CHAPTER ONE: PLANET FALL
The captain, he groaned aloud, pain draining strength from his body every minute. His many attempts to free himself from his pinned position, beneath the mass in material debris weight of the collapsed starship hull of iron, and of steel futile.
The planet's center of constant gravitational pull and the actual gross weight; of the star ship hull's debris, they were now; by a- new raised incident of hazard, working equally against the man as he struggled to be free.....
Welcomed now, to the wounded explorer; the sounds- of heavy metallic synchronized timed foot steps systematically marching across the remnants of the star ship’s bridge deck.
The starship’s on board Mandatory Assistant Robotic Kindred (M.A.R.K), activated on impact.
....... M.A.R.K zero, zero, seven- one zero; enabled……. Star Ship... A.R.G.O.S.... Advanced Reconnaissance..... Galactic Operations Surveyor.....
Current status: downed by crashing to planet's remote surface.....
Planetary identification: unknown, by remote system- update; of current star charted origins…..
Remote signal buoy- launched….. Captain, and crew in distress…..
Gripping the collapsed walls of the downed bulkhead tight with its ten robotic digits, M.A.R.K 00710 automatically scanned the integrity of the metal. Holographic displays relate to the robot’s Sensory servers, high chance of further collapse. Lifting, not an option, the robotic unit; unlocked its right hand extension, and replaced the limb presented for grabbing and for lifting; with a- cutting torch extension.
The captain, closed his eyes- reflexively, as the robot: M.A.R.K- 00710 began to cut slowly through the downed metal bulkhead. The piece of metal from the collapsed, hull large enough to pull the captain to instance safety and yet small enough to maintain some sense of stability; of the stationary collapse.
“.….... Thank you, Mark 00710….... The crew 00710? What are their readings of current status?”
Crew compliment: Lieutenant Sarah Sampson: Missing In Action.....
Sergeant Castor Marx: Missing In action.....
Private Aaron Isthmus: deceased.....
Geologist Athena Ares: Wounded- unconscious.....
Botanist Hera Prometheus: Critical, life signs- fading.
Anthropologist Artemis Hyperion: Missing In Action…
“What of- Z.E.U.S' status, M.A.R.K 00710? Does- Z.E.U.S, still- function?”
Zeta Evolution Up-link Server... Status: nonfunctional at present….. Permission, to begin salvage operations; Captain Ulysses?
“Affirmative M.A.R.K 00710….. Prioritize salvage operations- on medical and survival protocols…..”
By your command, Captain Ulysses…..
Electronic lifts whined and completely stalled, as the hatch was slowly accessed, on a renewed attempt at opening.
Sergeant Castor Marx cursed aloud.
“Shit! Damn hatch is stuck!”
“Ease down sergeant! There must be something, on board the- shuttle that we can use….. Stow the attitude, and help me right now; to gather some gear…..”
“.…. Any idea where we are?”
“.…. No- ma’am….. At last registered point of star recognition, we had been in the general vicinity of Messier 81…..”
“.…. Ursa Major….. Bode’s Galaxy….. That means, that we are by chart location, about twelve million light years away from our real destination…..”
“Yes- ma’am….. I wish we had, a robotic server aid on- board the shuttle, ma’am…..”
“As do I sergeant…..”
“.…. Hold up, I found something that could be useful…..”
Sergeant Castor Marx, lifted fast a discovered- locked tool and emergency provision survival kit, that had been buried beneath piled debris, and other pieces of the collapsed shuttle's hull.
“Good job sergeant…..”
Lieutenant Sarah Sampson, immediately- tossed the sergeant; her identification card- key.
“Do what you can, to get the hatch open….... I need to check in, and see; if we have- an operational system, to launch a signal buoy transmitter…..”
Castor Marx, he never really wanted to be any part of this new- age's exploratory expedition. In fact, if it were not for his father and for his grandfather he would not ever have been part of the space program at all.
The man, he was in his early twenties; and he never once liked- the thoughts of being out within the vastness of that which is to be heralded as being- the unknown space; while his bride to be, and his two children; remained at home waiting for his return.
Alas, his father, and most especially; his fast aging grandfather, they- continually proved themselves; to be quite the persuasive duo.
You need work to provide for your family! The two would aging adults would continue to weigh on him. Following that up with their standard we have been living under many successful, past generations of descendants; that have risen to the challenges of daily exploration speeches.
Sarah Sampson now, she was; as the exact opposite.
She had always wanted to be an integral part, of the instating of the renewed space exploration program.
As it had been- so difficult, for so many woman; on so many of- their past efforts her challenges, they had been mostly difficult; but her successes, they were of many a great reward.
In only three years time, Sarah had quickly proven herself to be a reliable study, and a talent worthy of earned rank in privilege of service honors.
This, it had made her father- mostly happy. The two parents of her lineage, they were currently going through legal separation procedures. Her mother, it would seem; well she could not care less.
“Eureka!” Sergeant Marx, shouted- aloud. Lieutenant Samson- shot the sergeant, an automatic reactive; eye scanning glare, as she was fast interrupted from her important electrical workings on the communications terminal.
“Beg pardon, Lieutenant….. The hatch is open…..”
“Forget it! Carry on….. Precede with caution….. Do not travel- more than about six or seven meters from the vessel…..”
“Understood, ma’am! Twenty feet, as protocol indicates…..”
Lieutenant Sarah Sampson, ducked down low; lying upon her- back. She had now only, to fix- a few connections; to be capable in the necessary launch of a distress buoy.
Sarah Samson, lurched upward- once again suddenly; in reflex of the sergeant's second unexpected interruption.
The woman cracking her forehead hard, on the underneath; of- the communication's terminals outer casing.
“Damn it..... As if I do not already have enough fracking head-aches.” Lieutenant Sampson grumbled aloud.
Sergeant Castor Marx grimaced, as he heard tell tale speaking of her disgruntlement. Her unwanted impact of noggin to steel; and the following griping from his superior officer.
“Sorry ma’am! You need to see this!”
Dropping her two tools from her grips in a drawn silence Sarah Sampson slid out from beneath the terminal.
“This better be good sergeant…..”
“.…. Yes- ma’am….”
Sergeant Castor Marx, immediately handed Lieutenant Sarah- Sampson; his- superior officer, his procured pair of long vision seeing binoculars; and led her outside the shuttle.
Lieutenant Sarah Sampson now paused, on sight of high- risen sentient constructed structures in the distance.
“Civilization?” Sarah Sampson, questioned aloud.
“It could be ma’am...... The towers, they appear to be actually- operating…..”
Looking through the eye glasses- of the binoculars, Sarah could now see; what her subordinate hadcaught glimpses of.
One of the planet's built structures, a tower of sizable height, it- was producing some kind of electrical energy, that was being by an automated repetition; continually carried upward, unto the- planet’s atmosphere.
“Good job sergeant. That looks to me like the working systems from an atmosphere initiator tower…..
It looks to me like it is in an automatically programmed timed process of energizing the atmosphere…..”
“Yes- ma’am….. Thank you ma’am!”
“Come on back to the shuttle.….. I could use a little help, on the repairing of the communications terminal…..”
“Yes- ma’am, you can count on me- ma’am!”