The Fires of Eden: Primal
The hiss of escaping atmosphere was bad. The lack of lights was worse. Lt. Comm Silas and his boarding team looked around, their helmet mounted lights picking out the other crewmembers, the walls, the fog. The lack of atmosphere and dropping temperature was causing an unknown liquid vapour to cloud in Serria 12’s corridors.
Viktoriya’s eyes went wide, but she calmly spun around to point the heavy laser back down the corridor. With no atmosphere, anyone approaching would be silent, and with the fog, they wouldn’t be seen until it was literally hand in front of face distance. Her heart rate sped up. She knew her team was near her, somewhere, but couldn’t see, couldn’t call to hear a direction of reply. Closing her eyes and breathing deeply, she crouched as best one can in no gravity, and moved the bulky optical rifle to her shoulder.
The burst of radio cut through the silence like a club through a matchstick house. “Team three. This is Lt Conn Silas. We have lost casual contact with each other, and have drifted apart. Stay where you are, and we shall wait out this fog. Any attempts to navigate will just make this worse.” The transmission cut off and Viktoriya knew that as advanced as technology was, there was very little in the way of sensors that could penetrate a cloud of vapour suspended in a vacuum. Laser scanning would not be able to deal with the cloud, while ultrasonics could not be used in a vacuum.
The only thing keeping her from totally losing all orientation was the fact she could feel her feet on the floor.
The fog stirred.
A slowly rolling vertex met her lights, as if something large has just passed through in total silence. Maybe something had. Maybe it was a team member.
“Lt. Vik here, is anyone near my position?” The question hung on the net for a second before the click and reply returned. “Unknown Vik. One of the Mutai twins has lost contact. It could have been her.” The thought reassured her. “Vik. The fog seems to be dropping, can you see anyone else?” A slow spin showed Vik nothing but corridor in either direction. How had she drifted that far? “Lt. I can’t see anyone, but I don’t think I’m in the same place as when the lights – “
“Identifiy!” The radio was cut across by a female’s voice, the stress in it evident. “Halt, and identifiy!”
There was only silence. “This is Lt. Conn Silas.” The voice had a slight edge. Anger? Worry? “Whoever that was, you were on wideband. Everyone on this ship heard you. All teams sound off.”
The replies from team 1 came through as expected, but poor quality, with pops and clicks throughout. Team 2 reported they were all together, advance halted by darkness and loss of atmosphere. Team three had Lai Mutai missing. Team 5 was much like team 1, with poor transmissions but no other problems.
Team four never replied.
Sure, there are many reasons why they could have lost contact. Poor geometry was a good bet. No reason to get worried. Not like anything had attacked them in the dark… Viktoriya spun as she felt vibrations on the deck panels, and saw Jan Mutai round the corner followed by LeBeau and Silas. She slowly lowered her laser and relaxed slightly. Whatever was going on, at least she wasn’t alone now. She stood, but noticed her team was staring past her. Whatever it was, it was holding their attention so Viktoriya turned to follow her teammates horrified gaze.
The lights picked out the blood first. Like a macabre chandelier the frozen blood was reflecting the lights like a paused rain of rubies. It was everywhere, tiny spiky snowflakes of someone’s life. Lai Mutai floated headlessly in the corridor; head and shoulders blasted into a gruesome mess of shredded meat and shattered bone. It could have been anything. Shotgun, grenade, massive laser fire, full auto bullet stream.
Viktoriya immediately felt a chill. They were not alone. Someone had been here, violently killed a team member and disappeared. Silas put his hand on her shoulder and the radio snapped on with “Vik, there is nothing we can do. We have to keep moving. And now we know at least two things. There is someone else here. They mean us harm.” The pain of losing a friend could wait. There was a mission to do.
I’ve been unable to finish this for months. I guess this is where a poorly developed idea goes to die.
pleasedontresuscitate asked: you have a pritty cool blog. I like how you write
Why thank you.
The Fires of Eden: Shallow waters
First: The Valley Of Jordan
The Helios was slowing down. They had been since the halfway point of their journey to the asteroid belt. It was all good accelerating to tremendous speeds, but it took just as long, and just as far to stop. This was why they were coasting into outer edges of the belt with a -1G acceleration, and not crashing through it.
This was why they weren’t dead.
The Fires of Eden: Washington
They were lucky nobody had died. The Helios was in orbit around Jupiter, and Lieutenant Commander Silas was berating two luckless technical aides. They were barely out of training, and in the first “live” reactor room. The room was cold, painted blue-white with photo reactive paint which would turn red when high energy photons or particles hit it. Except now, the walls were a light pink, and one of the other technical aides was being taken away with skin burns from the radioactive water that had been unleashed.
The Fires of Eden: The Garden
The hospital tub moved slowly. Slow was a relative term. It was moving at several kilometres a second, but it was not accelerating. It was shaped like a large donut, a toroidal body with a spherical reactor set in the middle of the donut, offset slightly down from the centre.
The tub had no acceleration gravity and spin gravity from the rotation was set at 0.66 Earth Standard. It was unsettling to a man used to a full gravity from torch acceleration or the free fall of coasting. He rolled over and activated a second screen set into the cubicle and resumed work on the battle report. He felt uneasy about the damning, yet honest recounting of how Captain Ralston had violated not only doctrine but had recklessly abandoned caution in his attempt to pursue the attacker.
The Fires of Eden: The Valley of Jordan
The movies had been wrong. There was nothing serene about space.
Chief Engineer Silas tried not to think about the vast gulf of space separating him from salvation. No space suit, no atmosphere, no more chances, no room for error.
He was standing in one of the last pressurized compartments of the ship he had once called home. The Valley of Jordan was a combat torchship. It had been cycling back from the patrol near Neptune it had been conducting. They had run in to a separatist Q boat. Posing as a mass hauler, it was little more than an open cycle nuclear thermal rocket engaged in an Interplanetary Transport Network orbit while pulling the hydrogen filled canisters of its payload to refuelling points for sale. This one however, had taken a chump shot at the Jordan as it passed within 1Gm (Giga meters).
The magic was coursing through the air by now. Of course, it was nothing more than a highly localised electromagnetic field with minor gravitational side effects. And on the other hand, if it stopped being localised, the two hundred people watching the demonstration were as good as dead. What was being demonstrated was a very simple spell, a mere 1g fireball. One gram of matter was converted into a plasma, which due to its charged nature was then confined in the electromagnetic field with a minor gravitational one to capture any de ionising particles.
The two men sat in the cafe sipping at some unknown liquid presented in what would have been called teacups, but tea had been outlawed for decades. It could have been coffee, but rationing had all but reduced the supply to a literal trickle. All they cared about was that it was dark, bitter and contained enough government approved mental stimulants to keep them going.
The war never really stopped. It was once you conquered the world, all your fighting fronts met up and finished off that the real struggle began. With only a single government you couldn’t simply leave if you didn’t like the law and to effect a reform you needed convince three quarters of the world population to agree with you. A mere 3 billion people due to the horrible attrition of the past 40 years, but not small number to sway. The politics and economy had stagnated.