Element and Her Crew

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Inspired by Firefly and Serenity, this is a story involving Element, a spaceship that gets stranded in unmarked territory. Could be the start of a longer novel...

Submitted: August 20, 2011

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Submitted: August 20, 2011

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The reactor sputtered and coughed before dying out completely. Element, a Type 2 Explorer vessel, finally gave up after 15 years of service. It floated aimlessly in the vast nothingness of space in an uncharted region. A few barren dwarf planets circled the giant green star, but for the most part, it was empty.
Element was on a recon mission with it’s crew of six. Map data was high valued and sought after: governments, corporations and individuals would pay alot for it, especially if there was anything profitable in the region such as minerals and ores. But it was dangerous; an unexplored region could contain anything from dangerous new lifeforms to space anomalies which could do anything to a ship from a minor nudge to a full on explosion.
Element had caught one somewhere in the middle. It had caused a massive gash in the side of the ship, catching the engine lines. All the fuel had drifted off into space. The ship and the crew were stranded.

The common room consisted of a lowered down, hovering dining table, kitchen area and lockers for bits and bobs. The Captain, Jonah Berli had lost his rag at the entire crew when the anomaly struck, particularly the Pilot, Berry Dida and the Tech Operator, Towe Shee. Insults and cursing in a multitude of languages were hurled at them as Jonah blamed them for this stroke of bad luck, one of many recently.
‘I thought you said we were clear of anything!’ screamed Jonah, an inch from Towe’s face. Towe’s face was red, her eyes watery. She was trembling in fear at her Captain.
‘Hey, come on. Leave her alone Jonah!’ piped in Termi Hyu, the drone operator and Towe's husband, causing Jonah to glare in his direction at this outburst of defiance.
Sat in silence we’re the remaining three crew members; Punk Doe, a trained doctor, Sirus Koob, an engineer and Berry. They’d been with the ship along time and had seen Jonah’s explosions of temper. They knew he would calm down eventually and apologise. They just never knew how much time it would take. They rolled their eyes at each other in disappointment of their Captain. Last time he had an outburst he said it was the last, that he was seeing someone about it. It never happened.
Jonah, his back to the three silent crew, points his finger in their direction.
‘I saw that. Shut it’
The three of them laugh quietly to themselves for a second, knowing that as a sign of his coming apologies.
Jonah traipses away from Towe and Termi and slumps himself into an armchair by the table.

Out in the vaccuum of space, the light of the sun bounced of Element. It’s dark, rusted hull giving off an eerie, grim, green glow. The leaking fuel had stopped, the tanks completely empty. Besides that one hull breach the ship was in a good condition. It’s drone bays were unharmed, the outboard tech was unscathed except for some minor calibration techs that had been destroyed by the anomaly, the engines themselves were undamaged and neither were the escape pods, not that would prove to be of any use in a barren system.
A red flicker appeared from behind the star, standing out from it’s green. It was there for only a few seconds, flickering on and off, and then it was gone.

Jonah and Berry were in the pilot’s cabin, Berry sat in her pilots chair and Jonah in the co-pilot seat. Behind them were the empty seats of the tech operator and drone operator. In front of each chair was a tech board corresponding to the operators job.
‘I’m sorry. Anomalies are tricky, I know this.’ said Jonah quietly. Berry tried to conceal her smile, failing to keep it in as Jonah turned round, hoping for his forgiveness. Seeing her smile he shook his head.
‘Don’t give me that!’. Berry just smiled more.
‘It’s okay Captain, I forgive you. I know you’re a moody soul. But soft like marshmallow right to the core’. Berry smiled teasingly at Jonah.
Jonah desperately tried to concentrate on the charts and graphs in front of him. He cleared his throat and said,
‘So, any idea why we missed it?’, a poor attempt to change the topic.
‘Nope, navigation tells me I’m fine and it all checks out. Towe’s already been over all the equipment and has given it a clean bill of health. If there’s a fault, it’s out there’.
‘That doesn’t even make sense!’
‘Yeah well, if we knew everything we’d be out of a job. So thank your stars, we could have found a new anomaly. Get paid handsomely for that you know’, Berry smiled gleefully.
‘But if we can’t get any readings we have noth...’. Jonah was cut off by the pinging of a sensor tech screen on the pilot's tech board. It had picked up the red flicker from behind the sun.
‘What the hell is that?! This system is barren’, Jonah quizzed. He grabbed an intercom radio from the cabin's ceiling,
‘Towe, Termi, get up to the Cabin now. There’s something...different, on the sensor’.

All four crew we’re gathered around the tech board, blankly staring at the sensor screen.
‘I have no idea what that is’, Towe said confusingly. ‘Me neither’ said Termi, as puzzled as Towe. They slumped into their seats in the cabin, pondering any possibilities. They looked at each other after a few minutes of silence, and at the same time they said,
‘We have nothing’. Jonah looked dismayed at this response. He relied on those two for answers in dire situations, he could command people, inspire them, organise them and formulate plans, but he didn’t know the things they did, or think the way they could.
‘I’ll send out a drone, I picked up a few Shadow Drones back at Banner Station. Trader didn’t know what he was selling so I got them as bargain.’ Jonah stared at Termi blankly.
‘A what now?’ he said.
‘Erm...basically, they’re as close to being cloaked as you can get. They blend into dark matter around them partially, and operate otherwise like Recon Drones. But I modified these for deep penetration, so they’ll scan anything right through’, Termi replied, pride swelling across his face.
‘Right...well, sounds good. Send them out!’ said Jonah, his mind lost in the new knowledge. Termi spun round and activated his drone tech board. It burst to life with light activity everywhere. He plugged an earpiece with attached mic into his ear and slipped into his own world, completely focused on the drone operation. Towe looked on at her husband with pride and joy, loving the concentration and daydream he experienced when he was operating drones. It was also secretly the funny way his face contorted when he was so concentrated...

A drone bay hatch opened on the undamaged side of the ship, a long, cylindrical, black object drifted out. The exiting procedure was executed with perfect precision, not a fraction of time or energy was wasted in it’s movement. It shot off in the direction of the red flicker as soon as it was clear of Element. It disappeared from view, it’s shadow tech engaging instantly.

‘All right, the drone is nearing the location,’ relayed Termi. He was focused intensely on his monitors, checking all drone signals and information.
‘Getting some good readouts from the dwarfs by the way, gold mine’. Jonah’s face dropped in dismay, just his luck to miss out on such a pay load. Termi suddenly started screaming and collapsed out of his seat, ripping the earpiece from his ear. Blood trickled out from it.
Towe leapt to her husband’s side, catching him before he fell back. Jonah was on the intercom calling for Punk to get to the cabin with his kit.

The cabin was packed with all the crew. Termi was back in his seat, his ear plugged with a tiny bio tech sponge, repairing the damage done to his ear.
‘The drone was destroyed.’ Termi winced as Punk pulled the sponge from his ear.
‘You’re all good now. What the hell we’re you doing in here?!’ Punk questioned sternly.
‘Some sort of feedback was sent via the drone to my connection earpiece. I don’t really know what to say, I’ve never experienced or known of anything like it before’, his voice changing between loud and quiet as his brain readjusted to hearing from both ears.
‘New tech?’, quizzed Sirus.
‘Nope, nothing that could do that out on the market’ retorted Towe. Termi nodded in agreement.
The crew all stared out the window towards the green sun. A red flicker appeared infront of it for a few seconds and disappeared.
‘Prep engagement systems’ Jonah said calmly and commandingly. His face was struck with realisation. He was without emotion, dedicatedly in control of his ship and crew.
‘The Pessh’t have come back.’


© Copyright 2019 Si Thomas. All rights reserved.

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