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Ditch
March 31st, 2013, 09:29 PM
The soft beeping tone woke me up. As I slowly became aware, I realized that the lid to the cocoon was up and the lights were on. I sat up, rubbing my eyes, then looked around, it seemed like it had only been a few minutes since I had layed down. I looked at the console beside me, “Computer, report.”


“Good morning Captain Barnes, a class M planet is within our proximity, fuel capacity is down to 9.2 percent. No other suitable planets are within our range.”


I sat up and looked at the large monitor, “Put the planet on the viewer.”


The viewer snapped an image of a blue planet with large oceans, wisps of clouds obscured some of the green continents. The polar ice caps seemed to be of normal size, “Give me a report of atmosphere and civilizations.”


“One moment, analyzing… Atmosphere is compatible with twenty one percent oxygen and seventy eight percent nitrogen. The remaining one percent is inert gasses.”


“That’s a little rich.” I said.


“Slightly higher than you are accustomed to, but within acceptable parameters. Gravity is approximately one sixth that of your home planet. You will be very strong there but normal walking will take some getting used to. Widespread civilizations, primitive by your standards but they do have nuclear capability. Multiple satellites and two space stations with life forms aboard, no weapons on the space stations. Multiple radio transmissions, they appear to be at war.”


“Lovely.” I said, zooming the image in on one of the larger cities, “What is their weapon status?”


“Again, primitive. Most weapons utilize projectiles propelled by an explosive charge. There is trace evidence that thermonuclear devices have been used. There is also evidence of nuclear devices stored in silos, on board flying aircraft and in thirteen submarines now at sea. The threat of nuclear weapon use is high, several of them are in a state of high alert from the radio transmissions.”


“So, the only planet that we have access to is in a near state of nuclear annihilation? What are the alternatives? Can I go back into hibernation and use a small burst to get us to the next star system?”


“Negative, fuel capacity is now at 9.0 percent. Any thrust would not leave enough reserve for a slow down burn. This planet is your only choice, if you want to live.”


The choice was clear, it was this blue planet or die, frozen in space until a gravitational field pulled the spacecraft into an orbit and burned, “Which civilization is more likely to win this conflict?”


“By the number of weapons, the one to the north is the most likely to survive if a nuclear exchange takes place, they have 23 percent more weapons in a state of readiness. But combined, if there is a total launch of all weapons, life on either continent would be wiped out. The few survivors would be thrown back into the stone age. They are aware of this and the conflict has reached a stalemate with the major thrust now being guerilla tactics used by local insurgents and freedom fighters. The conflict has spread beyond the military and now involves civilians as well.”


“History of these civilizations?”


“The larger continent on the north has a history of aggression and genocide. The continent of the south has a history of only attacking when attacked, or to aide an ally when the balance of word power has been threatened.”


“Zoom in on the area where the most guerilla activity is taking place on the southern continent.”

Apple Ice
March 31st, 2013, 10:44 PM
I find the beginnings description of his movements a bit A to B, if that makes any sense. However, I find you set the scene very well and I'm interested to know what happens next. It ends a bit abruptly but this sounds like a good story and I look forward to if you post more.

Olly Buckle
April 1st, 2013, 01:14 AM
it seemed like it had only been a few minutes since I had layed downWatch your 'had' use outside the dialogue, it is very easy to slip them in unnecessarily, Look.
" it seemed like only a few minutes since I lay down"

WechtleinUns
April 2nd, 2013, 08:29 PM
This was a very fun piece of writing to read. It's clear that the narrator is looking down at our own planet, and therefore, we are looking down on ourselves with him. Because of that, the reader gets to look out over recent history from the perspective of an outsider, and the effects are spine-tingling. Much of the detail is geared towards painting a picture of the recent past of our own planet, while sparse detail is used to present the alien visitor. Technically speaking, we might not even be sure if the alien is humanoid, and there is evidence within the text to support such a concept(the word 'coccoon', for example).

I don't think that the lack of concrete detail hinders the story in any immediate sense. Any backstory and cultural references to the alien visitor's home civilization would help if this story were longer. As things stand, however, the lack of detail about the alien's home environment serves to keep the focus aimed directly at ourselves, the readers. The narrator that is an alien, then, is very much a character whose sole purpose within the scope of this story is to serve as a foil, with which to contrast ourselves.

He may even serve as an indication of the potential for human achievement and greatness. I have no trouble imagining that the human race had achieved a state of prowess akin to this alien, and that we we're looking down on an alien civilization that is at a point where we ourselves once we're. It's a fascinating thought, and one that I enjoyed reading.

Very good. :)