Unexplained

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Spacecraft ‘Sweet Charity’ was manned by Mission Admiral Rick Sondheim, Flight Commander Major Lester Hammerstein and Captain Pilot Navigator Paulo Rogers. Its mission was to investigate an 'Earth ' like moon, called KK-TEN, which had been discovered orbiting a large new Planet far into deep space beyond Pluto.

Submitted: July 06, 2019

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Submitted: July 06, 2019

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UNEXPLAINED

A GHOST STORY

The Spacecraft ‘Sweet Charity’ was manned by Mission Admiral Rick Sondheim, Flight Commander Major Lester Hammerstein and Captain Pilot Navigator Paulo Rogers. Its mission was to investigate an 'Earth ' like moon, called KK-TEN, which had been discovered orbiting a large new Planet far into deep space beyond Pluto. Previous unmanned space missions showed it possessed an environment suitable for carbon-based life. Perhaps man was not alone.

After passing planet Jupiter the Space Explorers would lie torpid in hibernation pods until they were twelve months close to KK-TEN. Leaving the spacecraft to be flown by on-board computer systems. The distance and time taken to arrive at KK-TEN was huge, beyond a single human’s normal lifespan.

The journey so far was uneventful. Sitting together in the central command capsule the three Space Explorers were visually checking computer data readouts. They were preparing to pass Titan, a moon circling Jupiter, and to take images of its dark side. Titan was a barrier between ‘Sweet Charity’ and Space Centre Earth, preventing immediate communication until ‘Sweet Charity’ had navigated above the horizon, they were alone.

Captain Pilot Navigator Paulo Rogers sat in the Pilot’s seat, in front was the pilot navigation and flight controls and display board. Admiral Rick Sondheim was seated to his left and behind right was Flight Commander Major Lester Hammerstein. In the corner of the control display panel was the 3DHIP, a 3‘D’ hologrammatic infortainment portal. The digital image screen had been upgraded to a 3DHIP. A clever gizmo displayed images in three-dimensional hologram forms. It showed a continuous flow of 3D hologram images of friends and family plus sponsored dignibrities. Lester Hammerstein had uploaded images of the Apollo Eleven Astronauts. Sondheim, Hammerstein and Paulo Rogers had noticed how the 3D hologram of the Apollo Astronauts was so much brighter, more lifelike and appearing longer than any other, but they felt silly to mention it.

Paulo took a quick look at the flashing rainbow coloured data display panel, it showed that all was in order. With the exception of the Titan moon fly-by, his pilot role was little more than monitoring the data being churned out by ‘Sweet Charity’ computers and respond quickly to any A.I. malfunctions. Not unknown.

Once beyond Titan, Rogers main priority was to manage the sling shot propulsion project. It was the first time to done out of earth’s range and was crucial to the success of this mission. Everyone was anxious for it to succeed. The plan was for him to manoeuvre ‘Sweet Charity’ as it approached Jupiter and use its gravity. Jupiter is a ginormous Planet and its orbital speed huge beyond comprehension. The orbital forward impetus would give the spacecraft a tremendous speed boost. Just picture ‘Sweet Charity’ as being a stone picked up and put into the pouch of Jupiter’s long sling , the sling is spun around and around and around,  fast , the stone (‘Sweet Charity’ ) is ejected and flung out into the air so fast that it’s just a blur and headlong out into space .If successful it would enable ‘Sweet Charity’ to increase speed tenfold and safely to its target.

Rogers tweaked a few calibration knobs, realigning ‘Sweet Charity's’ steering mechanics as it skimmed just outside Titans weak atmosphere, towards the ‘pouch’ of Jupiter’s long sling. Suddenly a huge jolt and bang shuddered through the space craft, dramatically its forward propulsion increased faster and faster.  Everything went totally blank. The main A.I. computer frame sparked, exuding small dazzling orange dots hovering in the air above the Space Explorers. Looking much like Soyuz 7 angels.

A loud cacophony of horrible threatening noises erupted accompanied by a Charlton Heston voice saying 'this an emergency...Danger...activate emergency procedures '.... plus, lots of other words lost in the deafening ruckus. Discordant sounds echoed around the Spacecraft, reverberating off its walls and internal structures. The control panel showed a frightening line of bright red flashing lights. All power, engineering and life support mechanisms closed down. Fortunately, TITS (Temporary Interplanetary Technical System) kicked-in but with only a limited capacity. The Space Explorers were unaware they had just passed through a potentially fatal gamma particle intergalactic virus cloud. Paulo Rogers turned to Rick Sondheim on his left, words died in his lips as he saw Sondheim slumped unconscious in a near vegetable state. Rogers swivelled his neck slightly behind and to the right, only to see a comatose Lester Hammerstein tumble out of his seat and curl up on the floor of the Bridge. Abruptly a spasm of agonising pain shoot through his body and stunned Paulo, who began to have cataleptic trances during which he saw visions. All three Space Explorers slowly became unconscious, inert and near dead. The mission was fast becoming a dismal unsuccessful failure. Disaster and death were looming, nothing short of a miracle could save them. Sweet Charity’ was beginning to increase speed as it spiralled rapidly descending out of control. The small rear and front side wings glowed white hot as the external thermal tiles began to split. The Spacecraft’s trajectory was directly towards and into Titan. It was getting closer and closer and closer in a few seconds they would crash, smashing into smithereens.

20th July 2069. Only a few minutes before ‘Sweet Charity’ was about to crash into Titan’s rocky surface, there was an eruption of cosmic energy from the 3DHIP and three shimmering 3 dimensional manifestations emerged. Looking blurred, unclear and distorted. Like images seemingly coming from a badly off-tuned television. Not the usual monochrome holograms, they were iridescent in shimmering psychedelic colours of red / white, blue / white and green/ white, all flashing and blinking. Slowly the transient forms merged into three separate characters. Wearing Lunar spacesuits Neil Armstrong was an even tint of dark grey, bright red and white. Buzz Aldrin almost totally blue with black pink edging and Michael Collins mostly grey with green and purple wide vertical stripes. The Lunar exploration heroes looked just as they did on the day when they are orbited the Moon before landing on 20th July 1969. All three had a determined but slightly bedraggled look, like you do when woken up before the alarm goes off. 

They began to speak telepathically to each other. Much later Rogers spoke telepathically with Armstrong, but only Armstrong.

Armstrong said ‘Buzz…you look after the navigation …set a course to bring us back on track with  this mission …they will need a revised mission project strategy …good luck’…’Michael…I’d like you to  pilot this spacecraft … it looks like we’re going to crash …good luck’…’ I will tune into the computer …speak to the main man…and arrange for a message to send to Space Control…report back as soon as you can ‘

‘Roger ‘…replied Aldrin and Collins.

‘And remember ‘ , continued Armstrong ,’ remember it’s up to us to save this mission …oh yeah …we live in a different time dimension to them…One that moves slower than a Politician who has been caught with his fingers in the till…To Humans it will be in a nanosecond but to us it will seem like ages and ages and ages ..just thought I’d remind you both …good luck and out ‘.

 

Collins accessed " Sweet Charity” piloting computer control interface and it sparked into life. Triggering the retro rockets which dramatically slowed down the spaceship’s rapid decent towards Titan and almost inevitable doom and destruction. "Sweet Charity" shuddered and trembled threatened by competing stresses. Breakup of the space vehicle was saved when the main jet engines burst into action. The spacecraft levelled to fly perpendicular to the moon’s surface. Slowly, at first, it rose upwards out of danger. Finally, it entered space and beyond Jupiter and Titan’s gravitation. Collins nudged the craft into orbit around Titan. It had been a hard-fought battle between the thrust of the initial crash dive, aided by gravitational pull, versus the huge energy burst provided by " Sweet Charity’s " super Hawkins jet propulsion engines - it was a close thing.

Buzz just got on with it. He thought deeply, was quick to joke, had an easy demeanour but kept his own council. He quickly linked into the A.I. computer process and control system and together they rewrote the computer programme and flight plan. Reconfiguring the mission strategy to safely arrive at KK-TEN and return to Earth. To Aldrin this was just another space mission only in a different dimension, after all they were ethereal spirits not real skin and bone.

What couldn’t be seen by Paulo was the long journeys they all the Lunar heroes took to save ‘Sweet Charity’. There spectral spirit traveled throughout its artificial intelligence cyberworld – the computer processing main frame units, major and minor and backup and sub systems , every cyber corner, cyber cubby hole, adapter, chip, cable , connection, circuit board, device ,drives, fuse, hub,  , interface, hardware , motherboard, port, screen, software ,tower, tube , hand held devices and even the domestic equipment .Together , successfully they persuaded, influenced  brow beat and sweet talked ‘Sweet Charity’s’ A.I. to save the spacecraft and to fulfil its destiny.  Armstrong was the guiding force who pulled it together. His desire to succeed overcame all the barriers confronted

Rogers opened his eyes, he was frozen solid with fear, death seemed almost imminent. Looking directly into Armstrong’s sparkling blue eyes they connected immediately. Neil modestly explained the who, how, why, when, where and how. Which flew over Paulo’s head, a bit like school and the maths lessons that Rogers never really understood. A mix of perplexity and astonishment. Visually, all Rogers could see, as you or I would understand it, was the 3-D hologram images of the lunar astronauts jigging up and down. Looking like they were dancing with an invisible partner to an unheard tune. Armstrong was doing the twist, Aldrin the Charleston and Collins - a Scottish jig.

A zinging sensation trilled through Roger’s brain, it ws Neil – this was how he communicated with Paulo. Armstrong explained in simple terms what had been done to save ‘Sweet Charity’. Armstrong said …’your safe now …we have put the spacecraft into orbit around ‘Titan’ and reconfigured the mission plan … you will be in radio communication in ten seconds and we have set up a radio message to send  to Space centre … you need to approve it’ …the message was displayed on the screen on the right .Rogers nodded his approval it . ‘Goodbye …and good luck’ he said and then the three holograms disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.

Mission Admiral Rick Sondheim and Flight Commander Major Lester Hammerstein slowly recovered from their pains and discomforts. We communicated with Space Control and continued our space journey. It’s too long and to boring to describe the events that occurred afterwards but it’s enough for you to know that it was successful. My fellow Space Exploders. didn’t believe the Apollo Eleven’s ghostly help until I showed them the message scrawled on the control panel.

As a memento I have the original control panel from ‘Sweet Charity’ on the wall of my den .The material it’s made off is so strong that it can’t be marked or cut by any known means available on Earth but it is deeply inscribed with the following …‘Good luck…keep believing…god speed …another small step for mankind…07.20. 2069.

Signe …NA…BA…MC’.

The visits by our ghostly saviours remained top secret in perpetuity. But we all know that it’s true.

 

THE END

 


© Copyright 2019 john k roberts. All rights reserved.

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