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New Worlds: Station Anders

This is the third in my New Worlds series. For the rules, look at the first day. For how this all got started, look at the originating post.

Now, for Balvenie Doublewood 101:

Station Anders

Station Anders is a scientific endeavor by the Academy of Extraoceanic Discoveries. AED is a high-profile group, dedicated to finding new sources of water capable of support Earth-like life.

Anders is on planet designated as PXJ115 — a newly discovered planet in the Inner Combine that the government has not yet named. The planet is almost entirely covered in water similar to the records of old Earth’s oceans. Much of the western hemisphere is peppered with enormous geothermal vents, making the water far warmer than humans would find comfortable. However, it is also the largest near-human-compatible water source the Inner Combine has found to date — most of the Combine’s water is created from hydration plants in the Omega Sector. So this is an important find.

The station is an Elkino 285, an omni-atmospheric station that can easily travel around the planet and reach both deep in marine trenches and high in orbit. As you might imagine, having a state of the art mobile science station can make a group confident, especially one that’s full of grad students and hyperfocused scientists trying to make names for themselves rather than, say, a team of seasoned cosmonauts. Anders may serve as a cautionary tale as to why you don’t have scientists leading such explorations.

The team entered orbit three months ago. Within a day, they discovered numerous species of life living in the ocean! As the science teams began writing papers and staking naming rights, the (much smaller) engineering noticed that their engines were attracting some of the creatures toward them.

By the time anyone from engineering was able to get the attention of the captain, it was too late — the creatures swarmed engines 3 and 4. While they were killed, their dead flesh blocked the intake valves, causing the engines to seize.

Engineering shut down the other engines before further damage could be done. Anders began to sink, and only by firing the engines briefly was the station able to land. The internal reactor is still functioning, so they have life support for years to come. The sensors work throughout the ocean, but they cannot receive any signals from space — possibly a result of their depth, or of the ocean’s or surface’s composition.

All they know is that right now, they’re stranded. There’s not enough engine power to escape into orbit. They don’t know if their messages are transmitting out. Their only hope is that someone misses them and comes looking…and doesn’t make the same mistake they do.

Until then, they’ll continue cataloging. Just because they’re stranded doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done.

Questions

  1. As the weeks went on, one of the teams discovered something utterly chilling, something that makes them sure they never want to return (if they ever get to leave in the first place). What did they all decide to delete from record and swear to never tell another soul?
  2. Yesterday, the rather small armory — really, a token placement of sidearms and ammo — was broken into and everything taken out. What happens tomorrow?

– Ryan

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