Many times, as composers of stories and makers of creative works, we endure a great many ideas throughout the day. As we siphon through these ideas from time to time, we do not always have the time to put our best notions down on paper or out into electronic availability. I had an idea for a space exploration prompt, for other people, yet with limited response (due to possible near non-exposure), I wrote out an idea for it. Here it is – it will possibly be published elsewhere this month or later… 🙂
From the glossy windows of a small, outer atmosphere born, multi-engine computerized, ceramic-shelled fuselage, five astronauts documented their observations of Earth with on-board imaging technology and documentation devices safely within their space-born exploration and research vehicle. The team’s lead scientist’s name was Captain Ron Featherton. His crew of four researchers’ names were Gill, Luke, Isa (short for Isabelle), and Shawn. The team’s mission? To observe, document and digitally characterize Earth’s natural radiation belts, normal global geology and external geomorphology, and to journey safely from Earth’s outer atmosphere within normal return velocities.
After documenting observations, including storms, stars, and pressure movements, the crew was impressed with their flight-specific gathered data and electronic journals. Upon storing information into their data systems, it was nearing time to venture home. Just then, however, the lead monitor of engine systems and on-board life, air, navigation systems Secondary Operations Engineer, Shawn, suddenly exclaimed…
“Captain, our oxygen supply is decreasing due to an unknown malfunction source! Should we down the two minor engine thrusts to maintain average support systems?” “No,” said Captain Ron, “We need to leave them running to maintain minimum necessary travel speed – we will be returning to Earth in moments and should not take the risk.” A small bubbling patch of perspiration beaded unnoticeably upon Shawn’s brow. “Eye eye, Cap,” said Shawn has he continued to navigate the average-sized spaceship along its normonic path.
“This is such a marvelous view of our planet and distant celestial sparkling bodies,” observed Gill in a dreamy frame of mind. She had worked for most of her career to enjoy one single amazing experience such as this one. “Of the things I have seen during my lifetime,” commented Luke, “There has been none such as marvelous as this one; never before have I viewed such a spectacular view of Earth and our amazing galaxy.” “I concur,” said Isa, “I will treasure this moment for a lifetime.”
As the astronauts continued to maintain normal operations, the spacecraft’s instrumentation panel began beeping and going haywire. “We are losing vital oxygen fast, Captain!” exclaimed Shawn. “Down the secondary thrusts and engage back-up systems! We will be lucky to survive!” commanded Captain Ron. Isa spoke a short prayer.
Drifting through space the astronauts wondered if they were a part of a moribund exploration, done-for, bereft. Oxygen continued to weaken as Captain Ron tried to contact home-command. Unable to do so, the situation grew more terrible. Due to lack of sufficient air his team of four fell unconscious. He somehow did not. Maintaining system controls, Captain Ron was able to bring the ship to a state of tentative normalcy.
Therein lied his dilemma: should he risk losing the lives of his team, utilize the oxygen supply in order to return to Mother Earth alive, chance becoming a known and perceived, detested failure, responsible for the deaths of four renown scientists? “It is a temptation to disengage the pressure controls and drift hopelessly into the bliss of outer space… to suffer the short-lived torture of suffocation and die,” thought the compassionate space-captain, “No one would ever know.” He had no family to return to, gave the cowardly notion a pinch of dangerous thought.
The newly engineered, high-tech space-born fuselage allowed no emergency abort capabilities, proved now, to be a deadly capsule due to its systems’ malfunctions. As he looked upon his crew in tears, the captain released their air supply. Captain Ron brought the ship’s systems back to complete and normal operation within moments. He powered up the main thrusts. The other four died shortly thereafter. Captain Ron returned to Planet Earth within normal and safe velocities exceeding an approximate 19,817 mph, presented never-before-gathered radiation belt data, sought counselling.