Thursday, December 12, 2019

12/12/19

Passenger 859
By Ridge Smith


Mars. Alon awoke with a start and swung his legs over the side of his cot. The steady hum of the thrusters filled his ears for the hundredth time. It had only taken a day to reach their destination, and Alon was filled with apprehension. The previous day had been utter torture: a short trip up to Luna, followed by a mountain of paperwork. A small price to pay, however, for the opportunity to colonize a new planet. Not to mention, the ship they had built for the journey was the largest ship ever designed, more massive than those of Mars.

The U.T.F. Azmon was built to fly faster and more efficiently than any ship before it, and serve as the first city on their new home planet. It was massive in size, big enough to house an entire colony, though it seemed barren now with just over 1000 passengers. Most ships of this size were war-ships, loaded with nuclear missiles, rail guns, and lasers, but there was no risk of war here. They were far beyond the grey zone, and enemy ships wouldn’t dare interfere with this mission.

Instead of heavy weaponry, the Azmon was loaded with plant-life. Each room of the ship had a large cutout the size of a normal window full of plants to help regulate the air. Throughout the entire center of the ship the scientists of Terra had created a lush, green Eden full of plants and water. Artificial streams flowed through the ship, providing hydro-power and sustaining the plants. The garden, as it was called, was full of plants of all sizes, including trees, flowers, crops, and genetically engineered plants capable of producing the maximum amount of oxygen. He remembered walking the winding paths through the garden during orientation on Luna. Never had he felt such humidity in a controlled environment; it rivaled the preservation pods back on Terra. Despite the humid air, the high oxygen environment made the air feel cold. The old term breath of fresh air came to Alon’s mind. It was a paradise the old Terra would have known, back when it was still called Earth.

With a lump in his throat, Alon glanced at his holo-pad. He touched the screen to bring up a picture of a woman. Beneath her picture read: Passenger 759. Alon looked down at his suit. 859. Passenger 759 was Alon’s assigned partner for the breeding program.

Why am I doing this again? Alon thought for no more than a moment.

His father. Those damn Martian traitors killed millions of Terrans in the Martian War. His father was a pilot, and died just before Mars gained their independence three years after the war began. The Martian city of Guan Yu prospered when they began mining the asteroid belt. Terra kept their hold as long as they could, but the Martian colony was built to thrive and expand. Martian colonists were genetically enhanced. They were smarter, stronger, and faster than Terran soldiers, and their regime was built for war. The first Martian attack came seemingly from nowhere. Terra was too busy fighting itself; none of the unified powers saw it coming. Terra only held its ground as long as it did because of the United Terran Alliance. Their sheer numbers kept Mars from taking control of the planet. This was Alon’s chance to make a difference, to help Terra regain control over the system. He would do whatever it took to make that dream, the dream of millions of Terran children who were orphaned by the Martians’ war, come true.

Alon heard the thrusters slowly begin to fade. He walked over and slowly opened his window shutter, careful to make sure the sun was not on this side of the ship. There, huge and beautiful in front of him was his new home. Similar in size to Terra. Clouds swirled above the surface of the planet. From here it was hard to believe that beneath those clouds was a hellish surface, completely unlivable and deadly. This is why the Azmon would stay in the sky, above the cloud level. The colony would be dependent on Terra, at first, but would provide a direct link to the mines of Mercury. They would support each other, and together they would take on the Martian Global Collective. Alon’s new home: Venus.

Suddenly the planet was blocked out as dark metal engulfed his view. The room darkened, and the darkness was replaced by a faint red glow and the sound of sirens. Panicking, Alon rushed to the other side of the room, opposite his window. As he secured himself to the safety harness, the emergency shutters began to descend, blocking his view of the other ship. Before slamming shut, Alon caught one final view and his heart dropped, sweat beading against his forehead. Engrained in Alon’s vision was the deep, dark red of the Martian flag.


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My name is Ridge Smith. I have been imagining and enjoying science fiction for most of my life, but have only begun to write fiction myself recently.


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