Authors: Thadd Evans
Tags: #Science Fiction
A journey to the stars.
Captain Frim and the crew aboard Exp 1, a starship that is on an exploratory mission, headed for the planet D36, must take an alternate route and land on E4, a planet where a race of beings called the Reen
live because the crew is running out of food.
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Leaving Blue 5.1
Copyright © 2013 Thadd Evans
Cover art by Angela Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Published by Devine Destinies
An imprint of eXtasy Books
Look for us online at:
Leaving Blue 5.1
To Michael Crichton
“This is the first scientific expedition to go beyond Alpha Centauri A, a main sequence star, the one our home planet, Blue 5.1, orbits.”
Captain Greg Frim
It was the year 1501. We had orders to take our star ship, Exp One, on a scientific expedition, bound for a planet named D36. EMPE, the Executive Management branch of Physicists and Engineers and the global government agency that had sent us on this mission, had instructed me alone to open a top secret manila envelope when our ship drew close to D36.
Although EMPE had given us an adequate food and water supplies, there wasn’t much left, because we had taken longer routes, safer ones.
Our navigator, an astrophysicist named Dr. Thomas Harn, and his assistant, Dr. Jen Emen, an astronomer, had been studying this planetary system, trying to find a main-sequence star, because in many cases habitable planets orbited this type of celestial body. Within the last four days, after decelerating, we were closer to a world named E4.
Before going into its orbit, Exp One would pass two moons, then inspect a four-hundred-foot-diameter indigo ship. Although that vessel hadn’t responded to our messages, if anyone was aboard, they might share food.
On my vtp—a a cell phone-like voice, texting, video portable communicator—Steve’s, Lisa’s, Bette’s, Wanda’s, Roger’s, Larry’s and Seth’s names enlarged. In the last three hours, none of them had responded to my emails. Something was wrong.
I spoke into my vtp, telling Thomas about the fact that they weren’t paying attention to my recent messages.
His face appeared on the device. He blinked. “Understood. An hour ago, I sent emails to Susan, Rita and Marie. But they haven’t replied. Perhaps they’re too busy.”
“Meet me in Steve’s room in ten minutes. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
I thought about Susan, a Microbiologist. Because of my busy schedule, we rarely spoke.
About two weeks ago, for the first time in months, Rita, a Software Engineer, a woman who was well versed in using strange attractor formation in G forces to create star charts, spoke to me about several galactic maps. Although I wanted to talk to her more often, both of us had too much to do.
I entered Steve’s room. I picked up a piece of paper next to a monitor.
I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to jump out of the escape hatch.
Thomas walked in. He was five feet eleven inches, muscular, with sharp features and deep-set blue eyes. Although he listened carefully, he always looked threatening because he always had a serious expression on his face. His specialty was using neutrino density around Alpha Centauri A and other stars to create galactic maps. According to his studies, using neutrinos, a ghostly particle, was only one way of getting results.
“Look at this note.” I handed it to him.
“Trouble.” He frowned.
“Are there any records that show if Steve actually did this?”
“I’m not aware of any. According to Mary, he was depressed. As you know, Exp One may not make it to D thirty-six. As a result, everyone aboard is far more depressed than any of us anticipated. Despite the fact that the crew has been trained, everyone has their breaking point.”
“Understood. Did she tell you anything else about Steve crawling into the hatch?”
“Yes. She never actually saw him climb inside it. However, she mentioned that he complained about being lonely.
“According to these video records, there’s no sign of him crawling out of any escape hatches. I’ll keep looking,” Thomas said, unperturbed.
A new email from Sam scrolled across my vtp.
I want to see you immediately.
I responded, telling her that she should come to my office in a few minutes.
“Thomas, assuming that everyone else is like Steve is a bad idea.”
“I agree. I’ll go back to room N fifteen, search the database. Perhaps I can find out what happened to the other missing crew.”
“Let’s have a meeting in twenty-five minutes. Except for Alan and UE, everyone will attend. It’s important that we get more information.”
“See you then. I’ll spread the word.” He left.
Alan’s face scrolled across my vtp. He blurted, “Greg, the indigo ship still hasn’t responded to any radio signals.”
“Send more messages. Tell them we’re on the verge of starvation.”
“I’ll do that.”
I left the room. On my vtp, notes about Exp One’s eight-hundred-foot long triangular carbon-nanotube hull enlarged. In the last two months, Alan, the co-pilot and David, the chief engineer, had told me that tiny cracks near the tail had spread farther than anyone imagined.
About eight months ago, although we never planned it, we had gone through the Nios meteor belt, a shorter route, and steroid dust smashed against the hull. During that time, we accelerated and decelerated many times, pushing the ship’s limits. After leaving Nios, everyone scanned many rooms, some halls and portions of the hull, searching for any hull damage. At first, no one spotted any cracks.
I entered my office, sat down and thought about one of our passengers, the most mysterious entity among us, a seven-foot-tall humanoid name UE. When I was on Blue 5.1, an EMPE officer named James told me that members of UE’s race, the Dcou, had spoken to EMPE management. The Dcou said that UE wanted his privacy kept intact while on Exp One.
James insisted that if any member of the crew spoke to the humanoid, they had to address him as UE. No other name was acceptable. James added that I needed to hold a meeting and share this information regarding the humanoid with the entire crew, because everyone aboard needed to understand that none of them could ask UE a question about anything or greet him unless the humanoid himself said otherwise. We held the meeting. Everyone reluctantly agreed.
Eight months ago, after speaking to the crew about UE’s privacy, I heard stories. The humanoid was walking around the halls, checking telescopes, spectrometers, database files, medical records and software. Although the crew didn’t like it, they couldn’t ask him a single question.
I waved my hand over the monitor and the missing crew’s names and records scrolled by. It was amazing to see how many hours they put in. They wanted to make sure that everything on the ship operated smoothly.
Then I thought about Sam, our on-board experienced dentist. She also prepared meals, supervised nutrition and kept track of medical records. Sam never called attention to her skills. She just performed each duty without fanfare, never complained about the lack of equipment or not having enough fresh food.
According to other pages, everyone was pitching in, trying to make this mission easier. I needed to thank them at our next meeting. Then I started thinking about the missing crew.
Larry, a computer scientist with years of experience, had studied satellite, spectrometer and interferometric telescope maintenance.
A few weeks ago, Bette, a Nutritionist, a woman with an extensive background in amino acids and the long term effects of vitamins, sent emails, messages telling me that the crew needed more exercise.
Wanda, a Nurse, talked to Jen and Thomas every few days.
Seth, a physicist who spent just about every waking moment examining the ship’s dosimeters, dynameters and declinometers, usually spoke with Roger and Jen.
The only missing crew member I knew well was Dr. Marie Nriwo, a woman with a doctorate in photonic computer languages, a scientist who was well versed in the computer languages GD and MC. An image of a smiling lady with red hair entered my thoughts. Perhaps she had crawled into an escape hatch and ejected.
The conference would take place in Room two. Alan, the co-pilot, would fly Exp One during the meeting.
Although I was the captain, everyone aboard was bright. None of them needed much supervision. Nonetheless, listening to Sam and other member of the crews was my responsibility.
I sipped coffee, hoping that my discussion with her would be short. I didn’t talk to Sam often. She spent most of her free time with David, the IT Director, a man who knew more about our servers than anyone else aboard.
Sam came from Frchi, a town in the Hoom desert, a war zone. A tall slender woman and a member of the Sian race, Sam rarely smiled.
“Hi.” Sam plopped down, an irritated expression on her face.
“So, what’s up?”
“I have several complaints. I’ll get right to it.”
“Okay. I’m listening.”
“Who is this UE character anyway?” Sam hollered. “As far as I can tell, he never cleans, talks or makes any attempt to acknowledge anybody. That’s what I hear from David, Jen and some other crew. He’s a pain in the ass! I make meals, track nutrition, take blood pressure and x-ray teeth. Every crew member helps. UE doesn’t do a fucking thing. I’ve seen him look at database files and studying spectrometers. Does he know what he’s doing?
“I’ve brought meals to him many times. He never says thank you. What gives him the right to be so rude? He doesn’t seem to be accountable or care about anyone,” Sam said.
“I understand. You know what EMPE expects.”
“Although I know about their policy, I don’t trust that UE character.” She banged her fist on table. “Can’t you talk to him, force him to co-operate?”
to him. The problem is I can’t
him to do anything.”
She frowned. “Okay, but I don’t trust him. I’ve lived in a war zone, know how to use a knife. If he bothers me, I’ll stab him.”
“If UE threatens anyone, I’ll respond. In the meantime, I have to give him the same consideration I give everyone else.”
“I guess that’s your job,” Sam said in a matter-of-fact tone.
She rose and hurried off.
On a wall-mounted screen, an auburn hill in E4’s southern hemisphere enlarged, making it easier to study.
Jen’s voice came out of a wall-mounted speaker, “Greg, according to the optical interferometric telescope, eighty-one percent of this planet is covered by an ocean. Three continents are completely covered by snow and ice.
“Who lives there?”
“I don’t know yet. These are just preliminary scans.”
“Understood. We need to understand these humanoids. It’s important to know if there is a war on any of the continents.”
“Acknowledged. I’ll get back to you.”
Using spectrometers, optical interferometric telescopes and radio interferometric telescopes, Jen had mapped Brigp, Tido and Laar, three planets that orbited Alpha Centauri A, so I assumed that she would create good flight paths that would allow us to go into orbit close to our destination.
Another issue came to mind. Although Jen was experienced, our aging equipment might create artifacts, or false data. Several months after departing from Blue 5.1, four servers produced inaccurate galactic charts. Because she had dealt with this obstacle many times before, Jen used new differential equations designed to analyze chaotic movements within turbulence. As a result, all four servers generated better maps.