Deadly Landing

by ARoberts1975
in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Chapter 1
The investigators had heard enough from the reports and second-hand stories. It was time to hear it from the only survivor of the incident. It was time to make a house call on a retired captain and get his side.
After all this

time, some hotshot admiral decided he wanted a full investigation on the Altair incident, feeling that Captain Al'Fraize may have been at fault. Whether it was through malicious intent or negligence, some were beginning to suspect. This admiral found it

to be highly suspicious that the captain was the only survivor of the away team; that he was the one who supposedly executed the plan, and that somehow he was spared.
Therefore, three investigators were sent to speak with the captain. Though

they were about thirty-five years younger, they had grown to respect and even admire the captain.
Throughout his career the captain had, on countless occasions, either prevented an outpost from being attacked, or

helped defend one. His efforts on Loran had not gone unnoticed. Although he had inadvertently caused an incident, he did a very good clean-up job, uniting the planet. A couple of months later, Loran joined the Alliance, and the knowledge the

coshens gave, was priceless. The coshens were an ancient race on Loran, and the captain directly introduced them to the lorans. Because of the results, no charges were made against the captain, and they were considered to be

"very good".
The captain had led the ship that open a completely new region of space to the Alliance, and had collected information that would take decades to get through. His efforts and success were legendary. He had now been retired

almost six years now, and was enjoying it.
The investigators weren't too happy about what had been ordered to do, and felt, without a doubt that the captain had done nothing wrong.
The three consisted of a commander and two lieutenants. The

commander was a man of six feet and one inch, had shore black hair, and a medium build. One of the lieutenants was a man of five feet and eleven inches with short, blond hair, brown eyes, and of medium build. The other lieutenant was a man of five feet

and nine inches, short jet-black hair, and brown eyes.
The three officers arrived at the retired captain's residence, and pressed the chime.
About a minute later, the captain opened the door.

Al'Fraize?" asked the commander.
"Yes?" asked the captain. "What's going on?" he asked, seeing the other two officers and the recorders in their hands.
"My name is Commander William Jacobs," said the commander, "This

is Lieutenant Carlos White," he said, referring to the officer on his right, "and this is Lieutenant Michael Harris," he said referring to the officer on his left, "We're here because Admiral Kens has ordered a full investigation

regarding an incident that took place twenty years ago on Altair Six, claiming four lives. Records show that you were in command of the away team and the vessel orbiting the planet at the time."
"Altair Six?" asked the retired captain, not expecting

something like that to suddenly come up in that way, "I was cleared of the incident almost right after. My report is on record, I'm sure the admiral can look it up."
"The records have been checked," said the commander, "Unfortunately,

they're sketchy at best, at least the ones that aren't sealed. The problem is the families are now asking questions, and since you were the only survivor, and had all the equipment, we have been sent to get your story."
"What does

Admiral Kens think he's going to get out of this after all this time?" asked the captain, "Tell him to chase real criminals."
"Well," said the commander, hesitantly, "There are those who are suspecting foul play, or at least some

sort of collaboration on your part. All we're asking for is an account of the events from you. I doubt much will come of it anyway. This is more a matter of a formality."
"you have got tobe kidding," said the captain, "I lost four good officers on

what was supposed to be a simple mission, one mind you, that we wouldn't have had to go on if the starbase hadn't screwed up in the first place. Look, some... thing that was very elusive, fast, hard to detect and capable of demolishing a

shuttlecraft in seconds, attacked us down there. I barely managed to survive, and I supposedly had something to do with the attack?"
"Off the record," said the commander, "I agree, but do keep in mind that the Alliance isn't making the accusations,

the families are, and I do have my orders. If you aren't going to cooperate, charges will be pressed because of it."
"I see," said the captain, "I've been retired from the Alliance for five years, this incident took place almost twenty years

ago, and now they're investigating?"
"I understand your feelings, captain," said the commander, "but we do have to do this."
"Is there any way out of this?" asked the captain.
"I'm afraid not, sir," said the senior

"I see," said the captain, "In that case, come in, and sit down."
"Thank you," said the commander.
The three officers entered the captain's small house, and he motioned them to sit on a comfortable couch.

"Would you like anything to drink?" asked the captain, but the three declined.
"Very well," said the captain, as he sat in an opposing lounge chair, "Shall we begin?"
"Certainly," said the commander, "Why don't you start by

stating your name, then giving some background leading up to the incident."
"Alright, here goes..."

Chapter 2
My name is Captain Louis Al'Fraize, retired. The story I'm about to tell you is graphic, and unfortunately true.
It took place about mid-way in my career in the then unexplored Flaxen sector at the date that the records

show. I was in command, at the time, of the late E.A. Valkyries. The ship had an older power core that ran on a compound caller triteeon. The compound consisted of sulfur, lithium, and some other acids and metals capable of producing power,

and a highly radioactive compound, radium.
Anyway, we had been running low on the stuff, and triteeon was hard to come by on the then border. We stopped at an outer starbase, but they claimed they didn't have enough, so we took what we

could. Come to find out later, they actually did have enough and their inventory department had fouled up.
Fortunately, we had the capabilities to make the stuff, we just didn't have any lithium on hand, and neither did the

starbase. That at least was understandable. Lithium is sparsely scattered in the Alliance, and practically non-existent out that far.
We set the sensors to maximum sensitivity and started a search. We finally

detected some in the Altair system, and set course.
When we arrived at the system, we did a more thorough search, and fount Altair six to have a small source. We also found it seemed uninhabited and seemed to be a very nice place to visit.

Upon pinpointing the source, we found we would have to land the shuttle about forty-five minutes from the actual source because of the mountainous region it was in.
We took a class three shuttle down to the surface. It looked similar to a

rounded box with two pylons attached, and had an aerodynamic nose. It had minimum armament and was only equipped with utility lasers. The good thing was it was light and more maneuverable than most small ships.
I took four officers down to the

surface with me to help scan for and collected the lithium. The shuttle landing went well and we collected our gear and headed over the rough terrain to the nearest source. Our landing party consisted of myself, Lieutenant Mary Martin, Lieutenant

John Harris, Lieutenant Mark Carol, and Ensign David Wilkins.
About twenty minute later, we heard the ear-piercing scream of Lieutenant Martin. The rest of us turned around, and all that we saw was a pool of blood, her blood soaked

clothes, and her equipment.
We stood there for a few moments, unable to believe what had just happened. It was as if some force had stripped her flesh and bones, and left only her blood any inorganic things she had. It was horrifying.

The rest of us scanned the bloody remains of Lieutenant Martin. We found some sort of energy signature there. At first, we thought she had been hit by some sort of weapon, but it was too clean. There was no cellular burning, and her and her

cloths, although blood soaked, were clean and intact. Everything seemed just as she was wearing it; right down to her hair barrettes.
We checked her equipment, and found absolutely no damage, so we collected it and,

since nothing else could be done, we headed toward the lithium source. This was serious, but I felt our fuel shortage was even more serious.
About ten minutes later, we heard an explosion from the shuttle. We looked back and all we

saw was smoldering debris. Something had completely destroyed the shuttle. I tried to contact the Valkyries, but the transmission was being blocked. We scanned towards what was left of the shuttle, and got a stronger energy

signal from the debris.
I decided to scan for that exact signal and nearly frequencies. My scanner picked the thing up. The now three of us decided to take cover in the mountains.
About another ten minutes later,

before we could get cover, Ensign Wilkins yelled in pain. By the time the rest of us turn around, it was too late. Just like Lieutenant Martin, all that was left was blood, uniform, and equipment.
We scanned his remains and found the same energy

signature as before. Since his equipment was intact, we quickly collected it and doubled our pace for the mountains. We figured once we were there, we could mount some sort of defense. If we could make it there alive.
The remaining three of us

continued on while scanning for the thing that was killing us. We figured the lithium would have to wait until after we dealt with the creature.
A little while later, as we got to the mountain, Lieutenant Harris's scanner's alarm sounded.

Lieutenant Carol and I immediately turned as Lieutenant Harris fired his laser-pistol at a white, formless energy mass of some sort. The mass had already enveloped him, and the blast from Lieutenant Harris's laser had gone right

through, as if it weren't there. Almost immediately, Lieutenant Harris screamed. It happened all too fast. A white blur, Lieutenant Harris's scream and laser blast, then nothing but a pool of blood, equipment, and Lieutenant

Harris's uniform. It was as if we just found him like that.
Lieutenant Carol and I took cover in a nearby cave. At that junction, Lieutenant Carol came up with what I remember was a brilliant plan. Since we knew that thing's energy signature, we could

use the scanners to produce an opposite signature on the same frequency. In theory, using all five scanners, it should destroy the thing. The trick would be synchronizing the five scanners before it struck again.
It was the only

chance we had, so we started to modify the scanners. We set them up, but didn't get to finish synchronizing them before I heard Lieutenant Carol scream in pain. I knew what had happened, and that I was next.
I hurried to finish synchronizing the

scanners, and then activated the field. About thirty seconds later, there was an explosion, and I was thrown against the cave wall. The next thing I remember is waking up in the infirmary aboard the Valkyries.
We did a full investigation and

found that not only was the thing destroyed, but there didn't seem to be any others. We had a funeral service for the four officers that died, then collected the lithium, processed the fuel, and left.

Chapter 3
"Well," said the captain, "There you have it. That's what happened. I had in no way anything to do with that thing killing my officers."
"Thank you captain," said the commander, "I'm sure this thing will simply pass."
The commander

and two lieutenants stood up, and the captain led them to the door.
"We'll let you know the results of the investigation as soon as possible," said the commander.
"I'd appreciate that," said the captain.
"Goodbye, sir,"

said the commander, then he and the other officers left.
The captain closed the door, a bit disturbed, and then resumed his day.