Scorched Planet Part 4


Continuing the scorched planet story where we left off – this is part 4 and things are getting ever more interesting. Find the first three parts here:

Part 4:

After a few minuted the figure walked towards them and motioned to the window.

“I can’t open it!” David shouted

The figure held out some kind of communicator and held up five fingers. His face was covered by a smooth metallic featureless mask, their black uniform had some kind of symbols on which David couldn’t make out. He pointed to the device again and held out five fingers. He switched the Rover’s communicator to channel 5.

“Are you here for them?” A man’s voice crackled through the speakers.

“What?” David half shouted back “Who are you?”

“I’m commander Hansen, I’ve brought them back for revival and re-integration. Have you come for them?”

David thought for a moment about playing along, but decided instead to see where honesty took him “No, I don’t know what you’re talking about. We’re part of an exploration team from a nearby terraforming station. Is this your spacecraft? What’s your business here on Earth?”

“What do you mean what’s my business here on Earth?” Commander Hansen’s voice was becoming authoritative now, maybe even annoyed. “Look, will you let me in?”

Lauren looked round at David “You can’t be serious?” she snapped.

“We have to babes, look – I think he’s human”

“What if he’s isn’t?” She replied without pause.

“If he isn’t and want’s to kill us, I doubt this will protect us – look at him, he has no life support and he’s alive!” Lauren nodded, she looked round for something heavy to keep close at hand.

David spoke into the mic again “Go round to the back, I’ll open the airlock” Dave moved round and pressed the control to open the outer airlock as the dark figure walked round to the back of the Rover. David watched the the mysterious man climbed into the back watching as the rear door closed and the inner opened, hoping he had done the right thing. He could feel Lauren’s stare behind him, watching the inner door open and dark and dusty Commander Hansen walked into the cabin. Hansen dusted himself off a bit and sat down heavily on the far bench. He removed his visor he began talking.

“Thank you for letting me in, despite the fact it’s now habitable out there it isn’t pleasant yet.” He looked round at David and Lauren as he unmasked, they sat there, speechless to see an ordinary human before them “I’m Commander James Hansen of the Space Corps, I’m sorry if I startled you, but I thought you were my activation crew.”

Eventually Lauren spoke up “We have no idea who you are, what the Space Corps is or know what you mean by an activation crew. We thought you were some kind of alien species, because as far as we were aware mankind couldn’t build spacecraft like this”

“Ah, I see why there is the confusion. Let me try and explain my dear” Hansen went on in his soft tones, the accent difficult to place “Let me try and help you here…” He looked an Lauren, prompting for a name.

She finally spoke up “Lauren, and this is my colleague David. We’re terraformers from the Chicago station not far from here.”  Lauren explained, at this point David was happy to let her continue.

“Right, the Commander started. Some of this I can explain, for you to fully understand I will need to show you”

“You mean… we’re going inside that?” David pointed to the huge spacecraft, still floating out there.

“It will be the best way to explain” Hansen replied.

“But we don’t know you – you could be anyone, or anything” Lauren interrupted.

“Yes, but if I wanted to kill you, then I would have already done so” Hansen drew out a formidable sidearm and threw it onto the floor of the Rover. “You have nothing to fear from me, there is an important task to be carried out here and I need your help with it. Will you help?” Lauren looked across at David, both exchanged glances of curiosity and acceptance.

“I guess we had better help – lets go Lauren” David finally instructed. The Rover moved forward again once more, Hansen guided them to the the closest access gantry. Where the Rover turned in and started the final upward journey toward the huge spaceship.

“We will be entering the cargo and shuttle deck when we enter, there’s no need to worry about where to park your vehicle, the guidance lights will show you to the bay the computer has assigned.” Hansen instructed. Not really sure what to expect and with some uncertainty Lauren guided the Rover through an airlock door, she reckoned it was around 10 metres high by 30 metres wide. It opened as she approached and then sealed as the Rover passed the threshold Sure enough some chevron shaped lights flashed a path to a bay, far too big for the Rover, but that was where it was meant to go. She sowed the Rover as she guided it into the bay and with a slight jolt the Rover stopped. Hansen clapped his hand together excitedly.

“Right – now we get to see why we brought you here” grinning he turned, flicking his eyebrows up at Lauren.

“I still don’t see why you don’t tell us” David protested.

“You’ll see – lets go!” Hansen jumped up, opening the airlocks the three of them stepped out. David and Lauren looked around them, the cargo area full of heavy duty boxes strapped down and other heavy equipment. Some of which it’s function could be guessed at, while others were a mystery.

“Shall we?” Hansen prompted the pair, leading the way. Without a word they all walked towards the centre of the spacecraft. Hansen pressed a button and a double door slid open, both David and Lauren went to step forward, but Hansen stopped them. They were puzzled by this as it seemed to be some kind of small room, they guessed it was some kind of lift.

“There’s nothing wrong with walking into here, but, well you’ll find out for yourselves. Lets just say, you’ll probably feel some unusual sensations as you pass through.” Hansen grinned as he told them this, almost as if he were setting them up for some practical joke. He motioned for them to enter, they cautiously walked through the doorway together and Hansen watched as they vanished before him before he too entered. As David stepped through he realised what Hansen had meant, the feeling couldn’t be described and lasted what seemed like less than a second. But for a moment when he emerged on the other side he felt light headed, but not faint. He looked round at Lauren as Hansen emerged through the door looking at her face he could tell she also was feeling strange.

“What was that?” David asked

“That?” said Hansen “That is a personnel portal. Your entire body was disassembled into atoms, sent to the other end here and then re-assembled. That’s why you would have felt… a little strange.”

“I did… it was something I have never felt before” David turned to Lauren “You ok babe?” Lauren was standing there, dazed.

“I’m fine she said, the fuzziness is clearing but, that felt… just weird”

“You get used to it, relax a moment and you should feel yourself soon” Hansen told them.

“So where are we?” Asked David, looking round. The room was lit in their section but was completely dark ten metres away…

Copyright Simon Farnell 2016

No Ownership claimed on images


Scorched Planet Part 3

Following on from the blog battle story this is the third part of my scorched planet story. I hope to keep this going for a while yet…

See parts 1 & 2 here so you know where we are:

Under David’s direction Lauren drove the transport out into the dusty depths of the plain. He had explained what he had seen, the huge spacecraft flying so close to him and disappearing into the distance. Lauren wasn’t sure about this, they were going out on a limb with no backup and control were not happy.

“Hicks, Lauren, what the hell is going on out there? Lauren, turn around and bring yourselves back, our trackers show you heading out past the outer markers. Please respond”

“We’re going to have to answer them David” Lauren calmly and earnestly pleaded with him. “At least tell them what’s going on, we need some kind of backup. You know I would follow you to the ends of the world. But I don’t want to die if I don’t have to”

“OK” Hicks relented. “Let me get on the intercom, but I tell you now babe, this won’t go down well with them. They will still want us back and I don’t want to go back – I want to see what it is, who it is”

“Just tell them… please David” Lauren insisted as David interrupted controls ranting through the intercom.

“This is Hicks1512, can you hear me control?”

“Affirmative Hicks 1512, this is control” They seemed to have recovered some of their customary professionalism, but he could easily pick up the angry tone in their voice. “Can you please advise your status Hicks1512?”

“Yeah, control. Errrm, we’re going on a little journey and we might need some help”

“What? Why?” was the loud and abrupt response.

“Before Lauren got here I observed a spacecraft fly over me and set down about 10 kilometres south west from the sensor array. We’re going out to investigate and report back” There was a moments silence from control.

“Control? Are you there?”

“Affirmative Hicks1512, we’re sending two teams and vehicles as backup” They called it backup but David knew they were really coming out to get him back.

“Don’t let them go any further than the sensor array” David instructed. Suddenly he felt the vehicle stop. He turned to Lauren “Why have you stopped babe?” Lauren snatched the com mic from David.

“Here, you go – stop doubting him and look in camera one, I’m zooming in” Looking out of the window, David could just see the thin shape of the landed spacecraft through the dust. He looked on the screen as Lauren zoomed the camera into the shape. In a close view more detail could be seen, the lights, the dim blue glow underneath the spacecraft… still no landing gear of any kind though. David was both excited and nervous. This kind of vessel was way beyond human technology, what kind of race of beings built and controlled it? Returning to the conversation, David could hear all kinds of chatter going on from control. He got the impression they believed him now and that they were as staggered as he was, eventually they replied.

“Very well Hicks1512, we understand the situation. Sending two teams out to the sensor station to await further instructions. Proceed with caution and stay in contact. We’re keeping channel 12 open for you, send us your audio visual data feeds.”

“Understood control” David replied “will do – make sure that backup understand that this spacecraft can disable our electrical systems if it flies”

“Understood Hicks1512” Control signed off. The data feed was switched to channel 12. David turned to Lauren, who was already looking at him. “You still want to do this?” Lauren nodded.

“You know I would follow you wherever you went. Please promise me something David” Lauren looked at him, with helpless and longing eyes.

“Sure, name it”

“Don’t get me killed and while you’re at it don’t get yourself killed. I’ve always come with you on every hair brained adventure you’ve come up with and so far we’ve been lucky. But please… let’s be careful this time – I mean it” David looked into her eyes and stroked her cheek with his hand. Lauren was amazing and if it wasn’t for her he knew he would have killed himself several times over by now. He owed her so much…

“I promise babe… I do. You know I love you and I would never forgive myself if something happened to you”

“Thank you” Lauren replied, with no further conversation she brought the vehicle to half speed, slowly moving forward toward the spacecraft that awaited. A cut in the ground, probably an old river bed presented cover for their approach. Slowly the Rover descended the shallow curve of the wall and down into the soft bed of the old river. they could see the giant hull looking ever closer, they were still two kilometers out and it was huge. The ship was perhaps ten storeys tall, there were lights, possibly from crew quarters or rooms easily visible. Both Lauren and David looked for signs of them changing or evidence of the crew, but either there was none or they couldn’t see it from this distance. Eventually the cover of the river bed receded and it opened up into a huge bowl or depression in the ground. The spacecraft only half filled the space and it was floating what was to them around one hundred metres from the bottom. It was  totally motionless and there was no activity to suggest they had been detected, or perhaps they weren’t concerned. After all – why would they be?

“Control this is Hicks 1512, we’ve arrived at the landing site for the spacecraft. Are you getting the visuals?”

“Affirmative Hicks1512, there is interference on the channel but we are getting visuals”

“Shall we change channels Control?”

“Negative, we’ve checked and there is interference on all channels. We think that the spacecrafts drive systems are causing it. we’ve reported to all this to command and we’re awaiting their instructions. We suggest you wait there until we have them”

“Negative control – I suggest we investigate further, what’s the point in waiting we’re both here now!”

“Understood Hicks1512, what do you suggest” Thinking for a moment, David was silent, he thought about the promise he made to Lauren and how he was going to explore this fantastic find and keep his promise. He looked at Lauren, she looked back at him with am inquisitive look, she was obviously thinking on similar lines.

“I suggest we bring the backup forward toward this position, advise them on the route we took and bring them to just before the edge of the bowl. Myself and Lauren will skirt around and see what we can. There’s a depression a couple of kilometres away that may yield a better look. We can report back from there”

This time control was silent. “How do you feel about that babe?” Dave asked Lauren.

She nodded “That’s fine, we can give ourselves some cover by keeping back a few hundred metres as the ground rises a little before the bowl”

“Sure, good thinking”

“Hicks1512 this is control, agreed, proceed with caution and keep the line open for further instructions. we’ve instructed teams Alpha and Delta to proceed to your location and should be there shortly. Their location will be the rally point”

“Acknowledge control” David put the mic back again and Lauren had already started moving the Rover along the rim of the bowl. gradually moving away from the edge David looked to the side, the huge craft hovering just above the rim in his view. Looking round at the terrain, he noticed how there was more grass here, other plants sporadically scattered about. David felt these incidents were connected, but he couldn’t see how. It was then that David noticed the Rover slowing, he looked round to Lauren. Her mouth was wide open and she never uttered a word as she stared straight ahead. The Rover came to a complete stop and David also looked forward, there walking towards them from out of the dust a lone figure was walking towards them. As he drew closer he stopped too and looked at us. How was he there, he shouldn’t be alive. The com speaker was crackling with control’s frantic voices telling them to pull back.

Copyright 2015 – Simon Farnell

No Ownership claimed on images

Scorched Planet (Part 2) #Blogbattle #scifi

As part of the awesome Rachel Ritchey’s blog battles, I have decided to add another part to my scorched planet story. I’m not sure if this is within the rules, but Rachel and I discussed that last weeks story could easily form part of a bigger plot. Thanks to Rachel for her encouraging words you’re a totally great boss!

As David stood there. looking out over the terrain, the storm started calming. It was eerie, like the eye of the storm was passing over him suddenly. The terrain became more visible and he could now make out more detail. He looked up, the quieting of the storm gave way to the sounds of his life support and his heavy artificial breathing. The storm wasn’t passing, it was lifting. Some distance, maybe 100 metres above him, he could see the storm still raging.

A notification flashed in his heads up with a gentle beep. The data download was complete. David pulled out the wire and secured it back into it’s pouch.

“Control this is Hicks1512, please can you send out a ride to pick me up, I’ve had enough of walking through this and the storm has… risen I suppose.

“Affirmative Hicks1512” crackled through the reply “Lauren has just volunteered *crack* annndd.. ” with crackled screech the transmission ended.

“Control this is Hicks 1512, get it together!” There was nothing but the sound of static.

“Control respond please” David caught a few human sounds among the garbles static. With resignation he realised he had lost contact, he hoped Lauren would be here soon because he suddenly felt strange. David thought he was alone, but as the dust settled from the storm he couldn’t see far and something troubled him.

As he thought this, he felt the ground vibrating. Inpercievably at first but his feet sank into the dry dirt as he felt the strength of the vibration increased. Looking around for the cause David looked out over the plain and out of the dust storm he made out a vast spacecraft emerging. It seemed round in shape, probably 50 metres tall although he couldn’t tell how big it’s diameter was, it must have been hundreds of metres. Lights were visible around the flat rim and a blue glow was visible through the dust, located in what he assumed was the centre of the vessel. There was a loud hum coming from it, this was causing the ground to vibrate and his head hurt with it.

David watched as dark grey hull of the spacecraft moved across his view, keeping itself mostly hidden in the swirling dust above. It was moving across and away from him now, it was like nothing he had ever seen. Human spacecraft were nothing like this and all his could do was stand in wondered awe, not noticing his feet sinking still further he suddenly felt the grip of the soil and he pulled himself out of the dirt. David was on this hands and knees watching the spacecraft drift away, losing altitude it gently lowered, the hum of whatever passed as it’s engines quieting and then falling silent as it landed. He wasn’t sure but it was maybe 10 kilometers away.

With stunned disbelief he stared into the dust, only just making out it’s shape. All he could hear was his laboured breathing. He looked down onto the Orchid he had found only minutes before “This is turning out to be an interesting day” he said with more than a little irony.

“Hicks1512 please can you hear me?” came a crackled and distorted voice from control.

“Affirmative control, I lost contact with you and the signal isn’t great, but I can hear you now!”

“What happened?” the crackled voice asked with urgency?

David stood up awkwardly, his suit being a pain to move in, looking out toward the space craft “I’m not sure you would believe me if I told you!”

“What does that mean?”

“Just that” for a few seconds David paused “I have just observed an unidentified space craft very close to my location. It has landed about ten kilometres away” He waited for the response.

“Have you found a way to drink whiskey in that suit?”

“No I haven’t, I said you wouldn’t believe me” David barked back at them “Where’s Lauren?”

“She’s on her way Hicks1512” the reply still crackled and distorted. With nothing else to do but wait David sat down and looked out into the distance straining to see something. David’s excitement was tempered with caution. He could only guess their purpose here, maybe they were responsible for this re-generation that he had just found. Just then, spots of water appeared on his visor, only the odd few at first, then more and more… it started raining. The drops of rain tapping on his outer helmet, it hadn’t rained on Earth for decades, what was going on? This was unbelievable!

“Control this is Hicks1512, it’s raining here. Is it raining there?”

“Hicks1512, that’s affirmative. We can’t believe it. Lauren should only be a few minutes, get straight back here”

David didn’t answer, he had another plan. Just then from behind him a Rover pulled up, it’s huge wheels carving tracks in the now sodden dirt. The side door opened, climbing in and sealing the door the red light showed as the air was replenished. After a few moments, the light turned green. David removed his helmet, hanging it up. The door to the drivers cabin slid open.

“It’s been quite a day for you with little find and now this rain” Lauren chirrped, smiling as David worked his way in clumsily, water dripping off his suit.

“That’s just half of it babe.” David replied “Do you fancy and an adventure?” he smiled mysteriously.

“What kind of adventure?” Lauren asked, knowing to be worried as he had got one of his little plans on his mind.

David motioned “Drive that way for a bit and I’ll explain”

No ownership claimed on pictures

Copyright 2015 Simon Farnell

The Scorched Planet #Blogbattle # Scifi

It was never an easy task going for a walk onto the planet’s surface. Today was even worse as there was a hurricane raging outside, and had been for weeks. This walk had been put off numerous times because of the weather but it couldn’t be put off any more as the data buffers were full on the all the remote instruments and needed to be downloaded and reset. David Hicks was one of the six technician’s being sent out to do this job. He pulled on his helmet with a sense of resignation, Lauren was helping him get it on.

“Be careful out there David” She pleaded. It was always tough for her coping seeing David go out on these missions and she struggles to hold back her tears.

“I’ll be fine” David reassured her, taking the helmet for a moment he leaned forward and kissed her tenderly on the lips.

“How come you get to go? You’ve going to be out there in that!”

“I’m just lucky I guess and last time it was fourteen hours because I got stuck” Lauren wasn’t impressed with either of these answers.

“Don’t be funny, not now…” She started to say, David put his suited finger to her lips.

“Shush. It’ll be ok – really” David had to say this, but the reality was that he hated it as much as she did, the vehicles were useless in this wind and the dust would make them seize up. The only good thing was that he had only the one instrument to maintain. “Help me on with this helmet babes, please.” The helmet was lowered down and and locked into place. As it locked the heads up displays flashed onto the inner visor. All his oxygen readouts, heart rate, weather updates and he could even send and receive emails. What he liked though was that he had modified this suit so he could play his music, this was a great boredom killer

Lauren looked through the visor at him “take care – I love you!” She shouted through to him.

“I love you too babes, could you open the inner airlock please” Turning she walked to the door controls and the massive inner door opened up as David walked in the door shut behind him, when it sealed a green light shone and Lauren pressed the button opening the outer door. As the door cracked open David heard the raging storm blast into the airlock.

“Visibility down to between 20 and 50 metres, tracking and guidance engaged. I will report progress as I go. Please let me know of any changes in conditions”

The voice of a control room operator crackled in his earpiece”Acknowledged 1512 Hicks, please be careful and get back safe”

“Will do my best” David replied as he took the first steps out and onto the rough terrain, I’m hoping you soft guys in control are going to buy my drink tonight, otherwise you’re doing this next time”

“It’s a deal 1512”

David allowed himself a small chuckle, they knew they had the best deal so drink was a no-brainer. The wind was blowing him about, but the weight and mechanical assistance offered by the suit meant he could push through without too much effort. The wind was howling outside only inches away from his fragile human body. “Play me some DC/DC” David commanded It took a few seconds to process the command, then the helmet filled with the best epic rock. “Oh yeah, he said to himself, with this playing I could rally kick some” with renewed vigour in his pace David walked away from the station, onto his destination.


Stopping for a moment to rest he stared at the rugged landscape and thought how this planet was once lush and full of life, that was before a huge rock slammed into the planet, before Armageddon. The sea boiled, the land was washed away and them steamed with the boiling oceans. Now here he was, trying to bring life back to a dead planet. David started off again, he didn’t know if it was his imagination, but the thought the wind was dying off a bit.

Eventually after more time than David wanted to think about he reached the monitoring station. A small robotic cluster gathering all kinds of data that would help them work out how effective the terraforming was on the environment. David plugged in waited for the data to download. His instincts were right, the wind was easing, as he stood there he looked down to check over the monitoring station when to his shock he saw something white, growing out of the ground. Looking again in disbelief he raised control.

“Control this is 1512 Hicks, can you see this on my suit cam? Are you getting this?”

“Affirmative 1512 Hicks, we can see there is some kind of white vegetation”

“Vegetation?” He replied “That’s an Orchid” David never thought he would see on in his life, but there it was, as plain as the hands in front of him.” In excitement he exclaimed to control “It looks like planet Earth is coming back to life!” As he looked about for more, he could now see in the near distance, small flecks of white and as the dust cleared briefly in the valley, he could swear he saw shades of green.

No ownership claimed on pictures

Copyright 2015 Simon Farnell

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