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Prologue “Admiral Sylvia is in place, and disguised,” stated a man in a pristine uniform, with broad shoulders and short blond hair. “It's good to know that you can carry out a simple job Commander.
But yes, this news is most welcomed,” said the Admiral, who in all fairness was a man of his word, although everyone knew that this came at a ruthless price. The Admiral moved away from the Commander with a slight smile on his face. Then he looked back, “Remember no one is to know of this, I trust your associates have been dealt with?” “As usual Admiral,” replied the Commander. “Then you may leave.” The Admiral walked down the landing platform and slipped away as he always does for moments of silence. Being of such high rank does have its difficulty, and responsibility. So to slip away is his favorite past time. He went through the nearest door, and moved through the narrow dimly lit corridor fluently knowing full well the contours of the walls, such a familiar journey. He pushed open the third store room that he came to as usual and sat on a crate. He exhaled and closed his eyes. His hand crept to a compartment in the wall and fingered his weakness. He pulled out a bottle of whiskey. He would not say he had an addiction, because this shows he has a weakness something that he must subside to, but he did. That is why this room was so familiar, because he came here every day. Only one other person knew about his addiction, the person that placed a new bottle in the compartment every day. The Admiral opened his eyes, and drank heartily. Just as if he was the last man alive, on the edge of his life. Later that day the Admiral returned to his office, and sat at his desk. He scoured it for the files on “Operation Sylvia”. He found the main document, it began: Concerning “Operation Sylvia”, this is highly confidential information, not even the President is to know. We all know what is going to be aboard that ship and it is our duty to make sure that it is forgotten... He then looked to his computer screen, typed “Lydia6582” for his password and opened his emails. He found only one unread email: Paul, are you telling me that this is a set up? You know what it will be carrying surely... Listen I don't think I can continue with this operation it’s just against my morals. Thank God Lydia is not the Captain, wait that is why you reassigned her didn't you, I bet you didn't give any explanation and that is why she is gone. Well I'll have to take this to the president; you know I have no choice. Gerry The look of revulsion on the Admirals face was almost menacing. He picked up the phone and pressed speed dial and one. “Hello, I have another job for you; I need you to terminate Gerald.” And he slammed the
Part One Chapter One The black void of Space was calm as always. The omniscient blanket of stars shone brightly in the distance. A Space-Craft steadily moved into view. It was the only form of life in this area of the Universe. Across the side of the ship Titanique was printed in a brilliant white. She was a large ship, one of the biggest in the fleet and this was her maiden voyage. “Everything is going well Captain, the engine is running at its optimum.” a slightly muffled voice said through an on board speaker phone. The Captain pressed down on the button under his finger. “Thank you Miller, that makes me feel a lot better,” a slight smile protruded his stern lips. He moved to the back of the room and sunk into deep thought. Suddenly a set of mechanical doors slid open to the left of him, and a young man hastily entered. “Captain, there’s a faint signal coming from a nearby star system,” the young man said. “From a planet?” asked the captain, feeling confused. “Yes, it’s a static signal most likely caused by the planets' strong magnetic field.” “I see, but how is this planet here? This system has been scanned and checked.” “Yes, well ... I was getting to that Sir, it’s slightly harder to explain. You see none of us really know,” the young man tried to smile at the
Captain who did not receive it. “It shouldn't prove much of a problem really. Should it?” asked the Captain. “Well no, I just thought you ought to know.” “Yes that's fine then. Thank you for telling me Collins. You don't really need to look into it any further. If any new information comes to light, I would like you to report to me. We don't want it to prove a problem for us.” “Will do Captain,” Collins left the room through the same doors, and the Captain slipped back into his thoughts. This was Thomas Collins' first voyage this deep into Space. Although he was very clever and knew how to do his job very well, he could not help but think his lack of hands on experience in this particular field held him back. He could not help feeling claustrophobic in his cabin with it being so diminutive and so cramped. He got up and made his way to the wash room next to his bed. He splashed his face with cold water. Although instead of feeling refreshed he felt lonely and lost. He looked into the mirror above the sink in search of himself, all he saw staring back at him was his cropped hairstyle, soft features and his dark eyes. He scowled and left his cabin for the secondary control room. Tom sat down at his almost familiar chair and made to check the status of the ship. Suddenly the ship lurched sideward’s. Tom was thrown from his chair and opened his eyes to find himself on the floor. He quickly staggered to an upright position and made his way to the speaker phone. “Chris did you feel that?” There was no reply so he tried again. “Chris! Answer me?” “Sorry Tom what did you say?” answered Chris. “Did you feel that ... just then?” “Of course I did what the hell caused it?” “I have no idea, I'll see what I can find out,” but Tom did have a faint idea. Maybe he only formed it because there was nothing else to go on, it was uncertain. However he did decide that before he took any irrational courses he should check the ships logs. Luckily the on board computer suffered no damages. He opened up the log only to find no recollection of what had happened. The computer recorded any movement whether the ship made them on her own or by a separate entity which means it should be here. Tom's idea crept back into his memory. He thought of the planet with the static signal, the small planet dark and almost purple in colour. He also thought of the Bermuda Triangle. Back on earth, ships being forced to sink and aeroplanes being forced to crash all at one point. He left this thought floating in his mind because another protruded quickly, that he must speak with the Captain. The solid mechanical doors opened in front of him to reveal the large bridge with its huge windows at the front enabling Tom to see the vastness that is Space. “Captain,” called Tom “I felt it too Collins. I suspect you've looked into this. What have you
found?” There was now an undertone of arrogance in the Captain’s voice. “Well, Sir, I don't know what caused it to move. And the ships log made no record so I cannot find out its nature. I'm completely stuck.” “I see. Well if it...” he was broke off by another movement of the ship this time not so harsh but still causing Tom to sway and the Captain to grip Tom for balance. “Okay we really need to find out what that was.” “I do have an idea Sir. But it’s slightly radical. You’re going to have to hear me out.” “Okay Collins ..." “Well, the Bermuda Triangle,” the Captain made to break him off but Tom protested “Give me a chance Sir.” “Okay, Okay. The Bermuda Triangle...” “Yes, you see no one really knows what caused the ships to sink and the aeroplanes to crash, but, I heard a scientist say once that he had done research into the Triangle and had found that the earths' magnetic field was stronger at a particular point at the centre of the Bermuda Triangle. He said that this triangle would force objects there and sometimes enough force was applied to pull them down. Now, the purple planet I mentioned earlier...” “Oh yes you said something about the magnetic field then.” “Yes, it is very strong about five times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field (which makes me speculate as to whether there is possible life on the planet). However I think that this magnetic field is pulling us in or at least causing enough force to create the jolts that we have been experiencing.” “Wait one moment, this ship was not constructed of metal, it is made of a new material, some sort of carbon composite, isn't that right?” “Oh, I didn't give that a thought ...” Tom was awestruck. Through the large window at the front of the ship was the view of the not-so-smallafter-all purple planet. “My God,” burst the Captain. “Were headed straight for it. Brookes can you turn the ship at all?” “Not an inch Captain, there’s nothing we can do.” replied Brookes “What? No control.” “Captain we just have to hope that when we break orbit that we can land safely” “Do you think it's possible?” “Yes I don't see why not, the gravitational field does not seem that strong.” “We're getting closer, brace ..." the ship jolted forward, Tom and the Captain thrust back. The ship was picking up speed. Faster and faster, Tom tried to stand up but couldn't, he found himself wedged in a corner at the back of the room with the Captain beside him unconscious. The ships pace felt intense and Tom felt dizzy the once dark purple was now fluorescent, Tom's head span. He became increasingly hot to the point at which he felt his skin peeling away. Images from his past came into his mind then everything went black.
Chapter Two Thomas woke, dazed. He could only see a faint light. His breathing was heavy and the air thin. He could hear in the distance some sort of movement but of what nature he could not comprehend. He could not move. It felt as if his legs were broken. He managed to gain his vision back, not that it made much of a difference against the dark brooding background that was once a well lit bridge. He was led next the computer to the left of the bridge which he had been ten meters or more away from when he blacked out. It must have been a corpulent crash. Tom found that his legs we not broken but found that a large metal beam laid across them. He sat up and pushed the beam just enough to free his bruised legs. He slowly stood haphazardly but gained a sense of balance even if he was shaking. His heart was thumping in his chest, and his breathing still heavy. He looked around, his eyes adjusted to the darkness. He could make out the layout of the bridge. It was not as badly damaged as he had imagined. Again in the distance he heard slight movement but mechanical or organic he could not tell. He moved away from the orange flickering screen in search of the Captain. He found him at the back of the room with a shard of titanium hanging out of his torso. Tom closed his eyes in respect. He made his way to the primary control room to see if he could find out what the current situation was. The primary control room was built so that in the event of a crash or similarly a full systems failure not to be effected. However this situation was never supposed to occur. He found the room to be a complete mess, and almost desolate save for Chris lying up against the far wall. Tom ran over to check his pulse only to be disappointed. Tom had never been close to Chris but that did not stop a droplet from escaping his tear ducts, he wiped his eyes and
stood up. The computer was intact but the screen flickered now and again. He accessed the log and then the status history: 10:46 -- Ship picks up speed. 10:52 – Entered orbit. No correspondence at controls. 10:57 – Crash landing. This all checked out with Tom and it is what he figured, but it was what followed that worried him: 11:14 – Computer system back-up ~ run. 11:34 – System overload *cause* unknown entity. “!$£E£RRDF34T%$TG$%^&U*IO*(I*UYHGW%$YT£$£$TFG%THYU&^*&&&& &&&&&&O)O(*&&%^U%T^Y%$Y%TFT%^<>”£$RTY&^U%£$F%GH*& ------SYLVIA! What was 'unknown entity'. Tom figured it could just have been miss-read, which even though it was all he could think of, it just did not seem to be a legitimate reason and he knew this. Then Sylvia, Tom did not know much about the ships in this particular fleet but he remembered seeing a large ship when he walked off the convoy with Sylvia in faded white across the side of it. He looked over to Chris he found something he failed to notice in his haste. There was a small pool of blood by the side of him; it was dripping from just below his ribs. Tom moved over to inspect what had caused it. As he moved his body he found that there were four deep rips in his skin. Flesh hung down revealing the bottom rib to be also severed and protruding bluntly. Tom quickly looked away. This was too much for him. He just could not understand ... it was as if an animal had ripped through his skin. Tom's thoughts about there being no life on this planet were slowly dwindling. Once again in the distance he could hear the same slow movement as before, although this time it was not as faint and sounded less mechanical. Tom's first thoughts were to get out of this room, and even the ship. He went in search of an Astro-Suit to enable him to breathe outside; he did not know what the air would be like on this planet or even whether there was any. He also thought that he needed to find any survivors he could on his way out. He left the room, turned right and carried on until he found the room he was looking for. It was not far north of the bridge. He quickly and clumsily pulled on the Astro-Suit. Once he had attached the pipe which would feed him air he opened the door and continued down the corridor. He searched all the rooms on his way through, but he knew that most of them were used for storage or contained automated machines. He came to one of the cabins and looked in to find a woman lying on the floor. She had obviously come out of her bed and fallen. When Tom had checked he found that she was dead. Most of the other rooms that were down this
corridor were empty. Tom turned following the green strip on the floor, which led to the landing platform. He came to a corner and could hear something; he froze against the corner of the wall and ever so slightly peered around it. The corridor was dark accept for an emergency light strip that ran down the ceiling. It illuminated the corridor but there was nothing to see, although Tom could still hear something in the darkness at the far end of the corridor. Tom waited a moment, and then continued swiftly. Tom's nausea was now heightening and his heart beating ready to leap from his chest. The silence that had accumulated filled the air with a sombre feeling. Tom could only wonder if there were more alive. He hoped there was. He knew that even if he did get out of the ship there was still no hope for him. Still he continued on. As he reached the landing platform he could see that the door was damaged and could feel that the air was seeping out. “That must be why the air is so thin,” Tom thought. As he surveyed the dark platform he could see a shape on the floor in a darkened area, moving. There was no resounding noise just a faint movement. Tom was hesitant at first but soon moved closer. He crouched down and approached the area very slowly making sure he was not seen or heard. Tom's legs could feel double his weight bearing down on them because of the severe bruising. However there was no pain in Tom's eyes. The movement of the being was becoming ever more refined. Tom's eyes could see now that it was a human. Tom hoped that it was a surviving crew member. He stood up and approached. “Hello, I can help you,” Tom said hesitantly. “Mm...” was all that came from the victim. Tom moved closer. He could see it was an older man. “My name is Thomas, what's yours?” The man struggled with his speech. “J ... John ... John Ryans,” breathed the man. “Okay well John I'm going to help you. You and I can both get outta here.” “Humph, I don't think so kid ... just let me go in peace.” “I can't do that, I can save you. Don't you worry.” “No really save yourself. I've seen what they do to you. This planet is no good for you ... that’s right ... don't you worry Mary I'll be okay nothing is going to happen its ... it’s just standard procedure. “The man closed his eyes and slipped into another world. Tom stood up. “Dammit!” he thrust his fist into the wall. Tom nursed his hand and looked around him. He could not help but feel oppressed by the consuming silence that now rested here. He continued for the large landing bay doors. As he came to them he looked back into the ship. The air was much thinner here by the doors. Tom checked the tank on his back its reading told him that he would have roughly four hours. He secured the helmet and turned the valve. As he left through the door he was met by a vast area of the planet that swept upwards rapidly. He noticed that the ground was slightly
crystallised causing the purple pigmentation. Tom started to walk forwards noticing that the gravity was as Brookes had said light, and therefore found walking upwards less effort. As he reached the top, the light from a close star resonated across the seeming horizon and momentarily blinded Tom's vision. As Tom's eyes adjusted yet again he could see the beauty of this planet, it glittered under the natural light. Although far below he could see something that was much more horrific. Ships ... hundreds of them. All of different sizes and what appeared to be different levels of technology. All of them had met the same fate. However in one section there were small lights, a symbol of hope, and which appeared to be linked with a civilisation.
Chapter Three I could not think what my father had called me to his office for. I hoped he would not relieve me of my duties, as he had been threatening for a while now, all because of the increase in danger. I can understand his worry for me; after all I am the only family he has left. What he does not seem to understand is that I can look after myself. “Lydia, we need to talk,” my father said. “Yes ...” I replied, I knew what was coming. “I think that you have finally earned the right to Captain your own ship,” “Huh, that's ... well that’s amazing, I mean thank you Sir,” I must be honest, this I was not what I was expecting. “Which ship?” but before he could answer there was a knock at the door. My father’s right hand man stood at the door. I could never understand why my father trusted him so much, maybe he didn't either way he was always lurking around. “Ah,” said Gerald “I trust Admiral that you have told Lieutenant Lewis that she has obtained the right of Captain?” “That's just what we were talking about Gerry,” said my father. Gerald was not a military man and had no rank, but he did consider himself higher than everyone else, except my father of course. “Yes, Sir I would like to know what ship I will be Captain of?” I directed this question to my father, but it was Gerald who answered. “Oh my dear the finest ship there is of course. Only the best for you. Titanique. Completely indestructible, or as best as possible. We are still working on the operation of the ship though so you will have to wait until you can literally take control of her.” I was awestruck; this was the ship that everyone was talking about.
And there were certainly a number of Captains waiting to be told that it was to be their ship, most of them with more advanced skills than mine. There was no doubt in my mind that it was my father’s influence and rank that landed me with the best ship that has ever been created. To Be Continued…
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