´´ It is the 16.03.2029, 14.30 spacetime. Spaceshuttle ``Neo Geo" is about to enter the orbit of Pluto." Lt. Sams spoke in a calm and low voice. She knew what was going to happen when the shuttle entered the orbit but she tried not to think about it. First there were other priorities. Entering the orbit had to be carried out perfectly and a loss of fuel by unwanted track deviation had to be avoided. She switched on two levers, the brakepropulsion started to work. Lt. Sams continued to speak into the logbook. ``Brakes on, in a short time we are going to enter the second orbit around the internal stratosphere." She waited a few seconds and threw the two levers back again and from now on the computer did the rest. She opened the channel of the internal communication. " We have just reached Pluto`s orbit. I`m glad that everything works so well. I hope that everything will go on this way. In two hours, we will have a meeting. All of you should take a rest. I will also try to get some sleep." She checked the functioning of the computer and left the room.
"Good afternoon! All of you know why I am here or better say why we have gathered here." She did not know if that was a good beginning but nobody was able to imagine what she was going to tell them now. "What does that mean?" Dr. Alan Potters, expert of archaeology and botany looked surprised at her. "It is clear why we are on the trip to Pluto, we ..." He was interrupted by Lt. Sams. "Be quiet please and let me explain." She waited until everyone was ready to listen to her. "Until now you have been informed that you are in one of the most modern spaceshuttles. Although the political crisis is getting worse every day our government has been able to start a space shuttle project which has the task to explore the last unknown planet Pluto. As all of you know, we are regarded as a model project which should provide human community beyond political war and fear of atomic apocalypses. Unfortunately this is not in line with the real objective of this expedition. It is such an important order that our government regarded it their duty to inform you about the real mission when we are out of reach of terrestrial radio waves. They wanted to be sure that you are not able to inform anybody about what I am going to tell you now." "Does that mean that we are not going to look for raw materials on Pluto?!" Paula Scrams, microbiologist with a Harvard diploma looked incredulously at Lt. Sams. "What is so important that you have to conceil it in that way ? Did you find Elvis on Pluto?" Dr. Potters seemed to get angry. "Confidential enough to be put into a 3 billion dollar spaceship but not confidential enough to tell us the reason for this mission." In a gesture of indignation Colonel Hawkins, army officer and space technician, threw his documents on the table. "Once more I ask you to be quiet." Lt. Sams tried almost in vain to calm down her crew. She understood the trouble only too good. She would have reacted in the same way , but it was not her task to feel pity for them but to tell them the real reason for their mission, "What I am going to explain to you will probably confuse you and I hope it will eliminate your misunderstanding of the information they gave you." "I
am looking forward to it" said Dr. Susan Matthews and rubbed her eyes. She obviously had not slept enough during the last four days since the approach of Pluto.
"You surely remember that we shot up the exploration probe in space which had the task to examine the depths of the universe and especially Pluto. With the help of the actual technology of that time the probe reached Pluto eight years later. On 24.8.2017 the probe was in the internal orbit of Pluto and took photos of nearly the whole surface. Two years later, they began to analyse the photographies. One of the NASA-employees discovered some strange-looking stone figures and wanted to see them more closely. As a consequence of that the probe Galileo 3 was sent to this strange part of Pluto again and took further photos. The result was amazing. I think you will be as stunned as the NASA-scientist. " After she had said this she activated the crystal-screen and they all saw the close-up of a mountain range and a valley in the middle of it. "Unbelievable!" "A photo-montage?" "That is absolutely impossible!" Dr. Potters was not able to hide the tremble in his voice. Colonel Trip got up, went to the screen, looked at the object on it for a certain time, turned back to Lt. Sams and asked "What´s that?"
Their amazement was understandable, nearly forseeable because what they saw on the screen passed the boundaries of human imagination. In the middle of the valley, surrounded by four monoliths a kind of temple could be seen. Undoubtedly created by an intelligent race. Pluto, the coldest planet of our solar system where it is never warmer than -80 ° C, and on this planet men found evidence of an extraterrestrial civilzation? "I would be glad if I were able to tell you what it is but I am not able to do so. But you can be satisfied because it is your task to find out what it really is." She distributed information folders among them. "Now we are going to discuss about our further procedure."
The shuttle came near the mysterious valley with a thin guiding ray. Temperatures up to –140 C° are surely not useful for the human body. That was the reason why all group members wore these strange protective suits.
"What could it be?" Paula Scrams looked confused at the photo in her hand which showed a stone formation.
"Perhaps just outskirts of old extra-terrestrials who left our solar system some millennium ago."
"It is surely impossible that with these temperatures life can exist."
"No", Paula looked into the room as if she was disappointed at her science. "That contradicts everything, from Darwin to Einstein." It seemed that not everybody understood her joke.
Suddenly Lt. Sams looked frightened.
"They are within sight. We have contact."
There was silence in the Anti-Gravitation-Chamber. Nobody used the radio-connection which was installed in every protective suit. Lt. Sams turned a small lever. The sunshades opened and a thin ray of light from the far away sun "sol" reached their spaceship. There was disappointment in everybody´s face. Only darkness, there was nothing but black, cold darkness.
"No, it is impossible that life can develop in this darkness. There is no theory that human beings can exist in the dark." At the age of 30, Dr. Susan Matthews had more experience of life than any other member of the team. Suspiciously, she also looked at the photo in her hand.
"If it is no human being...what could it be?!"
Colonel Hawkins tried to detect something in the black darkness outside, in front of them.
"Perhaps they were the Atlants?"
"The Atlants?! What do you mean? You are kidding! Are you serious!?" Dr. Alan Potters looked with indignation at Colonel Hawkins.
"Well, I am convinced of these arguments."
"Please don`t. Gullible people can be attracted by a sect with these theses. There is no scientific proof of the existence of Atlants".
"Please keep quiet, you can quarrel when our mission is finished. We have to see what the secret of the mysterious temple is. I put the searchlight on. I think we can have a first look at the building."
There was extreme tension in the spaceshuttle. A soft click, and the floodlights started to work. There was glaring light and for a moment nobody could see anything. After a few seconds of blindness their sensitive eyes recognized some mountains and a valley. At the end they really saw the unbelievable temple.
Nobody was able to say a word. The shorter the distance, the more unbelievable were the details they saw. There seemed to be two stone figures which marked the temple entrance. Lots of concentrically arranged paths, which seemed to come from nowhere and all led to the temple. This temple had been created with incredible forms, the dome-shaped roof, 4 ascents which led to the roof, the monolith-system between the paths. Above all this, 4 large monoliths full of details, which bordered the temple.
"...unbelievable" words failed Dr. Potters.
"This will go down in history" Paula Scrams could not conceal her emotion.
"...I never, never expected this."
"What will we find there?"
"We can find it out soon. We are about to disembark. Please get ready and check your oxigene provisions once more." Lt.Sams´ voice sounded strange but nobody suspected something. With a muffled noise the spaceship put on the landing-axes on Pluto.
Maybe it was the first noise heard on Pluto for thousands or even millions of years.
A small hatch on the side of the ship opened and five strange looking figures got ready to enter the mysterious temple.
"Remain in permanent radio-contact and always think of traps that will probably exist."
"Traps?? Rik, do you really think that someone constructs a temple just to perforate extraplutoistic visitors with cheap wooden arrows??"
Colonel Trip had already frequently been conspicuous by using his vicous sarcasm. Nobody thought he was competent enough to take part in this mission but he had an outstanding knowledge of repairing a spaceship in case of emergency and that was the only reason for his presence.
"Trip, I ask you to keep within reasonable limits. We have to do with something strange."
As always Dr. Susan Matthews had the function of a peacemaker..
"I almost cannot hide this strain inside of me. Stop quarrelling and let us elicit the mysterious secret of the temple."
This sentence seemed to be taken from a cheap adventure movie but it considerably defused the tense situation between the members of the team.
10 minutes later they arrived at the entrance of the stony temple which was as big as two piled up elephants. Due to the low gravity it would have been possible for the team members to float to the ceiling of the portal with a small jump. But Lt. Sams was not keen on such silly games. They switched on the floodlights which were installed in their spacesuits and shone carefully along the way in front of them.
The outside the temple seemed very detailed and decorated and almost in the same way it seemed plain or better to say naked inside. There were neither mural paintings nor hieroglyphs; neither monoliths nor small statues.
The only thing they saw was a long tunnel leading into the underground of Pluto and whose walls did not seem to be made out of bricks but to be made out of one piece of stone.
"What will we have to expect??"
"The cradle of humanity??" Colonell Trip seemed to be shy in a special way.
"Trip, I ask you once more to ..." Dr. Potter would have loved to start a quarrel but he remembered Lt. Sams rebuke.
"Calm down, I suggest we divide into two groups, thus we are safe."
So they slowly and carefully entered the long tunnel and they set off step by step, always hoping for the invisible aim, the end of the tunnel. It was 500 metres when they reached an eliptic room with a little metal shield in its centre. In the centre of the shield was the reprint of a non-human hand. It was a reprint with only 3 fingers.
"It could be some kind of technology. Perhaps you only have to touch this reprint to get a certain mechanism going."
Since entering the temple it was the first time that Trip stepped in.
"Please be careful." Lt. Sams tried almost in vain, to put the group in their place.
"Maybe we should examine this metal shield first and search for hidden levers on the walls?"
"All or nothing, there is only one way to find out what it is, we`re in now!"
"Pardon, do you seriously want to push any buttons in this unknown temple without knowing their real functions?"
"We have already discussed about that! If someone built a trap so that every 10000 year someone would be caught in it he or she earns my whole respect." With these words Trip moved forward and touched the metalshield. Suddenly all the teammembers had the same thought. Trip has been the unknown factor which has always caused confusion since their start with the shuttle. It was Trip who did not fit into the causal connection of the team. All of them were linked to each other, except Trip. It was not the temple or the mission which has caused the tension within the team, no it was Trip! While these thoughts were running in their heads the room around them suddenly disappeared. The walls blurred and instead of the black ground now a green, large field could be seen. Slowly the walls disappeared completely and the deceptive picture became more and more clear. There was a mountain, a small lake and a utopian looking city. Where were they?
"We have been transported to another planet" Paula seemed so get hysterical. Then an inhuman creature came out of the background. It had only three fingers at every hand, like the reprint on the sheet. "Caution!" Ll. Sams took up her weapon. She tried to jump behind a big stone which had suddenly been beside her. One heard a hollow bang. "Rik, what has happened?" Rik Sams lay in the middle of the field and with her hands she groped for the sky. "It is ... it is ... a wall!" Trip turned round, he lay at the same place where the platform had had its place before. He suddenly recognized what he had started. "This is only a hologram, a kind of 3-D cinema."
The others looked around.
All seemed very real, although one was able to create tridimensional holography on earth human technique wasn’t advanced enough to create such realistic worlds.
Potters looked at Trip: "You’re crazy Hawkins, this could also have caused an explosion or the closing of this room; we were lucky, it was irresponsible to take us into this danger!"
Trip showed no reaction, he just looked at the alien which was still standing in the middle of the room and moved his arms.
Now the others saw it too.
"Trip, this will have consequences, you’ll have to account for your actions by facing a court-martial, but first we have to fulfil our mission." Lt. Sams spoke calmly, almost as if a bad presentiment had not happened.
"Where could the place be, projected here ?" Paula looked through the peaceful atmosphere.
"I’ve never seen those plants before, this can’t be earth, even 10000 years ago these plants did not exist."
Rik looked into the distance.
"Then we would also have found the rests of those gigantic houses in the backround"
Some Alienshuttles flew across their heads, and suddenly everything was moving.
"What’s happening now ?"
Alan turned around, "Perhaps the camera that filmed all this is following the Alienshuttles now, flying right to the cities."
"I have never seen anything like that before"
"You can believe me Paula, if our science does not pass through a gigantic progress during the next years, you won’t see something like this again, enjoy it."
The camera flew across some mountains and valleys, and arrived at a big city.
They flew through some alleys, hovered above houses, passed long towers.
And they could always observe the creatures of this world sitting in these houses, walking down the streets, playing with smaller creatures, maybe their children.
It was a perfect idyll.
Suddenly, from one second to the other, the picture around them changed.
Now they were on a big field.
The atmosphere had changed into dark.
"What happens now" Paula’s question seemed to be senseless.
Then some Spaceshuttles crossed the field. They began to destroy the buildings on the ground.
Next the soldiers on the ground attacked, and some spaceshuttles were destroyed.
The scene changed again.
One saw some aliens, they seemed to argue and to fight, combatting spaceshuttles, explosions, fire and destruction in the background.
"This is a war" Alan said. It was what the others thought.
"But not between two races, these are creatures of the same species"
"Like on earth" no one showed any reaction to Susan’s comment.
The pictures changed faster, war, anger, fire, destruction, until everything got dark.
The picture cleared up, and one could see a planet floating in space.
Some seconds passed, then, the planet exploded.
Paula screamed. Those pictures of war, combined with the explosion of the planet were straining her nerves too much. She collapsed. Allan and Susan helped her.
The others realized that there were parallels to their earth. They all came from earth. That very earth which had gone through the 3rd World War 20 years ago. That very earth where the fear of a new war was going around, brother against brother, father against son.
Everybody had repressed these facts in his subconscience. In this silence the whole team realized what it meant to wage war against each other.
"Will this also be our end?" They returned to the shuttle. They were not able to find out where these strange creatures had come from. The team was not able to find out either if these were the last survivors of this catastrophe of witnesses of time from another race. But they did not care about it. They had learned. They knew now where their own boundaries were. But now, the whole team knew that they had a new mission. They had to deliver a message, they had to prevent the whole mankind from its destiny.
English LK HHG13B, 1999