No choice

  "Alright. One planet dead ahead. Nitro/oxy atmosphere. 1.63 times norm, damn that's not good. Gonna eat a lot of fuel we can't afford. Scanning for landing sites."

  "Main engines off, lines purged and capped. Orbital thrusters coming on line now. I'll try to coast her in as much as I can to save on fuel. Likely be a bit bumpy."

  "Scans coming in now. Lets see... 3 main land masses and hundreds of mid to small islands. Islands appear to be mostly inactive volcanic cones. Ok computer eliminates 90% of the islands as possible landing sites. Too steep, no level landing zones.

  "Land mass designate 'A'. Straddles the equator. One side is all jungle looks like some real heavy growth and tons of life signs. Make that life signs that weigh a ton or ten. Some pretty big readings there and lots of them. Computer can't get accurate readings due to the rainforest. Suggest extreme caution. A mountian ridge... oh make that volcanic active mountains split the continent in half, the other side appears to be mostly desert almost lifeless.

  "Aproaching planet and entering orbit. I can hold orbit for 20 cycles before I have to use any fuel Captian."

  "Land mass designate 'B'. Hmm looks good. A mix of decidous forest, open plains no active volcanos. Bio signs.... yes looks like the largest is just under a ton. Computer says a herd animal, likely migratory. That means hot/cold seasons in my book."

  "Main engine exhaust ports are closed and locked. Landing gear shows green across the board. Artificial gravity turning down, estimated complete shutdown... 2 minutes. Strap yourself in."

  "Land mass designate 'C' smallest of the three. One end passes just north of the equator although most land mass is south. We have one... two active volcanoes at the extreme south tip almost at the polar circle. Life signs... mostly herd animals and...AHHH!"

  Sparks flew and smoke poured from under the consoule. The Pilot threw his hands up to protect his face. Another small 'POP' and more sparks flew. The Capt. unbuckled to find the artifical grav was almost off. Not enough gravity to walk, but too much to float. He pushed himself straight up and then off the roof at an angle towards the fire extinguisher. He almost over shot it and managed to grab it one handed before he lightly thumped on the deck. He spun around in time to see the Pilot do a backflip out and over his seat. The sparks had stopped but something was still smoking under the consoule. He gathered his feet and pushed off the wall, extinguisher held in front. He sailed between the command chairs braked with one hand on the consoule. He ducked under and had a look. The smoke had pretty much stopped and he could see there was no chance of fire.

  "Are you alright?" There was no reply. " Pilot! Report!" He turned to his friend and partner. He could see minor burns on the side of the man's head, but at least he was standing. That was a good sign... well better than he was expecting with the luck they been having lately.

  "I'm all right. I'm all right." Pilot stood squinting,blinking one eye. Quite a bit of hair had been singed and the left eyebrow was missing. "Just a mild flash burn. I'm seeing spots, but that will pass."

  By now artifical grav was fully off. A cloud smoke from charred circuits and burnt hair drifted around the cabin. He floated up to join his captain at the now semi powered main consoule.

  "Damn, that's not good. We're definitely losing orbit."

The End

3 comments about this story Feed