Prometheus: Afterburn

"Pigeons"

Author's note: Prometheus: Afterburn1, chapter 24(twenty-four) is the fourth installment of the Prometheus: Aftermath AU story arc, and starts a new series. The title "Afterburn", denotes-coming events after the trickery that David8 (Sergeant Thorn) & scientist Elizabeth Shaw (Elizabeth David) used to deceived the authorities on Pluto into thinking that they were on a secret mission to the military space juggernaut, the Archimedes. I hope to continue the series with more conspiracy implication, more mystery, more action, and, of course, more intrigue into the secret agenda of Peter Weyland. Adventures are yet to come, and even a bit of revenge too. I hope you stick around, Z.

Author's second note: Hello Xahraxs, I'm happy to get your comments on #23(twenty-three), the chapter prior to this one, and as you can see, Liz and David will not be continuing to Earth, or Mars for that matter (for the betterment of humanity in the universe) they have chosen to head back into that dark void of cosmic nothingness, also known as the blankness of space, (Thank God Elizabeth Shaw understandings how the cosmos works). In the meantime they need to figure out how to get rid of the six pods of cosmic goo, (which was introduced in the movie) the thick, black substance aboard the Gylor.

David 8, I am glad that you are enjoying the plotline, and the feel of the story. I hope that you continue to stay tuned, and my apologies for the errors, I do hope to get better. Also, I am introducing a new character in this story, one, David Clay Weyland…. That's all I'll say for now :).

Thanks to you both for your comments, Z

*************************** Pigeons *******************************

"So Commander, what are we to do?" the android David8 was asking Elizabeth Shaw…. scientist/archeologist aboard the space vessel Gylor.

Elizabeth was taking stock of the situation. They had, only moments prior, received an SOS from a small world known as Greys Sparrow, a tiny moon which orbited the planet Gliese 581-k. someone was in need of help, and the Gylor seemed to be the only vessel within barking distance of that distress call.

"I don't know David? I am not sure how to responding to a rescue request as such? I'm not sure what to do?"

Elizabeth was indecisive for the moment. Yes, Greys Sparrow was not your typical inhabitable world. Yet, in the vastness of a mostly unexplored cosmos, there were few planets that were. Gliese 581-k was not a foreseeable route to be taken by the Gylor. It was an adverse route programed into the ship by David8 on their way back to Eden.

The android again had taken measures to elude anyone that might be on their trail. He had used means that were deceptive for anyone that would be following the renegade craft. Months had gone by, yet at first David had programed the ship to seem as if it were on a direct course towards the Archimedes, a "Raven" protector outside Earth's solar system. Since that time the Gylor had taken an alternate route, a trail leading away from the military vessel.

The android was beyond smart; Elizabeth Shaw never realized the depth of intelligence the synthetic being truly was programed to have (or how much he loved her). The robot would forfeit his soul, if he had one, a million times over to be with the archeologist! He would burn in hell a thousand times for his love! Should any attempt to locate the Gylor by ping, or penetration of the ship's trajectory log, a retuning deceptive signal would be launched. The resulting response would generate a false location. The robot was satisfied with his ability to predict SMAs (standard methods of acquisition) used by the military. He was well aware of current tracking methods.

Greys Sparrow, was not a stopping point on Elizabeth Shaw, or David8's agenda. The small moon of Gliese 581-k somewhat resemble Earth's own lunar satellite. The archeologist was shocked that there would be anything living found walking upon its surface?

Maybe it was some deep space probe or maybe, some exploratory craft which had ventured out far past the explored universe's safety parameter? Peter Weyland wasn't the only man with a quest for exploring the universe, he had competitors. Had science, in the years she'd been away from Earth…. progressed to the point where space travel had become a literal walk to the park? Elizabeth Shaw doubted that to be the true, yet space exploration could have advanced to a degree where others were looking to make claims over a cosmos filled with riches. Weyland was a billionaire many times over, but he wasn't the only one. Humanities' venture into space reminded her of the frontier gold rush in North America during the mid to late 1800's, where the west coast was literally saturated with prospectors.

Any man with a pickaxe seemed to have had a desire to venture westwards; towards the setting sun ….in hopes of panning for his fortune. All those pilgrims headed to California, Washington State and Oregon, with the idea of becoming wealthy. They had staked claims on every hillside; riverbank, and stream, every trickle of water that, at its boundary, ended at the Pacific Ocean. The mountains were literally washed away with humanity's insatiable quest for gold.

Maybe settlers had come to this world with the idea of posting a claim? Or, maybe it was the crew of some wealthy, planet grabbing mogul, sent out here to make claims for him on some fresh, un- prospected world….a place that had tested positive for riches, a place where he desired sole possession? Elizabeth was becoming nauseous with the greed of some of humanities' inhabitants.

Ironic wasn't it, she thought, how everything that had ever existed on her home world now carried a price tag, well, almost. The air was still free, however, that would have carried a tax attached to it also if it had not been for the law of 2052, where Congressional Parliament made it illegal for the people of earth to be charged to breathe our own planet's oxygen. Still, there were those who sought to get rich by making people pay to gulp in every lung full of good, uncontaminated earthly O2.

Parliament had stopped the taxation of breathable air. Big Brother had not been allowed to tax the people of our home planet, but there were hefty tariffs to pay for the atmospheric processors on Mars and Pluto. Every breath-full of clean oxygen on those cold, alien worlds cost a pretty penny.

Anyway, this range of thoughts had nothing to do with the situation Elizabeth and David now found themselves in, there was still the question, should they make ready for a rescue, or should they look the other way?

"I am reminded of the Carpathia," David8 spoke while studying the scientist's face.

"What…..." Elizabeth questioned?

"The Carpathia," the robot answered, "the ship which came to the rescue of all those floating souls during the Titanic disaster. You do know the story of the Titanic, don't you Commander?"

Of course she knew of the Titanic, the unsinkable ship that sank in the icy north Atlantic in the early twentieth century, and she was also smart enough to know that this was the android's way of telling her that they should do the right thing, investigate this SOS. These were folk that were in distress….

"Set a course for Gliese 581-k, Greys Sparrow," she told the robot, "Let's go help these people."

************************* meet & greet *************************

A man stood at the top of the loading ramp, arms folded across his chest, feet apart… like a statue. He was dressed in a solid dark cover-suit. His expression was tranquil, calm. He had the confidence of someone who knew what they wanted, and what they were doing.

The rest of his crew had already exited his vessel, the Rendlesham. Bishop stood there awaiting the activity in the bay area of the Archimedes to settle a down a bit. There were military personnel rushing about to and fro, the android had no desire to be hustled into that confusion. He had the situation well in hand, he was in control. A military sergeant approached him and saluted.

"Commander Bishop, if you will follow me sir we'll head over to the conference chamber."

"Are you in authority here?" Bishop spoke, not changing one breathe his posture.

"No sir, that would be Science Officer Clay," the sergeant responded.

"Then I'll wait until he comes to address me," the android spoke.

The sergeant looked a mite irritated, yet he again saluted, turned and exited the ramp.

"Pigeons," was a final expressed word that exited from the sergeant's mouth…. Bishop understood that it had meaning; he just wasn't sure what it was?

In seven minutes another man approached. He was an older gentleman dressed in light blue coveralls. Bishop's eyes widened at the recognition of the man standing before him.

"David?"

The man extended his hand.

"Yes, David Clay, Chief Officer of Peter Weyland's science team here on the Archimedes. You want answers Commander Bishop; I'll see that you get them. Now, sir, if you'll follow me to the conference room."

************************* Clay's Pigeons *************************

Bishop sat at a table studying the man across from him. Each had been supplied a cup of coffee, but neither had taken a sip. The room was white, and brightly lit, and bare of any furniture but a table and the two chairs they now occupied, also, there was only one other person in the room, a guard standing in relaxed posture at the door. The atmosphere reminded Bishop of an interrogation.

"So, Commander, what is it that you want to know," Clay asked?

"Well, first of all, I've seen pictures. You resemble someone I know."

The Science Officer looked at him….

"That would be Peter Weyland, my parent…."

This did not surprise Bishop at all. He knew the man over his creation had offspring. He, only months prior, had been sent to rescue one of the girls (Meredith Vickers) from the moon off of LV-223, also, he'd just arrived with her twin, Elaine, in the very craft that now was docked in the cargo area.

Something that did elevate his thoughts, was that he was unaware if he was speaking to the actual son of Peter Weyland, or was this just an android, a crafted model like himself?

"….We maintain a correspondence, but I'm afraid that I don't see him much, haven't seen him for years," Clay stopped to view the expression on the android's face. It remained as cold and blank as it had been at their first meeting.

"Your sister…." Bishop began to question….

"Yes, Elaine, a family reunion, can't say that it was a pleasant one, but we did reassert boundaries. I'm afraid that the offspring of our patriarch isn't that of a close family. She is into her own thing, as well as I'm into mine. Our sister too, Meredith, seems miles from connecting with her siblings, the natural course of having such a well-known and wealthy a father I assume. Also, I have no idea where Meredith is at the moment?"

Bishop was familiar with the David8 series. Clay resembled the android model, or rather, it resembled him, only he seemed a bit older. At that moment the man reached over and grasped his cup, he took a sip of coffee.

So! The man can drink! The thought rushed through Bishop's brain sensors. That proves nothing; Bishop was a prototype, first of his kind. To the untrained eye he seemed like anyone else, still, he had flaws, what his creator called "kinks" in his system, but they were working on engineering those out. Eating food and beverage consumption were obstacles being addressed in the 341-A series of Weyland's human, robotic-simulators. The prototype Bishop, for the moment could not perform such a task. Bishop sought to get something off his chest before continuing with his main mission objective.

"Pigeons," he blurted out before Clay set his cup down on the table. The man in the light blue uniform nearly choked down the coffee that was still in his mouth. He looked at the android with a smile on his face.

"I'm afraid that is a bit of military humor aboard this vessel Mr. Bishop," Clay spoke. He could tell that there was a bit of confusion attached to this confession, he continued…

"See, the military company aboard this ship refers to individuals coming aboard who've been duped, or bamboozled as "pigeons", let me explain….." Clay was certainly enjoying the discomfort that the android must be experiencing, whether he expressed it on his face or not, "… If you've ever sat on a park bench, you will notice that you may attract certain birds, pigeons so to speak. These feathered creatures will come and gather around you. Why, because they want something. They will alight, seemingly with no fear of an individual sitting less than an arm's length away. See, their vision is on the food in your hand…seeds. They want to be fed Mr. Bishop; they are following a course of nature that has led them to focus on the food rather than the danger. The brainless thought that they could be captured or tricked," he paused for a moment before starting again….

"I'm afraid you've been pigeoned Mr. Bishop, tossed seed that you've followed all the way to the Archimedes. Some time ago a container was picked up by one of the duty shuttles. This container was not an empty barrel of space trash; it was emitting a beacon, a signal with a certain ID code. It was found that the beacon produced was identifying it as the Gylor. If you've been following that signal Commander, I'm afraid it's led you to the wrong place, the Gylor is not here."

Although he didn't allow it to show, some of Bishop's circuits began fusing together, an emotional response that sometimes humans ironically call, within their own species, short circuiting. Bishop (341-A) may have been synthetic, but he wasn't stupid. He knew when he'd been played a fool, and now his face began to turn a bright shade of red, due to the increased pressure of crimson hydraulic fluid flowing through the tiny capillaries imbedded within his synthetic skin. He wanted revenge.

"I know you may be angered Mr. Bishop, but rest assured that we aboard the Archimedes have been doing a little pigeoning ourselves. We have contacted an outpost on Greys Sparrow, a moon off of Gliese 581-k. We have sent them a message to broadcast an SOS, send out a distress call. They have received an answer from the Gylor. The ship is headed towards the lonely little moon. There is still time for you, and your crew, to catch them," Clay spoke, then he added, " and I'd appreciate it if you brought my sister, Elaine, along….."

END PART 24