Chapter 4: The Return

Over a week had passed. Blackie finished all the necessary repairs and had gotten quite comfortable with his team of scientists. Gridy was back on the job, but hadn’t said much ever since, obviously still shook up by the whole incident nearly killing Blackie.

"Hey Blackie, why don’t you and your class call it a day and head over to the landing strip. The new shuttle is due to arrive in a few hours and there is going to be events all day" said Sando in anticipation.

"But it’s still morning, and we have a lot of work to be finish" said Blackie.

"Students, what do you think?" yelled Sando.

They all mumbled and continued on with their work. It was obvious they were very involved and interested in what they were doing. Blackie seemed to be a natural teacher.

"See?" Blackie said with a grin.

"Okay okay, you’ve proved your point" Sando said as he turned on a TV to the station hosting the event. "At least you can watch in on TV. Feel free to leave early or check out the ship landing" Sando said in a somewhat disappointed but happy voice.

The lab became very quiet. Everyone at the lab had left early to wait for the shuttle to land.

Blackie heard his student Coro start a conversation with another student.

"When we’re allowed to start moving the new planet, I’m going to start my own business from the ground up" he said.

Two other students Hush and Brush said, "We’re just going to sit back and enjoy the greenery."

"It's only going to last a few years, then the big businesses are going to move in and then no one will have their way" Blackie said as he scribbled a few things onto a not pad.

"Well, we’ll just have to enjoy it while it lasts" Coro finished.

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Back in the building of "Exploration an Extra-Planetary Development."

"The shuttle is supposed to be landing today and we haven’t had a transmission from it in days" said the worried head scientist.

"His communications probably just burned out, it’s a fairly common situation" said his partner.

"You’re probably right, and there’s nothing we can do about it now anyhow. Let head to the landing strip station and we’ll finish up there" finished the head scientist.

They then left and headed for the landing strip.

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At the landing strip

Bleachers surrounded the landing strip. Even those who weren’t really interested in science came because they knew the shuttle brought findings that could affect them all. A new planet, which could sustain them, would mean they could have a second home. There would be many job opportunities and a new life available to anyone who chose to take them.

The ship finally came into view. All waited in silence. Scientists and emergency crews surrounded the area immediately around the landing strip. The ship landed a little uneasily but safely.

All the doors seemed to be having trouble opening so the emergency crews put ladders around the craft and tried prying the doors open manually with their various tools. Finally, one of the rear doors to the ship was opened. Something seemed to stun the teams when the doors opened then finally three of them entered the ship. After a few seconds it became obvious what stunned the emergency crews. A foul odor emanated from the ship. The audience waited again in silence.

All of a sudden one of the emergency team members came rushing out shouting for everyone to clear the area and head back home.

After the fields were clear, a scientist asked, "What's wrong?"

"You remember that odor? We’ve found the cause of it." The emergency team member then took a long pause. He then finished "your explorer . . . he's dead."

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