Doctor Baptiste LaCroix Eos II Scouting Mission: 1 hour before planetfall
Looking around, I saw all sorts of faces. Men and women from nearly every walk of life. Worried faces, vacant faces, smiling faces. One of the men even cackled hysterically as what started out as mild turbulence became increasingly violent.
People clenched to anticipate every bump and jerk, gritted their teeth, shut their eyes tight. And others were at peace, clearly miles away. And they flowed in unison with each harsh movement the ship shook. Like the captain, whom I had the pleasure to sit with. I wasn’t one of the zen masters, but I was calm, patient, and confident our plight would end. Certain even, that our flight crew would stabilise the Blue Hornet, and land us safely down.
I wasn’t as used to space hopping as most of the crew or the 326th, but I’d seen my fair share of far-off worlds. And not just Venus or Ganymede. Alien planets like Tithonus V and Ourea III as well. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why I was requested for this mission. For my field experience. My formal training. And everyone else with a brain just half the size of mine would probably crack under the pressure. But that’s just one of the reasons. I already knew the main one. Loyalty.
Unlike so many others, I had never lost sight of, never strayed from, the mandate of the Earth Directorate. What are ethics and religious values compared to the betterment of mankind? Autonomy compared to unity? People claimed not to trust the intentions of the EDEF, thinking those in charge were two-faced bureaucrats who desired power. True, there were politicians who merely sought to control the masses. But most were entrepreneurs, who wanted to arm mankind with knowledge and to seek further enlightenment across the universe. Who governed with a heavy hand only to keep the peace. Due thanks in part to numerous mega-corporations like Orochi, Mars Industries, or Xenocorp.
I shifted in my seat again, rocking back and forth now, as if the cradle was about to fall, the roller coaster had become so vicious. It felt as if my seat straps would rip, or the bolts holding down my chair would suddenly come loose. But it never did. Yes, we moved as if we were riding into a hurricane. Like every planetfall. Though it was perhaps not as tumultuous as entry into the atmosphere of Memnon I. I remember the metal hull warping under the intense pressure and melting in the excruciating heat. Thinking all that before ultimately being eviscerated. Have my skin shredded of, my bones ground and scattered along the planet's surface. That was not the case here. I heard the ship moan as it resisted the forces whipping against it, but they were nowhere near as severe as my last endeavour.
And that man continued to chuckle as if someone told a joke. Of course no one had said a word. But I think I knew the punch line.