“Commander, this is Spatha Six.” Horace stood alone on a grassy outcrop overlooking a calm river that curved to the south through brilliant grasslands. But there was tragedy here.
“Go ahead, Six.”
“I’ve got something you’ll want to see, ma’am. I think I found the main drive system.” The quiet hum of radio noise shushed in his ear.
“On my way.”
FTL was a godsend when it worked—and it usually worked. But when it didn’t, well…whatever the opposite of a godsend was. The Shenandoah and the Denali were twin colony ships, launched together from the Oort Cloud with the intention of bringing 80,000 brave fortune hunters to Zeta Doradus. But the Denali‘s FTL field failed, and from what the search team could tell, they limped their way to this uncharted world which, against all probability, was habitable.
Of course, from the Denali‘s perspective that was 600 years ago, give or take.
His thoughts were interrupted by a long whistle. Commander Myrtle was here. “Holy hell, would you look at that?” She pointed to the wreckage of the mass driver across the river. The grasses had grown around the ship’s markings. Forty-foot letters made of plant life on an alien world clearly spelled DENALI.
“Good find, Horace,” she said. “Good find.”
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page. Image by Arnaud Pheu, used with permission.