"Ah, this is Arula!" these were the first words Rubina said after waking up from deep sleep.
On the viewing screen, there was a large image of a beautiful planet. Rubina’s eyes were glued to that image. She was transfixed.
Her newly awakened sight was filled with the beauty and glory of the planet. It was her first close look to Arula.
The planet was almost totally surrounded by a huge blue ocean, only few large and small islands were the lands there. Unlike Earth, there is no big continent there. The planet is an ocean world, full of surprises.
She whispered to herself, "Arula! Mysterious planet! What mystery is waiting there for us?"
She looked at the blue planet, patches of white clouds around it. It was so similar to her own Earth. Still so alien!
She felt a sudden shiver. It was as if someone was watching her from the planet just like she was watching the planet. Rubina’s intelligence knew that her subconscious mind was tricking her, but the feeling was so deep and so vivid that she couldn’t resist. She gave in and endured the mixture of fear and love, agony and ecstasy. The planet was taking her into the spell.
Earth-people named this planet Arula. Arula is orbiting a star named Gihon. These names were given to honor the names of the first discoverers. Gihon is two thousand light-years away from our solar system. Unlike our Sun, Gihon is a blue star, of much higher temperature. So the color of the sunshine is bluish here, not the golden sunshine seen on Earth.
Arula’s orbit is much larger than that of Earth. So the hot Gihon’s light and heat do not cause damage, but rather reaches the surface of the planet as life-giving light and heat.
Two thousand light-years means running at the speed of light, it takes two thousand years to reach Arula from Earth. But it took only a few seconds for Rubina and her fellow explorers to reach the spot near Arula. How?
They came through the tunnel of space-time, so they didn't have to move through our familiar three dimensional space. That space-time tunnel connected Earth and Arula through hyperspace.
This is how people travel to distant planets nowadays, without which it would be almost impossible for humans to cover huge distances in space, even high-speed spacecraft would take tens of thousands of years. So nowadays, all long journeys use hyperdrive. The technology of moving through the tunnels of space-time is known as the hyperdrive.
Before this one, there were several missions to Arula from Earth. The first one was about five years ago. The members of that expedition were the first to collect the direct evidence that the planet's environment is beautiful, perfectly fit for human habitation. Most importantly, the planet has the similar biodiversity as Earth, but there is no intelligent lifeforms and their civilization on the planet. At least those explorers did not find any evidence of any civilization.
Then another team arrived three years ago. That team observed that there are some abandoned cities on the planet. In those cities, large stone houses are all empty, without any inhabitants.
The third group came about one year before this team. There were five in that previous team. None of them went back to Earth. The last news they sent was that they were going towards the mountains to see an abandoned city.