View Full Version : Arcturus Minor

December 18th, 2012, 03:08 AM
This journey was maddening. Miniature cyclones swept through this barren hell of ice and snow like little imps dancing maniacally. Jagged teeth of ice, rising upwards for miles, soared menacingly on the horizon, their great size belying their distance. The churning cover of clouds formed a barrier against light and warmth, keeping the planet’s surface in a perpetual dusk at freezing temperatures. Innumerous small storms combined into one endless tempest, each striving to surpass the last in their terrible ferocity. Often the raging elements would birth a torrent of wind and ice of such intensity that all progress would have to be halted for the day and the trawlers auxiliary shields be activated, waiting for the fury to subside.

Stin Aerden piloted his trawler with a bored efficiency born of almost two months of monotonous travel. The cabin’s speakers played a rhythmic ambient music that Stin had personally chosen from his collection aboard the Shuttle, while the omnipresent hiss of snow melting against the trawler’s outer shield provided a soothing backdrop. Quiet clicks in the background provided the tell-tale sign that Stin’s co-pilot, Richter Dragn, was engaged in a pitched game of chess with another of the off-duty co-pilots, or less likely, one of the reclusive engineers.

“62.3583 N, 71.0603 W. Course continues as charted. Over.” Dr. Branson’s grizzled baritone transmitted clearly through the tightbeam relay.
At the beginning of the trip, the esteemed doctor had kept a constant stream of information and insight flowing from his quarters in the main trawler. As time drew on, his public announcements grew less frequent until he finally settled at a bi-daily update on the expedition’s current location. Their course never deviated from plan, their onboard computers wouldn’t allow it. It was only due to these blasted storms that human pilots were required at all. Though the surface of the ice appeared smooth, geological examination of this planet had found vast networks of caverns and tunnels throughout the crust (and some speculated much deeper) that could sometimes rest mere feet below the surface. As the journey progressed further north, growing ambient radiation began interfering with the Trawler’s subterranean monitoring systems. Although the systems still reported generally accurate readings, they would occasionally miss smaller shafts of such caves, or inexplicably show caverns much larger than could be possible. Luckily, the emergency handheld radar, pre-installed on every trawler produced within the last half-decade, provided more accurate readings, albeit with less range. A harsh curse from behind indicated that Richter had just lost his game. While there was a general grumbling among the crewmembers they had been unable to perform any of their intended scientific research, there was no denying that the average skill in chess had risen dramatically.

Stin himself was a planetary geologist, though present conditions had split his time between leisure and piloting his trawler. Though chess had proven popular among most of his companions, he possessed neither great skill nor inclination towards it. Instead, he occupied himself by studying books on the peculiar society and geology of this frozen world he was now crossing, Arcturis Minor.

Located in the Phrygian system, (14h 41m 08.90s, +13 43′ 42.0″) Acturus Minor was discovered in the Federation Year 0432 by exploratory scientists as part of Professor Curose’s Great Expedition. Initially believed to be geologically composed of many miles of solid ice surrounding a large, cold core, the icy crust was later proven to contain vast arrays of underground tunnels and caverns, occasionally extending miles beneath the surface. The origins of these systems are as of yet unknown…
The Frozen World Volume.3

Frank D. Taylor
December 19th, 2012, 12:12 PM
Interesting. I'd like to know a little more about the piece though. The writing was solid. Using "This" instead of "The" in the opening sentence kind of threw me.

December 20th, 2012, 02:29 AM
Very well done Kuranes! You paint a very vivid picture. Just a few very minor things, though:

...and the trawlers auxiliary shields be activated...

...played a rhythmic ambient music... I may be wrong, but I believe that ambient music characteristically lacks rhythm.

...Located in the Phrygian system, (14h 41m 08.90s, +13 43′ 42.0″) Acturus Minor was discovered... The coordinates are pretty unhelpful to the reader, as we have no context to put them in. If you do keep them though, the comma would come after the parenthesis.

Keep up the great work! This story has grabbed my interest

December 21st, 2012, 11:24 PM
I truly got pulled into this world, i cant really put anything out of place. I can only say how much i enjoyed what i read, and i want more!

December 29th, 2012, 01:44 AM
This passage reminded me of an excerpt from Starcraft, especially the reference to Arcturus. I felt myself fall into the desolate wasteland that a marine aboard a dropship ready for deployment would be familiar with (if you can relate to my reference). Would like to read some more about the Frozen World. Perhaps I will refer back to Volume 1 and 2.


Mr. Hadsmith III :lone:

December 29th, 2012, 07:58 AM
A nice depiction of a "typical" day at work for these guys. I liked the comment, "there was no denying that the average skill in chess had risen dramatically." Sounds real.

December 29th, 2012, 08:46 AM
I'm sorry this is off subject, but every time I see this thread title it gives me nightmares because my mind reads it as Silas Marner, giving flashbacks to forced fed fiction back in school.

December 31st, 2012, 06:23 PM
Wow, great description. I get cold just reading this. I can tell you've put plenty of thought into it as it sounds realistic. I couldn't find much that could be changed with this, other than what the people above me have suggested.

Miniature cyclones swept through this barren hell of ice and snow like little imps dancing maniacally.

Again, great description. I particularly loved this phrase, describing the planet as a "barren hell" and comparing the cyclones to "little imps dancing maniacally." Great start to an interesting story.


January 3rd, 2013, 09:48 PM
Hi Kuranes, I think that by cutting the first sentence, then combining the second sentence with the first sentence of the second paragraph, you'll have a much better opening line. Something like:

Stin Aerden, piloted his trawler round the miniature cyclones that criss-crossed the barren hell of ice and snow with the bored efficiency born of nearly two months of continuous travel.

January 18th, 2013, 05:27 PM
:thumbr: good job

January 22nd, 2013, 03:43 PM
Literally first bit of fiction I've read on here that I wouldn't mind reading more of. Definitely managed to grab me. You painted a bleak picture of a bleak place. Well done. Imagery was great.

January 25th, 2013, 05:18 PM
Good start, need more