Ad Astra Per Aspera
To Infinity Chapter 1
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. Maybe it all depends on the person, or maybe it’s that sixth sense people call “Intuition”. All I know is on that day I heard it clear as day. Me and my partner Talisman were on the U.N.S.F DARE conducting our daily inspection of the Railguns, Chainguns, Sensors, Beacons, and Antennas for our sector. Everything was progressing as usual. No changes were visible outside of the slight icing from being in the cold void know as space, Talisman making bad jokes that I still laugh at, and then we head off to the next inspection.
We had twenty-nine inspections in total and each one normally took roughly ten to fifteen minutes depending on the equipment and if we didn’t kick rocks and actually worked. All and all we only realistically worked at most eight hours. Even so, even though we really had no reason to complain we still did. Whether it be the trivial matter of it’s been 17 years since we’ve begun the exploration of Space and not a single sign of life has been found, up to the matter of our Fleet Commander being absolutely useless., and everything in between. People say the best memories are made when multiple people are miserable, and I’m inclined to believe it as true. Me and Talisman had the grandest times up on the ships upper hull.
“Hey Ozark. You feel that?” Talisman asks as the ship rumbles and shakes slightly.
“Yeah. Must be getting to adjust our headings again. You know that unlike being inside you feel everything when we’re up here.” I reply looking over my shoulder at him as we walk to the next Railgun.
“Yeah, but that felt different you know? Like it didn’t come from the DARE.” He says looking around.
“Look man. We’re the only ones... [RUMBLE] ... the fuck?" I exclaim in surprise as the ship rocks and causes us to stumble. Thanks to magnetic boots we wouldn’t stumble completely over and fall but we would get flung around where we stood.
“See! I told you it wasn’t...”
“Wasn’t wha.. [aaaaaaaaahhhhh... ruuuuuuun...] ...” I turn around and start to ask what he was going to say but instead I just see his legs from the knees down. I look all around for him. I hear his voice, but I didn’t see him. Our voice chat was set to local so that meant he was at least within 5 meters. Then I look above me and see his body being pulled along by an exceedingly fast object. It was then the last thing he said hit me. I turn around and run as fast as possible to the closest maintenance hatch.
That’s when something in the back of my mind said to turn around. I stop and look over my should and just barely saw it. The bright blue flash that stood out against the black void. And that’s when it happened. [BOOM] [CREEEK] [KABOOM]. The ship almost completely caves in on itself as an unknown projectile punches straight through the center of the ship, but then internal explosion causes it to split outwards. I immediately turn and attempt to run. [CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNK] my heavy magnetic boots hitting the ground was quickly shut out by the sound explosions. I look over my shoulder and see pieces of the ship being ripped up from explosions and quickly catching up to me.
I try to run even faster despite knowing how futile the effort was. “WAAAAAAAAAH!”
I can’t help but scream as I feel the thick metal slam into me and throw me into the gravity less abyss known as Space. I flail about helplessly, desperately feeling for something, anything to save me. I look back to the ship just in time to see it implode on itself. While I was mesmerized by the sight of the last time, I would ever see the United Nations Space Force’s Infinite Class Battleship as it is lost in a blinding flash of light. That was when the fast-moving chunk of titanium steel slams right into me.
[WHOOOOOOSH, KASPLASH, Crunch]
[Beep, Beep, Beep]
As my vision fades in and out I slowly turn my head side to side and try to assist my vision in returning.
[Beep, Beep, Beep]
As the beeping continues, I realize my suits helmet was breached and at -125 seconds and still counting down. Seeing as how that “0” was when oxygen was completely depleted, and I was at -135 seconds and not suffocating I decided to take it off. [PATISSSS] the hiss indicates the seal is broken and I can remove my helmet. The air was thick. Not thick enough to interfere with breathing but thick enough to know it would take some time getting used to.
My entire body was hurting. I smelt burnt plastic and steel. I look around and gather my bearing. I had no idea how I survived the fall, but I guess the river was soft and deep enough to spare me. I sigh and scoop up some of the water in my hand and take a drink. It was bitter but I was thirsty, so I drank more. I look up and the fact that the U.N.S.F DARE was gone sinks fully in as I see pieces of it entering into the atmosphere in all the fiery glory. The memories of all the good and bad rush into my mind at once and before they take over, I shake them away. The first thing I needed to do was survive. I look around and see a smoke plume some ways away. I break out the glass from my helmet and use it as a knife to mark what I assumed to be trees as I make my way to the smoke.
I don’t know how much time passed but I finally arrive at the crash site. It was a 991 Indiana-Class Huntsmen. I walk over to the massive ship and to my surprise there was no crew or bodies on board. The only signs that there was someone on board was the cockpit and the sickening sight of a blood-soaked dashboard and seats. The blood was still fresh which meant whatever was here was still nearby. I run a diagnostic and learn that aside from the engine and wings being completely busted the ship itself was still livable. I close the rear bay door and walk over to the mobile armory.
Just as I hoped there was a nice arsenal inside. I had a M90 Battle Rifle, two 7.57 Signa Sidearms, a High Explosive Rocket Launcher, and a 120 Radeon 5x13 chain gun. Ammo was pretty decent too. I had 1,000 rounds for everything except for the Launcher. I had 10 of those. I switch to battle gear and walk towards the rear bay door. I knew something was following me on my way here and also something was waiting for me to let it in. I couldn’t see them but the insect like chattering was enough for me to know they were there. I look out the portside window which was pointed into the air and watch as an unfamiliar ship is shot down by one of my people's ships before going down into the forest filled mountain with a trail of smoke.
I get to the door and find the insect like chattering has increased. I crack a small smile, rack a round into the chamber, and open the bay door.