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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2268474
Ret. Captain Ben Rodgers is lost in space. Will he ever make it home?
Through the Valley of the Cosmos



         Ret. Captain Benjamin Rodgers sat calmly in the cockpit of Neos Icarus, a repurposed SR-42 short range shuttle which housed the secret FTL perpulsion system built by Caliban Inc.. Sighing, he looked at a photograph of beautiful redheaded woman with hazel eyes a warm and bright smile. His chiseled features softened and his dark blue eyes began to gloss over as he grinned.
         "Almost home Mel, I'm almost home" he whispered to himself.
         His reverie was interupted by the beeping if his communications unit alerting him to an incoming message. Looking over he saw the indicator light wasn't the green of a pre-recorded message but the blue of a real time communication. Blinking away any sign of tears he reached over to flip the comm. toggle, clearing his throat beforehand. He opened his mouth in a wide grin expecting to deliver some sarcastic one-liner but was cut short.
         "Captain Rodgers it's Doctor Adams, there is some one here who would like to speak with you, says she knows you." He grunted.
         Normally the doctor was more jovial but he sounded more serious than ever before causing Captain Rodgers' grin to fade. The Captain knew that the only time his friend and mentor Dr. Jose Adams was this serious was when the military was involved. 'What the hell is going on?'
         "Yes doctor, what can I do for you, officer...?" He asked in a matching serious tone, he knew at least one other officer was listening.
         The female voice that answered in place of Dr. Adams was stern, crisp, and all to familiar. It was a reminder of the past causing his smile to immediately fade. He knew who it belonged to and who it was on the other end of the line and what this meant for Project New Horizons. Calmly and without haste he began the shuttle's pre-launch sequence, his mood becoming the semblance of stone.
         "Captain Benjamin Rodgers, this is Major Amanda Fairmont of the United Territories Armed Forces, by orders of The Council I've been order to bring Project New Horizons to halt and to escort all of it's senior members planet side for questioning. Any act of refusal to cooperate, Captain, will be seen as an act of treason and will be executed on site. I don't wish for this to go..that..direction.....Captain Rodgers? What's going on out there? Indicators show your vessel is in pre-launch sequence, I advise that you suspend it at once. That's an order Captain."
         He had tuned Major Fairmont's voice out and was swiftly checking and triple checking everything on the pre-launch checklist pausing only to look at the pilot screen, it read one hundred percent in green. The high pitched hum of the prepulsion unit became a slow pulsating hum causing everything to vibrate. Captain Rodgers smirked and eyes became cold as steel.
         "Captain Rodgers by decree of The Council I order you to cease all launch functions this instance. Captain, are you there?" The Major's serious tone was begining to shake and there was a brief pause. When Major Fairmont's spoke again her tone had softened.
         "Ben, don't this, please. She wouldn't have wanted this, you know that.. don't you?"
         "No Amanda, what she wanted was the for us to leave earth, for humanity to become greater. She knew that the only way mankind was going to become better was to leave the earth . We're killing the planet, poisoning her, and the only way to eleviate that is with our departure. Space travel is our only hope and Project New Horizons is the path that will lead us away from here. The world is watching Major. Hey Doc it's been fun and all, but it's time I went into the valley of cosmos, adios mi hermano and until we meet again." He cut off the feed and took a deep breath.
         As he let out the breath he reached over to the control panel and pushed the final launch button, nothing happened. Confused he pushed the button again, and again that's when he noticed the silence, and the stars. The stars had become streamers of slow moving light and the various sounds took on a muffled quality creating a "slo-motion" effect, yet he moved without constraint. Baffled by the effect he wasn't prepared for what happened next. Everything sped up at once creating a enormous surge in g-force that forced him into his seat painfully. He had no time to react as he blacked out from the pressure.
          Iridescent flashes of silver fractals were racing by at incredible speeds leaving behind fuzzy metallic blue trails. They rotated, twisted, and collided forming a sort of non linear tunnel. Simultaneously a high pitched ringing sound and the roar of rushing water mixed with the crackle of electricity filled all auditory perception. While the sensation of tumbling end over end confused the equilibrium and tactile senses, 'Am I dead?'
         Golden red hair in the sun light, her wide smile and matching dimples. Hazel eyes, soft touches and whispers of the future together. White sheets and a matching sundress, a lazy summer hammock over green grass at the coast. Her diagnosis of an inoperable tumor and a short time to live, hospital gowns and green jello...Melissa. Sterilized walls of a clean room, lab coats, high hopes and lots of coffee. Four years later they were all shaking hands and giving pats on the back, job well done, success. A rocket ride to the newly built station, Dawn's Light, where Icarus awaits, our only hope of salvation...Melissa. A thundering boom and a tearing sound shattered reality and were followed by silence.
         The sudden harsh sound of the emergency alarms broke the silence. He was jolted back to consciousness with a sudden and sharp intake of air and immediately noticed that the shuttle was tumbling end over end. He frantically looked around for the source of the noise shaking his head. His training took over as he began to stop the alarms and attempt to reboot the prepulsion system. As the shuttle tumbled he noticed that he had gotten closer to the sun than was expected. 'That wasn't supposed to happen' he thought dryly.
         A few moments later he was able to bring the auxiliary thrusters back online. He made a few more adjustments braught the shuttle's tumbling to a halt and leveled it out. Using the emergency comm. unit he sent out a call for help.
         "Mayday! mayday! This is Captain Ben Rodgers of the Caliban Corporation, I am in need of emergency assistance a.s.a.p, I repeat..." if I could get at least get one of the Independents to respond I may get out of this. It was at that moment he looked up and froze stiff. The sun he had seen was a sun, just not Sol the Terrain sun, and that planet orbiting was definitely not earth.

To be continued...

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