Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta space station. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta space station. Mostrar todas las entradas

lunes, 13 de marzo de 2017

The space around

   Space has always been the same: cold, unwelcoming and largely boring to watch. That is because, despite how big it is and how many natural phenomenon happen all around, some parts, most parts, are just empty space surrounded by that black veil tinted with stars. People who decide to work there are either adventurers or simply the ones that never got what they wanted and now have decided its time to sacrifice body and mind for the greater good of humanity.

 Every “day” it’s the same thing: waking up to realize you are in space, alone and bored. Then you have some breakfast, normally one of those dehydrated foods that need some water drops to transform into something a little bit tastier. Then, it’s time for hygiene and cleaning of the facility. Most of the time, it’s all about mopping and sweeping all around, nothing interesting like discovering asteroids or observing one of the many wonders of the universe. That’s for others to do.

 Stevenson had been assigned to that quadrant and to that station almost one year ago. He was really looking forward the year to be completed because he would be eligible to be replaced and send to some other planet or station, hopefully one where boredom is not a cause of death. Inexperienced people, as he was at the start, normally get to monitor the boring areas of the universe. The ones that people know about and admire, those are normally assigned to more popular areas of the territories.

 As he sweeps and mops, Stevenson likes to put on some music and dance to it while he does his chores. Many days, not caring much about the security cameras and the visual diary he must keep, he takes off all his clothes and walks around naked, doing everything he normally does only that with not one fabric over his body. Is not really a statement or something funny to do, but just the fact that people get bored really fast and easy when nothing happens around them.

 One of those naked days, Stevenson was preparing dinner. It had been another uneventful day for him and he was looking forward to his weird sleep. For dinner, he made a sandwich, which he had to create in the microwave. When he was eating, one of the emergency sirens started. It was a very loud noise and he had never heard it. Actually there were many things he didn’t really know about the station and he normally learned on the way. He went to the command center but it wasn’t clear what had happened. The siren was turned off and no reason was found for its activation.

 However, the onboard computer declared that the siren had been activated through movement in a forbidden area but it couldn’t really tell what actually moved. Stevenson thought it was a moving cable that wasn't working anymore or maybe it was something worse. He had heard of parasites bigger than fists infesting stations all over the place. Of course, they weren’t creatures that lived in space, but they attached themselves when stations were built or launched into their positions.

 He decided to check everything before going to sleep. He spent several hours on the computer, checking everything on the corresponding monitor and holding the station’s manual on one hand to verify he was doing all he standard procedures correctly.  It took hours but at the end of it all he didn’t find any actual proof something had moved anywhere around the ship. He also found out there were no parasites. The ship was in perfect shape, working like a well-tuned clock.

 As he walked to his room, he thought about the possibility of something actually exciting happening there. He had been alone for long, so bored too, that he had been excited because of the siren. It was scary at first, but it made him feel alive and useful, instead of useless, which was what he felt every single day of his life. As he covered himself with the bed sheets, he looked one last time to his window and wondered if he would ever feel like more than just some lost guy.

 Stevenson had a nightmare: it was about him running all around the station. He was running away from something but he never saw in the dream what it was. But it had to be something really scary because he could feel on his body when it came too close. It was a very tense situation. He would scream sometimes and run. He would also get into areas of the stations that didn’t actually existed. Then, whatever was after him finally caught up with him and jumped and it was then when he woke up.

 Not only the scare woke him up, but also the fact he had fallen from his bed, covered in sweat. He took all his clothes, what he used as a pajama, and threw it on the bin that was actually a washing machine. He had never experienced that kind of nightmare. It had really been scary. He even realized his face was covered in tears when he removed his t-shirt. He decided to get into the shower, as even cold water would help getting his ideas in order and all of the bad thoughts out of his mind, at least for while. He needed to feel calm once again. But that didn’t last very long.

 As he walked out of the shower, the alarm was activated again. This time the computer was able to tell him way with one word: asteroid. He ran still naked and wet to the command center, holding a towel on one hand. Stevenson put the towel on the chair and sat on it and then pushed some buttons and wrote some words in a keyboard. He was chatting with the computer. On a screen, he got an image of whatever it was that had activated the alarm. He had to enhance the quality because it was very small.

 Indeed, it was an asteroid. It had a very classical shape and was travelling slower than most asteroids did. But that wasn’t the reason the alarm had been activated. In the last few months, he had encountered other rocks like that one. The difference this time was that all the instruments onboard the ship had detected life on the rock. Some form of life was around or inside that asteroid and he had to be able to get it for himself as that would be his ticket to a much better life.

 The station couldn’t really move but he did have a vehicle for outside exploration. He ran to the hangar, put on some piloting clothes and hopped into the small vehicle, which was shaped as a tennis ball. The idea was to grab the rock and carry it back to the station with the mechanical arms the vehicle had. It shouldn’t be hard as the rock was not that big and he only needed some pieces. So he went out inside the ball and navigated bravely towards the floating rock.

 An incredible velocity pushed it though space but it was too slow for asteroid standards. So breaking it a little bit shouldn’t be hard at all. He started doing so when a powerful sound almost made him deaf. It was coming from the station, another alarm. He had to complete his work fast with the asteroid first, so he decided to use a laser to extract a good chunk of it. His operation on the rock was successful and he was able to take a very good part back to the station, where the sound seemed to get stronger.

 Apparently, it was an urgent message and that piercing noise was the way to get it through. He was surprised to see it was not only a short written message that said, “Stand by”. He didn’t really understand. Besides, his mind was with the rock he had just brought back. But then, the alarm ended and a screen that had never worked had been turned on. There was a face there, it was his boss. He was pale and looked very skinny and tired. He declared they had encountered something and that, whatever it was, it had attacked them. He failed to explain it further. But his next phrase was the one who made Stevenson feel heavier: “The Earth has been destroyed. Don’t come back”.

martes, 23 de diciembre de 2014


   Aslana was reclined on her chair, barely looking at all the screens she had in front of her. She had been commissioned with surveying a barren part of the Cosmos no one really cared about. Neither did she, but it was her job and she complied. After the first hour, however, she had bored herself to death by watching the screens with practically nothing showing.

 That had not been the idea she had had when in college, trying to decide what to do next. Antares space station was hiring but becoming an actual astronaut also interested her. People saw them as adventurers and explorers and she wanted that, to feel that she was doing something special.

 She decided to become an astronaut and went to Star City, near Moscow, to become one. With at least fifty others, she trained hard for a whole year but at the end of the process only ten were finally chosen. It had been decided they were the only ones fit for space travel. Aslana was not chosen. Her performance on skill and intelligence tests was formidable but the physical demand of the career had proven a bit too much for her.

 However, her tutors had recommended her to the Science Academy of Moscow, who were about to open a new observatory orbiting Triton, near Neptune. The observatory was located, funny enough, on Space Station Antares. So she had wasted a whole year of her life to do almost exactly what she had thought of doing when coming out of college.

 And now, there was Aslana, sitting on her chair, legs up on the dashboard, looking at Triton through one of the many windows in the space station. Antares was home to about five hundred people and its builders were already trying to get the permission to build another wing to it and get five hundred more to come and live almost at the edge of the solar system.

 Aslana enjoyed it sometimes, and other times she hated it. She loved space and she hated people there. They got to be so annoying, judgemental and hypocritical. Well, there were some people that were very kind and lovable too but they weren't a vast majority.

 Suddenly, an alarm made Aslana fall from her chair. The sound had come from the dashboard, which she hadn't been looking. To be honest, she had fallen asleep for a couple of minutes, tired and bored at the same time.

 She sat down again, combed her hair with her fingers and started tapping and clicking and writing. The signal seemed to come from a quadrant of empty space. Of course, it was not actually empty but nothing really big seemed to be there. Yet, the alarm had been set off.

 She ran all the tests, to know if the signal was actually foreign in origin or a Earth signal bouncing between the stars. After a half hour, she could certify that the pulse, the call if you will, was from deep space. No human had traveled there. There was a science base in Haumea and that was it. That was the farthest place humans had gone from home. But this signal was from deep space and, somehow, it had reached Antares.

 Aslana aligned every dish available towards the quadrant from which the message was coming. The pulse got weak at some point and then strong again. It was like the people, if that word could be used, were having problems keeping up the strength of the pulse.

 When the woman activated the audio machine, she let a loud squeak come out from her mouth. The sound was awful, it was like if a thousand bees and wasps had suddenly entered the station. She screamed because of the volume, which was unusually high. She thought that, for sure, someone in the station might have been woken up by the sound.

 And that reminded her. She should report what was going on immediately. The machines were all recording the event but she needed to send a message to Earth, for them to check the message out. Very large telescopes had been built on the Moon, capable to trace the message more accurately that what little potential the Antares station had.

 - Moon base Tycho, this is Aslana Tromaterova. I'm in charge of the observatory for the night. I have    detected a pulse coming from this space. I'm sending the coordinates encrypted in this message.          Please check. I'm monitoring the event. All tests have been done. Waiting for instructions.

 She sent the message, which would take several hours to reach the Moon. Meanwhile, she started playing with her audio machine to clean up the noise she was hearing. Aslana moved every knob, button and switch and listened carefully. After a while, she thought she had heard something, like a mumbling. She did her best to clean the sound with the computer, but, of course, the distance had disrupted the signal and it wasn't coming clean.

 Then Aslana remembered a class she had received at Star City, when an old german professor had taught the everyone how to clean sound and video feeds coming or going from space stations. He said it would help tremendously on occasions of distress or emergency. One thing he had said was that sometimes video could help clean sound waves. The sound could be translated by a screen and then cleaned properly.

 So Aslana did just that. One of the many screens helped her accomplish something she thought would have been impossible due to the circumstances. After two hours on it, she had finally cleaned the pulse. And the woman was very nervous, unsettled.

 She had not thought of the signal to be dual, to be sound and video at the same time. But it was. Aslana realized she was the first person in History to see the face of an extraterrestrial, a being from another planet. They were different, true, but she could see humanity in them, in their eyes and behavior.

 There was some data being sent on the video feed too. It was on some other language but she could conclude, from the video and some of the statistics, very similar to human ones, that they were on a ship. And that this ship, was in deep trouble. Some of the creatures seemed to be controlling a fire and others ran in several directions.

 Then something happened that almost made her fall from the chair again: the creatures spoke towards the camera, probably asking for help. And Aslana cried, realizing they would die there in the middle of nowhere, only been heard by one human woman so far away.

 The woman cleaned her face and decided to do something useless: send a message. Judging from the distance between her and the quadrant they were calling from, Aslana knew all of them were already dead, probably for many years, maybe even hundreds of years. They had died alone, horribly. So she wanted to honor them by sending a message. She thought her words carefully and then sent the message, which she later sent towards Earth with all the data relating to the event.

 It was important to her to do this. She had been alone half her life and, with this gesture, useless maybe but sincere, she wanted to tell anyone hearing that they would never be alone, not while there were others around caring for their well being.

 When her shift ended, she spoke briefly with her boss and told him she was very tired but that all the data had been sent to Earth and was saved in the station's main hard drive. The boss granted her her wish and, as she laid down in bed, she realized she still had a life in front of her and that she could do whatever she wanted with it.

 - My name is Aslana. You will never know me and I will never know you. But I wanted you to know    you have a friend now and I hope I have one or many too. I'm a human and is probable you won't        understand what I'm saying. But I trust someday you will. And when you do, I want you to know        that we,  I, will always be here for you. We are now bound to each other and I will try my best to        keep this  promise. Sorry for your loss.

miércoles, 5 de noviembre de 2014

Far & Below

* This is a recording made on January 1st, 2237.

My name is Amelia Granger. My ID number is 208341295. I am the medical officer on space station Hawking, currently stationed near Jupiter's moon, Europa.

For me, this is day 53 in the spaceship. Today we celebrate new year's although we're really celebrating our achievements in the last days.

Scientific officers Namadi Gutembe and Ali Ro released their heated missile yesterday. The device successfully penetrated the surface of Europa and in around five hours, got to the inner ocean of the moon. They released the probe resting inside the missile and have already discovered over ten new species in the liquid environment.

However, no creature shows any degree of intelligence. They are all botanic life, showing no reaction to the tests done by the probe. The officers decided to let ir roam around the ocean for the night, as we had a party on board.

Captain Michaud and first officer Ramirez joined us too. We are currently over 20 people inhabiting the station so the celebrations went on for several hours. Having no alcohol, we all ate a lot of cake and dried fruits and many other things we have in the galley. Our cook is worried we may not have enough until the next ship comes in with food. We're a month away from that.

I ran tests the last week of December to every single person in the ship. I'm glad to say only one individual appears to be affected by the gravity issues and the sun's radiation. It might be nothing but I want to be sure as one patient with cancer would have to immediately leave for Earth to receive proper treatment.

Engineer Kaamat has been specially kind, showing me every single machine they make and finish here before it's used. It's thrilling to see everyone work in what they love. Sometimes I would love to have more to do around here. Keeping the diets in order and giving check ups every so often gets boring really fast. But I guess it's better for everyone if I don't have a lot to deal with.

Nothing more to day. Granger out.

* January 9th, 2237

This is Amelia Granger. ID number 208341295. Medical officer on space station Hawking, now near Europa.

Things have drastically changed this past week. First, I'm sorry to announce scientist Griselda Coon has cancer. We have already sent word to Earth for them to pick her up. She's not well, at all. She has started fainting, vomiting and is now quarantined in her room. It's not contagious but its better if she keeps away from others.

It isn't cruelty. It is because everyone has been too busy looking at the recent findings. The Europa probe has discovered many more species but we are looking at two in particular. The first one appears to be a whale, or so I understand. It seems it's not as intelligent as the ones we have on Earth but its pretty big.

What concerns all of us is the other one. We have had no sight of it but there are traces of the species all over. It appears it is a marine creature that is able to walk overground. Scientists are still not sure if the creature has ever pierced through the snow but it is possible.

What makes it possible is the fact that a rover we had seen prior to the missile lunch, has been destroyed. We have no idea how or by what. The site of the destruction has been scouted with instruments but there are no major traces of the rover or of the creature.

I have to be honest. I am scared and I think many of the others are too. Not only because the rover was destroyed but because the creature appears to elude us on purpose. Everyone says it must be smart because the instruments and the probe are too advanced for primitive live to hide from them.

Oh, I almost forgot. There is something else. We have received word from Space Station Africa, over Earth, that our next shipment of food has been delayed. Apparently there are shortages on Mars and they need our supplies to help the communities there. We understand but this makes our cook go even more crazy. Now I have no issues controlling diets.

We hope they come for Coon as soon as possible. I hear they might take her to Titan, to the new hospital orbiting around it. I hope that is true. She needs help.

Granger out.

* January 12th, 2237

Amelia Granger here. This entry is rather hard, in so many different ways.

I have always loved what I do, helping others and trying to make everything better for everyone. I came here because I thought it would be a challenge, a field of lessons to make me a better professional and a better person too.

Mrs. Coon has died. It happened yesterday. We never received word from Titan and no ship departed Earth to pick her up. Apparently Mars has been hit by solar wind and the situation is critical so every space station is now on its own. We have her in a secure bag, here on medical bay. It makes me shiver, the thought she's dead and close to me. I never thought anyone would die.

It's not stopping, either. First officer Ramirez and Science officer Ro are both down here, in the infirmary. Apparently the sun is also affecting us. The station has changed its position and all windows had been blocked by metal, to protect us. I am certain that if we don't receive help, these two new patients may face the same fate as Mrs. Coon.

What also has the crew in critical state is the fact that the communications with Earth having been down for the last few hours. Many were expecting to tell their families what was going on in here but that is not possible at the time. I haven't spoken to my father since I came here, but that's for different reasons. Lack of communications don't affect me much, except for the wellbeing of my patients.

There' something else, of course. As the chores in the station are limited, I have been helping around and I was in the lab when the alarm went off. I twas another attack on the surface. Some equipment left there by a flying probe was destroyed. The strange thing is we now know what it is.

Pictures were taken by cameras and a probe was sent after it happened. I am not a biologist but the creatures looks like... Well, like a monster I once saw on a movie. I think it was one of those old monster movies from the museum. The creature has a three legs, no real feet. Its like a tree that way. But its upper body resembles the one of a human. It even appears to have a chest.

It has no arms. Nothing like that. Biology head Yu told me they believe it uses it's legs as arms. The most impressive part is "the head". Not really a head but a promontory on his shoulders, as if it all was the same section of the body. No eyes but rather a black line that appears to turn on and off. Some reading say heat emanates form that slid. No mouth either.

We are all scared now, not even the biologists are eager for their discovery. At least three have been sighted above ground and the marine probe has detected one. They swim fast, really fast.

I think we will have a lot of time to investigate them, that is if they...


Sorry. It was the speakers. The captain wants us all in his chambers. He says the probes have been destroyed and that he got another warning from Earth.

To be honest, I'm not leaving the planet ever again.

Granger out.