Blue light suddenly engulfed the totality of his consciousness. Impenetrable and foreboding darkness gave way to brilliant blue blotting out all of his senses. He felt weightless adrift in a calm, gentle sea of sparkling blue nothingness that seemingly had no end and no beginning. How did he get here? Where was here? He tried to move yet he had no hands and no arms. He was conscious, but without form. Was this some form of telepathic communication or perhaps he and his squadron had been ‘absorbed’ by the alien entity they were investigating.
As quickly as it had come it was gone. Reality faded back into view as did his cockpit, instrument panels, HUD, and billions of tiny stars sprinkled across a black canvas like grains of salt each one shimmering softly in the depths of the universe. Leon Athalla blinked several times in rapid succession as his head cleared and his senses returned. He felt his hands, the gloves around them, his flight suit, as well as could sense the faint smell of plastic in his helmet along with the damp, slightly sweet scent of his own perspiration.
Athalla snapped his head around as his hands quickly tightened around his flight stick as instinct, training, and self preservation mechanisms suddenly engaged like a well tuned machine. His eyes scanned his instruments and then the horizon. What he discovered next thoroughly…annoyed him.
He was outside the alien ship transported by some unknown technology along with the rest of the fighters. Alongside each of the Valkyries were the tadpoles towing them back toward the Charon with some form of tractor beam. He couldn’t complain. They were free of that beast and headed home, but being towed back was not something that helped bolster a pilot’s fragile pride and ego.
With a sigh, Athalla addressed the squadron. “George leader to all fighters, report your status over.”
After a few moments of positive feedback from the other pilots, Leon allowed himself a tiny smile of satisfaction. The mission was something of a success. They hadn’t been forced to attack which given the superiority and size of the alien craft now seemed like an effort in futility. They had danced and dodged with some remarkable ‘tadpoles’ as well as gathered valuable sensor readings for the science teams to busy themselves with for the foreseeable future. After being swallowed by the alien ship with no means of communication with the Charon he was glad to be out of the black soup and headed home even if he was being dragged.
Folding his arms Athalla quietly waited to be released nearby the Charon. He wondered what had transpired which had prompted their abrupt release. He wondered if anyone aboard the Charon knew what had occurred. Perhaps the ambassador had managed to orchestrate some sort of deal. He’d find out soon enough once he was back aboard.
All he could do now was wait.
Lt. Leon Athalla