Crew Member Video Log: Laklyn McCallister
Vessel: U.S.S. Icarus
Location: Jupiter, High Orbit
Date/Time: 09/03/2036, 0839 EST
“At this point I don’t even know what we’re doing out here anymore. Captain Ido is determined to kill us all, I swear. Headquarters has been clearing us for weeks to return to Mars for refueling but he is becoming absolutely obsessed with whatever the long distance scanners picked up just beyond Jupiters horizon. On the record, it is my professional opinion that the scanners are pinging an undiscovered asteroid or comet. Off the record, I think that Ido has lost his damn mind. Honestly, I’m not just speaking for myself here when I say that I want to go home. I miss my daughter. I miss my husband. There are twenty of us piled into a three hundred square foot metal tube that's just been hovering over a gas giant for months. We’re tired. We’re homesick. And we’re even sort of worried for Idos mental health. If the calculations are correct, today should be the day that Idos mysterious space rock peeks over the horizon and whizzes right past us. I hope to God he doesn’t put me out there with the camera. I hate space walking. The last time I was out there I threw up in my helmet. It was anything but a good time. Anyway, I better get back to work and let the next guy make his log. Chloe, mommy loves you! Make sure that daddy has the house cleaned up when mommy comes home, okay sweetie? See you both soon!”
Laklyn smiled brightly into the camera as the little red light flickered off. Her reflection in the black screen caught her eye just before she pushed herself away from the computer. She barely recognized herself. Cheeks that once gleaned with life were now gaunt and pale, dark circles hid just under her eyes and her once light brown hair was now nearly black from the lack of sunlight aboard the ship. She grabbed her loose hair as it waved behind her and pinned it up with a hairbow.
“Hurry up McCallister!” Ido said as he beat on the door. “There’s still six more out here waiting to record their logs!”
Laklyn floated herself to the door, “Sorry sir.” she said as she slid it open. “I got carried away.”
Ido tapped his wrist, “You know that we only have thirty seconds a piece for our logs. The ship is almost out of bandwidth!” he said.
“I know sir, it’s just…”
“Report to the observation deck immediately.” said Ido. “Lieutenant Bowers has an assignment for you.”
“Right away, sir.” Laklyn said as she saluted her superior. She pulled herself along the rafters down the hallway. This better not be what I think it is… she thought to herself anxiously. She left a trail of sweat droplets in her wake as she came up on the observation deck, Son of a... she thought as she entered the room.
“Lead engineer McCallister!” Bowers yelled. “Looks like you lucked out. How good are you with a camera?” he said with a crooked smile on his smug face.
“Does captain Ido remember what happened the last time I went out there?” Laklyn said.
“We all do. Ido and I came to the conclusion however that you are the most qualified for such an endeavor.” Bowers said.
Laklyn snatched the camera out of his hands, “Yeah. Bullshit.” she said as she made her way to the spacesuits that hung on the wall.
Bowers grinned, “It’s the truth though.” he said.
“Truth.” Laklyn chuckled. “The truth is that I’m the only one who isn’t scared of going out there when we’re so close to Jupiter. It would be such a shame if you or captain Ido got caught in the gravity stream wouldn’t it? I can just imagine the horrendous cries on the radio.”
“You watch your mouth!” Bowers said. “I’m your commanding officer!”
“I would apologize but I’m just not that sorry.” Laklyn said as she slipped into her spacesuit.
“Just be out there ready to capture some images of the object by o-nine hundred.” Bowers said. “And leave the attitude in here where you found it.”
“Sir yes sir!” Laklyn said as she strapped her helmet onto her suit.
Bowers huffed and puffed as he left Laklyn alone on the observation deck. She booted up her helmet's HUD and waited for the airlock to pressurize. Once the airlock was ready Idos voice echoed through the halls of the ship, “McCallister, you may now enter the airlock.” he said.
“Here we go.” said Laklyn as she floated steadily into the airlock and sealed the door shut behind her. She turned herself around and looked outside the small window on the airlock. She couldn’t see much, only the helm of the ship and the sun peeking out behind Jupiter. Laklyn looked up at the camera in the corner of the airlock and gave it a thumbs up. She was as ready as she’d ever be.
“Initiating depressurization in the airlock in three...two...one…” Ido said as a thick steam filled the airlock.
Laklyn wiped the outside of her helmet with a dangy orange rag as the airlock opened. The light of the sun was so overwhelming that she had to put the rag over her visor as she reached out and grabbed for the ladder. When she finally found the ladder she clenched down and pulled herself close to it. “Just breathe.” she said to herself as she scaled along the ship.
“McCallister, can you hear me?” Idos voice echoed inside her helmet.
“Yes.” Lalkyn said. “Sadly, I can hear you.”
“Glad to know that you’re still breathing.” Ido said. “You’ll need to position yourself on the edge of the ship. I want a clear image of this thing. We’re about to establish a connection with NASA. They want to watch as well.”
“Is Rory watching?” Laklyn said.
“I’m not sure.” said Ido. “I’ll check when we get them on the line. Just take your time. We have about seven minutes until the object reaches us.”
“Ten-four.” Laklyn said as she crawled along the outside of the ship.
Ido turned to his crew on the bridge, “Have we established contact?” he asked his communications technician.
“Yes sir.” the technician said. “We have doctor Ashad Aledeen on the line.”
“Good morning Captain Ido.” Ashad said. “I hope you didn’t get us all up this early on a sunday morning to observe a simple meteor.”
Ido cleared his throat, “I assure you that this is no simple meteor doctor Aledeen.” he said. “It’s dimensions are too complex.”
“Let’s see what we’re dealing with then. Carry on.” Ashad said.
Ido connected the camera feed back to earth and focused on Laklyn as she neared her position on the edge of the Icarus. “Is Rory watching or not, captain Ido?” Laklyn asked as she hooked the camera to a white metal beam.
“He is.” Ido said. “Would you like me to connect him to our coms?”
“Yes please.” Laklyn said.
Ido nodded at his communications technician as the object's shadow appeared in the distance. “Babe, can you hear me?” Rory’s voice emerged from the static in Laklyn’s ear.
“You have no idea how good it feels to hear your voice right now.” Laklyn said with tears pooling in her eyes.
“I think I might have a pretty good idea, beautiful.” Rory said with a warm tone.
Laklyn readied herself to capture some images of the object as it entered her view, “Are you guys seeing this?” she said to anyone that could hear her.
Ido squinted his eyes as the object appeared to slow down, “That’s not possible.” he said. “What is the object's trajectory?”
“The object seems to be losing speed, fast.” one of the crew members said. “It also appears to be…”
“Oh my God…” Laklyn said in terror.
Not a single soul could muster the strength to speak as they saw the mysterious object with their own eyes. It was clear to them that it was not an asteroid or comet. It was another vessel, except it was definitely from beyond earth. It appeared oblong in shape yet seemed to have many ripples all along its surface as if it were covered in living water. It approached the Icarus and her crew, completely changing its previous course in the process. “McCallister…” Ido said with fear on his tongue. “Get back on the ship. Now.”
Laklyn wasted no time. She turned her back to the alien craft and darted through the void of space in a desperate bid for survival. The camera was left unsecured to the beam and drifted off towards the outlandish ship.
“Honey.” Rory said into Laklyns ear. “Just breathe.”
Rory could hear her panicked breath as he spoke. He knew she had never been this scared in her life. Ido gulped as the camera silently floated towards the mysterious spaceship. It was bound to bump into its nose momentarily.
“Captain Ido.” Ashad said. “It is my suggestion that you retreat immediately. We do not know the intentions of this craft.”
Rory shot up from his seat, “Absolutely not!” he roared. “My wife is still out there!”
“There are many more souls aboard the Icarus other than your wife, mister McCallister.” said Ashad. “They need to save themselves.”
The piloting crew of the Icarus awaited Idos order eagerly as he watched Laklyn race back to the airlock. His heart was heavy with the decision before him, “Retreat.” he said to his crew.
“No!” Rory cried as a security officer held him down in his chair.
The crew of the Icarus obeyed their captain. Laklyn pushed herself towards the airlock as the redhot engines ignited behind her. “I’m nearly there! Don’t leave!” she begged. Just as her hand brushed the airlock the Icarus blasted off. She watched in utter dread as her captain, her crew and her own country left her stranded in the cold clutches of space. “How could you do this? How could you leave me?” she burst into tears.
“I am truly sorry, Laklyn…” Ido said with his head down. “I wish that I…”
As Ido spoke a burst of light flashed before Laklyns eyes. Suddenly, she was struck by an energy wave of the likes she’d never felt. The lone astronaut spiraled around without control as the fading screams of her crewmates haunted her helmet.
“Laklyn!” Rory's faint voice still scratched her ear. “Baby! Answer me!”
Her head pounded as she tried to level herself out, “Rory?” she said softly.
“Honey, I need you to listen to me.” Rory said. “What do you see? I need you to tell us what you see.”
She opened her eyes to survey her surroundings, “Nothing.” she said. “The Icarus… it’s gone. They’re all gone…”
“That simply can’t be.” Ashad pushed Rory to the side and leaned into the microphone. “There has to be something.”
“Wait.” Laklyn said. “I think I see the Icarus.”
Ashad displayed her helmet cameras live feed to the entire room as she looked around in the debris. “Honey…” Rory cried as he put his face down on the desk.
The only thing left of the Icarus was its hull. Small bits and pieces floated all around. But nothing significant enough to bring Laklyn home. “I’m so cold…” Laklyn said as she drifted through the wreckage.
Rory looked up at the display with steaming tears in his eyes. He opened his mouth to speak but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t say a word.
“Her vitals are dropping…” Ashad said. “We need to inform the president immediately.”
“What about my wife?” Rory said.
“Sadly there is nothing we can do. She is three hundred and sixty million miles away. I’m sorry…” Ashad said.
“You’re sorry?” Rory said. “That’s all you have to say to me? My wife is out there! Alone! We have a four year old daughter sitting at home who hasn’t seen her mother in two years and that’s the best you can do? You’re sorry?”
“Rory…” Laklyn’s ever dimming voice said to the room.
“Yes baby. I’m right here.” Rory abandoned his rage and nestled up next to the microphone.
“Will you tell Chloe that her mommy loves her so very much?” Laklyn said.
“I will.” Rory sobbed. “Honey I don’t have the words…”
“I know…” Laklyn said as she struggled to breathe. “Do you remember that song you used to sing to me? When we first had Chloe?”
“How could I forget?”
“Will you sing it to me?”
Rory sat upright and wiped the tears from his eyes, “I… love you forever. Forever and always. Please just remember, even if I’m not there. I’ll always love you. Forever and always…”
“Forever and always…” Laklyn said as she closed her eyes. The communications fell silent as static overtook the room. Rory fell back into his chair. Never in his life had he experienced such a throbbing pain in his heart.
“Doctor Aledeen, look!” an intern said as she pointed at the screen.
Although Laklyn had slipped calmly into her last rest, her camera's view still displayed in the room. In the distance near Jupiter there emerged countless oblong stillhoutes that followed behind the alien craft.
“How…” Rory choked on his own words. “How many are there?”
“There’s thousands of them…” Ashad said as he dropped his phone to the ground.
“Sir…” the intern's voice shook. “It appears they’re heading this way…”
Rory gazed up at the screen where his wife's body fell gently into the atmosphere of Jupiter. His heart sank into his stomach, “They’re coming…” he said.