rogue-planet-6521709091261 Rogue Planet

Years of cryo-sleep separate Endo and Yana from their home planet of Earth. Awoken aboard a spaceship, their only companions are their rigorous work and the vast emptiness of space. Their mission: to find a new home among the stars. Together, throughout many years, they form a bond, collaborating on their studies, and contemplating the ethics of their expedition. When they stumble upon a moss-covered planet and its lifeforms, the joy is short-lived, and soon, the military will arrive for colonization.

Найучная фантастика Футуристический 18+.

#romance #space #loneliness #war #earth #aliens #dystopian #science-fiction #short-story #couple #ancient #emotional #psychological #isolation #grief #pyramids #colonization #partners #quick-read #studies #biology #engineering #thelostcivilization #themes #archaic #lifeforms #alient-planet #spaceships #frigate
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Before the Fleet

Somewhere in the ever-expanding Alpha Centauri, in a void boundless, coasted the freighter known as the Harpy. In the eyes of a primitive civilization, it may have been perceived as mystical in its appearance and ascent—a bird with alloy lungs and carbon fiber skin, its feathers polished chrome. Floating, seemingly still, the thrust of its engines shattered the speed of light, tearing through the vacuum, and surveying for habitable planets on a lifelong quest. However, the bird does not fly alone, and in its housings, under its wings, the crew slumbered in a five-year rest. Half of a decade unfolded in the darkness where they slept, but on their former home of Earth, they had only been absent for what could be observed as one revolution around the planet’s sun.

They had left everything behind, their partners, their animals, the people they once were and could have been. Endo, a mechanical engineer, yearned to see new suns rise on a foreign horizon. Yana, a stubborn xenobiologist constantly drawn to her work, used it as her sole outlet, the only way to evade the hauntings of her past; contemplating other life instead of her own. Five years prior they huddled into the Harpy, awe-struck, anticipating the unknown and the questions they would answer. An emotion that would cease in cryo-sleep, coming back in fragments upon their waking. When the haze fades and their senses return, so will the feeling of uncertainty, the unsure future, and their current disposition in space.

The green planet was spotted by the ship’s systems early in the morning, the terminals read Friday, but no one sat in the cockpit, and the interior was empty. That is to say, except for the chambers where they rested, frigid but sustained amid a room of pearly white—a contrast to the black intestinal tracks of the rest of the vessel. When the ship caught sight of the verdant planet, there was an instantaneous signal sent through the innards, an alarm that blared throughout the entirety of its metallic contents.

Cryo-containers hissed, and from the exhaust vents, steam enveloped the lofty chamber before dissipating at the ceiling. A serpentine network of tubes led from the hub of the bay and into the bulkheads. Awakened by the sounds, and in a complete mental blur, Endo Nakamura postured himself up with the numbest of muscles. He hadn’t moved in years, but somehow his body remained stimulated, and in just a few minutes his senses would be his own again. The ship, or his location in the solar system, was a nonfactor, and upon rubbing his eyes, the only thing his mind chose to recall—was his mother.

When the last pod opened, and the crew members realized their predicament, they sat up from their five-year rest. Confused, and alone among hundreds, every one of them traded glances of mixed emotions. Endo could see the emptiness in their eyes, an emptiness he too felt. In the mass of the gowned crew, he caught sight of a blonde-haired woman, gaunt and defined in her countenance. She seemed to bear the weight of years spent dormant, and even cryo-sleep couldn’t halt aging entirely. The woman’s occupation specialty was unknown to Endo, but she wore a look of intelligence and seemed to gather her wits before most. He assumed she was some sort of scientist, possibly a ponderer of the stars, those whom the mission hinged on. As they gathered with the group, stretching their aching limbs, they caught sight of one another before a digitized voice echoed from the speakers above them.

“Greetings, crewmates, I will be your companion for the rest of our journey together. My reasons for your awakening are momentous, and if my examinations are correct, we have encountered a potentially habitable planet. We are currently heading toward its orbit, you are to follow the signs to the offices for psychic evaluation. Upon passing the exam, you will be sent to your designated posts. Maintaining the ship is paramount, as is the study of this planet. I have received the military’s message, and if our examinations prove fruitful, they are to arrive in five years for colonization.” The voice over the speaker cut out, and the people began to whisper amongst themselves, their gowns swaying just past their knees.

A week passed in which Endo spent his time in the bowels of the ship, going over the intricacies of the vessel, every nut and bolt was to be accounted for. He was familiar with freighters of its class, and the muscle memory of years gone had come back to him in his days spent below deck. The smell of lubricants and the insistent grease upon his palms, the ruckus of pistons and bellowing engines; all culminated in isolation. The moments of respite for him were the times he went above deck, the times the voice on the speakers allowed him to do so. Granted two hours here, a few hours there, he spent his leisure time ruminating in the cafeteria. He wasn’t keen on banal conversations, but the presence of others served to soothe him mentally. Everyone talked about the planet, the planet, a concept that few actually studied. Though his curiosities were piqued, he noticed that the one woman not vociferating her concerns was instead, scrutinizing the notes within her datapad. Against his better judgment, he took a deep breath and headed over to her.

Alone and away from the others, she sat with her brows furrowed and her head down, his presence was an irritating shadow looming over her. “Can I help you?” She asked him, clearly annoyed and dismissive.

“Uhm—yeah, sorry, I just saw you over here and I was quite curious about what you’re studying.” Endo was intrigued, and if there was anything to be learned about their predicament, he would find it.

“Yeah?” She replied, her words short and her nose to her work.

“Definitely, what section of the ship are you in?” He thought of something to say, the small talk he claimed to hate.

“Science division, biology,” the tag on her coat read, Dr. Petrova, she glanced up at him.

“Engineering, myself, ins and outs of the ship, know ‘em all. Are you reading about the planet? If you don’t mind me asking.” He felt he may have been prying, but his interest got the better of him.

“In a way,” Petrova was brief as he hovered over her, eager to sit.

“Enlighten me. We’ll be sending out the probes in a few months, I help maintain those, and I know some things. My name is Endo, you?” He knew more than he let on, and his work as an engineer encompassed more than most assumed.

“It’s nice to meet you—Endo, my name’s Yana. Maybe your expertise can help me,” she replied, gesticulating him to sit, and pleased by his status in the ship. She would unlikely have made time for any expendable member and seemed a woman of utmost efficiency. Time was of no issue to him, but she treated it so.

In the orbit of a dense emerald planet, where its moisture was high and temperatures humid, its entire surface a moss-laden green, they studied from afar. Memories of a distant life echoed in the sight of such wonder, the freshly cut lawn as green as the planet, the day his mother fell sick, how green her hospital gown was. The strange smell of flora he would not experience, nor the brushing of alien plants and the awe of setting his feet down on the soil. Despite this all, the cold of the ship, and the unknown below them, he found purpose in the calculated conversations with Petrova, and joy in the times she would let her guard down, allowing herself any sort of animation. The moments he wasn’t isolated from the rest of the crew, he would rinse his hands, take the elevator up, and find an excuse to aid her in her work. Her quarters were nestled in the west wing, and from the window that peered out into a deep black, a great sphere of green held their eyes for hours on end. Mostly they talked of the expedition, her studies, and the military that would arrive in four years. Though in brief periods he relished, Yana revealed her life before and the husband she had left behind, most importantly, she mentioned her child who had passed not a year before her departure.

October 13, 2801

The scans show nothing, lifeless rock, bio-scans murky due to interference from the planet’s atmosphere. Probes aren’t equipped to handle the fluctuations, We need to find a solution. A probe will be sent in the coming days, and samples of the soil will ideally be obtained. We will look for complex organic molecules and check the isotope ratios.

Another dead end, he thought as he went to visit Yana one evening, worried about what she would say. They had spent years cooped up for nothing, with no clear results, and at times, the whole process seemed entirely futile. Yana sat in the mess hall most days, and her frustrations echoed his own while they conversed, how many more years must it take before they arrive? She watches the news back home, the government talks of necessary expansion, and the scientists in search of new life. She scowls at the messages that ping from her terminal, words of impending absorption, and if everything went as planned, complete military intervention.

October 28, 2802

A probe has successfully gathered the required data, owed to Endo Nakamura’s help in re-engineering it. The soil is strong with microbial activity, and the isotope ratios are a clear deviation from non-biological processes. The flora is vast here. Signs of fauna have not yet been encountered, but movements in our scans suggest insect activity. I have temporarily called for Endo’s assistance when he is able.

Watching the world from her quarters, they were ecstatic, surrounded by machines and disassembled electronics. In a metallic pigsty of dedication, they celebrated their findings with rare laughter, and drank carefully rationed alcohol from her thermos; perhaps, amidst the cold machinery and the moisture from her peace lilies, they found warmth in each other. Against regulation, he stayed longer that permanent night, and the void that expanded just outside the bulkheads, if not for a few minutes, paid him little mind in her presence. When they lay for hours, his vision rarely wandered from hers, and when it happened to do so, he would reflect, if only for an instant, on the framed picture sitting atop her desk, a photo of her once family, the fragments of memories and a boy she took with her.

April 18th, 2803

Three years of analyzing data, and countless probes launched, a number of them have been prototypical to varying degrees of success, all of which have led us here. The atmosphere is completely safe for us to breathe, and there are signs of sentient life. Structures detected beneath the soil. and a vast network of tunnels that stretches for miles beneath. The winds are harsh here, they lull most evenings. Flora reacts to our probes as if cowering away. We have detected fauna, creatures with antlers not dissimilar to those back on Earth. Another probe is en route, soon, we will find bodies of water.

They watched the probe’s trajectory, slow, steady. Yana’s voice was a low hum amid the whirring machinery. What would be an eerie sound to the non-adjusted, was soothing to their ears, a white noise that settled between them both. Shared anticipation lingered in the sterile air of her quarters, and occasionally, she even cracked a smile at him, a smile that faded in the questioning of her choices. As the probe descended, and before it reached the surface, her heart sank with it. Their voyage, their search for life, was the shadow of a looming nation.

November 9th, 2804

To our great surprise, water has been sampled, and our suspicions have been confirmed; pyramid-like structures have been discovered just below the surface. They are bygone structures, and we have yet to encounter any intelligent lifeforms, but it is concrete evidence of an intelligent species that once lived here. We have done it, the greatest discovery known to humankind, but still, the work isn’t finished. In just a few months the military will arrive, and soon, Endo and I will be relegated to the sidelines.

That evening’s conversation was bittersweet, the news was grand, immaculate, findings that would change the course of history and life as they perceived it. However, her visage was bleak while she sat in her chair, and upon his stubborn inquiries, Endo found her questioning the ethics of the military’s arrival. Despite her life-altering discoveries, ones she would surely wear in the form of medals around her neck, and accolades on her ivory shelf, the excitement of her success waned. It mattered little then, she had never felt the warmth of its atmosphere, and would not witness the aliens when they rose from their tunnels, indiscernible from humans.

Endo lay beside her that night, and oh how easily their hands coalesced amid the absence of light, she showed no hesitancy, but within her, there was an unfathomable guilt. For him, he had accepted his resignations, but the weight of many worlds Petrova carried with her, the inability to forget, and mitigate he could not. The questions remained unanswered, and the uncertain cost of their findings, but they knew it harbored moralities of gray, only the deep green of the surface, and the hues of her skin retained their color as the fleet appeared. Through the depths of space, and with a blinding flash that receded in the whites of their eyes, soared a thousand birds of prey.

23 марта 2024 г. 0:43 1 Отчет Добавить Подписаться

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Rogue Planet My name is Jesse and I like writing metaphysical and psychological horror. I also enjoy sci-fi and crime dramas quite a bit. Some of my favorite authors are Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Elmore Leonard.



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