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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2089474
FSFS 3 Prompts, prompt details below
Word count: 1211 ~ Prompt 3

I was in the observation room contemplating our dire situation, while watching the sunset against our barren horizon. I was reviewing everything and looking for answers, choices or anything that might help. Heavy on my mind was our supply ship, Ambrosia. If she did not arrive in the next 36 hours, on it's automated flight path, it would likely be unable to reach us. We would pass too far behind Maxim, our sun, and chances were that Ambrosia would be pulled into Maxim's gravity and burn up. We would also perish without those supplies.

It took us four years to get to this planet in the Dunbar Galaxy. Torres is similar to Mars in it's inhospitable terrain, but it has an atmosphere close to that of Earth's. We devised solar powered scrubbers to create a breathable air within our compound. Outside, we must use our portable scrubbers. It was a crap shoot as to whether we would survive the trip or if we could sustain life in this atmosphere. We did both. But our first supply ship never arrived.

We do not know what happened to Hercules. It left six months after we did and appears to have had a catastrophic failure of some sort. Ambrosia was moved up on the launch schedule when Hercules stopped responding. That meant it would take four years to arrive after launch.

Six months ago, Ambrosia stopped responding to ground control commands. She was sending data until last month. After three weeks of working around the clock, Ambrosia was rebooted, back on line and communicating. In those six months off line, she was slightly off course which is why she may miss us, if we can't control her approach.

I could not stand the tension in our control room, but these things ran through my mind as if on a loop. It felt like being on death row waiting for execution or clemency, so I took a break and went to the observation room to watch the sunset and think.

"Commander, we need you in the control room," said the voice of my second in command, James Bishkek, ending my short-lived solitude.

"On my way, Bish," I said after tapping my arrow shaped chest communicator. I had to chuckle every time I used it as I thought of Capitan Kirk. They were, Bish's idea and they worked perfectly.

Another reason we chose this planet was gravity. At 85 percent of Earth's gravity, it meant we could walk and hopefully sustain less of the long term zero gravity disorders our floating comrades endured.

I jogged down the stark corridors to the control room, where Bish and four others were monitoring Ambrosia.

"I've got control, Commander," said Bish. He tapped away at the keyboard. "I've got her."

The room erupted in cheers and high fives.

"How far out is she?" I asked. I stood behind his chair looking at the computer screen.

"She should be on the ground in about eighteen hours," said Bish. He looked up at me and added, "As long as she'll continue to respond to commands."

After over four years, we were down to eighteen hours. I suspected they would be the longest hours of my life.

"Can you take over so I can get some rest? I want to be fresh for the landing," asked Bish.

"No problem. I'll get Marco on for early morning and meet you at breakfast in twelve hours," I said, as I got comfortable in the chair. Then we discussed the plan to keep Ambrosia on track.

* * *

"I don't think I've seen everyone this chipper in a long time," said Bish. He scooped the last of his oatmeal from the food container and started on the next one. "It was a great idea for double rations this morning, Commander."

"I thought we all needed as much nutrition as possible for getting Ambrosia on the ground," I said, as I made my way through the oatmeal.

"Everything's a go. I checked with Marco before breakfast. She's right on schedule," said Bish. He looked around and then leaned in and said, "She failed the early morning check in, but she's still headed our way. I'm as nervous as a new father. We've gotta get her on the ground even if it's a hard landing."

"I agree. Which landing site are you thinking of using?" I asked.

"Marshmallow. If we over shoot, then she'll land away from us. Coconut is too risky with all these issues," said Bish.

I shook my head.

"What?" asked Bish. His brow furrowed.

"Where do you come up with these names? Coconut and marshmallow?" I asked.

"Easy. Ambrosia. You know, the dessert?"

"Alright. On that note, let's get moving."

* * *

"Okay, people," said Bish. He ran a hand down his face. "I don't have to tell you the importance of Ambrosia, but we need her on the ground as safely as possible.

"If we can maintain control, she should be on the ground right around noon. So in the next three hours, I want to run through all of our scenarios."

And so began Ambrosia's mock landings and countdown to land on our new home. I watched and listened to our dedicated team of explorers work through success and failure scenarios. It was all or nothing.

"She's about to enter the atmosphere, Bish," said Leslie, our computer tech. "She right on target."

"Perfect. Then let's slow her down and deploy the chutes in three minutes," said Bish. He paced around the control room running his hand down his face and through his hair, stopping to look at the computer screens each pass through.

"Bish, I've lost telemetry," said Leslie. "Everything went to zero just like that." She snapped her fingers, then went back to typing.

"This cannot be happening this close," I said. I walked up and stood behind Leslie.

"She's not responding but I'm going to try to slow her down and launch the chutes anyway in case she's still receiving commands. Entering phase twenty dash twelve now," said Leslie. She continued typing.

"We should be able to see her fairly soon," said Bish. "Mark, do you have eyes on her yet?"

"Phase twenty dash thirteen, chutes deployed. I sure hope," said Leslie. "No response indicating success or failure and still no telemetry. I don't know what else to do, Bish."

"I'm looking toward Marshmallow but I don't see her," said Mark over the communicator.

"Entry should be twenty degrees either side of Monument Hill," said Bish.

"I'm sorry but I still don't see her," said Mark.

"Do you think she failed to slow and crashed just after entry?" asked Leslie. "She'd be way far north, if that's the case."

"I don't show any seismic activity," said Andrea, our science officer, from across the room."

"Holy crap, she's behind me. Under chutes. Panels missing down one side. She's damaged but she made it. She's on the ground!" Mark whooped and hollered. "She's about 200 yards south of Marshmallow."

The whole room joined in the celebration. Bish ran around and hugged everyone. The happy sounds of hands slapping high fives and people celebrating was the sweetest music to my ears. Our angel, Ambrosia, had made it home.


FSFS 3 Prompts

3rd picture prompt a sun rising over barren landscape like Mars

Use one (or a combination) of the following prompts to inspire a festive story.

1. Your story must be between 1000 and 4000 words
2. Your story must include at least 1 fantasy and/or science fiction element
3. You MUST write the word count at the top of the item or book entry
4. You must state which prompt you used at the top of the item or book entry

Due: 06 July 2016 at 11:59pm
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