Earthbound: 2222 A.D.
This is the third group collaboration I have taken part in. First and foremost, I want to extend my thanks for the following writers who have put in their time and I daresay, fantastic effort with this novella. Without them, of course, there would be no story to put here, and obviously, I wouldn’t be writing all this.
Not counting myself, you will find their names at the end of each chapter.
If you like zombie or undead stories, then this is right up your alley. So, kick back, relax and enjoy.
This is where I would say turn the page and start reading, but instead, scroll down.
"Command Center? This is Captain Clint Raymond. The crew is set in their pods for our return to earth and once our communication is completed, I will enter my pod. All geo-computer systems are supporting full functionality and are programmed to open the pods once we enter earth's atmosphere. We will then dock at the Space Station to refuel one final time and will make contact from there.
“Meantime, all 243 samples are stored and accounted for from Mars and Neptune. The scientists will have a field day with all this stuff.”
"Star Ride 12, sounds like a go then. Contact us the minute you enter the Space Station, and then our air space. We will begin preparations to extract you from your landing base.”
“Phil? How’s the weather back there? Please let my wife and kids know I should be back there within four years. The crew also asked me if you would inform their families as well.”
“Clint, weather here is cold as ice. Winter’s here since your take-off has been brutal. With any luck on your end, you might get back here sometime in the spring or mid-summer. But, will do. One we end transmission; I will start making calls.”
“Roger that. It is going to feel good to be back on earth.”
“Clint, there have been some changes since you have been gone. First, once you are extracted, you will be held in solitaire for thirty days for medical evaluations. We have been hit with a severe pandemic while you were away. Not just here either. It’s global. Well over four-billion lives have been lost to what they are now calling, To Telos. It’s Greek for the end.
“But your family is fine, just as the crew's families are as well. They have all been inoculated, so not to worry there. You guys may not even recognize them as they have grown in the last couple of years you have been away.”
“I had thought about that myself, but the other stuff sounds bad.”
“It is, but that is only half the problem now.”
“Okay, I’ll bite. What’s the other half?”
“This Covid strain is changing people.”
“Did you ever watch zombie movies?”
“I’ve seen a few, why?”
“That’s what some people are becoming. Right now, we have things under control with the military being involved, but it’s as if each day that passes, they kill fifty and another hundred are spawned.”
“If it were anyone but you telling me this I would laugh, but I’m not laughing. Phil. I need to end this transmission as we are approaching Vectore-2273, and if I don’t get in my pod soon, the velocity of speed Star Ride will maximize to will crush me like crazy.”
“Roger that, Clint. We’ll talk more after you have returned. Make your crew aware of the situation here so there are no surprises.”
“Will do. This is Star Ride 12, signing off.”
Clint flipped the switch off, removed his headphones and headed for his pod. He couldn’t help but smile at the thought of people becoming zombies but at the same time, the picture of his wife Carla, and his two boys, Andy, and Zach, being eaten alive was nothing to smile about.
Reaching his pod, he slipped inside, and gave out his last command for the moment.
“Anita, open my pod once we reach the outer perimeter of the Space Station.”
“Certainly, Captain Raymond. Arrival time will be four years, two months, three weeks, thirteen hours, fourteen minutes, eleven seconds.”
As the cover descended over Clint, he smiled. Anita is such a punctual computer.
On Earth, September 17, 2218, large masses of undead were scouring the cities and countryside intent on one thing: devouring anything that moved.
Military units and the National Guard were deployed in various sectors, but the obvious was soon to become not so obvious. It was getting where there were more undead than ever before. The military in most citywide areas were overrun and they either retreated or were eaten. Members of the National Guard, many of whom were young, bolted in terror when they would see hundreds of lifeless eyes approaching them, and when they, like the military, fired on them, they kept coming, not caring who fell or where. By the end of the year, cities such as Los Angles, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia would be lifeless. Washington D.C., had already made plans for evacuation, getting the president, vice-president, members of Congress and other federal staff workers to safe houses below ground until things were firmly back in control. The only problem with that; no one had an idea when control would be back.
The United States wasn’t the only situation though. All throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and Africa, human remains could be found wasting away rotting under extremely hot temperatures.
As one person put it, “In the movies, you could shoot them in the head, and they would fall down and die. Not so much now. Shoot’em in the head and they just get up and keep coming. That’s not how the script was written.”
The door unlocked and Clint was awakened by a familiar voice.
“Captain Raymond, it is now March 16, 2222, and we are forty-five minutes away from docking with the International Space Station. Would you like me to awaken the rest of the crew?”
Sitting up, blinking away the sleep from his eyes, “Yes, Anita, and tell them to meet me in the command room.”
Stretching, he then swung his legs to the side and stood, slowly making his way to the command center. His first thoughts as he made his way there were the last words he heard from Phil. This would be the first thing he would talk to the crew about.
Five, good, smart people, each with a unique specialty in the sciences, but neither he nor them would have any clue how to combat what is happening on earth.
Dale Caruthers is the onboard mechanic and all-around Mr. Fix it, inside or outside the ship. Strapping man, nearing forty, played college football at Ohio State as a tackle and still in good enough shape that he could knock you down in a heartbeat and never break a sweat.
Jules Verone, a mild person with a penchant for archeology. Short, a bit on the heavy side, but rarely speaks unless spoken to, or has an interesting find.
Brad Marconi, navigator, and this is his eighth trip into space but the first, like Clint and the others, to have gone as far as they have. As Brad put it, “Virgin territory.” This is also Brad’s last sojourn as he plans to retire from NASA when he returns home. That is, if there still is a NASA.
Margo Jessup. Teacher, archeologist, recorder. Divorced, late thirties, and at one time for a few years a professional wrestler if you can believe that one since she’s barely 5’4” and a hundred twenty on a rainy day. Jet black hair and deep-set eyes though give her the appearance she could put you down easy enough—man or woman.
No one on the team had recent military experience and when he explained what was going on with earth; he knew there wasn’t much if anything they could do to avert the situation.
Arriving at the command center, he took his seat, placed the headphones over his ears and radioed a signal message for pick up from the Space Station. Since the radio frequency bounces down to earth and back to the Space Station, any of the four men currently stationed there, can pick up a message through a ham radio. From the corner of his eye, he could see the crew entering as each took their seats.
“I repeat, ISS. This is Star Ride, and we are approaching the docking area for refueling. Do you copy.”
All he could hear was nothing but static coming back.
“Is anyone there? Come in. We are awaiting clearance to dock.”
“Ye-yes, I am here. I will program Robonaut-17 to prepare docking for you but …”
The pause had Clint worried.
“There are only two of us still alive here. The others have died from malnutrition, and I can’t tell you how much longer we may be alive as we have eaten the last of the rations, I think, four days ago. The last supply ship left here eighteen months ago and hasn’t returned.”
Clint knew something was seriously wrong. Supply ships come out to the station every six months with food and new crews. It made him wonder why Brad never said anything.
“Who am I speaking with?”
“Darryl Addams. The other person with me is Elana Mycrovitch.”
“When did you last hear from Nasa?”
“A long time. Not since the last supply ship left here.”
“Then Darryl, get the dock ready. We have an ample supply of food and water. Hang in there. We should be there within minutes.”
After signing off he turned to his crew.
“I have some not so good news to tell all of you.”
Written By: Danceinsilence