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Centran Awakens – #atozchallenge

April 4, 2016

C

Centran Awakens

“There, Captain. That is Centran. The colony I spoke to you about.”

The Captain studied the map. “And how did you come across this colonized planet?”

“Well, as you know, Captain, I work for The Colonization Ministry on Delstra-E. It is my job to record information on all failed colonization projects. The one on Centran is a usual case.”

The Captain cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. “How so?”

Antonia punched in some more codes and pulled up a file on the planet. “There were 3000 inhabitants. They’ve all disappeared, sir. Not a trace of them anywhere, but there is no evidence of a catastrophe nor of any plague. They are simply gone.”

“That is not completely unheard of in the vast space, Miss Bartoli. What made you suspicious of foul play?”

“This, sir,” she said as she pulled up a database on the computer. Data streamed by and then disappeared.

“What is it doing?”

“Destroying itself, sir. That is five hundred years of history from Centran.”

“Can’t you stop it? I mean, that is your job, right?”

Antonia nodded. “I’ve tried, sir. In ten days, all records will be destroyed. It will be as though 3000 people never existed, nor Centran, nor that sector in the Universe. When this database is gone, we will no longer have the coordinates of the planet.”

The Captain scratched his head. “And you think by going there, you can somehow stop the destruction of the data and retrieve what’s left?”

“That is what I hope for, Captain.”

The Captain glanced back at the database. “We will be there in five days,” he said as he turned toward the door.

Five days later, the Earth Force Eleanor circled the planet’s atmosphere. The Captain, Antonia Bartoli, a science team and security shuttled down to the planet’s surface. Towering crystal buildings greeted them, but there were no signs of inhabitants. The science team left the shuttle first, scanned the area and reported back that it was oxygen-rich and no signs of a plague. The rest of them left the shuttle.

Using the only map she had available of the City, Antonia led them to one large building nearly dead-center of the metropolis. Once inside, they went straight to the computer center. Antonia went to one of the mainframes and as she was about to push buttons on a keypad, a voice echoed through the room.

“No! Do not touch the computers!”

A hologram figure appeared before them. A man dressed in a lab coat. Antonia recognized him immediately.

“Dr. Petrova?” she whispered. She turned to the Captain. “Lead researcher,” she informed him.

“Do not try to stop it. You will only speed it up!” Dr. Petrova said as he flickered in and out.

“Speed what up?” Antonia inquired.

“Our annihilation.”

“What can we do?” the Captain asked.

“You must leave or you too will…” the hologram faded out before it finished its transmission.

The Captain looked at Antonia. “There is nothing you can do?”

“Maybe there is a backup system,” she said as she clicked on a file on the computer screen, but instead of a backup file, it was a journal. Antonia played the last recorded message.

“After centuries of research, we finally found the core of Centran. And she has awakened. I don’t know how long I have left. Everyone else has vanished. She has taken over all communications, all equipment, all life support. She is erasing us. If you find this before all is gone, leave! The planet is alive and she is angry!”

After the message ended, the database sped up. Data deleted at record speed. One of the science team members screamed. All eyes turned to him. His body slowly flickered. “Help me!” he mouthed as he faded away.

“Let’s get out of here before we’re all dead!” the Captain ordered as they ran toward the exit.

Antonia stayed behind. Her body vibrated. She glanced down at her hand. It slowly faded in and out.

“Go!” she screamed at the Captain who fled with his remaining team.

She walked out into the City. Watched the shuttle ascend. As it became a mere tiny dot in the sky, Antonia and her surroundings vanished.

©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(703 words)


 

The Prompt via Mandy WallaceA corporate analyst who investigates failed colonization projects encounters the strangest case of his career. It’s a ghost colony with no record of anything catastrophic or any indication of what went wrong. The people are simply gone. Just when he’s about to write off the project into bureaucratic oblivion, he notices something else that’s missing. Can he reconstruct the past from the hole it left deleting itself?

Each day for the A to Z Challenge I will be writing a 500-1000 word Science Fiction story. I hope you will enjoy these stories.

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30 Comments
  1. ohhhh ohhhh jezzz lol creepy jeppy! Found your blog today via the A to Z sign up list.
    Best Wishes,
    Annette

    My A2Z @ Annette’s Place | Follow Me On Twitter

  2. Creepy! Who knows what lurks beneath?

  3. Very cool. You should tackle SF more once April ends. I’m looking forward to the rest of the month!

    • Thank you, Jonathan… I will be in November.. Will be writing a second novella to my Astaeus story

  4. Loved the story!

  5. Great story!!!!

  6. I absolutely LOVED this! I’m hooked and I want more! 🙂 But I think, oh no! I’m no… 😉

  7. There are great mysteries out there in Space…….

  8. Never mess with a planet with PMT – Planetary Material Transference!

    Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com

  9. This was so interesting. 😀

  10. what a fascinating idea – the history of the planet unravelling, the angry plant stirred to live. Really interestin – I can see this as the beginnings of a gret sci fi adventure. Nicely done 🙂

    • Thank you, Lynn! I have a feeling most of these flashes that I am doing now could develop into a novel.. lol I appreciate you stopping by, dear 🙂

      • I do actually find that a bit of a problem myself. I’m taking part in several prompts now and producing some short stories I’d really like to expand. But where’s the time in the day to write them all? A great read and good luck with longer projects 🙂

      • Yes, that is the problem.. when to find time to write them all 🙂 Thank you, Lynne.. good luck with yours as well!

      • 48 houre day – it’s the only solution 🙂

      • *laughs* true

      • And thank you, Lori 🙂

      • My pleasure, Lynn 🙂

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