by David Lebron
It is about a crew sent to find habitable land on Venus after Earth is nearly unhabitable.
|The Earth was amazing from space, the ocean and the continents were so massive, so beautiful, at least the parts you could see through the smoke. Cebru City was visible from here. It was the large gray line that went up the west coast of the United States, the "long city". New york was also visible as the large gray mass to the east. The thick black smoke covered most of the Atlantic and Pacific, and the middle of North America was the worst. That's where all the factories are, it's so bad they abandoned Chicago and Detroit was destroyed by the gases before it could be evacuated. It was so bad that I'm now looking at Earth from space heading to Venus in pursuit of a somewhat habitable piece of the planet. Any water. Or empty land. My crew was of six and we were on the ship New Earth, a large ship shaped like a curved triangle and the size of two football fields and had a specialized cooling system to not overheat, and the exterior shielded the heat and toxic gases from damaging the ship. There was a rectangular bridge leading to a spherical section of the ship, where the generator and escape pods were. "Captain, any calculations on our speed and temperature?" Asked Barry, the scientist, the one who will study and get valuable information from the planet, photos, etc. "We're at around 2,000 miles an hour and the exterior temperature is -370°F. Normal temperature. Get ready for tonight, finish that last meal and then the 30 days of suspended animation will have to begin. In about three hours we'll be leaving Earths orbit." Replies Stuart, the captain. "Thirty days of suspended animation? Is that even safe? We're the first ones to be doing this too." James, the surface sampler argues. "Scientists have tested it on humans before, yes it's safe, why would we be doing this if it isn't?" Replies Ron, the technician. "How are you so sure, you know how crazy shit happens in space." James protests. Ron just glares at him. By now the Earth was farther away, you could still make out the features and the space station. We've left orbit, so that means we were now on our own, in empty space. The last meal we had was dehydrated chicken and an ice cream bar, after we were supposed to step into the suspended animation chambers. They were vertical glass tubes with yellow liquid bubbling inside, it didn't look very comfy to me, but it was the only way to survive. We each stepped in, with the mask propped over my head. It was cold, and all I saw was green. I closed my eyes, and everything went black.
I awake to a loud beeping sound and quickly pry my eyes open. I focus through the green translucent fluid at a sight i first don't understand, because i don't believe it. One of the suspended animation chambers is broken, and a body I can't make out is lying in a puddle of the green fluid nearly frozen solid, and there are three other figures around it. I try frantically to get out, and one of the figures sees me, and presses a button outside. The green fluid drains through a grate below me and the glass pops open. I pull the mask off and my blurry vision clears, and I make out Tom, the doctor standing in front of me. I step out, my muscles aching and lean onto the wall for support, coughing. I look down at a body, with Stuart and Ron standing over it. "What happened?" I croaked, my voice dry. "I just got up, and I found him like this", he said pointing to the body. I stumble to the body and see that it's James, he's covered in a layer of white frost, and unmoving. "He's dead." Tom confirmed. "Seems like you were wrong Ron." I conclude. "Shut up, he's the only one dead, he probably killed himself anyway. It was probably a malfunction with the system, he woke up too early and couldn't get out, maybe he didn't put his mask on properly, or maybe the mask wasn't on securely, and he fell through the glass." Explains Ron. "Why do you have so many explanations for his death, I bet you killed him when we were asleep." I reply. "Both of you, Shut up, he's dead now, and I'm positive nobody killed him, we need to trust each other if we're going to be here for a week, and if you want to get back home. That's one less family member, from ours and his. The same could happen to you, and I don't care if you don't like each other, this is just ridiculous. Wake the others, we're in orbit now." Stuart snaps. Tom's still looking over the body, mystified. I walk over to the window and see a tan plant beneath yellow clouds, orange mountains and brown rocks. It was the same distance away as Earth was before we left orbit, though this planet looked more rough, an inhabitable environment. "Why are we trying to fid life on this planet if it's so dead?" I ask. "Our planet is desperate, this is a possibility." Replies Stuart. I couldn't imagine a life on such a wasteland.
We begin to enter the atmosphere at around noon, and an alarm goes off. It's loud and frantic, a yellow light is spinning around the room, and the floor is spinning. "What's going on!" I yell over the loud noise. Outside I see a blur of yellow and lightning flashes, I could tell we were going faster than normal. "We've lost control of the ship, the atmospheric pressure is too great, we're gonna crash!" Screams Stuart. I'm pushed backwards as the ships turns on an angle, and my head bounces against the steel wall. "Shit." I mutter, tasting blood. The lights flash five times and go off, the room still illuminated from the bright yellow clouds flying by outside the window. "Where's Ron and Tom?" I wonder. "Tom's in the suspended animation room, and I don't know where Ron is. I think Barry is still asleep, wake him up, the impact will shatter the glass!" He replies. I cautiously make my way down the hallway, leaning against the wall for support. "Ron! Tom! Barry!" I call out, getting nothing in return but the loud howl from outside and diminishing beep of the alarm. I walk into the suspended animation room and fall on my stomach to crawl towards the tubes. A bright green shadow is cast by each, and I see a figure in one, Barry's. My hand suddenly touches something, something ice cold, and I see it's James. I let out a yell, and it's answered by the faint voice of Ron. "David? That you? I'm here with Tom trying to get to the escape pods. I think we're gonna crash!" "I've gotta get Barry, he's still asleep!" I yell back. I reach the pod with a figure floating in it, and lean against it to pull my self up, I push the button, and the fluid begins to drain. "Stuart!" I call, "We gotta go!" I yell. "I have to get this ship back in order, even if it kills me!" He yells back. "It will!" I scream. The glass pops open and Barry steps out, then immediately falls. I catch him, but he's weak from being asleep for so long. "What's going on?" He asks in utter confusion. "We're in Venus's atmosphere and will die if we don't make it to the escape pods!" I answer. He understands and we slowly walk towards the airtight doors separating us from the path to the pods. "Stuart!" I yell again, to no response. I push a passcode and the door slides open, we step through and it closes, the hall is glass on all sides except the steel floor. I can clearly see the orange clouds rushing by. We weren't going straight down, but losing altitude quickly. I couldn't see the ground through the thick sulfuric clouds but knew it was down there, closer than we think.
We run to the other side if the ship, 20 yards away. "We're not gonna make it." He says, "This can't happen." We finally reach the door, and I put a different passcode to open it, it slides open and I see the ground out the window behind me, filled with volcanoes, gray and cracked, about a half mile down. We rush in and see Tom and Ron slumped against the wall, a look of hopelessness on their faces. "What are you doing just standing here? We've gotta go, now!" I say. "No, we can't. The pods won't leave they can't get pushed out because of the pressure. We're stuck here. He says wearily. "There has to be something we can do." I spot the space suits against the wall. "Put these on, all of you." I demand. They're heavy, with limited movement, very bulky and solid diamond covered in gold plating. The visor is thin and a thick glass, it's hot and hard to breath, but it'll do. I have a small radio transmitter built in to communicate, and a circle below me can be removed for spacewalks. We all have spacesuits on, except for Ron. "Ron!" I yelled, put on you're space suit, theres no time to waste!" I yell. Ron shakes his head, and I notice tears rolling down his cheeks. "I can't, I don't deserve to, and even if I did, we wouldn't make it, why not just die now. I kiled James when you were all asleep, I shattered his tube and went back to sleep satisfied. I realize now that I was wrong. I deserve to die now." He says weakly. "He was going to die anyway, if you stay, then I will too." Says Tom. "I've got to give it a shot." Says Barry, "Wait for rescue." "I'm coming too" I say, and pull open the circe below me. It leads down to a tube, where another circle open out to space. I jump down, and Barry follows. I ask Tom to put the circle back in place, and I turn on my flashlight to see in the dark. I see a button and I kick it, waiting for the circle to open. "So this is it." Says Barry through the radio. "We get to see Venus first at least." I say. "Aren't you going to miss you're family." He asks. " I have none to miss, the ones I cared about were lived in Chicago, they were killed off by gases. I made it because I was on a business trip to Cebru." I reply. "Lucky you." He says, and the doors open.
There was a second before we fell and at that moment we both looked down, seeing the ground was a quarter mile down and we saw the gray cracked rock below, like a dry riverbed, plateaus and mountains, a large orange streaked volcano spewing red liquid, and a canyon. I saw yellow clouds, thick yellow clouds with forked lightning flashing every five seconds in a different place, acid rain at the bottom of the clouds that never reach the ground they evaporate almost immediately. This planet used to be like Earth, water and jungles, but suffered a runaway greenhouse effect like ours is suffering, a grim future. We fell in slow motion almost, the ground slowly coming up, the ship spinning wildly behind us, and the sky firing away. We fell from the sky to the barren planet, we fell slowly, to the end.