Friday, July 8, 2022

Emerald of Earth – EPISODE 25 Stolen Artifacts

THE STORY SO FAR: Emerald Marcillon’s parents excavated artifacts in the Chicxilub Crater that point to a long-ago alien war that spilled over to Earth. Inamma, an alien AI survived the war and will kill to retrieve the artifacts. When assembled, the AI intends to create a weapon that will destroy all of Humanity – thinking we are descendants of its ancient enemies. It murders her parents, but Emerald escapes and is taken to the SOLAR EXPLORER. The crew, aware of the origin of the artifacts, plan to protect her from Inamma. Emerald who is a preteen who lives with autism. She holds the key to the artifacts and has made a few friends…and Inamma has also found her…

(If you like what you see, share this link with a friend! This is where the story starts -- Season 1, Episode 1 is at the bottom: https://stupefyingstories.blogspot.com/search/label/YA%20SciFi%20EMERALD%20OF%20EARTH%20Serial?updated-max=2022-01-28T05:00:00-06:00&max-results=20&start=18&by-date=false)



The bolus fell away into the system, dropping deeper toward the hospital, plantations, living Levels and the Core of SOLAREX. When they’d caught their breath, Izegbe said, “Do you think it killed Zech?”

Emerald shook her head and managed, “No. It wasn’t after him. I think it’s after me.”

“Who was he?” Izegbe said. “What was he doing up here? It looked like he was chasing you!”

Emerald and Ayaka disentangled themselves from Izegbe. Emerald said, “He was trying to help us. I think.”

Yamata no Orochi pushed themselves away from Emerald to the opposite wall as Emerald said, “What were you doing there?”

“We could ask you the same thing!” Izegbe exclaimed, scrambling to her feet. “We came to rescue you!”

Emerald stared at them then climbed to her feet. “You came to what?”

Ayaka sniffed and said, “Don’t get all teary-eyed or anything. Daniel – that idiot! – told us he’d sent you out to get flamer parts...”

Izegbe cut in, “And he said he’d given you directions on your ipik!” Both girls rolled their eyes to the ceiling. “Those directions were loaded into the SOLAREX map before anyone boarded the ship! No one’s updated them in a million years.” The bolus stopped and the doors opened into the hospital. On the floor was a giant number “4”.

Emerald stared at it, “I’ve been here before.” Looking at Ayaka, she said, “Sorry I punched you.”

Izegbe shrugged and said, “You’d just come up from Earth and you were running from that government goon, Rashida. You were scared.”

“I was not scared!” Emerald exclaimed.

Ayaka’s gaze narrowed. She said, “You meant to kick my head off my neck like a golf ball?”

“No!” Her arms went up. She lowered them slowly then said, “I guess I was a little scared.”

A nurse dressed in a white coverall stopped at the open door. “Can I help you?” The girls shook their heads – unexpectedly a three-headed serpent rather than just two. Izegbe closed the door again.

Ayaka stepped back, adding, “You’d better have been a lot more than a little scared! You gave me a black eye.”

Emerald looked at the floor and whispered, “I was terrified of everything.”

“Everything?” Ayaka said. “Really?” All Emerald could do was nod.

Izegbe grunted, “Huh.” She said, “Now that that’s settled...” Glancing at both girls, who nodded, she said, “We need to take Emerald up to the right place and get the right parts.”

Emerald frowned, “But where was I?”

Izegbe shrugged. “They call them ‘pre-occupation Levels’. Who knows which one...”

“Twelve. It was Level Twelve. The number was painted on the floor. And it wasn’t abandoned. There was a jungle like a...like a terrarium. With coatis.”

“What’s a coati?” Ayaka asked.

“Uh...sort of a Central American animal that looks like a cross between a raccoon and a big cat. They’re extinct on Earth. Anyway, beyond it was a thing that looked like a huge asteroid resting on some sort of rack. A couple of times I felt weird...”

“What do you mean, ‘an asteroid’?” Ayaka said.

At the same time, Izegbe said, “What do you mean by ‘I felt weird’?”

Emerald scowled then said, “It was an asteroid, sitting on the deck or in some kind of brackets that kept it off the ground. It was in the center of ring of jungle. And I tripped once and then felt light headed.”

“Could your tripping and being lightheaded have been caused by gravitational anomalies?” Ayaka said.

“How would I know?”

The girls paused, looked at each other. Izegbe said, “It’s the pryzhok sphere!”

“It wasn’t a sphere. It was more potato shaped.”

Izegbe grabbed her arm, “You said it was on Level Twelve, right?” Emerald nodded. “That’s it! I’ve been watching rLife pryzhok games for the past month...”

“What are those?”

“It’s Jump played by kids! Us! It’s sort of illegal – like street racing used to be in North America – and no one except the players know where the matches really are, but you found them!” She threw her arms around Emerald who pushed her away. Izegbe didn’t notice. “Now I can play, too! I’ve always wanted to...”

Ayaka cut her off, “You’re too young to play! You gotta be at least fifteen.”

“I can play in a year and a few months,” she replied indignantly. “Besides, I’m tall for my age. They’ll let me in ‘cause I’m great!”

The bolus came to a stop again and the doors squelched open. The number on the floor was a “2”. Emerald said, “I’m home.”

Izegbe nodded. “You go home. We’ll go get the parts and bring them to Daniel. We’ll say you got sick.”

“I’m not sick,” Emerald said. Together, the girls shoved her out of the bolus.

“All right, we’ll say you’re mentally deranged and went on a rampage,” said Izegbe.

Ayaka nodded and glared at Emerald, “After you nearly taking my head off with that karate kick, and then throwing him in the manure tank, he’ll believe anything.”

The doors started to close and both of them shouted, “Later!”

Emerald stared at the doors for a long time before she turned and headed for her room. As she walked in, GADI said, “You’re home early. What did you do wrong this time?”

Emerald shrugged. “Nothing. This time.”

“Clarify, please.”

Emerald stripped off her coverall and threw it at the six boxes holding artifacts from her parent’s dig at Chicxulub.

Except the boxes weren’t there. “What did you do with them?” she cried.

“With what?”

“Don’t play with me! You took the boxes! You said you wanted to keep an eye on them, so you moved them! You took them away from me because you don’t trust me! Why did I ever...”

“Emerald, please calm down. Histrionics will get us nowhere near where we need to be for me to...”

“For you to what? Convince me I’ve been crazy and that the boxes aren’t really there. That they’re a figment of my imagination? That you think I have…have...adolescent issues?” She dashed to the shelf in her bedroom and grabbed the cocobolo box and opened it. The necklace was gone as well. She screamed and collapsed on the bed, dropping the box, weeping. Then she was on her feet, rubbing tears from her eyes as she cried, “Where are they? You stole it! You stole the necklace!”

“I do not know what you are talking about, Emerald.”

“Switch to visible light mode. Scan my room, compare with yesterday. The boxes are gone! Where are they?”

GADI deflected, saying, “You did not bring the necklace back with you from the shower on the day you fell into the manure pit.”

“I did...” She tried to remember putting the necklace away into the box after the whole attempted fight with Izegbe. Shaking her head, she said, “I must have left it in the shower room.”

There was a pause then GADI said, “Dr. Viahakis had the boxed moved to the physics lab over my strenuous objections.”

“What?”

“Dr. Viahakis. After I reported your adolescent behavior issues, she questioned me more closely. When I attempted to conceal some part of our conversation, she overrode my programming and accessed all of it. She must have had the boxes moved and then had my memory altered…”

“That would require her to have an executive command code,” she said.

“How do you...”

“I’m a kid, not an idiot. Does ‘only child of genius parents’ mean anything to you?”

There was a long pause, then GADI said, “It is highly significant. Please follow my direction to the physics lab.”



Guy Stewart is a retired teacher and counselor, with science fiction for young people and adults published in ANALOG Science Fiction and Fact; podcast at CAST OF WONDERS; and in CRICKET the Magazine for Children. For links to his other online works, go to https://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/. For an interview with me about EMERALD OF EARTH, try this: http://www.writersandauthors.info/2015/09/interview-with-guy-stewart.html
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