Chapter 3

The Search

They headed out into the desert in a seemingly random direction, it's best left up to yourself to decide if it's truly random. Life licked at the air and then spun himself around in a circle Death just followed him seeing that he was her ride home. She had been following him for the last few minutes when she realized something.

"You don't know what you're doing, do you?" Death asked shocked.

"No, did you think I did. I mean this is all new to me." Life said practically giddy at the concept. "I'm just doing stuff."

"So what are we going to do?"

"I don't know. Volition said we wait until I can control the portals well enough to take us home. I guess we just find something to do until then."

Death took a look around. "There doesn't seem to be anything here to do."

"Well you're here and I'm here."

"Meaning?"

"I'm sure that between the two of us we'll come up with something to do."

No sooner was that said an explosion broke through the air. The sky was filled with a burst of blinding blue light which was quickly replaced by a red ball of fire streaking across the sky.

Life began jumping up and down like an overly excited terrier. "What was that? What was that? What was that?"

"I am I suppose to know?"

Life didn't even wait for Death to finish her answer, he ran into the desert after the ball of fire.

Elsewhere the ball of fire was noticed but not as a giant ball of fire but as a small blip on a computer monitor. In the middle of the desert there was a makeshift laboratory where the blip was seen. There were only three people there but they were excited by this small discovery. They began to load equipment to onto a nearby jeep when a loud boom broke through the air. That was the only encouragement the three needed, they finished up their loading and drove toward the source of the sound.

They were not all suppose to leave the laboratory, if you could call it that it was basically a shack with computers and radio equipment, they all left simply because they were all excited to see what might be what they were waiting for their wholes lives. They had a shared dream ever since they were young but they never seemed to grow out of it, they had all wanted to meet aliens and today they might get their chance. This whole idea came from Max, he wanted to be the first person to talk to the aliens and convinced Cynthia and Leonard to go along with it. They were going to the University of Melbourne and when they were on vacation they would rent the shack and fill it with borrowed equipment in hopes of finding evidence of alien life. That day the equipment went nuts as they detected some sort of object falling through the sky crashing within driving distance, to make things more exciting they were located in a radar blind spot so they were probably the only ones to see it.

Leonard was quick to tell the others not to get their hopes up. "I know you want to believe but I don't want you to get your hopes up it probably not an alien ship."

"Okay, it probably isn't," Max admitted. "but something still fell out of the sky. It might be a satellite or something, think how amazing it would be if he found a crashed satellite."

Cynthia grabbed the the steering wheel of the car to make sure that it didn't veer off the road as Max turned himself around to talk to Leonard in the back seat. As they bickered she couldn't help reminded how she was the one that ended up having to keep the peace with those two. Cynthia had known them for a long time and she always ended up keep their discussions from going into full on fist fights. Sometimes it could be annoying to be the peace keeper but she did enjoy their company and she did think of them as friends, overall they kept things interesting.

The Sun was starting to set when they finished their argument which had somehow turned into an argument of who made the best soup when they arrived to their destination. Their equipment had detected whatever it was had fallen in the middle a ridge. Max had been hiking there before and knew his way through there but it would be too dangerous to travel at night.

"We're having a camp out." Max said gleefully.

Max quickly began to take out some basic camping equipment. Cynthia wondered if he packed the camping equipment expecting this scenario or if he brought it along with several others things for no reason and now he had a reason. Max would often bring things along for no apparent reason but often seemed to find use for them. Maybe it was like throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what worked. Cynthia was eager for their exploration to take place early the next day so she was fine with a little camp out. Leonard was less eager but agreed since they were there with everything they needed.

"Plus it's going to be fun." Max added to Leonard annoyance.

They began to set up camp for the night. They started a small fire and began to cook their meal. As much as Leonard complained and argued he did love spending time like this with his friends. They were just enjoying a friendly chatter when a voice broke through the cold night air.

"Okay, I'm sure we're close to it now."

"You've said that several time, what is it that makes you think you're right this time?"

"Stuff."

"You have no idea where we're going."

"I'm pretty sure I saw that thing go this way."

Two figures began to form as they they got closer to the light the fire provided. Soon they became visible as a young man and and a young woman. Cynthia studied them and determined they couldn't be any older than them but she couldn't guess their actual age.

The guy was the first one to say anything. "Oh Hello." His voice was youthful and energetic it reminded Cynthia of her young nephew. Judging by the fact that his eyes was going back and forth over everything this guy had the same attention span as her nephew.

"Good Evening." The young woman said giving a small head bow after taking a moment to react. Her voice was soft, gentle and a feeling of serenity followed hearing the voice. She was much calmer than her companion, she seemed thoughtful and polite.

"Um Hello." Cynthia responded after trying to figure out these two strangers.

"Are you guys lost?" Max asked concerned for them.

"Lost? Lost?" The guy repeated as if tasting the word. "Lost? Maybe. Probably. Kind of. Almost?"

"Yes." the girl finally answered if just to shut him up.

"We're looking for this thing." The stranger added. "It was big."

Leonard looked at him with annoyance painted on his face. "Can you be more specific? At all?"

"No." He said missing every bit of sarcasm in the previous statement.

"Yeah, give us a moment." Leonard pulled away his two friends far enough away so the two strangers couldn't hear them. "I don't trust them."

"They do seem a little off." Max admitted. "But I don't think they're dangerous or anything. They probably just got lost in the desert and they're a little delirious."

"Yeah, no, neither one of them is really dressed to be anywhere near a desert. Plus what's with that coat."

Cynthia glared at her friends knowing an argument was about to start. Meanwhile a short distance away the pair with no real names spoke.

"They seem nice." Life muttered to Death.

"Yes, they seem so." Death told him something in her voice seemed distant. Life was used to communicating with her through thought which expressed everything but her words left something out. For the first time Life felt something was kept hidden from him.

"I'm telling you this is how horror movies start out." Leonard told his friends.

Cynthia at this point felt she had to say something, "This is isn't a horror movie. Besides they're here what do you us to do? Tell them to leave. They don't seem to have anything on them. Let's at least talk to them and see what their story. Do they even look dangerous? Actually he kinda reminds me of one of my nephew."

"Actually now that you mention it they do seem sort of familiar." Leonard admitted even if begrudgingly.

"So that settles it." Max said smiling at his little victory. "Even I think they look familiar, they could be forgotten friends and it would be rude to send the away. At the very least let's find out who they are before we do anything."

Life pondered and pondered trying to make sense of it all. The sky was getting dark and the hot hair was slowly turning colder. Life placed his head head on the ground feeling the hot ground loosing its heat. As his head rested on the ground he could feel things moving underneath. That's when the three returned. The tall one with shaggy brown hair smiled at them he seemed curious about them but he also seemed just pleased to see them. The young woman had shoulder length blonde hair done up in a pony tail. The other young man was pale with big green eyes his black hair parted to the side. He had on a pair of glasses with a thick black frame, he looked less thrilled to see them. As they approached them Life raised his head from the ground.

The one with the glasses started, "Who are you?"

"What?" Life asked finding it difficult to understand what he asked.

What's your name?" Leonard just came out with it.

"Oh, yeah, I can answer that. Because everyone has a name they can say. So yes I have a name."

"What?"

"Yes."

"What's your name?"

Life opened up his mouth hopping that his mouth would just form the answer without him having to come up with it. That didn't really work out as everyone just stared in silence for about a minute.

"What is this name of yours?" Max said curiously.

"Li...fe... Fe..Felix." Life stared. "Yes, Felix."

In fairness to him you try to come up with a name on the spot.

"Oh!" Life shouted. "Her name is Deatz." he pointed at his companion especially proud of coming up with her name.

Death gave a flat, "What?"

"Okay." Max said accepting both names no matter how strange they seemed.

"Well, I'm Cynthia." the kind blonde smiled at them. "I have strangest feeling we've met before..."

"I don't think so." The one I will refer as Deatz from now on answered.

Cynthia shrugged, "Maybe you two just have those kind of faces."

Life and Deatz looked at each other confused.

Max turned to them, "Let me introduce myself I'm Max and my grumpy friend is Leonard. Okay, Felix, Deatz, what we're you two doing in the desert? I mean it doesn't look like you two were off for a hike. You don't have any water or anything?"

"We just found ourselves in this desert." Deatz answered honestly. "We really don't know where we are."

Max started to explain to them they were in the Australian Outback. Then he had to explain what was Australia. One topic lead to another and then to another eventually leading to another. Eventually going around in a circle Leonard stopped them. Max might have the patients to answer every question but Leonard lacked the patience to even listen to all of them.

Seeing that a chill came with the night the guys started look for more kindling for the fire while the girls got some more food from the jeep to feed the two extra mouths. Cynthia for once was glad that Max was overly prepared. Max had everything from pots to food in the back of the jeep waiting for them.

"So your boyfriend seems nice." Cynthia said off handedly. "You two seem nice together. How long have you two been together?"

"Boyfriend?" Deatz asked genuinely confused.

"Oh," Cynthia gasped. "I'm so sorry you two just seem close."

"I don't get it."

"You two must have known each other for a long time."

"Since the very beginning."

"Childhood friends, that's nice all the friends I had from I was a kid I've lost touch with. If you're still together you two should take care of each other. You should be able to count on someone someone you've known your whole life."

Deatz still failed to understand what Cynthia was trying to say. Cynthia still was unsure how they seemed familiar but shrugged it off for the moment. What she couldn't shake off was the feeling that Felix and Deatz were somehow closely connected, she wasn't sure how she knew it she was certain about it.

At their makeshift campsite they found enough kindling to feed the small fire. Life stared into the fire like how the first man to discovered the flame must have stared, in wonderment.

Just out of ear shot Leonard took Max to the side. Leonard finally asked, "So what do you think? You have to know they're lying about their names?"

"Yeah," Max admitted. "If they're hiding their names they have to have a reason. I doubt they'll tell us why. So why try. I still don't think they'll cause any trouble."

"So go with the flow, then?"

"Always." Max smiled broadly.

"I really don't trust them. There is something off about them. I just can't put my finger on it. I mean they didn't even know which country they were in."

"I heard once that people take things and walk into the desert trying to get some sort of vision."

"So they're on something? Well I guess that makes sense. It does bring up a question."

"What question?"

"What are you on that makes you trust them?"

"Oh," Max chuckled. "that's good, well timed."

"I thought so."

Minutes later the small group gathered around the fire the to make a meal out of the canned food and ate it. Life ate it quickly and Deatz ate patiently taking time to take in the full taste of these new foods. Leonard was still suspicious and turned to looked at Cynthia. He noticed Cynthia was wearing a pair of tan shorts and a green top that was stinking to her body because of all the sweat caused by the summer heat. Himself and max wear wearing shorts and shirts suited for the summer weather. Then Leonard turned to the strangers in a thick coat and a black dress neither were clothing to wear in the summer heat and yet neither one of them seemed to be sweating either way. Nothing his mind came up with made sense.

"Pretty." Life said looking up.

"The stars." Cynthia responded. "You really can't get a view like this in the city. It's really something beautiful. "

"Twinkle twinkle little stars." Max mumbled to himself captivated by the stars. "You know when I was just a kid I would stare at the stars. I always want to go up there and touch them. You know just touch them so I could say that I did."

Max smiled at the memory. He had a dream, a silly dream he would admit, but the dream gave him something to hope for. Eventually the trio went to sleep in some sleeping bags from the jeep. Max suggested they go to sleep early to go on their little journey at the first light.

Deatz looked up at the stars in the sky mesmerized by them. "You were starting to make those when we left."

"Yes." Life nodded. "I thought they would be bigger."

The morning light touched his face waking Max up. He opened his eyes to see Deatz watching over there sleeping forms. Life was on his belly crawling behind a large lizard. Max thought they looked like they hadn't slept all night, even he thought that looked strange.

Cleaning up and getting some supplies they made their way into the ridge. Their two mysterious friends came along for the ride since they were interested and they seemed like they would just follow anyway. It wasn't a rough hike, there was even a trail into the ridge. They walked for many minutes without any sign of anything nearly interesting.

"What's that?" Life pointed out to something he spotted.

The other turned to find a large silver space ship damaged as it lay in the bottom of crater. The trio's jaws dropped in utter surprise. In their hearts of heart they never truly believed that they would ever find something like that. Words failed to form in their minds, their mind failed to grasp the situation. They knew this would be a monumental moment not only in their lives but history of mankind.

"Seriously, what is it?" Life asked