I crawled out of the wreckage of the emergency pod. How had I survived? I couldn’t see any signs of other parts of the ship. I shouldn’t have been surprised. At a quarter of the speed of light it would have hit the star around a half an hour after I had ejected. If it had hit this planet at that speed, well, there wouldn’t have been much left standing.
For the first time I realized I had no suit on, that I was in the open. I briefly panicked, but then calmed down. If I wasn’t dead yet, I figured, I shouldn’t worry. Luckily the atmosphere had plenty of oxygen, so I could breathe unaided.
I looked around, taking my bearings.
I was in some sort of woodland, not too different from how Home must have looked thousands of years ago. My heart sank. I knew that there had been no contact with this system, but I had hoped that there was intelligent life and perhaps even a civilization. I was going to be stuck on the planet for quite a while, if not the rest of my life, and didn’t want to learn basic survival at this late stage. Give me a good city with some cocktails over camping out any day.
I went over the emergency pod but found nothing there that would be of any use. I decided that I may as well hoof it out and try to find a water source, if not some native intelligence.
The landscape was gorgeous. The forest primeval, that’s what it was. It allowed a more primitive part of my brain to come out. I took back what I’d said about cities and began to enjoy it, almost wishing I could stay there forever.
After a while I heard a rushing sound. Following it I found a large, swift river. I took a long drink, but decided to move along.
Not too far from the river I came upon a trail. I had seen no animals beyond insects, but now I knew there had to be something larger. I followed the trail up a gully. I could see open light in front of me and knew there had to be a meadow or field ahead.
I had enjoyed the woodland, but knew that I had a better chance of finding civilization if I went out in the open. On the other hand, I would be exposed. If the native life was hostile, there wouldn’t be any place to hide.
I stepped out into the field. I could immediately see that it was some type of crop. That meant civilization, even if primitive. I took a few tentative steps into the field.
But then I saw them. Two of them.
The aliens were weird. Of course, they were the natives and I the alien, since this was their world, but I couldn’t think of them as anything but alien. Still, alien or native, they were strange.
They had the wrong number of legs. Very odd! This made them appear unbalanced and clumsy, top heavy, yet they did move with ease. They each were carrying something.
They saw my and stopped. I tried to communicate, but I couldn’t reach them. Were they so primitive that they couldn’t open a psi-channel? They raised the things they were carrying in what should have been their second set of legs, their fore-legs. Could they be some form of weapon? I froze, unable to move.
There was a loud noise and I became filled with pain. In fright I bolted back into the woods. I charged on without thinking and soon hit the deep river. The strong current ripped me off of my feet and carried me away. Everything went black.
“Did you see that deer?”
“Yeah. It was the strangest looking thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. But I think I got ‘em.”
“Yeah, but he ran into the woods. Let’s go see if we can find his trail. He was headed for the river. Bad luck if he reached it.”
“Oddest thing ever. Oddest thing. I hope we can find ‘em.”
“Me too. Oh, thinking of odd, did I tell you I saw a shooting star last night? Big un. A fireball. It looked like it landed in the woods over there. Isn’t that wild?”
“Yep, I saw it too. Just been weird these last couple of days.”
— — —
(Subtitled: “beam me up Scotty, no intelligent life found” ;) )
I just added a part two, for those in search of answers from this story ;)