The year 2081…
“Delta V looking good.” Came a deep voice from the front of the cockpit. An array of brightly lit panels and screens illuminated the otherwise metallically dark room, many windows scatted the walls looking out into the deep empty soul of space, and the reflection of a face in such a window would almost sent you mad if you stared at it for too long. Various lights blinked and the sounds of vibrations were heard throughout the metal work of the ship as the engines spooled up. Welcome aboard the ‘Phantom II’, a medium class FTL interstellar star ship. Destination: A small, Earth like planet in the star system Gliese 581.
“How are we on Colodium cells Dr. sharp?”
Colodium: A highly reactive plasma compound, it’s extremely rare on the Moon. It’s the whole point this little 22 light year expedition is taking place. By the kilo, it is the most reactive substance known to mankind, and orbiting this star, is a planet which is shown by instruments to have over 80% buried Colodium ore in its soil, but never explored by humankind, until now.
“Positive Delta V confirmed Captain, Colodium cells 3 & 5 are at 23%, and cells 1, 2 & 4 are at 5%”
An almost nerdy if it weren’t so cute female voice stated from behind the captains seat.
Enter Anna Sharp.
Biometric Build Registry log number: 522091
Dr. Anna Gee Sharp
Height: 5ft 2In Weight: 110lbs Age: 27 Eye/hair colour: Blue/Blonde
Role: Ships data engineer and co-pilot.
“Basically, she is responsible for flying the ship, without flying the ship.” – Captain brook.
A beautiful young woman with pale-ish who looked way younger than her age dictated, flowing blonde hair that hugged her body followed her curves all the way down to her lower back with slight darker highlights here and there, huge blue eyes that spread happiness and that warm fuzzy feeling to whoever gets graced by her presence. Not too tall, not too short. Not a stick and not a cake guzzler.
She is the perfect example of anthropological biometrics.
Incredibly intelligent, the Captain often states ‘she should be the one flying this boat’, but often shy with a cute voice you would expect to hear from a young angel.
Her chosen attire when in the recreational zones of the craft consisted mainly of a woolly jumper to cover up some kind of cutesy t-shirt, usually a pair of jeans hugging tightly to her legs and a pair of old converse trainers that she keeps even though the company went out of business years ago, and a small woolly white hat you would normally see a little child wearing.
Captain Donald Brook, a legend among legends. One of the first interstellar space pilots in the history of mankind, he had travelled to the far reaches of the galaxy and has the t shirt to prove it.
His battle scarred skin tells a story of many wars fought and won or sometimes lost on various different soils around the solar system and even galaxy. Short-ish greying hair stating his wisdom blooms from his head, he is very tall and big built but his fighting days are over, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Dark brown eyes that when you look in, you can tell he has seen some ‘shit’.
Known to many is the fact that he never wears anything other than a flight suit; it is unknown whether he wears the same one over and over or whether his wardrobe consists only of flight suits.
The other patrons on board this vessel include 24 year old Geologist Miss. Amy lee, a short and cute science student from England, and 26 year old Mission Specialist Michael ‘Mikey’ Smith, a pro when it comes to all things... space-y.
“So this is Gliese 581... what kind of a name is Fantaria anyway?” Mikey entered the flight deck where Brook and Sharp were staring out the port window at the passing planet, admiring its home like colours.
“It’s a twist on the word, ‘Fantasy world’. I guess the scientists back home think this new plasma compound is going to work fantasy like miracles for the energy crisis or something” Replied Sharp, walking over to Mikey.
“Launching Hack Probe’s 1 through 6 in t-minus one minute” Declared Brook from the Captains seat.
Hack probe stands for Habitability and Atmospheric Conditions Probe.
A release of energy was felt as the pistons gripping the probes in the bay were released. The probes floated about 25 meters away from the ship before engaging their retro styled chemical thrusters and plummeting into the planet below.
“Now we wait” Said Brook.
--~~__###@@HaAC Probe Three Data Uplink@@###__~~--
Uplink signal strength: 98.52%
Video feed: Active Sound feed: Active
Beginning atmospheric composition and major compound analysation.
ACMCA 50% ACMCA 100% Sending Data to uplink one Data marked as received
Beginning Video stream to uplink one Video uplink marked as received.
End Transmission (011947)
“Would you look at that.” Said Brook in amazement as a fuzzy, low definition video slowly rendered on the monitor in front of him. He called the others over and they all shared the same reaction.
A computerized voice was heard above the sounds of engines whining and metalwork vibrating.
‘Orbit capture at 0:13AM, 25/12/2081. Congratulations Captain Brook, you are the first human to ever achieve orbit of any astronomical body in the star system, Gliese 581’.
“Merry Christmas guys and gals!” Captain Brook boomed at the top of his voice, waking up the entire ship’s crew.
“Elapsed mission Day 1792. We have achieved orbit around planet 58b, Fantaria. By time you get this message back home we will probably be on our way to you, but an updates an update so here it is.” Brook spoke into the microphone, recording his message to send back to earth.
“Guys you about ready to roll?” He yelled, alerting the crew they would be entering the atmosphere soon.
“Check!” Replied Anna.
“All systems go!” Yelled Amy.
“Yeah whatever cap’tn.” Grumbled a tired Mikey after being on night duty the previous night.
“Okay here we go!”.
The engines spooled and the metal shook, all of a sudden, the ship jerked forward violently as the engines began producing thrust. The ship tilted and dived towards the elegant blue marble below.
“Yee-haw!” screamed Brook.
‘Beep Beep: Main heat shield at 80% maximum pressure, adjust Angle of attack immediately!
“I know what fucking pressure the shields at, and I don’t give a damn!” Brook yelled as he hit the alarm silencer button.
Anna and Amy were screaming and hugging for their lives, glued to their seats as Brook and Mikey tried to battle with the atmosphere to save their ship.
“If... we just... move that... to...” Mikey struggled.
‘A metallic clink was heard, as if a gear had been freed from a jam.’
“Aha! Got it Capt’n. Quick! Hit full reverse thrust and pitch up 10 degrees.” Mikey exhaled.
The ship began to vibrate less and less, but they weren’t clear yet.
‘Warning: Low fuel!”. “Warning: Low fuel!’
“You have got to be kidding me!” Screamed Mikey.
Just then the vibrations seem to disappear almost entirely, give or take a bit of turbulent shaking, and the smokey black and grey clouds around the ships windows cleared.
“We’re here.” Said an exhausted Brook.
Outside the windows was a beautiful grey blue sky, dotted with wisp’s of tiny white clouds, just like the ones on earth, the ground was completely full of vegetation, amazingly pure green plants and trees litters the fields for 100s of miles, the water of the lakes was completely see through and sparkled in the mid-day sun.
The crew just gawked in awe at the majestic planet-scape laid beneath them, but their attention was soon broke by an array of alarms whaling from the cockpit.
“Goddammit you piece of junk! Mikey, get on the controls, looks like were gliding this baby in.” Said Brook whilst Amy and Anna shared worried looks.
The ship was nose first buried in the dirt with its main gear collapsed and a wing clipped. Smoke billowed from its engines and dirt scratches lined its fuselage.
Suddenly a hatch blasted open and revealed a crew of four space suited persons behind it who began to traverse down the side of the ship.
Mikey produced a gun with a radar cone on the end which emitted a laser field that seem to penetrate every inch of the ship.
“A few bumps, but it’s repairable.” He sighed in relief.
“Alright guys I want two teams, Recon and Repair.”
“Recon: Amy and Anna, you look around here and see what the area is like, me and Mikey will repair the ship” ordered Brook.
“Roger!” complied the crew almost in perfect synchronisation.
About half a day had passed and it was beginning to get dark, the sun was setting in the north and the light refracted beautifully between the green foliage.
“That about does it.” exhaled Mikey in relief.
“Yep, she’s all patched up.” replied Brook.
Just then Anna and Amy returned looking worn out and dehydrated.
“Got all the info on the local area in these chips cap.” Chirped Anna with a sense of accomplishment.
“Good work girls. Go get something to eat, we’ll be up shortly.” Replied Brook.
“Hmm, there’s something odd encrypted in this data… it almost looks like… a Life form!?” A shocked Brook yelled.
“What!?” Gasped Mikey from the co-pilot’s seat.
Tonnes of encrypted data text scrolled up and down the holographic green screen at the front of the ship as Brook and Mikey scanned it for info on these mysterious life form signals.
“Well first things first, if there’s life forms out there we need a night guard. Mikey, since you have some military training, I’m putting you on first duty until we get this data decoded and figure out whether these life forms are friendly or hostile, take this key and stock up on arms from the emergency armoury in the cargo bay. Il activate the ships ‘active camo’ though the night but we’re counting on you to keep our asses safe.” Instructed Brook.
“Yes capt’n!” a overjoyed Mikey complied with the hope he might be able to shoot some things tonight, being a massive fan of the old Alien movies, there what actually inspired him to be an astronaut in the first place, ‘weird right?’.
A while later Mikey returned in a suit of metal bio armour and two plasma rifles in slings on his back.
“Good luck!” Brook said as Mikey left the hatch.
“Not gonna need it” Mikey shot back whilst pumping the load action on the plasma rifle.
“No one dared to ask his business no one dared to make a slip. For the stranger there among them had a big iron on his hip” Sang Mikey as he patrolled outside the now almost invisible ship.
He paced back and forth before sitting down on a fallen log near a camp fire, even if it was just for nostalgia since the space suit he was heat proof up to about 5000 degrees kelvin.
The dark black backline of trees obscured most of the light from the planets 3 moons save for the starry dark purple sky, and the small fire illuminated a small patch of turf where he had made a come away from home camp fire, It was about 4am in the morning and Mikey was almost nodding off, clutching his rifle in his hands.
‘Thump’ A distant and low rumbling sound pierced the silence of the forest.
‘Thump’ There it is again.
Mikey sprang up to his feet, cocking the plasma rifle in and aiming in at his invisible foe.
“C’mon you son of a bitch, Mikey wont hurtchya.” He sneered.
The thumping noise got quicker and louder, Mikey began to sweat inside his suit, he darted his aim across the backline like a cornered soldier, gasping for air and frightened for his life, he screamed at the top of his lungs. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!”.
The thumping stopped, Mikey held his breath, he didn’t move a muscle.
If he could react fast enough he might of screamed again as he flew through the air into the sky, something had got him by the leg, he opened fire on the unknown predator.
The plasma rifle droned and whined as it powered up before unleashing a torrent of bright green flashes directly below Mikey’s feet, where he was being hung from. The predator rocked and swayed violently, releasing him from its death grip. Mikey plummeted about 50ft into a canopy of tree leafs which slowed his overall descent but didn’t stop him.
He hit the ground with an almighty Thud! And the scream that followed might have been enough to scare away whatever was hunting him down.
“Warning, major fracture detected. Warning, Haemorrhage detected.” The biosuit spoke with a slow robotic voice.
Mikey just lay there screaming in pain and agony, until the Thumping began again.
“Oh no. Oh no no no. Get away from me!” He cried into the night, reaching to his back to find that his remaining rifle had fallen out of its sling. He screamed a final breath, before passing out.
“Mikey? Mikey where are you?” yelled Anna as she stepped outside the hatch.
“Where is that fool?” questioned Brook.
“I don’t know but guys, you might wanna check this out” called Amy.