Harlan tapped the console of the space pod nervously. He knew flicking the casing of the odometer wasn't going to make the pod travel any faster, but he needed to do something to calm his nerves.
Radu was sleeping lightly next to him. He was wearing his blue earmuffs and drooling slightly. Harlan wished he could slumber with such ease!
This mission was a test. Commander Goddard had entrusted Harlan to fly a small pod down to a passing planet to explore and see if he couldn't locate any fresh, edible plants. The crew was getting quite tired of relying on the food wheel for the same meals every single day. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Goddard had expressly given Harlan the command of this small mission. This was the first time the Commander had ever let Harlan lead a mission like this. The Commander himself had been running such missions up until now. Granted, it was a "milk run" but it was important to Harlan that he did smashingly on this.
He could just see it. Bringing back bushels of leafy greens and fruits from this alien world. His cuts and bruises from dangering through the wild terrain would leave the crew in grateful awe. Look at brave, heroic Harlan! He risked his life to bring us these wonderful foods! And he commanded that pod with such ease!
Radu muttered in his sleep and squirmed in his seat, breaking Harlan out of his dream of grandeur. Just a few more minutes and the pod would be entering the planet's atmosphere.
It had been a little over a year since the last time Harlan had gone through the atmosphere of a planet and that was under far worse circumstances. He could still smell the burning circuitry and charred plastic. He could almost see the smoke billow in front of his eyes.
He could see the smoke billow in front of his eyes! The pod's control panel was lit up like a Christmas tree and alarms squealed. Smoke was pouring in to the cockpit. Radu was feeling around the control panel madly as smoke burned his eyes.
Harlan was numbly relaxed. He took the steering mechanism and was only vaugely concerned when it locked up, leaving him without control. He was more focused on the fact that Radu was still wearing his fuzzy, blue earmuffs as he fumbled madly at the controls.
Harlan noted that Radu was saying something to him. It may have been of some importance. Harlan couldn't hear it because his head was suddenly full of water like a fishbowl. No, he wasn't full of water. He was swimming. His arms and legs floated. He could feel his teeth bobbing around in his head.
"I don't remember filling the pod with water," Harlan thought as his world faded to black.
To be continued...
By: Leira (Yeah, my OLD name)
Type: Drama, perhaps some humour as we go
Summary: I don't know yet. It's just going to take me somewhere, I think.