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Cronos. Part Three.

A young woman finds space helmet that leads her on to adventure and love.

Cronos. Part Three.

Audrey, in spite of the couple of hours sleep she’d had in the ship, was tired when she dragged herself out of her tent to put in a stint at the excavation, and was glad when the lunchtime bell rang. Lunch was hurried and she was soon back in her tent for another couple of hours sleep.

Getting up to see to the afternoon’s finds, cataloguing them and typing up her notes. She excused herself again straight after dinner, and was soon back in bed asleep.

It was a fitful rest, as she had the same dream as on the ship. Her voyeurism in the showers and the little men being attacked by the Brontosaurus. She awoke early, bathed in sweat, not knowing whether it was from the erotic parts of the dream or of the violent deaths of the little men. A glance at her alarm clock showed that she would not get her morning mug of tea for nearly an hour yet, so she pondered over the dream of the two strange creatures.

So lying on her cot, watching the greyness turn into full daylight, she decided that she would put the dream to the test and see if she could find the second helmet of the dream. But, she thought as a warm glow filled her inner belly, I’ll check out the shower of Brendan.

‘Tea senorita doctor,’ came a voice from outside as the boy rapped on the wooden pole before entering the tent with the steaming mug of tea.

‘Gracias,’ she said, using the Spanish for thanks, as he put the mug down and left. She slipped out of bed and donning the helmet, went out and waited for Brendan to emerge from his tent.

He was a fine figure of a man as he emerged. A large towel round his waist and carrying his douche bag, barefooted, walked across the square towards the showers. Audrey danced ahead of him and went behind the screen and waited for him to enter.

She watched as he hung up his bag and then he took off the towel revealing firm buttocks as he went under the shower and turned on the release valve. He shuddered as the cold water hit him and she saw goose pimples come out on his body at the shock of the cold water. He hummed tunelessly as he got soap out of his bag and started to lather himself.

Turn round, she begged as he washed. Let me see if the dream was true, and then he did. Standing there fully naked to her eyes that went straight down to where he was now soaping himself.

‘Oh he is a man to behold,’ she whispered as she looked at the parts that he was washing, and she felt herself go weak at the knees. ‘Just as in the dream. He’s magnificent!’

She felt a violent urge to throw off the helmet and join him in the shower, but just managed to control herself in time, realising also that she was almost naked herself, coming straight out from her own bed. The shock would too great for him if she was suddenly to appear as she was now. Satisfied as to the endowment of the man, she moved out to let him finish off on his own, and went back into her own tent.

With her knees still trembling and her legs unsteady, she sat down on her cot and took off the helmet. Not only was there love in her heart for the man, but a passion that she wanted to share with him. She wanted…., but stifled the thoughts that started to crowd her mind.

Instead, she got up and put on her robe. What she needed now was a very cold shower. She was almost at the showers when he emerged, his hair still wet and odd particles of water glistened off his chest.

‘Good morning Audrey. It’s going to be another wonderful day,’ he said as they passed each other.

‘Good morning Brendan,’ was all she could utter, her legs going like jelly again. She managed to make it to the shower and quickly drenched herself in the cold water to try and cool herself down. After a few minutes she back in control of her body and washed herself before being able to turn off the water and return to her tent.

But she was still trembling, because Brendan looked exactly as he had been, man-wise, in her dreams. Next on the agenda would be to see if she could find the other helmet. She remembered that the other little man being knocked over and the helmet rolling about twelve or fifteen feet away from the Brontosaurus as it fell, killing the poor man.

She was now relating the other unworldly creatures as being little men, though the sex had not been determined. It was possible that the two creatures had been male but it seemed more feasible, to her mind, that this was possibly a male and female on an excursion of some kind.

These thoughts were running through her mind as she dressed, and she was soon up in the mess tent for her breakfast. For some reason, bashfulness probably, she couldn’t meet Brendan’s eyes when he spoke to her. She thrilled to his voice, but all she could see was him in the shower.

Audrey hurried through her breakfast, and was soon back in her tent and ready to hunt for the second helmet. She donned her own, as she now thought of this helmet, and went out onto the site and stood and studied the fallen corpse of the Brontosaurus. According to the dream, the other little creature was swept away by the head of the falling creature as was knocked down and the helmet rolled to, over about there, she thought.

Skirting the head of the dead creature, she started to do a square grid search of the undergrowth. She found it within ten minutes.

‘Yahoo!’ she cried as she bent to pick it up. Touch it she did, but pick it up, no. It was an inanimate object in a time that was not hers. She could see it, touch it, but not physically move it.

Audrey cried out in frustration that the dream was correct, and now that she had found the other helmet, she couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Sitting down and looking at it, she cried at her inability to do anything with it.

Wiping away the tears of frustration, she realised that the only thing she could do was to excavate it as she did the first one. She carefully measured off the distance between the helmet and the dead beast’s head so as to know exactly where to dig. Before going back to her tent, she scouted round the area to see if she could find the body of the creature that had worn the helmet, but without success.

So back in her tent, Audrey took off her helmet and put it away in her locker and went back outside. The others were all busy at their various pegged out squares, digging and brushing away, and didn’t pay her any heed as she collected a spade from the tool collection. She knew she didn’t have to be fussy because she was sure she wouldn’t be able to damage it. She also took along her basket and cloth to wrap it in after she had dug it up.

Standing by the exposed skull of the Brontosaurus, she paced off the distance and stuck the spade in the earth. With the basket put down, she began to dig, piling the earth off to the side.

‘Audrey! What on earth are you doing over there?’ Brendan called out.

‘Digging a hole,’ she replied tersely, pausing to wipe the sweat from her forehead.

‘Why over there? What are you looking for?’ he asked, moving over to where she was digging.

‘When I…if I find what I’m looking for, I’ll show you when I’ve cleaned it up. Now you go back to what you were doing,’ she said, pausing in her work, and waited till he had moved off back before resuming her dig. It was only a few more spadefuls of earth before she knew that she had hit it.

Clearing a bit more from around it, and she was then able to pull it free from the ground with a grin of triumph. She emptied the dirt from inside and put it in her basket and covered it up and went back to her tent, leaving the spade outside.

With her probe and brush, she cleaned the second helmet and was pleased with the finished result. But first she had to test it to see if it was the same as the other one in her locker. With the helmet firmly on head, it felt the same, but did it have the same properties. She flipped the visor down and the tent disappeared and she was back in the small clearing. Satisfied with that part, she pushed the visor back up and being back inside the tent, decided to try the invisible part.

Outside the tent, she saw where Brendan was working and marched over and touched him on the shoulder. Her hand disappeared inside his body and that was enough to satisfy her.

So back she went to her tent and took off the helmet and placed it on the table. She then took a key from her locker and went up to the mess tent and opened up the drinks cabinet and took out a bottle of brandy, and picking up two glasses, went back and placed them on the table too.

‘Now to amaze Brendan,’ Audrey said to herself, and went out and over to where he was working.

‘Okay Brendan. I found what I was looking for and now I want to show it to you.’ He straightened up and wiped the sweat off his face with the bandana he wore. He said a few words to Martinez before turning back to Audrey.

‘Lead on Macduff,’ he said with a smile, and followed her, liking to walk behind her to watch her pert backside inside the tight shorts move from side to side as she walked.

They went inside her tent and he eyed the things on the table.

‘Bit early for drinking I’d say,’ Brendan said.

‘You’re going to need one after you hear what I’ve got to say,’ Audrey said, pouring out some brandy into the two glasses. She picked up the helmet and sat down on the cot. ‘Sit down, because you’ll only fall down later.’ He looked at her quizzically as he sat down in the chair, wondering if the sun had got to her.

‘This,’ she said, lifting up the helmet in her hands, ‘is what I was digging for.’

‘How did you know it was there?’ he asked.

‘That’s the story I’m going to tell you. It started….yesterday. God, it seems like ages ago so much has happened. This is not the first one I’ve found, but the second.’ Audrey then related the story from the beginning. Brendan’s face showed disbelief at first as the story unfolded, then incredulity as she went on to the finish of her tale.

‘Well that is astounding,’ he exclaimed, ‘and that helmet makes you invisible? I just can’t believe it! It’s…it’s…so out of this world.’ They both laughed at that.

‘Well the proof of the pudding as the saying goes,’ Audrey said as she stood up. ‘Now hold onto that chair and watch.’ She lifted up the helmet and put it on and promptly disappeared. She laughed, though he couldn’t hear her, as his jaw dropped and his eyes almost popped out of his head. He almost went over backwards in the chair as he gave a start as she became invisible.

‘Your face was picture,’ she laughed as the helmet was removed and she was back in the flesh again. ‘I think you need that brandy now.’ He did, and sank the glassful in one gulp and even started on the second glass before he could find his voice.

‘I still don’t believe what I’ve just seen!’ he said in whispered awe.

‘Now do something while I’m invisible and then I’ll tell you what you did,’ Audrey said, putting the helmet back on, disappearing again. It was still a shock for him to see her suddenly vanish, but he was more controlled this time. He stood up and refilled the glasses with brandy and then deliberately changed the places of the two glasses with each other and sat back down again.

‘What a fortune we could make with these,’ he said as she reappeared. ‘Well, what did I do?’ He was amazed as she told him.

‘Can I try it on?’ he asked eagerly, holding out his hands. She smiled and gave the helmet to him to put on. Not having witnessed her own disappearance, it startled her when he did so, even though she was expecting it.

This is amazing he thought. I can see her quite clearly and my own body, but she can’t. He moved to one side, watching to see if her eyes followed his movement, but they didn’t. He moved closer to her and couldn’t resist reaching out his hand and placing it on her breast.

He reared back as his hand disappeared inside, reappearing again after not feeling any flesh there at all. He took the helmet off, his face white.

‘I touched you but then I didn’t. My hand went straight through your…arm,’ he finished lamely.

‘I believe you,’ she said with a smile knowing exactly what he had tried to do, judging by the blushing of his face.

‘This is a wonderful thing you have found,’ he said, putting the helmet down and putting his arms around her, kissed her quickly on the lips. He released her instantly, blushing again, ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.’

‘Why not Brendan? I’ve been wanting you to do that ever since we met.’

‘You have?’

‘Yes. Please do it again,’ Audrey said shyly. He tentatively took her into his arms again and gently kissed her as her arms went up around his neck, her body pressing in close to his. She nearly swooned there in his arms, her legs going all rubbery as she tasted his lips against hers.

‘Audrey,’ he said in a hoarse voice when their lips parted, as he crushed her to him, holding her tight. ‘Audrey.’

‘Brendan,’ she said, her voice muffled by his shoulder, a warmth flooding her as she smelt his manliness, her heart thumping with pleasure.

‘I too have been wanting to do this since that day at the airport,’ he said, kissing her again. Audrey felt herself go limp at his kisses and made no resistance as they moved to her cot. She let him lay her down and then lay down beside her as they continued their kissing. She could feel that he was aroused and made no attempt to stop him as he opened the front of her shirt and began kissing her bare flesh. She groaned in pleasure at his caresses and returned them with her own, undressing him as he did her.



She pulled a sheet over their bodies afterwards, positively purring as she snuggled into his arms, feeling safe and secure within them. Her body glowed with the inner release that she had achieved at his love making. Audrey wasn’t a virgin, but she’d never had such a wonderful experience as that before.

It was a full half hour before they roused themselves and got dressed, both touching and helping each other to do so. They smiled at each other and had another brandy each, happy that they had finally got together in the way that they both had wanted.

‘Now that that’s out of the way, let’s try the two helmets and see if we can still see each other when we are wearing them,’ Audrey said, opening her locker and taking the other one out.

‘If we can’t see each other with them on, we’d better take them off and talk it over.’ So without further ado, they both put the helmets on and became invisible within the tent. It was with relief that she could still see him, wearing his helmet. ‘Can you hear me?‘ she asked.

‘Perfectly. I can also see you, and I adore what I see.’

‘I love you too, now let’s go out and move about till you get used to the effects you will experience. Just don’t try to walk through any dead matter, like a table.’ So hand in hand, they went out of the tent and walked about the site.

‘Look! There’s Martinez coming to the tables,’ Brendan whispered.

‘There’s no need to whisper. He cannot hear or see us. I’ve tried shouting at you before, and you couldn’t hear a thing.’

‘If I’d found the helmet first, I think I would have been tempted to visit you in the shower,’ he said with a smile as he squeezed her hand. ‘Were you tempted?’

‘Yes, very much so,’ she smiled sweetly back at him. ‘Now try to talk and touch him,’ said Audrey, pointing at the advancing Martinez.

‘Hola amigo! Que hora es?’

‘What did you say?’ Audrey asked.

‘I said, Hello friend. What time is it?’

‘Well he didn’t hear you. Don’t move! Let him walk right through you.’ Which is what he did. Brendan flinched, but didn’t feel a thing as Martinez passed completely through his own body.

‘I’m impressed,’ Brendan said turning to Audrey. ‘What next I wonder?’

‘On this you will wonder I’ve no doubt. Close your visor and be prepared for another shock,’ she said as she lowered her visor to disappear from view. He quickly lowered his to see her again before him, but gave a gasp as he realised that the tents had gone. ‘There’s another one for you. Turn round.’

‘Oh my God,’ he said in awe as after turning round, he saw the whole carcass there before him. ‘Is it real or am I dreaming this?’

‘It’s dead, so you can touch it, but that’s about all that you’ll be able to do I’m afraid,’ Audrey said.

‘It’s fantastic darling!’ he breathed. Audrey’s heart leapt at his unconscious use of the word ‘darling’, and had a warm feeling flood through her body. Brendan moved over and ran his hand over the rough hide of the dead animal.

‘Wonderful, so wonderful,’ he said, moving round and studying the whole body, occasionally running his hand along the surface. He stopped and closely studied the head, not having seen the eyes before, as well as the feet of the animal, the hard padded soles that never survived the passage of time.

‘If we’re lucky, later on we may be able to see a live one. I haven’t as yet, but you never know,’ Audrey said. ‘But we can’t go to the spaceship without taking supplies, so we’ll have to return to the present if you want to go exploring. As I said earlier, time passes here as usual, but not back where we came from that makes much difference.’

Brendan reluctantly agreed and lifted his visor and instantly disappeared from Audrey’s sight, but was there when she lifted hers. They went back to her tent where they took the helmets off.

‘That was absolutely marvellous,’ he exclaimed as he studied the helmet in his hands. ‘To see a complete Brontosaurus, even though it was dead, was fantastic. We must take cameras with us next time to prove what we have seen.’

‘I don’t think they’d believe us even with photos. They would say that we faked them. You know how sceptical the societies can be.’

‘True, but we would know the truth, and there’s many that would believe us. Especially when they see the helmets!’

‘That could cause a lot of problems. Just think about it for a minute. I already have, and can come up with a lot of problems.

First would be the Argentine government demanding that they were theirs because we found them here. They would rip one to pieces to try to find out how they work and the other would be used for spying. That would also apply to your country as well as mine. They would be confiscated on grounds of National Security, we wouldn’t be allowed to keep them.

Another thought had occurred to me is that there may be a distance limit to them working. You know, if you go past a certain distance from the ship, they would cease to function.

Apart from the helmets, there’s the ship to consider. We can’t move it, because it’s in a different time to us, and the Argentine people would destroy it rather than have its secrets divulged to the world.’

‘You look so lovely when you’re angry and excited,’ Brendan said, sitting down on her cot. Audrey flushed.

‘Don’t distract me like that! Don’t you see what I’m saying?’ she demanded.

‘Yes I do and I think you are perfectly right in what you are saying. Now come and sit down and let’s discuss what we do next,’ he said, patting the bed.

‘I have a good idea what you want to discuss to do next,’ Audrey said, her face flushing at the thought, but still sat down beside him and let him take her into his arms and kiss her.

‘I wish we’d done this in New York,’ she murmured between kisses as they lay back, ‘in a decent bed,’ as he started to undo her shirt for the second time that morning.



After their slow lovemaking which Audrey didn’t want to end, they got dressed again, ready to face the world outside.

‘Shall we tell Martinez what we’ve been doing?’ Brendan asked as he tucked the tail of his shirt into his trousers.

‘Certainly not!’ Audrey said indignantly.

‘I meant with the helmets,’ he grinned.

‘Same answer, and I’ve given you reasons as to why not.’

‘You’re right. Let’s go up to the mess tent and get a cup of coffee and discuss it properly. I get too distracted in here.’

‘I wonder why,’ Audrey said with a smile, giving him a kiss before preceding him out of the tent.

‘So it takes just over the hour to get to the ship,’ Brendan said when they were sitting down alone at one of the mess tables. ‘So that’s two hours plus to start with. Then you stayed there for just over six.’

‘A total of nine and a half hours all told. In their time of course. I was only gone for forty seconds in our time.’

‘So one day there would be about a minute and a half here?’

‘Yes.’

‘How long do you think we would be there then? To see it all I mean.’

‘Well I don’t really know. I had a sleep, but I only really saw the top two levels. I would say a couple of days, their time, and we’d only be away from here for three minutes. You spend more time than that in the shower or latrine.’

‘You been timing me?’

‘No. It’s just that I notice such things,’ she replied airily. ‘So we’d have to pack a basket with supplies for at least two days and say that we were going on a picnic.’

‘Some picnic if we’re back in three minutes with all the food eaten!’

‘Well, we’d just have to dally about somewhere out of sight of the camp for a couple of hours. I’m sure we could find something to do to use up those few hours,’ she said with a grin. He laughed and gave her a hug, ‘I’m sure we could.’

So it was settled that they would stay in camp for lunch and then say that they were taking the afternoon off to go and look around the plateau, taking a snack with them. They finished their coffee and went back to work at the dig. Audrey to her square and Brendan joined Martinez at the cleaning tables.

‘Judging by the spring in your step and the expression on Audrey’s face, I think that the cat has been at the cream,’ Martinez said to Brendan with a knowing look in his eye. Brendan could only grin and he gave him a slap on the back.

‘We’re taking the afternoon off to go exploring.’

‘Haven’t you done that already?’ Martinez said with a smile.

‘This is a picnic we’re going on actually.’

‘Well don’t sit near an anthill,’ Martinez advised. ‘They bite.’ Audrey was thinking about how to get two large baskets out of the camp without arousing suspicion as she worked on her patch of bones. The only answer was to take them out while invisible. So during lunch, she whispered to Brendan what they should do.

With the meal over, they waited till the cook had cleaned up the lunch things when Brendan told him to go and check the water pump down by the river. He looked oddly at him at this order, but did as he was told. As he left the camp on his trek, Audrey went up with her basket with a helmet in it and then, with Brendan’s help, they made sandwiches and the like, enough for two days, along with some water bottles.

It was awkward holding the basket as she put on her helmet, as she wouldn’t have been able to pick it up after donning the thing. But she managed, and disappeared from Brendan’s sight, along with the heavy food basket.

This she took down to her tent where she collected the other helmet, taking hers off first to do this, and then, by carefully balancing things on her lap, put hers back on. Then, laden down, she left the camp and walked a good quarter of a mile before stopping and pulling off her helmet. Then she left the heavy basket and the two helmets and walked back to the camp.

She arrived back at the mess tent at the same time as the cook, and he helped her make up a small picnic basket for her and Brendan. She took this back to her tent and went and had a shower before putting on fresh clothes, adding a jumper and blanket to the basket. She was ready when Brendan called, and armed with two cameras, notepad, pens etc, they set off on their ‘picnic’. Martinez watched them go with an amused smile on his face, wishing he was twenty years younger.

‘Well?’ Brendan asked when they were out of earshot of the camp.

‘The damn thing was heavy. You can carry it to the ship seeing as I’ve carried it nearly half way. It’s still some distance from here.’ She liked it when he took her arm in his as they walked towards where she had left the helmets.

They were soon at the place where Audrey had left them, and with Brendan carrying the heavy basket, Audrey carried the lighter one and the two helmets. She wanted to reach the end of the plateau before donning them, just to see where the end was in relation to the past.

It was well over half way to the ship when they reached the sparse trees that marked the edge of the large open space. Then carefully holding their supplies, so as not to lose them in the transition, they put their helmets on, and dropped the visors.

Audrey careful took stock of their surroundings, being careful not to let go of her basket, just in case it disappeared. She hadn’t tried anything like this yet, and would rather lose something non-essential than the food.

All was well and she explained about the homing beacon, and they set off to follow in the direction shown. She laughed at Brendan as he skirted the trees and bushes at first, and laughed harder when he fell over as she had done. It wasn’t long before they saw the ship, and Brendan could stop enthusing over it. He took two Polaroid pictures and they waited the few moments to see the good shots of the ship. Then he took several with the other camera, especially of the ramp and door.

‘It’s marvellous,’ Brendan exclaimed, ‘and so exciting. How did you dare to enter the thing? I would have thought twice before going in.’

‘I didn’t exactly wet my knickers, but it was definitely scary,’ Audrey replied. ‘Come on. There’s more surprising things inside, and I haven’t seen all of it myself yet.’ She then led the way up the short ramp and went inside. Brendan, being nearly six foot, had to really duck down to enter the ship.

Again, she felt the waft of slightly pungent air waft round her as she stood on the mat inside the door, and remarked on it to Brendan.

‘Disinfectant?’ he asked, and Audrey replied that was what she thought.

‘We can also take off our helmets now that we are inside. We are here in their time now,’ she said as she took hers off. Brendan followed suit and now could see much better, and was alarmed when he gravitated as he stepped off the mat, almost reaching the ceiling.

‘Wow!’

‘Now watch this,’ Audrey said as she too, stepped off the mat and they both became bathed in the orange glow as the ramp closed up, shutting out the daylight from outside.

‘I think I’m going to be saying ‘wow’ all day long here,’ he laughed, drifting upwards again as he did so. Without movement of his body, he found that he gently drifted back down to the floor, so he was starting to learn fast.

They went on to the centre of the sphere, just the few feet really, and the door silently closed behind them. Brendan looked round the small chamber and looked up the central well to the sky high above.

‘How did you get up there?’ he asked, looking round as she had done.

‘Leave the helmets here, we don’t need them up top,’ as she put hers down with the basket. ‘It was by trial and error that I found out how to get up there,’ pointing up the central well. Audrey then demonstrated the art of rising and falling, moving sideways and stopping by the use of her hands.

She watched in amusement as Brendan experienced the weightlessness as he moved his hands, and joined him in their trip to the top of the ship. He prowled around the dome, looking at everything, marvelling at what he saw and was transported into heaven when he was coaxed to recline in one of the seats.

‘This would be a must in the camp after a day’s digging,’ he said.

‘Exactly what I said when I first tried it. Isn’t it gorgeous?’

‘No well equipped expedition should be without one,’ he sighed, as he let the contoured seat massage his back and thighs. ‘This would make you a small fortune if you could get it on the market. Have you worked out what all these buttons are for?’ he asked, indicating the console between the seats.

‘No. That’s why I wanted you to come along. I didn’t dare try anything in case I got sent into limbo and couldn’t get back. I thought that if I was going to disappear, I might as well go with somebody else than be left on my own.’

‘Thanks,’ he answered drily. Then he sat up and considered the console at the end of the arm rest. ‘All these strange figures must be their alphabet or numbering system. Are they all the same?’ He waved his arm at the other seats and consoles.

‘Yes,’ Audrey confirmed, ‘and it’s the same with all the screens and controls down on the next level, though there’s more that just those few symbols.’

‘Right,’ he said rising from the seat, ‘let’s just take a couple of pictures of up here and we’ll go down and look at the next surprise.’ So after taking two pictures and seeing them come from the Polaroid, they went to the central well where Brendan hesitated before leaving the edge of the solid floor beneath his feet.

‘Come on silly,’ Audrey laughed, ‘I felt the same the first time. See, it’s perfectly safe,’ she said, stepping out into the void and holding out her hand to him. She smiled as he tentatively took that step out, holding her hand tight, and gave a self deprecating laugh as he did so.

‘I’ll get used to it in time.’

‘Our time, or their time,’ and they both laughed as Audrey let go of his hand and held hers out, palms down, she became suffused with the orange glow as she started to drift down away from him. She gave her lips a lick as her face passed close by his crotch as she descended down to the next level. He soon joined her with his own glow and they stepped out onto the second level with its hexagonal shape because of the large screens that ran right round the walls.

‘This I’ve called the map room,’ said Audrey, stepping away from the centre and moving towards the lit screens.

‘More like a television director’s domain with all this lot,’ he said in wonder as he turned in a circle to observe all the screens and keyboards. Audrey had sat down at the lit screens and he went over, carefully skirting the central well, and stood behind her.

Audrey explained her theory of the maps displayed and Brendan had to agree with her hypothesis. His hand stroked her neck as he leaned over for a closer look at the screen before her.

She leaned back into his hand and gave a silent sigh as she also closed her eyes to his caress and gave a quick thought of the blanket in the basket down below.

‘I see what you mean,’ said Brendan as he gently touched on of the small squares on the screen to see it change colour, and touched it for the second time to see it revert back.

‘Why don’t you bring the other chair round and get comfortable,’ said Audrey with a smile in her voice, and turned to watch him cross the room, again walking round, avoiding the middle.

‘You can walk across the hole. It’s quite safe as long as you keep your hands still.’

‘Better safe than sorry,’ Brendan answered as he grasped the back of the chair to pull it round on its rail. Audrey laughed at his attempt to move it.

‘Sit down in the chair and think,’ she said, regaining her breath. ‘It took me a few minutes to work out how to move it.’ It took Brendan five minutes before he realised that it was hand movements that seemed to dictate the means of propulsion within the ship. Soon he silently moved round and brought the chair to a stop next to Audrey.

‘Hey, that was fun,’ he said with a giggle as he came to rest. ‘Did I do it faster or not?’

‘I wasn’t timing it, but, yes, I think so,’ she lied.

‘Now let’s see if the keyboard is any way similar to the consoles up top,’ and he brought out the Polaroid pictures he had taken.

‘Look at the first of the two symbols on the left hand column. They are all the same. Then look across and you will see that the second symbol is the same all across. This tells me that the first symbol is a letter and the second one a number. Now I can’t relate the first to being the same form as our alphabet, but the second ones I would almost swear to being the numbers one to seven.

I think that the consoles are similar to our computer keyboards where we have F1 to F12 where they each have a specific function. What these actually do, we’d have to know the code that they have been set at, which I don’t think we are going to find out until we can decipher their alphabet.’

Brendan studied the large keyboard in front of him, copying down each different symbol that he found, and when finished, counted over sixty. Then he took some pictures of, not only the keyboards, but of the screens too, though because of the flash, those screens with maps and pictures, didn’t come out very well.

So out came the notebook so that he could sketch what every screen showed. Specifically fascinating was the screen of the world slowly turning, showing the solid land mass and vast expanse of water. It took quite some time to get the shape of the land onto paper having to wait for the earth to turn its full circle.

While he was doing this, Audrey went down to the lowest level and brought up the basket of food, taking it up to the dome. It was inconvenient not having a table of sorts to lay things out on, so she spread the blanket on the floor before two of the seats and got out some food for lunch.

‘Come and get it,’ Audrey called down the central well, ‘food’s on the floor, ready to be eaten.’ She stood there to watch Brendan make the passage up top on his own. She laughed at his hesitancy in stepping out into the void, but he did, and was soon up top with her.

They had their lunch reclining in the massaging seats, drinking water, saving the wine for dinner, looking out over the treetops as they ate.

‘Haven’t you noticed anything strange out there yet,’ Audrey asked, waving her hand towards the view.

‘Can’t say that I have,’ he replied through a mouthful of sandwich.

‘Look at the skyline.’

‘Yeh, so what?’

‘Where are the mountains?’

‘Good Lord!’ he spluttered, sitting bolt upright. ‘When did you notice that they weren’t there?’

‘Yesterday.’

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘I waited to see if you would notice the lack of them, which means you haven’t noticed something else then,’ Audrey said, sitting up too and looked at Brendan as he gazed at the nonexistent mountains.

‘I thought that this ship was astounding, but no mountains. That takes some beating.’

‘Well be prepared for this one then. The Earth’s not on its right axis. It’s about ten degrees out.’

‘What!’ Brendan exclaimed, looking up at the sun, shading his eyes as he did so. ‘How can you tell? It looks alright to me.’

‘You can only tell when you’re outside by lifting and dropping the visor of the helmet. You know, their time and our time. That’s how I noticed it, and it literally floored me.’ He laughed when she told him how and what happened.

‘Well that knocks a lot of theories into a cocked hat. Many people believed that the separation of the continents was a gradual process in the expansion of the Earth in its growing process from within. Others thought that all this happened before the appearance of life on Earth.

The minority opinion is that the Earth was struck by huge meteors that caused these divisions and the great depths of the oceans. With the sun being, as you say, about ten degrees out, leads me to believe this last theory, but with life already on the planet. We’ve found bones of the same species all over the world as you know, and if it was one large land mass, this makes it more believable.’

‘I would like to have attended your classes. You make it sound so simple,’ Audrey said with a smile. ‘Plus I could have brought an apple every day.’ She was thinking of her first tutor who had neither the physique or charisma of Brendan, but still managed to get her into bed where she lost her virginity. How different things might have turned out if it had been Brendan, she mused, but he was here now, and that was all that mattered.

*

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