Waking up, I find myself in a tub of water. Looking around I see a woman in front of me.
I reach out and notice that the woman’s hand is moving as well I look down and see that the hand belongs to me. I then find myself perplexed and start staring at my hand. This isn’t my hand. Looking around I see that I’m in a bathroom and that I’m lying naked in a tub.
I try to stand up and slip in the tub which causes me to submerge my head in the water. I push myself out of the tub and choke on the water coughing as I start to panic.
The door to the bathroom opens and I see a robot come in with a pair of clothes. I stare up in horror as I lay on the bathroom floor in terror.
“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME!”
‘Please calm down I was simply bathing you and getting you-’
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME!”
I stand up to grab the robot shoving it out the doorway. It then drops the clothes in its arms and tries to restrain me.
‘Sarah, it is BT. What is wrong?’
The robot tilts its head to the side in confusion.
“STOP LYING TO ME! SARAH IS MY WIFE! WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME AND MY WIFE!”
‘Please calm down Sarah. I will explain everything if you just calm-’
I slammed my fist into its head and yanked my hand back in pain as I regret punching a metalhead with a fleshy hand.
‘That was not necessary Sarah. I am only looking out for your best interest Sarah.’
“MY NAME IS JOHN! STOP LYING TO ME!”
‘Alright, John, would you please calm down then please.’
I calm down as the pain in my hand helps ground my mind. Taking a look around I see the familiar bathroom from my ship in Endless Space.
“Where am I?”
‘You are aboard the USS Ravenhawk and I am your AI, BT.’
My mind starts to come back to me and I realize where I am.
I try to calm myself down thinking about my current situation.
“What is the ship’s status?”
‘We are orbiting an unknown class m planet, and can’t find ourselves on any star charts. The planet is habitable and poses no health risks to yourself. I have programmed several landing sites I believe are safe to land at in the nav computer. But I must warn you the planet appears to be inhabited by-’
“Stop, just stop BT. I need a couple of minutes to think. Can you go get me some breakfast while I think.”
It leaves the room and I exit the bathroom and sit down on the bed in my cabin still lost in my thoughts. Staring at my arms I notice that there are new tattoos extending up my arms and legs originating from my back. I run my hands through my hair as I try to piece together something that starts making sense.
I look at my hands and realize I’m still wet from the bath. Going to the bathroom I grab a towel and start drying myself and look at myself in the mirror.
I find myself staring at the avatar of my wife that I made when I started this game. At that time I had just entered the nursing home. The only inspiration I could think of at the time was my wife in her youth. It helped me feel closer to her, weirdly thinking we were sharing the journey through space together but I knew I was only deluding myself.
She was long dead from breast cancer early in our marriage after having three kids. Leaving me to raise them all by myself. Afterward, I couldn’t ever find anyone to replace her. Even when she told me to find someone to love after she died. None had the same ability to reach my heart the way she had.
I came back to reality and picked up the clothes off the ground BT had brought me. Putting them on I realize it’s one of the cosmetic costumes I had bought. Just a tank top, hoodie, and some sweatpants. Nothing much, just some clothes to lounge about on the ship. Getting them on was easy enough.
Making my way to the door I see the robot reappear with a tray of breakfast and coffee. Grabbing the coffee I make my way back to the cockpit and start sipping it as I look at the planet below. The robot sets the tray to the side before walking off.
The first thing I needed to do was to finish this coffee. Next, I needed to figure out if there were any clues I could find. BT wouldn’t be any help which meant I needed to contact another player. Maybe someone knew the way back to civilized space and what was going on.
“BT any updates on our surrounding situation?”
‘The Nav computer still cannot pinpoint our location but I can project a 3-D representation of the system if you would like.’
I nod my head and I see a white star orbited by four planets. The first was a small rocky planet that was too close to the sun to contain life. Next was the class m planet which had two moons. The moons circled the planet in such a way that they were always opposite of the other. Which was odd but not too crazy. Then came the two gas giants that circled along the edge of the system. They had countless moons surrounding them and probably acted as the asteroid blockers for the planet in front of me.
“Do the moons contain anything useful?”
‘Not much, just basic elements and rocks. All attempts to depper scans of the moons or the planet have been blocked by an unknown energy field.’
“So not much more than the basics then?”
‘Yes, though that alone has provided quite a lot of information.’
A new image appears in front of me and I see what looks to be some kind of large city on the planet. Follow up pictures show a couple humans, as well as a couple of other subspecies that I’d never seen before.
“So the planet has intelligent life?”
‘It appears so. Though their technology is still in the very early stages of development. I would not recommend landing in a largely populated area as we might not be well received.’
“We’ll do a soft atmospheric entry then under the cover of night. Are the engines good enough for that at least?”
‘There should be no problems with that but we still need a landing site.’
Three pictures show up in front of me. The first one is in a clearing in the middle of a forest near a lake and a large city about 100 km out. While a good location it might be too close to civilization. The second was a large ravine in the north that was covered in snow. While it would offer good concealment it would be rather isolated and I wanted to see if I could try to negotiate with the locals so that was no good. The last one was on an isolated mountainside next to a settlement. While isolated it still held inhabitants and might hold mineral deposits nearby,but I’d rather be in a forest then in the mountains..
“We’ll land at site 1 we can switch to site 3 if it becomes too hot. When is our landing window going to open?”
‘We should be good to start a landing in roughly four hours. I will alert you when it is time.’
I finish my coffee and take a long look at the planet I’d be calling home for a while. Hopefully, I wasn’t making a bad decision and going over my head but not like I had much of a choice. I'm not going to find any answers up here in space stuck in my own head.
Going to the ship armory I start to get my gear in order. Outfitting all the drones I prepare for a hostile landing and ready myself for battle. Half the drones will be on perimeter duty while the other half will be on construction detail building a base around the ship and getting the surveying equipment online.
I also prep my two fighter drones to do a night recon of the surrounding area. I might be going overkill on my prep here but I was lost and alone. My one ally BT might be defective and I needed to find out more. Loading my weapons and charging my equipment I see the tattoo still growing on my arms.
But at this point, I could do nothing about it as I prepped for landfall. Setting a construction queue for the fabricator as I made my way back to the cockpit dressed up in all of my armor and gear.
‘We are clear to start the landing procedure. I recommend you let me guide us in, but I’m guessing you want to take manual control.’
“Damn right, now guide me in BT.”
Navigating the ship closer to the planet I felt my pulse quicken as we got closer. The ship was experiencing abnormal turbulence trying to enter the planet’s atmosphere. I was having to make quick adjustments constantly to keep on course. A minute later though I started to see an energy field start moving towards the ship.
“BT! What the hell is that?”
‘UNKNOWN! UNKNOWN! UNKNOWN! EVADE! EVADE! EVADE!’
I try to change the ship’s course. But, the controls are jammed. Nothing is responding as it inches closer. I get out of the cockpit and start backing away deeper into the ship. As the field passes through the ship’s systems start shutting them down.
No response as I start running to the back of the ship but the field passes over me before I can escape. My muscles start to seize up as I fall to the floor.
(YOU SHALL NOT DISTURB MY PLANS, OLD MAN!)
My head explodes in pain before the tattoos start glowing and the pain dies down. The ship starts resetting and coming back online. But we were still plummeting to the ground.
“WHY CAN’T ANYTHING MAKE SENSE!”
Getting back up I scramble back into the cockpit and strap into my seat and start prepping for an emergency landing. Trying to put the ship into full reverse I can only barely make out the original landing site. Pulling up on the stick I am barely able to level off as I start grazing the trees before the ship crashes into the ground. Dirt starts piling onto the cockpit window as my chest explodes in pain from my harness. A few seconds later the ship stops and I’m left at an angle in my seat and I sigh. That could have gone worse but one thing was clear.
I need more coffee.