• Published 23rd Aug 2013
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The Last Small Step for Man - nice joe



When a lone astronaut finds nightmare moon on the lunar surface, his entire universe is sent into a tail spin

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Wake Up Call

The Last Small Step for Man

Wake Up Call

Adams attention siren went off with an extremely annoying tone that mimics your generic alarm clock but even though I loathed that noise that I had to listen to whenever I didn’t wake up on time, it was the only sound I’d ever hear from Adam.
“Alright, I’m awake…now shut up!” the alarm went off immediately. Despite the fact that it was Adams only form of audio communication, I still hated it. But now that I think back, I’d give anything to hear it again.

I rubbed my eyes in a vain effort to wake up and started to pull myself upright, feeling groggy but functional. But it quickly became obvious to me that something was out of order. What first clued me in was that my bed was oddly stiff and cold. And the second was that I was wearing my space suite.

My eyes began to pry themselves open and in an instant, what I assumed was a strange dream became all too real. I was sitting in the middle of the cargo hold, crates and hardware scattered around, exposed wires hanging from the walls and ceiling. Not too much structural damage which was a good thing but it sure wasn’t passing any safety examinations anytime soon.

But my attention was soon taken to a little red glow several feet away. So I got to my feet and was still quite sore, but at least I had a lot more energy this time around. I glanced down and noticed how dirty my field dressing was and made a mental note to get it changed before I leave the crash site.

Looking towards the red glow I noticed that there was a slight flashing of white light right next to it so I started hobbling my way to it hoping that it was a sign the there was still power to the ship. My leg wound was really hurting me now and I was having to put in some effort to move it, so I made another mental note to add pain killers to the list of things to get before venturing off to see where I’ve landed.

Eventually I made my way to the source of the red glow which as it turns out was the light of a stray security camera on the ground. Right next to the camera was a screen that was attempting to flicker to life with its wiring loosely handing out of the back and a well sized crack going down the screens top left corner. With no small amount of effort and pain, I sat down next to the screen and leaned it up against a nearby crate. I decided to apply a little tender love and care to the struggling piece of equipment and gave it a good smack on the side, and with a few more flashes of light it came to life and began to boot itself up. To be quite honest, in no way did I ever think that would work, but it was nice to see that I had a bit of luck left.

“Can’t beat good old fashioned physical stimulant” I joked to myself, but it kinda hurt to laugh so it was more like a short lived chuckle. After my quick fix to the computer screen, the empty space began to fill with some all too familiar words.

“Emergency landing protocol, Captain you should assume crash position.”

“Adam…we already crashed.”

“Oh… I see. Well no worries then. Have you been injured, Captain?”

“You could say that, but you know what they say about what doesn’t kill ya.”

“Not really, but it’s a pleasure to see you alive, Captain.”

“Same to you Adam, I’m assuming that you where protected by the black box function and are now running a system restore?”

“Aye Captain,”

“So are you in a position to give me a status on the condition of the ship?”

“Not right now, because my hard drive is running on only thirty percent power.”

“Can you at least tell me how long we’ve been immobile?”

“Well it has been 10 hours sense I was forced to go offline, I think. But I can’t say that I know what went wrong with the ship, at least not yet.

Well I’ll work on getting you up to working condition, but for right now, I need to get myself to working condition and that means pain killers. Then I want to take another look outside, this doesn’t seem like the Earth we left.”

“Aye Captain, take caution.”

“Count on it.” No way was I letting my guard down again, but I wasn’t going to be much good with a filthy rapping on a fairly sever wound. So after a slight struggle I got back to my feet, and started limping my way to the med bay. However unlikely it may be, there was a chance the A.M.T.A was still operational and I could get this big ass gash on my leg taken patched up in no time. But even if it was completely busted, I could still get hooked up with some serious painkillers.

Upon working my way through the mess of a cargo hold, I actually took a second to take in my mistake how I failed to get that equipment more secured before my departure. In my defense however, there was no way for me to know that this trip was going to end in such a monumental crash. It should have been a simple reentry into the atmosphere, bound for the nearest approved emergency landing zone.

About the time I reached the staircase leading to the upper decks, I started to wonder. Just how the hell did I crash this ship? The question had been present in my head before, but for some reason I couldn’t form an image, so I pushed it back and worried about what was in front of me at the time. But at that moment of self contemplation, I started to regain some memory of the incident, so I leaned up against a wall closed my eyes and attempted to concentrate on remembering the details of the landing. And without much delay images began to pore into my mind, not very many, but a few.

*****************************************************************************************

“Course locked and ready for re-entry into Earths atmosphere, Captain.”

“Copy that, assuming manual control, releasing orbital anchors, beginning decent now, looks like smooth sailing into port.”

“Weather conditions confirmed with minimal wind difference.

Then there was a bit of a pause before his text came back on the screen. “Captain, what do you think will be waiting for us?”

My eyes grew a little heavy after reading Adams question. Like the thought of returning home felt wrong, or that I was making a rash decision and the only thing awaiting me was failure or ridicule. I thought about touching down at the A.E.L.Z. only to find that the only thing wrong is me, and that the entire ordeal was nothing more than a hallucination. Or that I’m too late and Nightmare Moon has already had her wicked way with the world. In truth I had absolutely no idea what was awaiting me on the grown… and that frightened me to my core.

“Home Adam, home is what’s waiting for us, I hope.”

*****************************************************************************************

Unfortunately my memory began to fade again and once more everything became a blur. Retuning to the present, I started making my way up the stairs towards the med bay, and with every grueling step it felt like it was a thousand miles away. Sharp explosions of pain surged through my body as I inched further on. One lifetime later I finally got to the med bay and in one moment my hopes of a perfect world were shattered so badly that it actually resembled the condition of the ships medical facilities.

The room was a complete mess; The A.M.T.A. was (more or less) completely trashed, and there was a nice plethora of broken sharp objects like glass and knifes which put an extremely opposing blanket’o death across the floor and tables. Without my plated shoes, traversing through this room would be its own level of hell.

Working my way through the med bay, I spotted the cabinet that had the heavy duty pain killers, which I desperately needed. The cabinet was still locked up tight so I figured it would still be in pretty good condition. However, when I tried to unlock it the whole thing just fell off the wall and collapsed on the floor spilling its contents on the already messed up ground.

With a great deal of agony, I bent down, sifted through the mess and located the much desired drugs. Since it didn’t matter where I injected myself and I didn’t want to take off my suit, I stabbed the needle into the only exposed area of skin; my neck. At that moment it dawned on me that I left my helmet outside, so I made another quick addition to my mental checklist to pick it up on my way out. My pain began to reside well enough for me to function well enough to get the dressing replaced, because it had gotten quite filthy during my fight with those dog things.

Now with a not so excruciating wound with a clean dressing and a makeshift first-aid bag I was ready to re-arm myself and start getting my bearings. It was foolish of me to waste the time that I did the first time I stepped out, standing there in the rain and sunlight. But I knew what was out there now; danger.

After a quick visit with the small armory room which was not far from the med bay, I had all I needed to defend myself. I practically cleaned the place out of ammo for my rifle and pistol. We never carried explosives aside from what we used to blast away rock during construction of The Key. The only thing I could find was a small shock grenade which was like a regular taser except you toss it and it shot electric bolts of electricity in every direction in a sort of wave like effect.

Confident in my ability to protect myself, I went for the Cargo Hold and side port where I had my fight with a couple of carnivorous tree things. I unlocked the hatch, readied my rifle, griped the handle then swung the door open. I took a quick step back into the ship, ready to shoot anything that tried to get in and tear me in two. But as it seemed that the coast was clear, so with my weapon still drawn at the ready I moved outside the door for a third time.

Stepping out into the open space of the crash site I noticed the two animals that I killed where right where I left them, along with my helmet. I was a little unsteady when I first stepped out of the ship but as soon as I had my helmet back on, my nerves settled. After I cleared all the angles of approach I made the quick conclusion that I was alone, which I found kinda weird. It had been almost a day sense I landed and yet the only contact I’ve had was with a couple of deadly wood things, not exactly what I would call a giant leap for mankind.

Soon I determent which way was North and headed into the forest that surrounded me. I made note that all the plant life that I saw looked, more vibrant than the pictures I saw as a kid.

After only a few minutes of walking through this dense terrain I came into contact with something very unusual.

“What fresh hell is this?” I said while picking myself up off of the ground after smacking full body into some unknown barrier. I began inspecting this anomaly simply by touching it (very scientific). Every time I touched it, a small wave of what seemed like electricity traveled through it for a few feet then dissipated.

I tried knocking on it and received a similar response. Gave it a little kick, and only made the wave of sparks travel just a little further. I even opened up a few rounds and only succeeded in making the wave spread about five feet or so.

Eventually I decided to just simply walk around it. But after an hour of kicking it to see where it would end, it became quite apparent when I had come in a full circle around the crash site and ending up back where I was to begin with, that some how someone or something put me in a cage.

“Perfect.”

Author's Note:

I Know that it took me way to long to get the next chapter in (I'll try not to make it a habit) but for those who are still reading my story and still leaving your helpful comments and encouraging words, thank you, and thanks for your patience.

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