By Keith Ansell
The three Recovery Vehicles began to slowly move backwards - caterpillar tracks biting deeply into the ice. The hawsers grew taught.
Cold sweat began to drip from Virgil's forehead as he used all his skill to keep the two remote control vehicles pulling with equal force. The Recovery Vehicles came to a halt and Virgil increased the power. Inch by inch they started to reverse again - the alien space ship was moving!!
The organic nature of it's hull allowed the hawsers to grip the UFO better than Brains had expected and it's disc-like shape easily cut through the ice - if only they could keep it edge-on all the way to the surface.
Suddenly Virgil felt a blinding head ache hit him right between the eyes and he collapsed over the controls.
Scott could detect the Recovery Vehicles going out of sync from the mobile control unit.
"Virgil, what's happening?" he called frantically
Then he saw his brother slumped at the controls over the video link.
"Alan, Gordon" roared Scott changing to the Mole's frequency where his two brothers sat watching the action in relative warmth "Virgil has collapsed. Cut the power and get him out of there."
The two Tracy brothers had boarded the master Recovery Vehicle almost before Scott had finished speaking and cut the power to it's motors which automatically brought the remote control units to a halt. Virgil was starting to come around but felt awful.
'Abbot' and the other possessed World Navy men walked slowly over towards the Recovery Vehicles from the campsite.
"You are lucky to be alive Virgil Tracy" said 'Abbot' after climbing up into the control cabin "Our vessel thought you were attacking it. It could easily have killed you. We will have to take control of your mind so that we can avail ourselves of your skills while shielding you from psychic attack."
"Now wait a minute" said Gordon protectively.
"It is the only way to free our craft" said 'Abbot'
An intense white light suddenly flooded the interior of the Recovery Vehicle. Virgil felt another presence in his head. He wanted to scream...he wanted to run...he could do absolutely nothing! He was suddenly a passenger in his own body with an alien in control of his movements ...capable of drawing on all his experience and memories.
Abbot was slumped on the cabin floor looking dazed - he was back in control of his own body again.
"Don't worry" he gasped "It wont hurt him. It - it kept me alive."
Abbot rose to his feet and watched as his alien benefactor took control of Virgil and request that every one leave the Recovery Vehicle.
"They must free the Starfarer before it goes insane and destroys the world" gabbled Abbot drawing on the alien's memories that were still fresh in his mind as Alan and Gordon helped him walk over to the Mole. "The aliens are losing the battle to subdue their space craft ... it's telepathic mind is becoming more and more attuned to our violent human emotions. It was badly injured in the crash landing and now it's becoming mentally disturbed. You can feel it's animosity all around us...the dread, the fear it's radiating. It's like a feedback loop building in intensity...it's even distorting the flow of time..."
Abbot collapsed as he entered the Mole and found he could not get up from the cabin floor were he lay - sheer exhaustion had taken it's toll.
Alan and Gordon now watched the Recovery Vehicles commence the slow process of pulling the living space ship from the ice again. The alien inside Virgil operated the rescue craft with all the dexterity of the man himself.
Just over one hour later the UFO
became visible...and only minutes later it was resting on the surface of
the ice. Relief flooded over everyone - alien and human alike. The
atmosphere that had pervaded the expedition campsite eased noticeably as
the space craft realised it was free.
Even the blizzard had reduced in intensity.
'Virgil' climbed down from the master Recovery Vehicle and walked over to Scott and the others who were waiting at the mobile control unit.
"Our space craft is free but too weak to escape your world's gravity. It requires high levels of electro-magnetic energy to regenerate itself - unless that can be achieved within four of your days it will die. When a Starfarer dies the release of psychic energy is so intense that it will kill every living thing on this planet."