Traveller

TRAVELLER

BY EDWARD DRAKE

 

If a stranger, someone seeking safety and solace, came to our planet and looked down on us, our history and our ways, what would they think?

 

Raising the throttle of the engines to ten percent he edged closer to his target. The pilot waited as near to the sun as the shields could stand, soaking up the radiation and storing it deep within the power coils. It would be needed if he was to continue on his journey. A low din on the control panel informed him the vessel was ready, something he knew already without looking.

Keeping a constant eye on the dials and valve ratios he guided his vessel closer. It passed the smallest of the orbiting objects in the solar system and immediately sirens started shrieking at the pilot. The entire vessel began to shake horrendously and a tremendous crashing sounds on the hull as he pushes the throttle further. Comets were soaring all around him and he did his best to navigate clear, but always had one of his eyes on the controls, knowing that he could not waste any fuel. Finally, as he reached the circling eerie shining mass, the shaking stopped and he was clear of the comets.

Breathing a sigh of relief, the pilot lowered the throttle and reset his course. It was stupid of him not to check the scanner he knew, but his mind was lost, pulled in a thousand different directions. Loss, hurt, anguish, grief, devastation. There were a thousand words to describe how he felt, but none of them seemed to fit. He had left his home so long ago, but the nightmares, the damning, terrible memories, still lingered with him. He never thought they would leave completely. Deep down he did not want them to fade though, he wanted that eternal torture, he deserved that.

The vessel continued to drift, as if aimlessly, but within moments the pilot reached the single moon that orbited the blue and green planet. Lowering the throttle to zero he laid the course to circle around that moon, facing towards the planet before him. The engines droned loudly, shaking the vessel as they slowly shut down.

The pilot’s eyes stung and his head ached horribly. The joints cracked as they moved, his body a creaking, exhausted mess. He needed to rest, he needed to recover, but he could not until he had found somewhere to hide. Somewhere secure. Somewhere safe.

Breathing deeply he leaned back and looked out to the green and blue planet. This was one of his last chances and he had to believe that this, out of all of the others, was the one. Loading up the console to his right he sent out an outwards sweep of the area, scanning for any signals or frequencies from the planet and beyond. He set up another constant detection of the solar system, keeping aware of any inbound traveller like himself. Unlike the pilot though, these would only be there to kill.

A low din announced that the console’s sweep was done. There were numerous radio frequencies, enabling both sound and picture to be transmitted across the lands. As well as this there was another frequency that spanned almost the entire globe. It acted as a hub of information that could be accessed from any point.

Activating several switches and dials, the pilot patched into the hub and loaded it up on the small screen directly above his head. There was a vast amount of data there, but all of it combined could not even run his vessel. This people were inferior, barely able to traverse the stars.

From his vantage point he could see their vessels, large white and grey objects that circled the planet. Some were transmitters of information, some were platforms for explorers and travellers like himself. It was all so inferior though. He could travel to the planet’s surface and back in moments, whilst it would take this people days. Their equipment amounted to little more than debris.

They had promise though. Unlike many civilisations he had come across at least they had entered the stars. All they would need is a little push and then they could be so much more. Looking back to the data screen, he viewed every image and word. It was this that made him despair.

War. It was the bane of every race. This planet was soaked in it. There was so much blood-shed, so much chaos. It was no better than what he had left behind. This people were savages, fighting over resources, greed driving them onto unspeakable atrocities. It was not even just between nationalities but within the countries. This was unheard of where the pilot came from.

Sickness and disease still ravaged out of control. Yet these people, they decide they would rather war and kill each other than pool their efforts and save each other. They were like animals. No, they were worse than that. The animals of this world they hunted, killing them for meat and sport. Many of the life-forms on the planet had been wiped from existence, now utterly extinct.

Worse than that was the damage they had caused to the planet itself. It was wilting, dying and it would not be long until it failed its people completely. Soon it would not be able to support life and would become as barren as its moon and the other planets in the solar system.

There was so much fury and hate here. The pilot felt an anger rise within him, feeling that dread continue to grow and knowing he would never be able to escape, not really. He had left his home planet as it had warred and come to nearly destroying itself. Then they had come and in his race’s weakened condition were wiped out, leaving no survivors. Now only the pilot remained, alone.

They chased and hunted relentlessly and he had searched endlessly for somewhere to hide and to call home. This place, this green and blue planet, this was not it. He would find no peace there.

Igniting the engines again and raising the throttle the pilot turned away from the planet. He knew that the vessel could not continue for long. It’s fuel was running so long and his nutrients had run out long ago. If he did not find a home soon nothing would matter, even if he was found.

As he passed the red giant and planned the next course, he prayed that salvation would be delivered soon and that his torture would end. Then the sirens shrieked, screaming at him, and he knew that he had been discovered.

Copyright. Edward Drake. 2011

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Comments
  1. PamS says:

    Interesting premise and it’s let open for a sequel.

  2. CharlieC says:

    Really liked that and different from your other stories. Looking forward to the next one.

  3. Matt says:

    I liked Traveller and as CharlieC said it was different from your other works in a good way.
    You’ve got quite the varied catalogue now and it really is a ‘growing collection of short fiction.’

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