Tales of Deepspace

A webserial set in a lost sector of space.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

S1E1: Distress Signal

Space.

An infinite void filled with infinite amounts of matter, an infinite number of stars, an infinite number of planets. It expands far beyond the mind's capacity to grasp, beyond even what science can grasp. It has no edge, no center. Even the biggest attempts at stellar mapping, mapping out galaxies, only cover small expanses of space.

Space is not filled in the most general sense, however. Space is an infinite void, literally millions of miles between any recognizable clumps of stuff. It takes light, the fastest moving thing known in this dimension, time to travel through space.

Yet to mankind, space is not just an infinite void. It is an infinite void with infinite potential. To man, their beautiful planet of Earth was not enough. They wanted more, an infinite universal empire spanning the infinite reaches of space itself! Man's ultimate conquest, to win that which is unwinnable, to conquer that which is unconquerable, and to settle that which is unsettleable!

In the late 21st century, mankind launched great fleets into space. They terraformed their nearest neighbor, a red planet called Mars. The mission was a success, and soon, nations arose on that planet as well. Mankind spread like wildfire throughout their solar system, conquering moons and planets alike.

But even nine planets and the star Sol were not enough. They spread out farther, and with the discovery of extradimensional travel, farther still, to their neighbors, Proxima Centauri, Centauri A, and Centuari B. With the further development of new hyperdrive systems, they could spread farther than ever before.

However, they lacked the communication needed to keep the empire alive. It soon crumbled into rebel states, and war erupted throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Billions were eradicated by new weapons of war, entire planets scorched as battle fleets tore through the galaxy.

In one battle, known to some as the Battle of Ursa Minor, an imperial carrier ship known as the Alexandria was struck by a heavy missile fire to one of its three core engines. Following a power failure on board, the other two engines kicked into hyperdrive, and the ship blasted into unknown space, taking its thousands of people with it.

For years, the men and women aboard the ship struggled to regain control, but to no avail. The ship blasted out of the Milky Way and into the infinite void of space. When it finally crash landed, out of sheer luck, onto an Earthlike planet, the survivors salvaged what they could from the wreckage. They had no way of contacting home, and built their own nations here, across planets.

They found that the realm, now called Deepspace, was anchored around a supermassive black hole called The Maw. Sucking and pulling, it enveloped the entire area in an asteroid field one hundred light-years across. There was no way, it seemed, to escape. For hundreds of years they lived and died alone, building and destroying, waging war and making peace.

But now, in the infinite reaches of space, in the realm of Deepspace, circling The Maw, orbiting a sun, above a planet, on a moon, and in a military base, a signal was blinking.


Kiah sat in his chair. Graveyard shift, again. Admittedly, there were worse jobs in the military, like those who had to examine the results of weapons tests, or having to fight the rebels from the self-proclaimed Hourglass Republic, but still, he probably had the most boring job of all. Watching computer screens, every night, in boring old Station 7.

Still, he had to admit that his commanding officer was looking out for him. Straight from New Earth, he had ordered a padded chair with wheels for Kiah to use in his graveyard shift, making it so that he didn't even have to stand as he stared blankly at all of the computer screens, examining to make sure that everything was going just fine.

The screens, as always, were blank. Well, not quite. There was the standard green line across each one, unwavering, boring as always. Every bloody night, Kiah had to sit there, watching the screens, watching for the distress signals. Like that would ever happen. Station 7 was too remote from any fighting to see any military bases get taken, instead, it just monitored the various scientific research stations. Who would want to attack those? Of course, there were the rumors, the rumors that some scientists in various systems had found signs of former intelligent life in the system, but who would want to attack over that?

So Kiah wheeled around more, staring at the screens, the bloody screens with the bloody green line. And there, in front of the largest computer read-out, and the only one not running a monochrome monitor, was the red button. The bloody red button that they had always said to press if a signal went off. Of course, it never did. Stupid red button.

The monitor itself was uninteresting. It was on, but didn't have anything on it. It was for important read-outs, for reading the details of a distress signal, if one would somehow happen to go off. Not that one would.

Pushing off with his legs, Kiah sailed back down in front of the terminals. Suddenly, something caught his eye. One of the green lines wasn't a green line. It was a green spike, blinking, trying to catch his attention. A signal was going off.

Kiah wasn't worried, after all, what would attack Station 7's territory? Looking at the read-out, he read the station's name reporting distress. Station Mnemosyne, S-156. He had never heard of it, but then again, it wasn't like he sat there and read the damn name plates every night. No, he had better things to do, like contemplate his navel.

He wheeled over to the main read-out, and flipped the switch labeled "S-156". The monitor flashed to feedback, and then the broken face of a scientist appeared. All he could hear was loud background noise, so he flipped another switch, letting the computer try to turn what it could into text. And this was what appeared:

"* Mnemosyne * * * * * oxygen leak * Maw * * charged * information * Riilan * bridge gone * * * requesting –"

An explosion rocked the bridge, and the man's face suddenly changed to horror. He began floating up to the ceiling, gasping for air. The room was depressurizing, and fast. Kiah knew it was too late, especially as another explosion rocked the bridge. The monitor changed to two words, white, against a black screen:

MESSAGE TERMINATES

Kiah slammed his hand on the red button.

2 Comments:

At 2:22 PM, Blogger BookBabe said...

Just a little thing, but your belly button is your "navel" - whereas "naval" refers to things having to do with the Navy.

 
At 6:15 PM, Blogger quiggy said...

So it would seem. Thanks.

 

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