He had landed. It was the 664th day of the three-year mission and the 19th planet. Shit. He’d yet to discover anything above a single-cell organism. Listed as a resource planet according to the report generated by DSS13, this landing didn’t look promising to change that outcome. He was just note-taking, accumulating more data, to go with the deep space survey ship’s automated report.
In the planning sessions, he had shaken his head but understood why the mission was solo and had volunteered anyway. But the vids and holoporn just weren’t enough anymore—the being alone, not having anyone to touch or feel was getting to him. He could hear the strain in his voice as he reported. He shouldn’t but called his ship what he thought of it and not the official Space Agency designation.
“Steely Dan has landed—all initial test and confirmation protocols have been run. The planet seems stable but due to its rotational aspect and position, the night periods are considerable.” Great, long, dark nights… alone, he thought.
“Space Probe 1 this is Mission Control proceed with your EVA and physical exploration of your surroundings. Do not exceed the 2000 meter threshold without confirmation from the Mission Director.”
“Copy that, Mission Control.”
He went through the arduous task of suiting up. “State of the art,” he grumbled for the 204th time. “Feels like my crotch is wrapped in foil.”
~ ~ ~
Two hours out and nothing yet. Bordered by hills on left and right, the plain he traversed ran all the way to a vast mountain range at planetary north.
Sensors indicated a change in topography ahead. Maybe a crater. He slowed the Mark LXIX crawler and then, at the proximity alert, came to a complete stop. Exiting through the rear loading bay he stepped into the darkness that trailed behind, where he’d come from and the landing site. Suit lights on he walked around to the nose of the crawler and realized he was at the top of a winding path that led down into a huge crevice. He ran a sounding. “Let’s see how far it is to the bottom of whatever this big-ass hole is.”
He checked it again. “Damn.” It was 2112 meters down. And right where he stood, he was at the threshold. He could go no farther without permission. He raised the scanner and in visual mode, locked on what should be the closest point where it bottomed out. Right at the foot of the path down. “What the…” The scanner showed light emitting from something. Was that a structure? He switched mode to check for energy signatures.
“Shit!” He got a spike that showed clearly there was power coming from whatever was down there.
“Mission Control, this is Bob.”
He recognized the voice of the Mission Director, Barbara Filsnaught. Her tone was cold as the ship’s outer hull on the shadow side. “Follow communications protocol, Space Probe 1.”
“Yes, Sir.” He thought it stupid to call a woman, sir. But that was protocol, too. And though she probably did not have a penis… she did have balls. Though they always seemed bunched and strapped too tight.
“Mission Control, this is Space Probe 1. I am at threshold, 2000 meters from Site 1.” He paused, to sip from the suit’s water reservoir… recycled piss and perspiration—despite his training, he didn’t like to give that much thought.
“What is it Space Probe 1.” The bitch sound of her voice was consistent.
“I’ve detected light and energy signatures at the bottom of what looks like a rift in the level plain I’m on. It goes down another 2000 plus meters and is located at the foot of what looks to be a clear path down. It’s not wide enough for the crawler, I mean the Mark 69 Ground Exploration Vehicle, and I have to go on foot from here. I’ve sent you telemetry on my readings.”
“Analyzing, now, Space Probe 1… hold and wait.”
“Copy that.” Yeah, hold and analyze this… he didn’t hear it but felt the clang as his gloved hand patted his crotch.
“Space Probe 1 this is Mission Director Filsnaught.”
Like I don’t know. “Yes, Sir.”
“Proceed to investigate and once at the source of those signatures… continue live transmittal of visual feed to accompany telemetry and data. And enable the Psychotronic Data Recorder.”
“Copy that, Mission Director.” Crap. He hated the Psychotronic Data Recorder… the PDR literally recorded and reported emotions and thoughts his brain emitted based on external stimulus and physical and biological reactions. It was like having a microphone and camera shoved up his brain’s ass. And who wants a peeder in their butt. “The PDR will draw down suit power considerably and reduce time I have at the source site for investigation.” He couldn’t help putting some snark in. “You know that, right?”
“Do as ordered Space Probe 1. Report again when you’re there.”
~ ~ ~
The structure had large lights on its four corners at the top and base. Their ruby-red pulse seemed synchronized in some repeating pattern. He’d circled the building. It was about 750 meters square. In front of him was what must be an entry point; an airlock. Outlined in a steady blue light that defined the frame of the lock, at its center, a circular green light glowed. A button the size of his fist. Hell of a door knob, he thought.
“Mission Control this is Bo… Space Probe 1.”
Nothing came back. Just empty air.
“Mission Control this is Space Probe 1.”
“Shit!” A scan showed energy levels higher. He expected that in proximity to the source. But there was something else. A new signature like an oscillating wave… almost like a biorhythm the building projected. Maybe that was knocking out comms. He called again, not thinking it would get through but for his suit recorder and mission log.
“This is Bob… transmitting in the blind,” screw Filsnaught, “I’m at the source of the energy signature and have found one point of entry. I’m not able to make contact with Mission Control. There’s some sort of new signal down here that’s interfering. I have decided, without Mission Director approval, to attempt to enter the structure and investigate further.”
He enabled the video feed and PDR. That’s that. He reached out and pressed the green glowing button. The mechanism had a different look but opened and worked the same as types he had used. The inner chamber led to another door this one with a red glowing button in its center. He felt the lock cycle behind him and pressure equalize. The door light in front of him turned green. He pressed it.
Entering he saw points of light around the interior. There weren’t any walls he could discern… the structure was one huge room. In the pools of light, he saw figures moving. If he could have touched them, he would have rubbed his eyes.
“Great cosmic testicles… what in the hell is this?” On his right, in the closest lighted area, were two human-shaped figures and a small, spotted, creature. He didn’t know about the four-legged being, but the two were females! And they were jammin’!
~ ~ ~
“Director, still no communication with Space Probe 1.” When it seemed, she didn’t hear him the controller added, “He has only eight hours of suit time left.”
“Follow protocol. Continue to monitor past Life System expiration point plus four hours. I’ll then decide about mission termination.”
She walked to her office, flat shoes slapping the tile floor. She sat at her desk and took out the mission folders, selecting the one for Captain Robert N. Joyit. She opened it. He’d not been her choice. “We should have sent a woman.” The sound of her voice echoed in the stark office. She snapped the folder shut. Twelve hours to wait.
~ ~ ~
The controller handed the readouts to her. “Still no communication, Sir. We’re at plus four now.”
“Nothing it all?”
“We did get one burst of data from his PDR.”
“What did it indicate?”
“He was smiling… happy… his system was flooded with endorphins and dopamine.” The controller looked uncomfortable.
“Spit it out.”
“Part of his brain was lit up, at levels we’ve never recorded; the pleasure center.” The Mission Director’s blank look compelled him to add. “He had an erection…”
SOME NOTES FOR THE READER:
> The PDR does not exist — to my knowledge.
> There is not a Pleasure Planet… though there was a place in Palma de Mallorca I visited that comes damn close.
The brain’s pleasure center… is real. Light it up.
I have another installment in mind for Captain Bob titled “The Slave Games of Cygnus” if you’re interested in the continuing adventures leave a comment for this story or visit my site and comment there.
Captain Bob’s in deep shit. He’s a lover not a fighter. But, if he wants to get the girl — and you can bet he does — he has to find the courage in his next adventure. He wasn’t as interested in going where no man had gone before as he was in getting to where every man wanted to go. Click here for the cover reveal for that story.