Wayward Space

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Captain Illiterate, Jul 2, 2016.

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  1. "We're green, Eva. I'm going to make my way back up," Aaron said over comms. The final diagnostics check had been completed and a small green check appeared on the upper rightmost screen of the terminal, indicating all assets were accounted for and systems were primed for departure. In low gravity he bounded up the ladder leading to a catwalk overlooking the bay. Roughly the size of a football field the cargo hold was filled with equipment for the Martian colony, but there were seven other holds packed just as tightly with a dizzying assortment of other goods. From luxury items to foods which couldn't yet be grown on the red planet. They were hauling it all.

    With the doors whizzing shut behind him, he stepped into the hallway where the sleek white flooring stretched nearly from one end of the ship to another. Normally projections of the bay interiors lined the halls since windows were a structural weakness. Yet, without windows the place would feel madly claustrophobic. The solution came in the form of wall mounted projections displaying camera feed and along the shell of the ship 'windows' projected the empty space beyond. The blackness wasn't quiet comforting but it did make the place feel less confined, and on the humorous side the feed could be altered. It was somewhat of an ongoing gag to switch the window to tropical resorts, and so as Aaron made his way to the lift he was greeted on either side of the hall by the gentle waves of Malibu.

    "Beautiful day in California," he said again over comms as he entered the lift. Levels 2 and 3 of the ship were dedicated to hauling cargo, with the bridge, mess hall, labs, personal quarters and even a lounge with an exercise room on level 1. The Nomad was built back when travel to and from Mars was in its infancy so it was designed with long voyages and comfort in mind. Despite her age she was still the largest freighter still operating in space, but it felt kind of surreal now with such a small crew. The ship's computers could pretty much handle everything and if all went well the total flight time would hardly be a day. Essentially he and Eva were brought on to make sure things ran smoothly. They were both well informed of the risk involved but damn the pay was good. Be a human test trial for an early retirement? Sure, why not. Of course there were other passengers onboard and if things didn't go well Aaron imagined those were lawsuits waiting to happen. He wondered how much money it cost to overlook that possibility. The lift stopped and the doors slid open, revealing the bridge where Eva could direct the ship. The other passengers were elsewhere, not permitted on the bridge of course.

    #1 Captain Illiterate, Jul 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
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  2. Tor finished rinsing the shampoo out of her hair and took a minuet to just enjoy the sensation of warm water raining down over her face. This was probably going to be the last decent shower she would have for a while and she was damned well going to enjoy it. As the water splashed around her feet her mind spun back over the previous hectic couple of months. Seven weeks ago she had just finished a field exercise when she had been summoned to headquarters and told that she was to accompany the company's next shipment to mars aboard the U.E.N Nomad. Since then her life had been non stop action. There had been the last minuet flight into Inverness to say goodbye to her family and have a last night out with her friends from the regiment. Then it had been strait back out to Calgary for a barrage of medicals, mission briefings, meetings with lawyers and press conferences, on top of which she'd had to pack up all her possessions into storage. Her final week on Earth had been spent accompanying the cargo to the launch site for the voyage. And now here she was, the cargo was stowed and she had nothing to do but relax until they reached Mars.

    With a sigh she realized that actually she still had to make an entry in her mission log. Aquarius Explorations were worse than the army had been for micromanaging her life, but then again they were sending her to freaking Mars so she couldn't complain to much. Turning off the stream of water she spent a moment trying to squeeze her hair dry before giving up and shaking her head back and forth as hard as she could to dislodge as much water as possible. After pulling on her jeans and T-shirt she ambled towards the mess hall diverting only to dive into her quarters to put her boots on, find her tablet computer and grab a pair of headphones. She peered into every open doorway she passed but saw no sign of the other people she had glimpsed moving about the ship when she first boarded. This didn't trouble her, it was a big ship and they probably all had things to do. Besides it was an unwritten rule that people tended to naturally gravitate to wherever food was served, which was precisely why she was heading towards the mess now.

    When Tor finally found the mess she sat down at a table roughly in the middle of the room, kicked her feet up on a second chair and opened up the log recorder program. After a moments hesitation to remember the formal way AE had asked for the reports to be started Tor pressed the record button and started the log.

    "Victoria Mcleod, Aquarius Explorations employee ID number: 393667, mission report Log 2. All AE cargo has been successfully loaded aboard the U.E.N Nomad and after personal inspection I can confirm that all items have remained sealed. I am currently awaiting the commencement of the voyage and will send my next report upon disembarking on Mars, end of report."

    Job done, she made her self a mug of tea before plugging in her headphones and setting her music to play. Putting her feet back up on a chair, Tor leaned back sipped her tea, and contemplated what life on Mars might have in store for her.
    #2 Applo, Jul 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
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  3. Gideon Thorne sighed and stretched his long arms up over his head, feeling the muscles tremble slightly as he yawned.

    He was sitting in the sparsely-furnished lab located on the first level of the massive freighter and he was, frankly, underwhelmed. Of course, he assumed, this particular lab had already seen its glory days; it wasn't poorly designed, but most of the equipment had been packed away as the ship was now to serve as a transport and little more. There was hardly a need for a lab on such a vessel. Nevertheless, he had wandered down to the large, brightly-lit rooms once they had taken off, hoping to find some sense of familiarity there. He had, like everyone else, been assigned living quarters should he want to change or nap on the journey, but it was such a short travel time he hardly saw the point of it. The most attention he'd given to the compact room had been to deposit his suitcases on the neat bed before heading down to one of the cargo holds to inspect the equipment that had been loaded for him. Relieved to find that everything had been loaded properly and with apparent care, the scientist had moved off to take in the rest of the vessel, finally settling in the lab.

    Dropping his arms back down to his sides, Gideon stared around the room once more. Everything was bright-- a picture of sterility-- white walls and stainless steel workstations. One end of (what he presumed was) the main lab had a set of stainless steel lockers that appeared to be for personal use. The rest of the expansive room was lined with cabinets and tables, all neatly secured. He was sitting at one of the steel desks, leaning lightly back in the gray ergonomic swivel chair, a laboratory staple. There was a console at the desk, but the computer was turned off at the moment and he had no real interest in it. If he wanted to check in on anything, he had his tablet with him.

    He yawned once more and checked the time in the upper corner of the device. If they were still on schedule, they should be heading through the Gate soon.

    All the better, Gideon thought, half-stifling another yawn. He hadn't slept well last night-- and that was if he could really call the hour of tossing an turning "sleep" at all. He wasn't a sound sleeper and had always been what people called "high strung" when it came to events like this. Part of him was terribly excited; the opportunities this would provide were unprecedented! No more theorizing without a way to test-- no-- he would finally, finally be on Mars and working with the data he had only ever received remotely! He had spent half of his restless night going over everything he would now be able to accomplish, the progress he should be able to make now was no longer restricted by the millions of miles between himself and his object of study.

    …but that same distance has also served to keep him awake with worry. This was the first vessel to take living beings through a Baron Gate and no one knew for sure how it was going to play out.

    Somewhere in the back of his mind, Gideon knew he was being ridiculous. He trusted technology; he had read every report he could get his hands on of unmanned ships making safe passage through the Gates and he knew that there was over a ninety-eight percent rate of success. The few times something had gone awry were during the first uses of the Gate, and no anomalies or errors had occurred recently. It was old news and everything was going to be just fine.

    With some effort, he steered his mind back toward thoughts of his research, idly sliding his fingers through his dark hair.

    This was going to be the opportunity of a lifetime.
    #3 DinoFeather, Jul 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  4. Triple checking everything was Eva Yamashita's specialty. While her qualifications were excellent, it's her standard for quality that got her this far. She read and reviewed the logistics report on the screen closest to her, never missing a line item. She hardly looked up when she heard the operator holler over the comms. "We're green, Eva. I'm going to make my way back up."

    She sighed in satisfaction. It always pleased her to see someone else meet her absurdly high expectations, so she was sure that with Aaron, they're in good hands. She activated a few controls and replied, "Relax in the beach, sir." She was the one who regulated the live feed for the "window displays" that were practically just aesthetics. Still, it was part of the ship's design and she would maximize its potentials.

    "Beautiful day in California," she heard Aaron's voice and she replied with a soft hum of agreement. She was now looking over the surveillance feed, making sure nothing was out of place. Finally, she turned to the navigation system to check their course. She noted that they were off calculation a little bit so she did quick corrections as Aaron finally entered. "Ready?"

    "Yes, now we are." She agreed, seating herself and doing a final run through of everything she triple-checked. "Awaiting further directions."
    #4 Banana-senpai, Jul 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
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  5. (Please let me know if the color chosen for her dialog is too bright or hard on the eyes!)

    Beatrice sat on the edge of her bed, her body leaned forward and her hands resting in her lap. Her fingers made knots unto themselves with the occasional taps of fingernails meeting. To say that she was nervous would be a drastic understatement. Like her fingers, her stomach was in knots. "Please, please, please," the woman muttered under her breath, hoping that the words reached some omnipresent ear and granted her peace. Her belief system was lacking, but that didn't mean that she could try to appeal to something in her time of need.

    With a breath of attempted relief, Beatrice untangled her fingers and pushed herself up from the bed, resigning herself to the powers that may or may not be. She had told herself many times that she would be completely safe. There were many reports about safe passage through the gates with those reports claiming somewhere in the vicinity of a 90-something% success rate. As long as the fact that this voyage was the first attempt of transporting living individuals through the gate was pushed to the back of her mind, she was confident. But that fact never stayed at the back of her mind. Instead it plagued her as if it were a type of mental flu.

    Her stomach growled, hungry despite the urge to vomit. Thin arms wrapped around Beatrice's torso as she decided to make her way to the mess hall. It would do absolutely no good for her or her future patients if she ended up starving to death. She laughed. It was a morbid thought of course, but once the ship successfully made it through the Gate, the trip would be over and she would be on Mars. That wouldn't take more than a few hours at the most and it was virtually impossible for a person to starve in that time. Beatrice rolled her eyes at her own strange attempt at humor and began to think about what she would like to eat.

    An individual was already in the hall when she arrived. The person seemed content, sitting in the middle of the room with headphones and a small cup of what Beatrice assumed was tea. A small smile came to her face then, relieved that she wasn't experiencing this journey alone. She knew that, of course, but actually seeing who she was traveling with was a welcome reminder. The woman nodded toward the other in a brief "hello", in hopes to not disturb whatever was being listened to, and set out toward the bar to fix herself a small cup of tea or anything else that might calm her nerves.
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  6. Now that they were only a few kilometers from Baron 1 Aaron could get a firsthand view of the gate. Courtesy of Eva, all screens throughout the vessel were projecting the forward view so no one through the ship would miss witnessing the main event. The gate itself was a massive ring of metal and plastics with flashing red lights adorning its face. A cluster of small, globular drones detached themselves from the ring and swarmed towards the Nomad. In a mad twister they zipped around, one or two periodically stopping to draw forward for a closer examination. Then after a couple minutes the drones dispersed, returning to Baron 1 satisfied. "U.E.N Nomad you're clear for departure," A voice rang over intercom.

    The lights adorning the baron gate switched blue and slowly began to run clockwise. They accelerated until the individual lights blurred into a continuous blue ring. The center of the gate grew a silky black, blotting out the light of the stars on the other side. The blackness seemed to ripple and wave, then in an instant it gave way to a distant view of Mars and the stars beyond. The screen split to also show Earth as a small blue marble in their rear view. It was a nice touch from Eva. "Alright," Aaron spoke," take us through."

    The ship steadily inched forward, Mars and the greatest achievement of their time growing clearer and more tangible. Thousands of years of human advancement was culminating with them in this moment. Earth and Mars were looking upon one another as closely as they ever had and a small, insignificant group of humans would set foot on both in the same day. It was humbling; Aaron wiped his palms against his leg. The front of the ship entered Baron 1. Mars vanished, the silky blackness returned, and the Nomad was sucked in.

    There was only a second for his brain to register what was happening but the front of the ship stretched out impossibly before him. It was like an approaching wave where everything that passed a certain point simply shot forward, stretching out to eternity. Before he could even react the wave stuck him, and oddly things returned to normal, or rather what at the time seemed normal. He was standing in every place on the ship at once. He said something and heard his own voice, in other places on the ship he heard nothing but waited patiently for words he knew would come, in other places still he was not aware a word had ever been said nor would anything be said at all. He was acutely aware of himself, of all versions of himself existing parallel to one another in this point in time. He could remember countless different lives and it seemed normal, it was the idea of a singular version of himself which became strange. Then there was an audible snap and he became one man again, with the memories of countless lifetimes fading from his mind like a dream which cannot be remembered.

    He was back in the Nomad, on the floor, his head throbbing in agony. In his peripherals he caught sight of the floor and walls behind him rushing forward, returning to normalcy, having themselves been stretched. He cried out and simply lay there, his headache too strong to think of anything other than the pain, but once it began to subside his mind was once again capable of function.

    "Eva, I think something went wrong."
    #6 Captain Illiterate, Jul 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
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  7. Roused from his thoughts of what the labs might be like in the colony, Gideon lifted his eyes to the flat-paneled screen that was mounted in the centre of the far wall. They were approaching the Gate and the screens had just been adjusted to display the breathtaking view. Baron 1 was a thing of wonder, a testament to science and the human spirit, and he, Gideon Thorne, was one of the first people that would be experiencing this groundbreaking technology firsthand. He shivered involuntarily at the thought, feeling both excited and, in an inexplicable way, unworthy of such. Then again, he hadn't worked this hard simply to stand by on Earth and make educated guesses about an alien world.

    Watching in silent wonder as they approached the Gate, Gideon was hardly aware that he'd gotten out of his seat and drifted closer to the screen as the drones circled. Clearance was given, and the Gate activated and opened a view to Mars. Gideon was holding his breath in a sort of self-contained, elated anxiety. At the operator's order the ship began to advance into the inky depths of Baron 1.

    And then it happened.

    Without warning, Gideon felt the ship lurch forward as though it were suddenly malleable, being stretched like putty in a child's hands. He felt off-balance, then as though he too was being stretched, pulled in a million different directions. Images flashed unbidden into his mind-- impossible images of memories he had never made and he couldn't make sense of them. In one instant he saw himself with his parents, both alive and well; in another he saw flashes of lives, homes, dreams-- and again he could make sense of nothing. None of this had happened to him, yet it felt as though he had actually experienced these countless moments. And then, just as quickly as it had begun, it was over.

    There was a sudden jolt and Gideon was vaguely aware of a knotted sensation in his stomach and, for a moment, he feared he was going to be sick. After another moment the feeling subsided as a stinging throb invaded his senses and he became aware of something warm running down one side of his face.

    Slowly, Gideon opened his eyes.

    He was laying on his left side on the floor of the lab, very near to one of the metal desks. With some effort, he pushed himself into a sitting position, adjusted his glasses, and lifted a hand to examine the stinging sensation along his hairline. A thin line of blood was oozing from a small cut. It was superficial, an inch at worst, and he wiped away the trickle of blood with the pad of his thumb. He'd likely clipped the corner of the desk when he'd fallen.

    When he'd fallen? But why had he fallen and what was--...

    Looking around the lab, his eyes flicked up to the screen. Gideon squinted, then frowned.

    Where was Mars? Where were they? And what the hell had just happened?!
    #7 DinoFeather, Jul 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
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  8. The light of the gate came into view and Eva shared it with everyone through the screens. She was a little anxious, but knowing how many times she had reviewed the necessary preparations, she knew it will all be just fine. She opened communication and said "Baron 1, Uniform-echo-november-Nomad, ready for departure."

    [BCOLOR=#000000]"U.E.N Nomad you're clear for departure."[/BCOLOR] Baron 1 replied. Eva spun her chair and authorized the start-up system and the appropriate engines as the blue lights of the gate shone. Her eyes darted to each display, carefully supervising the guages. In the meantime, she activated a different window for the passengers. She activated the correct engines one by one and the ship purred louder.

    "Alright, take us through." Aaron told her.

    "Yes, sir." Eva nodded and accelerated the ship carefully. They spectated as it gradually passed through the gate. Eva's fingers were on a touchpad but her eyes looked up just in time to see the darkness swallow them. She felt her stomach sink. She turned to the stunned operator immediately.


    Eva felt herself say it, but she didn't quite hear her own voice. She felt a strong impact on her arm followed by a dull thud. Suddenly it was as if she was plunged into a pool of ice then was thrown into desert sands. Her insides lurched in protest from the lack of direction she felt she moved as she saw images that she didn't know about but was familiar to, like waves and waves of deja vu. Then everything she felt, saw and heard shuddered to a halt as if she was slapped awake from a year-long dream.

    Eva was still strapped to her chair but her right wrist throbbed. For a moment, she forgot where she was and what she was doing but the pain in her wrist pulled her right back into the situation. Eva pulled her headset off with her left hand and touched her painful wrist. She had dislocated it and she winced from her own touch. A cold trickle of blood slid from her nose as the rest of the control room came into view and she saw Aaron on the floor near the wall, stirring awake with a pained yelp.

    Hurriedly, she unbuckled and made her way to him, stumbling in her haste. Her legs weren't very cooperative yet so she crawled the remaining distance. "Sir." She let him notice her presence and they practically helped each other up. "Eva, I think something went wrong." he said.

    "Yes sir, I'll need to check the navigation systems." She replied as she immediately returned to the control panel chair she was sitting on.
    #8 Banana-senpai, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016

    As she counted the rivet marks on the ceiling, Tor was aware of movement in the corner of her vision. Bringing her eyes back down to the ground, she was just in time to see a small waif of a women nod at her before carrying on over to the hatch where Tor had made her tea. Tor waited till the women turned, round mug in hand, before flicking the headphones out of her ears.

    "Alright there, Hen? You look a little tense"

    “Hmm?” Beatrice was so lost in anxious thought that it took her a moment to register the words. “Oh,” she said with a small laugh, “I’ll be better when we get to Mars.” The woman walked toward the other, circling a thin finger around the top of the mug. “Mind if I sit with you? I’ll drive myself crazy if I’m left alone with my thoughts again.” Her stomach turned and she focused on the smell of her tea.

    “Knock yerself out,” Tor said indicating to one of the empty seats opposite her. “So what brings you on our merry little cruise? No offense, Love, but you don’t look like the typical colonist type.”

    The small woman chuckled and took a small sip of her tea. Her companion was an honest one, it seemed. Any other time, it might have gotten on Beatrice’s nerves but right now she appreciated the bluntness. “I'm going to be Mars new head doctor,” she explained.

    “A doctor aye, well then I hope I don’t see much of you after we land.” As she watched an expression of hurt bewilderment crossed the doctor's face, Tor realized that she might have skipped a stage or two of the conversation. “Oh sorry, Hen,. It’s nothing against you. I'm joining up with a security detail so if I’m seeing you too often I’ll be making a total hash of it and where are my manners?” With a broad smile on her face, Tor swung her legs off the chair and reached an outstretched palm across the table “I’m Victoria, people call me Tor. What should I call you, Doc?”

    Beatrice gave the woman a small smile and took another sip of tea before taking the girl’s hand and shaking it slightly before returning to her tea. “Beatrice,” she said, “you can call me Bea.” Her stomach had slowly begun to settle and she felt her breathing become a little more at ease. For a moment she forgot that she was traveling through space. “Nice to meet you, Tor. You can’t even believe how relieved I am that-” She caught site of the projection on the wall then, the brutal reminder of what was about to happen. Her stomach tensed and she squeezed her eyes closed. “Jesus Christ,” she muttered.

    As Beatrice spoke the projection on the walls had switched from the beautiful beach they had been showing to a dark scene dominated by a spinning ring of red flashing in the centre of the picture. Glancing at the doctor, Tor saw that her eyes were screwed tightly shut. Stretching her arm across the table, she gently squeezed the doctor’s free hand. “Don’t worry about it, count backwards from one hundred, it’ll take your mind of it and as I understand it we’ll be looking at Mars before you get down to fifty.”

    The woman nodded, thankful for the woman’s kindness. She had just reached the number 60 when it felt like the ship lurched. Panicked, Beatrice opened her eyes and immediately wished she hadn’t. Where was she? What was happening? Her life flashed before her eyes, or at least… it looked like her life, but she remembered none of it. Nothing was making sense. She cried out, desperate to hear the voice of her new friend, and yet she heard nothing, not even her own voice. Beatrice was lost.

    And just like that, it was over. Beatrice found herself face down on the table, her mug of tea spilled and drenching her hair. Her stomach threatened her, but she fought it and looked for Tor who was stood beside her staring at one of her hands. “Are you alright?” She asked before looking toward the screen projections. Her face paled and on wobbling legs, Beatrice stood and ran toward the trash, retching once she reached it.

    As Beatrice retched, Tor desperately tried to recall what just happened. Just as they had reached the Baron Gate, it had turned to a shimmering inky darkness and then something had happened. It had felt like her mind had been pulled in every direction at once and then memories had flooded in. While most of these memories were slipping away from her like smoke through fingers, one was still vivid. There had been fire, noise and unending pain and when she had finally looked down her arm had been missing. Now here she was, her arm was fine and she knew that the event had never happened but still it seemed just as true that it had.

    “Where are we?”

    Turning she saw Beatrice leaning over the bin but with her eye glued to the projector at the projection. At the centre of the screen, there was a planet that unless everything Tor knew about Mars was wrong was distinctly not the red planet. “What in the bloody hell happened?"
    #9 Cait, Jul 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
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