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The Gate Keeper

Part One

 

A Sci-Fi Short Story

"Okay, okay, calm down and tell me what it is you've found... slowly," Captain Hendry said to his science officer.

 

The science officer in question, Lieutenant Uri Markovitch, had stormed into the captain's cabin moments earlier, babbling about a great discovery. As captain of earth's first ftl (faster than light) space ship, Hendry knew they would make great discoveries, but not quite so soon. They had only made one jump to test the engines and his science office had freaked out at what he saw from the scans of the area.

 

"Earth, captain. I have discovered a new earth."

 

Hendry waited in silence as his officer quickly spoke in fluent science-talk, then held up his hand for silence as the barrage of information threatened to overwhelm him. "Okay, stop there and go back. Take a deep breath, calm yourself and then tell me what you have discovered."

 

"I have discovered a new earth, a planet so similar it's, well, it's remarkable."

 

"Are you certain, so close to our earth?"

 

Markovitch took another deep breath, nodding his head at the same time. "This far out the sensors are not going to be one-hundred percent accurate, but it's pretty clear to me this is so close to earth, that, well..."

 

Hendry noted his officer's frown and that his fast paced explanation had stuttered to a close. "You seem unsure of yourself, Uri."

 

Markovitch shrugged. "I, we, need to get closer, in orbit, to do a full scan, but..."

 

"But what?"

 

Markovitch took another deep breath and whistled the air out of his lungs. "This should be impossible. To find a planet so close to our earth that's almost identical. I don't know..."

 

Hendry waited, but his science officer wasn't offering any further information, instead he seemed to be deep in thought. "Very well, Mr. Markovitch. I think this is interesting enough to warrant a little look, don't you?" Hendry said as he ushered Markovitch out the door. "I'll tell navigation to liaise with you and we'll move into orbit."

 

***

 

The ship's bridge was cramped for humans used to working on the bridge of some of the world's finest earth naval vessels. This ship, the Asimov, was designed with very little thought for human comfort. The designer's brief was to pack in as much computing power for the multiple artificial intelligence servers making the systems as fail-safe as possible. The powers that be, back on earth, wanted their expensive toy to return to earth and not be lost in space.

 

Captain Hendry mused on his old command in the USN, the super-carrier Lincoln, whose bridge was some five times the size of his current command. His tiny chair on it's ridiculously small podium elevated him centimeters above his crew of four heading science, navigation, communications and systems. His team of two men and two women were all busily at work making sure the Asimov gained orbit with no mishaps, a crash landing on an alien planet was not an option, no matter how earth like it looked.

 

"Looks like earth? It is earth isn't it." As if she was reading her Captain's mind, navigator Jen Ramirez's remark made Hendry look up from working on his log.

 

"Good grief," Hendry said out loud. "Are you sure this isn't earth? Have we gone round in a circle or something?"

 

Ramirez looked back at her captain, smiled and shook her head, then turned back to her navcom. Ramirez had followed her captain from the Lincoln at Hendry's request and the two knew each other well.

 

Hendry turned to his science officer. "I'm a little perplexed, to say the least. No amount of scanning is going to make me believe that isn't earth, Uri. Have you started scanning?"

 

"I have captain and the results are coming in now."

 

Hendry tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair. "Well?"

 

Uri Markovitch swung round in his chair to face his captain. "We are light-years away from earth, yet the scans, so far, indicate that the planet we are in orbit around is earth,"

 

To Be Continued...

 

Tom Kane © 2017

 

 

If you like Science Fiction short stories & flash fiction, then take a look at my book of short stories, The Eternal Man, on offer at 99 cents for a limited period on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Smashwords.

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