Friday, September 15, 2017

Welcome To Earth

Part 2

Imagine traveling the 27 catrillion million light-years to earth without a single problem, then turning on the landing lights way too early and scaring the inhabitants of several major cities – already the people of earth were talking up a storm about those ‘strange lights in the sky’.
Not the best way to start a stealth interplanetary mission.
But this was exactly what Gryx had done. And he’d done it just before parking his spaceship rather permanently inside something that other pilots, better pilots, commonly referred to as: the ground.
Yes, he had miscalculated the elevation of the landing site and crashed the ship, but he had a good reason. It had to do with the 50.000-year-old whisky he’d opened to celebrate his first inter-dimensional jump precisely on the edge of the ionosphere of a planet. That was like hitting a bulls-eye with your first dart, when throwing it from five blocks away, standing on a balance ball, in a hurricane.
How often did that happen?
Well, probably quite often with other pilots, but that didn’t count. They had their fancy academy degrees and had logged the required flight hours. There wasn’t much honor in doing a good job if you knew exactly what you were doing.
In fact, to Gryx that had always seemed like cheating.
What he did, traversing dimensions without a clue as to what was actually happening, now that took skill.

After a modest countdown the emergency return capsule detached itself from the crashed craft and shot up into the thin, earth atmosphere. There was a momentary shudder as the capsule reoriented itself, looking for the perfect angle out through the firmament and back into space.
Gryx settled back in his seat. He couldn’t wait to get off the crappy, overheating, overcrowded, prehistoric planet. But he struggled to get comfortable. The capsule was little more than an egg-shaped hull surrounding a single seat, and whatever space was left was crammed with tech.
And this was the bad news.
Although the available space had been used to a degree of efficiency never before seen in the universe, it still couldn’t accommodate anything near the size of a dimensional drive. The capsule was conventional propulsion all the way, which meant the journey home would take over four hundred years.
Gryx peered out the viewport to see if he could still make out the broken remains of his craft. It proved impossible. Already the desert was shrinking, looking more and more like a child’s sandpit.
Somewhere in there had to be a tiny spec denoting his passenger, Grzq. A little dot that was the researcher who had contracted Gryx to take him to earth so he could study the humans.
Well, Gryx, thought, I did get him there.
Whether the poor bastard had actually survived the ‘landing’ was still somewhat of a mystery, but Gryx would definitely send for help as soon as he got home. Using dimensional drives the rescue team should arrive in approximately four hundred years and an hour.
True, he hadn’t actually discussed this plan with his client. He hadn’t even looked for the fool to make sure he was alright, but what good would it have done? If Grzq was hurt in any way, Gryx wouldn’t be able to help. Not only did he have no medical training, the sight of blood, even a tiny drop of it, made him hurl violently. How much fun would that be for a client? Gryx assumed that any client, no matter how crazy, would prefer his wounds hurl-free. That was just common sense.
As the view of the planet below became obscured by cloud cover, Gryx switched on the in-flight entertainment system. It was time to plan out his next four hundred years.
He could finally learn some alien languages.
Get that ever elusive engineering degree.
And figure out a way to stop drinking.
Then again, was that really the best way to start an extended vacation? Perhaps not, after all, there would be plenty of time for all of that later.
For now, maybe he should just watch some instructional videos about making babies. He’d always felt it was in his species best interest if he kept abreast of the latest techniques. You never knew when they might be needed.
As he browsed the capsule’s extensive electronic library, though, he experienced an unexpected twinge of guilt. Which made no sense. In no way was Grzq special. The man was just as annoying as any of his other clients. All he’d done was complain.
Why are you activating the landing lights already?
Why are you flying so erratically?
And why are we so close to the ground?
It was always something with his clients. It was either ‘we’re nowhere near close enough’, or it was, ‘we’re too darn close, pull up you cross-eyed moron we’re going to crash!’ It was never, ‘what are you doing? You’re flying too darn fabulously. Too perfectly distanced from the planet’s surface. Stop being so amazing.’
Nope. That never happened.
Granted, Gryx could have started drinking a little later. All things considered, he was ready to admit, but only to himself, that the results of his early partaking of his celebratory whisky had led to somewhat regrettable results.
Suddenly, Gryx was awoken from his musings. The onboard entertainment system was beeping. Some kind of alarm.
He browsed hurriedly through the menus, trying to locate the source of the problem.
A sudden pocket of dense air rocked the capsule and Gryx bounced in his seat. The ground below angled away precariously.
Gryx frantically checked the systems, pushing back horrible images of crashing a second time and spending the rest of his life on the miserable planet below.
Then he found it: one of the automatic scanning systems had discovered something interesting. He examined it closely. There was a strange signal coming from the planet below. A signal that couldn’t possibly come from down there. Not from a planet of barely upright chipmunks. But there it was, clear as day, emanating from somewhere deep within one of the mountain ranges.

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Similar posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

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