Author: Attrocitus PM
The year is 2512 A.D. and the Earth is now dead. As unbelievable as it sounds, my crew and I are the last living vestiges of Mankind. After our world was destroyed in nuclear holocaust, we gambled on the most desperate of last ditch efforts in order to survive. Now here we stand, light years from our home planet, centuries from our own time, our future perilous. This is our story.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 6,729 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 12-07-12 - Published: 12-01-12 - id: 3079246
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is how nightmares end, or perhaps begin, depending on your point of view. The planet in front stands as a shining jewel amidst the black void of outer space. Two massive oceans lay claim to about three quarters of the surface, with only small landmasses jutting out here and there. Brilliant clouds swirl around the behemoth sphere forming a beautiful tapestry of color and spectacle. Surrounding the planet, four small moons can be seen, serenely orbiting as they had for perhaps eons. As you've probably already guessed, this is not Earth. Than the hulking form of the spacecraft breaks the stillness of the scene, edging ever closer. It's centuries long journey, at last coming to an end, it's destination reached, it's job done. As it floats through the endless void, a single word can be seen on the side of it's withered hull…Traverse.
To be drifting in a state of consciousness somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, is at it's best, a strange thing. But that's exactly what I've been doing for; God I don't know how long it's been. I remember back when they tested these kinds of things out, people would always ask if it was possible to think and dream in suspended hibernation. Well I can tell you it's quite possible. I suppose I should really introduce myself, to whom I don't know…perhaps God, perhaps the other guy. My name is Jason Alejandro Chavez and as inconceivable as it might sound, I along with my crew, are all that remains of the Human Race. As we have come to understand it, the Earth went "bye bye" in a radioactive puff of smoke, taking some eleven billion people along for the ride. This is the end result of our supposed plan to survive. Being shuttled trillions of miles into space and find a new Eden. Than again we could just be fooling ourselves, maybe we're already dead and in purgatory of some kind. Hell the odds of us actually surviving the journey were something like ten million to one. Whoever is listening to this can stop me at anytime…
At that exact moment the Traverse is jolted by a massive gravity flux brought on by the ship's thrusters as they sputter back to life after decades of dormancy. The life support systems kick in as the A.I. computer comes out of sleep mode when it senses that the destination coordinates have been reached. The ship's consoles and interior electrical systems blink to life. The Traverse is back online…
The Cryo-Pods are bathed in red light and the rejuvenation sequences commence in order to bring the long sleeping crew out of frozen hibernation. A series of searing hot mists fire off as the temperature inside the pods begin to rise. Jason's eyes slowly begin to open as shards of ice fall from his eyelids. Several clear tubes that are attached to his body begin to inject a neon glowing liquid into his veins. This causes every muscle in his body to twitch violently as they electrified back to life after centuries of atrophy. The face mask he is wearing begins to pump gaseous stimulants into his lungs, causing him to take his first gasp of voluntary air in a very long time. After a few minutes the mask and tubing fall away as the hot mists also cease. Jason slumps against the glass hatchway, his labored breathing creating a fog shroud that quickly overtakes the clarity. He stands there, leaning against the glass, shirtless and dripping wet from the melted cryogenic preservatives that had covered him. Suddenly the glass hatch of the pod gives way and Jason falls to the cold metal floor like a stone.
The Commander, still breathing heavily, let's out a gasp of pain as his entire body tingles with the sensation of pins and needles. With quite a bit of effort he flips over onto his back and brings his hands to his face, his skin feeling cold and clammy. His vision is still quite blurry and his head throbs with a splitting headache.
"Son of a bitch." he whimpers as he slightly looks around stopping only when a wince of pain shoots through his brain "Ok either I'm still alive or I'm in hell." After a few moments he manages to raise to his feet, still very wobbly from his time in cryo-animation. Jason that spots that there is activity coming from some of the other pods as well as the other crew members seem to be coming out of there hibernation "That's it boys and girls, look alive." He stumbles as he leans on a nearby console. Wheezing a chuckle "We made it, don't ask me how or why, but we made it." Leaning over, the Commander rests his head in his hands as memories begin to flood back.
Boy I remember it like it was yesterday. I was just coming back from a routine cargo run from Gavin Moon Base. I'd run freighter hauls from this particular base so many times that I could practically fly the route in my sleep. I had just landed in the Canaveral Docking Ports after spending nearly three weeks in space. That was the funny thing, it seemed that I was spending more and more time away from the Earth. By this time I was making cargo hauls and working on an almost non stop schedule. So needless to say I was keeping myself pretty busy, but I didn't mind, in fact I rather preferred it that way. People in general just seemed to pissed me off and it was getting way to crowded down there anyway, we were about to hit the eleven billion mark, some papers said. I lived in a moderate size condo in the downtown district of Century City, but I was hardly ever there. My work and my flying profession took up nearly one hundred percent of my time these days. The stillness and tranquility of space helped to sooth my mind, make me forget all about her. I was working extra hard at keeping myself occupied during this time in particular. Oh don't get me wrong, she was never to far from my mind, but being out here just seemed to take the edge off, ya know. Sometimes I would just spend literally hours thinking about how our lives could've been. In my mind, we were perfect together. Needless to say, she thought differently. It's like in that one moment, I just wasn't me anymore. I mean I know they say rejection is hard but nothing like this. So yea, she definitely kept me up nights.
I landed where I usually did, at the Canaveral Docking Ports on the Western Hemispheric Sector. They were a busy collaboration of several space and terrestrial hubs of incoming and departing flight craft of any and all kinds. Freight hauling, military transport and commercial travel all took place in these central zones of the aerospace skyways. I kinda chuckled to myself when I was taxing in, an old history lesson popped into my mind for some reason. Apparently this place used to be known as the state of Florida in the old confederation of linked territories known as the United States or some shit like that. This was before the formation of the United Global Council which effectively abolished all free standing boundaries of so called countries. This in turn transformed the world into a conglomerate of several large mega provinces, with one overseeing faction at the heart, namely the U.G.C., which was established around the year 2062 A.D. But than again I was about a year old when all this happened so, whatever. I always used to hear the old heads talk about the good ole' days of America. "I grew up in land of the free and the home of the brave" a lot of em' said. But like I said I was born well after all this bullshit, so I hadn't a clue as to what they were talking about. The U.G.C. was all I had ever known.
I was coming in from one of my many routine flights to several mining operations on Gavin Moon Base in the Sea of Tranquility. I was hauling a payload of nuclear charged Crystherium. Everything was business as usual, when I docked in hangar 7A-10. This hangar was only one of about twenty in the Johnston Port at Canaveral, with the Johnston port being only one of many in turn. I casually exited my spacecraft after doing my usual post flight check lists. In a holding pattern right next to me was a space freighter about the same size as the one I was piloting. Out of the center hatch pops an over weight and somewhat sloppy looking bastard who addressed me.
"Well looky what drifted in with the rest of the space junk. If it ain't Choke on mah Junk Chavez!" said the man.
I continued on with the rest of my post flight check off, examining the outer hull of my freighter. The docking techs were beginning to prep the ship for inbound inspection, carrying out the usual tasks of checking the fuel lines for space debris damage, outer hull integrity and solar radiation saturation. I immediately recognized the voice of the man addressing me and didn't even turn around to acknowledge him.
"Well if it ain't No Balls Havin Barnes, where you off to?" I said casually.
"I'm off on my seventh run to the Sea of Storms, delivering my fourth load of Crystherium.? said Barnes.
"Seventh run, impressive Barnes." I said.
"Damn right, what are you on Chavez, your fifth run? Or was it your fourth? Can't remember since your so damn sluggish with your hauls.? said Barnes with a deep throated laugh.
At this I nonchalantly turned around and raised an eyebrow "No Barnes this'll be my tenth run. Oh and if I were you I wouldn't be talking to loud about being sluggish. Maybe if you'd layoff the sweet packs, you wouldn't have to carry twice what you need in fuel."
Barnes frowned "Just because you were some hot shot pilot back in the Air Forces, don't mean your shit now. I'm gonna be the undisputed king of the space shipping lanes. You hear me son?"
"My record speaks for itself Barnes, ya know it's like I said before. You lack the one thing that'll make you a force to be reckoned with out here." I said with a smirk.
"So just what is that?" asked Barnes.
"Ya got no balls." I casually walked over and mockingly tapped the side of his face "Have a nice flight huh."
Without another word the fat freighter pilot taxied his space craft out of the hangar in a huff. I smiled from ear to ear as one of the dock techs laughed alongside.
"Hey good one Commander. So how did she handle?" asked the dock tech referring the freighter ship.
"She handled pretty nice Mike. Atmosphere Stabilizers were a little bumpy but other than that, she ran like a dream."
Mike just grinned and returned back to the work of post prepping the ship. I continued to gather up the rest of my gear and head to the assignment lane office, where I would pick up my next hauling job. Some people would scoff at the idea of me taking another run immediately after returning from this shipment, but I figured ,who the hell needed rest nowadays. Besides I was trying to keep myself as busy as humanly possible, for my own personal reasons. It was than that two men in polished gray suits approached me. They were dressed in the standard uniform of all Global Council Reps. The get ups were very simple in design, namely just a long sleeve over vest, a black shirt underneath and a pair of metallic looking gray pants, with combat boots. They also wore a ball cap style hat with the U.G.C. logo in front, which was to say the symbol for the Earth with the number one super imposed on it. I was doing a pre mock up check of my flight gear when I heard a voice cal out my name.
"Major Jason Chavez?"
I turned around to see the two men walking towards me. I narrowed my eyes a bit as I coolly set down my flight duffel "Retired Major, who wants to know?"
"I'm Representative Thompson and this is Representative Rogers. We're with the resource replenishment division under the science and tech post, United Global Council." said one of the men as they both proceeded to show their official council badges.
I gave a slight nod of approval as I took a more investigative glance at one of the badges "U.G.C. huh, nice. So uh, what can I do for you boys?"
"We have you listed as a Major in the Global Air Forces." said Rogers.
"Yea I resigned my commission a few years back. I'm a licensed civilian commander with government contractors now." I said.
"We hear your quite the pilot within the freight space lanes, hauling sensitive payloads. I'll come to the point here Commander, we've got a job offer for you." said Thompson.
I crossed my arms in slight suspicion "What kind of job?"
"Trust us, this is right up your alley, plus the pay will be well worth your time. We've got a new space station that we're ready to bring to full functional operation. We've got a full crew of engineers and scientists already picked out to both bring the station online and staff it fully. All we need now is a top notch pilot to get em' there. From your reputation and our own in depth research, we think you're the man for the job. So what ya say?"
I started to laugh it off, thinking it had to be a joke or something. Two U.G.C. reps approaching me out of nowhere to take up a mission to a newly developed space station. I searched their eyes for some hint that this was indeed a joke but all I got was stony silence accompanied by stoic expressions "You guys are serious?"
"Dead serious Commander, what about it?" said Rogers.
"Look man, I just came off a run, I haven't even stowed my flight gear for cripes sake. I probably got three or four more hauling runs ahead of me this month alone, I don't know if I? I began to say.
Thompson abruptly cut me off "We need an answer now Commander. More will be explained about the mission at H.Q. But right now we need a solid answer from you, yes or no. What's it gonna be?"
There was something about the demeanor of these guys that told me they were not joking around. I looked around me and saw the busy goings on in the hangar and took a long pause of introspection. Who knows what these people were offering, was it a chance that I could really afford to pass up? I looked back at the two reps and a reluctantly nodded.
I threw my arms up in abandon "What the hell." I said in a calm, I don't give a shit type voice.
Thompson grinned "Outstanding, if you'll follow us Commander. We have a transport waiting for you."
I followed the two men out of the hangar without really realizing what I was getting myself into. Was it a mistake, but if I hadn't accepted the job, I would've perished along with eleven billion others. But was it really worth it to be one of the only surviving Humans left, shot out into space, light years away in a completely alien environment? I guess these are questions I'll be haunted with forever? Who knows if I did the right thing, who knows.
Suddenly the ship's emergency beacons flare up as a low siren like wail begins to echo through the inner hull of the Traverse. Jason, effectively snaps back into reality. A machine like voice than issues a warning over the speaker systems.
"Warning, less than eighteen minutes remaining on main power grid. Warning, less than eighteen minutes remain on main power grid."
"Oh shit!" Jason says as he looks back to his still awakening crew members "C'mon, c'mon you bastards have had enough time to sleep! We got a little bit of a situation here!"