Sands of Sorra

posted Feb 22, 2016, 7:41 AM by Jean-Paul Tertocha   [ updated Nov 2, 2016, 7:48 AM ]

     Diven Mestersan gazed over the desolate, desert like terrain

outside the northern view plate of his outpost.  Just on the other

side of his lodging, due south, was a dark lush jungle.  The only

difference from a jungle on Earth was the reddish o range tint of

the foliage.  Furthermore some of the plants had a peculiar shape.

The tall ones looking as though they were hands reaching for the

yellowish-white double sun of the planet Earth people called Sorra.

    Slung out in the far reaches of the Milky Way, Sorra was a

prominent interest to Earth's scientists.  This planet had life

forms that is far too advanced for the age of the system. So the

scholars of Earth flocked to the planet to find out why the life

forms were flourishing on a planet with such a young sun.  The

scientists were also eager to find out why the life forms resembled

the Earth's.

    The desert which Diven was gazing at through the view plate was

another fascination for the scientists.  The odd thing about the

barren land was that it ended at an abrupt line.  The jungle then

took over from that spot to cover the rest of the planet.  It

looked as though someone had drawn a line and placed a desert on one

side and a jungle on the other.  The smooth border occurred

completely around the fifty square kilometers the desert area


    Diven and his couple, Vis Linser, were stationed at the southern

tip of the desert.  She was out in the field gathering some data to

bring back.  She was to return with more samples of the desert's

rocky landscape for analysis.  He was beginning t o worry.  Vis was

late in returning from her information gathering trip.  'She could

handle herself pretty well',  Diven thought to himself.  So there is

no need to worry.

   He was wasting time looking out the view plate and daydreaming.

He knew he did this a lot.  However, the desert put him in a

hypnotic state whenever he gazed upon it.  But he had work to do, so

he tore his eyes away from the vision of the wasteland

and began to feed the raw data Vis and himself had gathered the

previous day into the main computer.    They were now studying the

vegetation of the jungle.  The main question being, why the reddish

orange tint of the plant's chlorophyll. How was the process of

photosynthesis carried out in the unusually colored vegetation?

This was an important question since all the jungle plants had a

very shallow root system.  Almost none of the plant's food came from

the bluish brown soil.  The vegetation of the planet sustained life

by gathering the majority of its energy from the planet's double


   A quiet buzz sounded as Diven was still entering the data on the

computer.  He got up from his seat in front of the computers console

and walked quietly to the northern view plate to see what had

aroused the sensor guards.  As he was expecting he caught sight of

Vis gliding a few feet above the desert floor heading towards the


   Her thin form was getting larger as the distance between herself

and the station lessened.  Diven was glad to see her coming.  He was

now wondering what kept her from returning to the outpost on time.

At least she was unharmed, or at least appeared to be.  She probably

had seen a desert animal and stopped to watch it perform some of its

daily routine.  He would soon find out because she was now a few

meters in front of the entrance.

   Another alarm sounded announcing the presence of someone in the

air lock.  Diven softly walked over to the air lock controls to let

Vis into the station.  The inner door slid back and she entered,

putting some of the data gathering equipment down to lessen her

burden.    "What kept you?", Inquired Diven as he gazed at her quiet

beauty.  He always thought how lucky a man he was to be coupled with

such a lovely woman.  Thoughts as these always ran through his mind

when he was with her.  He did not care at all.

   "I found a location that is giving some highly unusual readings,"

she replied adding, "so I stayed a little longer to get more data

for us to analyze."

   This bit of information shocked Diven's mind back into reality

from which it had escaped.  "Where was the reading taken from?", He

asked.     "That's the oddest part about it," started Vis in her

soft cool voice that Diven loved.  "It's exactly in the middle of

the desert.  I don't mean near, I mean dead center. Exactly!"

   Diven cerebrated the statement for a minute.  Then he told Vis to

enter the data she had collected into the main computer.  After the

machine had time to digest all the information, which was only a few

minutes, he and Vis would go over the readouts.

   After the few short minutes it took for Vis to feed the

information into the computer, it began to issue a readout.  The

processed information that came forth was startling.

   It seems that fifteen meters underneath the desert's sand was an

object.  It was in the exact center of the desert. There was not

enough data at this time for the computer to make a guess what it

is.  The same object was sending weak radioactive impulses, as if

they were radio transmissions, at regular intervals.

   This was an unexpected finding.  Questions began to form in

Diven's mind.  What was it?  Where was it from?  And most of all,

who put it there?  It was clear that this was not a natural

phenomenon of the planet.  The dimensions were too exact.  Nothing

appeared random.  The computer verified this.

   The two people from Earth sat for a while attempting to form

answers as to what this object was.  Finally Diven looked up and

noticed the darkness outside, and the single large moon, staring

back at him.  He then realized it must be somewhat late.  He also

noticed he was hungry.  He put his hand gently upon Vis' shoulder

and brought her back into the world from her thoughts.  "It's time to

eat," Diven said abruptly.

   Vis looked up and noticed the darkness and the moon herself.  "It

is, isn't it.  Strange how you can get lost in your thinking," she

said aloud.  "What do you imagine it is Diven," she questioned.

   "Let's eat and get some rest.  We'll worry about it tomorrow,"

said he while pondering the question.

   The daybreak's were always fantastic on Sorra.  It was the one

thing Earth people always remembered when they visited the planet.

The massive yellow white double sun rose majestically over the

horizon each morning casting its white light through the flaxen

purple skies.  Along with this the plants in the jungle opening

their leaves which they closed at night.  And the small weasel like

creatures coming out of their dens looking for breakfast.

   All of this dazzled the minds of the earth people.  "Especially

mine," thought Diven.  He could remember the first daybreak he saw

on the world of Sorra.  They exited him now just as much as did the

first one.  He would never tire of a Sorrian morning.

   Diven heard some noise and turned around to find Vis setting up

the meal plan for their breakfast.  Diven enlarged the view plate as

he always did before he sat down to eat.  He liked to gaze at the

outside landscape as he dined.

    Something was different this morning.  A question kept badgering

his mind.  What is buried under the sands of the desert?  The same

perplexity must have been on Vis' mind because her opening words

were, "What do you think it is Diven, out in the desert I mean? "

"You asked me that last night Vis," replied Diven adding, "and I

still don't know."

   A faint smile spread over his couples face, "I know, but I

thought I would ask again."

   Diven smiled to himself.  He knew she was in as much of a hurry

as he was to find out what was beneath the sand.  "We'll soon find

out, because after breakfast we're going out to dig it up and bring

it back," said Diven.

   "And bring it here," asked Vis with a startled look on her face?"

   "Sure," replied Diven, "we can put it in the sample room, it

can't do us any harm there."

   "If your positive Diven, but I'm afraid of having that thing

sitting in the same place I am in!"

   "Afraid!  We don't even know what it is," exclaimed Diven.

"That's what frightens me,"  Vis blurted out.

   Diven noticed her tone of voice and thought it was time to start

comforting her.  "Oh Vissey," Said Diven softly as he caressed her

face with his hand, "it is probably nothing but a hunk of

radioactive detritus.  Come on and let's get the equipment together

and we'll find out what is below the sands of Sorra."

   The trip to the site was a short one, taking no more than one

half hour.  As Diven looked around the surrounding area he noticed

nothing different from the small area that surrounded the station.

'But it's what is underneath that counts,' Diven thought to himself.

   He fixed his gaze at the point in the sand where the peculiar

readings were coming from.   "Let's start uncovering this thing," he

said to Vis.

   They both had land movers.  Small, but very powerful tools that

worked on the same principle as compressed air shooting out of a

nozzle.  What came out of the front of the land movers was not

compressed air, but a narrowly defined, projected force field.

   The work was quick and soon a huge rectangular object began to

appear from beneath the sand.  By the time they were through they

had uncovered a big metal looking object.  The pair of Earth people

stood spellbound for a few minutes, staring at the silvery object.

   Diven was the first to recover his wits.  "What is a hunk of

shaped metal doing here?"  As soon as he said that he noticed that

the object was not corroded any where on its surface.  Not so much

as a speck.  He also noticed that the exterior of the object had a

bright gleam to it.  As if it had just been polished.

   "Vis, help me get the anti gravity units on this thing," Diven

called out.  It would take many units to lift this object.  He

estimated the weight of it, with some help from his portable

analyzer, to be ten metric tons.  Diven imagined what it would be

like for two people to carry this thing back to camp without the

help of the anti gravity units. Impossible, was his conclusion.

   The trip back to the station was quiet.  Vis had not said a thing

the whole time.  She was now quietly preparing the computer for

analysis of the block.

   Diven sat staring at the thing when he felt a slight buzz in his

head.  At the same time a small light started pulsating in the

corner of the block.  Diven looked over to Vis.  She stood looking

at the item with fear in her eyes. Then it hit Diven!

   Instantly he found himself suspended in outer space.  The shock

of transition was almost overwhelming.  He was facing the direction

of a yellow sun.  Diven slowly felt himself moving towards one of

the planets orbiting the yellow sun.  He felt bodiless.  As though

he was just a set of eyes closing in on the planet.  He soon reached

the surface of the planet, hovering a few meters above the ground.

   The scene was like a page out of Earth's history.  It was misty

in patches along the ground.  Here and there were groups of very

primitive growths.  And then his eyes came across something that

completely startled him.

   It looked like a starship sitting on a barren plain of rock near

a vast ocean of water.  The design of the craft was totally

unfamiliar to Diven.  It had no visible means of propulsion.  It was

just a large spheroid.

    Then he saw something that really startled him.  As Diven began

to come closer to the scene, men, or what appeared to be men, were

busy in some activity.  They had two arms, two legs, and one head.

The only difference between himself and the aliens was height.  They

were at least two and one half meters tall.  Their movements were

sluggish.  As though they were having difficulty moving.  They were

now by the body of water.  Diven suddenly knew what they were doing,

as though it came from hi s own memory.  They were seeding the water

with life forms they had created.

   The scene then suddenly changed to a lush jungle.  By now Diven

knew he was watching the Earth of the very distant past.  In the

jungle he could see a group of simian like creatures foraging for

nourishment.  Off to a distance from this scene he could see the

tall creatures observing the apes.  At this time he knew who they

were.  Just as if he had always known it but temporarily forgot.

   The scenes kept changing.  And with each one he had knowledge of

what was happening as though he knew it all along.  He saw

civilizations rise and fall.  He saw the history of the Earth happen

right before him.

   Diven was back in space now.  He was watching a starship being

launched from Earth.  From his own historical knowledge he knew it

was Pegasus.  The first starship sent out from the Earth to explore

the stars.

   Just as suddenly as he was in space, he found himself back in the

sample room of the outpost.  Vis was sitting where he had seen her

last.  He knew she had witnessed what he just had.  He also knew

that Vis and he could meet their originators when they were ready

to.  He looked over to Vis. With a smile on her face she gave a

slight nod of her head.  Then, in unison, they met their makers..

(c) 2002 Jean-Paul Tertocha