Sunday, September 28, 2014

Raven's Flight (Mission Impossible - 7)

Dranke stared at his screens showing a simulated approach to the Planet which resolved to be more brown than purple. Maybe it was something in the atmosphere which reflected light in the purple area of the visible spectrum. He checked with Fenie.

"Sir, atmosphere analysis is ongoing. But we did not sample the outer atmosphere since it was not relevant." She looked rushed, and Dranke decided to leave her alone. Piteer moved to the pilot's chair as he switched on the standby systems to account for any surprises. Vaxe had moved into Piteer's seat as she kept a close eye on the outer hull.

Dranke smiled. This team of young space recruits were acting in concert like a well-oiled machine as they orchestrated the delicate landing process. It was the first time a darkmatter starcraft had been made to land on an exoplanet. And watching them, he knew his team was what he had hoped it would be when he had first stepped on the Raven's deck.

His musings were interrupted as they passed though the last of the thin atmosphere and the planet's topography became apparent. The Raven's wings were now extended for the first time as they glided down to the surface.... it was a perfect landing. And they had landed on what looked like a tabletop mountain. Fenie was scanning for anything around. "Is the atmosphere breathable?" Dranke asked. Fenie shook her head "No. We need to be careful. Oxygen is non-existent. Vaxe and Piteer were already in their suits and they looked like a pair of fish in the form-fitting metamaterial outfits. Dranke grinned "Wait for me." He kitted up quickly and the three of them went through the tedious airlock cycling procedure.

It hit them hard. The planet was a desert. There was no vegetation apparent. Just the same rough unbroken terrain. And a pinking hue in the sky. No water bodies were apparent. It matched with their inability to ascertain any electromagnetic emissions from space. Dranke was already relaying information which would help them filter things in advance.

The lip of the table top was just a few hundred meters away and they walked over to check if there was anything of interest down in the 'valley' area. A few minutes and they realized it was just the same. Vaxe had established a link and she uploaded images, spectrographic analysis and hard data to the ship's memory banks.

Dranke did not waste any more time. Any advanced civilization would have been easily discernible. He led the way back. The awkward gait in the slightly higher than Earth gravity made them look like a trio of clowns. Fenie welcomed them back. In short order, Fenie was retracting the landing gear and the ship was tilting upward. The wings were swept forward for the launch and in a few seconds, the propulsion systems pushed the Raven upwards and the ship righted itself as it flew into the higher atmosphere. Dranke said "We need to be able to scan planets better. Piteer and Fenie can work on the parameters I uploaded while planetside. Get Dex and Sette to work on trial runs. And lets do a sweep before we decide to land." They crew nodded soberly. They understood that the Captain did not want to waste any time and effort.

The trip had been wasted, and it was impossible to comb every planet this way. The sensors should be able to give them a better idea if a planet was likely inhabited. They were in a high orbit around the planet and they planned their next jump.

There was so much to do! Dranke looked forward to it......they were just beginning their adventures in exploring the Galaxy. Ed had been right!

Pic Attribution: "Protoplanetary disk". Via Wikipedia -

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