Inspired on Hubble Pic: An Earth science vessel exploring an unknown galaxy with a twist.
“Shuttle 167, to control, we are ready to depart.”
”Yea, Yea, just hold your horses… we have another shuttle coming in on approach.”
A lone shuttle sat on the flight deck of the shuttle bay aboard the U.S.S. Repulse, a science vessel sent from Earth, to study the galaxy known simply as four eleven. The galaxy itself is equivalent in size, or slightly smaller than the Milky Way, and they had scanned only twenty-five or so solar systems that ranged from several different classes of systems and planets located here. The Repulse would be the first Federation ship to remain in this area, as a scout to explore the many solar systems that had been located here. It would also explain the disappearance of over twenty vessels of the Earth Federation that had vanished without a trace in this area, before it was cordoned off-limits by the Earth Council. As the shuttle sat there, another ship loomed overhead, hitting its retro thrusters and slowly landed on the flashing symbol marked on the deck of the ship.
Besides the twenty missing vessels, however, galaxy four-eleven that it was relatively unexplored, and even more troublesome. As far as Earth was concerned, too many ships were being lost in this sector for strange reasons, either by radio black outs, disappearances, or maybe even hostile attacks, and it was the Repulse’s job to figure it out. Earth was counting on the aging relic of a science vessel, known to the crew as “The Bucket”, to complete that mission and double, if not triple check everything in this galaxy, every solar system that they had detected here. The crew who mans the Repulse is no strangers to being sent to far out of the way places, described by the crew as the rear entry of space, but they understood they had a job to do despite the chatter among Headquarters, and the higher ups on Earth for the choice made to lead the expedition.
As the small craft sat in the launch tube, Commander Deek Baker, and Lieutenant Omara Sherith are the only occupants of the shuttle. Otherwise the ship has been converted into a flying science center, with a whole series of computer equipment and sensory equipment for this mission.
As for the crew, Deek Baker is about thirty one years of age, tall, muscular, vital active man with long brown hair, falling in confused curls around his face, a round but square jawed face, and cold gray eyes. He is in command of the mission, put in charge by the Captain himself of the Repulse, a flight he really didn’t want to make. It is because of study is Astro-Biology, and Life Sciences that had qualified him greatly as the pilot for the shuttle, but he is a troubled officer with a shaded past, and career of nothing but trouble.
His companion is Omara Sherith, she is from India on Earth, the exact state is hard to tell, as they had been in civil war since the late twenty-first century, but she joined the Earth Federation as a Star Navigator, and Scientist to study the features of space. She is educated, holding three P.H.D Degrees in the science field, and a Master’s degree in Communications. Her education and knowledge for the Repulse’s mission had been useful from their departure from Earth, making her quite valuable up until finding the same kind of trouble as Deek. Omara is short, with short black hair, a round face with a dark complexion and black eyes. She wears a simple tunic of the Earth Federation Science Division, and at her side she wears a ceremonial dagger, a gift from her mayor of her city, when she volunteered for this mission, but she had not expected to be put on a bucket like the aging Repulse either.
The trouble for the pilot and co-pilot also, is they hated each other’s guts with a passion, being off and on lovers for most of this mission. She was abusive to him and demanding, he was laid back and relaxed, never following regulations. They fought constantly on and off the ship. How they were put together for this mission was questionable, but it was one that required their unique skills and the Captain, less than happy with the choices had assigned the “Battling Bickersons” to the job, as he nicknamed them from an old style radio show from the twentieth century. Their relationship was not a secret on the ship. In fact, it was talked about regularly, as the hind end of a party pun or joke.
In the shuttle, Deek and Omara sat in the seats, still strapped in, he did a quick check of all systems one more time, to be sure the ship was in the best condition possible to ensure a safe return. Even though it was said this was a one-way mission because of so many unknowns in galaxy four eleven. They did the checks constantly as they waited for clearance to depart the shuttle bay.
Sitting on the bridge, Captain Adam Jones sat in his chair and he too studied the view screen for ten minutes as he waited for his science officer to complete the scan of the galaxy ahead. (The area of space scanned for a fifth time in the last fifteen minutes.) The crew and ship was on yellow alert, as he had sent two scout ships to check the area. Captain Jones had a feeling, and he did not like the look of this place, the shape of this galaxy, or even what stunk to high heaven of hostility. Of course here he was sending his crew out into the strangest looking galaxy they had found on record in their travels. It would be the very same place where they could all perish, just like the twenty ships that came through this area and literally disappeared from existence.
He turned his chair as he scanned the bridge at the other crew, and shipmates on his bridge. He stared at the young faces that he saw there for a moment to nod before turning back to the science station. Around him at their stations, many races and creatures had joined the Earth Federation in the last twenty years. Some had been assigned to the Repulse voluntarily, others by force.
“Well? How about it… Science Officer…” He said with a sneer. Shu Purma, a feline science officer turned her chair and with her blue eyes gazed coldly back at him. She is a head taller than he is, covered in multicolored fur with paws and a typical cat face. She was elegant with her long locks of hair, almost regal, having been thrown into the assignment on board the Repulse back at Star base 45, the ship putting in there for supplies and she managed to intersect the ship, arriving for her duty station. She was hardly ready for an assignment on this size of vessel, having spent most of her career in an Interceptor, or Frigate Class Vessel. It would be a new experience for her.
She had gazed at the ship through a port window at the Star base when arriving to meet the ship. She frowned at the sight of it before turning to take up her gear, heading to the airlock where a grizzled, unkempt looking, Lieutenant manned the airlock on duty. Her first impression had been apprehension, but that had quickly faded into disappointment.
Sitting on the bridge around the Captain, the others looked on from their positions on the bridge. They too are anxious for the report, impatient, having taken the captain’s lead for impatience for her report. The Captain had hardly given the new Science Officer a shot, when she was assigned to this ship. They let out a mutter that echoed the bridge as another moment passed. Shu worked quickly at her keyboard, reading the data quickly on the screen.
“Yes Captain, there is no change to the galaxy ahead and to our scans.” The feline science officer reported finally with a nod, “We are on the extreme edge, approximately thirty five meters from the edge of the cloud that makes up galaxy Four-Eleven.”
“Very Well… Also, Purma, I need the reports to be a little faster.” He sneered, “If this was battle conditions, all hell would be breaking loose and decisions have to come fast.”
“I understand Captain, and will keep trying.” She said with a lull, “I’m doing my best, you didn’t exactly…”
Jones waved his hand, cutting her off in mid sentence as he turned to the plant-like Elowan communications officer, and nodded once to him. He quickly opened the channel. Purma frowned at being dismissed by the Captain like she had been, and in front of the bridge crew. She felt insulted by the dismissal, and a little bit embarrassed. The rest of the crew seemed to ignore the disrespect.
“Shuttle Control, is the shuttle still holding?”
“Okay, let them go, but keep a fix on their position at all times.” The Captain ordered, “I want a two fighters ready, as an alert detail if something happens.”
“Yes sir.” The voice said, “Shuttle Bay, out.”
On the speaker in the shuttle, a cheerful voice finally spoke back to the occupants of the ship as it sat in the launch tube. Both officers did not want to not be in the shuttle with each other, both trying to refrain from busting each other in the head, and to punch each other’s lights out. But it was duty, and they were reminded stiffly that they had a job to do, and no other crapola, as the old term was used, would be tolerated.
“This is control… You are cleared to depart, Shuttle 167.” The voice said, “Have a nice day.”
Sitting in his seat on the shuttle, Deek glanced at his co-pilot with a frown, and silently rolled his eyes. Omara nodded in silent agreement. The first time they would agree this whole trip since it was conceived in the briefing room and both had learned they would be doing this assignment together. Both had not been enthused by the decision, and had objected vocally only to ignored by the Captain.
“Okay, punch it, but not too fast, we don’t know what gravity is like.”
“Yea, Yea.” Omara replied. “Quit yer bitching, you sound like my grandmother.” She hit the launch button and the shuttle charged and there was a glow from the tube as the markers lit up and the shuttle was quickly catapulted from within the tube. Deek sat in his seat, strapped in.
“At least she probably had a FAR better attitude then her granddaughter.” Deek shot back, making her frown.
“We are on course.” Omara coldly told him, but Deek didn’t need to look at the console to know that. Outside in space, the shuttle banked sharply as it turned toward the galaxy, darting swiftly away from the large structure of the ship that sat at the very edge of the gas-like cluster that made up the region.
“Stand by to activate recorders.” She said, “Start pulling in data for the ship.”
“Alright, I am turning on the sensors.” He replied, reading off a checklist on a tablet that floated freely in the cabin. “Turn to course three one two mark four.”
“Don’t yea, yea, me just fricking do what I ask.” He finally belted out, but not without covering the microphone of his headset. “Let’s get something straight, broadzilla, I didn’t want this assignment, but they stuck me with it and you. So let’s get along just to get this job done, alright?”
“With all due respect, fuck you Commander.”
“No thanks, we tried it your way and you were too damn over bearing, even in bed.” He shot back and Omara reached out and slapped him hard up side the head. The Commander struck her back and a stunned look appeared on her face as he held up a fist with his pointer finger extended. The ship continued to fly slowly toward the galaxy as it intersected toward the first solar system that it had found there.
“ETA to the first Solar system is in twenty-eight minutes.” Omara said gruffly, and she frowned, “Correction, fifteen minutes…”
“Which is it Omara?” Baker asked, and she hit the buttons on her console. She gritted her teeth and braced herself as the shuttle began to lurch and violently pitch. A moment later, something grabbed them and alarms screeched through the cabin as the shuttle began to shake and shimmy. Instantly they both were on the job.
“Whoa what was that?” Deek asked, “It feels like something has grabbed us.”
“Neutralize engines, turn us back.” She ordered, her eyes showing fear.
“It’s probably just gravity, from the galaxy boundary.” He chided, “Relax babe, nothing to be fraid of.”
She touched the controls, and she frowned, trying to neutralize the engine, the shuttle continuing on its way at greater speed.
“I think we can slow down now.” Deek instructed, “Reduce to Quarter speed.”
“Oh… Whatcha fraid of?” Omara replied with a snarl, heavy with the same sarcasm he had given her. “I’m trying, but we have no response on the controls.”
“Shit it appears we have been seized by an unknown force.” Omara reported, touching the screen on her side of the cockpit, “Scanners have it coming from direct center of the Galaxy ahead.”
The lanky Commander unstrapped himself from the seat, he touched the communications console.
“This is shuttle 167, to Repulse, come in please.” He said quickly, “We have been seized by an unknown force, and have been pulled into heart of galaxy four, one, one. Do you copy, Repulse?”
Only static cracked over the headset. He floated to the computer units in the back of the shuttle. He clicked a few switches on the units. He quickly typed a query. The screen on the computer was black. The shuttle began to vibrate more and more, shaking and the controls began to smoke as it was subjected to the strange forces around it. He struck the computer keyboard with his fist.
“Navigation is down too.” Omara said with a moan, “I am trying manual control.”
“Computers are inoperative.” He reported, “Communications jammed too.” Omara nodded, as she was flipping switches, even the override control and manual flight button with no result.
“We are off course, three, two, six, mark five.” Omara shouted, as a screech of twisting metal echoed though the cabin.
“Try thrusters,” Deek ordered, “Full reverse… try to slow us down. Scan for anything ahead on scanners that we are possibly heading toward, like a black hole or sun…”
“The scanners are still inoperative.” Omara replied, muttering a silent curse under her breath, as she hit the console with her hand.
“Oh yea… Just fricking great… We are out of control and blind as a bat.” Commander Baker muttered softly, as he floated to the back of the cabin, and he hit the reset button on the power systems.
On the bridge of the Repulse, Captain Jones was fuming as he listened to the last transmission of the shuttle before, and a heated exchange between the pilot and co-pilot. There was laughter on the bridge, as the interior cameras recorded the whole humorous exchange. When it came to them being, ‘The Battling Bickersons’ they really lived up to the old fashioned radio show’s standards. The monitor crackled when all hell started to break loose, and the monitor picture died, the crew worked feverishly to try to get them back with no result.
“We lost their picture Captain.” A voice said.
“I have a lock on their position. They are forty four AU’s from our position.” Another voice reported.
“What about Communications?”
“I got a partial message about being pulled off course and then static Captain.” The Elowan Communications Officer replied.
“Helm, ahead slow.” The Captain ordered, “Let’s close the distance, and launch the fighters to recover them.” He ordered, “Come on, let’s move it!”
The bridge was a hustle of action, as outside the massive ship hovered at the edge of the Galaxy, and it vibrated as the engines roared. The ship slowly moved forward, but even as it was moving toward the Galaxy, the size of their vessel was lost, still dwarfed by the size of the galaxy they were here to study. Fighters emerged from the launch tubes and headed toward the position of shuttle 367 that was nowhere in the background of stars and space. They had been captured and taken aboard a ship that had been undetected in the area.
“Fighters are launched Captain.” Hilix said, the massive plant-like communicator said with his lispy voice, turning to meet the Captain’s nod with his compound eyes.
“Continue slowly toward the galaxy ahead.”
“Sir! We are being scanned from the galaxy ahead.” Purma announced in alarm, and she hit a few switches on her console. Three, zero, eight, mark one, at twelve thousand meters distance.”
“All stop! Raise our shields.” Captain Jones ordered, and the klaxons sounded on the ship. He glanced over at a young humanoid, named Kwai Mao, who manned the weapons defense station. She worked feverishly at her console, and turned to nod to the Captain. He grinned at her extreme beauty, at her semi-fair complexion on her round face, her dark eyes and pinned up long black hair into a bun on the back of her head. He admired her figure that showed clearly in the uniform she wore.
“Ship is at station keeping sir!” The helmsman said, and his hands held them steady at all stop.
“All battle stations manned and ready, Captain.” The Elowan communicator reported, “Weapons crews report, ready.”
“Any change on that scanning, Purma?”
“Negative… No change… but it is constant; someone seems to be curious about us. No hostility has been detected. It is still bearing three, zero, eight, mark one, at twelve thousand meters.”
“Captain, fighters have arrived at the last known position of the shuttle.” He reported with a worried tone, “There is no debris, but there are signs of an energy burst and radiation that was detected. It is, as if the shuttle had been destroyed.
“Sensors detect another vessel approaching sir!” Purma half-shouted, “It’s not one of ours.”
The screen flashed, and on the screen was a round ship. It is a-typical to the old style UFO ship that was portrayed in Earth literature as alien space craft. The same ones said to have crashed in Roswell, NM on Earth, and taken to Area 51 for examination by the United States Government. There was a lurch on the ship as two laser beams, what they did not know were probes, struck the shields directly. It was soon followed by two more.
“We suffered some direct hits.” Purma said, “No damage.”
“Ship is alien technology, nothing like that in Earth registry, unless you count the old style ships Earth found in Roswell and Area - 51, an Earth installation that was classified, now used as a storage facility. Sensors indicate there is life aboard, carbon based life, but it cannot tell us how many.”
“What about motor power?”
“I am not sure what makes it go, there are no visible engine ports. It is one smooth donut shape.” A voice said, and Captain Jones looked over at Voloxa Antiliac, their Insectoid engineer. He grinned at the engineer.
“Sir all weapons, shield and engines have just gone inoperative.” Purma said with a gasp, and on the view screen the ship slowed and stopped dead center ahead of them.
“Recall our fighters.” Jones said.
“But what about…?”
The communicator hit the recall beacon and the fighters, aced back toward the science vessel. There was a flash as the mechanized fighters were obliterated. The two ships faced off at each other. Aboard the Repulse, the engineering crew worked to restore the weapons and shield power, with no result.
“We’re a sitting duck.” Captain Jones said, “Open up a hailing frequency.”
“You’re on Captain!”
“This is the U.S.S. Repulse, Earth Science Vessel, representative of the Earth Federation. We bid you greetings and wait for your reply. We are on a peaceful mission.” Only static echoed across the speakers at the moment, and a worried murmur echoed across the bridge.
“We’re in trouble.” Purma muttered, and she turned to her console, scanning the alien ship, trying to get a reading of their captors who now sits before them.
Little do they know that the shuttle belonging to the Repulse resides in their docking bay, empty of their crew-mates and both reside and are secured, in what appears to be a glass storage tubes. Outside the tube, there is a tinted window on the far end of the examination room. As they slump in the tubes, the alien’s greedily look on at their captives. They especially look on at Omara who slumps forward, peering at her in her tight flight suit that radiates her sensual curves. They also examined Deek who slumped in the glass tube, half out of it as he was drugged like Omara and a decision was being made to their existence aboard the alien’s ship.
The leader alien, IM-7 peered at the two humans with his round eyes, and stood up to his full height of nearly five feet tall. He is clad in what appears to be the equivalent of a tunic and pants, and around his neck he wears a simple platinum disc that hangs from a chain. They have big heads, and small bodies, the aliens use for their telekinesis and mental powers of physical bodies and strength. As he studied the Earth people carefully, a grimace appeared on the strange round, moon face he had. He held out a hand, and pointed at Omara, clucking a thumb at the tubes.
“Take the Earth Female and put her with the others, as a pleasure giver on our planet.” IM-7 ordered, and clucking his thumb he motioned to one of his assistants. A green gas filled Omara’s chamber, as her flight suit dissolved, and they all greedily peered at Omara’s round, medium breasts, down her body along her shapely curves to her muscular legs.
“She will make a fine addition, magistrate.” An assistant agreed, “She is quite an attractive looking human.”
Omara, even though the drug was wearing off and Deek too, they slowly were coming to their senses. Deek was stronger, and fighting it more rapidly and only pretended he was completely out of it.
“W-where am I?” Omara’s mind cloudily thought, and she raised her head, her eyes still closed. “What is happening here?” This time she had said the words. Both aliens turned to look at the young woman.
“It appears they are coming out of it Magistrate.”
The assistant said, “Should I keep them under the drug?”
“No, the female needs to be conscious for the preparation sequence.” It said, “Revive her and prepare her for conversion like the others.”
A purple gas filled the chamber, enveloping her, and the young woman shook her head as she took in a deep breath. She had opened her eyes, groggily peering down at the examination room at the distorted vision of aliens that now stood in front of her. Shaking her head, she slowly trained her eyes at the room, and to the sinister looking equipment in the room. She looked down and realized she was completely in the buff and she gasped, trying to cover herself.
“HEY, where’s my clothes, what are you doing?” She demanded fuzzily, as her mind cleared slowly.
“Send her to the preparation room to be converted!” IM-7 ordered, “Be sure she is prepared to meet our standards for pleasure.” A trapdoor opened below her, and she fell out of view. Omara would never see Earth again, destined to be a pleasure bot for aliens. When she disappeared, there was a shriek of terror by the young woman as she ended up in another ER looking room where she would be changed physically, emotionally, and sensually to serve the aliens. There was another scream, and silence.
Deek’s mind fought to clear when he heard the shriek and scream of Omara who had been in the tube next to him. As he shook his head, he slowly raised his arms, placing them on the interior of the glass tube.
“What should be done with this one Magistrate?” Another alien asked, and IM-7 turned to regard Deek in his uniform pants and Hawaiian flowered shirt that he wore at a top.
“He looks strong; I think we could train him and prepare him with the others we collected for the interplanetary gladiatorial games.” The leader said. “Release him and take him to the holding pit.” The alien waved his hand as a purple gas filled his tube, just like Omara’s a few moments ago. Deek shook off the affects quickly and raised his head, a look of anger on his face.
“You have been identified as a male of your species, and you are to be trained for our gladiator games.” He said, “Serve well and live, and fight, if you do not you will surely die.”
“Let me the hell out of here.” Deek said, “When I get my hands on you for hurting Omara, there will be more than dead gladiators, more like dead aliens.”
“Be Silent, Earthling!” A voice shouted as a shock radiated through the tube.
“It is done, you train to fight and live or you will die.”
“Then let me die asshole.”
A trapdoor opened below Deek, and he disappeared out of view. As he slid, the tunnel and slide twisted and turned, as it disoriented him, and he soon ended up in a dark dungeon like area.
Two ape-like guards, with nasty looking lances, both lowered their weapons at him and the forced him to march through the tunnel made of metal, and toward a gaping maw of an entry port. Here he heard screams of others, and he peered at the faces of many creatures that had been collected for the games.
He was thrown into a holding cell among other humans that had been hijacked from Earth and other places. Many were old, some were young others were kids. He noted the group all had different nationalities.
“Shit, with this bunch we have no chance in those games.” He thought and he took a seat, thinking of Omara, as she was medically checked, injected, poked prodded and god knows anything else they were doing to her.
“I have to get Omara and get the hell out of here.” Deek said. “She might be an Iron-box bitch, but I can’t leave here in this hell.”
Outside in space, the ship’s still faced each other, the Repulse on one side and the Alien UFO on the other side. As the Captain aboard the Repulse looked on, there was a flash.
“Watch it, we’re under…”
The instruments, view screen, and everything dimmed for a moment as the force threw everyone to the deck.
When the flash remnants finally cleared, the stars of space appeared on the view screen. There was no sign of the shuttle or the alien or galaxy. It was second before everyone was standing or realized what had happened.
“Position report Navigator!” Captain Jones declared and the navigator punched buttons on the console.
“What the hell…?” Jones grumbled, staring at the open stars of space.
“We are clear across the galaxy, one point six million light years from our position!” The navigator reported, “What about shuttle 367? What about Deek and Omara?”
“Set course to where we were, and step on it!” Jones shouted. There was a flash as the ship disappeared into warp space but by the time they would return the alien ship would be long gone with the Deek and Omara.
“Those aliens must have them Captain.” Shu said from behind him, “We’d better return and challenge those aliens for their release.”
“I think you’re right.” Captain Jones muttered, “Give me a log range scan of that sector.”
“It will be done, right away, sir!”
“I don’t know if we can catch them, but if we want to save Commander Baker and Lieutenant Sherith’s live, we’d better step on it.” Jones said, “Voloxa, give me all the power yaw can.”
“Aye sir, I am already on it.” The Insect Engineer replied as the ship sped across space.
But, they didn’t know if they would be there, when they arrived there, and that was a long journey ahead as the ship plowed through the stars of space at maximum capable warp. Off to the rescue of their comrades and they did not know what they were going to find. The crew was apprehensive, but they also knew if they did not react their shipmates were gone. A task that was daunting and they weren’t about to lose out on.