Projects > Story-of-the-Day > andromeda
'Rescue ship Perseus. This is Andromeda. What is your ETA to our position?'
'This is Perseus. We're just entering the Oort cloud now. We have our ETA at your position within 15 minutes.'
George and I raise our hands and yell out in excitement. I look at George, "We're going to finally get out of here."
"I'm never going to eat one of these freeze-fried rations again. First thing when we get back, I'm going to have a big juicy hamburger."
"Just be glad we even have emergency rations."
George picked up a pack and looked at it, "Yeah, why is there so much on here anyway? This was supposed to be a quick mission. Three days to get out of the solar system, and three days back."
"It's the same reason they built two ships that can leave the solar system and return. It's all planned by boy scouts."
We hear the radio crackle on, 'Andromeda, this is Perseus. We've performed a visual inspection of your engine drives. Nothing appears to be damaged. Requesting an engine ignition attempt.'
I pick up the receiver, 'Acknowledged. Preparing now.' I go through the sequence of levers and button presses that should result in the engines turning on, but nothing happens. 'No joy, Perseus. All systems are reading nominal, but engines will not ignite. Please be advised we tried this before calling in a rescue.' I know they're just following protocol, but all the rations have left us feeling testy.
'Acknowledged. ETA is two minutes. Prepare for close-coupled towing.'
I look over at George, "Did you go through the checklist for close-coupled towing?"
He smirked, "Yup, we buckle in and wait."
I reach around to grab my harness, "Sounds good." We watch the seconds tick by on the onboard clock. 150 seconds go by and nothing happens.
I reach for the receiver, 'Perseus. Please advise as to your status.'
'Uh, Andromeda. Our engines have cut off. We're attempting to restart now. Please standby.'
George and I look at each other and consider our situation. George is the first to respond, "So any chance that the boy scouts on Earth made a third ship?"
"No, these ships were the first ones that would let us leave our system. This could be bad. How many more ration packs do we have?" George unbuckles himself and goes to check on our rations.
'Andromeda, this is rescue ship Perseus. Attempts to restart our engines have failed. We have sent notice to Earth. Expected response time is 58 days. We suggest operating the extended rations protocol.'
George returns, "We're good. We still have another three weeks of rations. Five on extended protocol. Did they get their engines running?"
"Commander Zelub, the solar system sensors around Sol have detected two vectors. They have been contained."
"So the infection that started on Sol 3 has begun to spread. Is cleansing of the system indicated?
"No, commander. The infection vectors do not have the technology to move past the barrier. The infection is still safely contained."
"Good, let's keep an eye on that system."