View Full Version : A New Universe,but not ours...(not X)

21-01-2008, 06:28 PM
(Project X Universe, TOP SECRET, Eyes Only)

Chapter 1: The Reason

General George Cummings was coming in today for one of those meetings. It wasn’t just a meeting, but one of THOSE, he hated having to deal with scientists, and they made him feel like a simple soldier. Something he had never been or wanted to be. He could arm a nuclear device or set co ordinates for an air strike in his head, but these people made him look stupid, and he hated dealing with them.

They were the top, the alien watchers, and he didn’t even like their whole idea. If we wanted to deal with those creatures we could do it right out front, but NOOO, the President had special commissions, and special science panels, and on and on… he was sick of it, but it was his job as a military advisor to talk with them from time to time. True, they did get them stealth technology, but we would have figured it out ourselves, eventually, and microwave energy, used in every home, and in many secret installations doing what it was REALLY meant to do. So he always held his breath and hoped it was one of the good times he was seeing them. Something new we could actually use, but not just to flex their brain power and make him feel small. He swears someday he’s going to punch one of these guys for some of the things they say, but he hadn’t yet, except in his daydreams.

The door opens to a large conference room and the General is ushered in by security. He stands by the table in his usual position as the last few people are led in. The meeting comes to order as a wooden mallet is tapped on the desk and everyone sits down.
‘This meeting of the Alien Technology Division is officially underway, we thank General Cummings for being here and all the science delegates, so let the meeting commence. Dr. Harris has the floor.” The announcement said and General Cummings smiled a weak smile and waited.

“We have a huge responsibility,” Dr Harris started, but everything he has ever said was a “huge responsibility” so General Cummings failed to be immediately impressed.
“The alien Committee has asked once more for more cooperation, and that means one thing, more experiments. As scientists we agreed all those years ago to these kinds of things, we can understand the need for understanding among scientists the universe over, but this is becoming too much. We didn’t sign on for all the world to be their playground, but as they keep telling the President and other world leaders that we will reap the benefits of our cooperation for generations to come, we have been forced to go along, but no more!” he demanded, and at this the General was wide awake. He had demanded himself these inhuman experiments stop many times, but he never could convince anyone, what had changed, he wandered.

“The aliens have overstepped their authority too many times, and its getting harder and harder to cover for them, at first we used a few accidents to cover them then missing persons, but now even the average person on the street knows something is happening, and we will soon have a revolution on our hands, probably followed by an invasion.” He said stopping for air. He was livid, and General Cummings had never seen him so upset, but here he was, demanding a hard change, so maybe this fool wasn’t so bad after all.

General Cummings raised his hand and stood without being recognized, if this was true, he had been grossly misled, and he was going to get to the bottom of it.

“I was told many times by YOU, yourself, we needed these people to help us, but today we don’t, what has happened since the last meeting to change your mind? You have always been against even the idea of controls, or military intervention with the aliens, why NOW?” he demanded and sits down as the science team gets a very red face, all around the room, to the last man, and General Cummings doesn’t like this one bit.

“We were in control, for a while, a LONG while.” Harris starts,” But they are sidestepping our authority, and even though we have friends in their science community, they are no longer telling us what’s going on. General, you must understand, by now they are using and discarding a dozen times the people we allowed them to experiment with. The idea of genetic experiments has, over the years, given us a lot of good information. Including the genome project and the possibility of controlling diseases for ever, but even that isn’t worth it any longer. What good is it to have perfect health to be used as slaves or worse?” he demanded as the General was getting upset himself. They had never told him any of this, and he was pissed, to say the least.

“Or worse, what the hell are you saying DR. spit it out, no more butt kissing and back stabbing, me and you, face to face. What is REALLY going on?” the General demanded, Harris was mad himself, to be called so many things right out loud was against all he believed in, but this man had a lot of responsibilities too, and they had lied to him a thousand times.

“The genetic experiments have for many years, offered them a chance to learn about us, all the way down to the atomic level. Now that they have all this info they started doing experiments having young with us, trying with both men and women.” Harris said stopping to let it sink in.
“They tried having kids with MEN?” the general demanded,”What happened?” he waited to here this, it had to be good.

“It worked, they became pregnant, but men are not capable of having children, and even with some…modifications, they still have the babies inserted and the patients died trying to conceive.” Harris said looking away. General Cummings sat back to think, the people they experimented with had died trying to have children, but a man trying give berth, then dying from what…the pain alone would have done it. The chance that the body wasn’t built for it and the forcing of the properties into…He turned his head away. It would be like cutting a man in two without anesthetic, or worse, they may not have cut the poor buggers at all, just stood, and watched them die from the pain. He wanted more than ever to kill those little grey buggers right now, but that wasn’t new.

“What else, Dr.?” General Cummings asked, not knowing if he even wanted to know.

“The experiments have led to off world uses too.” Harris said as the Generals eyes opened wide.
“Their taking people home with them?” Cummings asked, knowing the answer.

“Yes, by the thousands now.” Harris said as the room started to whisper among themselves.
“THOUSANDS??!! How dang many were they allowed to have, you scientific morons??” demanded the General.

“Only a few hundred a year, it was easy to cover that many and we got some good stuff, like some of YOUR new weapons, and the fighters, and a lot of other stuff. We will have 5 Terabyte computers in almost every home in a decade, maybe.” He said looking away.

“Maybe, it’s down to that now, we don’t even know if it’s going to happen any more?” Cummings asks and the whole team started babbling,
“We do know that we have the technology, the blueprints are available right now, but we aren’t sure we have the time.” Another man beside Harris butted in.

“Time for what? Or BEFORE what, I swear if you called me here to tell me we have a decade to get ready for war, I’ll kick your butts right here.” He demanded, as every face in the room went white, really white.

“Genocide,” was the only word he heard and he sat down with a loud thump.

“They are a dying race, we knew that, and we had them over a barrel, they had to deal with us, but they needed to find someone who wasn’t sterile, to have a new generation of children to carry on their world, and now they have it, and they have a military too, and they like us as much as you like them.” Harris said shaking his head, maybe if he’d come forward sooner they’d have a chance.

General Cummings sat there in shock, these, these, traitors had given away the one ace they had, and now they had the nerve to come here and say it’s too late. How dare them, they should be shot, or worse let them be used for their own experiments, that would fix them, but now he had a lot to consider, and he needed more info.
“What are our chances, at say, 10 % survival?” he asked as they looked around the room.

“Not good,” came an answer from another man at the end of the table, “Picture the Enterprise from star trek, sitting in orbit around our planet with a madman at the controls, that’s the picture, General.” He said and Cummings wanted to cry, but it wouldn’t help, and he’d like at least some serious payback, but he wasn’t sure he’d get that either.

“We do have one chance though,” Came a voice from across the table.

“What chance?” General Cummings asked he wanted ever chance he could get right now.

“We have friends, and we had some serious scanning and mapping done on a few planets to prove our theories,” he started, “there’s a planet, a huge thing they showed us to prove we didn’t know jack about planet growth, and they were right. It circles a new star, a thousand light-years from here; in a system we call Xerxis 672. It’s big, bigger than 10 Jupiter’s in diameter and it’s an oddity too, it’s covered with a shallow ocean, actually not even water, like well… “He was straining to find the words.

“Split it out man, I’m not as stupid as some of you have come to believe.” Cummings demanded as the room looked away in embarrassment.

“Like embryonic fluid, with rich oxygen content, and mountains under there with valleys, it would be like living here, with water to breathe instead of air, and the water has enough oxygen to keep us alive, well even more than here.” He tried to explain.

“So you’re saying it’s a gigantic mother’s womb?” Cummings asked smiling,

“Very close, millions of miles wide, and about 1-2 km deep, it’s around a small, new sun and its close enough that the temperature even in normal depths is 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, like swimming in bath water.” The scientist said smiling, he obviously liked that thought.
“But we don’t breath water, and we don’t have star travel.” Cummings said and the room agreed.

“But we have friends, and we CAN breathe this water, since it’s really not water at all.” He said and Cummings looked up, how was this possible, he wandered.
“Ok, you have my attention, make it good,” the general said looking squarely at the new man as Harris quietly sits down.
“There is a scientist I have worked with that thinks we are the salvation of his people, and we are, in a way. He doesn’t want to see us all wiped out, he’s the one who warned us it was coming. He said if we can “adapt” some people to breath their he’ll take the risk to drop us off, we agreed and he started putting up a few small buildings and stations on the bottom for us to use.” He stopped for a pause to let it sink in.

“Get on with it man, how can this help us?” Cummings asks, getting impatient.

‘DR Collins has been doing research for years into having humans living on the bottom of the ocean, with limited success. But on this new world, it would be much easier, and he has already tried one of his people in a tank full of the same fluid and they survived well. We think using his modifications; we can make anyone into a fluid breathing human. It’s not a perfect solution, but it WILL work.” He stated as General Cummings thought about it, they might not be just like us, but maybe, just maybe they could live a long life and the species would survive.

“How long will the change take, do we have time?” he asked and the room buzzed thinking about it.

“If we hurry we can be done and have a good group off world before they come for us, they said we have 4 years from today, so we have a plan,” he said as everyone turned to look at him, ”Ok, I have a plan.” He said smiling and the general was all ears.

“We know what this will be like, just like here but different, anyways, like living in space. We have come up with a plan, to see who we can get quickly, it’s a Game actually, and we give it away.” He said as everyone shook their heads and a few laughed.

“A game, how does that help us in such a short time?” Cummings asked.

“It’s a trainer in disguise, it lets people see what it would be like to trade, live, work, even fight, in space. We give them a small ship, in our world a small submarine, but in the game a space ship. Then we let them trade with each other, mine, work, whatever is needed and see what people have a natural talent for this type of thing.” He stated as the room sounded much more supportive after a second.
“And then we?” General Cummings asked smiling, he knew the answer.

“We SAVE them.” Was the answer he wasn’t looking to get, but true enough?

“Begin your game Dr,” Cumming said and he stormed out of the room and the call was made, the game was available online by the end of the day, and they waited to see the results.

Chapter 2: Passing the Time

Jake was sitting looking over a list of new games that were for sale online. He was very particular; he wasn’t into first person shooters, unless it involved fighters or space ships. He loved the look of a space sim; it was our future, after all. We had some tiny little probes flying around out there now, but it was all just a matter of time. He saw many third person and old “arcade” type games but nothing that interested him, they were too, well, simple, and they couldn’t hold his interest past the first hour. He moved from site to site and still didn’t see anything he didn’t already have, good quality games with immersion were hard to come by.
Finally he did a search to see what new might be available on sites he didn’t usually use. He found a lot of stuff, but nothing that was exactly what he wanted. Finally, on page 3 of his search he saw the heading, “Play the newest online sensation, be a captain of your own vessel and trade, mine, fight, in a new world of adventure and action on a massive scale” he stopped to see what it was, a new space sim, and free… you cant beat that, and he started the download. It was big, and he had to let it run all day, but by evening he was making a name for his character and getting his first ship.

Jake was an old guy with health problems who had tried to get a disability from the government for years. After all, he supported them for 40 years, they could support him for 20, but that’s not the way the games played, it seemed. He was told they agreed completely, he could never do anything he used to, his health wouldn’t allow it, but he was still capable of doing something, dope jockey, greeter at some store, bone buffer, but nothing a man could do for a real living, but then he was 60 and they knew they didn’t have long to wait to be rid of him, with bad health, and limited health care, he was a dead man walking, and he was sure that was the plan. He sat a lot, playing games and looking into the future, maybe his real life was there; in a future time when he could do all the things he was learning to do now. He liked mining asteroids and even a job as a miner didn’t worry him. In the future you could be a miner without having a roof fall on you, but here they still had them and they dyed a lot from sicknesses and accidents, but people need to eat, and the government wasn’t worried, there was always another person even younger to fill their job when they fell, no problem.

Jake sat back and read the game directions, it was a new concept, and it was a small limited universe of maybe 10 million miles. It said it was a new universe completely different from any before. You had to survive by your wits and, with cooperation, help others. He was into helping, but he liked his freedom to move around and do what he wanted. This might be ok, but he had a hard time understanding a small, limited universe, after all, wasn’t the universe endless? Maybe that was the plan, to get you wandering and drop a squadron of attack fighters on you, but he’d be ready, it wasn’t catching him by surprise.
Jake saw a strange new universe before him, and he smiled, it was a little off color, he was used to space being black maybe with colored clouds , but this was sort of brown, but he had read that in reality, space was a “mocha” color, so maybe it was just more realistic. He got his first ship, as always a small, limited fighter/cargo ship. They always gave you those, it offered you a choice and in some games the choice was needed, but he liked to trade up and couldn’t wait to see the bigger ships.
He took the new ship for a ride, it handled well, but he wasn’t impressed with the speed, he was only getting like, 250 mph out of it, another surprise. In space that wouldn’t get you past the Burger King, but maybe it was a trick. He was wandering seriously about this when he found his first deposit of uranium in a mountainside he was scanning, and the oddness quickly vanished. With a good find, he would be able to sell it and buy a real ship maybe even see another world or two, which was the ticket. He mined his ship full and returned to the station where he started and sold it, he got a good price, but no new ships were available there and he returned and mined some more. He was sure he’d get a chance to explore some more after this was done and he’d find that base to buy better ships. It was all a matter of time, and he had that for sure.

It was month 2 of the game experiment and it was going well. Dr. Harris was not too pleased, it wasn’t his idea, but he was living with it since it was actually working. The game made a close association with the reality of the new world. It was limited in size and had a lot of the same minerals and problems that they knew existed there. There were a few that took to it immediately and those were tagged, he watched them daily to see if their patience lagged too soon or if they were all just killers waiting to strike, both a bad idea on a new world, but he saw a few good candidates, some were older, but with the cloning techniques they had learned that wasn’t a problem, all they needed was a few thousand people with the right attitude and the skills to survive, and they were finding them in record time.

By month 6 he was sure they had enough to make it work, a message was received saying that several stations and buildings were set up and available and they needed to hurry, the plan to strike was speeding to a conclusion. General Cummings was doing his level best to ready the military of the world, but that was giving it away. They had started shooting down the science ships that were on Earth for many years without being hassled, and their reports back were not being received as they should, so things were being escalated much faster than they liked, “military fools”, Harris thought. They barely had enough time now to get this all done and they speeded up the process on their end too. The collections time was at hand, then the “changing” and the drop all in less than 2 years, for several thousand people it was going to be close, and a few corners might need to be cut, but only when safety was assured, killing the new settlers wasn’t going to be an option this time, they needed every one of them and more.

Jake was sitting playing his game, there were options you could get to speed up your ship once you had the money. He hadn’t seen any large attack ships of any kind, but people at the stations talked about a few he never saw. He had traded the small fighter in on a medium sized freighter and set up a plan to mine as much as possible. He was doing well and making some good credits, now when the time came he should be all set to get something bigger and more powerful, after all, you cant get a battleship first, but you can earn one later. He was sitting there when a knock came at his door; he opened it to see the new lady from across the hall standing there with an insulated box in her hand smiling.

“Hello, Mr. March, how are you today?” she asked and he smiled and nodded.
“I get free meals sometimes and they dropped this off, its hot sausage, and they know I can’t eat this, if you like it here, please have it, I hate to waste good food.” She said and he thanked her for her kindness and went back inside his room, he’d have to remember to drop something good off for her for being so thoughtful, he thought, and sat down and ate the sandwich and fries.

It was pretty good, but having something right that second seemed to make him sleepy, so he closed the computer and went and lay down on the couch. It was only a few minutes later he dozed off, and was fast asleep. Jake was really sleeping well when he heard someone talking and opened his eyes and looked around. He seemed to be in the hospital, and the first thought was the old lady had given him bad food, food poisoning could kill you, and thankfully someone had found him and called for help.

“Mr. March is awake,” someone said and he saw a doctor walking his way.

“Hello, sir, your ok now, don’t worry, we are taking good care of you.” He said and Jake just smiled, they better, if he died in a hospital, someone would be paying a big tab for sure. “How do you feel?” he asked and Jake smiled and said pretty good, in fact, Jake hadn’t felt this good in a while, it must be good drugs they gave him, his arthritis was all but gone for the moment, and he seemed to be able to breath much better, his asthma was clearing up with whatever they had given him.

“Well, you just rest, and we’ll check on you later, sleep well, sir.” The doctor said and before Jake could ask, he was out again.

Jake was sure getting good sleep. But he wasn’t upset, he dreamed of good times and old friends of ships from the future, and great places to see and visit, new friends, and old enemies, and all the fun in between. He was having a good time, actually, when he woke up again.

“He’s awake doctor,” he heard a nurse say.

“Mr. March, good to see you coming around, how do you feel now?” he asked and Jake smiled, he asked him the same thing every time he was awake, was this a joke, or what? The doctor smiled and said he was watching him closely and just wanted to know and Jake said he felt good, real good actually, and he asked if they had these new drugs why didn’t his doctor give them to him years ago, he’d gladly have gone back to work feeling this good and the doctor smiled and said he’d explain later, and he had a meal ordered and it was on the way. Jake was happy, he was famished and he hadn’t been this hungry in years. He smiled and when they set the tray down he wolfed down the sandwich and all the other food like he hadn’t seen food in a while. He couldn’t believe how really hungry he was.

The doctor came in a while later and shut the door behind him. He started to check Jakes blood pressure and eyes, everything to see how well he was doing. Jake was a little confused, but he waited to see what was going on next, the food poisoning must have been really bad for all this attention. Finally the doctor was sure he was ok, and sat down in a chair next to the bed and smiled, Jake smiled back and waited there had to be some reason for all this and the doctor seemed ready to talk, when the cat gave his tongue back.

“I am happy to tell you the restoration has been a complete success.” He said smiling and Jake nodded asking what restoration he was talking about.

“Why yours of course, The process has taken some time, but with all the rest we gave you, your more than ok, you’re probably the best example we have here yet.” He said and Jake was starting to get a headache, this guy was talking in riddles, and he wasn’t in the mood.

“Dr, I’m very happy that you’re very happy, but right now all I want to know is what the hell you’re talking about.” Jake said as the doctors eyes popped and he jumped up.

“Oh, my god, I’ll be right back.” He said and ran from the room.

“What??” Jake asked but he was gone and by now Jake was thinking something really weird was going on, and for some reason he was right in the middle of it. He wanted to get up and go see what this nut was doing now, but he was strapped in and had an IV in his arm, and he knew better than to mess with one of those himself, so he waited.

In a few minutes another man walked in, this one was in a military uniform and was not looking too happy. He came into the room and closed the door, what Jake had to do with any of this he wasn’t sure but it looked like someone was going to tell him, eventually.

“I am sorry we didn’t get the chance to explain all this, you must be terribly confused by now.” The officer started.

“To say the least,” Jake said and waited.

“You were chosen as a member of an elite team, and we are going to send you to colonize a new planet.” He said quickly and waited for a response, Jake started to laugh out loud, and he was sure he was on a hidden camera show when the officer asked what was so funny.

“I have hoped for something like this my whole life, but we both know the politicians haven’t seen fit to make starships yet, and without that we aren’t going anywhere, so what’s the joke?” Jake said smiling and the officer tried to explain that it was real, and we do have access to starships, and Jake was actually looking around for the cameras.

“Even if this was true, and I know better,” Jake started,” I’m an old man, 60 years old and I wouldn’t have a chance of doing you any good out there, so please, spare me the jokes and let me go home.” He said as the officer stood and walked over to the small desk, opened it and pulled out a small hand mirror, he walked over and turned it for Jake to see and there was an image of Jake as he was at 20, with all his wavy hair and no mustache anymore, it only lasted a second, as Jake stopped laughing and past out.

21-01-2008, 06:30 PM
Any mention of people,in whole or part,alive now or soon dead, is purely on purpose...lol

23-01-2008, 02:55 PM
Chapter 3: Low Stress Trip <br />
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Jake was unstrapped and given a yellow jumpsuit to wear. He was escorted down a long hall to a big auditorium and given a seat. He looked around and smiled at all the...

24-01-2008, 12:57 PM
Chapter 5: The Second Round

Jake was just getting his breakfast a few days later when he heard a call; another ship was sitting close by.

“Mr. March, are you there?” they asked, and he called back he was, what did they need?

“I’m just a new arrival, so if you don’t mind I’d like to ask you about the mining you’ve done so far, if possible, I’m going to be doing some here shortly, so any help you could give me would be appreciated.” The man said and Jake was all smiles all he could think of was to say that the computer was very well informed about things and let it do the scanning and then go from there. They agreed and thanked him for taking the time, and he laughed, they went away at top speed and Jake shook his head, they finally got a few more miners here at least, so maybe the electronics factory wouldn’t be as greedy after what happened with Jake, he could only hope.

Jake was finally running low on iron ore at his location, it had been many, many good loads that he took to the main station, and they informed him that the process of making new metal parts had begun. In a few weeks the addition to the station would be complete, and then some different ships and better options could be had. Jake was happy he had a chance to really help the first few weeks, but now that there were more miners around, he was ready to get out a bit and do some exploring.

Jake liked the explorer class ship he was in; it wasn’t too big but had a good sized cargo area and good overall speed. The design wasn’t too bad to look at, and he decided that just maybe, when the time came, he’d see about a bigger one, the cargos then would be more then worth hauling in from a distance and it would have more room for his living space too.

Jake informed the station he was about out of ore at his location and they understood. He was the first miner and the first to make a claim, but it couldn’t last forever, and he had mined and sold many, many tons to get the station up and running. He said he was finishing up and he’d be going out prospecting again. When he dropped his last load off, the station manager gave him free supplies and wished him well, and Jake was away, out on his own again, now with a good amount of credit to his name, he could see what was over that hill, or outside the valley, without being worried about having food, or fuel, for quite some time.

Jake started down the valley, past his old claim and around a bend in the walls, and saw another miner off to the side working.

“Find something good?” he called across and they said they found a good amount of copper, a vein running along the wall east to west. Jake congratulated them and they nodded and went back to work, that will help, Jake thought, and continued on.

Jake was nearly out of the valley when Val chipped in,

“There is a large amount of silicon along the east wall, it seems the currents here deposit it when the silt hits the wall and the weight of the sand is too great.” She said and Jake agreed, the first silicon he mined was a crack running east to west…so this bend in the wall made the same direction, so now the small grains fell into a deposit all along the one wall. It went on for a while, so silicon wasn’t going to be a problem for a while, for sure, but he wasn’t in a hurry, and kept going, and scanning for more rare minerals.

“Isn’t silicon one of the minerals most needed?” she asked and Jake smiled, it was , but he wanted a break from the mining just for a while and he was out exploring at the moment, and Val decided that he wasn’t being very logical, but then he was human.

“I want to take a little time to look around, after all, this area probably has never been seen before, and there could be unknown minerals and unknown creatures that we will be the first to see.” Jake explained and Val said nothing, but then, he didn’t expect her to understand curiosity, and he just smiled and went on.

The wall made another turn, and opened into a big flat area. He didn’t know if the valley got wider, or if he had actually found a wide plain. The computer said the walls were too far away to scan, and they would have to map the area for the first time, and Jake agreed. They started along the east side first, just inside the scanner range so they saw the wall and a good amount of the flat plain too. The floor had a swept look, and Jake wasn’t surprised. The silicon they had scanned so far was very fine indeed. The minerals weren’t even really “grainy” but more like a fine silt. It floated along on the currents and dropped anywhere the walls stopped it. That made finding silicon not a hard job at all, and now all they needed was some better metals and they would be able to start building better ships and stations.

They continued on for an hour, with Jake marveling at the smooth texture of the floor around him, it was plain that there was erosion present here; such smoothness couldn’t be explained any other way. He was looking for a new place, maybe a new mineral deposit they hadn’t seen, yet, when Val chipped in.

“There is something strange by the east wall, about a kilometer away.” She said and the radar showed an arrow pointing that way, “great” thought Jake maybe something new to collect. This idea of being the first to see things wasn’t wasted on him, he wanted to see and find things no one had ever seen before. It was exciting and fun and he enjoyed it immensely. They moved in and a couple minutes later Val pinpointed a pile of bright yellow rocks hidden away in a small gully off the side of the main chamber.

“A new mineral of some kind?” asked Jake looking at the camera image and zooming in.

“It doesn’t scan as a mineral at all; we need to get closer, within 100 meters to get a proper scan, enlarging to all known materials, and scanning again.” She said seriously, it was plain she wasn’t going to give up and call it something new without a fight. The scan seemed to last a long time and Jake was beginning to think he had something never seen before when Val finally stopped and gave her opinion,
“We need to get these scans back to the main base at once, and we need out of this area as fast as we can!” she said and for an AI to get this excited, Jake didn’t even question, he turned sharply and made a dash for the main complex at max speed. He was away from the area at least a few miles when he finally asked.
“Ok, we’re on the way back at top speed, what was it that got you so excited?” he asked.

“I don’t get excited, I was merely saying the obvious, and we need to show these scans to the scientists immediately. I have no real emotions as you know.” She explained, and Jake smiled, you could have fooled him, a second ago she was on the verge of panic and now she’s lying her way out, but he wasn’t buying it.

“So, then what is it we didn’t get all excited about?” he asked and she was quiet for a second.
“If they were a new type of mineral we should have picked one up for study, don’t you think?” he asked and finally she decided to speak.

“It wasn’t a new type of mineral, and I decided that we had to leave the area immediately to give this report, they weren’t rocks at all, they were EGGS.” She said and got quiet again. Jake was now very glad they left when they did, these things were a foot across each, and bright yellow, so whatever laid those eggs had some serious size to it, and he could see Val’s reason for a quick get away.

They flew back much faster than they were coming out, Jake was trying to get more info from Val about her best guess, but she wasn’t talking. It was plain to him there were protocols built in that he was not aware of. He was going to corner someone when he got back, he decided. If he was out there alone, he wanted all the info they could give him, hang the science community, they would get theirs when he got back, no more of this secrecy when his life was at stake. They approached the station and Jake saw a light come on showing a transmission, and he heard nothing. He knew he was right, the scientists had built in a sort of “Mine First” program that guaranteed them first info about anything, and he was getting more upset by the minute. If the end of their civilization was because of this same type of thinking, what made it work any better here? And he was sure he was going to make someone very upset when he mentioned THAT.

Jake docked and walked into the station. He went right to the science department and asked to see the head man, but he was told to wait. He sat for a while and then started walking the floors looking at all the papers on the walls, anything to keep moving, it was plain he wasn’t going to leave and in a minute a young man came out to see him.

“Hello, Mr. March, why are you here asking to see us?” he asked smiling.

“I never did do things automatically, I question everything,” Jake said seriously, giving his new man a serious look,” I just discovered eggs belonging to an animal of some kind and my ships computer wouldn’t give me the facts it knew. Just demanded we return here.” He said seriously, and the scientist nodded and smiled again.
“As is proper, we need all the info as quick as we can get it, so we can decided if things are a threat or safe to work around, after all, there aren’t that many of us left now.” He stated trying to be calm.

“And whose fault is that, I understand the idea of quick info return, but out there my life is at stake, and as you said, there aren’t many of us left, because of what happened back home. I wander if all this secrecy is needed on a world where every turn is going to be a risk of my life, and I’m sure many of us aren’t going to forget that secrecy back home is what put us all here.” Jake said and stared hard at the young man, who was not nearly as happy now. “If I find ANYTHING new out there, I expect instant info too and if I don’t get it, I swear I’ll delete all the info and programming on my ship and fly it manual. You’ll get your info after I get mine, and if I live to return with it, lets not make the same mistakes TWICE.” He said and stormed out leaving a very embarrassed scientist standing with his mouth open.

Chapter 6: Repercussions

Jake grabbed everything he thought he’d need for a while on his way out. He was upset they hadn’t learned their lesson on earth, but here they didn’t have billions to mess with and he didn’t care if he saw any of them for quiet a while now. He was fully loaded and started away when the coms link came on. He looked down at Dr Collins sitting there behind his desk, smiling.

“So, I CAN see the top man.” Jake said, sourly.

“I apologize for being busy, Jake, the info you brought in along with your new maps, have caused quite a stir in our community.” He said smiling widely.

“Would that be OUR community, or YOUR community?” Jake asked and Collins face fell rapidly.

“I understand there is a lot of resentment about what happened back home, but I wasn’t in on that. This is a serious project, and certain procedures must be followed. Without them nothing good will come of this and we’ll all die here.” Collins said seriously.

“I believe we will be fine here, and that all this secrecy is a left over of the problems that PUT us here. So maybe you and your people should start considering yourself as colonists too, and not the great science leaders we will all have to bow to, because sir, it’s not happening here. We gave you a world to protect and help and you and yours blew it. Now respect is something you’ll have to earn again, it’s not free, and my statement stands. If I have to risk my life every minute, I get first info to make MY decisions, or you’ll never see any of it, this I swear. I hope we all can work TOGETHER here, because working my whole life under you would be just as bad as staying at home and dyeing like everyone else who trusted you there.” Jake said and closed the link and left the area at top speed.

Dr Collins closed the link slowly, this was something he was afraid of, there was obviously a deep resentment over what had happened, and the average person was watching them carefully to see if they had learned their lesson yet. It was a mistake he was soon to fix, here they didn’t have a whole world, and every person was needed and would be for a while to come. He opened a coms link and added a few new bits of code and closed it. It was the least he could do under the circumstances, and now he’d have to see what else might be needed to keep cooperation and good will going here, as he got up and walked into the conference room to finish his meeting.

“Congratulations,” Val started as Jake looked up, “Your security clearance has been raised dramatically.” She said happily.

“As is proper,” Jake copied and smiled, maybe they were going to learn after all.

“I am allowed now to give you much more info than before, ask away,” Val said and Jake smiled and thought for a minute,

“What kind of eggs where those we found?” he asked.

“Unknown did not match anything in our data base, even fish, amphibians, and cru stations.” She said seriously.

“So it was something totally new.” Jake said and she agreed.

“Considering the size of the eggs what size do you think the mother was, approximately?” Jake asked and Val had to consider for a moment.

“Depending on what laid the eggs, if indeed they LAY eggs here, it could be from 10 feet tall to 10 meters long, no way to tell for sure.” She said seriously.

“There is one way to tell for sure.” Jake said, and they started back, with Val complaining they didn’t have clearance to do this, all the way there.

Jake stopped the ship a fair distance away and waited, Val had long since stopped complaining, seeing that she couldn’t stop him short of taking control of the ship herself, and Jake was sure she didn’t want to show those cards just yet. They waited for a day, and saw nothing and finally Jake laid down for some rest and got a little sleep. In the morning he’d be more ready, and he was sure that no mother in her right mind would leave their eggs for more than a little while even to hunt for food, and that was something Jake wanted to know about badly. If this creature was so large, what did it eat? And even more importantly, if it had the chance, what WOULD it eat. It was an important thing for them to know. This nest was a few hours from the base, but something this size could be there very quickly, and he was going to see if that was a serious threat or not.

Jake awoke the next day and was eating breakfast when Val called him.

“The mother has returned,” she said seriously, and Jake ordered full scans.

“Already begun,” she said, and Jake was sure that the info was being sent straight back to the base with some new amplifier they put on board after he threatened them.

“Size?” Jake asked and Val said,

“It’s hard to see from such a long distance exactly.” She said and Jake fired up the engines and started towards the nest.

“I wouldn’t suggest this action; the mother could be very protective of her children.” Val reminded him.

“Size?” he asked again and started even closer.

“Approximately 50 feet long and 8 feet tall, perhaps an eel or lamprey of some kind,” Val said sourly, but Jake stopped going closer. The animal was large for sure, and with the zoom lens he could see that it was watching him closely. It opened and closed its mouth, like it was gasping for breath, but he didn’t believe that for a second, and he was staying well back. It was plain this was no rock eater, so the question remained, what did something this big find to eat.

“What direction did the creature come in from when it returned?” Jake asked and Val was a little hesitant, maybe asking for permission, Jake thought.

“From the east side of the gully, it seems to connect to another valley or open plain a few kilometers further along.” Val started, “I don’t believe we can get past it without it attacking us, if that was your plan.” She said seriously. She was right, they’d have to fly right over it to get there from here, but Jake had an idea that there was other gullies or small valleys along this ridge that would connect, so he turned and started away, to Val’s immediate glee.
“Now we’re showing some logic,” she started smugly, “There is much more we can learn without endangering this ship. Or the creature.” She said and Jake smiled, she was keeping him away from the creature while the science team sent someone of their own, for sure. He just hoped they were smart enough to go slowly, even if these creatures were friendly, having eggs changed a lot, and scientists were hardly ever careful about being involved in something.

They flew along for another few minutes and Jake saw on radar the east wall was much lower now. It had been many thousands of feet high, but now there was a plateau or something that made it just a few hundred feet higher than they were. He turned in that direction and started up. It only took a few minutes at his speed to reach it and he was right, it was nearly level here, a few small hills but nothing to stop him, so he moved along, mapping and scanning until they reached the far side, a few kilometers away, then it dropped off again, sharply, and the depth was even greater than the side they had come from.

“It seems to drop into a deep canyon, maybe some very large crevasse.” Val reported and they started down slowly. It took a while, but slowly they were getting into an area so deep that they could barely see and Jake slowed to a near stop.
“We have lights on board if you’d like.” Val reported, but Jake said no, he wanted to see for himself what was here before the lights came on. If this place was dark all the time, then lights would scare things too much, and he was being careful not to do that. He all but stopped and he could only see a few meters in front of him, as he dropped into the deep chasm. He stopped completely once and sat for a minute, he scanned the area and waited and saw nothing. His radar said he was clear on all sides, so he moved very slowly around the valley looking for who knows what, and hoping he didn’t find anything bigger than what they had already witnessed.

He was almost sure he wasn’t looking in the right area when he blinked for a second. He saw, or thought he saw, a light blink, then in a second, another. He stopped dead and watched as first a few then many lights blinked deeper in the chasm before him. He had Val scan, but no mechanical devices were seen, so they opened all scans and tried again. What they were seeing were actually animals, small, flashing animals that lived here. They seemed to be moving around, and he was sure they couldn’t miss seeing something so large sitting there. He was right, of course and the lights got brighter and a few moved in his direction. Val informed him they were about a meter in size and for some unknown reason they were flashing different colors. He was amazed by the light show as they slowly approached and then flew around his ship. They came within a few meters and one or two sat there, looking in as he sat looking out. He had a strange idea and asked Valerie for confirmation.

“Could they be intelligent?” he finally asked and she wasn’t sure. They were not flying wildly around, and these two other than many others had stopped to look in, showing curiosity. She asked to test them and he said go ahead, so long as they weren’t harmed and she sniffed loudly. She turned one light on, close to the nose, and blinked it for a second three times and shut it down, she did this several times and stopped and waited. The first fish swam closer and blinked three times and stopped too and she was impressed.

“It seems they do understand communication,” she said and Jake nodded. She tried again, this time using simple numbers and math, 1+1=2, and the 2+2+4...and then she waited, in a minute the fish flashed 3AND PAUSE AND THREE MORE THEN A PAUSE AND THEN 6 MORE. This was conclusive proof to her, these animals understood basic math and communications, and they must be intelligent, at least to some degree.
Jake parked the ship right there and Val started setting up a series of tests and problems to see if communications was possible. It was going to take a while, but she was confident, and the tests started to make more and more sense.
They sat there for a full day and the tests shown immediate results, they were an intelligent species that lived deep in the deepest valleys on the planet. They used lights to communicate with each other and to see what status the others had. They had a matriarch based life and their leader was the oldest female alive at the time. They stayed hidden because the predators of the “light” came looking for them and even dove into the valley grabbing blindly to find food. They had survived for many centuries’s this way and they had never seen a metal “fish” like this with a small animal on board. They were curious for sure and Jake told them they were new here, visitors from a place where their families had been killed and they seemed sad to hear it.
Jake asked what other creatures were on this world and the list was long, with names that meant nothing to Jake of course. The planet was full of living things, both small and large and the “Itti” had seen many in their days. Some came looking for food, others looking for the substance that gave them their light, and Jake wasn’t sure what they meant, but it didn’t sound good for his small friends, and he wished them well and they started back out of the canyon, just as all the “Itti” warned him that the “Swift ones” would be coming soon and he should flee. Jake took that to mean predators and he was sure he’d rather not see too many new things in one day, and Val agreed as they returned to the valley they started at and Val made her report to the science teams.

25-01-2008, 01:34 PM
Chapter 7: Friends and Enemies

The science team was back in emergency session, and Jake was the cause, again. He had an inbuilt knack for finding things to make their jobs harder, and even now, was looking into communicating with the first intelligent creatures that they had discovered. He had sent back a list of names that was over a dozen long, the names meant nothing to them but the fact there was over a dozen did. This was no barren planet, it teamed with life, and they were the new comers, the visitors that had to watch themselves or be killed. Jake had seen and reported what was officially declared the first predators here, a large eel like creature that laid eggs. Now he had found the first friendly creatures as well, a good thing to be sure. But it was decided that for the short period of time that they were here, and the small numbers they represented, that staying closer to base for now was needed, so the order was given to begin serious mining once more. They needed more patrol vessels and weapons before they found someone serious that followed them home, and to their surprise, Jake agreed and started back to mining again. He was a puzzle to be sure, curious and intelligent, and sure of himself, but smart enough to see the logic of safety. He had mapped 50 miles of area previously unknown and found 2 species. Maybe his natural curiosity was a good thing, it certainly helped so far, and Dr Collins decided to just ask him for things more often and demand less, it seemed to work better that way.

Jake was all smiles, he was sure the Itti were a friendly race, and that the science team had their hands full with all the info that had come in. They mentioned to him he had done well, but with predators around they needed a lot of new vessels before they found anything unfriendly that followed them back to the base. It made good sense and Jake went back to mining, besides, if they were to survive here, he’d need to be careful, he was the one who had demanded that the science team be more open and less secretive, but he too had been less than careful, but now he knew they needed time to access their place here, and make a few new friends, and get ready. It would be a few weeks before Jake went exploring again. They were in full, or nearly full, production at a couple factories, and parts and new devices were being made. In a very few months new ships would be available, and Jake knew that exploring this new world would take something a little more impressive than the one he was in. So he started back to mining and saving his credits for the next one, and the factories were happy to have steady materials to work with for the next few weeks, at least.

Jake was moving into position at the electronics factory one day and called across.

“Silicon delivery, get it while its hot!” he said laughing and Ben came on the link.

“Hi Jake, you’ve been doing good work the last week or so, all the station owners are happy. We figure that with the three mining ships currently working, we can have all the parts and equipment needed for full production of goods in another week. The main station is adding on, their going to make an external dock for bigger ships, and then adding a few businesses inside; I hear they’re going to put in an entertainment area and a restaurant, for when we get tired of eating prepackaged stuff.” He said smiling, Jake just laughed. He’d have to see what “entertainment” they were going to have here. There weren’t any movie companies anymore, so maybe actors, or the obvious, but that was a little frowned on back home, and he didn’t see it being here either. Dating was a dead art, there just weren’t very many people and the ones that worked close in stations and factories had the first try, in his line of work, Jake was a loner, and that meant a lot, both good and bad.

“Well a night out to relax would be nice from time to time, so we’ll have to wait and see.” Jake said and Ben nodded and they went their ways again.

Jake thought about it for a while, with all the hundreds of old movies laying around back home, it might be possible to have a theater opened up, just show a movie from time to time, and even something old would be appreciated, and Jake smiled, there were a lot of good comedies he used to watch, a good laugh here would be very welcome from the grind of daily life, after all, they weren’t going anywhere soon so they had to be able to work out their frustrations here somehow, and he just shook his head and went back to work.

Jake was working near the silicon deposit when he heard a call, one of the other miners out near the edge of the plains had seen an eel swimming past. It had surprised the heck out of him and he started back. Jake just laughed, they were big for sure, but they didn’t want to mess with the ships, they were equal in size, so he was in no danger, but he did a bad thing. He turned and ran, with the eel following to see why it was running, maybe this big fish was hurt, or maybe it was leading it to its young, but it followed, right back to the base. The eel swam around looking, this was obviously new. It swam up to the big base and saw small creatures walking around inside the big glass windows, and it saw a free lunch. It attacked and bounced off the protective windows and had to rethink this. It moved in slowly and tried to grab another one, but it couldn’t get a good bite at it, this invisible wall was in the way.

By now the alarms were going off, the base was under attack and all ships were being recalled. Jake threw the power to his engines and was in sight of the base in a few minutes. He saw the big eel, trying to figure a way into the base to get these new creatures, and he didn’t see anyway around it. He moved in and hit the animal with a missile. The results were immediate; it spun around and attacked the ship, very nearly able to get a good grip on it with its massive jaws. But Jake got a good close shot into the center of the big animal and it went down, wriggling in pain and in a few seconds, died. Jake was told to come in and dock, his ship was repaired for free and a science team was dispatched to examine the creature and get samples. Jake was feeling bad he had to kill it, maybe they could have chased it away, but it was done and he was told he did well. If it had continued to attack the base the windows would have failed eventually and left the interior open to attack, many could have died, and Jake had saved them and they appreciated it. The only good news was the creature was susceptible to the missiles the miners used, so they had a defense, and the first miner was lectured about dragging creatures back home with him as Jakes ship was repaired.

Even better news came when they discovered that these creatures were indeed eatable. They took samples and rushed them through testing, it weighted tons, and to let it get drug away was a huge waste. So they examined the meat closely and found it to be a good, sweet meat similar to some earth sea food. The tests were negative, there was nothing poisonous or toxic about it, and they sent a team to clean the eel for food. This was a big deal, they had brought limited supplies with them, and they wouldn’t last forever, so finding food here was necessary, and new meals were being made up for the ships and people on the station to try this new food. It was really good and they decided that hunting here might well be a way to satisfy the need for other food for the colony. Jake still felt kind of bad, he was first again, but this time he killed the first native creature. It wasn’t a bad thing this time, but at least something good had come from it, and he smiled and tried a plate of the new delicacy.

By now they were laying the framework for the first new ship. It was going to be an explorer craft, of course, but the midsized one, with 3 times the carrying capacity of the smaller one and a lot bigger, more comfortable crew quarters. Jake was watching it closely, and everyone knew it, smiling. He had the first small explorer vessel, and had done very well, but this bigger vessel would have the long range to store a lot more food and all the necessary equipment for a trip of weeks at a time. With the bigger vessels, more serious exploring could be done and more of the plains and mountains could be explored.
There was years of mapping to do and a second base nearly a third of the way around the planet no one had seen yet. It was for the next few loads of colonists, they were on the way, and the story was the first alien ships were starting to attack the earth. It was cutting it close, but Jake had confidence that they would survive here, things had gone pretty well, and he was happy with his part in it so far. The science community had all the new info they had gained up till now ready. When the new base opened up they would have access to all the findings immediately, giving them a big start. Jakes base was the Alpha and they were the testing grounds for all the other people coming, if they had time to get here. The alien that was helping was getting nervous, if he was found out, he’d be in as big a jam as they were, but he owed them a lot, and he was as good as his word, so far.

Jake loaded up on some supplies and was ready to go when he got the word, Beta station was open and had 200 colonists, but it didn’t look good for some of the others still on earth. The war had started and the alien helping them was sure they’d see him, it was a bad idea to be seen coming here, for him as well as them. It was decided that if he got one more trip in for the Beta station that’s all they could ask and he had agreed and was working feverishly to bring the last load here.

The science community was not pleased, they had been told they had 4 years, but with the military setting off alarms, shooting down ships too soon, the time ran out. Now instead of 2 thousand colonists they were lucky to get 1200...so maybe certain plans could be made, after all, this was their last chance for survival, so just maybe, they needed to take a more active roll in this new start. They’d need to be careful they weren’t found out too soon, but they saw it as no choice and the plan was made active.

Chapter 8: Giving Nature a Helping Hand

Jake was out mining again , but in a few days he got an official announcement, with all the new findings and exploring to be done, the science council had decided that one science team member was to accompany all explorer vessels size medium and up. It would be a two man crew, the miner and a science team member to do all the studying and reporting, that way they didn’t need to return so soon and the science team would get out of station experience. Jake smiled, maybe they were catching on after all, they were the big brains, let them come out and do the talking to aliens while the explorers did the mining. It did make sense, but he was sure when he was ready for the new ship, he’d get stuck with a fat old guy who told bad jokes, Jake smiled to himself and went on working, at least it wouldn’t be as quiet all the time.

His ship stopped quickly at the water planet, Gork looked around with his best sensors and saw no other ships. Good, he dropped the pod with the 200 humans in it to the ocean floor within sight of the Beta station, he was sure he could get one more load if he hurried. After all, these humans had saved his people from extinction, so even if his superiors didn’t see it, they owed them a great debt. He carefully activated the latches and the doors opened on the pod, allowing the people already there to get the next colonists out. It all took a little while and he was nervous. If he was seen here, this would all be for nothing, but he watched carefully and soon the big pod returned to his ship. He grabbed it quickly and started back. He did three jumps to get here, and he purposefully went out of his way. If he was seen in another system, he could explain it away, but the water world was in a system that was off limits, and was a great place for the human colony. It was a pristine new sun very young in its life, it would be good to warm the planet and its inhabitants for millennia to come, and the humans were resourceful, in time they would learn to leave and expand into other systems, but not for quite a while.

He jumped again; he was halfway back to earth when he heard the call.

“Gork, what are you doing in this sector? It is well from your usual hauling routes.” He looked to see the captain of a military vessel just jumping in, thank the creator he was in a different system by now.

“Just doing some sight seeing, the corona here is quite spectacular at times.” He said carefully.

“So I have heard, but with the weight of my office, I don’t have time for such foolishn ess. I’m glad to see the science community has the time at least.” He said seriously and Gork swallowed hard, this would be investigated, he was sure.

“I suggest you get back to work, we have much to do and the science community has a whole new generation of people to train. “ the captain said and Gork smiled and nodded, He jumped away in the direction of the nearest science station, then scanned to see the cruiser was gone and returned to Earth. He was very careful to send the pod down quickly, there were small military ships nearby, and he was using a special jamming device to stop them from seeing him, but it wouldn’t last forever. He got the message that the load was in and he recovered it and was turning to leave, just as the cruiser jumped in close to him.

“So it is not coronas we seek today is it? What possible purpose could you have for gathering more humans now?” he demanded.

“A personal experiment, after all, they will be extinct soon, so might as well get all the specimens we can now.” He said in a flip attitude that was most usual when speaking of the humans.
“Very well then, I’ll report you got another load, and they will be waiting on you at the science station, do not be late, Gork, they are getting very tired of experiments going badly.” He said and the link closed, Gork dropped his head, he had failed to save these ones, these last few hundred, but he had saved many others and he jumped back towards the science station and called ahead that he had more for their experiments. It was all he could do, and he might just get an award for his forethought, but as he went he erased all the info and co ordinates of the water world from his computer. It was done and he had done his best, now only time and the creator would tell if they ever survived or not.

Jake heard that the Beta colony got another load of people; they had 400 there now, so they were doing well. They knew up front that the area around them had good minerals and ores in it, and they had the basic set of ships, so they were in business, but they expected more people yet and all they got was a short, coded message saying “it is done” and nothing else. It was a mystery that they would never understand but there would be some very good ideas what happened. The scientist was caught and had to stop to save himself, if indeed he did save himself at all. They owed him a great debt, and his name was written in their first few months of their history. It was the least they could do, and now they had a world to conquer, and a new civilization to build, and they were determined to do it to the best of their abilities and the new people here would be an evolutionary step up from their predecessors, the air breathing humans of Earth.

Jake was on the way back with a load of copper one day when he got a call from Dr. Collins himself, it was an unexpected honor, and Jake was sure he was in trouble for something again, but he smiled and waited to hear what.

“You’ve done very well for us so far, Jake.” He started and Jake just nodded.

“So you get first shot at the new medium class explorer ship. It will be ready for a shakedown cruise in a few days and I know that you’ve been keeping an eye on it. So unless you have bad habits we don’t know of, I think you’ll have no problem affording it for sure.” He said laughing and Jake got a chuckle too, if only there WERE bad habits to have here, but this was a plain vanilla world, so far at least, and working and sleeping was all there was to do.

“I appreciate the thought; I’m coming in now with a load for the electronics lab, I’ll stop by and check it out while I’m there.” Jake said and Collins nodded and smiled. Jake closed the link and docked with the station. He’d have to see this new ship up close, it looked good from a distance, and he was told it was very roomy compared to the one he was in. If he took it a new man or woman would get his old ship and he would move up, that way a new miner was created even as a more experienced one got better equipment. The only thing Jake was really curious about was the old fat guy he was sure was going to come with it and he laughed and docked at the station to see his new ship.

Collins called the receptionist and smiled, he said Jake was on his way and would be getting the new ship. He needed to know if there were any volunteers to work the ship with him, under the conditions that were preset. He saw a list and he smiled widely, Jake had a bit of a reputation in the colony, and it showed, there were quite a few volunteers to be his co pilot on the new ship and he started to set up appointments to screen the applicants so that he’d be ready when the ship was finished.

Jake spent a week in the main station. It gave him time to see the finishing touches going on the new ship and to get a few good hot meals at the new restaurant before he went back out. The medium explorer ship was even bigger inside than he had thought with 5 times the cargo space and several different areas for storage, that way you could find several different things and keep them separate. It made good sense and he smiled that they planned so well ahead. It also had the standard missile launcher he had gotten used to and a rear mounted gun for defense just incase. It was a remodeled 50 caliber semi-auto and he was sure it would do both for hunting food and for defense from attack. In another time this might have been a small military ship, but here it was an explorer, and he was sure he’d be happy there for quite a while.

Jake was ready and had permission to take the new ship out for a quick shake down cruise. He was to take it out, open up the engines to max and return to see if all went well. He asked about his science officer and was told they would meet him on the docks when he returned and he just nodded. He backed the ship out and turned it slowly, this was quite a bit bigger than he imagined and he opened it up and headed out towards the end of the valley. It handled well, even better at high speed than at low, the design gave it good balance and even the computer, and sighting for the missile launcher was all modernized. It was a great ship and he was happy with it from the first minute he flew it. Now if the science officer was this easy to get along with he’d be happy.

Jake started back and docked, he was going to talk to Collins about this new co pilot before he dropped a real loser on him. He didn’t want to be picky, but some people just can’t get along, and a spoiled brat or someone always giving orders wasn’t going to cut it. He’d be polite when he met the person they chose for him, but he’d not accept them until he saw if they were compatible. It was a lonely life out here but fighting every minute wasn’t going to make it any better.

Jake docked and opened the door to the docks and stepped out. He didn’t see anyone there right that second, but in a minute he saw a group of people coming his way, with Dr Collins in the lead, here it comes, Jake thought trying hard not to smile too widely. Collins walked up and shook Jakes hand and asked how he liked the new ship. It was the very first one and some improvements had been made to handling, etc and Jake gave him a fair report. Collins smiled and one of his assistants recorded that it handled better at high speed than low and perhaps an adjustment to the maneuvering was needed. Other than that, it worked well and the rooms were very comfortable.

Jake asked Dr Collins if he could have any say into who he had assigned, he wanted to make sure that he had someone on board that he was going to get along with, after all, this was a new, long range ship, and they would literally be living together for months on end. Collins smiled widely and waved his right hand as a young lady with two duffle bags stepped forward.
“This is Karen Rhoades, your new co pilot, we were very careful to see to it that you two would be compatible, Jake just give it a try and you’ll see.” He said and winked and walked away. Jake stood for a second smiling in a very embarrassed way, they dropped someone on him, for sure and then left, but this was NO fat old guy for sure, and Jake was a little surprised.
“Ahem, Jake, or Mr. March, can we go on board now?” she asked as Jake caught himself staring, he stepped to the side and opened the door for her to enter. This was not what he had planned at all, and he could see that he would have to be on his very best behavior from now on.

26-01-2008, 10:56 AM
Chapter 9: A New Friend <br />
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Jake waved her towards the door down the hall. <br />
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“I have the cabin closest to the bridge,” Jake explained,” So you can have the rooms right down the hall.” She smiled and...

28-01-2008, 05:43 PM
Chapter 11: Moving on <br />
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It was a great night, and they both seemed happy the next day. Karen said she was thrilled he had decided to give them a chance and Jake laughed, admitting he had started...

28-01-2008, 05:43 PM
reserved for next PartChapter 13: Things Looking up <br />
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They held position and Jake sent the pictures back with all the findings from Karen’s tests. They agreed this wasn’t a sentient species, and...

28-01-2008, 05:44 PM

06-03-2008, 01:50 PM
Chapter 15: Trading the Past For a Future <br />
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Jake and the other two ships came into the base and docked. He had a lot of meat on board, and the other two ships were fully loaded too. Jake also...

07-03-2008, 12:34 PM
Chapter 17: New Ideas and New Plans

Jake and Karen walked into Collins office a few days later. They had a good supply of crystals for the base and their study had proven what Jake had said, as they got deeper into the mountain, the rocks became bigger and more powerful. Collins was well pleased to hear it, that gave them something to plan for, and he had a plan too. He showed Karen and Jake the tests that they did on the new guns, and they said that they didn’t explode anything, it was like a remote control chisel, just aim it and fire it into the rocks, it hit them with a force and drove into the rock a few inches each time. The results would cause the whole rock face to loosen up, and fall, so a shot every few feet would open up the crystals and drop them with some dirt, to the floor and they could be mined normally, after a special cargo box was added to the ship. Jake was all smiles, he had mined them one at a time for so long he wasn’t sure anyone would find a better or faster way.

Using the new gun and bullets made from the ores themselves, they had a renewable weapon that used what they had in abundance, power, and metals of all kinds. Jake had the new gun mounted up front right next to the missile launcher, and they set it up as the next test. If it worked as planned, he could get a lot more crystals a lot faster, and then they would have more time to explore and have fun. Collins was all smiles and wished them well, as they left the office and started towards the docks. Karen stopped by the community bulletin board for a minute and Jake stopped to see why. She was smiling a small smile, like something good was happening, and Jake walked over to see, there on the board was an official notice,

“We congratulate Jason and Cecelia Morgan on the delivery of their new baby girl, she will be recorded in our history as the first new colonist on this new world, and we congratulate all those that will come after.”

Jake could see she was happy and seemed sad at the same time, it wasn’t fair to everyone to make such a big announcement, sure they had the first child, so maybe that was worth the hype, but he could see that it brought out different feelings in some people more than others, Karen finally turned to him and smiled and they went back to the ship. Jake wasn’t totally blind, he knew she wanted children too, but they really hadn’t tried too hard, and she seemed depressed that other people were having children and she wasn’t, so Jake decided to talk to her about it more when they were alone. He didn’t want her feeling bad because they weren’t even trying, and besides, it might take quite a while even after they started, so maybe this wasn’t a bad thing, just a little embarrassing to mention, but he’d find a way, he decided.

The modifications to the ship were done by now and they backed away from the base, as a few people on the docks waved and Jake and Karen waved back. They started back out towards the claim and Karen spoke first, saving Jake a lot of embarrassment.

“It was a great thing, to see the first official announcement of a newborn here.” She said, with a small smile, as she seemed to stare out the front more than usual.

Jake took a deep breath and waded in, if she was so worried, then maybe he’d agree to try too. “Our time will come, you’ll see.” He said and after a minute, Karen really did smile again. It seemed just hearing Jake admit they were going to have kids made her feel better, and he knew that he was committed now more than ever.

“You’ll be a great dad Jake, you’ll see.” Karen said and leaned over and kissed him. He held her hand until they were getting near the claim, and then they stopped the ship and went to their room for the night, if it was going to happen it wasn’t such a bad thing that they started giving it a little more time, and Karen seemed a lot happier after than before.

The next day the new gear was tried for the first time. The gun didn’t make nearly the flash and explosion as the missiles, but then it didn’t do all that much damage either, but after a few shots into the seam, a good sized piece of rock and crystals broke loose and dropped to the ground, it fell apart in a bunch of smaller pieces and some of the crystals actually fell out too. Jake had been told this was going to make mining them a lot quicker, don’t worry about the extra dirt, they would sift that out later, just loosen up the rocks and vacuum them up, then when they had a big enough load they could return and they would have a sifting area set up. With the Beta area not having found any, they were a shoe in as a customer, even if it did take 3 months to make a trading trip, but Jake knew if trading was going to be possible, they’d have to figure out a faster way, and it wasn’t going to surprise him when it happened.

Jake used the new gun to loosen the rocks and vacuum them up, and then the missiles to clear away the junk rocks that were hanging above. It seemed like a lot more was getting done a lot faster and soon they decided that they had a good supply. Jake couldn’t begin to guess how many they had in the cargo area, but the computer showed it was getting full, and for safety’s sake they stopped mining for now. It gave Jake and Karen a chance to go riding around some more, it had been a while, and he was happy to be away from the claim again. It was worth a fortune, for sure, but he got bored after a while, and Karen seemed to also, so a nice few days of exploring was going to make them both feel a lot better before starting back.

They mapped the west wall another 50 miles and started mapping the center of the plain again. They saw another school of eels and even dropped down and saw even bigger fields of cabbage, and they recorded it all for the base. They were moving along two days later, looking for the east wall again when Karen called, laughing.

“It looks like another school of eels coming up on your side.” She said and Jake turned to see, but this time was different. He saw nothing for a second, and then suddenly there were hundreds of animals, not eels at all, but a squid-like creature with long arms. They were just swimming past slowly when Karen got some pictures and a short vid of them. They marked the area they were in and Karen decided as the science team member that they needed a sample, so Jake got a good aim and shot one about 10 feet long with the new gun. It just popped a whole right through it, and it dropped to the bottom, as many of the others scattered. Jake sat the ship down right along side and went out to get the samples Karen wanted. In an hour the work was done and another good food supply was found. They cleaned it up and stored it and they gave it a try for dinner that night. It was a little unusual to Jake, but Karen really seemed to like it, and the flavor did sort of grow on you, so Jake decided that it wasn’t too bad. They had several hundred pounds of meat in storage and they started exploring their way back the way they came. They could be back at the base in another day, but they were in no hurry, and they mapped a good sized area of the center of the plain, including a big group of the plants they had seen before, and more eels and squids. If they ever ran out of food now, it wasn’t their fault, they decided and they both got a big laugh and got a good night sleep.

After several days of exploring, they made their way back to the main base. They had a small sample of the new meat left and maps and scans and vids of all they had seen. The base was happy to see even more recourses than before and a new hunting party was sent out to bring in some different food. The farmers here had a few acres of good food growing, and with some “fertilizer” from the recycling labs they were growing bigger plants than any wild plants anyone had seen. Things were looking up well and the word came that the Beta station finally got its first shipment of crystals and rods. They were thrilled to death, they were on emergency power for 2 weeks, but now they were back up to full and running again. They admitted they found a small uranium deposit soon after and they started mining it, but their whole combined thinking was going towards the new crystals. Their leader was a man who specialized in experimental physics, and he saw great things coming with enough of these, and the tests and results from the Alpha station barely wetted his apatite. He knew there were tremendous things ahead for these crystals and he was sure they would be in the forefront of development. There were deals being made to ship them more as soon as possible, and some rare metals and minerals they had found would be used for payment. It was the first inter-station contract for trading, and they were both happy to gain something. Jake was by now a well known name on both stations, and they wanted to talk to him about his discovery, but the Alpha base was keeping him to themselves for now, and they seemed to understand.

It was clear to Collins that the Beta station wasn’t taking survival seriously, they wanted nothing more than to go off into some high tech studies about the new power supplies, and he thought they needed to worry about food and exploring first. They didn’t agree, saying that the Alpha base had done very well in there food research, so anything they found they knew was going to work out. The scans and vids gave them all they needed, and now they could begin the task of evolving the new technology into something great, and Collins just shook his head and closed the link. It would take months to send help to them and they had barely survived the power crisis, but there they were, ignoring the obvious again. The research lab was trying to build a new, high-speed transfer ship for trading, but it wouldn’t be ready to test for a few weeks at least. If it worked, they could cut the travel time to the Beta station in half, and then more normal trading could be done, but Collins saw them as wanting to ignore the little things in search of big discoveries, and the average person there was going to suffer. He just hoped this fool saw his error before it was too late.

Chapter 18: Collins’ Success

There was a secret going around the base, they had been on the verge of severe problems several times, including the food shortage, but they had pulled through, in no small part to their leader, Dr Collins. Even Jake had come to respect him for his caring and serious thinking. He planned ahead and saw things in advance. If not for him many people might have died from lack of food, or the station could have shut down for lack of power, leaving them in the stone ages . But he held them together, and they planned a surprise for him on the anniversary of the first year of colonization.

Jake and Karen were in the forefront, helping gather extra food and recourses, and the farmers said not to worry, they were more than ready. It was set up as a party in the new restaurant, and everyone was sure they had kept it as secret as possible. The cooks were outdoing themselves and in a few hours, the call went out. Jake and Karen docked right next to all the other ships and for the first time, the docks were totally full. They went into the restaurant and everyone got ready, Dr Collins was in his office, as usual and they sent a message that the miners had all declared a walkout, and were meeting in the restaurant. He was furious, he hadn’t seen any of this coming, and they refused to talk to his “minions” he had to negotiate himself, so he gathered his courage and walked in, to cheers and smiles and the smell of good food. The room rose to their feet and applauded as he stood, mouth open in surprise. One by one the teams came forward, giving him congrats and hugs and handshakes, and he was lead to the head of the room and given a seat. The feast was glorious, with all the best foods and even a few “experimental” drinks, and everyone had a good time.

They took turns saying how well he had done and how his work was appreciated, and he sat smiling, he had no idea these people were so happy, he’d have to adjust his plans, he thought laughing to himself and everyone saw and smiled. They were well fed and not a single person was having a hard time here now. The day to day work was being handled well, and the process of evolving into a new people had begun. Collins was given a plaque to hang on his wall, saying “One year of successful colonization: Alpha Base” and he hugged it like it was an old friend, and many of the couples that he helped set up came to him with stories of happiness and joy. He had done something he was afraid was going to come back to bite him, but with different consequences’. They seemed to understand and they were grateful, even Jake had finally forgiven him, and when no one was looking he called him an “old Pimp’ and Collins got a good laugh. Now he knew why Jake had always got a chuckle when he was in his office, he saw the “dating service “ as Collins way to kick start the breeding, or berthing process, as well it was, but only Jake could see it like this and he laughed and said he understood.

The science team made a vid of the whole thing and saved it for posterity. A copy of it was sent to Beta station saying this is what to strive for. Happiness and harmony, and they agreed. It was all the best they could have in such a short time, and things were coming along remarkably, even trading with the second base was going on now and what one base didn’t have the other did, and that was great. In a few more years they would all be able to set back and see their dreams fulfilled and that would be a happy day too, but they were doing their best and for now, that was all that was expected. In a few hours the party was over and everyone went back to their ships and rooms, a few a little shakier than when they came in, as the “experimental” drinks seemed to find a place on the new colony too. Collins agreed to have them made, officially, from now on and maybe the quality would improve, and everyone got a quick chuckle and agreed, the day was over and the process of building the new world went on, but for one single day, the worst was over and happiness had set in, and Dr Collins finally admitted they were here to stay.

07-03-2008, 12:35 PM
What do you think, how about a few comments....could this be made into a book?

Anon loyalist
07-03-2008, 04:35 PM
From what I've had time to read it is interesting but I'll leave more comments up to those who have read the whole thing :)

10-04-2008, 11:09 PM
Chapter 17: New Ideas and New Plans <br />
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Jake and Karen walked into Collins office a few days later. They had a good supply of crystals for the base and their study had proven what Jake had said,...

10-04-2008, 11:12 PM
Chapter 19: Green Eyed Monster <br />
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In his monthly talk with the Beta colony, Collins told them about the new crystals, and the leader, Dr Simons, was furious. They had been given a barren area, with...

13-04-2008, 10:46 AM
Chapter 21: The Time Comes <br />
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They finally made it to the spot that they were assigned to. It had been 10 days since the meeting and they were setting there, figuring out the time they had left....

03-05-2008, 01:02 PM
Chapter 23: Cabin Fever <br />
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It had been a week since the old ship came screaming in, the base was all amazed as the stories were told and retold. The radiation burns on the hull said the tale. They...

03-05-2008, 01:04 PM
Chapter 25: A Tense Reunion <br />
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Jim knew his ship well, and when he got tired he turned on the autopilot and went to sleep. They rationed their water and food and Jim even shot a small eel once to...

18-05-2008, 01:57 PM
What a disappointment....there isn't more to read:mrgreen:
Write me the rest of the story NOW!! and i don't care if your fingers are bleeding.

You certainly have the talent and the stories premises are good.

Your grammar is fine, if a bit simplistic (don't worry that will improve with practice) and your spelling is fine (praise the mighty spell-checker) but quite a few errors still managed to slip though (threw instead of through, past instead of passed, left instead of let, etc.) watch out for those annoying homonyms.

I whole heartedly approve.

And if you want some criticism:

they constantly need water and cannot get it themselves?? how is water purified? where does it come from?

friends are mentioned, do they have names? do we ever meet them?

rockets DO in fact, work under water

radar wouldn't be used underwater: too little range, too little resolution (i can explain why if you like) and these problems are VERY unlikely to be fixed, even with better technology. Sonar would be used, or something new.

the shockwaves from an underwater explosion travel HUGE distances (more than 2x the radius of the same explosion in air - which is more than 8x the volume)

the radiation would travel with the currents, leaving the initial blast area "clean" very quickly (talking normal nukes here - unless the red crystal was also used??)

p.s. by underwater i mean in a liquid, i'm talking from a fluid-dynamics perspective.

looking forward to more

18-05-2008, 04:55 PM
well ty, to answer a little..I used radar just for easy reference, and I didnt look up the radiation coverage and what is was like under fluid, in other words, I appreciate the good words, but I write in easy to understand terms for everyone, and precise details arent as important, for instance, why does Star Trek never explain in detail their warp drive when they use it, or why do we asume that animals are all meat eaters. I like the criticism just like I like the good words, but I'm not going to be upset about the little things, I write for the average joe to enjoy, not really for a fluid dymanic major..hope you understand, and I will write more of the story soon, was on other projects, ty, kevin.

18-05-2008, 05:08 PM
exactly the right attitude: i cannot understand ppl who get upset over criticism

criticism is merely someone else's opinion and as all such things go, your own has higher value merely because its your own.

Understanding your objectives, i won't comment on any technical flaws anymore.

Eagerly awaiting the continuation.

In case you are interested (won't really help with this story) there is a new design for submarines, basically it is made so light it will always float (even fully loaded) and has "upside-down wings" and "flies" through the water (and just like air "pushes" planes up, the water "pushes" the subs down) leads to very fast subs and has the benefit of "falling" to the surface if its engines fail.

I could answer the two questions you asked...but i won't, if you are happy with the story like it is, i'm not gonna nit-pick.

I mean, i want to read the rest of it in any case - so it doesn't REALLY need modification, even in my eyes.

18-05-2008, 06:15 PM
Ty, and I've seen the reports on the new sub, it has neutral boyancy so even if it stops running it pops to the surface, the perfect safety device, well anyways, on with the show...had a look and added a little, (keep saying good things would like to get something published someday..lol)

18-05-2008, 06:15 PM
Chapter 27: New Plans all Around <br />
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Simons had a celebration about the first big ship coming in with a full load of food. He ordered them all into the kitchen and they had a small party just like...

19-05-2008, 12:49 PM
please be informed: this is a story in progress, it really has no ending, and might become a series, but this one was always suposed to be the first generation on a new world.

19-05-2008, 02:02 PM

Maybe it's good this way: i always feel like a piece of my heart is ripped out at the end of a truly good series.

19-05-2008, 03:21 PM
Hiya Peeps, :wave:

Also be aware that any spelling &/or grammar errors will be fixed (&/Or added to :p) in the final version... ;)

As KRM has said here & elsewhere: This & other stories are still a WIP {Work In Progress}, so naturally errors are bound to occur...
As his chief Proofreader, I ask that you be patient with our resident mad genius while he churns out these fantastic works of literature for us to devour... :p;):rolleyes::lol::grin:

Cheers & Thranx

20-05-2008, 10:44 AM
devour, !!NO!!, leave me some:cry:

;)(i know)

/me sits, raises his paw, cocks his head slightly, ...and whines pitiously:grin:

pant, pant :rolleyes:(i know you cant resist this)