10 min to read
I spent some time looking for a picture of a Vessel. It's the third exercise from a creative writing prompts list. Instead of going for a picture, I immediately had an idea about a space vessel in my mind. So it's more of a spacecraft than a vessel, I guess.
Rick Menzou walked through the forest. He had wandered off from the group but that was alright. These days, scouts groups didn’t need to stay in close contact. They could use GPS tags in their suits to find each other. If that would be necessary.
Rick, whom the others sometimes called Mezzou, wasn’t really looking for something. He liked being an adventurer and hoped to one day join the expeditions himself, just like his father. But instead of walking foreign lands and discovering new places to habit humans, Rick was stuck on Powell 5. There was nothing on this planet but trees and rocks. He had books about dinosaurs that once inhabited Earth. They hadn’t found lifeforms like that on this planet. Of course the dinosaurs were long gone as well. In fact, Earth was gone. Nobody called it that anymore. Currently, the first planet to hold human life went by the name of Nadir. Rick wasn’t a fan.
He had come out on this scouts field trip because it was the closest thing to an expedition that he could manage. His mom was okay with it and his dad would probably receive the heads-up when Rick was already back so he’d had a green light. It didn’t even take him thirty minutes to leave the group and wander off. He moved through the forest, where he was now looking at the big muscular trees. Of course the trees didn’t really have muscles - at least not that they found out about yet - but Rick liked to imagine that the branches resembled arms. He wished his arms would one day be as packed as those.
Ten minutes passed and Rick crossed a brook to reach a more rocky side of the forest. The muddy, planted route - if you can really call the lacking of trees and plants a route - he was following turned into a sandy climb with rocks scattered around him. He looked at the rating of his suite and noticed vitals were still okay and the power was going to last for at least another five hours. Why not thread a bit further? For fifteen more minutes. He promised himself he’d return to the group then.
The rocks kept getting bigger and bigger. At some point, Rick thought he was standing next to a house of some sort. But of course that was not true. There were no other living beings on this planet that built houses. Humans were the only intelligent species now and the days of living in rock houses were left behind on old Nadir. He could see three trees in between the rocks and thought it would be a good place to rest a little. Just a quick nap. The group wouldn’t care much about that.
He stopped at the base of a big, nose-shaped rock. He could see the trees better now. There was something underneath them. Something rather big. It looked like a spaceship of some sort but with ridiculously outdated technology. Before stepping closer, he pushed some buttons on his suit. He would now be notified when sound or movement was spotted in the vicinity. Without worries, he walked down to the nose of the vessel and put his hand on it.
It felt cold. It must have been on the ground for ages. There was something written on the side. Lumbaro? He squeezed his left eye shut and saw the outlines of a G between the R and the O. Lumbargo. Rick looked around but there was no sign of anyone. Although it was old, the vessel still looked pretty much intact. He slowly walked around the ship, hoping to spot a door or something.
He couldn’t believe the old piece of technology he was looking at. Windows at the front, really? That’s not how spaceships were built. They had cameras in their front parts which contributed to a realtime 3D image that could be used in the steering room. Rick was genuinely surprised. How could an old spaceship like this one be here? And how come nobody seemed to know about it?
He put his hand on the metal again and kept it there as he went around the ship. A hand-sized hole was near what Rick thought could only be a door. After putting his hand inside, there was a beeping sound and the door woo-shed open. Inside, the technology looked even older.
Rick raised his suit and hit the scan-button. A red laser escaped his chest and back plates and was shot to all sides. It only took the computer in his suit half a minute to retrieve information.
Lumbargo expedition, 2125 Location: route to Andromeda Dates: 1st of May 2125 to 13th of April 2184 Aim: Find an inhabitable planet Author: Captain Roy McCullen Current date: 30th of September, 2160
Today we have found out that we’ve been off track for quite some time now. There’s no doubt about it. Damnit, we should have set the cryogenic systems to wake us up every five years as intended, not every fifteen. It was a foolish thing to even consider and I take it all on me. What caused the ship to change vectors is still uncertain, but we’re trying to get Danny and Bill out of cryogenic sleep. They are our best engineers and we’ll have the highest chance of getting back to the correct vector if we put the whole team to it.
Lumbargo expedition, 2125 Location: route to Andromeda Dates: 1st of May 2125 to 13th of April 2184 Aim: Find an inhabitable planet Author: Captain Roy McCullen Current date: 1st of October, 2160
Bill is awake. He’s a bit dazed and we’re trying to get him up to speed but he’s having trouble staying focused. Okay, I admit we took some shortcuts to get him out of his sleep but nothing that could cause harm or injury to him. We’re still trying to get Danny to awaken, but his cell isn’t responding to the systems. Thank God his vitals are alright or I’d think he was out completely.
Lumbargo expedition, 2125 Location: route to Andromeda Dates: 1st of May 2125 to 13th of April 2184 Aim: Find an inhabitable planet Author: Captain Roy McCullen Current date: 4th of October, 2160
The expedition has been sabotaged. More information later.
Lumbargo expedition, 2125 Location: route to Andromeda Dates: 1st of May 2125 to 13th of April 2184 Aim: Find an inhabitable planet Author: Captain Roy McCullen Current date: 4th of October, 2160 - part 2
We held a meeting at the smart board room to review the current situation and have a look at possible actions and outcomes. After drawing the situation - I must state here that Erin is really good at that and she deserves a promotion based on her way of visualising problems - we wanted to save it in the system. When doing so, the system opened the last document’s location and we saw one named sorry. We saved our scheme and opened the strange document. The board got filled with handwriting. I’m not going to put it in here completely, you can have a look at the pictures if you want. Bottom line is that Danny got paid by Eurasian spies to sabotage the expedition. He then locked himself in his cryogenic cell and killed himself. What I don’t understand is how he could have gotten his cell to open before ours, as I am the last one to go to cryogenic sleep. Always. I make no exceptions on that. Well, Danny was the coding specialist. There must have been some way he did it. The new route vector is proof.
Lumbargo expedition, 2125 Location: route to Andromeda Dates: 1st of May 2125 to 13th of April 2184 Aim: Find an inhabitable planet Author: Captain Roy McCullen Current date: 15th of October, 2160
We have gone over all the options and have done all that we could, but nothing works. Damnit, I really thought we could change the course again. Instead, we are moving towards a planet that hasn’t been on the radar yet. I assume we can land there, but it won’t be easy. I asked the crew what they wanted to do and the answer was unanimous. We’re going back into our cryogenic cells. The mission will end with a crash, and so will we. I, captain Roy McCullen take full responsibility for us not seeing through that despicable spy in the first place, but there is nothing we can do about it now. We are grateful for the opportunities given and are content to have served the expedition. Lumbargo out.
Rick stared at the grey wall after his suit had stopped projecting. Did this spaceship crash? Were the captain and his crew still in their cells? This was the kind of adventure Rick had been dreaming about!
He walked towards a closed door. Next to it, there was another of those hand-sized holes. He put his hand in it to open the door. It worked last time, didn’t it? This time however, it triggered some kind of alarm.
“UNRECOGNIZED PATTERN. UNRECOGNIZED PATTERN. EVACUATION. EVACUATION.”
Red lights started flashing. Rick had no idea what was happening. Was the ship going to self-destruct? If so, he needed to get out of there! He ran to the outer door and started pushing buttons on the side panel. A flash of light blinded him. He felt something build pressure at his back. Something - or someone - pushed him! He fell out of the vessel and heard the door close.
When he looked back up, the engine started spewing a large flame that burnt one of the trees to ashes. Rick looked around but his suit registered no other sound or movement around him. A bright light shone up his face. After a few seconds, Rick realized the outer lights of the ship were on. Because of the engines, the vessel was making enough noise to be heard in the nearby cities. Maybe even across the continent. What the hell was happening?
Rick hurried out of the way as the vessel started shaking tremendously. He did not want to be close to this piece of old tech if it exploded. He ran. He heard and felt an explosion behind him. Suddenly, something hit his head. Before he was able to register what it was, his sight turned black and he fell forward.
When he opened his eyes, he noticed that his suit had a lot of purple flashing lights. Seems they were starting to miss him after all. He touched a button and sent a reply-ping to the group. He looked up at the two trees in front of him. What had happened here? He remembered wanting to nap after walking, and walking past the rocks. But after that, his mind was blank.
He looked around but there was nothing. He sighed and shrugged. Time to go back. Something nagged at him as he walked towards the brook. He decided to take one last look and turned around. There was nothing special about the group of rocks and the two trees sticking out of it. But he had a feeling - more a kind of faded memory - that there were three. He must have dreamt about it or something.
As Rick walked back through the forest, a small light disappeared from the sky above him.