Captain Redding and the Journey of Eagle Seven

“Captain, there’s something approaching.”

Those words hit Captain Redding in like a sack of potatoes to the back.  A situation she had encountered previously and does not recommend at all.  Decades in space, flying toward a distant rock that would one day be home, and nothing had ever happened.  Redding was sure she once saw an asteroid shaped like a Bugles corn chip, but could not prove it.

Now, “something” was approaching.  Not a rock, not a comet, not a weird clump of hydrogen.  Something meant there was no immediate explanation.

“Let’s see it,” the Captain ordered.  She took her seat on the bridge and drones deployed from the ship to get a closer look at the incoming object.   As the camera feeds flickered to life, the command crew gasped in unison.

“Is that…?” started the radar operator, too confused to finish his sentence.

“Audio. Get me audio,” The Captain ordered.  All the sci-fi writers, all the astrophysicists, any one who ever looked up from Earth and wondered if we were alone in the universe was about to proved right; life was present beyond our big blue wet sphere.

“Greetings,” the Captain said, pulse racing as her voice became the first encounter between human and alien, “I am Captain Redding of the human vessel Eagle Seven.  We are peaceful. We are curious. We are excited to meet you.”  She hoped her words would be looked upon kindly by history.

A brief moment of silence followed.  On the screen they saw a creature, humanoid in appearance, but possessing far more arms and much less hair, move around a small spaceship and tap a button on what could only be described as a tablet computer.  The crew of Eagle Seven waited and watched, wondering what the creature was doing.

“Okay, okay.  Y’all hear me?” The creature replied.

“Yes,” Redding answered, fighting back tears, “we hear you and understand you!”

“Good, good. Sure thing. I dig it. Yo, any one on that ship order a pizza? I have a delivery to make and the address makes no sense.  That’ll teach corporate to expand the delivery area to unknown markets, eh? Ha! Listen, you guys have been great, but you want these pizzas or not?” The alien spoke rapidly.

Redding looked around to her crew, unsure of the proper response.

“We thank you, friend, for your hospitality and offering and would welcome trade with you and your civilization,” Redding answered.

The alien responded with an amused chuckle. “Oh, you folks are a-okay.  I’ve gotta go though.  You ever need some pizza though, be sure to come over to Uncle Toi’Diwo Grrrr’s Place.”

The alien ship zipped away and the Eagle Seven team suddenly felt the pain of not blinking for four minutes straight.

“First contact went a little weird,” one crew member said.

“I thought for sure aliens would just be super smart computers,” another muttered.

“How awesome is it that there’s pizza in space?” Another pointed out.

Captain Redding took her seat and ordered the Eagle Seven to continue its voyage to a new home, hoping history would write the story of first contact a little differently.

 

 

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No Go

“That’s the place, huh?” Wel asked.  It was his first visit to Fort Wayland.

“That the place,” Cacee confirmed as the car sped by a site only called “No Go.”

No Go was a six acre patch of earth surrounded by a barbed wire fence.  A regular patrol duty walked the perimeter.  The patrol was present for the expressed purpose of keeping people out of No Go, but every one knew the real reason was to keep whatever it was at the center of No Go in No Go.

Thankfully, that was an incredibly easy job.

“Why don’t they just blow the creature up and be done with it?” Wel pondered.

“That’s a ballot issue every single year.  The cult that brought it here from wherever it was now has it classified as an endangered species.  They did an environmental study and everything.  Thank goodness those laws exists, don’t get me wrong, but for the reals.  Protecting an Kaiju beast from another dimension is so far from the intent.  So issue never actually gets to be voted on.” Cacee said, unable to hide his annoyance with the annual tradition.

“It still can’t move?” Wel had read that somewhere.  He claimed to have read it in a newspaper, but no one believed him.

“Still trapped in our oxygen rich air like it’s a grape in those weird jello molds full of fruit,” Cacee answered.

“Those poor cultists must have been so upset.” Wel kept his gaze on No Go.

“Yes and no.  Certainly had to be vindicating to be right.  The end goal was the end of the world though.  Now they spend their days in court rooms swimming in litigation.  Which is about the worst end of the world possible.” Cacee said.

 

 

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The Late Shift

“I am of the night. I am the night,” Dallin said to his reflection.

“Dallin, get out of the bathroom!” a friend shouted from the other side of the door.

Dallin huffed and lowered his head.  “I’ll just be a minute,” he called out.  With one last look in the mirror, one final affirmation, he was ready. Continue reading

Mission Failure

Alone.

The voyage was to be one of teamwork, companionship.  For years her team trained to take humanity to new worlds.

Being alone was never even a contingency plan.

She ran to the spaceship’s command module.  Her leg aching in pain from the most recent encounter with…whatever they had met our in the black.  She could hear it still; dozens of legs tapping against the floor of the craft.

Her crew mates fell long ago.  She was the last hope to message earth; stop the mission.

Alone she saw a dozen legs in her path.

No message would be sent.

You’ve Earned a Badge

“You’ve earned a badge!” the robot’s voice chirps from inside a just stopped alarm clock.  “That’s five days in a row without hitting snooze.  Say ‘sure’ to share the accomplishment with your social feeds!”

“Sure,” says the ever so groggy Embry, prying covers off of himself and stepping to what he hopes is a pile of clean laundry.  Work started in a mere hour.  He had to move.

“You’ve earned a badge!” the robot’s voice called from his smart-watch, “you’ve shared your last five badge accomplishments! Sharing your accomplishments is good!  Say, ‘sure’ to share the news with your friends.” Continue reading

Gravity

When the planet dried up, we took to the stars.  Ships made way for the edge of the solar system and kept going.  Humanity spilled through the Milky Way in search of a home, but found the ships more home like than any rocky orb could accomplish.

Traditions long held kept strong.  Space faring humans told stories, played games, taught our children ambition and the golden rule, and we entertained one another.  My role, aboard the Fleet Ship Hoffnung, is to carry on the grand tradition of entertainment.  I am a juggler.  A simple feat, older than civilization itself, but an important one.

I perform and people smile.  Child and adult alike; amused and bemused by a little coordinated movement and a flick of the wrist.  Of course, lighting things on fire and throwing them in the air helps a bit too.

One thing the jugglers of old did not have to contend with, but I face down nearly every day, are pilots who have access to the on/off switch for the artificial gravity.

It Wasn’t There Before

Father and son stared up an early evening moon.  The moment, so universal, was not lost on the father.  He knelt beside the young one and started what had been done countless times since the dawn of humanity. They talked about night and day and the craters they could spot from so far away.  The moment was used to teach the young one to be curious, to question; to learn.

Countless times the discussion had occurred the world over.

“What’s that?” the child asked.

A unknown light beside the moon grew larger, brighter.

In that moment the father taught fear.