The fogs of Titan.
"Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say." That was my thought as I looked out the viewport at the expanse of space. I was nervous about the mission a four year trip there and after a year a four year trip back. If the rocketship malfunctioned and broke apart no one would hear me scream for help.
"Sir it is time for your slumber" A woman's voice spoke. It was the onboard computer Susan.
She would be the navigator on this flight and would monitor me and my companions vital signs during the trip. She kept in constant contact with earth during the mission. I looked at the monitor with a smiling woman's face looking back at me.
Sometimes I would forget she was just a computer not a real human being. She was like a friend to me my wife had died, and Susan became a good friend.
"Alright Susan I am ready" my capsule wich was next to my crew mates opened up.
I looked at the other two capsules my crew mates were fast asleep for their long nap. I could not see either of them as the glass top was frosted. I lay on a nice comfortable special bed. I looked down at my arm as a needle came out from the side and injected me.
Soon I would be in peaceful slumber I was already feeling the effects of the sedative. A vinyl like bag zipped up to me head it would fully cover me when I fell asleep protecting my body from the cold. "Goodnight sir" Susan's comforting voice said
"goodnight" I replied.
"Sir it is time to wake up" my eyes opened the room seemed to spin as I felt dizzy. "Do not worry sir what you are feeling is normal after four years of sleep.
"We have arrived we are now in Saturns orbit en route to the moon Titan" Susan announced. My vision finally cleared as I got my bearings straight.
A four year journey to Saturn and it only seemed to take a second I looked out the now open capsule. I was amazed four years in cryogenic hibernation it was not cold like I thought it would be. "Thank you Susan for getting us here safe", "your welcome" she replied.
I sat up in the capsule and looked out of the large viewport window. My mouth dropped at the beauty and splendor of the ringed planet. I had seen many pictures of the planet in school. I had looked through the most powerful telescopes. Nothing prepared me for how majestic the spectacular planet was.
"Sir do you want me to wake up the others?"
I nodded at the computer screen on the wall. "Yes Susan please do" there was a hum and the other two capsules opened with a hiss. I felt a chill as the cold air come out of the capsules. Then within seconds the cold was replaced with warm air as my companions opened there eyes.
Denise a blonde haired blue eyed twenty five year old woman opened her eyes. Darius a dark haired brown eyed thirty- year -old African-American man opened his eyes. Now that I thought of it she was twenty-nine and he was thirty-four! They of course had not aged nor had I during our long nap. I waited for them to get there bearings straight. I smiled at them "well sleepy heads it's about time you got up." "I mean come on four years asleep seriously?" I said laughing.
Denise stuck out her tongue and Darius just rolled his eyes at me "your'e such a jerk Drake" he said.
I laughed as they sat up on there beds getting there bearings straight. After several minutes they were on there feet Denise let out a yawn. 'I am hungry" she complained
"no worries I have breakfast ready.
To my surprise there was a table set with coffee, pancakes, eggs and spam? "You made spam?" I said shocked "that disgusting meat never expires" I complained. Despite that we all enjoyed breakfast it did feel good to eat again.
"Sir I contacted earth and let them know of our arrival we should hear back in an hour or so."
"That is good news how soon do we reach our target?" I asked.
"we should be be there in four hours sir."
I could not help but to smile I and my crew mates had made a lot of sacrifices for this mission. I broke up with my girlfriend, Denise and Darius called of there relationships as well.
Our love of the exploration of the unknown was intriguing and outweighed any relationships. Not to mention a total of nine years away from earth would be too much to ask someone to wait. Even with Susan flying the ship and all the safety protocols done it was a dangerous mission.
This would be the first manned mission to Titan the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere. It had a thick orange- golden atmosphere you could not see the surface from space. There were several probes that landed on the surface. The surface of the moon -290 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to our warm suits we would not become icicles.
The surface of the moon is rocky with hills and canyons, rivers and lakes made from liquid methane. Because of the extreme cold methane turns into a liquid. Despite several probes landing on the moon little was discovered. Hence our mission I was excited to see what we would find on such a fascinating moon.
There was weather there as well it even stormed and rained liquid methane. I was excited to get on the surface and walk around. We had a land vehicle to ride in as well. I could not wait to see the lakes and rivers. It would be neat to see some fish.
I looked at my companions while we ate "we forgot our fishing poles" I joked. Denise and Darius laughed.
"I guess we should turn back and get them" Denise said.
"I am afraid that will not be possible it would jeopardize the mission" Susan said.
We all laughed Susan was not perfect and sometimes her programming could not tell if a joke was said or not.
"Oh It was a joke" susan laughed which made us laugh louder.
After breakfast we looked over our notes for the mission we also looked at news reports from earth. It was amazing a lot can happen in four years.
"sir I have just received a message from earth.
"Put it on screen I said a woman appeared on screen.
I did not recognize the woman it wasn't president of space operations Nick Talon. "Hello I am Amanda Dawn I am the new president I am sorry you were expecting Nick. I hate to bring you bad news but Nick died of a heart attack last year." We all looked at the screen in shock all three of us teared up. Nick was not just our boss but a good friend.
"I know this is hard news to swallow but we must move forwards for that is what Nick would want us to do. I hope I can earn your trust and respect that you had for Nick. I hope I can do half of what that man did and will live up to your expectations. I hear you are almost to Titan I look forward to hearing what you find there."
The video winked out we all hugged and sobbed we needed to get it out for we needed to be focused. After several minutes we were ready to continue on our mission.
"Sir we will reach Titan in one hour" we all looked out the viewport. In the distance was the mysterious moon Titan, in all its orange-gold splendor.
"What secrets do you hold Titan what lies beneath that thick atmosphere?" I asked.
The hour went by fast as we got our space suits on and strapped ourselves in.
"We are entering Titan's atmosphere" Susan announced. The blackness of space gave way to the gold orange atmosphere of Titan.
I smiled as our ship was buffeted as we entered the heat shields protecting us from the flames of entering. If the calculations were correct we would land on solid ground. Our ship buffeted again as the parachutes opened up slowing our decent.
All I could see was the dense atmosphere "we should land in about thirty minutes.
That thirty minutes seemed to take an eternity as we sat in silence.
"Landing in thirty seconds" Susan announced making my heart jump.
I looked over at my colleagues and we all smiled the atmosphere was still very thick.
Susan began the countdown "three, two, one, touchdown" she announced as we landed softly on the surface.
I could not help but to tear up Denise and Darius teared up as well. Years of planning went into this mission, and we finally made it. It was exciting we were on solid ground , and we could just make out the surface of a lake.
Well let's get ready to go" Darius said we both nodded in agreement.
Susan sent another message to earth. We still had a lot to do so we we about to embark. Amanda was on the screen again "you are about to embark on the most important mission in the history of mankind."
"Good luck and God's speed we await your findings with great excitement." We gathered our equipment
"Well Drake is the heater working?" Denise said smiling.
Darius chimed in "yeah we don't want you to freeze your rump off.
" I smiled "yeah it would make it hard to sit on the privy." We all laughed
"well you two we may not have brought our fishing poles. But we did manage to take our camera's with us let's go find something."
We made it out of the ship despite our suits keeping us warm I could feel the oppressive cold. "I cringed at the thought of my suit failing, and the ensuing agony after. I pushed the thought away I looked up at the sky. I imagined what it would look like with a clear atmosphere. The view of saturn would be stunning to look at for sure.
After several minutes we made it to the lake it seemed strange looking at a lake made of methane not water. The lake had an odd orange shimmer to it I put my hand in the lake.
"What are you doing something might grab you we don't know what or anything is down there" Denise scolded'
"Aaaaa" I screamed, jumped back and grabbed my hand.
Then I started to laugh Denise gave me a flat look as Darius started to laugh as well. "The look on your face was priceless" I said as she slapped me behind my helmet.
It was good to laugh even though this place was amazing there was a sense of danger all around us.
"Now we were ready release the eagle" Denise nodded as the engines of a small hand held chopper fired up. "Release the Kraken" Darius nodded as he put a two foot long submarine called the kraken into the lake. Denise controlled the chopper as she watched through a monitor in her hands. Darius controlled the sub with a monitor as well. There was a split screened monitor on the ground with us.
That way I was able to see both at the same time. Even though this was going to be our home for year it was not much time really. We wanted to cover as much ground on this moon as possible. I watched in amazement as the chopper flew over the lake. I was equally amazed at the submarine it the light on the sub showed nothing yet.
An hour past as the chopper went back and forth over the lake showing just a shimmering lake. Same with the sub nothing but liquid methane. "Well my friends so far it looks dead out here." I was not surprised, and I was not disappointed this was just the beginning.
"What the heck?" Denise exclaimed "was that a splash?"
"I saw it too turn the chopper around" I said
When the chopper turned we saw a large ripple in the liquid something was alive in the lake! We all looked at each other excited at the prospect of life on another celestial body.
"How far is the sub from there" I asked
"Not far at all sir just ill turn the Sub around."
We watched in tense silence as the helicopter hovered over the location of the disturbance.
"It has arrived" Darius announced.
The camera shook
"Something swam past the sub"
Darius turned the sub there were two glowing eyes staring at the camera. It was a fish a large fish it looked like a carp. Except it was red the fish glowed like a glow stick. We all smiled I could not believe it we found life albeit a fish but life never the less.
"Well hello there smile for the camera" I said with a laugh
Then the fish was gone the camera shook violently then there was blood. we looked at each other with shocked looks on our faces.
"Well it looks like there are predators out there" Darius said with a hint of fear in his voice. The camera shook again as if someone had it in there hands.
"I have lost control of the sub" Darius cried out
The sub turned again all three of us jumped at the same time. A face appeared a hideous face. It was a green creature it had red eyes a flat nose and a mouth with pointed teeth. I looked like it had some sort of gill under its chin.
Then I noticed it had a hand, a human like hand it looked enraged at it sneered at the camera. Then the camera went dark.
"I lost the signal" Darius announced
"What sort of devilish creature is that?" Denise asked
"Nothing here on earth!" I replied.
Then we heard an bone chilling screech echo across the sky.
Suddenly the camera on the chopper started to shake and we saw another creature. The creature looked like the one in the water.
There is more than on and there flying?" Denise asked in disbelief.
The screen went blank we looked at each other in stunned silence. Then the sky was filled with inhuman screeches and screams. we all looked over the lake and the hazy sky. The sky started to get dark.
"Is there a storm coming this way?" Darius asked with fear in his voice. The screaming got louder as the sky grew darker.
Then one of them appeared in the distance it looked like it had winged arms.
"I don't think that is a storm cloud" I said as another appeared it pointed at us as it screamed.
"Run!" I yelled
We ran as fast as our feet could carry us unfortunately out suits were not made for running. I could make out out our ship in the distance. It might as well be on the other side of the moon. I looked back and there were hundreds of them.
They were getting closer I could here there arms flapping in the distance.
"I can't keep up" Denise cried I turned back and to my horror she had fallen way behind. I went to run to her then I saw it the creature swooping down at her.
"Denise drop" I cried but it was too late the creature slammed into her. Her helmet shattered I looked at her helpless as the cold rushed over her face. Her scream was cut off as the creature slammed her head into the ground.
"Drake keep running"
Darius broke me out of my shocked stupor I ran the creatures getting louder. Darius made to the entrance hatch and turned to face me.
"Hurry" he shouted
I could feel the breath of one as I reached the ramp it gabbed my arm.
"Oh no you don't" Darius screamed as he shot a flair right in its face. It howled in pain as it let go. We both fell into the ship and I hit the button closing the ramp and the door.
The ship rattled as the creatures pounded on it "Susan we have got to go" I yelled.
But sir the mission has just started" the computer objected.
"Cant you see we are being attacked?"
"Oh my" Susan said "We are being attack and are taking some damage. Where is Denise? Susan asked.
"She is dead" I said
"I see well then buckle up I will be ready to launch it thirty seconds.
"Cant you launch any faster?" I yelled as the creatures we pounding on the port window.
"Your program blah, blah, blah Just get us out of here."
Finally we took off the creatures trying to fly after us soon they were gone, and soon the atmosphere gave way to the darkness of space.
Two hours passed and Bethany appeared on the screen she frowned as I told her what happened.
"I am sorry I will inform her parents of her death, I am sorry Drake and Darius. I will inform all my constituents of what has happened I look foward to seeing you in four years."
Another hour later Darius was in his capsle having a long nap,
"Your turn sir"
I nodded as I lay down in my capsule "Goodnight sir" then sleep...
"Time to wake up sir" an unfamiliar eerie sounding voice announced.
I opened my eyes to the same familiar blur "Susan is that you? I asked in confusion.
"Yes sir it is I susan we are going to arive at earth in one hour" she said her voice sounded warped. Maybe I was just confused from the long sleep then I smelled something awful. "What is that awful smell?" I asked.
That is Darius sir" she said her voice sounding statically
"What did he do take a dump in the middle of the floor?"
"No sir he is dead."
"What I said bolting up and standing up on the floor" dizziness overtook me.
"Now sir you know better than to get up that fast" Susan scolded me still sounding strange.
I finally got my bearing straight and my eyes cleared as I stood up. I gasped as I looked at Darius's capsule it was open. There lay the decomposing body of Darius. "What on earth happened?" I asked looking around.
The chamber was dark save the glow of the monitor there was susan with a big smile on her face. The screen flickered as she spoke in that weird static voice,
"He is dead" she announced
"I can see that what in blazes happened?" I demanded
"He died" she replied
"What happned" I thought maybe some of her curuits got damaged by those creatures. Then I looked out the port window and my jaw dropped. The planet I was looking at was not earth but neptune! "Susan this is not earth but neptune"
"You are incorrect sir we are here earth."
"How long have I been asleep?"
"Four years sir"
I looked at the monitor on my capsule "ten years we have been wandering around for ten years?"
Correction sir four years, well sir we are going to enter atmosphere in thirty seconds."
"Wait we can't go there we will be crushed by the atmosphere."
"Better buckle in sir."
"Entering in three, two, one."
About the author
I am an aspiring author I am currently working on getting my first novel published. I love to write science fiction, fantasy, horror and dabble in regular fiction.and a little bit of poetry.