Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Y-239" by: Lee Houtson, Junior

by: Lee Houtson, Junior

as published in
Peculiar Adventures #1 

There are more mysteries within the infinite universe than there are those who dare to discover their solutions. Yet some do brave the journey and take up the quest for that information. But in the end, whether they succeed or fail is a moot point. The thirst for knowledge will never be quenched, regardless of who does the searching.
Take for instance a time when, somewhere deep within that vast unexplored expanse, a ship sailed the starry sea. Traveling at an unimagined reality, faster than the speed of light itself, and reaching its destination quicker than a thought can be formed.
Within the darkness, there was now light, heralding what most believed to be an impossible arrival.
A spot once void, now occupied.
A virgin field now traversed.
Afloat within this uncharted section of that vast cosmic ocean known as the universe, a spaceship arrived. Its crew far from their natives lands, but prepared to embark upon their new explorative mission, as the gateway home closed behind them until needed again.
“Hyper Leap Transit concluded,” announced the computer’s synthesized voice.
“Acknowledged,” said the ship’s Captain, standing on its bridge.
“Status reports,” requested the computer.
“Engineering online,” responded a voice from somewhere else on board, carried to the bridge by the vessel’s intra-communication system. “All systems nominal.”
“Acknowledged Mech. SCI-Tech?”
“Operational,” replied the head analyst of that department, bending over a console near the Captain’s position, while checking the data displays of some instruments to confirm her report. “Correlating initial data with Astro-navaphysics now.”
“Good. Helm?” asked the Captain, moving on.
“We are maintaining a stationary position in respect to the outer edge of the next solar system scheduled on our survey expedition,” reported the Navigator, as it turned from its station to face the rest of the bridge personnel. “The initial monitoring of past reconnaissance probes revealed nine spheres, the probable remains of a tenth, and numerous satellites. All rotating in various, yet corresponding, orbital paths around a stellar yellow the computer designates as Y-239. At normal travel rate, we are one full crew rotation from orbiting the outer most sphere, now designated as Y-239.10.”
“It should be noted that our primary scan of the immediate area upon arrival also detected objects beyond the orbit of Ten,” added the SCI-Tech analyst. “Whether they should be added to the official planetary inventory of Y-239 will be dependent upon the results of further examination.”
As a peaceful vessel of scientific research, the ship had a small compliment for a crew, but every being performed their duties to the fullest. Their Captain was quite proud of this fact. “So noted. Program sync the navigation computer with the SCI-Tech department and plan the proper survey course to explore every object post Ten when we conclude our return to the departure point.”
“Affirmative,” the Navigator said, before turning to its new assignment.
“Meanwhile, all departments are to initiate phase one mapping, sensor recordings, and research procedures. Alert me when the ship either nears the outer orbital plot of Y-239.10, or if we discover anything beyond Bio-Level Five before then.” Nodding at the SCI-Tech analyst, the Captain added, “As my second, you have command until I return.”
The analyst returned the nod as the Captain left the bridge.


So far, this mission has been a standard research/survey operation. Y-239.10, as well as the next two spheres on our initial flight path into this solar system, was devoid of any evidence of the higher level bio-indicators on the multi-criteria manifest of recognized existence. Unfortunate, but each sphere was still fascinating in its own way.
On the currently accepted spherical scale, Y-239.10 barely classified as one, despite having three satellites in territorial orbit.
Y-239.9 and Y-239.8 both displayed planetary rings, although not to the extent of those surrounding Y-239.7. Eight also displayed a unique axial rotation in counterpoint to the others.
Spheres Six and Seven are gaseous objects, while Eight and Nine are too distant from the pro-life benefits of Y-239 itself, and thus are more frigid. To date, our expedition has also confirmed the presence of a startling 168 satellites just between the first four spheres.
As we continue our journey inward, I cannot help but wonder what new discoveries await.
“Approaching standard orbit for initial sensoring of Y-239.7,” announced the Navigator.
“Acknowledged. SCI-Tech, status?” asked the Captain crossing the bridge to that station.
“Ship functions nominal,” replied the being at that position. “Expedition proceeding as scheduled.”
“Survey update?”
“The early compositional analyses for each subject await review in your queue, although the data from the secondary sensory probes has yet to be completely correlated and included. Meanwhile, the early extreme range sensor examination indicates the asteroid belt designated Y-239.5 bears further investigation on its own merit; for it is interesting to note that somehow, the probable remains of a past planetary body still retain its projected original orbital path within this system.”
“But still no signs of actual life anywhere?”
“Not as we know it, Captain,” replied the analyst, before lowering her voice. “I can see the disappointment in your face my mate, but it is to be expected, given our current position. The current states of Y-239.6 through Y-239.10 prove that the extreme beneficial influence range of the known life sustaining properties of a yellow stellar object such as Y-239 do not extend past Four.”
“Granted,” replied her commanding officer. “However, we have found evidence of life forms adapting to harsh conditions on past expeditions where one would not expect to discover any active bio-signs. It makes one wonder whether or not Five was inhabited when whatever calamity caused its destruction occurred.”
“That is a interesting theorem to consider. Perhaps after our current shift?”
He nodded in agreement, then said, “Meanwhile, how fares the initial study of Y-239.7?”
“Given its size, my division is just now initiating the secondary sensoring procedures. Completing that operation will require at least another full crew rotation.”
“Approved,” said the Captain. “This expedition is on no set time table. I’ll also adjust the survey agenda to accommodate Y-239.6 accordingly.”

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