Friday, July 29, 2016

Flash Fiction #209 -- Lost and Forgotten

Savina pounded the scanner against her hand. Then she pounded it against the ship's wall beside her.
"You'll breach the hull before you get that piece of crap to work," Joson replied.
She aimed the scanner at his head, but he pulled aside in time as she swiped it through the air where his head had been.
The damned thing beeped and they both looked at it in shock. 
"Must be a glitch," Savina said.  She peered at it with obvious misgivings.  Savina pounded it a couple more times, but it kept working, so she plotted the ship's course by the readings.
"If these readings are right, we've just made an outstanding find, Joson!  The readings are very strong.  Not high tech, but I bet we'll find a lot of treasure.  Maybe even claim a whole new world!"
"How long until we get there?"
"About ten hours.  I'm going to set the automatics to get us to orbit and then we can set it down.  We're going to need to sleep."
Joson knew there was no use arguing with her.  She'd just drug him as she had in the past.  He still hadn't figured out when she had become the ship's captain.  Probably when he'd stopped arguing with her just to save his sanity.  
Sleep sounded good, and they knew they could trust the ship to do all the tedious work and get them into orbit.  In fact, he didn't wake until she had started them down.
"Good, you're awake.  I'm getting some excellent readings, Joson.  I think we've finally found our treasure world!"
He sat up, yawning and squinting at the boards.  Savina was right!  The readings were incredible. Breathable atmosphere, minerals, and even some tech, which meant aliens!  Not many people had found aliens.   He hurried to get breakfast.  By the time he was done cleaning up and eating, they were settling down on the world.  Gravity generators turned off, and local gravity kicked in, which meant it must be comfortable.  Savina hated high-grav worlds.
He pulled out his pocketcomp and did some readings as they came out of the ship.  Damned good readings for gravity, atmosphere -- and people.  Actual people.
"Lost colony?" Joson asked, watching the group of five headed their way.  More were starting to gather down the hillside from them,  and he could hear their voices rising in surprise.  Savina strolled out in front of him, her head held high, her moment of triumph. 
Well, as long as they shared the treasure, he didn't care.
She greeted them in basic with an effusive speech about reuniting them, and their treasures, with their lost brethren.  One of the men mumbled words, none of which made sense.  They must have been parted for a long time if they didn't even have basic!  He began doing a quick comp check for some of the earliest lost ships.
The computer gave a little ding.  He'd forgotten that he'd started it working on an analysis of the world, just to make certain there wasn't anything dangerous hiding in the air or water.  It looked remarkably good, in fact. 
And then he scrolled down to the next page.
Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic.
Savina still stood with the first group who had rushed to meet her.  She continued in her epic speech which had wandered off into the world of finance and shared wealth.  When she paused to take a deep breath -- and clearly didn't notice how the locals didn't even understand her -- he stepped forward.
"Savina, we need to talk," Joson said with a tug on her arm. 
"In a moment.  I can't believe we found a lost colony!  And look at all the inhabitants coming our way!   We'll be famous!"
"Savina!"  He grabbed her arm and yanked her away from the others, though he gave them a nervous smile.  Before she could complain, he shoved a pocketcomp into her hands.  "I matched the world up. Gravity, atmosphere, star, and even inhabitants."
She looked at the screen with a scowl.  "Someone else found our wonderful lost colony?  I suppose they have a claim!"
"Not exactly.  Scroll down.  The world has a name."
She frowned and tapped the screen.  The name scrolled up.
She stared, her mouth opening a couple of times.  Joson said nothing.
Earth, the legendary home world, from whence they had all gone to the stars.  Not a lost colony.  The place where humanity had started --
"Oh," she said softly.  She looked back at the people making their way up the hill.  They were waving things.  Some were pointing them.  "Oh."
They had both taken the piloting course with the mandatory viewing of the iconic vid, The Day the Earth Stood Still.  They knew what to expect.  Earthers were crazy, which was why the sane ones had left.  There was a reason everyone 'forgot' where the world was located.
She began to back away, very slowly.  Jonson moved rather more quickly, darting to the ship, keying open the door.  By then the Earthers were yelling, and a mass of them had begun charging up the hillside.  Savina yelped, spun and raced to the airlock, somehow getting in before Jonson.
Something pinged against the ship.  Then something stung against the side of his arm, but he got inside before anything worse happened.  Savina headed straight to the pilot's chair, though she did take a moment to bandage his bleeding arm.  Then she fired up the engines.  They could see humans rushing forward, and then surging back again.  Good.
The ship lifted into a beautiful blue sky with fleecy white clouds.  Savina plotted a course back the way they had arrived.  Then she picked up the scanner and began to bang it against the wall.  Very hard.
"Savina, you're going to --"
The scanner shattered, all of the bits raining down around then. "There. That's better," Savina said as she turned back to the controls. 
Joson agreed.  "Where do we go now?"
"To a galaxy far, far away."
Word Count: 999

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