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The Martian Source Code


V Bertolaccini




This edition published 2018 by CB

This is a Smashwords edition 2018


Copyright Victor Bertolaccini


ISBN: 978-0-4638-4267-6


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the copyright owner. Nor can it be circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without similar condition including this condition being imposed on a subsequent purchaser.


All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.




Martian Arctic Discovery




Prologue


Martian Arctic Discovery


Kershaw rested his spacesuit glove lightly over what looked like strange perfectly flat black rock embedded in the Martian soil and rubbed its surface, and realized perfectly flat rock was in reality common, and wondered what the hell Hadfield thought it could be and why he had taken them to it, and it seemed stupid thinking it was anything.

Again he searched the bright sunny landscape, searching for water, which they could also boil into air someday, and ice to melt into water, and he searched the whole region.

Kershaw tried feeling it again with another finger, where his glove was worn, and more firmly, and felt a pulsating vibration blasting out from something, still surprised there was something there, and for a moment he thought it came from deep below, and it was as if it was alive, and Franklin copied him.

“It has to be a natural disturbance …” Franklin announced, wondering what the hell Commander Hadfield thought it was, and baffled by it, seeming to be artificial, but they knew there was volcanic stuff there, and surely tremors.

“It could be one of many phenomena on Mars … Hadfield replied first, studying it closer. “We still know little of this world, and its differences to the Earth …”

Kershaw nodded, and wondered why it was so unique anyway, and why he thought it was anything, and realized how the strange world and all the occurrences that led up to their Mars mission could affect them.

Kershaw thought of what Hadfield had said and felt it again and gasped at how mathematically precise its pulsations were, and he could not recall a natural phenomenon like it, and he wondered what the hell it could be anyhow, if was not a natural occurrence.

“Alright!” Kershaw moaned. “I’ll help dig it up! We’ll see what we can find …”

Franklin moved in close, and whispered through his communicator to just him, We could’ve found someone else’s stuff … Like something put here to check this place … We don’t have proof that all the stuff recorded as being sent here is everything that’s here … The world is a big place … There are countries and others putting satellites and stuff up in orbit and into space around the Earth and everywhere. So why not here …”

“What do you reckon we have though?” he muttered back, trying to get something.

“Could even be the remains of someone’s equipment doing something … I don’t have a clue what …

“Why’s it here though? At this location … Or is there something actually here? Was it embedded like this?”

“It could have fallen down, from away up in orbit …

“So it could be a strange satellite carrying out a function, which crashed down, perhaps at high speed, going around in orbit, and has become embedded in the ground … In that case it should be easy to dig out from here …”

“Correct! Or it could be a natural occurrence here …”

Hadfield removed a small spade and started digging away the sand about it, and Kershaw watched how much he insisted it was something, wondering what he was not saying, and he was sure he was keeping something a secret from them and he considered if it was something and if it was worth something back on the Earth.

He could recall some of the others reacting to there being things of value on the world, which they could get, and yet they were fantasies, and he wondered if the world had anything of value to NASA, as it was desolate and the high cost of the missions to Mars might make everything there of low value.

What left him staggered was the way the others one by one started helping dig around the object, Hadfield was starting to uncover, which now looked to him to be a large boulder, but its perfectly symmetrical shape became more and more clearer and Kershaw eventually joined in scraping away dirt from it with his spacesuit glove.

“It seems intact! one astronaut finally announced, after almost thirty minutes of them silently cleaning and digging it up.

The astronauts formed a perfect circle around it and stood glaring at it, wondering what was beneath their feet and dirt still concealing it, and Kershaw watched some of them using valuable water to clean away dirt from areas of its surface to reveal what was there, and they studied it up close.

Suddenly, Franklin stood upright, and muttered to him, This shouldn’t be implanted in the ground like this!

Kershaw touched the bare surface of the object, where Franklin had just placed his gloved hand, and he was staggered that there was actually something firmly there, and now far definitely there than before, and he tried to identify what it was or was roughly like, through his spacesuit glove, and was only left more confused.

“Rock on its surface could be decades old! Franklin declared to Kershaw, gasping.

The others copied them and brushed their gloved hands over the region of the object, and felt and studied the pulsating thudding from deep in its interior, as if it was alive, or a highly advanced technology of an advanced technology.




Chapter 1


Shuttle Crash


The Orion shuttle came crashing down from the Martian Arctic night sky and all the astronauts became fully aware of what was occurring when loud explosions and blinding flashes discharged.

The shuttle’s emergency automated landing thrusters instantly initiated and saved their lives, but the astronauts scarcely grasped what transpired in the darkness, and they just escaped while the vehicle started exploding.

All the astronauts rested behind piles of rocks and sand watching the shuttle’s fuel burn away furiously, gasping, recuperating, wondering how long their oxygen could last.

Officer John Kershaw was staggered! It had hit him right in the middle of a strange dream, and he felt painful bruises covering his entire body and tried to detect if had seriously damaged him, in the blackness about them, in the flickering bright light about their front, he started checking his spacesuit and air supply, and cleaned away sand from him and checked if there was any small punctures in his spacesuit and air escaping, and got ready to repair any damage, and spotted Franklin repairing a burn hole in his.

They all seemed to realize they could be trapped on the desolate world, and he sat considering if the crash had been detected by NASA on the Earth.

It was a desolate unexplored region of Mars’s north pole, and they made a big mistake in traveling at night, and they never sent any communications to the satellites and the Earth.

Mars was nothing like what Kershaw imagined it and it felt like he was on an empty world buried out in the deep depths of the universe and he stared out into the depths of space into the dark night sky at what seemed to look like the furthest stars of space, and wondered what horrors existed out there.

The surrounding landscape seemed full of nothing but sand and piles of rocks, but still it resembled the Earth in places.

Would their skeletons be found resting there by future Mars missions? Could he end up in a museum back on the Earth?

Suddenly he saw there was only one burning region of the shuttle, and a large region was untouched, and he realized that they might be able to put the burning region out and that the weak Martian atmosphere would help do it, and he realized how little air they had in their tanks!




Chapter 2


Mars


For an instant something altered and Kershaw searched the black Mars landscape and leapt upright, wondering what the hell it was! What the hell could it be? What the hell could survive out there in such a place? What was he even doing at such a place?

It astounded him was how deadly Mars now was, being there, and being outside the shuttle and trapped on the world, and he recalled the reason that had taken him there.

“What the hell was that?” Franklin gasped, silently, and all the astronauts searched the darkness surrounding them, and to where he looked.

Was there something actually on Mars? Did it have something that could have brought down the shuttle, and what did it live on? The planet was empty of life and anything, but they had barely searched it!

In the end Kershaw realized he should not believe it or anything without any evidence, and whatever it was it would have to be left until they could check it.

They had barely made any landings on Mars and already they had crashed, and were trapped.

What surprised him was Commander Hadfield was away somewhere, and was looking about for something, and he spotted his light shift about away out in the distance, with a strange glow, and he saw him kneel down behind some distant boulders, and he spotted his startled eyes and wondered if it was to do with the crash and situation they had got into or if he had found something!

Some of the others seemed surprised he had found anything hidden away out there, and he heard two discussing it in whispers, and what it could be, which surprised him, and he realized it was the strangeness of the place, the crash, and the dark dangers.

When Hadfield moved away over to somewhere else Kershaw took Franklin over to the area he had been where he examined the area with his small binoculars and spotted something, where he had seen Hadfield looking with his binoculars before he went there, and he realized something there looked artificial, and that it was partially buried in the sand, partially hidden behind a small sand mound, and more visible through a gap.

He was surprised it was directly under where the shuttle had come down, and he thanked the low gravity of the world for helping to stop them being destroyed, and the safeguards the shuttle had that stopped the impact, and he suddenly spotted some hidden flames and smoke over at the shuttle and realized the majority of the oxygen tanks were there and might not have been destroyed, and that they would suffocate on the planet without them, and realized they had to do something and he and Franklin rushed over to it, studying it, trying to rush faster, over Martian boulders, impeding sand, waiting for it to explode, gasping for air, wondering if being partially blown up was a better death than what might await them.

At it they stopped, getting ready to extinguish it, with what they had, and he recalled where there was fire extinguishers, which he could reach, and he rushed into the damaged shuttle gasping at heat inside and stood staggered, wondering if he should risk it, and the intense heat, which could easily damage his spacesuit, and even a small hole in it could suffocate him, and he ignored it and leapt at them, feeling the intense heat, grabbed at them, grabbed some and rushed out into the blackness and coolness and immediately moved in and started using a fire extinguisher on the area where the oxygen tanks were, and the other astronauts started helping him.




Chapter 3


Martian Arctic Discovery


Kershaw rested his spacesuit glove lightly over what looked like strange perfectly flat black rock embedded in the Martian soil and rubbed its smooth surface, and realized perfectly flat rock was in reality common, and wondered what the hell Hadfield thought it could be and why he had taken them to it, and it seemed stupid thinking it was anything.

Again he searched the bright sunny landscape, searching for water, which they could also boil into air someday, and ice to melt into water, and he searched the whole region.

Kershaw tried feeling it again with another finger, where his glove was worn, and more firmly, and felt a pulsating vibration blasting out from something, still surprised there was something there, and for a moment he thought it came from deep below, and it was as if it was alive, and Franklin copied him.

“It has to be a natural disturbance …” Franklin announced, wondering what the hell Commander Hadfield thought it was, and baffled by it, seeming to be artificial, but they knew there was volcanic stuff there, and surely tremors.

“It could be one of many phenomena on Mars … Hadfield replied first, studying it closer. “We still know little of this world, and its differences to the Earth …”

Kershaw nodded, and wondered why it was so unique anyway, and why he thought it was anything, and realized how the strange world and all the occurrences that led up to their Mars mission could affect them.

Kershaw thought of what Hadfield had said and felt it again and gasped at how mathematically precise its pulsations were, and he could not recall a natural phenomenon like it, and he wondered what the hell it could be anyhow, if was not a natural occurrence.

“Alright!” Kershaw moaned. “I’ll help dig it up! We’ll see what we can find …”

Franklin moved in close, and whispered through his communicator to just him, We could’ve found someone else’s stuff … Like something put here to check this place … We don’t have proof that all the stuff recorded as being sent here is everything that’s here … The world is a big place … There are countries and others putting satellites and stuff up in orbit and into space around the Earth and everywhere. So why not here …”

“What do you reckon we have though?” he muttered back, trying to get something.

“Could even be the remains of someone’s equipment doing something … I don’t have a clue what …

“Why’s it here though? At this location … Or is there something actually here? Was it embedded like this?”

“It could have fallen down, from away up in orbit …

“So it could be a strange satellite carrying out a function, which crashed down, perhaps at high speed, going around in orbit, and has become embedded in the ground … In that case it should be easy to dig out from here …”

“Correct! Or it could be a natural occurrence here …”

Hadfield removed a small spade and started digging away the sand about it, and Kershaw watched how much he insisted it was something, wondering what he was not saying, and he was sure he was keeping something a secret from them and he considered if it was something and if it was worth something back on the Earth.

He could recall some of the others reacting to there being things of value on the world, which they could get, and yet they were fantasies, and he wondered if the world had anything of value to NASA, as it was desolate and the high cost of the missions to Mars might make everything there of low value.

What left him staggered was the way the others one by one started helping dig around the object, Hadfield was starting to uncover, which now looked to him to be a large boulder, but its perfectly symmetrical shape became more and more clearer and Kershaw eventually joined in scraping away dirt from it with his spacesuit glove.

“It seems intact! one astronaut finally announced, after almost thirty minutes of them silently cleaning and digging it up.

The astronauts formed a perfect circle around it and stood glaring at it, wondering what was beneath their feet and dirt still concealing it, and Kershaw watched some of them using valuable water to clean away dirt from areas of its surface to reveal what was there, and they studied it up close.

Suddenly, Franklin stood upright, and muttered to him, This shouldn’t be implanted in the ground like this!

Kershaw touched the bare surface of the object, where Franklin had just placed his gloved hand, and he was staggered that there was actually something firmly there, and now far definitely there than before, and he tried to identify what it was or was roughly like, through his spacesuit glove, and was only left more confused.

“Rock on its surface could be decades old! Franklin declared to Kershaw, gasping.

The others copied them and brushed their gloved hands over the region of the object, and felt and studied the pulsating thudding from deep in its interior, as if it was alive, or a highly advanced technology of an advanced technology.




Chapter 4


Ancient Artifact


All the symbols embedded into the object looked ancient but when Kershaw examined it all at a distance they looked modern and some form of computer symbols.

Kershaw watched the others sitting eating their meals silently thinking of the past week’s occurrences, and the object, and giving occasionally glances over at it, and him standing alone beside it.

They had surely only removed the top part of what was there, with the rest buried deep below, but what actually was there and what was its immensity.

If it was ancient why had none of them recognized what it was made of, through the Martian dirt, embedded over it, and what the hell was the rhythmic powerful pulses blasting through the thing, which staggered them the most, with them trying to figure what it was doing, doing there, and what form of energy source could generate it and for the length of time it must have been there.

Yet it could be using some hidden source of energy, and could have something collecting solar energy somewhere.

The top of it, sticking out the ground, looked like a large black tombstone, covered in muck and rock, and he realized it could easily have been put there by another country, with a hidden space program, and perhaps monitoring the planet, and he realized they knew little of Mars and some other countries.

He wondered how long it would be before help could arrive, and what they would make of it, and he realized their supplies were running low, and especially the oxygen supplies, and he gasped for a second realizing what would happen when all their oxygen ran out at the same time and imagined them all falling about the ground suffocating together.

He tried locating the exact center the Martian Arctic was and where he was sure there was ice and water and he wondered if they could make it to the precise point.

Kershaw staggered about in his spacesuit and realized how the low oxygen level he had given himself was affecting him, as well as the spacesuit, and searched the surrounding landscape for signs of anything, and he searched areas of mud and for signs humans had been there, and how the object got there, and realized the object was now a way for him to get away from there and find humans, and he even heard some of the others in his spacesuit communicator discussing the object and considering if it was connected to something and someone back on the Earth and if they could use it to communicate with them, to send help as fast as they could, and he realized that most of them thought that help was not on its way and others thought they might not have even realized what had happened or where they were located.

Why had they done this to themselves? Mars had to be useless other than to help scientists!

All there seemed to be was the object and he realized he had to solve the mystery of its origins and to uncover what was below, and try and get help if it was connected to someone back on the Earth, and he realized again that they would now only be able to help them by sending a shuttle from the Earth.

He examined the symbols on the object while trying to grasp them and what they were for, over and over, and realized that he had to be imagining what he thought was there, and he wondered if it was just an amazing coincidence they found it there, and realized there might be far more.

Suddenly he stepped back, gasped, positive they were words on it and they were certainly a clue, but he could not grasp what they were doing there, or what, and the Arctic sun seemed to blaze down, and he felt the heat in his spacesuit, and he tried to lower the temperature, and realized the object looked like a tombstone and part of a small graveyard out in the middle of nowhere.

He wondered if it was the grave of other astronauts that had crashed, and had come down there! Perhaps from another country or secret mission, and that there was something there that brought them down, and there might be more crashes there in the future, and that they would find his remains buried in the sand there someday, and discover that it could be very well a form of the Bermuda Triangle.

Words and other symbols went through his mind over and over again until he stopped exasperated, and he stood hypnotized by it, and realized he was tired from it and all the work and occurrences that had taken place over the last weeks, and he calmed himself down, and knelt down, and played with sand and let it fall through his glove and gasped when he thought of the only thing he could do was search the object, and wondered who the hell had put it there, and realized how big Mars really was, and how many countries and people there were on the Earth.

When he thought of all the cash and businesses involved in space and space technology he realized he needed to check it far further and needed to discover something, and something that was there that they just could not grasp! Something involved with Mars and what was occurring there! He could not let it go, and he might be the only one to answer it and be able to get them out of there, and surely someday might be written in the great history of Mars exploration.

He wondered what the hell they had been up to again and began digging furiously away and removing dirt from the object and watched the others one by one getting up and moving over, getting ready to start digging with him, and realized they would solve what it was.

At one point, as they dug and dug away sand and rocks, and the others removed it, making large piles of the debris build up to their side, he saw Hadfield walking around at a distance from them, examining there, trying to grasp something, trying to grasp what it looked like at a distance.

For a long time Hadfield strolled around in the evening sunshine examining the surrounding landscape, and there, and the symbols engraved on it, and he realized he either was trying to grasp something now or was trying prove something, which he could not fully do, and he looked up and saw him moving away.

He realized that he had missed if Hadfield had found anything or if he was leaving it, and Kershaw moved closer to the object, and to Kershaw’s surprise he saw something that he had seen in the pile of dirt and rocks that they had not noticed, and he wondered why there was a spade buried away in it, and he realized it somehow looked different, and saw it had not been seen and had been in dirt thrown there, and he was staggered and started examining it, and realized it looked like an older version.




Chapter 5


Gateway


Though most of the astronauts thought the symbols had no real meaning Kershaw thought Hadfield had found a way to decipher them using the computers salvaged in the shuttle wreckage, while they found more shovels designed for the Martian surface.


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