By Brubek Coltrane
Jason stared at the flickering lights in front of him. All sorts of readings and displays danced before his eyes. Floating around the communications and sciences module, were several loose components and tools, but in terms of people, he was alone. But Jason never felt alone with a few tools, and a decent computer. Accordingly, he was in good company. The screens complex equations and data was processed and evaluated instantly in Jason’s logical mind. I know it’s here, it has to be he thought.
This deep in space, there would be no interruptions from the mysterious static storms that plagued the Pallax system. But still, the chances of finding what he was looking for were slim, and it could only be detected by the slightest deviation in hundreds of embedded patterns. Still, alone, Jason continued. Numbers and symbols careened across the screen at an alarming rate, in patterns only someone like Jason could notice and decipher. After a few moments of staring at the screen, Jason started to adjust the sensors.
First, he configured the molecular fibrostics detector, so that it would only scan on a sub-atomic range. To catch what he was to find, he would need as broad a net as possible. In other words, the sensors and special equipment would need a tonne of power. Jason’s mind processed all this information, and adjusted it. But what Jason didn’t process, was the fact threat although his mind was working at top-level, his consciousness was slipping away. So much so, that he did not even flinch when the heat spiked enormously. A heat spike in a contained module is, if left alone, always fatal.
The hatch to engineering opened with a hiss, and in came chief engineer Kava. Kava was a Ra’kanith, a lizard-like species from the marsh planet Ra’kar. Even though the Ra’kanith homeworld was very hot, damp, and humid, Kavan noticed the blast of heat when he came in. Jason, covered in sweat, still focused intently on the readings the computer churned out. Kavan could understand trade-speak, but due to Ra’kaniths’ biological nature, they cannot speak it. But in this case, there was no time to attempt to communicate.
Ra’kar grabbed a handhold, and pulled himself forward, then let go. Gliding towards Jason, the Trevian changed course with its tail, swerving for the heat controls. Within minutes, the communications module would heat up to more than 60 degrees, not nearly enough to affect the Trevian, but to a human like Jason, he could die from brain hemorrhage in moments.
The Ra’kanith had seconds to act. Jason was still somehow alive, and conscious for that matter, keeping watch. The Ra’kanith pushed off towards him. Jason’s screen showed thousands of digits and obscure equations and symbols. What is he doing? Scanning every atom in this sector? Thought Kavan. Frantically, he looked at the other, smaller screens. They showed readings of massive power. Ka’rl tried adjusted the power levels back to normal levels, but they wouldn’t even fidget. The main power grid was encrypted on seven levels, which would take at least 5 maybe 6 hours to break with a skilled encryptionist. Time which Kavan just didn’t have.
Slamming its claw down on the console, the Ra’kanith knew Jason had mere moments to live. It was impossible to get him out of the module, as doing so could compromise his delicate brain cells. Kavan was beginning to think that there was more to this “heat” than could be seen. Kavan’s concerns were forgotten when he looked back, and realized the urgency of the situation. 2 other engineers behind him had become unconscious trying to help him. Kavan looked at his last desperate option. The feeding wires to the main computer. They bristled with sparks that lashed out occasionally. It would most likely kill Kavan, but now, there were 3 lives in danger.
Kava let out a war-like roar, and slashed the wires with his razor-sharp claws. Instantly, Kava jerked backwards and shook violently. At the same time, the heat in the room bled back to normal, and the heat which was in the room, bled out the back. But Ka’rl didn’t know this, as his brave heart had stopped.
“What the blazes is taking them so long?” Demanded Commander Fargon.
“I’m not sure, sir.” Replied Harry Szu, the acting operations officer.
“That’s not a good enough answer Mr. Szu, I need to know if they made it.” Fargon said.
Commander Fargon had never in his life set foot on solid earth. He grew up on waystation 12, orbiting the gas giant Mobeus 6.
“The storms are messing with our sensors, we’ll have to wait for an opening until we can get another team down there.” Harry said, typing in commands furiously into
Fargon slammed his fist on the captain’s seat-rest. The artificial gravity generators were all starting to fail in the aft of the ship, but here, the seat took the full brunt force of Fargon’s fist.
“Confound these cursed storms.” He yelled, in a deep Northern accent.
The view-ports showed the rugged surface, storms like oceans swirled slowly round. The entire surface of a planet most of the crew had never known existed before they arrived.
“How soon till those storms create an opening for us?” Fargon asked.
“Well, assuming that there isn’t another electrical outburst from the surface, and hoping that there is a suitable opening, I’d say that we’ll be able to land a fully equipped team down there in…around 15 hours.” He looked up, clearly proud of his findings.
“15 hours!” Fargon yelled. “They were supposed to be back here two days ago!”
The crew on the bridge braced themselves for another of Fargon’s glorious outbursts. And It was about to be unleashed. Until, a sudden alarm set the whole bridge under fire.
“Commander!” Shouted a sensors specialist near the viewport, “There’s an incoming power surge incoming! It will reach us in less than 30 seconds!”
“Is it an electrical outburst?” Asked Harry.
“I’m not so sure about that, answered the officer, sensors are indicating it is coming from…impossible.”
“Red alert!” Fargon told the ship, and immediately, the bridge flashed red, and the crew fled to their stations.
“20 seconds!” Shouted another officer, madly calculating away. “The surge has an enhanced level of ultraviolet radiation, it will overload our sensors if we do-“
“Raise deflectors!” Fargon ordered. Harry, see if you can disperse a magnesium field between us.”
“Already on it sir.” He replied, quickly after the command.
“Helm, get us the blazes out of its way!”
“Course laid in sir!” The helms officer replied.
“Maximum impulse!” Fargon yelled back!”
“10 seconds!” The sensors officer called out.
“Magnesium field has no effect.” Harry said.
The entire crew shifted as the ship pitched sideways, and out-of-the-way.
“Get those deflectors online!” Fargon yelled.
“5 seconds.” The sensors officer called out.
“Deflectors in place, and online!” Another called out
“Brace for impact!” Yelled Fargon, Diving under a control panel.
The whole ship rocked and shook violently, causing crew members all over the ship to be thrown over. The entire bridge’s viewport flashed a bright glare, then the whole bridge, and all of the ship went silent.The Relentless drifted on through space, and deep into the outer rims of the Talabar system. But the reason for why, and how, were variables that no one knew the answer to.