The Extinction Protocol – Part 2

Personal log Commander Scott Edwards
Olympus Colony Mars
Sol 687

It’s been two weeks since the news landed that there was a plan, a sliver of hope for our survival and the continuation of the human race. I might in fact be overoptimistic. A sliver implies some chance, to me there’s too much in the way. Or there’s something I don’t know about, there’s always that. I didn’t know about this whole damn operation two weeks ago.

The problem I think is how mentally prepared and able are the people to do this, some are just hanging on by a thread as it is. There’s been no further details of the plan yet. The mission craft is only days away from entering Mars orbit. Maybe we will know more then.

So I won’t…

“Edwards you’re needed in control” Collins voice came over the intercom.

“What is it?

“It’s Jett there’s a problem.” Collins replied grimly.

“What kind of – Oh I’m coming.”

“Finish this later.” Edwards clicked off the log recorder.

Edwards marched onto the control centre “What’s going on Collins?”

“It’s Jett, he’s sealed off the North section, he’s gone crazy and said he’s going to blow it up! There are twelve others trapped in there.”

“What the hell?!? Is he on the intercom?”

“Yes, Although he doesn’t seem to be in the talking mood.”

Picking up the intercom Edwards put it to his ear “Jett, what’s going on?” Edwards waited for a response. “Any idea why he’s doing this?”

“None.” Replied Collins. “He keep rambling on about we don’t know what’s coming and everything is bullshit.”

He’s been like that since the mission was announced, but I didn’t think he was going to do this.” Moments passed with nothing happening. The intercom crackled into life. “Scott? Is that you?”

“Hi Jett, yes it’s me, what’s going on?”

“You have no idea what’s coming Scott! No idea!”

“What do you mean? We have a chance, we have a hope and I need you to help me with it!”

“Oh no, no I’m not going to help. This whole thing is bullshit! We won’t succeed and even if we did what then? What will you all do? This whole thing is messed up and I’m going to stop it.”

“Why would you do that Jett?”

“Because of what’s coming Scott!” Jett shouted, his voice explosive over the intercom.

“What’s coming Jett? What do you know that I don’t?” For a moment Edwards waited. “Jett? Jett?” Edwards was now shouting “Je-“

A huge rumble and the whole base seemed to heave, pushed to the floor by the shock wave that tore through the base. Edwards eyes opened, his ears ringing. He called out but his voice was muffled. A moment later he realised he was still breathing, the base shell hadn’t breached. But there had been a massive explosion.

Edwards picked himself up and looked across at Collins, blood ran from his ears, Collins was struggling to find his level as well. Looking round Callie and Neila we having the same problem. Probably everyone on the base was. The spike in air pressure had thrown them all back and messed with thier whole bodies.

Edwards looked straight at Collins “Can you hear me?” Even his own voice hurt his ears. He scanned the control panel. The North section flashed red, showing shell breach. Looking over at the screens he could see it wasn’t just breached, most of the North section had been destroyed.

The ground outside the base was littered with smashed equipment and debris. But what was that? Several bodies, not quite dead but not far off. Edwards ran calling out as he held his ears tightly, wincing at the pain.

“Rav, Neiks meet you at airlock 2!” The two men met Edwards at the airlock. Edwards started pulling on a suit and pointed.

“We need to help them, we need to get them in!”

“They’re dead Scott! Leave them!” Rav insisted.

“No I saw, I saw they were twitching!” Edwards protested aggressively, pushing the two men aside as he reached for the gloves.

“Forget it Scott!” Neiks shouted “Forget it! It would take us five minutes to reach them and then at least five minutes to get them back. There’s only three suits here and they would be dead before we got them on. They’re dead now!” Neiks pushed Edwards back and to the floor. For an instant Edwards anger flared up, but it passed as soon as it came and he sat, head in his hands.

Cassi ran in “There’s people out there!”

“They’re gone Cassi, they won’t make it. I’m sorry” Rav explained.

The tears were already flowing down Cassi’s face. One by one people came and went in silence she wouldn’t leave, she just looked out to the ruined section. Edwards too was frozen, his head killing him, his ears killing him. After what seemed and age Cassi crawled over to Edwards and held him.

“Dani was on there wasn’t she?” Cassi nodded “I’m sorry Cassi” neither moved as night fell. The whole base was silent, no one sure what they lost hurt more, friends or hope.

Two days had passed, Edwards still coming to terms with the senseless loss. If Jett wanted to go, that alone was tragic, but why take the twelve others with him?
Collins Walked in after being summoned. Handing him a tablet Edwards took it “Damage and loss report as requested. I’m afraid we lost fourteen in all Jensen and Riall both crashed during the night.”

“Jesus Collins. What was all this about? Jett was a good man and under pressure too.” Edwards shook his head and turned away. For a moment Collins thought about answering but quickly purged the thought, he turned to quietly leave.

“What do you think about this Collins? Honestly.”

“The mission?” Edwards nodded. “What choice do we have?”

“That’s what I think too.” Edwards turned but then came back to him. “Oh Collins, I sent the update to the mission craft, they’ll be here in days.”

“Any reply from them?”

“Not yet, I’m not sure what the detailed plan was an how this changes it. All we can do is see what they say.”

“Well it won’t be good whatever it is, the mission might not be possible now.”

“We need to find a way to make it possible, we have no other choice.”

Collins left and Edwards was alone again, looking back towards another setting sun, back to where Earth was and possible redemption was coming from.

©Simon Farnell 2019

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