The lieutenant searches the body and radios in its location while several others look around the area. The winds have clearly pushed the dust on the ground around to cover any tracks, but several of those in the search party point out several possible areas that the missing person could have went.

After some discussion and debate, the lieutenant agrees to push on and splits those in the party into two groups to go in the most obvious directions that Amalie could have gone. Corris gratiously volunteers to lead the second party.

Agreeing, the lieutenant takes several of the civilians, but assigns his co-pilot to him – a stocky man – to go with Corris.

Corris and his group heads west towards a cave, radioing in their destination so a transport can meet them there at some point. “If it were me, I’d have tried to find cover. A cave would provide that. And it could also be used to shield the communication equipment from the elements while transmitting a signal from the cave entrance.” Corris says, bullshitting his way through his little narration as he lead them towards the cave.

In the cave, Corris and his companions find a couple of open crates. One of them contains foil-wrapped ration packets. The other contains pulse rifle charge cartridges.

As the lieutenant examines the body of Travis Hart, he discovers that the young man’s oxygen didn’t run out slowly – it was vented rapidly after the hose was sliced with some kind of blade.

The lieutenant grabs his short range radio, activating it. “Corris. Corris watch out. I’m coming to your location, someone may have killed the man I found.” He stands up and starts running towards the cave the co-pilot, Corris and several civilians went to.

Inside the cave, Corris only received a partial message, shrugging it off. Him and the rest of the group continue to look the various crates and go deeper into the cave.

Deeper in the cave, Corris hears a steady beeping noise. Its pace continues to quicken. Soon, he happens upon the source: a countdown timer, currently at 30 seconds and dropping.

“Why did I get out of bed today?” Corris asks for himself, then shouts for help. Within  a few seconds, the co-pilot of the transport and another civilian in the group are standing next to him. “What do I do?” He asks.

The co-pilot looks at the device, then at the other man next to him, then at Corris, then finally back at the device. “Fifteen seconds. We won’t make it out of here if that is a real explosive.”

Sighing, Corris nods in agreement. Without hesitating, he grabs the blue wire and pulls it out of the device…

The timer keeps going…faster now…ticking away to zero. And when it reaches the end, a buzzer sounds and a holo-emitter plays a voice wave image with audio of an engineered male voice: “We have her. We will kill her. Instructions are forthcoming. The storm is upon you.” The message ends.

After the message ends, the three men stand there, in silence. Possibly still in shock, maybe they need to change their underwear. The councillor sighs, and grabs his communication device. “Lieutenant, we’re coming out. It looks like someone has the girl. I suggest we get back to base and hand the device over to Martian Security, and let them take over.”

The group gathers their composure, and depart the cave with the others. Upon meeting up with the lieutenant and the others, they head back to the ship to allow the rescue crews finish their work and to deliver the device to planetary security.

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By Brody

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