By Keith Ansell
Virgil Tracy felt uncomfortable in his heavy polar gear as he sat at the controls of IR's powerful digging machine - the Mole.
"Okay guys. Here we go" said Virgil to Brains and Gordon who sat in the
passenger seats behind him.
Within minutes the Mole had left the warmth of the pod and was trundling towards the UFO crash site on it's caterpillar tracked trolley. Not far behind them came Alan in the master Recovery Vehicle - with the two remote control units following him.
Scott watched the procession of rescue vehicles from Abbot's campsite were he had set up his mobile control unit. The blizzard still raged and he soon lost sight and sound of them even though the crash site was only 100 yards away.
Scott had fully advised and briefed his father on the latest events and now Jeff sat behind his desk on Tracy Island feeling more helpless than he had ever done before in his life.
"This is the spot" said Virgil as he applied the brakes and brought the Mole to
From outside the digging machine one piece of ice looked very much like another but from the map reference given by the aliens this was it. Brains studied the Mole's metal detector but it registered nothing. The ultrasound scanner did pick something up though, about four hundred and fifty feet below the surface - and the heat sensors confirmed this but it certainly was not metallic. It appeared to be disc shaped and some thirty feet in diameter.
"It must be organic" gasped Brains "It's a-a living space ship."
"Magnetic clamps wont be much good then" said Gordon.
"We'll have to l-loop the hawsers around it" advised Brains.
"That will take some fancy tunnelling" said Gordon.
"Yeah that's right Brains" said Virgil "We've got to get close enough to feed the hawsers around it without damaging the hull in any way."
"I suppose the aliens go crazy if we hurt their pet and destroy the world" said Gordon.
"We've got no choice but to h-h-help them boys" said Brains "Who knows w-what they'll do if we refuse."
Brains calculated the drilling angles and speeds to tunnel down to the buried UFO and programmed the data into the Mole's computer guidance system.
"Here we go again" called Virgil as he fired up the Mole's own motors and operated the hydraulic ramp on the trolley that lifted the digging machine into the air so that it's nose pointed towards the ice.
The cahelium drill bit began to rotate and rockets fired pushing the Mole downwards. Within a few minutes the Mole had disappeared below the frozen surface - cutting it's way ever closer towards the alien space craft and it's trapped crew.
The feelings of unease became almost debilitating as they drew closer. Thank God for automatic guidance systems thought Virgil trying to remain calm.
"Override the guidance system Virgil" called Brains - his usual stammer gone in the heat of the moment "The space ship seems to be pulsing ...like a heart beat. I'll calculate another angle to compensate."
The rest of the tunnelling operation went without hitch and an hour later Virgil was reversing the Mole up onto it's trolley having created a series of three holes down to the UFO.
"Great work guys" called Scott over his mobile control link "Now Alan , move the Recovery Vehicles in. Let's get some hawsers around that baby and pull it out of there. I want to get this job over and done with and go home."
"That is what we wish to do also Scott Tracy" said 'Abbot' having heard this conversation.
Positioning hawsers around the UFO proved easier said than done. Alan lined up
the Recovery Vehicles, one in front of each of the three tunnels that led down
to the space craft. He then fired two ultra high tensile cahelium hawsers down
into each tunnel. The large cables snaked away into the darkness - their
magnetic plates bouncing off the UFO's organic hull when they struck.
The psychic shock that hit all of the IR team when this happened was crippling - but luckily only lasted a few seconds.
"Please tell your brother to be careful" said 'Abbot' standing next to Scott at the mobile control unit "You dare not injure our craft".
"What happens when we begin to pull that thing out?" questioned Scott - beginning to doubt his tactics now.
"We will attempt to keep it calm - as long as it does not feel threatened you should be quite safe" said 'Abbot' ominously.
It now took Virgil, Alan and Gordon almost four hours to dig a series of narrow tunnels beneath the UFO just wide enough to crawl through - dragging the hawsers along behind them as they worked. Without IR's advanced equipment and the slight warmth emanating from the craft itself they would never have achieved this.
The alien craft continued to pulse rhythmically which almost led to Alan's death when one of the tunnels he was digging collapsed behind him due to the resulting vibration - luckily he had just completed his work. There was a hollow of warm water beneath the UFO in which it floated just like a baby in the womb. The heat generated by the pulsing motion had created this - just another hazard for the tunnellers to avoid.
It was a nightmare for the three brothers but dogged determination and guts won in the end and the hawsers were looped around the space craft and magnetically welded together so as to spread the load evenly and avoid slippage.
Virgil now took over the controls of the master Recovery Vehicle and prepared for the most dangerous phase of the rescue operation.
The aliens warning was foremost in Scott's mind as he gave Virgil the okay to
proceed..... 'You must be very careful not to damage the hull of our vessel. The
consequences could be disastrous for your planet'.