UNSC SHIPWRECKED – SAMUEL RIDER
United Naval Space Corps
I now introduce to you my latest project. A different direction from space battles, Sam is a ship wrecked and stranded mechanical engineer from the Forty Third Mechanized Battalion. Stranded on an unexplored M class planet, Sam will battle the hostile local fauna and flora to hopefully survive until rescue comes.
“And just as he was leaning in for a kiss… BAM! She socks him one in the face! He didn’t even know what hit him!” Fred from the forty third mechanized battalion, Charlie company, elaborated the tales from his most recent shore leave. Specifically, the tale of his battalion chief’s exploits at companionship.
“Serves him right!” a few of our female engineer’s shout.
“But he didn’t even realize that he was messing with an admiral until she had him pinned to the ground and was putting cuffs on him! But what she had whispered in his ear really threw him for a loop! She told him ‘I’ve heard you like to play rough… but-‘” Fred’s story to go along with our meal was suddenly cut short as the call for general quarters was sounded, followed by the deep rumbling of deep space weapons against our shields.
Without another word, everyone gathered around the table springs up and takes off for the armory. Even if you are on strict bed rest, when general quarters sound you at least want to be putting on your armor in case there is an accident.
Sprinting my way into the armory, I rip open my weapons locker and start donning my armor, leaving my shipboard fatigues on under the space suit portion of the armor. Not a word is said in the massive hall as hundreds of personnel don their equipment.
Checking the power cells of my exo-frame gear for good measure, I clip my maintenance tools to the frame and don the mechanical contraption. Each ground soldier is issued a standard issue exo-frame gear and a solid armored frame gear, each of them designed for different kinds of altercations.
For the current situation I pick the smaller powered insertion armor for its small size and ease of use in crowded maintenance passages due to my role as a mechanical engineer.
Donning what we call our flight helmet, I check into the local battle net to see what the damage is and where I am needed. Using the mental commands and eye gestures to browse through the networks, I select the Delta company’s engineering network.
“This is Rider checking in. Ready for deployment?”
“Rider, Report engineering space Alpha Romeo section three deck six”
“Copy that.” I confirm my orders and grab my electrical bag before running out of the armory towards my assignment.
Of course, if it was as simple as just reporting in to my designated work area and kicking back, we wouldn’t even have a need for sailors. Unfortunately, when I arrived, the space was filled with thick black smoke and debris littered the hallways from melting power conduits.
“Jensen! What the hell happened over here?” I call out to a fellow engineer.
“No clue. From what I heard our unit got slammed hard. Three escorts have already gone quiet. Another two are dead in the water. Only us and Robins Nest are still afloat. I think they are after the Nest.” Jensen elaborates.
“That terrorist group again? I thought we squashed them?”
“This hit was way too fast and way too hard to be the terrorists… Help me reroute this conduit, I need to cut it and seal it to prevent any leaks.”
“ID says its for rail gun number sixteen… we can push it to deck three without worry so far…” Jensen and I get to work clearing the debris and re routing the power conduit, ignoring the rumbling and fighting just outside the armored hull.
Rerouting circuits is not all that hard of a job however it takes careful planning to not overload the conduit it passes through.
“That’s this line done Jens!” I holler down the hallway as I drive the last breaker bar home with an impact wrench. A deep hum courses through the freshly routed circuit as the railgun is brought back online. Soon a rhythmic thumping can be heard from the other side of the titanium battle plate hull.
Both taking a short break, we check the schematics of the ship for any other faults. The blue map of lines indicating the power circuits is sprinkled with glaring lines, indicating faults within the system.
“Emergency escape system is off line… Think it went to backup power?” I voice my concern.
“Why? You planning to use it?” Jensen chuckles.
“No… Not unless it’s absolutely necessary… I am not fond of the idea of going down with the ship.”
“Looks like they do need a reboot…” Jensen notes the schematics for the emergency pod system just as a particularly hard-hit slams into the ship. Suddenly the map is a third of the way colored red.
“I think everything is going to need a reboot! Ill go close the breaker for the pulse cannon and you go restart the pod system! We might just need them sooner that we want to!” I shout in the commotion, already taking off at a sprint to check the damage.
Reaching the tripped breakers, I start flipping them closed, allowing power to go back to the various sub systems. I reach for the main breaker to the pulse cannon and slam it back into position.
A deep rumbling and shaking wake me from my slumber. The whooshing ejection sounds of emergency pods leaving their mounts echoes through the ship. Sitting up from the floor I try to remember exactly what had happened but couldn’t remember what had transpired between the moment I closed that breaker, and when I woke upon the floor.
The first thing I notice is the fact the hallway I am laying in is dead empty of both life, and life proving sounds. The fact that my suit had sealed and there was no breathable atmosphere in the hallway made things especially difficult. Flipping my radio over to the central command line, I listen for any of the usual chatter.
“Executive order five. All hands are to abandon ship immediately. Please proceed to the nearest available life pod.” The computer-generated abandon ship message rings out over my head piece. The next messages from the computer come in distorted and garbled, and not making much sense.
“Oh this blows… please let there be a functioning life pod…” I mutter to my self as I check the life pod statuses from my bracer’s computer.
Most of the life pods had already been launched. The only ones remaining where what was left of the pods in the stern, which where mangled beyond comprehension, or the select few that still remained in the bow section, though their damages didn’t make for a very convincing escape.
“Great. I’m stuck on this ship without a working life pod, nor a working atmosphere.” I complain to no one as I ponder my options. The only possible usable life pod is on the other side of the bow, and from what I can see in the cameras, still in functionable order if you can ignore the glaring hole punched through the hull.
Smoke was beginning to pour through the hallways as fires raged in other compartments. The air circulation system now unable to filter out the noxious smoke.
Getting up from the floor I make my way towards the life pod, running across the bodies of my comrades scattered throughout the hallways. Every so often I stop and loot supplies from my fallen brethren, leaving behind only a prayer and a promise to drink to their honor when I next have the chance.
Finally making it to the rescue pod with my wares, I load up the extra supplies into one of the spare jump seats before moving to a terminal. Flicking through the menu’s I enter in my password and thumb print and smash the enter key before entering the pod and sealing the ships hatch for the last time.
After a few seconds of decompression, the smoky air that permeated the cabin is sucked through the hole in the side of the life pod. Quickly I do a final check on all my space suits seals, confirming that I won’t be freeze dried in the vacuum of space.
The actual launch into space is a quite violent affair. Once I was seated, the life pod systems explosively eject the armor panel that covers the life pods bay. Once the armor is clear, the life pod is propelled by rockets through a fiberglass sealing bulkhead and out into space.
“Oh shit…” I watch as green bolts of plasma wreak havoc with the ship, ripping through the hull and gutting the insides. Everything is lit up brightly as a hit cooks off a magazine. The explosive projectiles further wrecking the ship.
I look around for the rest of the fleet, finding the rest of the fleet nothing more than a debris field. Turning my eyes away from the carnage, I turn my attention to the navigation systems for the life pod, and start looking for a suitable refuge.
Slowly I sift my way through a collection of planet’s that are within range of my pods supplies that could possibly support human life.
The list is not long. The amount of astral bodies that could so called support life where barely a dozen, and most of those where small moons that where lacking in temperature control or stable gravity. Another selection was a dry mega earth that was currently in its stormy season judging by the massive dust storms kicked up across the planet’s surface.
The most survivable selection it gave me was a planet very similar to Terran Earth, though looking through my food supplies, the sixteen-month journey was not feasible, especially with my oxygen being limited to the few bottles that I could grab on my way to the life pod.
The last planet I found on the list was by far better than some of the others. Slightly bigger than Terra, but had a slightly smaller gravitational field around it. The atmosphere surprisingly quite similar to Terra, but with a different composition of inert gasses. Looking through the data bases on this mysterious planet, I find that most of the data entry fields are blank, indicating that this planet has never been directly surveyed before.
Even better it’s only a six-day journey, just within the amount of oxygen I was able to scavenge from the ship. And using the nutrition straw, I can easily keep myself hydrated and fed using the provisions included in the emergency packs.
Keying in my destination I check the screens for anything else that could be useful. A screen in the corner of the dash blinks, drawing my eyes to it.
-EMERGENCY BATTLE ARMORY- -SELECT DESTINATION- -YES?- -NO?-
I tap yes.
-DESTINATION SET- -SAMUEL RIDER ARMORY LAUNCH LIFE POD DESTINATION INTERSEPT-
This was the feature my training Sargent was telling me about back in boot camp. He told me to never rely on it, but if it worked it would be my best friend.
“Life — 1-18 do yo- cop-“ the radio crackles to life with a garbled female voice.
Quickly I fiddle with the radio settings to clean up the signal.
“This is Rider! I copy!”
“Sam? Oh thank god! I thought you didn’t make it!” The voice of Victoria crackles over the speaker with less than perfect clarity.
“I made it. My life pod is crippled, and I am limited on the amount of oxygen I have left! I am making my way to a M class planet I found in the database!”
“Sam? Your break— up. Can you hea- me?”
“Victoria! Meet me at the M class planet six days away!”
A bright light flashes outside of the life pod as the ship’s reactor lets go and goes critical. The resulting radiation release erasing any hope that Victoria would be able to hear me.
Punching the route confirmation button, I strap myself into a jump seat and let the pod navigate itself. Closing my eyes, I slow my breathing and attempt to meditate.
Six days of meditation is extremely difficult to do. Boredom starts to tug at the corners of your mind fairly quick. Besides the boredom and unappetizing paste food, my supply of oxygen had finally run out as I was sucking the last dregs from my last bottle.
Looking out of the window I find a beautiful blue and green planet slightly larger than Terra.
Quickly taking the initiative I key up all of the life pods scanners and start recording to an external data chip. The pods computers will make two orbits around the planet before choosing a place to land and making the final approach for landing. Looking at the armory screen, I see that my personal weapons locker is tagging right behind me like a faithful puppy dog.
I devote all my concentration to the computers readouts as it checks for the best crash-landing location.
The first orbit lasted all of ten minutes and revealed that most of the planet consisted of mostly jungles. From warm temperate jungles to colder conifer jungles. At the top and bottom of the planet resided polar ice caps very much like earth. Though unlike earth, the planets continents consisted of small island continents much like Australia.
While each continent was massive in scale to a single human, it made the distinction that if the planet was colonized, each island would have their own government.
The second pass took twenty minutes and reviled that there was indeed intelligent life inhabiting the planet, though judging by the life forms housing, their sophistication level was in fact very low.
“DING DING DING” The computer signals that I need to sit in a seat and strap in. Checking the computer one least time I verify the location is has chosen to drop me into and then strap into a seat near a window so I can observe the reentry.
The computer chose a landing point not too far from the coast on one of the largest continents on the planet, near a source of fresh water. With a roar of the retro thrusters, the pod begins its decent into the atmosphere, shaking with the turbulent air as it plummets to the ground.