Carpathia III: Episode 146: Last Ride
The air smelled of burned vegetation and molten metal as the others slowly picked themselves off the ground and surveyed their surroundings again. The portal was gone and their only company appeared to be swaying trees and singing birds. Artemis sniffled and whimpered mournfully with Azrael by his side. With the final threat gone, Adell ran to him.
Kaoru: We didn't consider that, but at least we all made it okay.
Quilyon wrapped her hands around her body and rubbed her arms vigorously.
Quilyon: Brr... It's really cold here. We should start a fire.
This time, it wasn't difficult to find wood and grass for a fire, for it was all around them. In short order, they had a nice fire going. With that out of the way, thoughts turned to communication. Kaoru pulled out his phone, still missing a sizeable chunk from where Quilyon shot it. After pressing some buttons, it was clear that his phone was useless for communicating, as he had feared.
Kaoru: We should try to call someone. My phone is dead.
Jaze: Wishmaster took my phone. All I have is a camera.
Adell: I left mine in the palace.
Toma: Brutus took mine.
Ryuu: I've never had one.
All eyes turned to Artemis, still sobbing over Phobos.
Artemis: I hate phones. Never had one.
A long pause hung in the air as comprehension dawned on all of them.
Kaoru: Now what do we do?
Adell: We didn't think of this! We could be on the other side of the planet for all we know.
As panic began to set in, Artemis wiped his eyes and grabbed his computer.
Artemis: Calm down, nitwits. I can take care of this.
Artemis opened his computer and tapped at the screen.
Artemis: No signal. That means we're at least in a remote area. Only one thing left to do.
After placing Phobos gently on the ground, Artemis reached into his backpack and pulled out a cable and plugged one end into his computer. Then, with great care, as though he were performing delicate surgery on his own child, he slid the other end of the cable into Phobos's neck.
Artemis: I'm going to use Phobos as a transmitter. The problem is that without his power core, he will suck my computer battery dry in less than ten minutes. I'm going to make sure I have everything set up first.
The others watched as Artemis worked his computer, tapping the screen and pushing buttons to the point where it was all a blur to anyone watching. Finally, he stopped, but nothing appeared to happen yet.
Artemis: Okay, I need a phone number. Who should I call?
Jaze, Adell, Kaoru, and Toma all glanced around at each other stupidly.
Jaze: Um... numbers? All mine were in my phone.
Kaoru: Same. I don't have any memorized or anything. My contact list got scrambled somehow.
Artemis slapped his hand to his forehead and rubbed it.
Artemis: Did any of you twits memorize your own phone numbers?
Adell grimaced and put his hands on his hips.
Adell: Did you?
Artemis scrunched up his face and made several incomprehensible noises.
Artemis: Oh, shut up. I'll just dial the emergency number.
Artemis tapped the Carpathian emergency number into his keyboard. With all preparations complete, Artemis shunted the laptop power into Phobos. Though Phobos didn't come to life, some of his bits started glowing blue. The transmitter indicator on his screen suddenly rose to maximum and Artemis sent the emergency number through. The others watched and waited with nervous anticipation. Suddenly, they were greeted by a very grumpy female voice.
Carpathian Emercency Services. What is the nature of your emergency?
It was only a voice coming from the computer, but that was enough to send ripples of relief through all listening. Artemis leaned forward and spoke excitedly into the microphone.
Artemis: Yes, my name is Artemis Leingod. I'm here with sixteen others and we are lost. We need a rescue shuttle.
Yes sir, I understand. I will... Did you say "Artemis Leingod?"
Artemis blinked a few times, wondering why she hesitated. He didn't think he was famous.
Son of Dr. Lianne Leingod?
Now Artemis was becoming annoyed. They did not have much time left before his computer ran out of battery and his response became more gruff.
Artemis: I AM NOT DEAD!!!
It is a criminal offense to use the Carpathian Emergency System for non-emergencies.
Artemis: Now listen, you...
Before Artemis could say more, he was shoved out of the way by a very impatient Kagurain.
Kagurain: I am Kagurain Rahotep Leonar, son of the great leader, Lord Lynx Leonar! I will have you answer to my father for this!
Adell dragged a very recalcitrant and strongly protesting Kagurain away from the computer so that Artemis could continue.
Artemis: Look, we don't have time for this! My batteries are running out. We don't know where we are. Just lock onto my transmission source and send a shuttle!
This is clearly a prank. If you continue to abuse...
A pause washed over the line and Artemis instinctively checked to see if he'd lost the transmission. Everything seemed to be working fine.
I understand. Transferring now.
Another pause, and suddenly a much more pleasant voice came over the speaker.
My apologies. I am the supervisor. Please state the nature of your emergency.
Artemis took a quick, deep breath and hoped he'd have better luck with this one.
Artemis: I am Artemis Leingod and I am here with sixteen others. We are lost. Please lock onto the source of my transmission and send a rescue shuttle. I will not have the power to transmit much longer.
I understand. Locking on now.
The others exhaled, as this was what they wanted to hear from the beginning.
Wow, according to this, you are on the other side of the planet! Are any of you injured?
Artemis: Mostly bumps and bruises, and we do have a young lady who is pregnant.
I understand. We can have a shuttle reach you in about an hour. Will that be sufficient?
Artemis: That's fine. We'll wait here. I'm afraid I have less than thirty seconds of battery left, so we will not be able to receive any more messages.
I understand. Just stay where you are. We are coming.
Just before the battery died, it was clear that the supervisor did not end the transmission and they heard something that they guessed they were not meant to hear.
Agnes, please come to my office now.
And then the battery was dead. All that was left do was wait.
An hour passed and they were now waiting in gleeful anticipation of the shuttle. They neglected, however, to explain to the Yserians exactly what this shuttle might look like and were startled when they hear Quilyon scream and cock her gun.
Kaoru came running first and looked to the sky in the direction Quilyon's gun was pointing. Right away, he put his hand on the barrel and eased it down.
Kaoru: It's okay. That's the shuttle.
Kaoru began explaining the concept of a shuttle. As the others happily watched and waved at the shuttle circle around for a landing, Jaze pulled Oliver aside.
Jaze: Everything's going to be okay. They'll ask questions, so answer honestly. Remember, that we don't know for sure where you're from, so if anyone asks about your home or parents, just say "I don't know." Okay?
Everyone backed away, leaving the shuttle enough space to land. Finally, it touched down and engines slowed to idle.
A door on the side of the shuttle opened and from there emerged the glorious sight of a Carpathian fleet officer.
Officer: So there really are people out here. I am Lieutenant Binh Pham. There's sixteen of you, correct?
Adell stepped forward.
Adell: That's right.
Binh: Good. One more question before we embark, and then we can take care of the rest along the way. We did not detect any crashed ships in the area. How did you get here?
Adell scratched the back of his neck nervously.
Adell: Um... That's a really, really long story. We don't have a ship, but we just got here from another planet and...
Binh's eyes widened and he held up his hand, cutting Adell off.
Binh: Another planet? Aw, jeez, seriously?
Adell winced in surprise while Binh took out a communicator.
Binh: Base, we're going to need a decontamination team out here right away. Also, please prep the decontamination facility for eighteen people.
Binh mumbled as he shoved his communicator back into his jacket.
Binh: Dammit, I took a terrestrial assignment so that I could avoid going through decontamination all the time.
Forcing a smile through pursed lips, Binh turned his attention back to the group.
Binh: Sorry about that. Please step onboard. You can stash your belongings in the hold inside the door. There's a staircase to the seating area in the rear of the shuttle.
Carpathia III: Crystal Shards
Epilogue to follow
All city pictures from SimCity 4