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Alex The Inventor - Chapter 11 (Pt.1)

The Ghosts in the Glass Tunnels

The Ghosts in the Glass Tunnels

Chapters 1 - 10 can be read at:  Deep Sky Stories & Illustrations

Chapter 11 (Part 1) - The Enemy Gathers

Casting back to the previous day of that fateful weekend, as Dr. Kirstt was arriving at Alex's quiet town, not far away, another nightmare creature peered around the sharp corner from its world into Alex's as well. The Weaver Spider from beyond our sky slowly unfolded its one large Cyclops eye.

The Weaver rested quietly that day, hidden safely within the maze of the junkyard that it had landed in the night before. The Spider was a very patient creature, and besides, the tunnels were exactly where they were supposed to be. There was no need to hurry now. Construction of the machine could begin under the cover of the approaching night. For the time being though, the Weaver remained curled up in a large, tight ball, slowly acclimatizing itself to the new planet it was now on.

Despite the heavier pull of gravity on its body, the large arachnid robot was able to compensate for it by diverting a greater percentage of its energy resources to its heart pump. The increased hydraulic fluid pressure strengthened its long, jointed iron legs enough for them to again support the Weaver's heavier weight, but the trade-off was a decrease in its walking speed. The result was that, as the bear-sized creature unfolded its long legs that evening to begin weaving the machine that it had come down to build, it moved with slow, long-legged gracefulness.

Chuff...ssst - chuff...ssst - chuff, its long, talon-shaped legs hissed as they carried the purposeful-thinking Spider step by ponderous step toward the only spot in the scrapyard which mattered to it; that place was the crater wherein the Glass Tunnels lay. A pale autumn moon rose and shone dimly down on the monster as it entered the clearing where Alex and Big Ben had rested two days before. There it paused, either out of an animal's caution of open spaces, or perhaps because of an insubstantial feeling that Big Ben, the other monster, had only recently been there as well.

But they were, of course, only machines, were they not?

Nevertheless, the Spider tensely scanned its surroundings and the darkness ahead before proceeding across the clearing and toward its ultimate goal. When it finally reached the deep crater well, the iron monster paused once more near the edge of the shear drop-off and tested one of its special abilities.

Articulating linkages and gears rattled and clicked inside the Spider's metal body and up on its back a round, iris-hatch with sliding steel shutter leafs dilated slowly open. Powerful lung-pumps deep inside the creature then started sucking in large gulps of air through the aperture. The air was refined into a much denser form of itself and then was blown back out of the Spiders mouth as a semi-gelatinous 'Air-Gel' substance.

Satisfied that it could produce the insulating and semi-fluid Air-Gel, the Weaver immediately climbed over the lip of the large, deep crater, then descended down into the hollow blackness below. Loose earth shifted and crumbled beneath the stabbing steel points of the Spider's eight powerful signpost legs. Down, down it steadily crawled until it was lost from the last gray threads of moonlight, in the damp shadows far below.

It made not a sound, but if anyone had chanced to wander down to the silent scrapyard later that night and had been patient enough to wait by the edge of the crater, he would have seen a very strange sight. Peering down into the deep, dark well, our unnamed friend would see the stars beginning to come out. One, two, three, and gradually an uncountable number of gleaming Milky Way points of light would soon be noticed winking in an almost natural fashion far below.

One striking difference between these tiny stars and those true ones light-years away was that the ones down in the well were of a lively bright blue colour. If one became too enchanted by this sight and stared too long, down at the ever-brightening well of pin-point stars, all sense of the sky above and earth below would soon be lost.

Was that all? No, definitely not, for something would soon be seen moving slowly in and among all those Milky Way stars far below; something black, thick and heavy with a simple purpose in mind. And as the Spider crawled and weaved the glittering thread from its spinneret with slow, almost loving care, it climbed higher and nearer again toward the lip of the wide, deep crater. It was this same crater which only a week before had been just another mound of trash that had safely concealed Teresa Vasquez, Rainah, and the huge Biosphere Vessel.

With their escape to Mars however, they unknowingly opened up the lid to a treasure which the Others had spent the last several years searching for as well as the Martian ship. It was, for them, a jewel of such unmatched value that all their efforts would now build toward completing it. What the treasure—the jewel actually was going to be when completed, was a machine with most unusual and frightful qualities.

Another one of their kind had begun creating the machine that the Others required, ten thousand years before, but then abruptly ceased further contact with them soon after the ice-age befell them on Mars. Not long after that, their H.I.V.E. Network collapsed because of the natural disaster and they were forced into long hibernation.

Now that they were awake and stronger in numbers again, the Others sought to finish building their long-lost treasure with the same methodical steps which the Weaver took deep down in the large, brightly glittering well. The Flies chuckled dry, wicked chuckles among themselves, far away in the HIVE Network. Something horrible was and would be coming very, very soon. And the Spider patiently spun on, weaving its entrancing web, slowly drawing nearer to the lip of the crater while the crackling glow grew brighter and brighter. 

Next: Chapter 11 (Part 2)—Deep Trouble...

While the Spider weaves its way to finishing the ominous machine, Dart the Dragonfly struggles in the trap he is tangled in, and with the awful truth that no one is searching for him. Meanwhile, Mr. Chater is having misgivings and hopes that a certain old friend is not looking for him at all!

 As of 2018-04-30, chapters 1-11 can be read at:  Deepskystories.com

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Alex The Inventor - Chapter 11 (Pt.1)
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