I came out of stasis and blinked a couple of times to clear my eyes. Thankfully the ship's interior light was set low for the comfort of the newly awakened. Carefully I stretched the muscles in each limb, relieved that all appeared to be in working order. It had been a long journey, the longest I had ever taken, but so far, so good.
I looked around for the others.
I saw Prime, black as night, already seated at the control panel, the silver helmet on his head connecting him to the ship's operating system. As leader of the expedition, Prime would have been in and out of stasis a few times during the voyage. It would have been his decision to judge whether the ship was close enough to our destination to justify rousing the rest of us.
Ora, the medic, was standing to my right, waving her diagnostic scanner over Mohktar who was groaning faintly. It appeared I was the fourth to waken; the other three were still in their stasis units. I took a sip of water from the tube in front of me and swirled it around my mouth, waiting for the shot of nutrients Ora had given me to take effect.
Prime was both the leader of our expedition and the controller of the ship; pilot, navigator and engineer combined. Secca was his backup, able to take over if needed. It would be her responsibility to take us home. The rest of us were scientists, myself and Holtar biologists, Jamila a chemist and Mohktar was a physicist. Ora was not only our medic but a specialist in micro-biology.
I wondered if everyone else was as excited as I was. A new world to explore, a world which all available evidence indicated was inhabited, and not just by micro organisms. Our scanning systems revealed the presence of multiple large life forms, both stationary and mobile. Although that was exciting enough, I couldn't help daring to hope for more. Would we be the first to discover alien intelligence?
Prime brought the ship down in the mountains. We had surveyed the planet for a couple of days before deciding that would be safest, both for us and for the native inhabitants. The scanner indicated that the predominant life form nearby was stationary and similar to what we would call "plants." True, there was a large concentration of mobile creatures in the vicinity, but they were far enough away to the south that they were unlikely to be bothered by our descent.
Best of all, the scanner showed the presence of a large cave system, sufficient to conceal the ship and for us to establish our base camp inside. We had decided to keep our presence hidden for a while, at least until we could assess the natives' level of intelligence. Holtar had argued that we should land as near to the creatures as possible, but Prime had over-ridden him, suggesting that the sudden arrival of a ship from the sky might be frightening rather than interesting. Eventually Holtar had agreed that we didn't want to cause a panic.
Everything went as planned. The ship fit neatly into the largest cave and we began to make small excursions out into the world in which we found ourselves. Everything was so different to what we knew, we could hardly take a step without encountering something new and exciting. At first we took precautions, not wanting to harm either ourselves or the creatures here, but as time passed, we became complacent. We found that a ship's blanket made a cosy tent for the night and Ora quickly identified several plants we could digest safely. There were enough species here to keep us busy for years, decades even and we began exploring further and further afield, sometimes for days at a time.
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Lost Worlds (my sci-fi short collection)Science Fiction
Aliens, steampunk and zombies ... A series of sci-fi short stories, written mainly for Ooorah's Sci-fi Smackdowns. I shuffle these around from time to time! 1. Lost (4 parts) (lost world / SFSD 6 Final) 2. Black Death (3 parts) (candlepunk...