The Living Dead

Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

Jarmo Dorak gazed at the barren wasteland of Mercury from the cockpit of his spacecraft, the Wotan. His eyes flickered over the rocky terrain, observing the craters and jagged mountains that dotted the planet’s surface. He felt a familiar thrill of excitement course through him as he considered what secrets lay hidden beneath the ground.

Over the time, he had traveled to all the planets of the solar system in search of lost relics and forgotten technologies. He had braved countless dangers and faced many challenges, but his thirst for discovery had never waned.

This time, Jarmo had returned to Mercury to explore the abandoned city of Pvallas. The city had been built by a long-dead civilization, and Jarmo believed that there were valuable artifacts hidden within its ruins. He had spent weeks preparing for this expedition, studying the planet’s history and geography to pinpoint the most promising areas to search.

As he landed his spacecraft near the outskirts of the city, Jarmo couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being followed. He dismissed it as paranoia and began his exploration. The ancient buildings of Pvallas loomed above him, their smooth surfaces shimmering in the heat. The air was thin and oppressive, but Jarmo pressed on, his eyes scanning the landscape for any signs of treasure.

He had been exploring for hours when he heard a faint rustling sound behind him. He spun around, his hand instinctively reaching for his laser pistol. But there was nothing there, just the endless expanse of the city’s ruins.

Jarmo continued his search, but the feeling of being watched persisted. He quickened his pace, moving deeper into the heart of Pvallas. He ducked into an alleyway, hoping to lose whoever was following him, but the rustling sound grew louder.

Suddenly, a figure stepped out from behind a ruined building, its features obscured by the shadows. Jarmo aimed his laser pistol at the figure, ready to defend himself if necessary.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

The figure stepped forward, revealing herself to be a young woman with short, curly hair and bright blue eyes. She was wearing a suit similar to Jarmo’s, with the emblem of ASTROCOHORS CLUB emblazoned on her chest.

“My name is Leonore Wagner,” she said. “I was sent by the ASTROCOHORS CLUB to find you. We haven’t heard from you in weeks, and we feared you might be dead.”

Jarmo lowered his pistol, his eyes narrowing. “I’m not dead,” he said. “I’ve been busy.”

“Doing what?” Leonore asked.

“Searching for artifacts,” Jarmo said. “This is a crucial find, Leonore. I can’t just abandon it.”

“I understand that,” Leonore said. “But you should have informed the club of your whereabouts. We were worried sick.”

Jarmo sighed. “I’m sorry, Leonore. I’ve been so focused on my work that I didn’t think about the consequences.” It was a lie – he was mourning his relationship. But whatever.

“It’s all right,” Leonore said, smiling. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”

They spent the next few minutes introducing themselves to each other. Leonore was a recent graduate of the ASTROCOHORS CLUB’s training program, and she was eager to prove herself as an adventurer and explorer. Jarmo admired her enthusiasm, and he sensed a kindred spirit in her.

“Listen, Jarmo,” Leonore said. “I know you’re busy with your search, but I’d like to help you. I want to learn from you, to experience the thrill of discovery.”

Jarmo studied Leonore for a moment, weighing the pros and cons of allowing her to join him. On the one hand, she was inexperienced and could be a liability in dangerous situations. On the other hand, he could use a partner to watch his back and assist him in his search.

Finally, he nodded. “All right, Leonore. You can join me. But you need to follow my lead and do exactly as I say. This is no place for amateurs.”

Leonore beamed with excitement. “Thank you, Jarmo! I won’t let you down, I promise.”

Together, they resumed their exploration of the city, moving deeper into the ruins. The sun beat down on them relentlessly, making every step a challenge. But they pressed on, driven by the lure of discovery.

As they explored, Jarmo and Leonore encountered numerous obstacles, from collapsed buildings to hidden traps. But they worked together, using their skills and equipment to overcome each challenge. Jarmo was impressed by Leonore’s resourcefulness and her willingness to learn from him.

Finally, they came across a massive structure at the heart of the city. It was a towering edifice, made of some unknown material that glowed with an otherworldly light. Jarmo’s heart raced with excitement, and he knew that this was the artifact he had been seeking.

“We’ve found it, Leonore,” he said, his voice trembling with awe. “This is it.”

Together, they approached the structure, but their excitement was short-lived. Suddenly, a horde of strange, insect-like creatures emerged from the shadows, screeching and chittering in an alien tongue. Jarmo and Leonore drew their weapons, ready to defend themselves. The creatures were fast and agile, darting around them and attacking from all angles. Jarmo fired his laser pistol, but the creatures were too numerous and too fast. Leonore fought bravely, slashing at them with a laser machete, but she was quickly overwhelmed.

Jarmo realized that they were outnumbered and outmatched – again. He made a split-second decision and activated a device on his wrist, emitting a bright flash of light. The creatures recoiled, shrieking in pain, and Jarmo seized the opportunity to grab Leonore and make a run for it.

They fled through the ruins, the creatures hot on their heels. Jarmo led the way, his senses on high alert, searching for an escape route. They dodged through alleys and side streets, but the creatures were relentless, pursuing them relentlessly.

Finally, they burst out of the city and back into the open air. Jarmo looked around, searching for any sign of their spacecraft. He spotted it in the distance and grabbed Leonore’s hand, pulling her along behind him.

They ran as fast as they could. Jarmo was a seasoned explorer, and he knew how to navigate difficult terrain. He led them through a narrow canyon, using the steep walls to shield them from the creatures’ attacks.

Finally, they reached their spacecraft, and Jarmo quickly opened the hatch, shoving Leonore inside. He followed her, sealing the hatch shut and starting the engines. The creatures pounded on the hull, screeching and chittering in frustration.

Jarmo breathed a sigh of relief as they blasted off into space, leaving the creatures behind. He turned to Leonore, his heart racing with adrenaline.

“You all right?” he asked, panting.

Leonore nodded, her eyes wide with excitement. “That was amazing, Jarmo. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

Jarmo smiled. “Welcome to the life of an adventurer. It’s never dull, that’s for sure.”

Leonore grinned back at him. “I can’t wait to see what we find next.”

Jarmo chuckled. “Well, let’s take a breather first. We need to regroup and plan our next move.”

They settled into their seats, with Jarmo piloting the spacecraft back towards Earth. They discussed their encounter with the alien creatures, trying to piece together what they had learned.

“They were definitely intelligent,” Jarmo mused. “They were using tactics and working together. And they seemed to be guarding that structure we found.”

Leonore nodded. “It makes you wonder what’s inside that thing. And why it’s so important to them.”

Jarmo stroked his chin, lost in thought. “I don’t know. But I intend to find out.”

They spent the rest of the journey back to Earth planning their next move. They decided to report their findings to the ASTROCOHORS CLUB, but to keep the exact location of the artifact secret. They knew that there were likely other adventurers and treasure hunters out there, and they didn’t want to risk anyone else getting hurt.

When they arrived back on Earth, they headed straight to the ASTROCOHORS CLUB headquarters to report their findings. Jarmo explained the importance of the artifact, and the potential danger posed by the alien creatures guarding it.

The club members were skeptical at first, but Jarmo’s reputation as a seasoned explorer and artifact hunter gave him credibility. They agreed to fund a follow-up mission to study the alien creatures and learn more about the artifact. Jarmo and Leonore were thrilled. They were given a team of scientists and technicians to assist them, and they set out once again towards Mercury.

This time, they were better prepared. They had brought more advanced weaponry and equipment, and they had a team of experts to help them navigate the ruins of Pvallas and study the alien creatures.

As they approached the city, Jarmo felt a familiar sense of excitement and trepidation. But this time, he had a sense of purpose and direction. He and Leonore were working towards a common goal, and he knew that they could accomplish great things together.

They landed their spacecraft on the outskirts of the city and set up a base camp. They spent several days exploring the ruins, taking readings and measurements, and studying the alien creatures from a safe distance.

Finally, they decided to make their move. Jarmo and Leonore led a team of scientists towards the artifact, using their weapons to fend off the creatures that swarmed around them.

They approached the structure cautiously, studying it from every angle. They found a hidden entrance, and Jarmo used his knowledge of ancient languages to decipher the inscription above the door.

“It says ‘Enter at your own risk’,” he said, frowning.

Leonore smiled. “Sounds like an invitation to me.”

Jarmo nodded, his heart racing with excitement. They stepped through the door and into a vast, dark chamber. The walls glowed with an otherworldly light, casting strange shadows across the floor. In the center of the chamber stood the artifact. It was a massive crystal, pulsing with an otherworldly energy. Jarmo approached it cautiously, his hands shaking with excitement. As he reached out to touch the crystal, there was a blinding flash of light. Jarmo was thrown backwards, his body wracked with pain. He cried out, but the sound was drowned out by a deafening roar.

When he opened his eyes, he was no longer in the chamber. He was surrounded by a swirling vortex of light and sound, hurtling through space at incredible speeds. He tried to call out to Leonore, but his voice was lost in the chaos around him. He felt a sense of panic rising within him as he spun out of control, not knowing where he was or what was happening to him.

But then, just as suddenly as it had started, the vortex vanished. Jarmo found himself standing on a rocky planet, surrounded by strange, alien foliage. He looked around, trying to get his bearings, but everything was unfamiliar.

“Jarmo!” a voice called out, and he turned to see Leonore running towards him. “Are you okay?”

Jarmo shook his head, still trying to make sense of what had just happened. “I don’t know what happened. I touched the crystal, and then… everything went crazy.”

Leonore frowned. “We need to find out where we are. Let’s see if we can get a signal to our spacecraft and figure out what happened.”

They made their way through the alien landscape, scanning the skies for any sign of their spacecraft. But there was nothing, just a desolate, rocky wasteland stretching out as far as the eye could see. As they walked, Jarmo felt a growing sense of unease. Everything around him seemed alien and hostile. But he knew that he couldn’t give in to fear. He had to stay focused and figure out what was going on.

They finally managed to get a signal to their spacecraft, and Jarmo was able to access the ship’s logs. He quickly found the record of their journey, and his heart sank as he read what had happened.

“We were transported through some kind of wormhole,” he said, showing the logs to Leonore. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And there’s no way to go back.”

Leonore looked at him, her face full of concern. “What do we do now?”

Jarmo thought for a moment, weighing their options. “We explore. We gather data. We try to find a way home. And we stay alive.”

They spent the next few days exploring the alien planet, gathering samples and data. They encountered strange creatures and bizarre landscapes, and every day brought new challenges and dangers. But they also discovered things that filled them with wonder and awe. They found ancient ruins, full of strange technologies and alien artifacts. They witnessed a supernova, blazing across the sky in a display of otherworldly beauty.

As they explored, Jarmo and Leonore grew closer. They relied on each other for support and comfort, sharing the experience of being lost in a strange and alien world. And as they worked together, they began to develop a plan for getting back home.

They used the data they had gathered to try to locate the wormhole that had transported them to this strange new world. They scoured the planet, scanning for any sign of the anomaly that had brought them there.

And finally, after weeks of searching, they found it. Just like that. A massive, swirling vortex of light and energy, just like the one that had taken them from Mercury. Jarmo and Leonore stood at the edge of the vortex, looking out at the unknown expanse beyond. They knew that there was no guarantee that they would make it back home, but they also knew that they had to try.

Jarmo took Leonore’s hand, and together they stepped through the vortex. They felt a sense of weightlessness, a dizzying sense of motion as they hurtled through space and time. And then, suddenly, they were back on Mercury. Everything seemed to be “just like that”. They stumbled out of the structure, dazed and disoriented. They were met by a team of ASTROCOHORS CLUB members, who rushed to their side.

“What happened?” one of them asked, looking at Jarmo and Leonore with concern.

Jarmo took a deep breath, trying to process everything that had happened. “We found something incredible,” he said, holding up a small, glowing crystal. “It’s a piece of technology from an ancient civilization, far beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.”

The ASTROCOHORS CLUB members looked at the crystal with wonder and amazement, and Jarmo could see the excitement in their eyes. “We have to study this,” one of them said. “We have to figure out what it is and how it works.”

Jarmo nodded, feeling a sense of relief wash over him. He had completed his mission, and he had survived an incredible journey to an alien world. And now, he had a new partner in Leonore, someone he could trust and rely on in even the most dire circumstances.

As they left the site, Jarmo and Leonore walked side by side, looking out at the night sky. “It’s incredible, isn’t it?” Leonore said, pointing up at the stars.

Jarmo smiled, feeling a sense of wonder and awe. “It’s a big universe out there,” he said. “And we’ve only just scratched the surface.”

They walked on, their minds filled with the endless possibilities of what lay beyond. Together, they would continue their quest to explore the mysteries of the universe, knowing that whatever dangers they might face, they had each other to rely on.