Search and Recovery

Author : J. S. Kachelries

Captain Semaj sat at the head of the conference table. Also at the table were the remainder of the Bridge Crew and several senior department heads. At the far end of the table sat Lo Yaluo, the director of Search, Rescue, and Recovery who had just returned from the surface of the planet. “Give us a report, Mr. Yaluo,” said Captain Semaj.

“Unfortunately, Sir, I have to report that there will be no rescue operation. The survey ship was completely destroyed, including the loss of the entire crew. Our engineers have determined that the entropy generators underwent a catastrophic cascade failure shortly after takeoff. The crew didn’t have a chance. The explosion was close enough to the ground to devastate a substantial portion of the original survey site. The good news is that the mishap occurred in a remote area of the planet. I have drones scouring the surface for any fragments of the ship and crew. My team will have the area completely “sanitize” within a few cycles, well before the indigenous life forms on the planet reach the site. Since entropy generators don’t leave radioactive traces, they will never know we were here. They will probably conclude that a comet exploded prior to impact.”

“Thank you, Mr. Yaluo,” said the Captain. “Okay everyone, our primary mission was to rescue survivors, but since there are none; we need to focus on our secondary objective. We cannot allow the inhabitants of this planet to become aware of our existence. After reviewing the interim reports from the survey mission, the homeworld has concluded that this planet is worth exploiting. They have an abundance of water, heavy metals, and rare minerals. But if the inhabitants learn of our existence, and our plans, they may be able to build up defenses and impede the invasion. They have a primitive industrial civilization now, but as we all know, life can become very resourceful when their destruction is imminent. The Secretary of Extraterrestrial Development has informed me that this planet is not scheduled to be “reallocated” for about 100 of its years. I don’t want the indigenous life forms using that time preparing for us. Okay, we all have our jobs to do. Let’s collect everything we can, and get out before their investigators arrive, dismissed.”

As the attendees collected their belongings and headed toward the exit, the Captain motioned for Mr. Yaluo to stay behind. “Mr. Yaluo, are you sure you can recover all the debris before anyone arrives?”

“Absolutely, sir. The crash site is in the middle of a densely forested area that is thousands of lacitals away from the nearest population center. Their flying machines can barely travel a single lacital. This location is so remote, that it’s possible that they are totally unaware that there was an event worth investigating.”

“Let’s hope so. Ah, before you leave Mr. Yaluo; I’m preparing to give a sub-space verbal report to the Supreme Council. Am I pronouncing this right? The planet calls itself Earth (‘&rth), and the location of the survey sight is Tunguska (Tu[ng]-gu-ska)?”

___________________
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow

Random Story :

The Past

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Flash Fiction

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries
Founding Member

Submissions

We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.

Voices of Tomorrow

Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.

If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact ssmith@365tomorrows.com