Untitled Science Fiction Project, a short section
They say we are alone. Horribly, and utterly alone. How can it be, amongst the hundreds of millions of stars in the galaxy there is not one single life form that can contest us for galactic supremacy? Humanity spreads from planet to planet finding only remnants; finding only the collapsing remains of civilizations past.
They say we are alone.
“Name?” The PDF officer tapped his finger against a tablet his eyes hidden behind a darkly tinted visor. His mouth was hidden behind the helmet which fully engulfed his head. It connected to the tight black suit that he wore beneath his red and yellow carapace armor. Emblazoned on each piece of his equipment was the emblem of the Planetary Defense Force. The symbol shown most prominently on his left breast, and the sides of his helmet. It showed Earth; as it was known when man first found itself in need of a force to defend against galactic raiders, a blue and green marble with the letters PDF arching over it.
“Robin Denholm,” came the voice of the woman who stood opposite him. She was clothed in a tight jumpsuit made for space travel, and like most of the passengers had a helmet cradled in front of her. The air on the recently discovered Cimmerian was Earth-like which meant colonists had been pouring from Pop Planets to get a piece of nature. The guard checked the picture displayed on his tablet, taken when the passengers had left port three weeks ago. She had kept her haircut mostly the same, shaving one side and keeping the rest of the brunette hair long enough to drop past her shoulders. She wore a confident smile, the light lines of future crows feet next to her brown eyes showed the commonality of the look. According to the document, Robin Denholm was now 26 and possessed a doctorate in Xenoarchaeology from the University on Persephone.
“Place your hand on the tablet please,” the guard asked as he tipped the surface towards her. The screen went blank for a moment has Robin’s hand gently touched the cold surface. It blinked green and the guard pulled it back.
“Genetics check out, you’re cleared for entry,” the guard nodded. “Welcome to Cimmerian Misses Denholm.”
“Thank you,” Robin piped cheerfully before continuing past the checkpoint.
She had watched the landing through a window, marveling at the greens and browns of the planet. As she stepped through the metal doors of the landing bay, she stopped in amazement as the sight of untamed wilderness dazed her. She had learned of it, of course, the wilderness that had once existed on Earth is the point of many university classes. But to see it, to actually feel a real breeze blowing through her hair left her speechless. Large, hard-bodied plants rose around her like the skyscrapers of her home, but without the manmade order she was accustomed; trees, she knew. Though they were not found on Persephone, having been replaced by machines that could create breathable air at a far higher volume than even an entire planet of trees. But manufactured air was missing something that she did not know existed. The air here was crisp, no longer artificially purified to be perfect, and this imperfection was wonderful.
The ground crunched beneath her feet, a far cry from aluminum walkways she walked in her youth. It had a satisfying give as she sank slightly with each step. Though people milled about the port, the sounds of animals was distinct beneath the chatter. Their calls cut sharply through the noise and added the final touch to complete the image of a tranquil, untouched world in Robin's mind.
Lifting her hand palm up in front of her, a massive panel filled her vision as if projected by her hand. It wasn't, instead her contact lenses created it in her vision. The hand movement was just a command to let her cybernetic computer know she that this what she wanted to see. The panel displayed a user interface of her own design. Widgets and apps placed in a way that she found appealing. Her email was the largest and most central piece of this information. Neatly organized by sender, level of importance, and subject matter she quickly found the email she was looking for, an email from one Dr. Karrell.
As he was one of the leaders in the area of Xenoarchaeology, Robin had been courting a business relationship with the man in the hopes of becoming his protege. After a year it had finally worked. A few weeks ago he had sent her email proclaiming he had made an incredible find on this recently discovered exoplanet, and he wanted her help. Leveraging some of her connections at the University, she had found out that what he had found wasn't clear, but the directors of the school had given him a sizable grant to work on it. If this went well, Robin knew she could potentially work on this her entire life. Paying for her to work until retirement wouldn't even put a dent in the money that was available to Dr. Karrell. To say she was excited would be an understatement.