Failure




Failure

Failure

Author: Katarzyna
Marcinkowska, markablue@vp.pl

"Captain,
I’m getting strange readings from the third planet in the nearby system."

The captain looked
at his Science Officer. She wasn’t a freshman right out of the Academy, she
should know the proper protocols. On the other hand, he was new to this crew
and this starship. Perhaps there were some things going on he wasn’t aware
of.

"Can you
specify ‘strange’?" He simply asked.

"I’m not
sure," came the hesitant reply. "It’s reading some kind of life
forms but I’ve never seen anything like it before."

The man in the
centre seat was now really intrigued. He leaned over his console and tapped
a few icons to make it show the readings in question. The resulting picture
puzzled him. He had been trained in engineering before he took up the command
track, sensor readings were definitely not his area of expertise. As a captain,
though, he had learnt some basic ropes of all the departments. He was pretty
sure he could read standard life forms scanned on a planet surface. What he
was looking at now, was too complicated for him.

‘What do you
make of it, Commander?" he asked his First Officer, turning the console
slightly in her direction. The woman had far more experience than he did.
Sometimes he felt awkward in her presence as if she had been more qualified
for the job. Most of the time, however, he was glad to have her there, on
his first command. This was just one of such times. Commander only took a
casual look at the screen and said.

"It looks
like the kind of readings you’d get from a frozen body, sir. The life is most
certainly there, yet it’s slowed down just like in our hibernation tubes."

"Lieutenant?"
The Captain turned back to the Science Officer. The woman at the science station
tuned some more controls and then answered.

"I think
it is possible, sir. At least I see no other explanation."

"Shall we
investigate?" This came from a very young man at the helm. He looked
almost like a first year cadet and was in fact not much older. "It might
be some survivals awaiting rescue in this state!."

The captain was
also excited. His very first mission and there was a possibility of bringing
long lost survivors back to their families. It was the next best thing to
discovering a new, friendly civilisation.

"Yes, that
would be appropriate," he said. "Helm, plot a course to this planet.
Commander, gather the away team as soon as we are in orbit." He listened
to own his voice, giving orders. He sounded calm and professional.

"Aye, sir,"
sounded nice as well. He was satisfied.

(five years earlier
on the surface)

"Do you
think it’s possible to build some kind of a shelter?" Asked the younger
of two men walking through the forest. The older one looked at him thoughtfully
and replied.

"Some animals
do, but they use them to hide themselves. We don’t need to hide, there is
nothing dangerous here and the weather is always nice."

"Yeah, but
I don’t like these shadows," said the first man looking cautiously around.
The plants around them were not very thick and in the changing light he thought
he could spot some movement. Yet, when he looked directly, there was nothing
to be seen. He really hated that.

(now, on board
the Starfleet vessel)

The captain was
unhappy to remind in his seat. He wanted to go down and see everything for
himself. At least he had double checked everything, including the terrain
and the planet’s atmosphere to make sure it was safe to send people down there.
Now, the away team was in the transporter room, awaiting his final order.
He gave it from the bridge as if he was commanding a starship to battle.

"Energise!"
he yelled and the group of people disappeared from his vessel to rematerialise
on the surface of the unknown planet. He had chosen the exact spot himself,
after having consulted a couple of people to make sure everything would go
smoothly.

The away team
found themselves in the middle of a loose bunch of huge trees. They immediately
turned on their tricorders to check the surroundings.

"Can you
see any pods?" Asked the captain impatiently.

"Negative,
captain. There is nothing here… wait!"

"What, what
is it?"

The away team
saw a group of strange object. They immediately walked closer to examine them.

"Captain,
there are some huge… monuments."

"Monuments?"
The captain snarled. "You’re supposed to look for life forms!"

"I know,
captain," the commander sounded puzzled. "These monuments are the
source of our initial scans."

"Does this
mean they’re alive?"

"I don’t
know…" The commander and the rest of the people came closer and looked
curiously at the two huge, apparently humanoid shapes. The sculptor who created
them had been very talented. They almost looked alive. Every detail of their
facial expressions, muscles and clothes was absolutely perfect. One could
almost believe they’d start to walk and talk. In fact, after a while, an ensign
investigating one of the three metre tall sculptures screamed.

"What is
it?" asked the commander.

"I swear
it moved, commander! Slowly, almost imperceptibly, but it moved!"

"How can
you tell?" All of them now turned to the young man who was shaking with
excitement and pointing at the face of one of the figures.

"It’s eyes
were closed when we came, see? Now he began to open them!" Everybody
looked at the slightly opened eyes of the monument. After the next half an
hour they decided it was true: now the eyes were fully open.

The away team
spent a few more hours on the planet, transported to two other places with
the same results. Scattered all over the planet were the huge humanoid creatures
in different poses. Some of them were caught walking, others were sitting
and apparently in the middle of a meal. The crew spent a few more days in
orbit, pondering on how to establish contact with this strange race. Finally,
they gave up and fled, sending the report to Starfleet Command. Undoubtedly
others will come and seek contact where they have failed.

(in the meantime,
on the surface)

"See, the
shadows again! I told you I hate them!" The younger man blinked and looked
around him again. "They come and go so quickly, they scare me."
The older one just shrugged.

"They have
always been here. Every now and then someone sees them. I’m afraid there’s
nothing we can do about it. It’s just the way it is."

Slowly, the two
men walked away. It took them another five years (in human perception) before
they reached a clearing and sat down to a meal in the middle of the forest.


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