Iricah spun around. “NOOOO!!!!” she yelled. “No!!!!”
There must be a way to open the doors she screamed in her mind. Her head was foggy with emotion, trying to help the others. She couldn’t concentrate, and there seemed nothing she could do.
Then, a voice calmed her. It was familiar, pure. Soothing. “Iricah,” it called. “Fear not, for I am here with you.”
She breathed in. And breathed out. “Solutions, Iricah. Solutions. You can’t help anyone when you are not helping yourself. What do we do best? Let’s to it.” She lit a torch, which illuminated a rocky and natural cut cavern, very different from the rest of Enceladus. She considered drawing her rapier, but something told her that now her pen was mightier than well, her rapier. She listened to that voice inside of her, somehow deciding it was at least benign. She took out her notebook, and with a notion of fear of the unknown she took in her surroundings. All was bare, except for a small set of alcoves, and behind her, a set of sandstone stairs carved from the sandstone chamber she was in.
The alcove nearest her was deep and only one thing stood in it. It was odd, metallic. Made of many parts, alien. She had seen things like it in fairs, and blacksmith shops, usually as a way to attract customers, but rarely did they do anything special other than look interesting. Often they didn’t function at all. This however, looked grand, well constructed, finely detailed. It sat upon a pedestal, and was made of several metal spheres with attachments and knobs around it. She had never seen anything quite like it. With a natural curiosity, never something she seemed in control over, Iricah stepped towards it and saw that upon the largest sphere was etched lines. It took her awhile to realize these were the lines marking land and sea on a map. She thought she recognized a portion of one side of the sphere, but not the other. But the etchings were wrong. The maps she had seen of Cellinor looked different, slightly. It was as if the shores of many areas had changed. “It’s a globe?” she wondered. “How is it that Gaia would be shown on a globe?” She walked around the thing. “Is this to create something in the machine? Why not show it as a flat surface as it should be?”
She then studied the smaller spheres that seemed to circle the larger one by way of metal trackways. Not being able to help herself she tried to move one of the small spheres along the track and instantly a light flashed on above the machine! She was so scared, that she dropped her notebook. Nothing more valuable to her, she bent over to pick it up and when she rose, her breath caught in her throat.
The three smaller spheres had each rotated around the larger one and like fruit upon the same vine rested on their trackways one in front of the other. She realized that if the larger one had represented Gaia, the other three must represent the moons, for surely their pathways across the etched map were the same as what she knew to be true. But none of that or this realization is what took her breath away. It was the light! For once the three smaller spheres had lined up in front of the light above the machine, the effect was that the entire larger one was covered in darkness! Even more eerie was the glowing outline of three concentric circles upon the surface of the sphere representing Gaia. Now stupified with fascination, and no small dose of dread, Iricah watched in panic as the machine continued to revolve so that the light returned to Gaia after a short period.
Iricah recorded as much as she could about the machine. She was in her element. Studying, researching. Something told her this was important. Gravely important. And that’s when she heard Zy’an’s voice. “Help,” it said simply. “Help me.”
Soon, his was followed by others. There was Thrak’s gruff grunt, and Areia’s sarcasm, Frank’s humor even as his voice betrayed a sense of concern. All were saying the same simple phrase, “We need help. Help us.”
And so she did. Somehow, some way, even though she couldn’t see them, she knew she would.