This is a recent photo of me. I wanted to post it so I could change my image on my profile.
This short story is from a challenge put forth by Major John of Miserable Donuts fame. We were waiting for our flight out of Kyrgyzstan and were sitting around smoking cigars and starting to reminisce about our "Time in the 'Stan" when MJ suggested that we write stories about Vasco da Gamma (the name of the cigars we were smoking). On the plane, with my batteries fading I wrote this. I was the only one who wrote a story.
I don't think it ever appeared anywhere and I just recently found it (while looking for a story called "Dream Police" which I will post as soon as I find it).
“The Wreck of the Vasco da Gamma”
“Come listen startrippers
to the da Gama’s sad tale:
a crew of a thousand
and nukes for a sail.
A ship with no ocean, a beach without sand
a planet ‘round Procyon she was destined to land
Vasco da Gama race far away
One tenth ‘c’, a century and a day
Da Gama, da Gama where have you gone?
Earth’s sons and daughters may never know.”
“Captain Andre we’ve had no response from our call to the VdG. We did pick up a likely candidate in orbit around the fifth planet. That planet seems to have life as well.”
“Life, hm? First things first, Ms Diaz make a course for intercept with the probable. Once we’ve linked with the VdG we’ll turn our attention to the natives.”
The Flor de Copan’s engines fired and she turned away from the wormhole nexus. The FdC was the first of the new superluminals, finally making use of wormholes to reach the stars in less than generations. Of course the first mission for the new technology was to discover what became of the old technology.
Days later the FdC approached within visual range of the asteroid turned space habitat turned starship. The VdG looked alive and functioning, but she answered no calls. The FdC’s crew of five made ready to dock with the much larger ship.
“Captain, we’ve been receiving radio signals from the planet.”
“Are they trying to contact us?”
“They are definitely of intelligent origin, but I can’t translate. I have the computer working on it. It seems like a lot of traffic. I don’t think it is specifically for us.”
The VdG was looked somewhat like an American football with a rough brown skin and two tapered ends along the long axis. At one end was the machinery of the nuclear reactors that acted as engines. At the other end were huge mirrors that took in the needed heat and light from the engines to keep the colony ship alive. As the FdC approached the mirrors were aimed at the star Procyon. They moved to the dock near the mirrors.
As the two ships communicated and brought themselves together four of the FdC’s crew were crowded at the window before pilot Ruiz.
“Do you see charring?”
“It looks like there were explosions there.”
“The docking system and hatch work fine.”
“Did anyone see any damage anywhere else?” Captain Andre asked and received negative responses.
“Jaeger and Tomar get your suits on. You’re coming with me.”
Within minutes the three were standing in the VdG’s airlock. There were burn marks and dents there too, but everything was functional. The readings on their suits told them that the atmospheric controls were working in content and temperature. This was confirmed a moment later when the inner door slid open to reveal a slender young woman in a tunic, sandals and a heavy metal collar.
“It’s a trap!” She managed to say before a wrench of pain gripped her face and her hands went up to the collar. Before they could reach her she was dead on the floor.
Behind her stood three, bear-sized, fur covered dinosaurs with weapons in their hands. Their lipless mouths and conical teeth looked like they were in permanent smile.
“Welcome to Procyon V.” They hissed in passable Portuguese. “We will take your ship now.”