OFF COURSE

Scene 27  1560 4D

The chamber flared again, but this time with blue-white light, the walls and floor slowly bumping up and down a little. As the pedestal’s light settled to a bluish glow, Derizan looked around, letting his vision clear. To his relief, the chamber looked like the one they had first found.

Sirathen Panel


Ajina said in a low tone, “Uh-0h.” She pointed to the panel. “That’s… not the same place we came from, is it?” Denzari and Selech crowded over the glow, with Derizan leaning over them.

Selech said, “I thought I touched the right place!” pointing to the symbol above the lighted one. “Where are we now?”

Derizan had no feeling of Fiarsinhilh’s presence. “I think we’ve come a long way again. At least nothing is flashing red at us.”

“Do you think something detected us where we were before?” Denzari’s words brought a nod from Ajina. “Let’s hope we’re not followed.”

“Please, Deri,” Selech said, “I don’t want to try this again, not this time.”

Derizan stepped between them to the panel. “Let me try.” He pointed one finger directly down on the symbol above the one with the blue glow. He smiled at Selech. “This is the first time I’ve heard you say you wouldn’t try something crazy. I guess I’m the crazy one now.” He slowly brought his finger down.


A flash and a shaking floor, and to everyone’s great relief, the pedestal’s panel showed in its proper place the one bright-white symbol of their first view of it.

Muathen Symbol

The chamber’s shaft from below was now in its original place, and its colors and features, including the inscribed wall-figure, were now apparent.

“We’re back,” Selech breathed.

“But are we in the right time?” Denzari’s words.

Ajina said, “I think we’ve learned a lot here. We should get back to the others and talk about what to do next.”

Derizan still had no feeling of his alien presence. “Before we go back down that long shaft, let’s just take a few breaths. I think the time should be all right – any other assumption leaves us nowhere. But this place and the ones like it may be useful to us, so let’s remember everything we can about them.”

They sat against the wall of the chamber, nibbling a little at the pieces of mushroom-like growths they had taken. Ajina got up and collected more. “I’m taking these back down with us.” The others, one by one, did the same. No change in the lighting or panel took place.

Derizan sensed Fiarsinhilh again, at last. He said in his mind, “You’ve come back!”

Fiarsinhilh made an inner whisper that felt like a grumble. “Your little side trip misled me. I ran across another of your kind – that chamber was in Sirathen. Are you going to tell anyone here about me?”

Derizan paused, and said inwardly, “Not just yet. I need to know more of you and your purpose. It’s not time for trust, not just yet.”

They rested for some minutes, finding the air getting stuffier, and Selech said, “Let’s get back.”

“Yes,” said Ajina, “They’re probably wondering what happened to us.”

Just then Turtuz appeared, coming up and stepping out of the shaft. “Ah! Terrenci suggested that I come up to see what happened to you. It’s been several hours.”

“We’ve come across some… interesting developments,” Derizan answered. “We’ll come down now.”

And they descended the shaft, following Turtuz, who moved down, rung past rung with a lithe, ghostly speed that left them far behind.

 

Next scene.

Last Updated Sunday, June 30 2024 @ 10:13 am  10 Hits   
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