Friday, 2103 hours, Earth time.
Being of the Ilk I am, I should be euphoric to have a whole class III Beckendorf cruiser to myself, and though I feel a slight flicker of contentment within, I am not. For not only am I the only in dweller of the cruiser, but also the only one surviving out of six intended crew members. All five of the Valkyrie IV crew were fooling about outside the craft, for no apparent reason, when we entered the wormhole. They were all torn off a few seconds before the thing reached terminal velocity. My writing this is a result of my decision to remain inside the craft. Obviously. I have closed up all the viewports on the ship to prevent being abacinated by Landau Beta, the closest star here. I have had enough time to question my surroundings and state of sanity, and affirm that I, the lucky fellow I happen to be, am in completely uncharted locations, with no possible means of contact with the abominable life forms on earth. Praise the lord for thee, wormhole.
I have gone around the cabin, pressing every button in and out of sight, flipping every un flipped switch, tapping every blank display in the likeness of a curious child in an aircraft cockpit. Some powerful EMP had affected the internal grid, for nothing, nothing at all functioned. The body acted as a faraday cage against only the lights and air treatment centre, which the makers obviously thought were much more important than the entire cruiser controls. I sat in what was once my choice recluse, the scotch patterned faux-bearskin revolving office seat. The only chair I used back on earth too, I had included it in the list of conditions I made before accepting IESTRA’s request of joining the Valkyrie IV team as a technician. flipping a stray MCB, and shorting it again. Acting on a sudden impulse, I found my screwdriver and began prying up the loose floor panels I had previously unscrewed, until I found a loose jumble of wires underneath. The secondary solar panel cord was easily identified, with its rough, jagged texture. The standard issue wire cutter wouldn’t work with a wire of this diameter, so I decided on the rotary saw. Splitting a few tiny lighting wires in the process, I set to work wiring the cable to the cabin grid, and the air treatment centre; I would worry about the lights later. I was rewarded by the familiar palpebration of the onboard screen, though it had nothing to show, and a fresh wave of exaltation coursed through me as I felt the hum of the panel. I sat, reclining in my seat, swathed in the red light of the controls. I feel I have a chance.
I have taken a break from the cabin after falling through the hole I had previously made, to scavenge for rations. Water, I have found a good supply of, and with slight frugality, and whatever supplies I had, I can comfortably last for more than two and a half years. Again, this is a class III cruiser, not as large as a class I (581404110 sq ft), but not as small as a class VI (2,768,591 sq ft). As for food, well, I haven’t been too lucky as of yet. I have realized that there has been a lot of the ship I haven’t even seen yet, almost eighty seven rooms till now. One’s full of microwavable burritos, but I’ll have to make a microwave. Or will I? The engine room should provide for me. The lights that I got temporarily on from the tertiary outer panels flickered, giving that broken, space-like effect to the atmosphere. The interior of the engine room is scorching, and I got a slight burn on my finger from touching what seemed to be a button, but the temperature was still not high enough to cook a burrito. I have found a few dog biscuits by the engine control room, and I find I like them quite a lot. I guess I would have to like anything out here to survive. I get my answer to the uncooked burritos as I pass by room number fourteen, the air conditioning. I go directly over to the central heating system, and slightly rewire it to lessen its heat. The cruiser is immediately colder, but I can always have a quick sojourn over to the engine room. An aluminum box with a burrito-sized hinged door on top of a 5 sq ft vent completes my oven. I pry off a loose vent grill and fit it in the middle of the box, and after placing a burrito I carry around in my pocket in the aperture, I shut the door. I sit down, beside the oven, and lean against the closest pillar. Not the most comfortable spot, but the closest to my burrito. Thoughts of earth flash through my head, and a certain revulsion passes through me. I smile slightly. I am alone, undisturbed, and quite well provided for. I was going to enjoy this life.
My burrito being ready, I decamp to the common room, room two thirty. It has been a long time since I ate a burrito, four years, almost. I forgot what one meant to me. I have been forgetting many things now, the trees, the animals, earth itself. I realize I am in need of a quiet companion. I decide to take a walk around the uncharted regions of the cruiser, burrito in hand. I sample small pieces, trying to make it last as long as possible. I open every room, and peer inside, ascertaining the contents of the place. I spend some time in number two fifty, littered with tiny pieces of broken electronics. There’s a lot I can do with this. Room fifty six presents some more opportunities, with a multitude of large canisters of hydrazine. I set to work immediately. After creating an airtight environment, a simple Iridium decomposition separated it into nitrogen and hydrogen. The hydrogen, once having undergone combustion, gave small, satisfying drops of water. Another half year of water. There was some tea and sugar in the next room. Only the sugar was of any use to me at the present, but I left the tea for any further use. The last room held what I had earlier wished for. As I opened the immaculate white door, a black, furry beast flew upon me. In the height of my indignation, I forgot to be surprised by the existence of a living creature aboard the cruises apart from me. Though small, it would suffer no resurrection, perched aloft my face. I let it have its way.
It turns out I found a cat, or speaking correctly, It found me. I sit afore the control panel, perched upon my scotch chair, as I stare at the central display. I slight anomaly catches my attention on the energy field, and I increase detection power. The lights dim as power is redirected to the main observatory. There’s certainly an anomaly, but it seems quite irregular. Upon further observation, however… it seems to be following a jagged path of sorts, connections from points of high-energy fields, like rails between train stations. A few more investigations, and all is clear to me. The “stations” that I saw were wormholes, either end of them, leading from within one galaxy to another. Their existence is undebatable, but their reason, is obscure. are they simply unknown to man, or, were they put there, by, aliens? Either way, I have a long journey ahead of me. It is going to take a week to reach the first station, and then I have to worry about the wormhole. The ship sounded like it was falling apart the last time it went through. What ho.
A week has passed since I Iast wrote, and I have had quite some time to greet my cat, and eat burritos. I tried the dog biscuits too. I’m quite fond of them, but the cat hates them. It likes burritos though, we occasionally share one. I’ve decided that If I’m forced to return to earth, for matters of survival, I’ll live with cats. I’ll have a drone for my shopping, which should be quite a snip, seeing the things I was trained for. I’ve made a small hydrogen blowtorch with the spare water bottles and razor blades I had. I used too much voltage, and made a mini hydrogen bomb. It didn’t go very well with me. I used a bubbler later, and I was fine. I realized I wasn’t supposed to go out making fires in space, but hey, who was going to stop me?
I’m a few minutes away from station number one, and, surprisingly, I’m nervous. I’ve gathered up a few quilts from my store room and wrapped myself and my cat in my chair, after securely anchoring it to the ground, and had some water to a santive effect. Though I can’t see ahead of me, the thermal imaging is showing full white, I can see we’re quite close to the wormhole. Almost at once, a tremendous heave rocks the cruiser, Its ganoid frame shuddering. I am immediately aware of a tremendous pressure, as if I am collapsing upon myself. Through my blurred vision, I can see a xanthic light peering through the edges of the closed viewport. I draw my legs closer to me, and grip the sides of the armchair even tighter. I don’t want to be hurled back to the hundred and tenth room like last time. As suddenly as It came, It is gone. My ears are ringing, and I cannot hear the slightest sound. My cat is on the chair, seemingly unperturbed. As my hearing slowly returns I hear repeated, faint meows. But of course… an occasion for the oven.
Three wormholes down, two to go. I’m in Andromeda. I don’t know what I’m feeling about my proximity to earth, so I’ll have to logically deduce it. I’m having conflicted feelings about whether to return to earth, or whether to stay in space. My cat helps me decide; I’ll split it halfways. I’ll have a year of rations even if I feast like the Sultan of Brunei when I’m in the solar system, so I’ve decided I’ll make the cruiser untraceable and live a bit far out for ten months, and then I’ll discretely get back to earth. I’m sure no one back at earth has a problem. Space has become my home, though now. The stars are my trees, the meteors the extra terrestrial fauna. Earth will be as unfamiliar to me as Andromeda to a child. I honestly don’t think I can bide my time down there. The cruiser is my haven, the place where I belong. My sky is the immaculate white padding of a Beckendorf, not the refracted blue rays of sunlight. Enough of that though, now. I’ve another station coming up. The journey is seven minutes long this time. Speaking of time, I wonder what time it is on Earth? I’m close enough to establish a connection with a PC, so I won’t take more than a minute. The time is… what? Another PC. This guy must be playing a joke. Finally. Well, now, the time is… wait. This one’s in Africa. I did know time went slower in space, but I never thought this slow. I’ve been here for a year and a half, and it’s… the year 97. 9897. Earth be merciful.
Earth is in sight. That, orb of, humans. Or what else? It’s been seven thousand eight hundred and twenty years since I last was on earth, and ten months to get back. But until then, I guess I have plenty of time to plan my next move. And to eat this burrito.
Name – Aarush Kumbhakern.
Class – 7th
School: Ambitus World School, Hyderabad .