Titan Empire, The Federation Chronicles, Olympus Colony
Chapter 1 Uncle Joe
Yegori Ivanov patiently waited for the elevator to reach the top of the lift pad platform. A technical engineer on each side of him just in case he did something bad like sneezed or something he snickered to himself.
With secret anxiety burning at the pit of his stomach he knew exactly what he needed to do as the elevator slowly ascended.
"Aundrey, give me a cigarette please."
Aundrey chuckled. "Yes comrade, I think I'll light one up too."
"Screw the safety protocols, make that three cigarettes" Laughed Mariopal.
Quickly lighting the cigarettes the three men began inhaling in earnest. With Yegori sucking as much nicotine that his southern Russian lungs could hold.
"You guys wouldn't happen to have some vodka would you?" Yegori joked.
They laughed between their quick inhales. Yegori could see that these guys were just as worried as he was and they had good cause to be. There had been two complete rocket failures last month with several fatalities that were quietly suppressed from ever making Pravda. In fact, Yegori was quite certain that today's launch if not a complete success would suffer another news black out fate. It was becoming routine now.
With a noisy squeak the elevator stopped and the two techs slid open the thin metal doors. The men's eyes opened to saucer shapes when they saw a tall man in a sophisticated black suit with an expesnive looking shopka upon his head.
They at once lowered their hands to try to put their cigarettes out.
"No need for that comrades. I shall join you with one of my own." The wrinkled skinned KGB chief with the intellectual glasses quietly pulled an expensive silver case out of his overcoat pocket and gave himself one.
"Would you three like another, this tobacco comes from Sochi after all."
Yegori spoke up for them. "Thank you comrade Kariga. We would love another one."
"Good, I think this whole space program could use a cigarette truth be known."
The three other men didn't know whether to laugh or just enjoy the fine expensive tobacco brand that they couldn't afford.
The KGB officer reached out and embraced Yegori. Slowly walking him to the capsule door at the top of the massive rocket attached to the building sized launch pad support system.
"Lighten up comrade Ivanov. I'm as eager for you to succeed as you're life depends upon.
We have lost so many brave astronauts in our rush to beat the Yankees into orbit. But we will succeed I assure and mother Russia will swoon with pride over them Capitalistic pigs and their Chevy automobiles.
If we don't succeed this time then perhaps comrade Yuri Gargarin will succeed on the next launch. He's a nice kid from Klushino . A beautiful village near Gzhatsk. Ever been there Yegori? Of course you haven't, I'd know if your documents were stamped to that location and I know everywhere you've ever been my friend. I know of all your family and friends that you've ever made. "
The Russian astronaut knew where this conversation was going. And it infuriated him. He was as loyal to the party as Stalin himself. Or at least that was the persona that he had cultivated over the years. The same image that had gotten him this far into the space program.
The darkly dressed officer motioned the smoking techs to back up into the elevator and they meekly did. Lowering his voice and putting his nicotine smelling mouth very close to the astronaut's ear he continued.
"If you were to come out of orbit and not land in mother Russia, what are your orders comrade?"
"To initiate melt down procedures to the capsule and ingest my cyanide capsules."
"Good.. But let us hope it never comes to that. I would want us to retrieve a strong handsome man who has been trained in so many physical and weapon combat techniques, costing mother Russia so many rubles will become a hero of the Soviet people. A Yankee rock star equivalent." The evil man laughed.
The KGB officer walked back towards the elevator and motioned the two scared technicians to help the astronaut into the re-entry capsule. Closing the doors the officer looked ahead like a frozen statue as his body was taken down below where he could watch the launch from a safe distance as all of his other colleagues had recently learned the necessity of doing.
Yegori smiled to the two shaken techs as they helped him into the capsule. Before they could close the hatch door he quickly made a request.
"Aundrey, can I have another one of your cigarettes? I think I'm going to need it."
All three men burst into a much needed bout of laughter that took the stress out of their bones.
"Here comrade Ivanov, take my pack. Smoke one for me up there."
Yegori gave a thumbs up as the door was shut and secured. The two techs put their thumbs to the door window wishing him luck as well.
One hour later.
The men gathered around the large telemetry equipment did not have smiles on their faces. Nor did Kariga the KGB officer who watched them in silence.
"His orbiting incline is not zero.... It is at a one degree trajectory. Absolute altitude has not been obtained."
The five men wore graven looks on their faces. They knew what this meant.. They had encountered it before.
The KGB officer chimed in.
"Well, one degree trajectory is better than the 5 degree that you sukas achieved last launch. And the 27 degree you pulled off the launch before that.
I suspect you gentlemen will have it right on the next launch.
In the meantime... Launch stattion chief comrade Yakova. You and me are going to have a talk about the best clothing to pack on your trip to Archangel. Ever hear of the place?"
The station chief looked down below his desk and closed his eyes.
Yegori Ivanov looked down at his altimeter and stared.. He had hit it, kicked it. And even prayed to it. But it stubbornly kept giving back a new result that did not bode well for the cosmonaut.
His altitude had just gone from 210 kilometers to 211 kilometers. A minute later and he was at 217km. He was slowly drifting out into space. He knew that landing in China was a much better fate for him than this. He'd much rather die on land. At least he'd be given a grave. Now, he would just become another statistic to be hidden away in the KGB archives in Moscow. His flight blacked out like the others had been. His family would be told that he died in a training accident as per routine in such catastrophes.
The horizon of Earth was sinking further and further below his view ports too. Soon it would be nothing but stars. After that he would begin hallucinating. Then he'd start seeing spots as his air thinned to dangerous proportions. It was a long scary drawn out way to die.
Yegori pulled Aundrey's package of cigarettes out and regarded them. .. Any one of those cigarettes he could light, but due to the oxygen mix in the air, blow him to kingdom come..
The control communications comm link blinked as the facility crew attempted to hail him again. Their voices long since fading out as he got further and further into the upper atmosphere. Far higher than was intended.
He didn't care to report on all of the readings that his instruments were showing him. It was simply time to end the dread and die.
Packing the cigarette he realized that he didn't even have a lighter. Perhaps there was one in the medical kit near the door. It was worth a look.
Unbelting he noticed that he could just glide over to the door. He didn't' need to crawl. It was a wonderful feeling. Why hadn't he done this sooner? Stopping himself he decided to bounce up to the ceiling. Upon slowly impacting with it he pushed against it only to hurl back down to his seat. Then he got braver and did a cartwheel in the weightless air.
This was really fun! Yegori began dancing and spinning like a Dervish. Why not? It was his final bid at fun in such a terminal situation.
This merry dancing in the air went on until his capsule hit something big slamming him against the wall.
"Hyper jump's finished, let's see where we are now. Mara excitedly looked down at the navigational read out.
"We should be right in front of Atzalia .. But that doesn't look like Atzalia." Terra huffed.
"I thought you said that you knew how to fly daddy's yacht Mara!"
"I do, I do! I don't understand this. I put the coordinates in perfectly." An exasperated teenager claimed.
Terra's mind went into quick speed.. This was no longer joy riding to buy Goosi necklaces. This could either land them in a lot of trouble or worse.
"Ok, let's double check what you put in against the flight path of Vorsha to Atzalia. It should be just a simple correction in order to get back to Vorsha.. As I'm no longer in the mood to go shopping after this. Who knows where we'll end up next. The middle of a star knowing you!"
"Shut up Terra, I probably just fat fingered a digit is all.. Ok here it is... I put in 0024200A4326YY1968... What do you see on the flight docs?"
The pretty red haired teenager known as Terra looked at the numbers and then looked at them twice.
"Ug! Do you see the six that came after the digit two? As in, A4326?"
The young lady with the dark hair in a pair of tightly woven braids dangling from her pretty head scrutinized the warp coordinates carefully seeing exactly what Terra was talking about. "Yeah.. So?"
"Yeah, that six should have been a G! We went right past Atzalia to the Solar Earth system... You know, right on the edge of bug territory!"
Mara meekly looked over at her thirteen year (in Titan years) old friend... "Sorry..."
"Sorry, my ass Mara! You could have just gotten us killed over Goosi necklaces. Of all things. I knew I should have just kept my grounded ass at home and not snuck out with you!"
Terra looked back at the flight controls. "You'll need to do a one eighty and put in the sequence in reverse and not fuck it up this time.. I want to go home now!"
"Ok, ok, I'm turning us around you spazoid. It' s not like I've never done this before."
Both girls looked over at the bridge window... A small metallic object that was reflecting light off of it's silvery skin just bounced off of it and was now heading back towards the glowing blue planet below but at an extremely slow rate of speed.
They rushed up to the window and pressed their faces to the reinforced translucent metal that allowed them to look out of the ship.
"Hey, that's not a comet particle. That's Titan made! Or something like that!" The dark haired teenager with the fair complexion excitedly remarked.
"It's probably just space junk, let's get out of here before we get into a lot of trouble. Your nav equipment shows that we are sitting in front of a quarantined world called Earth by the locals there. And I'm pretty sure there's an Imperial Frigate parked around here somewhere enforcing the blockade so we're probably going to get into trouble if.."
Mara had gone over to the environmental habitation monitor and did a sweep out to a half a mile in each direction. The only life around was them and whatever was inside of that shiny metal object that just bumped into the yacht.
Mara got more excited. "There's life in it Terra, I'm putting on a Vac suit and going to go get it. Just hold tight for deca unit ok?"
"It could be a can of biological nerve gas for all that we know. No Mara! I want to go home now!"
But Mara was already running down the well lit hall to the rear of the luxury vessel. Her skinny body bounding into the distance on a mission.
"It'll only take a second I promise and then we'll leave. You know how I love souvenirs!" She hollered over her shoulder as a cabin door shut behind her.
Terra stomped her foot and proceeded to leave the bridge for the galley.. She was going to go get herself a nice stiff drink from Mara's father's liquor cabinet. Perhaps that would sooth her nerves for now.
Yegori had recovered and was now staring wide eyed at the massive silver vessel that was parked just outside of his beleaguered capsule.. He was ever so slowly edging back away from it and towards Earth again.. At least this was a step in the right direction he reasoned. Other than the fact that there was some kind of massive alien vessel that he'd just rocked against.
Why hadn't their been a Stavka briefing on this sort of thing?
In any event he didn't have long to contemplate this before a massive column with what looked like a gloved hand attached to it impacted his capsule sending him against the wall again.
Righting himself he once again pushed his body to the capsule view port. His craft was being maneuvered through space towards something.
Then a massive helmet came into view. It was the size of a house with what looked like a young feminine face with way too much eye liner on behind a thick glass visor that almost came in contact with the outer metal that kept him from the cold space beyond.
His eyes widened as hers did as well. His in terror, here's in mirthful realization.
It was enough stress in one day for Yegori's body. He promptly fainted into a much needed sleep.
Mara giggled. There was a tiny little human inside of that craft. This would be a most rewarding souvenir indeed. An Earthling.. A restricted Earthling at that!.. She'd heard so much about them over the last few years and how controversial the subject of them was. Throwing the idea of human intelligence into a very heated subject as of late. At least it was in the Titan portion of the empire.
Her own older sister shared the intelligence point of view and was in favor of emancipating them. The Federation's stance hadn't changed a single nano unit from what she could tell though. But that sort of thing really didn't' interest her too much anyway. What mattered right now, is here she had herself a free new pet and couldn't wait to get it back home and play with it!
Terra was enjoying a purple colored drink that she knew her parents drank on occasion and she could see why. Her nerves began to become placid once she'd made her fourth gulp of the sweet alcoholic substance. Taking her fifth swig the bridge door opened and in charged Mara still in her vac suit minus the helmet, holding the funny beacon shaped metal object.
"Oh you're not going to believe this!"
Mara slid the fist sized object onto the bar table right in front of Terra and smiled in anticipation..
"Take a look inside!"
Terra put down her drink and obliged her friend... Whatever it took to pacify Mara so that they could be on their way.
"It's dark inside I don't see anything."
Mara reconsidered as she hadn't thought of that.. The Star for this planet was at her back shining directly into the cockpit when she looked inside. Thinking fast she ran over to the flight control console and fished out a thin metal object that resembled a ball point pen and ran back to the table.
At first a needle thin laser beam shot out of it and burned a small brown spot unto the bright white expensive laminated table top.
"Wait, not that setting.. This one." Mara grumbled as she turned a dial on the side of it and then pushed the button again.
Out shot a strong cone shaped light beam that was more than adequate to light up the cosmonaut's cockpit as she focused it in.
"Go on look!"
Terra frowned but obliged her once again. Then her eyes lit up with wonder.
"Oh, how cute, a tiny little space pilot. I'll bet you he's from Earth! I hear they're really smart.. Smarter than the human pets that we have back on our planet."
Both girls were startled out of their mirth when a loud firm voice came over there communications link next to the navigational array.
"Citizens of the Federation, this is a Titan Empire M class patrol frigate.. You are in violation of quarantine law SS52.2754395B, commonly known as the Terran Conservatoin Act. You are hereby ordered to link your onboard computer to ours as we assume control and board your vessel. You have thirty seconds to comply before we disable your power drives."
Both of their mouths shot open in surprise.. Mara quickly lowered the capsule into her shoulder purse and ran over to the controls and did what was commanded.
Terra quickly poured her drink down the galley sink as if this would get her out of some of the trouble that she was already in... She was absolutely sure that she was never getting ungrounded now. But at least she wasn't in as much trouble as Mara was if that was any consolation
Titan Empire, The Federation Chronicles, Olympus Colony