Planet of Illusion–Short Story

space ships2Planet of Illusion.

Where are they? Six days they have been gone. It was a simple job. Check out the area for mineral deposits and other things. A simple job! Why haven’t they reported in by radio? The whole mission should have taken just three days. Damn this planet. I didn’t want to come here in the first place; I wanted to go to Zennan 2. I wasn’t allowed to go because I was only a second officer. Zennon 2 is a paradise; a world where you don’t need to propagate anything, everything just grows in abundance. There are also vast gold deposits and every other valuable mineral you can think of, plus pure water; water that showed not even a trace of impurity when tested by our team our scientists, how can this be? I don’t know I am only a second officer I have to put all my observations and feelings down on computer, so forgive me if I address you wrongly or mess up from time to time. The time is now 28.53. Damn this place, even the time gets on my nerves, the days here are 38.6 hours long, which is totally different from our calculations, and they should be 28.6. How could they get things so wrong at headquarters back on Thorin! Zennon3 was a world of plenty they said, one hundred and seventy-two light-years from Zennon2. It took us just twelve years in Hyper drive, now look at me; I’m stuck here on my own with a stupid Robot who can’t remember his name, and I’m on a planet that is nothing more than a dust ball, how could they I get things so wrong? I must calm down, I’m getting over anxious. Maybe they broke down in the hover tractor; the damn thing is always breaking down, even on the first day it said it needed a service but it was brand new. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. The deep space probes that we sent out less than three years ago said everything was OK. Zennon 3 is a perfect world they said. There were pictures of a world with huge water reserves and fertile land areas, even the commander said there is something strange going on here and he is the most level-headed person on our mission. God, I feel scared, I haven’t felt like this since we landed on Quintos five years ago. We received an emergency message bringing us out of space isolation. It said that some people were trapped there. We did a stage three stop off putting us seven months behind schedule for nothing! Boy was I glad when we lifted off. Quintos was a dead planet, everything was dead, and I could tell it was a planet where life had evolved to about the year 2100. I know this because I have seen references and pictures of our mother planet, Earth. The strange thing was that we couldn’t find any bodies or any life at all! We searched for months trying to locate the source of the message with no luck, it would change frequency every few minutes and the voice would change also, the message was always the same. ‘Please help us, we are in sector …’ every time we got to the sector there was no one around. Our sensors found no trace of any bodies or any ancient remains, human or animal. It was like the planet had devoured them, each day we were there things got worse, by the time we had finished checking the planet out we were nearly suicidal. It was only the commander who kept things together, he was the only one who didn’t curse or get angry, the computer seemed to recognize his calmness, I know it sounds silly, but he managed to get it back online and get us out of there. It reminded me of the story of the ‘Mary Celeste,’ an old sailing ship, she was found drifting in a calm sea, with no sign of a crew and nothing disturbed aboard her.
‘Help me!’
What the Hell was that? God! It’s the robot. ‘What are you doing, Benny? You nearly gave me a heart attack!’
‘We need to lift off officer Roberts. Officer Roberts, we need to lift off, Officer, lift off, officer…’
‘Stop you’re prattle will you, or I will shut you down, now, what’s wrong?’
‘Officer Cole wants his medicine, officer Dale wants his vitamin tablets, officer Charles wants me to massage his back, and officer Jenkins wants me to play chess, officer…’
‘Stop right there Benny, you know they are away on a mission, don’t you?’
‘I know, but I feel they are in danger.’
‘How in hell do you know that?’
‘Because we are on the planet Quintos.’
‘What? You need a service and quick.’
‘Sorry, I have to shut down before they reach me, best of luck, officer Lift off.’
Stupid Robot, on Quintos he said. Right, I am going to check the computer database
thoroughly.
OK, I am now in the computer bank room, where is the databank key? It is always here on the
wall chained to a security lock. Why can’t I find things? Why is everything so hard to do?
‘Damn this ship base and everything in it!’
‘OK, if you really want to make it worse for yourself I will oblige.’
‘What! Who said that? Computer, was that you just then?’
‘Yes.’
‘What do you mean, you will oblige?’
‘I am only doing what you and the rest of the crew wants.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘You tell me you wish this ship to be damned, so I will carry out the order.’
‘I didn’t mean to damn it literally; I am only talking to myself.’
‘Oh, sorry, but I’m afraid it is too late, the crew are already dead.’
‘What! How did it happen?’
‘The planet Quintos grants your commands.’
‘What do you mean, Quintos?’
‘We are on Quintos as the robot said.’
‘How can that be? Everything says we are on Zennon3.’
‘Yes, because you wanted Quintos to be Zennon3.’
‘God, tell me this isn’t happening.’
‘I would, if I were God, but I am the next best thing, so I will tell you that you can die and then you
can go to a lovely place called heaven.’
‘What?’
‘Yes, I have been told by the Great-Computer-Underground here on Quintos that everyone can
go there. All you have to do is step out of the airlock and experience the planet, and then after a few
short hours your body will become merged with Quintos.’
‘My God, no, tell me you are wrong.’
‘Sorry again, but the great computer underground says you have just ten minutes to give yourself
to her. Can’t you see the benefits? You will pass on to higher realities, and the planet will survive
the plague of mankind while utilizing all of your body.’
OK, enough of this stupidity. I am now taking command. Computer: ‘Emergency cancellation
Zephod.’
‘Sorry again, but computer is now part of Quintos.
Benny, will you escort Officer Roberts outside and walk him about please.’
‘Sorry Officer Roberts, but I did tell you to lift off, Officer.’
The End.

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