I

I am here, I am buried.

But yet again I am whole.

I here the distinctive noise. They are coming.

Do they know I am here? Or are they simply coming to see what happened.

No matter, they will detect me. They will pick me up.

Or will they?
Are they so pressed for time that they would leave me here, the one responsible for the near defeat of their enemy, my enemy, our enemy?

Wait... I am rising.

They have found me.

I am whole.

Mission Commander pushed the main body of the hypersonic spacecraft as fast as it could go, racing toward the ruins. Then; he was there. But he was also too late. The mothership had already reached the ruins, and was beaming up a lot of stuff... crystals... computer systems... a bottle of something... and... an alien?
Could it have been the one who crashed into Eagle Command in the first place?

Mission Commander began to circle around the base, holding his ground againts the aliens. They had stopped beaming stuff up, a began firing up their engines. The mothership turned toward the left, and began to accellerate toward Mission Commander.

Not needing another losing battle, he turned the hypersonic spacecraft and accelerated to sonic speed, causing a shattering break of the sound barrier, headed back toward the battle. He suddenly realized he couldn't do that. The mothership was on his tail, they didn't need another mothership involved in the battle.

Mission Commander turned and began heading away from the battle, passing the surprised mothership, heading back past Eagle Command, and continuing.

Further and further.

Mission Commander continued untill he reached the mountains, the mothership hot on his tail, firing blasts at him. He swerved around a pillar of rock, allowing the next blast to crash into it.

He could head back to the battle if he could lose the mothership in these mountains.

He headed deeper, entering a canyon, then an gigantic underground tunnel that he knew led to an extensive cave system that was more than big enough for the huge spaceships. He knew enough about these tunnels that he could probably get the mothership off his tail.

A laser blast wizzed past his ship, crashing into the wall of the tunnel, the tunnel on that side began to collapse, revealing the entrance to a cavern he had never seen before.

He would have liked to have seen what was in there, but there is no time to do that kind of stuff when you have an alien mothership chasing you into barren tunnel on mars. Instead, he launched a probe from the front of the hypersonic spacecraft.

The probe wizzed back behind both the hypersonic spacecraft and the mothership, into the new cavern.

Mission Commander waited a minute, and the information from the camera on the probe flickered on an lcd screen on the dashboard.

At last some good news! The cavern was loaded with crystals like he had never seen before.

Crystals he would never be able to mine for the good of earth if they did not get out of this mess.

He wizzed into a different tunnel, than another, and another the mothership followed easily, showing surprising agility.

Mission Commander twisted and turned the hypersonic spacecraft, swishing in and out of caverns and tunnels at amazing speed. He was glad for the time he had spent exploring these caves since the original alien threat had dissapeared.

Then, he saw the tunnel that led toward the exit. He prayed he had lost the alien mothership as he broke into hyperspeed through the tunnel and shot into the air, spiraling up into the martian atmosphere, higher and higher.

He did a quick scan of the ground below as he came into a steady orbit. The mothership had found its way out, but did not appear to be following him up into the sky. He came back down, the sides of his ship lit up with intense heat with his re-entry into the atmosphrere.

He headed back down further, headed back toward the battle at alpha. He feared it was all over, and that his pointless excursion had doomed them all.

The aliens had gotton what they wanted anyway.

He hadn't been fast enough, even with the fastest ship in the fleet.

As the ground became closer into view, he saw all wasn't lost, but things weren't looking well. Only the armored drilling unit and the trike remained fighting, battling an incresingly large number of alien ships as more and more of them poured into the battle.

Dragon cruisers... infiltrators... strikers... and the mothership at the battle still hadn't been shot down. The appearence of the infiltrators proved that the motherships had already set up an effective hive. More bad news.

He raced to the ground and began shooting the hypersonic spacecraft's laser at several of the strikers that were assaulting the armored drilling unit.

He was immediatly greeted by retalliatory fire by three infiltrators. His engine sputtered and died, and the spacecraft headed for a crash landing on the ground.

Mission Commander managed an impressive landing for a ship without an engine.

The hypersonic spacecraft hit the sand and slid, soil building up in the front as it slowed to a hault.

He exited the cockpit and headed back to investigate what was wrong with engine, limping because of the crash. Smoke poured out of the back of the ship, although their didn't seem to actually be any damage except for a little bit of damage to the hull.

So what was wrong?

He took a close, hard look.

It appeared that the impact from the blasts had knocked the energy crystals out of their holders. Without power power, the engine couldn't run. He turned back. He didn't know where he could get any crystals right then and there except to walk across the massive, deadly battlefield in search of the ones he had lost.

He didn't have much of a choice.

He took his first steps forward slowly, but then ran forward, darting his head back and forth, keeping his eyes peeled for any crystals just lying around, that had no doubt either fallen from his craft, or some other crashed ship. He though about where he had been when the blast that caused his engine to fail had hit.

He saw some crystals glinting on the ground in front of him. He ran forward.

Then he saw it, an astro lying in a fetal position on the ground, his spacesuit torn, blood on the ground.

He ran over, forgetting about the crystals.

It was miner, lying there bloody on the ground. What had happened to him?

Mission Commander looked him over, and felt his pulse. He was still alive, and miraculously, his helmet was not fractured, so he could breathe.

Despite the own limp he acquired during the crash, he picked up Miner, and began walking back toward the hypersonic spacecraft. He stopped to scootch down and pick up the much needed crystals.

Then, his worst fears came true, a striker spotted them there, and changed its course, shooting energy pulses. The pulses struck the ground around them, creating cracks in the dry soil and knocking Mission Commander to the ground.

Miner fell out of Mission Commander's arms as he tried to pull himself up. The striker arced up into the air, spiraling and preparing to coming back for more shots at the two astronauts.

Meanwhile, back at the exit to the tunnel, the mothership hovered there, the aliens trying to determine where the hypersonic spacecraft had gone, planning their next move.

He has foiled us.