Image: Photo credit: NASA and JPL
Our third day in space was to be our most exciting.
We awoke to see the constellation way ahead of us, and the Captain estimated it might be twenty light years away. Needless to say, that information gave me an insight into how big the star system must be as from where I was standing it looked magnificent.
There was nothing known about the system, known as the jester galaxy because of the peculiar jester image within it.
Whether we might reach it was another issue as twenty light years was a long way to travel and even with the hyper drive, we possessed as the best one available it would still be a stretch to arrive there before we ran out of fuel and most of us were not old and decrepit.
But the purpose of the mission was to get as close as we could in the hope we could transmit back to earth enough evidence that this galaxy and the planets within it might be livable enough to maintain human beings.
As it was earth was on its last legs, destroyed by the greed of corporations and politicians who denied climate change and who exploited what they could for their own benefits. Now life was a struggle for the several million who now lived on a barren planet where weather extremes were a constant battle.
We knew we had our work cut out for us but it was a commitment we made, and we were going to do everything possible to realise the outcome.
For the foreseeable future, it was the humdrum of the everyday. The constant image of the galaxy ahead of us and seeming as far away every day as it currently was.
We encountered several meteorite storms, maneuvering our way through them was, in fact, a mode of excitement to take away the boredom of constant daily repetition.
In space you forget about time passing, you get scarce reminders of birthdays and anniversaries, so it came as a surprise to learn my fiftieth birthday arrived.
By now the galaxy was looming larger and we had begun sending out radio transmissions in the hope there might be someone on a planet who might reply and give us the hope there was more within the galaxy than a series of planets, some gaseous, some frozen but some which from calculations could be very similar to earth.
I was awoken by the ship’s alarms going off.
The captain was calling us to the bridge.
We gathered to see a large space ship bearing down on us. I remember seeing Star Wars as a child, and the ship in front of me looked like one they had in that film, only bigger and flashing lights of the most luminous colours.
Suddenly the ship ahead emitted a light that engulfed our ship. She was caught as if in a web, and not knowing what it was or how it worked we were captured, and there didn’t seem much we could do.
The Captain was furiously trying to send messages to the intruder saying we were on a peaceful mission and that we meant no harm.
Everything happened so quickly. Not only were we caught and unable to move but the ships bridge quickly filled with a golden light, it blinded us, and when it dissipated there before us stood six men in battle costumes, we had never seen before.
The first man handed our Captain a small round disc and instructed him to place it in his ear. Then he spoke and around us was a booming voice, deafening and confronting.
The beings wanted to know what we wanted invading their part of space.
Our captain explained the situation on earth and that we were on a fact-finding mission looking for a home, humans might one day move too.
The beings made a series of grunting noises before announcing we had best turn around as their world was also under threat, they too had a sun that was heating up, making some planets uninhabitable and the last thing they wanted was to have to deal with intruders such as us with our already established destructive ways.
They offered to refuel our craft, give us what they considered food and send us on our way.
In a way to reinforce his argument, he took our third officer and held him captive saying he would be released when we had committed to leaving the galaxy.
Our Captain looked at the second officer with a look of “are these guys for real?” As that thought past between the two above their heads, a hologram appeared in which the Third Officer was slowly being tortured, his body exhibiting a pain none of us wanted to contemplate let alone experience.
They were obviously not jestering.
It was so convincing that we left the galaxy not long after with the feeling this group of beings knew far more about us and our ways than we could ever be proud of.