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The hard truth

Subdane's picture
Submission type:

Ryley opened his eyes. The realization of it hit him like a cramp in the gut. 

The Aurora had blown up and crash landed on an alien world. 

What the hell was he supposed to do? 

He suddenly realized the impact of what it meant he was on an alien world. He had no idea of the dangers that lurked here.

He had rushed out of his pod, not knowing what was outside. Thank God the air was breathable. He looked at the surface of the water, his mind conjuring up an image of some great sea monster launching itself out of the water to consume him whole. 

He rushed back into the pod and pulled out his PDA. he tapped it a few times before it started rebooting. 

The screen displayed the seal of the Alterra corporation, which faded to a loading screen.
The female computer voice of Alterra came to life "This PDA has rebooted in emergency mode with one directive. To keep you alive on a hostile alien world. You suffered minor head trauma which is considered an optimal outcome. Please refer to the database to seek help and guidance on how to stay alive." 

He tapped the Display, working his way into the databank.

He pushed the icon saying “Start Here”.


If you are reading this, then you have survived an emergency evacuation of a capital-class ship with Alterra technology. Congratulations: the hard part is over.


Your PDA has automatically rebooted in emergency mode. This operating system has one directive to keep alive on a hostile alien world. If that is not possible it will alert salvage teams to the location of your remains.


It features:

-Full monitoring of vital signs for timely survival advice.

-Blueprints for fabrication a range of essential survival equipment, tailored to your environment.

-Onboard camera, microphone and OCR technology for short-range situational analysis.

-Cross-compatibility with all Alterra-compliant products.


NB Your personal and work files have been encrypted and may be retrieved at a later date by a licensed engineer.


Ryley’s eyes kept reading the lines that told him what would happen if he didn’t survive. He mumbled confused to himself. “What if this is it? I can’t believe it’s the end. It can’t possibly be the end. This is bullshit.” He looked around not knowing what he was looking for. His eyes snapped back to the PDA. “Hey! What’s the contingency plan? There’s got be a contingency plan! This stuff doesn’t happen to someone like me. Not on this scale! I’m just a janitor for crying out loud!”

The PDA was silent. It was not a tool that you could ask questions or have a dialog with. It simply gathered information and stated the facts.

The cramp in his gut was gone. He felt agitated, angry, and finally despair. Without looking, Ryley slumped down on the tiny seat inside the pod. He stared at the PDA, the black screen and white letters stared back. He shook his head. Someone would call on the radio. Alterra was already making preparations to come and pick him up. He just needed to wait.

He turned his head to the large display that took up almost one entire wall frame.

The letters were alarmingly red:





-Circuitry Test: Failed

-Secondary Systems: Offline

-Radio: Offline

-Distress Signal Broadcast: Failed

-Floatation Devices: Deployed

-Hull integrity: OK


He realized for the first time it was dark inside the pod. Only the emergency lights were on. Which basically meant tiny lights that guided to the containers.
“Come on, give me a break.” He muttered. Without the distress call Alterra might not even know he was alive. He had to get the distress call out.
He looked at the part of the pod that was missing a panel. Sparks and small tendrils of smoke were continuously flying out of the circuits that apparently had been damaged during the explosion. He’d seen the engineers on board of the Aurora use a repair tool. His eyes became alive at the memory and he immediately started rummaging through the containers inside the pod.
There was very little to found. Not exactly what he was hoping for. There were two nutrient bars, two bottles of water and two handheld flares. No repair tool.
He sat down on the floor, letting out a heavy sigh. “This can’t be how it ends.” Not knowing what else to do, he picked up the PDA and clicked the next icon that said “Survival Checklist”


                         Survival Checklist

1. Administer First aid if required.
2. Take inventory of available materials and supplies, and decide on rations.
3. Survey the environment for threats and resources.
4. Construct necessary survival equipment using the lifepod’s fabricator.
5. Check lifepod for damage, and repair as necessary.
6. Broadcast local distress signal using lifepod’s short-range radio.
7. Locate other survivors using line of sight or the radio.
8. Find or construct a more permanent habitat.
9. Maintain physical and psychological health until rescue.


He started to realize that he was going to be on this planet for a while.


Joe Spivey's picture

But first of all. as you're the janitor, clean that vomit up.

((Loving it. I'm assuming there will be more (mis)adventures of Janitor 3rd class Ryley?

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Subdane's picture

((That's the plan :-)


*Sighs and starts cleaning *

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