The Adventurers : The Space Orb

The New York Space Station was a marvel of modernization: a huge contraption in the outskirts of New York City, where hundreds of the greatest scientists on the planet worked day and night over expeditions to space.

The Mayor of New York City had funded the Space Station, and he had also instructed the head scientist to contact him if they found anything abnormal.

“Mr. Mayor speaking.” came the voice of the mayor, picking up the telephone. “Ah… Mr. Scientist, have you found anything?”

“As a matter of fact, we have.” said the scientist in a low, clear voice. “The Space Orb is an astronomical-related myth, citing an extremely powerful sphere located somewhere in the universe. But our telescopes have located an object in space similar to the Orb, radiating an extraordinary amount of energy.”

“In that case, we should launch a team to recover the Orb at once.” said the mayor. “But the orb is dangerous, and we need people who’re seasoned with dangerous and magical artifacts. Mr. Scientist, I’m putting you on hold. I need to make a call.”

In a well-decorated house smack in the middle of New York City lived the Adventurers: a daring duo of explorers. Adventurous Ayaan and Adventurous Aayra were always up for a high-end expedition.

“Ayaan speaking.” said Adventurous Ayaan, picking up the telephone. “Mr. Mayor, how are you today?”

“I’m well and fine, Ayaan.” came the voice of the mayor. “However, the city needs you, Adventurers. The Space Station has located an astronomical powerhouse of energy, and we need you to extract it. Are you up for the task?”

“You can count on us, Mr. Mayor.” said Ayaan, who had always dreamt of an adventure in space. “We’ll be at the Space Station within the hour.”

“I owe you big time, Adventurers.” said the mayor, putting down the receiver.

“So what did the mayor say?” questioned Adventurous Aayra. Ayaan smiled and said, “Pack your stuff, Aayra. We’re going off-planet.”

“A space expedition?” asked Aayra, bubbling with excitement. “I’ve always wanted one of those.”

Ayaan chuckled, and nodded in agreement. They packed relatively little, because the Space Station would likely be equipped with the necessary supplies, and began the drive to the Space Station.

While all this was happening, the mayor re-commenced his discussion with the scientist.

“You’ll be glad to know, Mr. Scientist, that the Adventurers have taken up the case. Your team will be joined by two of Earth’s greatest explorers.”

“I agree…” said the scientist, in a slightly doubtful voice. “But they haven’t had any experience in space. Are you sure they’ll manage?”

“Listen to me, Mr. Scientist.” said the mayor, firmly. “These two have braved icy tundra, pyramid problems, haunted houses, enchanted islands, and temples of evolution. They’ve uncovered some of the greatest mysteries in history. I’ve never come across a duo as incredible as this one.”

“Roger that, Mr. Mayor.” said the scientist. If the Mayor had so much faith in the Adventurers, he was inclined to believe in them too. “We’ll be off-planet in a day or two.”

The vehicle pulled to a stop in a ranch, as the Adventurers walked towards the huge building. They were greeted by two heavily armed guards, who stepped aside from the iron gates, and allowed them to pass.

“The place is huge…” said Ayaan, in awe. “And very well-built.”

“That’s helpful to know.” said Aayra, joy etched upon her face. “Mr. Mayor talked so much about it during construction, do you remember? He too seemed amazed by it.”

Ayaan nodded. The Mayor had been filled with gusto about the creation of The Space Station, and had made sure practically every citizen in the city knew all about it.

The head scientist walked out of the doors of the New York Space Station, and shook hands with them. He led them inside the Space Station, and began to brief them on the mission.

“Since you two have not gone to space before, there will be two days of rigorous training about how to handle it.” said the scientist. “After that, you and a team of astronauts will go up to Space Base Alpha in a shuttle. You will board the starship from there.”

Space Base Alpha was the Space Station’s base within space. Scientists focused primarily on the launch and receiving of the ships were featured in the base.

What followed were two days of training in the Space Station. Ayaan and Aayra learnt about the do’s and don’ts, which were frankly common sense, steeled themselves against the pressure caused during take-off, understood the layout of the starship, and the working of various gadgets. The head scientist was very pleased with their progress.

“You’re ready.” he told them, after the training had culminated. “We’re T-Minus 30 minutes for shuttle launch. Buckle up, you two.”

The duo nodded, and walked to join their seasoned company of astronauts, who had trained for years for such a mission. Despite having trained for only two days, Ayaan and Aayra had nevertheless made great progress and were well-versed with the basic routine of a space mission.

They got strapped within the shuttle, as the head scientist pressed a few buttons and announced that they were one minute away from taking off. The duo buckled up.

“If this is anything like that round-about exercise, I might get nauseous.” said Ayaan, and Ayaan gave a sad smile. A few days prior, they had done an exercise when they went in circles at hyper-speed. Both had experienced trauma later, and got sick.

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Take-Off!!!

Ayaan and Aayra were thrown backwards towards the end of their seat, as the shuttle took to the skies. They closed their eyes as it went up in speed like none other. The vehicle began to rattle, and even seasoned explorers like them were scared stiff in their first launch.

The pressure continued to build up, until at a point they were all rocking in their seats. A few seconds later, it had dissipated, and the Space Base Alpha came into view.

“Magnificent.” mumbled Aayra, summing it up in a nutshell. Space Base Alpha was truly majestic to look at.

“At least the worst of it is over.” said Ayaan, chuckling. “I never knew just how beautiful space was until now.”

The shuttle connected with a part of the Space Base like a piece of a puzzle. There were a few seconds of silence; then, their seatbelts detached automatically, and the doors swung open. Another scientist gestured for them to come out.

The Adventurers and the team were wearing a suit, but the scientist was not. He mentioned, while taking them towards the launch section of Space Base Alpha, that this was because the ship was fully oxygenated.

“So we won’t lose oxygen or anything of that sort in here.” said the scientist. “You could remove your suit, but better keep it on, because you’re scheduled for departure in T-Minus 30 minutes.”

They nodded, as the entrance to the main section of Space Base Alpha opened. A flock of scientists were engaged in preparing their starship for launch.

The door to the starship opened, as the team stepped inside. There was a click, as the door closed.

The starship was nothing like the congested shuttle. It was huge, and had practically everything anyone could need. The Adventurers took the helm from the bridge.

“The final checks have been run, Adventurers.” said the scientist from the loudspeakers connected to Space Base Alpha. “You’re cleared for take-off.”

Ayaan sat on the chair, and pressed a few buttons. He had learnt about the controls of the starship during training, and in a few seconds, it began its launch.

“Everything is working well. No problems from our side.” said Ayaan, as the scientist nodded from within Space Base Alpha. As Aayra turned about, the scientist gave a thumbs-up.

The starship went into hyper-speed and zoomed through the skies. Ayaan set the astro-map in front of them, noting that they were on course for the Orb.

As the hours went by, both Ayaan and Aayra grew accustomed to the fact that life on a starship was not that different from life at home, with this particular contraption having been built to suit any need. On top of that, the astro-map charting their progress noted that they were mere minutes away from the object.

“The Space Orb radiates that titular energy that makes it up.” said Ayaan from the bridge. “As a result, you can see it even from Earth, thousands of light years away from its real location.”

The astronauts and Aayra were busy at work with the grabbers, two metallic tweezer-like arms suited to seize the Space Orb. They had obviously been built resilient, because the Orb and its supernatural energy was sure to burn through any random substance in seconds.

“Easy does it.” said Ayaan, as Aayra began to navigate the grabbers towards the Orb. The astronauts all held their breath. “There we go.”

The grabbers had successfully grasped onto the phosphorescent spherical light in front of the ship, but they could make out parts of the metal incinerated, and others melting as if touched by magma. Aayra pressed in a few more buttons, and under the watching gaze of the ship’s inhabitants, the Orb began to move rapidly towards the starship.

Immediately, a specially designed chamber of the starship began to open up, as the Orb slid inside. There was an instantaneous whoop of joy from all the watchers of this marvelous spectacle, a roaring success of this extraction mission.

The mood loosened at once, and Aayra smiled for the first time in a few minutes, while Ayaan examined closely the damage to the grabbers. Admittedly, they had seen better days, but Ayaan quickly shrugged this off, as the Adventurers joined the celebrations.

Unbeknownst to them, the mission was not yet over. The fuel required to achieve hyper-speed would need another few hours to re-charge, so they decided to bide their time in other affairs. Nobody was really paying much attention to the radar, which was picking up sight of an unknown object moving towards the starship.

This unknown object couldn’t have been bigger than the shuttle the Adventurers had taken to reach Space Base Alpha, but the people it was transporting were the nastiest duo imaginable. Mack and Vik were not only mean, cunning and downright sly, they also happened to be Ayaan and Aayra’s arch enemies.

“Silly things think they’re out of the woods already.” sneered Vik. “They’ve already done the hard bit and got that Orb. Now, all we have to do is take control of this useless ship.”

Mack chuckled viciously, but their luck was questionable. In the very next room, they came across a half dozen astronauts, excluding the Adventurers, who immediately realized that they were intruders.

The astronaut nearest to the alarm hit the siren, and the whole starship rang with the blaring noises and flashing lights. The Adventurers, who now knew something was off, darted towards the room the other astronauts had last been spotted in.

Meanwhile, Mack and Vik had easily overpowered the poor astronauts. Vik had shoved the guilty alarm-ringer; Mack had tackled a brutish fellow to the ground. Then, they rounded off the whole thing in a flurry of fists and feet, and within moments had tied up all the astronauts to a pole.

“Enough dilly-dallying, Mack.” snapped Vik. “To the bridge we go!”

But the second Mack and Vik boarded the bridge of the mighty starship, Ayaan and Aayra emerged and caught them red-handed. Vik rolled her eyes and muttered something that sounded like, “Not these two again,” while Ayaan smiled, ready for the onslaught.

Mack, who looked uncertain at their next move, leaned back towards his compatriot and questioned, “Shouldn’t we punch them or something?” Vik glared at him accusingly, as if Mack was the dumbest human being on the planet, sighed, and then pressed a button on her wristwatch.

Immediately, marching sounds began to echo from the direction of their transport vehicle. Then, the doors to the bridge opened up, and an armada of robotic penguins marched up, flippers at the ready.

“So, this is what it comes to, isn’t it?” laughed Vik. “The two of us, equipped with an indestructible army of robots that answers only to me, versus a duo of defeated, second-hand explorers. Game over, Adventurers!”

Ayaan and Aayra shot worried glances at each other. Taking on Mack and Vik was an elementary affair, but the robot penguins looked tough, and there was no way out. If the Space Orb fell into wrong hands, more specifically their enemies’, things would get messy fast.

Vik, who had by now lost patience, roared at the robots, “Get them!” The robot penguins nodded, and moved towards the Adventurers. Ayaan and Aayra took a step backwards. They were beat, and they knew it. Nobody could help them now…

But exactly when the lead robot penguin raised his flipper to strike, a thunderous wave of milk flew from thin air and slammed into the army. Ayaan and Aayra turned backwards to see “Milky” Antonio himself standing beside the conjured portal, as half a dozen snowy penguins shielded him from all sides.

“Remember my last, Adventurers.” he said, with a smile in their direction. “Help will come to you when you need it most.”

At this point, the Antarctic penguins slammed their flippers together menacingly and charged at their robotic counterparts. It was all over in a matter of seconds, as the originals put a close to the robot army’s chapter of terror. Mack and Vik, who had both gone white with fear, raised both hands in surrender.

Needless to say, the Adventurers decided to give Mack and Vik a taste of their own medicine and tied them up, while also freeing the imprisoned astronauts. Having achieved the required fuel limit for hyper-speed, they triumphantly returned to Space Base Alpha, Space Orb safe and sound.

“We can’t thank you enough, Antonio.” said Aayra, for the umpteenth time, as “Milky” Antonio smiled, and replied, “Well, I must be off now, Adventurers. But fear not, for we shall meet again.”

With that final note, Antonio disappeared once more, likely on track back to his chilly haven in Antarctica. As for the Adventurers, they had succeeded once more. A week later, the head scientist of the Space Station gave a call to the Mayor.

“I’m pleased to announce, Mr. Mayor, that the energy of the Space Orb is being used to power up a lot of our otherwise unaffordable departments. It’s being put to good use. Oh, and please give the Adventurers my sincere regards next time you meet them.” “That I will do, Mr. Scientist.” said the Mayor, a wide grin etched over his face. He put down the receiver, then picked it back up a few moments later, wanting to make a call.

Ayaan Chettiar

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