Williams pressed the rubber button cap for her suit's radio with a large, knobby, suited finger, a finger attached to a hand now made light by the controlled buoyancy of her steel shell in the deep. A fizzy trail of small bubbles erupted quickly and quietly from a small valve pass by her helmet's backing. She spoke into her probe microphone as she leaped off a 50 foot rise into a soft, gliding descent toward the blue brown of the ocean floor.
"This is fantastic! Are you getting of this, Laurie? Look at this!"
Laurie Mason was fumbling with a large, strange, ancient hunk of alien ambergris. She cleared the fog and perspiration from her faceplate with a switch-flick and a flash of insta-fluid that made a swooping, WHOOSH! sound. The remaining blue clean ran off the liquid resistance of her viewing plate in thin, veined lines as she blinked and looked ahead at Williams. She saw some dust kicked up in the blue haze and could make out Williams' headlamp blanketing a perfect circled section of some glassy hull.
"What is it? What have you got there??"
"Just get over here and check this out! This is just,...I don't know. What is this?"
Mason kicked her way across the ruddy muck of the trench's floor, keeping a fairly reasonable mind about not kicking anything living. She had passed the training, but only barely. She was only allowed past the checks to get into the suit, because of her mind; her brain was what they really needed. She reached the geodesic base of the spaceship and skidded slowly in the cloudy smear of earth in water.
"You see what I mean?"
Williams pointed to a few things. An odd ramp leading to a gelatinous portal, both now covered in a thin and ancient ocean slime. A few portholes that looked out at the water with a deep black - nothing inside, seemingly. Some antenna-like attachments that could be either communications equipment or guns or both.A few exposed wires. Some small, suspicious, and constant streams of bright green globules - the same globules that surfaced and collected together in fields of emerald to coax the team down from the surface in the first place.
It was massive. The shine of it was a dull purple that was hard to place. It seemed to catch light like glass, but it had the look - the feel of something fibrous. It was out of this world, really.
Laurie stood for a moment and let her brain click out a few basic calculations. Her left eye twitched and she made the decision.
"Yeah, screw it, let's go in."
"Just One Oil Man's Opinion"
"Whatever happened to that guy on the TV, hah? Whatshisname, Peter, somethin-er-other -- that guy, ya know? ABC or something. Seemed simpler than what we got now. I'd watch that guy on that TV. I'd get done' workin', beat like a dog. I'd drive home. I'd get something done around the house - maybe make something to eat, take a shower or something, and I'd sit down and watch. That guy knew his shit, boy. He was a hot shit. That guy knew his shit and he knew our shit, too. He would come on and it'd be good. It just felt better.
Same with that Rogers guy. Sweaters and crap. What a screwball. Dead now, but gotta love him. What a great thing for the kids. It's different, now.
Now, we got this oil shit. Oil this and oil that. Big money, no problem. I'm up to my elbows in this crap and no shower'll wash that smell clean off. I smell like I did when I worked at the pump station back in '83. I made two bucks an hour and that was big time. Smell ain't worth the money, though. Screw that crap.
People come on the news now and talk about the same things. I watch 'em come on and feel like going out. Gimme a break.
'Screw this, I'm going for a drive...' -- you know?
It just doesn't feel right.
It isn't right."
He was quite happy with his find. It was light and it was solid. It used to be thier's, but now it belonged to him, light and solid and his in his hands.
He floated along in the air above the ground with a smile on his face and closed his eyes. He dreamed what could be inside the box. He thought lightly about how they would come to find that it had gone missing. Would they miss it? Would they send out a search party? He was a giggle personified. He was thrill incarnate. His movements were slow and steady and deliberate; and in no way was he escaping.
He dwindled on the road in the air toward the horizon and kept his eyes closed.
The future was unknown to him.
Cold and quick and in the shade.
Fizzing and clean and over rocks.
Sparkling and mirroring and in the sun.
The river ran at a surprisingly low volume through the pass in the hillside surrounded by tall, dark trees. Where the sun hit the air you could see bugs and dirt. Small spirals were made in front of a backdrop of dark, natural weight. The streams of water gulped their way down and through gapped piles of smooth stones and boulders and away from the sun. Down a ways, the river evened out into a field of water over small rocks from a distance. It seemed slower and there seemed to be less shade. Above all of that was a blanket of bright blue sky that took the twirling bugs and dust in the sun and blanked them out against the intense glow.
The girl steadied herself on a rock, tilted her head back while smiling, and let the sun in.
They were all thinking the same thing.
"Where did the stars go?"
"Imaginary Driveways, Real Sunsets"
The colors of the world slowed and cooled off as the sun retreated in the western edge of the sky. Hot yellows melted away into soft browns and oranges as blues brightened up into a quick and vibrating gray-white. Things evened and allowed the blacks of the shade to relax into softer purples.
Everything became still.
The cigarette continued.
"June 3rd, in the garden, in the yard..."
The sparrows were fast!
They swooped down in the air from the large bush to the right and fought over the shovel's top. They argued in the arbor covered in grapes over something indeterminably unimportant. They scoffed and tweeted and moved very quickly around the yard, as if each of them was straight from some noisy city street.
The cardinals sat on a fence by the property line and waited.
They worried, together and always.
His hands were big and fat and dumb. They moved slowly and with grinding noises. He hated them. They weren't new by any means, and they seemed as if they never were new in the first place.
He would try to grip his gun and it would hammer out with a clinching pop as the combination of bad finger grips and horrible wrist mechanics launched everything forward with a sparking flinch.
This won't do, he thought. This won't ever do. Everyone is at war and there are horrible things happening all around. There are fires and cities are disappearing from the earth like distant memories from some far off dreamer. This is screwy.
He didn't know how to do it, really. He knew that there were screws going into him, somewhere. Someone told him that they were only in his legs. It might've been Simmons, though. Fuck Simmons.
Without thinking much more on it, 49321 bent all the way down to the ground at just his waist. He twisted his hands one hundred and eighty degrees, stepped on them, and activated his shoulder winches.
Simmons was right, he thought. I'll be damned.