Mathew Sanderson, Captain of the HMS Bounty space ship looked out the window at the golden covered surface of the planet Cirinius, some fifty thousand kilometres below them in the Pegasus system. After ten years of planning, and some six long months in space, stored in cryogenic chambers, we humans had finally arrived at our chosen planet.
Astronauts: Marcus, the expedition leader, along with Caroline, Phil and Ralph had been launched in their shuttle, our short-range space craft, to orbit the planet, waiting for the signal, that it was safe to land.
“Looks like the relay satellite is working,” commented Phil, seeing the lights on the control panel light up. Their first major task had been to deploy a communications satellite into the planet’s orbit.
Cirinius was almost twice the size of Earth; the long horizon, mountains and rocks dotted across the snow covered landscape. With the satellite in orbit, surface communications had been enhanced to cover a larger area, and was able to communicate with Earth, instead of piggy backing its way back using radio waves.
“Good to know everything appears to be working,” Ralph spoke to himself as he uploaded the video feed with NASA, as they came online.
“HMS Bounty,” she spoke without any emotion in her voice, “you are cleared for landing, proceed at your discretion.”
“You would expect more from Earth, this is a momentous achievement after six months in space,” suggested Ralph.
The shuttle’s computers are designed to automate everything, from minor approach adjustments to the final landing. In the event of computer failure, Ralph the pilot would land it manually.
The entire landing, start to finish was being recorded; sure to be heard millions of times over the next few weeks by space enthusiasts, the world over. “HMS Bounty, beginning landing sequence.”
The world-wide co-operation in extra terrestrial matters was no longer political sustainable, when thousands upon thousands couldn’t afford to put food on their table. The planet was in desperate need of space and food, to house and feed Earth’s growing population increase.
America’s suggestion of a new home in space was considered no more than a pipe dream – forcing them to go it alone, with the eyes of the world upon them.
“I see one of the supply ships,” exclaimed Marcus. “There’s another down by the trees,” he pointed out to his fellow astronauts.
A total of five unmanned cargo ships stocked with food, equipment, water, oxygen and seed stock had been sent ahead of the mission. All had landed safely on the surface, where they waited the astronaut’s arrival.
“That’s precision flying,” Phil spoke out loud to anyone who would listen. “Those boys on Earth are good!”
Marcus nodded in agreement.
Planting the flag in the surface of Cirinius was the moment everyone would remember, but in fact the first humans on the planet had but one simple task: to survive. The hopes of their home world rested firmly on their shoulders.
The crew of HMS Bounty was methodically preparing to take their first steps onto this newly discovered planet. The main video camera was extended from the underside of the shuttle, where it would film their first steps, and send back the live feed to Earth.
Caroline Joined Phil near the airlock. “Where’s Marcus?”
“Already in the airlock suiting up, he’s so excited to get out there.”
Inside the airlock, Marcus climbed into his pressure suit and helmet, under the watchful gaze of the empty suits and helmets lined along the wall. The suits were white in colour with gold visors. Average temperature on Cirinius, ranged from 25 degrees Fahrenheit during daytime hours to -40 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Thankfully, the climate controlled suits would compensate, for the changes in temperature.
The order of exit had been predetermined by mission control. Marcus the expedition leader would be first to step onto the planet’s surface, followed by Caroline, and finally Phil. Ralph was to remain on board to maintain the link with Earth and monitor the vitals of the astronauts from a safe distance.
That was the way mission control wanted it to happen.
Marcus drew a few deep breaths to test the suits air valves were working, and checked the gauges on his over-sized wrist watch control panel.
Not waiting for Phil and Caroline to join him, he pressed the outer airlock door controls. He watched and waited for the light to turn from red to green.
Marcus poked his head out, lifts up his gold sun-visor, and gazes in wonder at the deep ice plains which lay before him. He finally steps down onto the surface.
The suit keeps him warm, as he walks away from the craft. He surmises to himself, this must be their wintertime.
Some twenty paces later, he comes to a halt, as the indicator alarm on his wrist starts bleeping – a warning, as he crunches the snow beneath his feet to keep them warm.
He hears the hum of pumps and fans of his portable life support backpack get louder and louder, as they strain to supply him with oxygen.
“Marcus,” shouted Phil through the helmet’s radio, “we three are supposed to step down together for the entire world to witness our steps!”
Marcus debated whether to respond, but he turned faced the craft and smiled. “I just wanted to be the first to step on this planet.”
An angry silence followed. “We are coming out,” replied Phil. “You are not hogging all the glory for yourself.”
Marcus could only imagine the furious face that lay hidden behind the sun-visor. “Don’t come out here, the snow is eating through my space-suit. Save yourselves.”
Phil gasped in awe. “Marcus get back inside.”
“I only have minutes before it eats through my air tank pipes. Shut the door, and save yourselves.”
Phil and Caroline looked in the direction of Marcus, the expedition leader and geologist. His choice to go out alone had saved them all from certain death.
As their leader, Marcus knew his primary duty was the safety of his team. “You must leave the surface immediately, and return to the space-craft, there is nothing you can do for me.”
As the sunlight was fading, Marcus watched as Phil and Caroline, closed the door on him and the new planet – once thought of as a new beginning.
We had hoped to transform the surface of the planet Cirinius, melt its ice, plant seeds, and build houses for a new generation of people. Instead we found a deadly planet, which would kill all those who set foot upon it. Our mission leader Marcus Clarkson, gave his life, and will always be remembered for his bravery!
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