We’re going down fast, it’s a miracle we all fit into this escape pod, it was designed for three people, not five. The other escape pod is… occupied. We managed to trap it in there before it killed anyone else. John… he was a good man, he sacrificed himself for the rest of us because nobody else would. It’s pretty quiet in the metal shell crammed with five people who just survived a catastrophic failure of their space ship, twenty light years from the rest of humanity. Well it feels quiet, I guess this is the first few seconds we have to mourn John and re-evaluate our morality.
In all reality, I’m sure my ears are about to explode, we’re hurtling towards what we now know to be an extremely hostile planet at about seventeen thousand miles per hour. This originally cold metal shell of an escape pod has turned into a searing ball of nearly molten metal plummeting towards Planet X. I can feel my hands burning as I grip onto the sides, I can see Viola’s nose is bleeding, Vickrum has a nasty gash on his arm, Shani and Kane seem to be doing better, maybe even good, if you’d call a few lacerations and second degree burns good. Virckrum’s wound… it did that, whatever it was. Viola was adamant that she sends back a sample of what we found before we set SSDARWIN down on Planet X, Shani tried to stop her but apparently E.A.R.T.H. have more jurisdiction than we were told about on this mission. Shani knew we shouldn’t interfere with it, it seemed docile sure, but it was alien. We’ve all seen those movies, alien life is discovered, we’re not alone, scientific breakthrough and all. Next thing you know people have been careless, the life form is violently hostile, and everyone dies. That’s pretty much what happened, just only one of us died, and the rest of us are about to impact the planet that life form was from.
That thing, it went from small organic life form to a ten-foot murderous monstrosity in seconds. Vickrum saved Viola’s life, pushing her out the way like that but at what cost, that wound looks infected already, but not any kind of infected I’ve seen in my twenty years as a medical doctor, and its spreading too fast. Before we knew it, the thing was in the ventilation system and took out our communications. It’s almost as though it was playing dead before, an extremely intelligent life form, a silent predator, and we were its prey.
It felt like a lifetime, our speedy decent to certain death. Looking around everyone is still silent, Vickrum looks like he’s about to pass out. Viola seems relatively calm considering what is happening, maybe she’s just in shock, maybe she’s worrying about Vickrum. He saved her and it may have cost him his life. I never trusted Viola, or Kane. Three years into development and with a change in president E.A.R.T.H. suddenly chucks these guys on the mission. The rest of us had been hand-picked, tested over two years and thoroughly vetted for this mission. This was the mission to end all missions per say, we were looking for a new Earth.
Earth had been devastated by war but mainly climate change. Natural disasters on a global scale, continent wide famine, it was truly the apocalypse, and it was all our own doing. Not long after the remaining countries pulled themselves together after the first global disaster, their governments put aside their differences and formed E.A.R.T.H., which stands for Extraordinary Action Reach To save Humanity. E.A.R.T.H. put all of its funding into our mission, given the scientific analysts projection of one century left on Earth before it becomes truly uninhabitable. That’s not a lot of time, and the technological advancements E.A.R.T.H. managed to make in a few decades was outstanding. Another five years later, our mission leaves to Planet X, to survey the life on there and see if that planet can save humanity from extinction.
Anyway, everything was going to plan until that third year into the development of our mission. The president of E.A.R.T.H. died, prematurely, no foul play involved (they say…). Then he took over. To this day I don’t understand how someone with his political views before the apocalypse could come into power of E.A.R.T.H. That’s when Viola and Kane joined the mission. I never quite trusted the new president, so I’ve never quite trusted them. They’d always have their secret meetings. They think I hadn’t noticed but I’m the captain, it’s my job to know what everyone is doing. They’re up to something, or at least they were up to something, until everything went wrong.
Faster and faster, hotter and hotter. I really hope we hit water, we know this planet has water at least. Vickrum is out now, I’m worried he might already be dead. That wound is festering, he’s out already so… yeah. I’m going to press it against the side, that should at least cauterize it. Not sure if a third-degree burn would be easier to treat than this alien infection now. His arm sizzles like bacon as I press it against the side of the escape pod. “Sorry Vick” I cursed under me breath. Nobody heard me, you can’t hear anything, pretty sure all of our eardrums have long blown.
Bacon, what I’d do to get some bacon. Space food is as crap as the movies make it out to be. Sizzling bacon on a contained spaceship filled with jet fuel and oxygen wouldn’t be the smartest of moves. But god, do I miss bacon.
Vickrum is dealt with, kind of, nobody else seems to be in urgent need of medical attention. Viola’s nose is broken, Shani and Kane just have burns and lacerations. Their injuries can wait til we land. Speaking of landing, we’re entering Planet X’s atmosphere at about seventeen thousand miles per hour, if the chutes don’t work we’re all dead anyway. With that thought the escape pod slams into an imaginary wall, the safety harness digs deep into my abdomen, I feel a few ribs break. I can tell the others have felt the same with the shock on their faces. The chutes must have worked. That being said, we’re still going to hit the planet at a dangerous speed. At least our chances of survival are a little better.
We must have impacted the ground, or sea, or whatever is on this planet, because everything went black.
Read Chapter 2: Landing here.