
harder.

The three Hakaan boys heard the roar of the engines and saw the flaps
change and the landing gear raise up. The shuttle was coming in low. They
jumped sideways off the slab and ran hard off the edge of the runway. The
shadow of the shuttle covered them and they held their ears to block of the
noise of the howling engines. They could almost feel the metal of the
shuttle as it passed over them. Then they did feel the heat of the rockets
as the shuttle started straining back up into the sky, the tail missing the
concrete slab by only a couple of feet.


The Ancients saw the shuttle disappear under the tree line and could only
see its tail. Then they heard the roar of the engines, and saw the tail
drop and the nose come rising up. The landing was being aborted. Somebody
had seen something at the last second. The Ancients were upset that the
shuttle hadn't crashed and burned, but they knew the shuttle had no place
to land. It was only a matter of time before it had to come down.

Alex raised the nose up hard, hoping he had room and wouldn't scrape the
tail on the ground. They started gaining altitude and he finally let out
his breath. They were back flying again.

Dralkan watched the smoke pour out of the rocket engines as the shuttle
roared back into the sky. He still had the radio in his hand. He had more
time now, but he needed to get the shuttle before it got out of
range. Otherwise it would be up to his mother on the big radio to contact
them, if he could get her to understand.

He flicked to channel six. No answer. Then he went to channel seven.

Scooter was gripping on to his seat tightly after the close call. His heart
was still racing. Suddenly his headphones squawked. "Calling
shuttle. Calling shuttle."

Scooter hit the send button. "Shuttle here! Come in!" Scooter could tell he
was listening to the voice of a boy.

Alex and Travis both turned around at the sound of Scooter's excited voice.

Dralkan almost screamed when he heard the radio voice, but even on the
little radio he could tell it was the voice of a boy, not of a man. Why was
that?

"This is Dralkan. I'm one of the boys on the ground. The runway is all torn
up. You can't land here."

"Thanks for waving us off," Scooter said. "That was a brave thing to
do. I'm Scooter. But if the runway is torn up where can we land?"

"I have a place for you. You will need to fly northwest to get there."

"We only have an hour's fuel left," Scooter said. "It has to be close to
here."

"What's going on?" Alex asked. He and Travis couldn't understand the
Hakaan language.

Scooter started passing on what Dralkan was telling him. He told them to
fly to the northwest and look for a long clearing in the woods. He said
Dralkan would be right back with instructions.

Dralkan switched channels on his radio and got hold of his mother.

"Mother, listen now. They didn't land but we need to do Emergency Plan A."

"Why, Drally? I don't understand what's going on."

"Mother, in about two minutes look out or your window. Then you will know."
Dralkan loved his mother, but she could be very dense sometimes.

His mother went to the window and looked out. Suddenly she saw a shape
coming over the trees. She put her hand to her mouth. "Oh my God!" she
whispered.

Her Meshanna ran up and looked out as the shuttle flew past the
runway. Dralkan's mother ran back to the radio. "It's a space shuttle! Why
didn't you tell me?"

Dralkan sighed. "I tried mother."

"Is it ours?"

"It must be. They speak Hakaan, but with a weird accent. They have an hour
of fuel left. You need to land it. Plan A."

They all had practiced the emergency plans before. Dralkan's mother agreed
that Plan A was the best one. It was one that two people could handle. Even
the boys could if they had been there. Dralkan told his mother to turn to
channel seven so they all could talk together.

"I'm back," Dralkan said. "Did you see the clearing?"

"Yes. We flew over it. What about it?"

"That's where you're landing."

Scooter told Alex what Dralkan just said. "He's nuts!" Alex said. "That
runway is worse than the one he told us not to land on. It has fucking
trees growing on it! How do we know we can trust him? How do we know that
waving us off wasn't a trick?"

"I sense it," Scooter said. "There are weird things going on here. He has
no reason to lie to us. He risked his life to save us down there."

"I'm not landing on that field," Alex said.

"You might not have any choice," Travis answered.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The "Survivor" started circling the field waiting for instructions. The
Ancients looked at it off in the distance through a telescope, wondering
what was going on.

"He's planning to land at the old space port. The cargo port," one of them
said.

"Excellent," another one said. "Nothing can land there. It's in worse shape
than the main space port. It's trees and rocks."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dralkan's mother came on the radio. She instructed the shuttle to make a
wide turn and then face west and approach the runway. Her partner then
pushed the touch screen on a computer, and motors started up, run by the
solar generators hidden along the field. The motors started moving the
camouflage covering off the runway. As Alex banked the shuttle on a turn
and saw the cover being moved back.

"Look!" he yelled pointing down. "A clear runway is opening up! This is
amazing!"

"I told you something weird was going on here," Scooter said. "But the
question is, what? What is this all about?"

The shuttle went over the runway one last time. It was clear and ready for
a landing. Then Travis looked at the end of the runway and pointed out the
window. "I didn't notice that before. It looks like somebody didn't make
it." The three boys in the cockpit looked out the window at the fuselage at
the east end of the runway. It still had the wings and tail attached, but
it looked like a hulk that had overshot the runway. "I hope our brakes
work better," Scooter said.

"I made a better landing with the `Moonduster'," Alex said.

Douglas could swear he hadn't seen the hulk on the first passes, but now it
had been uncovered just like the runway had.

Alex had the "Survivor" facing west and lined up with the runway. The
runway was clear and lit up. This is just like Inferno, he thought. An easy
landing on a clear runway.

The flaps were down, there was no wind, the sun was behind them. Everything
was perfect. Scooter was right, they could trust whoever was talking to
them on the radio. The three naked boys on the ground saved them and now
the mother of one of them was guiding them into a perfect runway out in the
woods, in the middle of nowhere.

Travis lowered the landing gear. The runway approached fast. The shuttle
went over the end of the runway. Alex felt the wheels hit the ground
followed by the nose wheel. He jammed on the brakes and hit the retro
rocket reverse thrusters. It was a perfect landing. At the same time
Dralkan's mother pushed an icon on the touch screen. As the "Survivor"
roared to a stop Alex suddenly saw a blinding flash in front of him.

The two ladies in the old control tower above the terminal saw the bright
flash and then saw a huge fireball roll up into the sky. The sound of the
explosion was deafening.

Far off, standing on the highest spot he could find Dralkan could see the
fireball rise up in the distance over the forest. He smiled. Emergency
Plan A had worked.

Many of the citizens of Kana had seen the shuttle and were looking in the
direction it had flown. They saw the fireball too, and soon heard the
distant roar of the explosion.

The Ancients saw the fireball too. Like Dralkan they smiled, but for a
different reason. They turned around and walked into the capitol building,
satisfied the emergency was over.

At the spaceport the flames continued to shoot high into the sky. The easy
perfect landing of the "Survivor" appeared to have come to a surprise end.

Next: Chapter 49 Round Ears



Constructive comments are welcomed. E-mail me, Douglas DD, at
TheHakaanen@Hotmail.com

 

 

 

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