Cemetery Planet: The Complete Series

Free Cemetery Planet: The Complete Series by J. Joseph Wright

Book: Cemetery Planet: The Complete Series by J. Joseph Wright Read Free Book Online
Authors: J. Joseph Wright
Hell with it. I’m not going to shirk my duties.”
     
    “What are you talking about?” she sounded nervous. “You’re not talking about going out there, are you?”
     
    “That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I’m the caretaker on this planet. It’s my job to take care of the residents here. That’s what I’m going to do!”
     
    “Then I’m going with you,” she insisted.
     
    “Lea, my dear. There’s nothing I would enjoy more.”
     

 
     
    4.
     

    DNA scan complete. Skeletal remains identified. Gordano Roma. Plot number 456853. All remains present and accounted for. Okay to commence reburial?
     
    “Okay,” Harvey gave the verbal command, and the digger, a brute of a machine if there ever was one, began burying the skeleton of Mr. Roma. Harvey couldn’t help but notice the job was a lot easier than he’d expected.
     
    “This is really strange,” he let his sights roam across the gently sloping valley. Grave after grave after grave had been opened, violated, molested.
     
    “Strange doesn’t even begin to cover it,” Lea said. Harvey heard and saw her in his helmet’s communication system.
     
    “No. I mean the bones look like they’ve been thrown around randomly, but that’s not the case. They’ve all been placed in piles pretty carefully, as if that alien was…”
     
    “Was what?”
     
    “I’m not sure,” he admitted. “When I first saw the alien had dug up all these graves, I thought maybe it was eating them. But now, looking closer, it just doesn’t make sense. The bones aren’t damaged in any way. In fact it seemed quite the opposite, almost like they’ve been handled meticulously,” he scanned the piles of bones. What at first appeared an unorganized jumble was actually a thorough inventory of each site.
     
    “You know what?” he said. “This reminds me of the kind of work an archeologist does. Careful and detailed. A scientific research study. That’s the impression I’m getting.”
     
    “I don’t think so, Harvey. If that alien was only doing research, then why did it try to attack you?”
     
    He had no answer to that. His only solution was an examination of the alien’s corpse.
     
    He decided to operate the digger on manual and take care of the dead ET himself, against DeepSix’s orders, against Lea’s protestations, and against his own better judgment. He couldn’t help it. Curiosity was in control now, and he let that curiosity get the best of him when he rolled to the other side of the space elevator and, with the digger’s massive jaws, scooped up the alien.
     
    “DNA scan,” he commanded the computer.
     
    “What are you doing that for?” Lea asked. She sounded curious too.
     
    “Just checking something.”
     
    “Well I wish you’d just bury the damn thing. It gives me the creeps.”
     
    “Just hold on,” he said. The computer signaled that the DNA scan results were imminent.
     
    Scan complete. Results negative. Life forms negative.
     
    “Life forms negative!” he pounded the steering controls. “How can you keep telling me there are no life forms when the damn thing is right here…it’s right here!”
     
    “Harvey,” Lea was serene and sweet. “Please don’t get excited.”
     
    “No!” he slammed the switch that opened the hatch. “I’m tired of these damn scanners always screwing up!”
     
    Harvey climbed out the hatch and made his way to the front where the alien’s leg, crushed and lifeless, dangled over the edge of the big metal jaws. Lea was in his helmet, and begged him to stay away from this thing. But he couldn’t stop. He had to know. The riddle of this mysterious alien was driving him mad, and the solution was right in front of him.
     
    He inched ahead, suddenly reticent at the sight of the scaly and muscular limb. A thick, strangely-colored hide covered the contours and sinew of the deceptively large creature. Harvey could only picture the thing in all its living splendor, rising over him and

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