*Just an idea for a story that kept growing.*

Windstorm

Marcus and Sutherby fought the controls of their Remote Current Detection Unit. The little ship bucked and thrashed , propellers and thrusters caught in a wild series of cross winds.

"This is RCDU5 !" Marcus bellowed into the com system. "Control number 49VH371! We're caught in a cross current ! Requesting Helm Control ! " The pod bucked and began a spiraling decent .

"Do you bastards hear me up there ! Either get us out of here or give me the damn RTcontrols!!"

Strapped in back to back Marcus and Suthersby had no notion of the panic on each others faces. The Control panel of their consuls were locked in. Preprogrammed, their route and destination couldn't be changed until the Mission team on board the larger Syru-Research Unit reset their destination. The only thing they had control over was the robotic arms and vacuum hose attached to their Current detection pod.

"This is it Man!" Suthersby moaned fingering the cockpit visual screen. Marcus' color drained face appeared on the screen before him. " We're going down Lu ...its been nice working with you."

The screen burst into static as the pod slammed into an opposing wind current . Marcus fought down a throat full of acid bile. Nothing worst than what was happening would be worst than vomiting in his face mask.

"Don't give in yet man! Besides the navigator radar's are out. There's no way to tell which direction we're being pushed in . I just hope its up!"

"Yeah , we should knock that damned control ship right out of orbit ! What the hell are they doing up there!" Suthersby thumbed the com system on again and bellowed his rage into the mic on his face mask.

Time passed in a dark blur as the two men were thrown around. Eternity seemed to slip by on rough nauseating waves . The air supply was running low in the cockpit . Marcus and Suthersby had passed out long ago.

A steady beeping startled Suthersby from his Syru-oxygen induced sleep. His head rolled slowly from side to side as the effects of the thinned oxygen wore off and he toot a crisp breath of the real stuff. His blurred eyes focused on a blinking light on the consul in front of him. His arm felt heavy as he reached forward and thumbed the indicated button. The ships protective Syru-metal Shell opened up and a thin milky beam of sunlight filtered through the inner shield above the consul.

"Damage report " Suthersby whispered hoarsely.

'Running systems check sequence EXT5VR. Outer hull breech, diameter .704093602650397. Source unknown. Exterior robotic systems offline. Exterior propellers offline. Exterior Thrusters offline. Exterior Syru-buffers damaged...." The ship continued running its systems check of the exterior for some time.

Suthersby's head throbbed with pain as he reached forward and thumbed the button again. "Systems Report Interior, life support." He mumbled closing his eyes against the starburst of color.

"Interior life support systems at maximum damage. Oxygen tanks and recycling systems damaged. Back up Syru-oxygem systems full functional. Approximately twelve hours of Syru-oxygen at disposal. Aqua Repository non functional. Rupture in repository, systems offline. Approximately 2.37502037 liters of NtAqua available. Approximately 9.324797132 liters of Syru-aqualete available. Contamination report pending...... NtAqua contaminated by....bacterium unknown...mineral unknown... jettisoning contaminated receptacle..... system malfunction component 16GH3, equipment not responding. Canceling operation.' The com grew silent.



Suthersby moaned and reached an unsteady hand to his forehead. His gloves weren't responding but through the Sysru material he could feel the sticky mess of his temple. He let the hand fall back to his side.

"Marcus, Marcus you alive back there ?" He tried reaching for the onscreen button but thought better of it.

Marcus man , I thought we had it then.. but I guess this is it...where ever this is...System. Locate nearest identifiable wave length.

' scan complete, no information available at this time. Powergrid failure. Satellite navigation offline. System repair needed in section seven and thirteen.'

"Shit!" Suthersby muttered and taking a deep breath, he thumbed the release on his harness and slid from the seat. His head swam and his legs gave under him as vertigo took control . The ship had landed on its side with him facing up. "Holy shit ! Marcus!" Suthersby choked and began digging his partner from the wreckage beneath his feet. "Marcus hold on there man!"

It took almost an hour by the oxygen read out to reach Marcus. The other man was still strapped in to his seat and his helmet and facemask ware securely in place. His pale face showed through the face plate slack and unresponsive to Suthersbys voice.

"Come on man wake up !"Suthersby shook Marcus by the shoulder until the mans head rolled from side to side. "System Check ! Vitals on Marcus, Arulu! "



The system staticed on and began running a bio scan of the trapped man.

'Systems check complete. Bio signs for Marcus, Arulu . Vital signs normal, Lung compression at a minimal , heart rate slowed. Disengaging Syru-oxygen. Administering Syru-stam reversal and Nt-Oxygen.

Marcus' face mask and helmet fogged up for a minute then began to clear. His eyes twitched and he moaned long and hard. Slowly he turned his head and looked up at Suthersby.

"What are you doing out of harness man?"

"Saving your ass now help me dig you out."

Marcus seemed to realize his predicament an began thrashing about in his seat. His legs were trapped beneath the collapsed systems monitor but with his partners help he managed to release the harness and pull himself free.

Minutes later they stood staring out the top of their ship at an alien landscape of swirling smoky clouds.

They couldn't quite make out what the ship had landed in, but whatever it was seemed to be holding up alright under the weight of the little pod.

"Holy shit!" Suthersby breathed staring up at the colorful haze.

"Where in hell are we?" Marcus whispered in awe as the shadow of a swirling cloud passed over them.

"Doesn't look like the Delta current to me. System try that scan again, search 0997356Unicorp. Try and find a link to one of their Freerange Units and get us a signal."

The ship whirred clicked and beeped then the voice came up. '0997356Unicorp search complete . Closest Freerange Unit signal not available. Satellite not found. Systems repair needed in section seven and thirteen.

"How the devil did we get here?" Suthersby asked climbing up to sit on the now open windshield of the ship.

"That disturbance in the Delta current must have knocked us pretty far. Hopefully one of those Freerange things will pick up our distress signal...or maybe some of the debris we left behind.. that storm tore us up bad..The hull is scrubbed smooth, shit all our equipment is gone.. no wonder we cant get a trace."

"Do we have any of those old ground systems in the trunk? Or something we can at least launch to get a bead on our location?"

"I dunno but it wont hurt to check...is our oxygen system still on recycle?"

" I can only hope so."

"System, is the oxygen supply on Recycle? System?" Marcus glared up at Suthersby. "This piece of shit never answers to my voice." The two men laughed as they went back into the ship and searched the floor compartments for Atmosphere beacons.

"This is all we got huh?" Suthersby shouldered his Syru-air tank and leapt from the ship onto the misty ground of the strange planet. Marcus was already at the site they had chosen from the ships perimeter scan. It was slightly higher than where the ship landed and had a broad flat top. Marcus had already set up the almost archaic launch pad and was programming their system information into the meter long missile.

"Did you finish the atmosphere scan." Marcus asked not looking up from his work.

"Yeah its all clear up there, at least nothing the ships little node could pick up."

"And you tested the air here...you're sure the exhaust wont cause and damage and the fire wont blow us up or something.?"

Suthersby pulled a lighter from the outer pocked of his Syru-outboard suit and produced a small blaze. Except for the flame being black and purple nothing was out of the ordinary.

"Got some unknown compound in the air. So far only effect I see is this." He showed Marcus the lighter. The other man raised an eyebrow at the dark flame then turned back to the missile.

"Oh and watch this." Suthersby snatched the flame from the lighter and let it dance across his palm and over his knuckles. "Only seen this once..you know what that means huh?"

Marcus groaned . "We need an air pipe to get the fire going."

"No prob." Suthersby pulled the long flexible cylinder from another outside pocket and laid it next to the missile. Then he clapped his hand. The flame was nothing more than puffs of darkness which burnt out before reaching the ground.

"Cute." Marcus mumbled standing up. " Ok I think I have everything loaded correctly. This system is a bitch to program."

"Yeah tell me about it , just finding a way to transfer our files to that disk took most of an hour."

"Well its all up now, help me get this thing in the air."

The launch was pretty uneventful. The two men redirected oxygen from their tanks into the air pipe added a flame then placed it in the fuel compartment of the missile . When they were far enough away, Marcus keyed the take off codes and the missile blasted into the sky scattering the swirling clouds. They watched as it shot up and out of sight leaving a thin trail of pale smoke behind.

They men turned and made their way back to the ship. The milky sun of this planet hadn't moved far from its position when they first came out but, according to their insuit solar chronology, they had spent almost seven solar hours here already. At least Milky way time. They had no idea if they were even in their own galaxy let alone what time it was there.