Rylan opened his eyes and saw the pale green sky of Tergara. He always closed his eyes when he traveled to new worlds by the platforms. He never knew why he was so compelled, but he enjoyed the wondrous experience of seeing one world one moment than seeing the new world in the next moment. This particular trip was going to be a short one, he just needed to perform a little maintenance on the platform.
He looked around and saw Jalvi. “Hello Jalvi, what’s the local time?”
Rlyan enjoyed the banter and replied, “Can you turn the platform off?”
“Sure there’s no one scheduled to come in till later on in the day.”
Rylan stayed right where he was and waited for Jalvi to disengage the platform. It took a couple of moments, but the slight hum that was usually always present began to die away as the lights spilling out from under the platform started to dim. Once the platform was powered off, he climbed back on the platform and went to the hatch in the middle and quickly opened it.
He reached into the opened door and placed his hands around the platform’s core interface. He twisted the interface until he could lift it out of the platform. With the core in hand, he walked off of the platform and placed it down next to Jalvi’s desk.
“You know I get nervous every time you disconnect the thing.”
With a stunned expression, Rylan looked down at her and asked, “Why? Techs like me do this with every platform everytime we need to do any maintenance. Its the only way to keep it from being connected to during an update which would be catastrophic.”
“I understand the reasoning behind why you do it, but it doesn’t change the fact that I get nervous when you disconnect it.” She replied her voice still gruff and stiff.
“You worry too much Jalvi,” Rylan said as he walked back to the platform and pulled an interface out of his pack. “These platforms could survive explosions, having their interface removed once the main power is turned off never hurts them.”
“Just hurry up Rylan.”
He smiled as he pulled a cable from his pack and connected his interface to the platform’s diagnostic port. Instantly the interface sprung to life detailing everything about the platform that Rylan might ever need to know.
He perused the data looking for any anomalies, not that he expected to find any. After about fifteen minutes he was satisfied that the platform was running at peak efficiency, so he opened the file on his interface and proceeded to update the platform’s algorithms. As the update ran, he looked over at Jalvi and waived at her with a joyful smile. She shook her head and went back to her book. The cold attitude didn’t bother him, he would just keep trying to warm that woman’s icy persona.
His interface chirped when the update was finished. So he looked through the system again and again the system looked in excellent health. He disconnected his interface and packed it and the cable away before he walked over to Jalvi’s desk so he could retrieve the interface. “You about ready to turn the platform back on?”
“I was ready before I turned it off, to begin with.”
Rylan laughed as he gave her a nod and returned to the center of the platform. He took great care in returning the interface to the system. Once it was locked into place, he closed the hatch and quickly got off of the platform telling Jalvi, “Fire up the platform.”
The grim-faced woman put her book down and followed the procedures to turn the platform on. And that low hum started up again and once more light began to flood out from under the platform. Yet instead of the green glow emanating from the center, a red light was bleeding through the glass.
“What did you do ?!” Jalvi shouted at Rylan, who was already running to the communications station in the Tergaran platform room.
When he came to the terminal, he picked up the receiver and tried to connect to the platform chamber on the Commonwealth’s Central Planet, but it wouldn’t connect.
“Rylan, what did you do?”
He spun around and looked into her furious eyes answering her demand, “I didn’t do anything.”
“Explain that?” Jalvi screamed as she pointed at the red light accusingly.
“The platform cannot connect to its twin.”
“Because of whatever it is you did to the platform,” Jalvi exclaimed.
With an emphatic hand gesture that brought Jalvi’s ranting to a standstill, Rylan spoke with deadly seriousness, “No, Jalvi the only way it couldn’t connect to its twin is if the twin was destroyed.”
Jalvi’s grim expression melted away into fear when she heard the reason why the platform was bleeding. “You mean…”
“Yes, something apocalyptic must have happened for the platform not to connect to its twin. And I cannot raise the team on the planet with the communication system.” He looked into her eyes and was barely able to speak, “We’re cut off.”
Jalavi’s expression of fear deepened as she reached activated her communication badge, “Captain Caelin, there is an emergency down in the platform room. It seems that there is an issue back on the homeworld. We’re cut off from everyone.”
Rylan looked at the platform whispering, “Yes, but we’re alive.”