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Space Flight: Part One


by plutoplus1

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Arcadia the Poogle hardly felt the bump of the space ship departing from Station Platform 24. Off in the distance out of her window, she could see Kreludor completing its 23.5 hour orbit. A noise came from somewhere next to her, and she turned to investigate. Jeran the Gelert, her best friend, looked slightly nervous. This was his first time on a space ship, and he was fidgeting.

      "Tough being orbit born, eh?" she asked, smiling in jest.

      He raised an eyebrow at her. "Tough? Naw, it was easy. I got used to the Space Station's gravity and air quality. It's just, well…" He let his voice trail off. Arcadia nudged him, and he continued with a sigh. "I have watched space ships for quite a while. My whole life, in fact. I know too well crash statistics, survival rates, things like that..." He gave a nervous chuckle, and tried to shrug it off.

      "Oh, come on now. I have been on ships for years now, and nothing has ever happened to me. Plus, as a pilot, I can tell you that the statistics you memorized are quite out of date. There are hardly any crashes at all anymore." Arcadia smiled smugly to herself.

      "Really? What are the current stats then?" Jeran looked accusingly at Arcadia.

      "Let's see..." Arcadia pondered out loud. "The rates have dropped off from about five a year to two point five a year...you do the math!"

      Jeran still looked unsure. "Two point five a year? Who is the point five? How do you lose half a ship?"

      Arcadia shrugged. If she kept this up, she thought, and had him talking like this, they would land on Kreludor and he wouldn't even know it! "I think the point five was a ship who had their hull punctured, and the crew died in vacuum space. The people in charge of the stats you memorized couldn't decide if that was a crash, or a fault in workmanship of the ship, so they compromised."

      Jeran didn't seem to hear what Arcadia just told him, and was looking out the window nervously.

      "How long did you say this flight was again?"

      "One hour, thirty-six minutes, give or take a few milliseconds."

      "Feels like it's been that long already, and then some!"

      Arcadia wasn't used to seeing her usually brave friend so worried. She remembered back when they were young, how he would badger her into exploring some dark space closet or even wandering the immense space station warehouse, where he never showed the slightest bit of fear.

      "Look, Jeran, I don't know what has come over you, because this is really not like you. Why exactly are you worried?"

      "I already told you, Kade, flying in space is what worries me! How do I know that our ship isn't going to...to...malfunction or something?" he hurried on in a rush.

      "Look, Jeran, I promise nothing is going to happen. Just trust me, ok?"

      He shrugged, and turned to face the window again, as if by watching, nothing could happen. As he stared out the window, he watched the other ships angling down to set down near the docks to the Kreludor Station. Watching the ships turn on rear thrusters and slowly settle into port was relaxing, and interesting, Jeran thought. You could always tell a bad pilot from a good by how smoothly they settled into tug rockets to be brought in.

      "How many more minutes?" he asked, after watching the ships lost its interest.

      Arcadia laughed. "Only thirty more, ok? Relax! Just watch the ships come in port, that's always interesting."

      Jeran didn't want to admit that that was what he had been doing already. The platform was large enough to hold 100 ships at a time, which always allowed for something exciting to happen.. He was so busy studying the logos on the sides of the different ships that he didn't notice their ship descending at a rapid rate. But he did see red space ships, of the Omega-9 version, he guessed, coming towards them.

      "Kade, are they supposed to get that close to us? I thought the Omega-9 version was banned as a design because of the incredible thrust power of the rear engines…" Jeran asked, gesturing outside his window. He stopped when he saw her reaction.

      As she leaned over to see, her face rapidly turned white. "No!" was all she could say, before the Omega-9s opened fire.

      Right after Kade screamed out no, the ship was rocked with a blow, and the Hull Penetration Siren rang out.

      "I know that sound...that's a BAD sound! And you said nothing would happen!" Jeran looked accusingly at Arcadia.

      Before he could comment further, Arcadia was off, racing for the bridge of the ship. Jeran ran after her, determined to find out what she was up to.

      As they reached the door to the bridge, the loud speaker went off.

      "Ladies and gentlemen, please do not be alarmed. This is Captain Peter Sascha speaking. For your safety, please buckle all safety belts, and remain seated. As an added precaution, please use the oxygen masks, located under your seats. You will experience some rough motions, so any of you who have motion sickness need to get a counteractive pill. Please direct any questions towards the Space Attendants. Thank you."

      Jeran laughed nervously. "Guess we didn't obey those rules, huh?"

      Arcadia glared at him, and knocked on the cockpit door. After no response, she opened it, and both she and Jeran entered.

      "Hannah, that you?" The captain didn't bother to turn around to see who had just entered, because he was in the middle of performing Space Missile Evading Techniques. "Check John's pulse, and get him secured in the Sick Bay." He tilted his head towards his co-captain, and continued. "Secure all passengers, and have motion sickness pills ready. I'll keep SMET to a minimum until you give me the secure."

      Arcadia cleared her throat. "Requesting permission to enter the Bridge, sir." The captain threw a brief glance over his shoulder, and gave a curt nod. "Sir, my name is Arcadia Tirla Raven, Captain of the Kalypso. My ranking is-"

      "I know, I know, I've heard of you. Secure John in Sick Bay, then join me as Co." Captain Peter cut her off, and jerked his head at the unconscious captain.

      Arcadia motioned to Jeran to complete the command. He was all too willing to comply, because the rocking motion was starting to make him sick.

      As Jeran made off with John to the sick bay, Arcadia sat down in the co-captain's chair and secured her safety harness.

      "Sir, also with me is Jeran Mikel Aeries, Space Engineer Technician, and also a crack shot with any sort of firing arm."

      "Good. We will need all the help we can get holding the pirates off until we can land. Send him to the Defensive Unit when he comes back here." The captain jerked the ship roughly to the left. "Hope everyone was seated for that," he muttered.

      "Sir, I am correct in assessing that we are below atmospheric limit for decline?"

      Captain Sascha nodded. "Luckily, otherwise I don't think we'd have made it this low already, what with our outer hull having a star shaped whole in it. Keep your eyes open for a safe spot to make an emergency landing. And flip that blasted Hull Penetration alarm off."

      Kade reached over and pressed the alarm toggle to the off position. The ship was silent for a few moments, until it was again racked with a blow.

      "We've taken 3 or 4 blasts already. What's the defensive unit doing back there?" Captain Peter jerked the controls again.

      The bridge door opened, and who Arcadia guessed was Hannah entered. "Captain, the passengers are secure, and you can proceed to take SMET to the maximum capacity. Also, I have given out the Motion Sickness pills, to reduce the effects of SMET." Hannah gave her report quickly.

      "Good work....ah!" He muttered under his breath at a near hit. "Quickly, please take your seat, Hannah, and prepare the passengers for an emergency landing."

      Hannah nodded and reversed out the command area. Just as that door closed, it opened again, and this time Jeran entered.

      "John secured in the Med Bay, sir."

      "Good, good. Ms. Raven informs me you're a crack shot, so can you head over to the defensive unit? And please prepare everyone over there. We're about to make an emergency landing."

      Jeran made an affirmative noise, and gave Kade a thumbs up as he left.

      "See that area over there?" Captain Peter gestured towards the expanse of empty rocky land as Arcadia nodded.

      "That's where we are setting the Moon Rock down. Safety belt fastened?"

      Again, Kade nodded, double checking it just in case.

      "Good. I'm putting you on back up piloting maneuvers, just in case. Put the command helmet on, too, so communication will be easier. Be prepared for some rough, jerky motions. You've put in adequate hours of flight crash simulations, right?"

      "I've put in the required hours plus many more. I'm a pilot myself, remember? I know the protocol, if that's what's worrying you." Arcadia smiled reassuringly, and slipped on the co captain's helmet.

      "Figured as much. Your friend is doing a pretty good job back there...haven't had a hit in the past 5 minutes."

      Arcadia smiled. She wondered if Jeran was still worrying about crashing. Captain Peter interrupted her musings.

      "All right, here we go!"

      The captain pressed the intercom button. "Ladies and Gents, please follow the Space Attendant's directions, and prepare for an emergency landing. As soon as we've landed, it is essential that you listen to me and your co-captain, Arcadia Raven, for further directions. Thank you."

      Only a few moments later the Moon Rock hit the rocky surface of Kreludor, skidded, bounced up, and hit the surface again, only to repeat the motion several times. After a few more hard jolts, the ship came to a shuddering halt. Captain Peter cut the engines, and Kade could finally hear the assault defensive weapons firing in the background at a rapid rate.

      "Hurry! We must evacuate everyone under that craggy cliff. And grab some Levato Ray's on the way out. We're going to need them." And with that, Captain Peter Sascha jumped out of his piloting chair.

      Arcadia was quick to follow the captain out of the bridge.

      "What about those in Sick Bay?" she asked while jogging after Captain Sascha. Arcadia was glad she always flew solo or with very few passengers. Being a commercial pilot was incredibly stressful, especially in these kind of situations.

      "Hannah knows what to do. We need to get the passengers to the safety of the rock outcropping, and quickly. We have a few troopers on board…" he hesitated. "Well, as many as are required by Space Regulation, but only enough to hold the pirates off until back up arrives."

      Kade nodded in understanding. She herself never had any support, and these few troopers would not be that effective with amount of passengers requiring protection. She came to a hault beside Captain Peter as he addressed the passengers.

      "Ok, listen up," the Captain said in a booming voice, which got 48 pairs of eyes on him, and dead silence. "You need to follow myself and Co Raven here to an outcropping of rocks just over that way." He gestured in the general direction.

      "What about the pirates?" asked a very worried looking passenger.

      "We have troopers on board, as well as the defensive unit here holding them off. I radioed as soon I noticed them off starboard. Help is on the way, and will be here shortly." With that, he opened the side hatch, and exited the Fuselage.

      As he left, Kade gestured for the others to follow. "Remember," she added, "Kreludor has 32% less gravity and only 84% of the air quality that you're accustomed to."

      When all of the passengers had disembarked, Kade turned around to find Hannah. The space attendant pushed her towards the exit.

      "I stay here with the sick and defensive unit." When Kade looked as if she would protest, she continued. "Don't worry! The troopers are with you right now, and I will send your friend Jeran out, as well. You'll need the protection. Now, go!"

      Kade hesitated, then nodded her thanks, and slipped out the hatch door. She trotted quickly to catch up to the trail of passengers, and met them under the craggy outcropping of rocks.

To be continued...

 
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