A Treasure Hunt
Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. This time, however, he was looking for a strange thing, instead of letting the strange thing find him.
Zane walked slowly across a rocky beach, carrying a ground scanner and watching the monitor for any sign of what he was looking for. The problem was, he didn’t know exactly what it was he was looking for. He only knew there was something of great value hidden somewhere in the universe, and all the signs pointed to this beach on this mostly forgotten planet. He had been searching for this treasure for months, and whenever he thought he had come close to finding it, he had found nothing. But this time, he had done his research, and he was fairly confident that it was here on this beach. Whatever it was.
As he was walking, a ship flew overhead and landed about a mile down the beach. Smoked sausages! thought Zane. What are they doing here? Of course, there was only one reason anybody would come to this planet, and that was to search for the treasure. This meant two things. First, Zane was not the only one to come to the conclusion that the treasure was hidden here, and that was a good thing. Second, Zane now had competition. That was a bad thing. He did not want to lose the treasure after months of searching, especially since he got here first.
Zane pushed a button on his utility belt and said, “Jim, are you there?”
“Sure am, Zane. What do you need?”
“Did you see the ship fly in?”
“I certainly did,” Jim replied. “The mothership is in high orbit on the other side of the planet.”
“Can you see how many are leaving the ship?” asked Zane.
There was a moment’s pause, then Jim answered. “Twelve men have left the ship, fully equipped with every type of treasure seeking device I’ve ever seen. There are probably at least that many still inside.”
“Sausages!” Zane muttered. “Well, leave the camera focused on them. And send Nit down here.”
“Certainly, Zane. He’ll be down momentarily.”
Zane pressed a button on the ground scanner and it folded up into a small, wallet-sized case that he deposited in his back pocket. Then he pulled out a small pair of binoculars, which were actually a monitor for the camera on his ship currently in low orbit above him. He watched the men prepare their fancy equipment. They were clearly part of some government, or perhaps worked for a rich tycoon. Whoever they were, with all of that equipment, Zane did not stand a chance of finding the treasure before they did, so he decided to change his methods.
Suddenly a short, beady-eyed man materialized next to Zane. “Hello, Nit.”
The man nodded and said, “How goes the treasure hunting?”
“Not so well, I’m afraid. Are you ready to do what you do best?”
“Of course,” the man said with a mischievous grin.
“Then let’s do this.”
Nit took off at a run, and as he ran, he began to shimmer then disappeared completely. He was a thief, perhaps the best thief in the galaxy. He was wanted on seventeen different planets for robbery of important artifacts, but had not been caught. Until by chance Zane caught him attempting to steal his ship. In return for not reporting him to the authorities, Nit now worked for Zane, and he had proved useful many times. Nit’s secret was his personal cloaking device, which he had invented himself. He did not reveal his secret to anybody, and was thus an incredible thief.
Zane found some shade to sit in next to a large boulder and watched the progress of the treasure hunters through the binoculars. They worked quickly and efficiently, but it was a large beach, and it would take them a while. After about an hour, Jim sent a message. “Zane, the mothership has sent us a message. They are willing to offer us a deal.”
“Oh?” Zane said. “What kind of deal?”
“They will give us twenty percent of the treasure’s value if we agree to back off and let them find it.”
“Thank them for the offer, but tell them no. We were here first, the treasure is ours.”
There were a few moments of silence, and then Jim said, “They don’t appreciate your response very much.”
“I’m sure they don’t,” Zane said.
“They’re now offering thirty percent,” Jim said.
“They don’t give up, do they? Very well, tell them we’ll give them twenty percent of the value of the treasure if they back off and let us find it.”
There were another few moments of silence, then, “They thank you for the offer, but they must refuse.”
“Is that what they said?” Zane responded with a smirk.
“More or less,” Jim replied.
Zane continued waiting and watching. After another hour or so, he thought he saw some activity surrounding a few of the men, and moments later, Nit’s voice came over the intercom.
“Zane, I think they’ve found something.”
“I think you’re right. Keep an eye on them, and get ready to move in.”
Zane got up from his resting place and began to walk in the direction of the men, who were now setting up a digger. They were only about three-quarters of a mile down the beach. He could see them without the binoculars, but the binoculars gave him a zoomed in overhead view that let him see exactly what it was they had found. When all the sand had been removed, something massive was revealed.
“What is that?” Zane wondered to himself.
“I have no idea,” Jim replied.
“Whatever it is, it must be worth a fortune. Will it fit in the ship’s containment room?”
“Yes, but barely,” replied Jim.
“Nit, are you ready?” Zane asked.
Zane watched as first one man fell over unconscious, then another. The remaining men began to run around frantically, and some shot into thin air. Nit was too good for them though, and soon all of them were laying unconscious in the sand.
“It’s done,” Nit said over the intercom.
“Good, I’m coming. Let’s get this thing and go.”
“You don’t have much time,” Jim said. “There are already more men leaving the ship and headed for your position. They’ll be there within ten minutes.”
“We won’t need much time. Just be ready to teleport this thing up when I tell you to.”
When he got near the, whatever it was, Nit appeared next to it, already attaching teleportation receivers. Zane helped him, and they soon had it ready. And just in time, the men from the ship would be there in seconds.
“Okay, Jim, bring us up.”
Zane felt a tingling sensation throughout his whole body, then he was suddenly in the teleportation chamber of his ship, the Space Bar. Nit was standing next to him. They walked to the main cabin, where Jim was waiting for them.
“Do we have it?” Zane asked.
“We sure do,” Jim replied with a grin.
“Good, let’s go, before they get mad and come after us.”
“Of course,” Jim replied, then entered the coordinates into the ship’s computer.