Fantasy Flash Fiction posted April 3, 2013

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted


by rtobaygo

Euphoria’s Rapture
Raymond Tobaygo
Stationed to the remote outpost on Cegnus’s third moon, Elamide, the elite warrior-scientist, Captain Bryce Roberts’ isolated posting was due to ‘his areas’ of expertise.   
He would study the gravitational effects on the moon’s tectonics generated by the month’s long eclipse of the huge orange star, Beta-Alpha 3.  His other area, which was dubbed ‘shake and bake,’ was terra-forming possibilities for Elamide.
Earlier Earth Corp missions to Elamide to construct the outpost, provided brief, windows to search for life forms that indicated possibilities which intrigued Earth Corp. 
When not studying gravitational effects, Captain Roberts used the post’s driver for short excursions and the hopper for longer trips.  With a gravity one point three of Earth’s,Roberts spent exhausting training sessionsadjusting  his six foot four athletic frame to the heavier gravity.
A spacious station for such a desolate posting made Roberts chuckle.  “Christ, all this room and technology for one individual.  Nothing like overkill, eh Earth Corp.” 
Hours later found Roberts in the Com Room for the second of his daily contacts with Command Control.  Toweling off after a brisk workout, Roberts watched the screen activate, showing Colonel Teis’s round brown smiling face and shaved head.
“Glad to see your maintaining your health, Captain.”
“Thank you, Sir.  Aside from exploring this rock, it’s a diversion I look forward too.”
“I see from your reports, the gravitational elements are within the predicted parameters.”
“Yes, Sir.  Pretty much standard, except on my last hopper excursion, I noticed a sizeable rift developing thirty miles north of the station.  For ten seconds the hopper’s bio lab registered a definite life sign, only to have it vanish seconds later with no additional readings despite what I attempted.”
Colonel Teis rubbed his chin.  “Damned unusual, Captain.  Care to venture a guess?”

Roberts removed the towel around his neck.  “Possible underground microbes, which, when exposed to Elamide’s environment, died.  I ran a sub-routine through the bio-lab’s equipment and found no abnormalities.  Ran the findings through Genius’s matrix, with the same  conclusions.”
“ I’ll have our team run your data.  Anything I can do for you, Captain?”
“No, Sir.  After classifying the information from the gravity sensors, I plan to return to the rift to see if it’s expanding, Colonel.”
“Affirmative, Captain.  Good hunting, Bryce.  I will contact you as scheduled.  Teis over and out.”
Roberts set the hopper down fifty yards from the rift. 
Ten minutes later, studying the rift’s black void, Roberts’s suit’s bio-detectors’ pinged.  He flipped down the helmet’s infra red visor activating his suit’s molecular motion sensors.  For a brief moment, his infra red visor detected another gaseous entity exiting the rift, yet nothing from the molecular sensors.  “Damned unusual, Bryce.  Let’s see what Genius makes of the image.”
Back in the lab, Genius confirmed what Roberts’ infra red visor detected. 
Roberts ran his fingers through his blonde hair.  “Genius, possibilities?
“Unknown gaseous life force with splayed molecular structure, not compact for your sensors to record, Captain Roberts.”  Odd, Genius didn’t say life form, but life force.
“Explain determination, Genius.”

“Logical conclusion, Captain: life force was able to spread its molecules to avoid the sensor’s dense streams.”
“Threat assessment, Genius?”
“With splayed molecules it may possess the ability to vibrate through solid matter, Captain.  According to your data feed this life force was identical to the first.”
“Care to venture a guess to its origin, Genius?”
“ I cannot, Captain Roberts, insufficient data.  A logical extension concludes more than two life forces have exited the rift, Captain.”
“Still, it can’t explain why they were visible for mere seconds, Genius.”
Elamide’s atmosphere contains ten percent oxygen, Captain.  Plausible theory is possible metamorphous adaptation from interior environment to exterior’s atmosphere.”
Roberts landed the hopper thirty yards from the rift.  What he witnessed next amazed him.  Hundreds of blue gaseous life forces emerged from the rift, but instead of dissipating they  encircled the hopper. “Genius, life forces have surrounded the hopper. They almost appear . . . curious.”
“A possible indication of rudimentary intelligence, Captain.”
“They’re beginning to change from a blue gaseous form into colonies mimicking cegnurian fireflies.  Genius, I’m leaving the hopper to see if I can establish contact.”
“Inadvisable, Captain, until we have processed additional data from the hopper’s scans.”

“They may be gone by then.  They’ve made no menacing moves towards the hopper and my gut tells me I’ll be perfectly safe.”

“Visceral feelings are illogical, Captain.”
“Your concern is touching Genius, but I’ve made up my mind.”
Within ten yards of the lights, Roberts saw them take the shape of a human outline.
There’s one for the books, Captain.  I wonder what they want.  Well there’s only one way to find out.
He moved toward the outline, only to see it approach as well.
It’s as thought, they’re mimicking me.  Let’s find out.  Bryce raised his arm and saluted.
The outline, now a solid yellow mass, saluted back.
Feeling assured, Bryce extended his right hand.  To his amazement the form extended its hand, shaking his. 
Bryce felt a sense of fulfillment, of euphoria, of rapture.  How odd.  Is this how they communicate? 
“Captain Roberts, break off contact immediately.  I repeat, Captain, break off contact immediately.”
“Would like to oblige, Genius, but I feel sooo damned good.”
“Danger, Captain.  Data from hopper indicates life force deriving energy from your endorphins.  The life force is feeding on you, Captain.”
“So be it, Genius. Please record our first encounter for prosperity, Captain Roberts out.”
“Captain , activate your suit’s electronics.  The current it generates will cease contact.”
“Genius, I think I’m flying.”
“You leave one option, Sir.”  Genius activated the suits electronics.
Back in the lab, Roberts faced Genius, “Thank you, my friend.  I would’ve died without your intervention.  Damn, death though euphoria.”
“Essentially correct, Captain, brought on by unknown opiate which no longer infects you, Sir.” 
“Yeah, it would’ve been one for the books Genius: death by euphorbia induced rapture.”
The End


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