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“What we saw in that mission was not what we always dreamed of by looking at the stars from afar. After that disaster, we realized that space is not only made of wonders.”
- - Prixma, Grisha Squad Leader
Cloud Trouble was a research mission conducted by the Grisha Squad, a special advanced team of Sphinx Researchers of the Ulter Empire, in the gas giant Garumia of the Cahous System. The purpose of the mission was to enter the gas giant atmosphere, analyze its internal structure through advanced devices and build a floating base that would continuously take materials from the planet. The chances of success of the mission were numerously debated by several scientists and advisors of the republic, but in the end it was approved by the court of the republic and by the president Xajit Sal himself.
Major Cast Edit
- Prixma: The main leader of the Grisha Squad. He followed his father's footsteps in his military career and then took the path of scientific research as his mother did. Prixma has always been a great leader and has always brought his team united until the end of the missions.
- Jiehur: Twin brother of Prixma. He took the same path as his brother, unlike he had a career as a commander. His old career did not last long due to a military disaster that traumatized him throughout his life, and this led him to be stiffer but also stronger against any adversity.
- Faiveh: The oldest member of the team. Faiveh has always been a lover of biology since he was a kid so as to make him become a successful biologist. He loves genetics and the composition of mysterious organisms so much that he would also give his life to discover something new.
- Lodim: Young technology expert, Lodim has always been a guru of gears and programs. He's like a living encyclopedia of the Ulterian technology as far as he knows it well, and if he finds himself in front of an unknown technology he would be able to codify it without any problem.
- Vijal: Considered the "psychedelic scientist" due to his past, Vijal has always been a scholar who has always wanted to make sense of every kind of thing that does not. He has always tried to combine science and philosophy in a single thought, trying to go beyond normal knowledge. He could have a strange personality but he still remains one of the greatest scholars of the republic.
These were the first years of space for the republic: prosperous, calm and full of discoveries, Ulters' curiosity for knowledge had no limits. The star colonies were expanding at a great speed and without further problems, the contacts with alien empires were always peaceful and also led to positive agreements and the galactic Ulter Empire reached high and satisfying interstellar levels shortly. But the golden space age did not last long, not after the "Cloud Trouble" Disaster.
It was the second-last month of 07 ACA. The Grisha team came back from the "GM01" mission and their leader, Prixma, had to report the entire mission. It wasn't supposed to be one of those simple reports where you just had to give all the information gained during the missions, not this time. It was a failed mission that involved deaths and threats that would probably be harmful to the entire Ulterian race, a possible imminent danger to the life of everyone. Something that the republic wasn't capable to know and understand. After a long time, fear entered again into life.
Prixma entered, quietly and with an absent mood, in an isolated room generally used for private military meetings. The room was small and completely white, separated from all noise that could be heard outside, and inside it there was a table and two chairs, on which one was seated General Mixon, the old military leader of the brother Jiehur. Prixma calmly sat down on the other chair to wait for a further order or question, while the general stared deeply into his eyes for a long time.
- Mixon: "What you saw ... it was something terrifying. Your eyes do not lie."
- Prixma: "Correct, sir. It was unbelievable."
- Mixon: "Well, be strong son. As your brother has always been, this time you must be stronger than ever. You have to tell me everything, with every little detail."
There was a long silence, interrupted at the end by a strong breath by Prixma.
- Prixma: "All right, I'm ready. But you must be strong too sir, because nothing can explain what we have encountered. What we saw in that mission was not what we always dreamed of by looking at the stars from afar. After that disaster, we realized that space is not only made of wonders. It's also made of monstrosities.
- Mixon: "I know, and I want to hear everything you have to say just to burke these terrors. Come on son, tell me about the "Cloud Trouble", we might not have much time."
Chapter 1: Aerophobia Edit
03 ACA. The Orgalia spaceship was almost ready for departure and the entire squad in charge of the mission was preparing for the ship's entry. In the take-off area, in anticipation of the last touches before take-off, Prixma already met one of the team members, and he was a familiar face.
- Prixma: "I didn't think I'd ever see you again in a such a place."
- Jiehur: "And I didn't think I'd ever have you as a captain."
The two brothers hug each other with strength and great compassion. After a few seconds, they release and continue to speak.
- Prixma: "It's good to see you again brother. I'm glad you came back to do such missions."
- Jiehur: "Really? The hell Prix, I was ready to hear another one of your bullshits about not go in such dangers." - He said laughing with his brother.
- Jiehur: "Anyway, yes, it's nice to come back for me too. And having you next to me makes me feel even more secure."
- Prixma: "I can't help but say the same thing."
In the meantime, the other members of the team arrived, ready for take-off.
- Lodim: "Wow, seeing a new member of the team looking the same as the captain does sure give a certain disgust."
- Jiehur: "Seeing a kid like you on a mission like this is even more troubling. You didn't forget the feeding bottle did you?"
The rest of the crew laughs except for Lodim, whose face is annoyed.
- Prixma: "You don't want to stand against my brother Lodim, he gets easily angry."
- Faiveh: "Actually it's not convenient to go against another one for the duration of the mission. I wouldn't want them to start arguing at critical moments."
- Vijal: "Um, captain, perhaps you should introduce us our new member?"
- Prixma: "Right, forgive me. I present to you Jiehur, my twin brother and former commander of the armed forces. Jiehur, the kid you just humiliated is Lodim, the other two are Faiveh and Vijal."
- Jiehur: "It's a pleasure to be on your team" - he said doing a military salute.
- Faiveh: "Yes it is also a pleasure for us, but avoid that kind of greeting. You know that we are not real soldiers."
The conversation was interrupted by a communication from the departure staff:
- Communicator: "The ship Orgalia is almost completed for take-off. The Grisha Squad is asked to enter the spaceship and prepare for take-off as well. Thank you."
- Prixma: "Well folks, let's go to the ship. Come on come on!"
The squad headed for the space ship and then entered it. It was one of the best exploration ships that had ever been built, precisely because it was built for the mission the team was in charge of. It could also be considered one of the largest and most resistant space ships; it was obvious that the Grisha Squad was going to go in a planet with possible environmental hazards and that's why it was important to make the ship as resistant as possible. In addition, the magnitude was also fundamental, it was possible that the crew could gather from tens to hundreds of materials.
- Advisor X08: "Captain Prixma, this is Laborer X08. I have been commissioned as your advisor. Do you receive me?"
- Prixma: "This is Captain Prixma, I hear you loud and clear Advisor."
- Advisor X08: "Great. We are ready to let you go, are you comfortable?"
- Prixma: "More comfortable than ever before X08, ready for take-off."
- Advisor x08: "Roger that Captain. Starting the countdown."
The 30-second countdown appeared on the main screens of the ship. Shortly before the time ran out, Prixma took a deep look at his brother. He saw that he was concentrated in the mission already in his first moments, but he noticed a bother in his mind, something that probably troubled him. Shortly thereafter Prixma looked away, and looked ahead.
- Advisor X08: "Orgalia active. Time for take off!"
The engines of the ship immediately gave their maximum power, it did not take long for the Orgalia to reach its great speed. They arrived in the boundless space regularly and without unexpected events, and the destination of the mission, Garumia, was on the horizon in its great splendor of enormous grandeur.
With the automatic pilot active, Prixma rallied the entire team to talk about the entire mission operation in the central primary hall.
- Prixma: "Before you take a moment to relax, I would like that everyone does a revision of the entire operation. It never hurts."
- Jiehur: "More than revision I bet you will make questions of the topic to us."
- Lodim: "Yeah, you got it."
- Prixma: "Wow, you guys surely know me well." - he said with a sigh and a sarcastic look.
- Faiveh: "In any case, it must be a revision anyway, especially for Lodim."
- Lodim: "Heh, he knows me well instead" - he said laughing.
- Prixma: "Ok, enough with laughter and chating. Here's the plan: As soon as we're close to the planet, we will turn off the autopilot, of course, to begin entering the first atmosphere. Then, Jiehur, what do we do right after we pass it?"
- Jiehur: "We activate the material protection of the ship and proceed to enter the second atmosphere with caution."
- Prixma: "Well, you're still the one who studies at home luckily. After that, Lodim?"
Lodim, distracted as always, jumped slightly and began to think for a long time as usual.
- Lodim: "Um, we try to land on the mantle of the north-central area... right?"
- Prixma: "Mhm, almost. You only went a little further and skipped a crucial point."
- Vijal: "First we have to get through the storms with the anti-hydrogen barrier. We would all be dead by skipping this part."
- Prixma: "Right. Lodim I swear that the next time you forget something I'll send you home with a capsule of hermit."
- Lodim: "Heheh sorry Chief."
Prixma sighed, then said:
- Prixma: "Ok ok, then what do we do next, Faiveh?"
- Faiveh: "We place the Hildar date collector on the frozen mantle so that it reaches the core of the planet. Then we proceed with the exit from the planet as we entered and wait for more information."
- Prixma: "Very well, and this was the general summary of what we will have to do as soon as we are on Garumia. Now take a moment of pause to prepare for the landing, we're also almost there."
The Orgalia had entered the magnetosphere of Garumia within a few hours without any difficulty, the entry into the planet's atmosphere was now imminent. However, the ship's database received some rather strange data.
- Lodim: "Chief, the database has found some bizarre magnetic statistics."
- Prixma: "I see, Lodim." - he said, and then opened a communication with the Cataejana space base:
- Prixma: "This is Captain Prixma of the Grisha Squad, do you copy advisor?"
- Advisor X08: "Yes captain, what is it?"
- Prixma: "We have strange data from the magnetic force of the planet, do you receive them?"
- Advisor X08: "Yes ... it's really strange - it could be an anomaly in the ship's database."
- Prixma: "Can you still analyze them? They are completely unpacked, too much for my taste."
- Advisor X08: "Sure captain, just one second."
- Jiehur: "Brother, maybe it's really a database malfunction, after all, the magnetosphere of this planet is very powerful. I'm sure that once we cross the first atmosphere the anomalies will cease."
- Prixma: "You might be right Jiehur, yet all this seems too suspicious. The Orgalia should be strong enough even for the extreme magnetic force of Garumia, and despite this, these data are too much altered. I wouldn't like it to be something else to cause this-"
- Advisor X08: "Captain, we have finished the analysis. We can confirm that it is only some anomalies from the magnetosphere that alternated your statistics. There is nothing to worry about."
- Prixma: "Ok, we will proceed with the mission then. Prixma out."
- Jiehur: "You're not convinced yet, are you?"
Prixma turned his gaze to his brother, his face was rather tense and definitely not serene.
- Jiehur: "As I suspected."
The Grisha Squad proceeded into the mission and were ready to cross the planet's atmosphere. The statistics detected by the database became more and more altered, but despite this, Prixma still wanted to proceed with the mission. Yet they did not know what this would bring them to meet with this choice ...
- Vijal: "Captain, we entered the atmosphere."
- Prixma: "Great, get ready for-"
Pixma was then interrupted by the lack of energy of the spaceship, along with an alarm.
- Faiveh: "What the hell is happening!?"
- Lodim: "The spaceship has suddenly lost power. Chief, the Orgalia is completely inactive!"
- Prixma: "Shit ... start the emergency energy, quick!"
- Jiehur: "Guys, what's that light?"
Everyone looked to the outside of the ship. A bizarre light surrounded the whole perimeter and became more and more intense and blinding. The team didn't understand what was happening and, shortly before Prixma gave another order, the whole spaceship was completely enveloped by that light. You could only see white, and you could only feel nothingness. Moments later, the Orgalia was deviating towards a strange grayish surface, but fortunately the ship also resumed the entire power of energy. The team immediately managed to regain control of the ship to don't enter into collusion. After that, Prixma, after checking that everyone was alright, tried to contact the Advisor. But nothing to do, the communications were totally cut off; all they heard was a strong interference. The team, therefore, landed on the surface of the alleged planet they were on, still remaining though inside the ship.
- Prixma: "Lodim, give me a report on the current place."
- Lodim: "Shouldn't we be on Garumia?"
- Jiehur: "Look around kid, do you think this is our gas giant?"
They were on a bizarre, greyish planet, with a flora that seemed quite alive, way too much. It didn't look like they were on a gas giant.
- Lodim: "... I will try to find out where we are now."
Lodim analyzed the surrounding area with the scanner of the spaceship, hoping to find answers.
- Lodim: "The Orgalia couldn't identify any kind of data from that strange light of before, regarding this planet... well... it's not Garumia, that's for sure. It's a planet with a large presence of life forms. I still can't find anything else, the scanner just can't identify anything."
- Vijal: "This is impossible! The Orgalia is equipped with a scanner that can identify any kind of unknown life!"
- Faiveh: "These life forms are probably unique in their composition, so as not to be understood by our technology."
- Prixma: "Lodim, are you sure the Orgalia has not been damaged?"
- Lodim: "I'm not sure chief, I have no way of confirming if the spaceship has suffered some unknown anomalies."
- Jiehur: "We should get out of here"
- Vijal: "Are you kidding? We are in a total new place that we probably can not yet understand. We should go out and study this planet."
- Prixma: "Absolutely not, Vijal! We don't know where we are and we don't even know if we are still in our solar system. Moreover the purpose of this mission was to reach Garumia, not a planet that we can not even analyze with our scanners!"
- Faiveh: "Although I am terribly tempted to study the life of this planet, our captain is right. We have to leave immediately."
- Lodim: "Then it's better that we prepare for take-off."
- Lodim: "Exactly. Everyone get to their seats and prepare for immediate evacuation."
The whole team returned to the assigned seats for everyone to prepare to take off. However ...
- Faiveh: "Captain, I reveal a huge life form near us."
- Prixma: "Let's think about getting out of here, Faiveh."
- Lodim: "Captain you don't understand, this creature seems twice as much as Orgalia!"
On the face of Prixma appeared a face of enormous anguish, and when he looked at the data that the ship had scanned on the huge unknown life form approaching, the captain's anxiety rose even more suddenly.
- Prixma: "Take off, now! Now!"
The team immediately started to get up from the surface, but it was too late; The Orgalia was overwhelmed by a huge hit from a enormous creature. The whole ship flew away from that terrible stroke, and then crashed immeasurably meters away from the place they were before. The whole team was senseless, the only one who had fainted last was Prixma, who saw a huge monstrous figure on the horizon, while emitting a powerful roar. And shortly after, all that the captain saw was total darkness. The Grisha Squad's mission, after that terrible accident, took a huge and horrible turn.
Chapter 2: Lost Minds Edit
Flames of chaos surrounded Prixma's unconscious body, who suddenly woke shortly after. His protective shield had managed to make him survive from that huge leap, and so he still managed to get up. He wasn't understanding what just happened, he remembered only a huge figure who hurled himself on his ship, now destroyed and covered by fire. Watching the orgalia burn, Prixma understood that there was oxygen on the planet, so he took off his helmet. A rotting odor surrounded the chaotic place, and it seemed that it came from the wildlife of the place. The captain was still stunned by the impact, and slowly remembered every moment of the incident: the radar that revealed an anonymous figure, the terrible and huge blow, and finally the realization of failure. With the destroyed spaceship and the team missing, for Prixma it was a nightmare; never happened that a mission managed by him would end in such a catastrophic way, never. His crew was dispersed in a completely unknown environment, Prixma could only shout the name of each member of the team, especially of his brother. But nothing to do, no answer came. But this did not leave the captain to the ground, he knew that the mission was not over yet. He knew that if he survived, the others were alive somewhere too. Or at least it was what he wanted to hope until the last. He began to search among the rubble of the Orgalia, but no trace of his team, have them been hurled in other nearby places? Prixma had to find the answer to that question, at any cost. So he took a last breath from the dead air of the carious planet, and put the helmet back on, and then set off in search of his crew. He could not allow anyone to die that day. After a long walk in the unusual forest of meat, he noticed a smoke in the distance. He thought at first that he went around the forest in circle and had returned to the crash site, but that wasn't it; the smoke was too peculiar, it seemed almost cut by intervals. Prixma understood that it was a signal: someone really survived. He ran wildly to where the smoke signal came from, and when he arrived he finally saw a familiar face. He was his brother.
- Prixma: "You're... you're alive."
- Jiehur: "So are you, thankfully."
The two twins hugged each other harder than ever, as if they never wanted to divide again. As if they did not want to lose anything anymore.
- Jiehur: "I knew you would never give up."
- Prixma: "I would have give up only if I died."
- Jiehur: "We have to protect the area, maybe the others may be around here and see the sign."
- Prixma: "No brother. What if any of my men are seriously injured? Even if we have to walk around I can not allow the team to not be rescused."
- Jiehur: "It might be too dangerous."
- Prixma: "What's more dangerous than being in the Unknown? Wander around or stand still, we never know if we are safe or not."
Jiehur looked deeply at Prixma's determined gaze, he was at the same time frightened. He was clouded by fear, and he was fighting that fear. He wanted to survive and the same for his team.
- Jiehur: "Ok captain, let's move."
And so the two brothers, after destroying the signal, went back into the mysterious forest, looking for the rest of the team.
The unusual unknown, the bizarre environment, and the obvious fear was tormenting the minds of the twins. The incorrigible captain but guarantor and the former commander bent by the past were lost in an epilogue that they hoped would turn into a new, more radiant chapter. But how they could know, all that their shocked bodies could do was wander around in the hope of survival of the team. But their minds were lost, abandoned in the extraterrestrial unknown. Prixma keept trying to make the radio work to be used in an emergency, but strangely it wasn't working. Even though it was powered up.
- Jiehur: "Something isn't making work the radio."
- Prixma: "It must be something that surrounds the whole planet. And it also bringed us to this damn planet."
There was a silence struck by Prixma's anger. He was like a child without his toy, but the situation was different. The lack of radio communication did nothing but decrease the chances of finding the other members of the team.
- Jiehur: "I believe we will have to use the old unit-gathering plan."
- Prixma: "What is it about?"
- Jiehur: "It's something I learned in the army: in cases of emergency like these, with the team dispersed and the ways of communication struck, you opt to go to the north, and hope to find a high point like the peak of some mountains. We are in the middle of a forest, it's already unbelievable that the two of us managed to get together. On a high point though the chances of meeting others would be ironically much higher."
- Prixma: "It's a decent plan. I guess we also have no other choice, right?"
- Jiehur: "I don't think so."
Jiehur checked the position of the sun; it seemed to be in the middle of the sky, it was probably noon.
- Jiehur: "That sun hasn't moved since we arrived."
- Prixma: "And several hours have passed since then. Apparently the days here seem to be longer than usual. Come on, let's go north."
Prixma and Jiehur followed their shadow, taking care not to go too far to the east. In this way they would have go to the opposite direction of south. Their journey seemed endless, the hours became longer and longer and the sun continued to remain in the center of the glaring sky. In the end, however, the two managed to get out of the forest, finding themselves in a deserted land. The real surprise, however, was a big geometric figure in the distance. This time it wasn't a monstrous creature, it was a building. The two brothers looked at each other in amazement and also with joy. But they were not filled only with those emotions. The presence of buildings on the planet indicated the presence of sentient aliens, and both didn't know if they could have been friendly or hostile.
- Prixma: "We have to go there. Our men could be there."
- Jiehur: "Because? Did you think of simply bypass that building?" - he said sarcastically.
- Prixma: "... Let's move."
The building in front of them was rather bizarre: it was a huge cube flanked at the sides by irregular edges, as if they were minerals. Moreover, the more they moved, the more they noticed that the building had linear marks on it, which kept deforming and moving. They were like projections. Once there, the two brothers looked for an entrance. The unusual building was very large, it could have been high around 60 meters, so the search was quite long. After a while, Jiehur noticed in one side of the building a projection that was a vertical rectangle. The figure reminded him of a door, so he tried to rest his hand on it and, as if by magic, the figure disintegrated, leaving a passage free to enter.
- Jiehur: "Prixma! I found a way in!"
Prixma reached his brother immediately, and then he asked him how he managed to find it.
- Prixma: "Apparently it's true, sentient beings have been on this planet. Something tells me that we will have to use the torches, there's a pitch darkness in this corridor."
As soon as the two tried to get in, different side lamps built into the walls lit up. Something had detected their movement.
- Jiehur: "Apparently it's not necessary. Better to stay alert now."
- Prixma: "Yeah, keep your weapons ready."
The brothers began to cross the endless corridor. They had no idea where it would have take them, and not knowing the destination made them excessively cautios. They had to be ready for anything. At the end of the passage they found circular stairs that led to a lower floor. This time there were no more lights, so they had to use the torches equipped in their helmets, and then continue in the darkness. The descent seemed even longer and more endless than the entrance. Who knows how many meters they were going down. Could have been around 100 meters, or maybe more. But the stairway finally didn't seem infinite when the two brothers heard noises of machines. It was like someone was trying to fix something. The two members of the team were even more cautious and silent than before, so that they didn't let themselves be found out once they got there. After the long stairs, Prixma and Jiehur saw two figures in a lighted room with a huge screen turned off. The brothers rested, because those people in front of them were the other members of the squad. They were alive.
- Prixma: "Everyone, we're finally here."
The team turned slowly around, all surprised and with big smiles.
- Lodim: "Chief! Jiehur! I knew you guys were still alive."
- Prixma: "Heh, how could you have doubt of our death in such a situation like this? You really are my loyal team, always trustful and focused on the fulfillment of the mission. Are you all ok?"
- Vijal: "Healthy as you, captain. We moved around far and wide to later find this building. It seems to be some sort of communication base, we haven't found any other rooms besides this one. Lodim was trying to restart this computer."
- Faiveh: "We haven't found any sign of sentient life. Apparently this base has been abandoned for some time, and also for very worrying reasons."
- Jiehur: "You found any sign of who was here before us?"
- Lodim: "Yes, we found this kind of mini projector that shows an emergency message. Here, I'll show you now."
Lodim turned on the small device, which showed the face of an alien. It seemed hurt and frightened, it spoke in a robotic language now no longer used by different empires.
- ???: "This is Duo base! We request immediate assistance! We didn't find what we expected on this planet, we only found destruction! Please, save us... There isn't much-"
The communication was cut short afterwards.
- Vijal: "I've never seen an alien species like this. And then very few civilizations know this language, it wasn't easy to translate it. They were probably attacked by beings like the one that destroyed our ship."
- Lodim: "They probably wanted to send this message to reinforcements with this computer, but I don't think they did it sir."
- Jiehur: "At this time this place would have been guarded by who knows how many units."
Prixma reflected for a long time, thinking about how to proceed in a situation like this. He seemed repentant, regretting he hadn't stand back with that strange interference when he was in orbit. But then, thinking about it, he realized that if the unknown alien had managed to record that message, the interferences were probably less powerful in the subsoil.
- Prixma: "Above on the surface I couldn't use the radio because of some high interference, what's strange is that it didn't work at all. But this alien had managed to record that message without problems. Lodim, make that computer work and try to connect all our radios to it. Perhaps the signal of this base is powerful enough to be able to contact other planets."
- Lodim: "Brilliant plan chief, I'll try now."
- Prixma: "Everyone, we must defend this position at all costs and above all we must stay united. There could be threats from all sides on this bizarre planet, I can't allow anyone to split from the squad. This base could be our escape route. And if it doesn't work, we will have to investigate more deeply and find out where we are. We didn't just clash on this planet, something brought us here."
- Vijal: "I'll help Lodim as I was doing before. I recognize this technology, so in case we can't make it work we will try to extract the physical data and then encrypt it. We could find more information about this place."
- Lodim: "I hope you don't steal my show"
- Prixma: "If we succeed on getting help, I still want the data from that computer as soon as the assist arrives here. Now we need to try to help each other. Repairing this computer is currently the only thing we can do."
The team then began working on the broken computer hoping to be able to repair it. The technology of that building seemed very advanced, yet it seemed that the alien race that had previously visited this planet hasn't come to colonize it, but to look for something. There never was a planet of flesh like this one, and how the Grisha Squada had arrived on it raised even more suspicions. Something brought the Grisha Squad on that planet. A portal? A weapon of another alien race? They couldn't have know, not yet. Prixma realized that this story wouldn't end easily and that would lead to lengthy research, in the worst case to the war. But all that the captain could do was to hope, until he gave an end to this story.
Chapter 3: Over the truth Edit
--- more coming soon ---
- This fiction story was written by Phoetux.