Three brown-red streaks of smoke howled across the sky that still afternoon. A spaceship-like structure crashed into the empty desert, forming a crater in the ground. A second structure fell some minutes later, and then a third.
Damian woke up with a start. He gazed in incomprehension at the strangeness of the environment around him. Then the smell of gas hit him and it dawned on him the he was sitting inside the wreck of a spaceship, in the belly of a crater. Adrenaline exploded within him and he struck madly at the window of the spaceship, shattering the glasses and feeling blood in his knuckles.
Gingerly, he made his way up the crater. The ground above the crater looked less brown and less disgusting. Few metres away from him laid the two other spaceships in obvious wreck. Then Damian remembered. His brother! The crew! Where were they?
He dashed to the first spaceship. The three occupants were lying comatose with their spacesuits askew. They were Damian's brother, Shedrack, and two other female geologists. Shedrack lay near an open radioactive source. Damian yelled atop his voice, waking one of the geologists. He yanked his brother off the radioactive source and, with the help of the half-waked geologist, he was able to keep the two bodies out of harm's way. The second craft was up in flames when they got there, with no survivors, apparently.
Damian's eyes followed the orange flame as it coursed into the sky. He was angry. So this was the end? Devilish old professor Limps would now have enough reasons to convince the government of Taured that he was insane. Why not? Dear Damian, he thought angrily, isn't it crazy and outrightly ludicrous to think you can mine gold from a meteor? Now this is the result; you are stranded in an unknown region of space, many light years away from home and with no hope of ever getting your doctorate degree.
"Sir, the others are awake."
Damian turned to the voice. It was the female geologist, behind her was Shedrack and the other geologist staring around them in wonderment.
"Where are we, Damian?"
Damian stared at his brother in pity, hesitating to state the obvious. He could not anyway, everyone was waiting to hear him speak.
"I don't know. But one thing I know for sure; we're lost."
The others gasped at the reality of the situation. Damian walked about thoughtfully, head bent, hands clasped behind him, and oblivious of the party still standing before him. "We're lost on an unknown part on the other side of the universe, without a hope of ever making it back home again. Of ever going back to Taured." The words choked him and he broke down and cried. It was a bitter and heartfelt cry.
The others stood sniffing, looking from their weeping captain to the burning craft which had all their equipment and which now laid bare, destroyed.
"This is unusual. You could expect a planet this far to be uninhabitable. This place may be home to some sort of intelligent beings."
Damian appeared not to be interested in his little brother's chatter, the geologists were however nodding eargerly to his assumptions as they said on a depression in a tree trunk eating oranges and strawberries.
"And the air doesn't appear poisonous." One of the geologists said.
"And gravity. It can be felt here too, on a moderate level." Said the other.
"Exactly," said Shedrack, "we may not be alone here."
Damian could take it no longer. "Would you all just shut up. We should be talking of how to get out of here, and what are y'all discussing? Frivolities!" He stood up in anger.
"Sir, we understand the situation and a remedy is what we're looking for."
Damian glared at the geologist who have spoken and continued fuming. Shedrack lost his temper.
"Whose fault is it that we're stuck in this godforsaken hole in the first place? It's yours. If you didn't have you meteor-gold craze, we wouldn't have landed here. And I don't know what, in the name of God, led me to partake in this deathly adventure. I should be sitting behind a desk right now."
Damian stood face to face with his brother, breathing hard. His anger had reached it's climax.
Shedrack continued dauntlessly. "You can't change society that way. It is useless. The poor abound in every society. It has been so and will continue to be. We will have to suffer the consequences of your shortsightedness now."
Damian tried not be angered by his little brother's words, he rather sighed and stared in the direction of the west, drumming his fingers.
The federal government of Taured has mandated a statutory rise in the price of goods and services in the federation. It has also declared Taured independent from the Union of the Western Belt. This is as a result of the lost of value of the currency, "pashta", used in Western Belt nations. The president also declared a new currency for Taured. The "cryptero". He said that a thousand pashtas will exchange for twelve crypteros...
Damian gazed at the paper in shock. Impossible! What are all these poor people all over Taured going to do? He picked up his phone, ready to call the minister.
This story will continue tomorrow, please. Stay tuned.
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