My Life changed forever that moment above a little known planet in some backwater solar system. Smoke, and showers of sparks erupted from the control panel in front of me. My first instinct was panic, followed shortly after by a sense of dread as warning lights, and alarms sounded round our ship.
Fennick entered the flight deck, his face drawn, and pale as he stumbled towards me. The red glow of warning lights reflected of his silver space suit as he pulled nervously at his sweat soaked blond hair. From his blue eyes fear radiated, as his tight mouth babbled inaudible questions, drowned out by the wail of alarms.
Flicking a switch; made the din fell to a bearable drone. Fennick, beside me now, gazed upon the flashing, lights' of the control panel. Thin wisps of acrid smoke rose lazily.A noise, coming from the console alerted me; to the presence of burning circuitry. His bony, thin hands grasped the rim of the console; as he turned to regard me. "What the blazes happened? Major Carvon," he asked in a shrill, voice.
"A fire in the flight control. We gotta ditch her and try a few repairs," I said as calmly as possible.
"Ditch? I better warn the others," Fennick gulped.
"You do that, and get strapped in, This could be bumpy," I warned.
Fennick stumbled from the rocking flight deck, leaving me to fight with the increasingly bucking flight wheel. I dove the nose of The Sentinel towards the nearest planet, a blue-green world modest in size. I could see the nose start to glow orange as we screamed into the planets atmosphere. The Sentinel shook violently, the screen giving me visuals of outside melting in the heat of our entry.
Diving headlong for the world surface, blind, I wrestled with the controls trying to bring her up a touch. Sweat ran in rivulets down my face, my hands slipping on the controls as I shook with fear. "C'mon, you bitch," I heard myself scream, above the whine of the pressured engines.
She leveled ever so slightly, gazing frantically at the instruments I guessed this was it, hoping the readings were correct. Cutting the engines, we glided over the planet dropping ever closer to it's surface. Quickly I strapped myself in, I could hear the roar of air as The Sentinel closed on the ground.
Crash, my guts tried to exit via my throat when my body careened about the chair. The sound of grinding metal against stone filled the deck as we ploughed across the land of this planet Spewing up debris in our wake. For a few minutes it looked like she could break up, but she held firm, and ground to a halt.
Unhooking my belts I rushed to find my companions. They lived, the three sat ashen faced, but whole a look of relief mingled with dread played across their features. Raslin spoke first his gray eyes round in his weathered face.
"You got us down! Major. You got us down," he nearly wept.
"Everyone all right?"I asked, looking them over for blood, or visible wounds.
"Fine," they cried in unison, slipping off their bonds.
"Milton, run a check on the atmosphere on this rock. will you? Fennick, Raslin break out the tools let's get this baby airborne," I ordered.
Milton nodded, his graying black hair covered in a fine dust. He wandered off in search of a working computer to run his tests.
Me, and the boys wrestled with the chest of tools dragging it up to the flight deck, through dimly lit corridors. Milton returned, and informed us of the breathable air outside. We left Fennick tinkering at the controls as we went to the nearest air-lock to see this unnamed world.
Pressing the lock the door swung sideways with a whoosh. We stood there looking out onto a vast Savannah, it's brown sun dried grasses stretching for miles broken only by a sporadic, spiny, bush. Milton was the first to walk out upon this plain his heavy boots lifting little storms of dust round his heavy footfall. I followed, the world's single sun beating down on my face. We stood drinking in our new surroundings.
Fennick joined us shortly, concern etched in his features'.
"It's bad Major, five days' work at least."
"Could be worse," I countered.
"Suppose so," he shrugged,his visage relaxing."Still not a bad looking planet."
"yes! it's quite pleasant.".
"Minor though, only one satellite, and one sun. Hardly supports intelligent life."
"No sign of any so far," I countered.
Raslin, and Milton stood off to one side studying a herd of strange creatures in the distance. The creatures had elongated necks, which they used to pluck vegetation from the uppermost branches of the sparse trees. Another beast paced warily in the dried grass off in front of myself, and Fennick. A mass of brown hair crowned a head, that contained mighty jaws under a black snout, it's coat was a sandy, yellow that blended with the landscape. Issuing a low growl it bounded off seemingly uninterested in us.
Finished with our sightseeing we returned to The Sentinel to start our arduous task of fixing our problems. The planets sun had a surprisingly short span of daylight, disappearing beyond the horizon within a few hours. By dark the Savannah came to life whoops, and growls echoed about the grasses, coupled with the noisy eating of predators. We stayed abroad the ship taking no chances.
Morning broke clear, and bright, the evidence of last nights feasting strewn close to our ship. Milton investigated the remains, commenting on the power of the beast that carried it out, warning us also to keep our guard up at all times, least we end up the same.
By mid-morning we were visited by a group of odd mammals, covered by black hair all over their small frames, bar their face's which were a yellowish color. They stood about looking inquisitively at us as we worked on the hull of The Sentinel. Oohing, and ahhing as if they tried to communicate with us. Fennick fetched some protein rich food capsules, and started tossing them out among the excited locals, who screeched, and hungrily wolfed down the pills.
Our new friends came every day now racing across the Savannah on all fours , probably drawn by Fennicks constant feeding of the pills. They sat quietly arms outstretched waiting for our engineer to fill their wrinkled hands full of tablets. Showing their appreciation with a toothy grin, and a little whoop of joy. I didn't mind we had plenty of supplies, it kept Fennick happy.
Fennick proved to be correct in his assessment of the damage, and by the fifth evening on the planet we were firing the little friends ran screaming from the noise. It was then I noticed that most ran on two legs now, saying nothing to my crew we left, The gross disregard of the charter was all my fault, your Honour.
The stern faced judge glared at the four members of The Sentinel as he lifted the hammer.
"Major Carvon, by your actions, and the actions of your crew you have advanced the lifeforms upon a class x planet. In doing so you have changed the destiny of said planet, this contravenes Article Six of the interplanetary charter. This planet shall henceforth be known as earth, and out of bounds for all space traffic. You, and your crew will finish your days on the prison planet of Betcur. That is all, court dismissed."
Major carvon, and his crew were led from the courtroom to start their sentence. Knowing they would never see freedom again, all over a gentle push.