Beyond the surveyors, p.1
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       Beyond the Surveyors, p.1

           Brett P. S.
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Beyond the Surveyors
Beyond the Surveyors

  Brett P. S.

  Copyright © 2017 Brett P. S.

  All rights reserved.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Table of Contents






  Chapter 1

  Sub-Light Entry

  Starship Cruise Light, Bridge

  Logan Bradley, recently promoted to Captain of the interstellar ship, Cruise Light, stood tall with his hands pressed firmly to his back in a regal posture as he surveyed the bridge of his fresh new vessel. His face was cleanly shaved, his jutting chin sticking out, and his chest puffed forward. The craft had departed his world hours ago, ripping through space and time thanks to a recent invention, the first of its kind: FTL framework engines. The design was a prototype to put it mildly. In all respects, Logan was almost absolutely sure his ship would not explode upon re-entry into normal space. Almost.

  Logan wore the attire befitting a starship captain in the Terrace military. He wore a captain’s cap over a head of short brown hair. His suit, blue in color and simplistic in design, housed medals on his shoulders, and the Terrace insignia stitched onto his right arm. He bore a tattoo on that same arm in the same spot and with the same design. To say that he was dedicated to his craft was an understatement.

  He smiled as he stared out into the sub-light space, a special domain that the FTL framework engines allowed his craft to enter. The same physical laws as those in normal space did not bind objects in this dimension. Funny. He would have just called it space twenty-four hours ago, but that fact had changed upon his newly appointed rank and the knowledge that humankind could travel to a nearby star in days rather than decades.

  “BC,” he said. “Drop us out of sub-light space. I want to see this system with my own eyes.”

  A young man looked up from the navigation console below Logan’s position. He was a wiry kid in his twenties with a passion for all things flight. Logan had selected BC, a short hand for Benjamin Carter, though most who knew him called him by the former label. It may have been unprofessional, but this was no ordinary voyage, and the boy had earned it. The maiden voyage of Cruise Light would be one of discovery in the face of eternity. Logan had no idea what the crew would find, let alone encounter, though it would probably not be intelligent light.

  “Dropping out of sub-light now,” BC said. “Brace for the transition. It’s going to be jarring.”

  It wasn’t much of a warning though. As the boy pulled Cruise Light out of FTL, Logan lurched forward a bit as he felt the vessel screech through the barrier between dimensions. Colors and a multitude of dancing lights jittered about the viewport screen until the image solidified into something less special and more ordinary, the unending blackness of deep space and the myriad of static lights. Logan blinked as he regained his composure and glanced up at the viewport screen in time to catch BC cursing under aloud.

  “Evasive maneuvers!” Logan yelled.

  Logan braced for the burst of kinetic force not even Cruise Light’s inertial dampeners could quell entirely. The ship leaned heavily to the right as BC pulled the craft from its impact course of an unknown planetoid. The G-force shot him from his former stance and smacked him against the railing three meters down.

  Logan wasn’t able to recoup his stature until the deed had been done. BC eased up on the throttle and Cruise Light slowed to a halt at the edge of the Aquinas system. They had indeed exited sub-light space in the correct coordinates. His brief glance through viewport screen showed as much. Somehow, though, an unidentified planetoid had cropped up.

  Logan stood back up and eyed BC. “What the hell was that?”

  “It’s a … planet?” he replied, an uneasy pause in his words.

  Logan lifted his cap and scratched his head. He would have been right, except that he couldn’t have been. The object was the size of a large moon, barely a hint of gravity but by no means a mere piece of space debris. Terrace observers would have spotted something that size, wouldn’t they?

  “Allow me to offer my insight on this predicament, Captain.”

  Logan turned to spot his chief scientist picking herself up off the bridge floor. Evelyn McKenzie or Doctor McKenzie as he would have normally called her. The woman, in her late thirties, carried herself with an air of superiority and well deserved at that. Her knowledge of galactic phenomena was exactly why he put in a good word for her recruitment. It wasn’t as easy as picking his pilot, though.

  Terrace had their eyes on a number of scientists, but he did believe that Doctor McKenzie was the best one suited for this mission. Her mid-length blonde hair had begun to show strands of gray. McKenzie wore the same uniform as the rest of the crew but with a purple hue, noting the fact that she was a civilian expert. She pushed her glasses back into position and strode out onto the bridge floor beside BC.

  “Benjamin,” she said. “Can you perform a topographical scan on the surface of that planetoid?”

  “With my eyes closed,” BC replied.

  “What’s this about Doctor?” Logan asked.

  McKenzie nodded and exhaled. “Based on the size of the planetoid’s structure, I find relatively few avenues for our Terrace observers’ incompetence in the matter.” She walked toward Logan. “Realistically, something like this cannot happen. Our star charts for this system have been mapped, every planet and asteroid large enough to pose a threat to this vessel documented in triplicate.”

  “So call it human error,” Logan insisted. “What’s the issue?”

  “Sir, this is really weird,” BC said. “I don’t know how to explain what I’m looking at.”

  Logan sighed and folded his arms. He shot a quick frustrated glance toward McKenzie before shaking his head.

  McKenzie continued. “I don’t need to view his findings to tell you what he’s seeing Captain. The topographical map your pilot reviewed showed signs of patterns and man-made structures unique to intelligent life.”

  “Goddammit,” Logan said. “It had to be aliens.”

  “That’s about the size of it, sir,” BC said. “I don’t know what else to make of it, but the planetoid looks like a massive space station in the form of a wandering earth.”

  “Propulsion?” Logan asked.

  “Quiet for now,” BC said. “I don’t know how it moves, but I can’t identify any fuel sources.”

  “Life forms, then?” Logan asked.

  “Already beat you to the scan, sir. Unfortunately, nil. However, there’s a lot of magnetics blocking Cruise Light’s sensors. There could be life forms inside.”

  “Understood,” Logan said.

  “Captain,” McKenzie said. “As much as I would love to halt our voyage and investigate this new attraction, I must insist we stay our course. The possibility that these aliens operate anywhere near our level of technology is not statistically significant. On top of that, there’s a good chance we will be of little interest to them or worse, vermin.”

  “Extermination doesn’t sit right with me either,” Logan said. “But if they’re above and beyond us already, it won’t matter if we continue to the Aquinas system, so we might as well check their vessel out. First contact seems inevitable either way.”

  “I don’t recommend this, Captain. There are too many variables for you to draw such a simplistic conclusion.”

  “Noted,” Logan said.

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