Saturday, 28 September 2013

New Earth

“Smile, look at the camera  ...” the flashlight appeared and at the same time I was almost forced to wake up from my sweet dreams. It was Tara, who takes care of all scientific experiments and the lab work as well. She dragged me towards the pilot’s cabin. Remy and Shiva were on their respective seats, doing something with the buttons and levers of control panel. The front screen was showing a picture of a planet, it was a blue-red-green colored planet. 

“Sasha, look at this, I have analyzed the environmental properties of this planet and its air is safe for humans. Can you see those structures, they could be mountains and plateaus  ...” Tara pointed out towards the screen, where a slideshow was running.
“And look there; doesn’t that look like flat surface?”

Was that a question or an offer to explore more, I got both and replied, “Yes it appears so, you could be right.”

“And could be wrong, as you have been many a times.” Remy laughed and winked at Shiva. 

“Have you checked about habitation?” I asked Tara and she nodded her head in positive way and moved both her thumbs in negative manner. I recalled all those occasions when this nodding and moving went wrong, but was there any other option? Our resources were now decreasing and it has been 3 years since we are wandering in the infinite space. No success so far...

Day 1

After a couple of hours, we (Tara, Shiva, Rhea the robot and I) were all set to land on that unknown planet. The ship entered in the orbit of the planet and after few minutes it landed in the foothills of a mountain region. We checked our space suits and helmets; everything was fine. One by one we stepped out from the ship. Remy remained inside the ship. As we tried to walk, we understood the gravity issue because our feet were getting a little jump after every step. Rhea started a quick analysis of atmosphere. Within few moments she informed us that there is sufficient oxygen and other familiar gasses in the atmosphere, the humans can breathe easily without wearing the heavy oxygen masks. Though, the temperature was high enough to burn the skin. We were not in a position to take any kind of risk so we continued with our space suit.   

Rocks and scattered stones that were all we found around us. The first thing that attracted our attention was the blue-purple hue of the mountains and the similar purple yet mixed with red colored appearance of surface sand. We started walking and looking here and there for any kind of symptoms of life and vegetation.

Tara was taking the samples of sand, rocks and stones when Rhea’s alarm system started blinking. She was designed in a way to sense the presence of any kind of unknown living object; it was a signal of danger. Shiva and I made a tight hold on our guns and we took defensive position. Suddenly, a reptile like creature leapt on Tara, though she saved herself by quickly moving down towards the ground. Meanwhile, Shiva and I fired together at the reptile, but it escaped the bullets and within fraction of minutes it hides behind the stones. We rushed towards the rover, when the reptile again jumped on Rhea and tried to tangle its tail/hair with Rhea’s face. This time Shiva’s gun did not miss the target and that creature was on the ground with a wound. Some sort of liquid, (maybe blood) was flowing out of the wound. Interestingly, it had a transparent body again with a blue hue. It was looking like a heap of entwined thick strands of hair, among which two bulb (perhaps eyes!!!) like things were glittering. We left it there and moved on.

“Ok, so we have got a warm welcome; what next?” Shiva asked.

Tara was still scared and worried as well.

“Oh, come on Tara, it’s not the first time that we have faced such incidents...” I tried to console her. Although I called up the autopilot of rover and instructed it to follow us.  

Few more things attracted our attention, some plant like formations were there, dark red-brown colored, looking like the fossils of plants. Tara and I reached to the conclusion that it is a dried region, but must be having water like resources in past.

After few more yards Rhea’s alarm again blinked, this time we did not wasted even a single second and entered into the rover and launched its outer security shield.

Soon a big mammoth type creature appeared; thick hairs covering the torso, transparent skin with blue shade. It has six legs, three blue shaded horns and a trunk which was semi transparent.

“Violet Planet’s blue horned elephant”. Tara chuckled. Yes, Tara named it Violet Planet, because everything we saw here was VIOLET. However, this animal did not show any signs of aggression and slowly moved on its way and soon got disappeared among the rocks. “Shall we follow?”  Tara was anxious. I nodded my head and soon we were exploring the rocks.

“Something is sparkling there. What is it...? Water??” Shiva asked.
It seemed that hilly area was now turning into narrow plains and the thing to which Shiva pointed out was quite strange. So, first we sent Rhea there to find out about it and we maintained a distance from that sparkling structure. After a few minutes, Rhea sent us the information about that thing and we almost rushed towards that.

“It’s unbelievable!!!!!! Melted mercury flowing like water”. Tara exclaimed.

“Mixed with gold!!!” Shiva laughed and took a small jump.

This was really amazing, there was a spring in front of our eyes, where melted mercury was flowing and giving a semblance of water. It was looking like golden water because there were gold particles mixed with mercury. In our search of various planets in space, this was one of the most amazing things that we have encountered so far. Tara found a name for this place as well, “The Golden Mercury Spring Field”. She did not forget to take the samples of spring. We continued the journey with rover and found few more springs of mercury.  

My wristwatch was set according to 12 hours day and 12 hours night and so far we had spent 6 hours on this planet. We were tired enough and wanted to take a rest, but Tara went into the lab for the testing of samples. Soon she came to the living area with a sparkle in her eyes.

“Sasha … that blue/purple hue of rocks is nothing, but the pure Tanzanite stone. The blue shade of animal’s skin is due to an unknown chemical, which is the major component of their DNA. This blue chemical is also present in the sand along with Iron particles. I think this planet possess rich mineral deposits.”

We were totally astound by this information, meanwhile she continued her speech..” the higher temperature of this planet is responsible for the melted state of metals like mercury and I think during nights the temperature may fall to a very low-level. Perhaps, the night will reveal the hidden reality of this place.”  

“Alright, then let the night do its work and let me sleep.”  Remy yawned and Shiva was already snoring. I too went back to my sleeping cabin.

Day 2

When I woke up, I looked out from the window of my cabin, it was all dark. It was night and to my surprise, there was something which we did not see during the daytime. Tara and Remy were ready in their suits to go out and explore the new landscape of night. Rhea once again analyzed the atmosphere and informed that the temperature is quite low and cold. We were ready for anything unexpected or unpredictable, but the mesmerizing beauty of nature was forcing us to forget everything else.

The fossils of plants that we saw in daytime were now fully bloomed, the bio-luminescent, bright colored leaves and flowers and most of all the trees which were not taller than a man. It seemed that the planet has woken up from the deep sleep. Fireflies like creatures were flying over the plants.

“Now what would you like to call this place?” Remy asked Tara who was taking the samples and was lost in some thoughts.

Neon Land”. She shrugged her shoulders. 

We laughed and moved ahead. We found similar scenes on our way to “golden mercury spring field”. When we reached there, another surprise was waiting for us. The mercury was now frozen and the gold particles were creating a dusty yellow appearance for the frozen mass.

“This place needs different names for day and night. What say, Tara?”

She did not reply and remained quiet. Rhea’s alarm alerted us and we get closer to each other. Soon a pair of two creatures emerged from the grove of trees.

“Gracious goodness, what am I seeing?” I almost screamed. They were very much like unicorns, the difference was their skin color, it was translucent blue with lots of dots like the skin of Cheetah and they had two horns. They both looked at us and quickly approached us with their horns pointed towards me. I tried to get out of their way quickly, but that unicorn cum cheetah sensed my cleverness and chased me; but in no time Remy fired a “sleeping bullet”. The creature fell on the ground and within a few moments fall asleep.

 We saw few more animals; however, the semi transparent skin, blue shade and wads of hair on different parts of body were the common features of all of them. One of them was quite scary, as it had two legs, a long eye in the middle of the forehead and two small legs/hands/whatever were grown on chest.  We roamed around for 3-4 hours, but nothing more or significant we found except the glittering plants. As I already mentioned the trees, I saw that they were swaying continuously, their trunk was quite soft. First, we thought that they could be carnivores, but nothing as such happened. 

We came back to the ship. 

"The station chief Sir Maitrey Pavlov Hendricks wants to speak with you Sasha, I received the message when you guys were out." Shiva informed me.

Are you guys surprised with this strange name, let me tell you that we are now in the middle of  22nd century and the whole world has become a big melting pot of various cultures and civilizations. Sir Maitrey is an apt example of this phenomenon. He is the chief of the Allied Space Station which monitor Mission "Explore the Unknown". Ten teams including mine have been sent to explore various galaxies, to find a new earth like planet. The physical and natural resources of Earth are now standing on a verge of the end and the destructive impact of global warming are now challenging the existence of mankind.  

“Hello captain Sasha, greetings for you and your team.”
“Thank you Sir.”
“So how is your progress and did you find anything useful on this new planet?”
“Yes Sir, so far we have explored some parts of South Pole of this planet and the result is quite encouraging...” I explained about the weather and environmental conditions, the creatures and vegetation and of course the test results of samples. Sir Maitrey seemed impressed and happy with this job.

“What about water resources, found any?”
“Not yet, but I am pretty sure that they do exist because such diverse flora and fauna can’t exist in the absence of water.”

”Al right then,  all the best dear, stay safe and keep me informed about your progress, do not get disappear as you did in last two days.”

“Thank you Sir and I will take care of that.”

Day 3

I decided to make an expedition to the North Pole of this planet; maybe the Northern Star would reveal those things that we are looking for. So, without wasting anymore time, we set off a journey to the north. After an hour or so we were there, Shiva told me that once again it is also a hilly area, but the plains covered with grass/sand are also visible.

After landing, I sent Rhea out to check about the atmosphere. She came back with stunning information that took our excitement to a newer level. I left Remy inside the ship and ask Shiva to take defensive security weaponry along with him and instructed Tara to activate the mobile laboratory and to attach it with the rover. We all were highly anxious.

According to Rhea’s information the atmosphere contains oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and Water Vapor. The presence of vapor and CO2 was enough evidence of life; the question was in which form and to what extent. Is it developed or undeveloped? So many question were storming my mind when I stepped out of the ship. To our surprise the color blue was not there nor the purple on which we named this planet. We roamed around for few minutes, it seemed as if it is the spring season, the land was flourished with light green colored foliage. For a moment, it felt as if we are standing somewhere on earth. There were various types of plants showing every possible shade of nature and with each color; the Green was dominating. Although there was another color that fetch our attention and it was the white color of sand.

However, we were not interested in all that, our main purpose was to find out the water resources. Rhea’s sensors showed us the path not for the water, but for a strange noise. After few minutes we were there.

“Am I dreaming?” Tara screamed.

Shiva and I were totally dazzled, I knelt down and I wanted to believe on Rhea’s information that what we are seeing in front of our eyes is nothing else, but a waterfall. A gigantic waterfall was flowing down from lofty black mountains, but the thing which confused us was its color; it was brown like an almond unlike the transparent water that we used to see on earth. Tara took a sample and tested it in mobile lab.

“It is mineral water; the brown color is due to the minerals mixed in the water. However, we need to purify the water to decrease the quantity of minerals to make it drinkable for humans.”

“There are evidences of fossils in rocks as well.” Tara added.

“What’s that?” Shiva pointed out towards the heights of mountains. There was some column type of formations spread all over there.

“Check them, what it is, Rhea will be with you. Tara and I are going to explore this place further.”

Rover was running with a moderate speed, when Tara checked the temperature... “Temperature is increasing, it’s getting hotter.”

I remained quiet.

Shiva’s message blinked on my eye glass.

“Sasha, you won’t believe what we are seeing here. These are not just columns, but rooms/caves built in the mountains and in each room, a large container has been placed with an opaque glass cover. There is something inside the container, but not visible clearly. What do you say ... shall we try to open them or bring them inside the ship?”

“No, no, don’t disturb anything, don’t touch anything. Just take the videos and come back for now.”

Meanwhile, the heat in the atmosphere was on its peak.  My eyes fell on a structure which was built like an igloo. We went near and tried to investigate. The foundation part was built with bricks, but the rest of the igloo was built with glass shields. It was transparent from roof side.

“What is this, some kind of “Green House” or a “Terrarium”? Tara looked at me and I understood what exactly she was saying.

“A developed civilization exist here, we need to be careful.” I replied.

Before, we could discuss more, I got an urgent call from Remy, he informed us that Rhea has sent some data about a fast approaching storm and we must get back to the ship. That time we were around an hour distance from the ship, I wasn’t sure whether we would be able to make it or not.

“Where is Shiva, is Rhea with him and how much time we have?”

“No Sasha, Rhea is here with me and Shiva left to join you guys after getting your last message. Though, I have informed him as well and he is not much far from the ship. You have only 10 minutes”

Now it was impossible to go back to the ship so we decided to stay. Luckily, we found a tree grove and we entered into that. The rover and its lab were covered by security shield. The storm ended for half an hour and then it started raining heavily and it seemed that it will never stop. Remy messaged me that Shiva safely made it to the ship, but we were still stuck in the grove. Finally, after a continuous rain of 4-5 hours, it stopped and we returned.

Our rover was just a few yards away from the ship, when I saw a giant bird (whom we did not notice earlier) was hovering on our heads. Before, we could understand anything or react that fat white/black colored bird swiftly swooped on Tara and scratched the helmet glass with its sharp paws. I made some fires, but in vain, it quickly got disappear in the fog which was now appearing on the horizon since the rain fall stopped.  

Night 3

“Any explanations for this strange weather?” Shiva was looking outside the window panels where everything was covered in light brown colored snow including that roaring waterfall which was now quiet.

”I am not thinking about the weather.” I spoke in low voice.   

“You have any plans? Shall we make the first step of getting introduced with the habitats of planet or should get out of here and wait for the Station Team.?”  Remy asked.

“Sir Maitrey wants us to exit immediately and wait for the team, but I want to stay here for one more day and want go deeper inside this region.”

“That could be very risky Sasha.” Tara spoke the first time.

“We have come so far; risked our lives, gone through dangers and lot more. For what? To exit and pave way for the others? I will stay.” I spoke in a firm voice.

“All right, then it is decided, we will stay for one more day and explore further.”  Shiva announced.

Day 4

Tara was quite unhappy with this idea, so we left her inside the ship and activated the outer security shield cover that was capable of preventing any kind of infiltration, attacks or other menace. This time I preferred the small boat-ships for this ultimate expedition. Shiva and Rhea were in one ship and I was with Remy in another one. Soon we were on our way to find and meet those unknown people who have created the civilization on this strange planet.

 We followed the same path where we have found those igloos. We saw many more igloos during the journey to the unknown directions. Finally, Remy stopped the ship in a vast plain; Shiva’s boat-ship also got stopped. The front view was quite weird; a huge pyramid was standing in the middle of that plain.

“So, I guess, our new friends are fond of pyramids, maybe they are inspired by Egyptians.” Remy spoke in a very sincere manner. We both came out of the ship; I went little closer to the pyramid, but not too close.

Suddenly, I felt that somebody is standing very close to me. I turned my head and…

“Greetings Sasha, are you looking for us?”

A chill ran across to my whole body. I felt the trembles of excitement, fear, happiness and thrill all together. The person or I should better say the creature who spoke those words was not actually a creation of flesh and bones. I understood that he/she is teleported here, therefore, appearing as a body sketch made by electro-magnetic waves. A blue outline of small dots was giving a shape to the body and I could also see a transparent plexus of veins as well as. It was speaking in our language without taking help of any language decoder equipment, this was the least I have expected from an alien.

The electro-magnetic waves turned into a man who was looking much like humans. Though, this man was very tall, maybe more than seven feet, brown colored skin, brown-white hair hanging on shoulders and mongoloid eyes.

“Welcome to the DEVBHOOMI.” 

“Who are you?”

“We are the descendents of Dev Vishwakarma and Maharishi Agastya.”  He replied in a gentle manner with a mysterious smile on his face.

My Entry for The "I Am Explorer" Contest of and Tata Safari Storme. 

The Second part of the Story is Here

Third part of the story is Here