Solar Storm, Part II

This is a continuation from here.

It’s dark. There an excess of numbing silence. There is just enough light to see what’s ahead. Light from the closest sun travels millions of light years to diffuse unevenly over the moon’s barren landscape.

A spacesuit makes it’s way to a dingy cargo ship. The man within takes measured steps to avoid stomping on jagged points of scattered wreckage. Carrying the last intact box of medical supplies, he tosses it onto the ship. Once inside the airlock is activated. The helmet comes off. The man’s face is weathered. Time had etched lines into his face and his once salt-and-pepper beard had begun to fade into a uniform whiteness.

“Captain. Welcome.” said the virtual assistant. Its voice was distorted and garbled by some interference.
“Status?” asked the captain.
“Fuel cells at 25 percent. Refuel needed soon.”
“Switch into power-save mode.”
“Sure thing.” replied the assistant.
“Set course for ____”
“Please remain stationary, health checkup in progress.” Health check-ups were built into the protocols of the ship. The light of the ship’s sensors moved around his body.
“Abnormal growth in the lungs. Diagnosis: Tumour. Risk: Severe. Differential: Lung Cancer”
“Like hell it is, I don’t even smoke.” He knocked the console with his hands.
“Differential: Leukemia.” The ship’s circuitry was beaten up and its software was outdated.
“Well, anything I don’t know?” asked the Captain, placing some of his loot into the Sample Analyzer.
“Remember to stay hydrated, Captain.” He strapped himself back to the seat and drove out into the depths of space. The ship rattled as it made the jump to light speed.

—-

“Destination reached. Port 237.” said the virtual assistant.
“What of the sample? Is it potent enough?” asked the Captain.
“Retrieving data, cross-checking in progress…” The Captain swept his gaze around the cluttered ship. He picked up the Oxygen tank and secured it to the back of his vest.

“Results: Sample contains 45.0 percent Grindiun, 33.2 percent Vitrial, 21.5 percent Draplace, and .0001 percent Placatinum. Would you like a print out of your results?”

“Placatinum?” the Captain’s ears perked up. He had just put his backpack on.
“.0001 percent.” Placatinum was commonly used to make an acute poison. The cure was an even tougher case to crack. Only select systems had minute amounts to serve as an effective treatment. The Captain crumpled his receipt and stuffed it into his vest’s pocket. He took another deep breath and exited the capsule. The blinding light of the land greeted him.

“White here, white there, white everywhere.” He took a couple of steps towards the closest white tree. The ground was strange. It was like solidified white powder, like sugar or a drug lord’s fantasy land. He took a couple of steps and the ground gave way, dropping him down a landslide. Scratched and bruised he looked up. The white was still up there. There was a cave underneath where he had parked. After slapping a couple of bandages on his wounds, he found solid footing and looked at the dark recess of the cave in front of him. He took one of his last Ever-lights and activated it. The structures of the cave eerily glowed in front of him. Taking out the scanner from his bag, he walked in.


-Eashan R. Kotha

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