Pegasus Colony: the Beginning
Captain Richard Fontner
Year 2144, November 1
Folded space is a success. We have traveled faster than light. It only took twelve years to travel twenty-seven light-years to the planet Akiane within the Pegasus Constellation.
The star of this system shines bright. Five planets, including our destination planet, Akiane orbit it.
We have been in orbit around Akiane for nine days, running tests and sending out probes.
One probe orbits this system’s star and has been recording the star’s activity. The solar flares are amazing. We have witnessed some astonishing coronal mass ejections, larger than anything Earth’s sun can produce. Eruptions from the huge star has set off a series of plasma waves 25 million meters in height, traveling millions of kilometers across the physical surface of the star.
Specific details are in the science officer’s logs.
One probe orbits the planet Akiane. Several were sent to the surface of the planet to gather information about the soil, snow, ice, and open ocean water. Except for the equator and areas around active volcanoes, some of which are near water, the oceans are covered with six meters of ice.
The planet was quiet when we first arrived, but now as a giant gas planet approaches, many volcanoes are suddenly active.
We continually attempt to stream data back to World Space Coalition, though the communications officers say the enormous sun flares are interfering with our transmissions. The magnetic charge is too high for our transmissions to get through to WSC.
Science can cure the common cold, but not override electrical interference of plasma flares. We may have to retransmit everything again after the star has quieted.
Akiane and one gas planet the size of Saturn orbits their star elliptically. Every eleven years their orbits cross. We have arrived in time to study the phenomenon. Those back at WSC will be delighted with this new information to study.
Captain Fontner’s Office
The captain’s office door unceremoniously flew open.
“Captain!” the first mate called.
“Computer, stop and close,” the captain said. The holographic computer screen disappeared. “Yes, Commander?”
“We’ve lost control.” The commander’s usual calm demeanor had crumbled. She slouched in the doorway. Worry lines etched her young face. Her hands trembled.
The captain tensed. “Lost control of what?” he asked.
“All of it, Sir.” Her voice shook. “Everything. We’ve lost the ship.”
Captain Fontner stared at her. “How is that possible?” he asked weakly.
“I …” Before she could answer, the ship swayed.
Like an old eighteenth century windjammer, the Eagle gently creaked and groaned.
The commander looked up and around searching for the source of the noise. “A space ship doesn’t make those kinds of noises,” she said. Tears of fear rolled down her cheeks.
“Commander, control yourself,” the captain said.
The creaks and groans became louder.
She was right. Something was wrong; whatever was happening, it wasn’t normal. Captain Fontner’s head pounded with anxiety.
The ship tilted.
The first mate lost her footing and disappeared behind the wall. Captain Fontner gripped the armrests of his chair.
The ship tilted in the opposite direction. The commander slid past the doorway.
Eagle seemed to twist in awkward angles then dropped several meters.
Fontner hit the ceiling. When Eagle righted herself, Fontner dropped belly first onto his desk with a “Humph.”
He first heard the impenetrable glass in the bridge observatory window crack. Then the window in his office did the same.
He thought of his wife and children. He would not get to say good-bye.
In the next instant, everything flipped upside down.
Screams of fear came from the bridge as people were tossed about like rag dolls.
The captain’s shoulder dislocated as he slammed back into the ceiling. Eagle tilted to one side. Fontner slid toward the window in his office. Bits of glass disappeared as they were sucked out. Oxygen whistled as it escaped into space.
The window twisted. He knew it was illogical, but Fontner felt his blood start to boil as the vacuum of space invaded his office.
WSC Eagle exploded.
* * *
This is the beginning of Pegasus Colony, the first novel in People of Akiane Trilogy.
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