The scout vessel orbited a planet covered in green with occasional pools of blue, white and grey clouds created intricate patterns, the planet Lava-227-4 was covered in thick forests, it had a breathable atmosphere. It was rated a B for safety from the Space Adventurers Planetary Advisory committee which rated worlds. Which meant mainly that the main threats were the planets Apex predators, the group had spent the last few days flipping through pages of those and quizzing one another. The space-based phase of their survey was uneventful. As they settled into the orbit of the planet, they were all looking forwards to the surface action.
“Okay, Gura run through the standard checks for atmospheric entry.”
“Roger, performing atmospheric entry checks,” Gura answered through the ship’s speakers. Case was in the machine room, Leah in medical, Vivek was sat at the back of the cockpit checking some screens leaving Yori and Colin sat in the pilot seats at the front of the ship. Every now and again, Vivek would take a glance at the leaders a satisfied nod whenever they interacted like ordinary people and not over-excitable teenagers.
“What’s the readings on the target landing zone Yori?”
“No abnormal activities, weather is clear, seismic activity is normal and, the optics look clear. A lot of weird-looking podules and other foliage but I have cross-referenced it with the planet catalogue, and there’s nothing dangerous at the landing zone.”
“Vivek, Is there anything on comms?”
“Everything that’s supposed to be reporting is reporting A-OKAY. Nothing unexpected.”
“Medical, Engineering, any problems your ends?”
“All Green.” Both reported back in unison.
“Gura, how are the checks going?”
“Checks completed, All Green.”
“Okay,” Colin checked a screen and then looked at Yori, “if we needed to back out when’s the last moment we could do so?”
“We’d need to make a choice by stage 3, after that we’ll have to land before we can blast off safely.”
“Okey-doke, we’ll have one last checkpoint then, and after that, if we’re still going down we’re committed, have we got emergency landing sites lined up in case of an incident on the way down?”
“Yes,” Yori nodded.
“Let’s do this then, begin the descent. All hands prefer for atmospheric entry.” With that Yori tapped a few buttons and they all watched their screens. Passing the final decision point safely the ship began to cut through the planets outer atmosphere slowly the part of the vessel facing the planet started to glow ever brighter red, fire kissed the hull and inside there was a constant rumbling. Yori held onto the arm of her seat and gritted her teeth as the turbulent fiery scene kissed their view screens.
“Sure beats the simulator eh?” Colin shouted over the roar of reentry. Yori gave him a look and shook her head. Vivek tried to keep lunch down.
For five minutes, the rumbling and, more reassuringly, flames began to stop, and the sound was replaced by the wooshing of air instead.
Yori pressed a button activating the air breaks and another to start the planetside scramjets.
“All stations report.”
“Flight, Green” Yori looked at him.
“All stations green, get us to that landing site.”
“Affirmative, by the way, I’d like to say congratulations.”
“Yeah, great work!”
“No, I mean you’re now the greatest idiot on the planet!” She smiled again and leant back, laughter over the comms channels.
“Yes,” Vivek exclaimed and punched the air a few times.
“I’ll let you have that one if you get us down without a hitch.” Yori looked at him and raised an eyebrow.
The ship cut through the sky with ease, and the air brakes closed leaving the ship soaring like a massive jet through the light blue sky the forest canopy below rustling with life, birds flock skywards and trace clouds meander.
“We’re closing on the landing zone,” Yori informed the others.
“Okay, all hands, prepare for verticle burn and take us away pilot.”
“On it.” Yori’s hands danced across the control panels and then she took control of a flight stick, outside a number of the massive engines began to rotate to project their thrust downwards. The ship began to descend downwards, large feet extending from the bottom the ground below was blasted clear of any loose material. The branches and of trees surrounding the landing zone blew furiously away from the thrust. As it got within a few meters of the ground, some trees were blown away by the massive thrust, and the land was scorched. Eventually, the feet touched the land, and the ship jolted slightly, and the thrusters cut out.
They all sat in silence for a moment.
“Ship successfully landed, nice work,” Gura said over the ships communication systems. They all looked around again, and then suddenly all five let out cheers and clapped in victory.
“We did it!” Vivek rushed to unbuckle his safety harness.
Yori leant back in her seat and let out a sigh of relief.
“Easy,” Colin leant over and said quietly to her.
He leant back, and they all basked in the joy of it for a few minutes.
“Okay, post-landing checks, we need to make sure nothing broke on this old tub,” Colin said over the comms. They once again all settled back down and confirmed that their stations were secure and the ship was still shipshape.
“I’m good here.” Yori pushed her seat back from the control panel, stood up, and headed towards the back of the ship. Colin stretched and watched as she left.
“Any issue your side Vivek?” He turned away from looking at Yori to where Vivek was.
“All good, I’ve informed the local system channels that we’re down safe and sound along with the standard data package.”
“Cool. I’m gonna get changed for a planetside excursion.” Colin headed towards the back of the ship as well.
“Sure I’ll finish up here and then get ready as well.”
Yori was busy tying up her waist-length hair jumpsuit was neatly folded up and placed on a bench, in front of her she had an atmospheric suit hanging on a hook. Colin started to undress and pulled his suit out of a locker.
“If ever there was a reason to keep in shape it’s these things.” Colin looked his sleeve up and down and a double-take of hers hanging up.
“A lot of the veterans just wear stuff over them.” Yori looked back over her shoulder at him.
“I guess” he slipped the jumpsuit off along with his boots.
“Besides a meathead like yourself has little to worry about on that front at least.” She finished with her hair, hand on waist while she looked at the suit in front of her.
“You know they say these rooms fit four, I don’t believe it for a second.” Leaning over, he took up far more than his fair share. Yori smirked.
“I suppose they meant four normal-sized people, not four lumbering oafs.”
“Oh, how your words wound me” He pulled the tight-fitting suit up and slid his arms into arms of the suit. Yori was doing the same, but in a lot less space, she stretched catlike so that her the whole thing fit her like a second skin. They both pressed a button on a control pad on their wrists and the suits backs ceiled up, and the suit formed a near-perfect second skin. Next were the hard parts of the suit they snapped each one into place, Knee, spine, elbows, crotch, chest and neck. The Neck ring was in two parts held together by a hinge. It clanked into place, again another button press making all the seams vanish as nanites stitched the materials together.
“Check me?” Colin asked.
“Sure,” she checked all the hoses, seams and monitoring equipment. Stood back, nodded and held up her hand in an okay sign.
He repeated the process for her and exited. Vivek, Case and Leah all repeated the process, and they gathered in the cargo bay for a final check of each others equipment.
“So everyone has the standard kit?” Yori asked. Everyone nodded to the affirmative.
“Well then, let’s go and have a little walkabout, today we should just get our baring, and we’re not leaving the visual distance of the ship.” Colin laid out the plan, and everyone agreed.
“Okay, Gura, open the cargo bay doors.”
The doors slowly came down, and they walked down onto the surface of a new world the five of them stood in their environment suits, helmets on and surveyed the surrounding area. Thick forest surrounded them trees blew sideways, and strange animal song filled the environment, an alien sun tracked across the sky, and strange creatures flew above the trees.
“Wow, we’re actually here” Case walked off of the ramp, leant down and picked up a handful of scorched dirt and rubbed it between her fingers.
“Yeah, certainly looks that way.” Colin and the others joined her on the surface, he jumped a couple of times and then lent over to pick up some dirt as well.
“Atmospheric readings are still good, nothing strange in the air.” Lean was looking at a contraption in her hands as she reported the information.
“Well let’s see what this Green Peril has to offer us,” Yori said and headed towards the tree line, Colin smiled and followed her without hesitation.