Eilerson was looking over the maps and topographical surveys and his mouth was watering. There had to be countless artifacts here and this time, he meant to nab as many as he could for IPX, no matter what Gideon or that silly wizard had to say. He’d lost too many once in a lifetime finds already and his superiors at IPX were beginning to put pressure on him to bring something home. Something big. Something worthwhile.
And he meant to do just that.
He was making some last minute notes before getting on the shuttle down to the planet when Galen appeared at his door.
“Gideon said you are going down to the planet.”
Talk about stating the obvious.
“Well, of course I am. Those ruins are among the oldest we’ve come across. IPX is looking for results, not this pie in the sky crap that you talk about. Earth is looking for results too. You and Gideon spend too much time on other things and not enough on the mission.”
Galen smiled that awful smile that wasn’t really a smile at all but rather the look a shark got when it smelled blood. Eilerson seemed to always have that effect on him.
“You only seem interested in the ‘mission’ when it serves your purposes, Mr. Eilerson.”
“At least I’m not playing with smoke and mirrors like you. I use cold hard facts.”
Galen’s eyes darkened. “My order was using science long before your planet even knew there were people among the stars, Eilerson. I daresay we will still be using it when your kind are but a faint memory in the universe.”
He turned and left, leaving Max staring after him.
A few minutes later, Max boarded the shuttle along with Gideon, Dureena and Dr. Chambers. They arrived on the planet only minutes later.
It was an old planet, a planet whose population had long since disappeared in the vastness of time and space but they’d not left their homeworld empty. It was covered with ruins, city after city of them, spread over three continents. Those ruins were filled with artifacts and old texts.
And Galen was already there ahead of them.
Max groaned aloud at the sight of the wizard.
Gideon looked from one to the other and rolled his eyes. He was used to this from them, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t annoyed. Galen had his own agenda as much as Eilerson did and neither one of them was overly concerned with Gideon’s agenda, whatever that was.
“What’s going on this time, you two?” Gideon asked. This planet was another one of the ones the Box had told him to check out.
“Max is ready to pillage and plunder the planet,” Galen said.
“Isn’t that what we do?” Gideon asked.
Max raised an eyebrow at Galen and headed for the inner chamber of the ruin they stood in front it. Dureena trailed after Max as did Galen. He didn’t seem quite ready to give up yet.
Dureena pulled Galen back when he started around her. “Leave him alone for now.”
Galen looked at her as if he wasn’t sure it was really her.
“Max is good at finding things… lots of things and that’s what he’s here for,” she explained. “I want a cure. It’s that simple.”
Galen laughed. “Nothing is ever that simple, Dureena.”
She said nothing, just turned to follow Max.
Galen watched them from the doorway as Dureena talked quietly to Max as he ran his hands over huge tablets, feeling for anomalies or openings. Max, at least, was open and above board about his agenda. He turned and looked at the Captain, giving orders to some of the crew of the second shuttle that had just landed. That one, no matter how much Galen cared about him, had an agenda that no one knew about. Not even his pet technomage.