Forever Young: The Counting Stars Series
What the story is about:
Jacob came from the stars and Arius was his home planet. After a violent battle between the people of Arius and the tentacled creatures of Piscibra, the population of Arius was halved. Jacob had to find Amy Trotter, so that she could save his planet. She was their only salvation.
Jacob saw the Earth speed toward him.
He cradled his head between his arms as he braced himself for the impact. The silver, bullet shaped pod landed on the soft beach sand in an explosion of dust. The wind twirled the sand into tendrils and dispersed it into clouds of earth. At an amazing speed the oddly shaped object propelled through the sand, leaving a deep trench behind it. It plunged into a sand dune and Jacob jerked forward against the restraints painfully.
He muttered softly, “This is not good. Not good at all.”
Pushing against the hatch release button, he felt a cool breeze wash over his shoulders together with a steady stream of sand.
The hatch stopped opening with a shudder and Jacob looked up. He looked up into a black night sky with a constellation of stars different from those he was used to. Lifting his hands above his head, he tried to push the hatch up and to the front, but it would not budge.
“Not good at all.”
He took a big gulp of air. The air was not as clean and rich as the atmosphere at home, but after living in a chamber for six months prior to his journey here, his lungs had become accustomed to the less oxygen rich air.
With all his might, he pushed against the hatch again. A flood of sand cascaded down onto his lap, finding its way into his shoes, and then with a screeching noise the hatch opened all the way.
He pushed against the mechanism and released the safety constraints against his chest and across his shoulders. Lifting himself upward awkwardly, he grabbed onto both sides of the opening above his head, and hoisted himself up.
For a moment he sat on top of the pod and looked at the waves rushing toward him in white, luminous foam and then just as quickly it withdrew from him again. The place was desolated and he breathed a sigh of relieve when he saw there were no earthlings to witness his disastrous crash.
He slid down the side of the pod and tried to shake as much of the sand from his trousers as he could. He was not sure what he was going to do with the pod. He could not leave it where it was and it was impossible for him to drag it somewhere safe. For a brief moment he panicked when he realized he did not know how he was going to get home again.
First things first though, and maybe, just maybe, he would be able to fix it. He decided he would have to hide it in the Mangrove Swamp, he could see a short distance away. He pulled first his one arm against his chest and then his other arm, stretching his muscles.
With a grunt he bent down and started to push against the side of the pod in an attempt to first dislodge it from the dune. Effortlessly the pod slid sideways, while Jacob jumped back in surprise. He lifted his hands, palms up, and looked at them quizzically.
Gravity here was supposed to be the same as at home, wasn’t it?
He leaned forward and pushed against the pod. Smoothly the pod started sliding across the beach.
While pushing the pod ahead of him, as it slid like a hot knife through butter across the sand, he considered this might be the reason why the pod crashed. Gravity on this planet was exerting a lesser pull than the Elders of his planet had thought. So instead of landing safely in the pre-planned ravine near his mission objective, the pull of gravity was not strong enough and caused him to crash land instead at a place he was yet to establish.
At the edge of the Mangrove Swamp, he stopped.
He leaned into the pod and pulled out his newly designed rucksack. The rucksack looked exactly like those on this planet, and it had taken a lot of research and design planning, before the Elders were happy with the one he was now lifting through the hatch.
He unzipped the zipper and pulled out the clear spectacles he had to wear while he was here, to help him with his assignment, and to help him navigate his way around this planet.
A quick peek confirmed his water capsules and nutrition pills were safely tucked away in a side pouch of the rucksack. Panic threatened to overwhelm him when he remembered he only had a six-month supply.
He pulled the rucksack onto his back, and then after he pried the hatch closed, he pushed the pod into the murky water. He looked for bubbles, because he was not sure if the hatch was still airtight. He waited for at least ten minutes, watching the spot where the pod disappeared under the water, and when he did not see any air escaping from the pod to the surface of the water, he placed the spectacles on his face. He blinked his eyes a few times, to adjust to the glare.
He touched the frame with his index finger across the top and his thumb around the bottom. It looked as if he was adjusting the glasses on his nose. This took him months of practice, to make it look as if it was a natural action.
In the left lens words appeared.
Mission: Find Amy Trotter.
Touching the frame again, he changed the view to his GPS map locator. A red dot started blinking, which he knew was her location and he estimated he was at least fifty kilometres off course.
He started walking in the direction the map was indicating to be his shortest route, and although at times the map directed him to go through a building, he managed to stay on track.