Stranded (A stand-alone SF thriller) (The Prometheus Project Book 3)

Stranded (A stand-alone SF thriller) (The Prometheus Project Book 3) by Douglas E. Richards Read Free Book Online

Book: Stranded (A stand-alone SF thriller) (The Prometheus Project Book 3) by Douglas E. Richards Read Free Book Online
Authors: Douglas E. Richards
and drove on, completely unaware he had just hit two kids.
    Only he hadn’t. He had passed right through them.
    Ryan felt faint and dropped to a sitting position on the ground next to Regan as the Hauler receded in the distance. Both were now white as ghosts—which is apparently what they and the truck had become.
    “How can we be alive?” said Regan, her heart pounding thunderously in her ears. “I looked up and the Hauler was on us. We didn’t have a chance.”
    Ryan nodded. “Just as it hit us, it became transparent somehow.” He paused. “No, that’s not the word for it. It became, I don’t know—not solid. Like a cloud or something. I think we did too.”
    Regan nodded her agreement. “It was so freaky. I could see inside the tires. And inside the front hood—I could see the engine. And inside the engine. Somehow we and the truck passed right through each other.”
    Both kids looked down and pressed on their armsand stomachs, half expecting their hands to pass through their bodies.
    “Well, we’re solid enough now,” said Ryan. “And the truck became solid again once it passed us.” He shuddered as the memory of the massive steel Hauler bearing down on him replayed itself in his mind. Never before had he felt so totally helpless and so certain that he had taken his last breath.
    “That was like some kind of miracle,” said Regan, shaking her head in disbelief.
    “Yeah,” said Ryan, nodding thoughtfully. “It was.” The slightest of smiles played over his face as he reached an inescapable conclusion. “So who do we know that can pull off miracles?”
    The answer came to Regan immediately. “The Teacher,” she whispered, her eyes widening. Of course! The city’s central computer—so advanced it made a human supercomputer seem like a primitive adding machine. There could be no doubt it had saved them from certain death.
    “Thanks,” broadcast Regan to the Teacher with as much power as she could.
    There was no reply, which didn’t really surprise them.
    The existence of the Qwervy’s observation post was supposed to remain a secret, off limits to humans and aliens alike. When the Qwervy discovered that humans had managed to find and enter their city, they consideredexpelling them and erasing their memories. While the Qwervy thought humanity was very promising, they knew the species had a dark and dangerous side it needed to master. They finally decided to let the team remain, but would not allow the Teacher to have any further contact with Ryan or Regan or help the team in any way. The human race would be on its own. The Qwervy wanted to see if humans could learn from the city’s technology rather than destroy themselves with it. Humanity had thrown itself into deep water, and now it was time to see if the species would sink or swim. Only Ryan and Regan knew the exact nature of the Qwervy’s decision and that they were keeping tabs on the team.
    Ryan scratched his head. “This had to have been the Teacher’s doing, all right, but I still don’t get it. It’s under orders not to help us. Call me crazy, but doesn’t saving our lives count as helping us?”
    Regan thought about this for a moment. “Maybe not. I mean, it did help us, but I think the idea was it wasn’t supposed to help us if we got into trouble while messing around with Qwervy technology. We’re supposed to be on our own with that. If we decide to play with fire and burn ourselves, that’s our problem. But being hit by a runaway Hauler? Come on—that has nothing to do with how we use their technology. I bet that’s why it saved us.”
    “Whatever the reason,” said Ryan, “I’m not complaining.” He paused. “At least we’ve figured out who saved us. How the Teacher did it is another story. We’ll probably never know that.”
    “Dad might know what happened,” said Regan hopefully. “You know, come up with some kind of weird physics theory.”
    “You think we should tell him?”
    “Yes!” said Regan

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