Tomorrow We Dance To Freedom

The Dangerous Blue Planet

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Turning my head skyward to face the heavens a sense of clarity pervaded me on this clear night. The dusk had fled quickly from behind the horizon just minutes ago rushing forth a screeching, howling wind out of the west - we all passed out from exhaustion. When morning came, we found we had camped upon the top of a high ravine looking down into the red hued ground visible from all directions. Off in the distance you could see what remained of our twisted crushed spacecraft resting sideways against a rock cliff.

Something had gone terribly wrong on the decent to the planet. Our first clue that our lives were in jeopardy was when the master unit node of the computer system starting flashing bright violent bursts of colored light throughout the holographic display pod. With the master unit node malfunctioning, the redundancy control unit of the Nova Fire AI system was supposed to immediately shut down by transferring central control to the next unit node in the failsafe sequence. The transfer of control had successfully taken place but the NFAI system was so degraded from the damage we sustained in the asteroid belt that the remaining visualization pods also started flickering when moments later every system component went dark - we were headed down. After the crash shields lowered we became a tomb as the last rays of a red hued light were cut short to be replaced by emergency lighting - for some within our crew these were the last images they'd see.

It had seemed like a long time when I finally lifted my head looking around to find that the entire upper quadrant of our ship was completely destroyed. Our atmosphere was rushing out of a long jagged tear over my head. Of a crew of ten, seven were lying in twisted, contorted positions across the entire inner surface with crimson blood dripping in puddles throughout the command deck. Was the damn planning wrong, could our trajectory have been skewed when we zigzagged past this or that asteroid in that field of death? All of our advanced technology (the envy of the universe) was useless when confounded by such utter failure.

Moving my stiff neck was very painful when turned in certain positions. Looking back at the shocked faces of my comrades all conveyed the realization that we would have a long wait on this barren desolate cinder. Even the "Burst Seeker" whose main purpose was to eject under its own power towards our home world in those situations when our communications link had been severed - it was in a heap off in the distance on the desert floor, in flames.

Ours had been a routine mission to catalog this red planet located within a nondescript solar system in the outer reaches of the Milky Way galaxy - home to the mysterious blue planet. The mind wonders on many paths when time becomes so abundant - mine was moving in all directions as we waited for a rescue ship. Why were we told to stay clear of the blue planet? There had been many rumors about the place populated by a breed of primates. They were all taboo's that no one would even consider discussing. Still I wondered what could be so ominous about a place crawling with life when I remembered something that was conveyed to me many years ago by a trader in contraband plants from other worlds.

It was a rumor so unbelievable it must have been true since no one would ever have fabricated something so incomprehensible - they killed their own kind. Of course it does come from a very unreliable source a trader who was at the time engaged in some black-market illegal transshipping of a rare plant from this planet. This trader said that while waiting for his contact's ship (in some remote forest) he'd tied into the information sources (something called the Web, and a cable news network) of this place. I remember the terror on his face when he conveyed the horrors that occurred on this barbaric planet. Supposedly, these primates were engaged in; wars of destruction and death with their own kind, destroying their planets ecosystem, hording riches while others died in starvation, and willfully disrupting the entire planetary Economy for the personal benefit of a few. Granted, it must be a fantasy concocted by a bored, tired space trader having to roam the cosmos for long stretches that obviously allow amble time to let his imagination run wild, but we'll never know now, given that a 'code red' status has recently been issued outlawing all non-military travel to this tempting alluring blue jewel.

One fact did standout very starkly - the reports in the media of a 'civilizing team' being sent on a mission to this mystery planet only lend credence to this story. I also recall hearing from a friend in the military that attempts to bring order to this world of disorder, conflict, and greed was meeting with little success - possibly just another farfetched tale. He said they were even having an extremely difficult time instilling a sense of community in this dangerous species of primate - hard to believe isn't it. If the rumor about them killing each other wasn't true then why did the 'civilizing team' use the word dangerous to describe this bipedal species in the media report I'd heard? Clearly, there must be some validity to this rumor no matter how farfetched it seems.