Category Archives: Marooned on Planet X

The Galactic Protection Force encounters the evil Corpellian space fleet. Just before battle the Corpellians deploy a secret weapon which causes the GPF to flee in hyperspace. One of the ships, the destroyer Pickett, exits hyperspace in the atmosphere of the mysterious Planet X. The fuel tanks are destroyed and the ship becomes . . . Marooned on Planet X.

Marooned on Planet X – Part 3

Marooned on Planet XIn our last episode, the GSF Pickett was not able to escape the clutches of the mysterious Planet X. The captain, Jake Evans, was able to keep the emotions of his crew under control. The crew found a small island in the mostly water world. The ship was able to manage a crash landing. The question remains, did any of the crew survive?

Captain Jake Evans punched the side-wide intercom, “All sections, report status!”

“Engineering here,” Chief Engineering Officer, Irene “Smitty” Smithson responded. “All batteries are charged, sir. But right now we have no way of recharging them. We have enough power to keep life support for three hours.”

“Thanks, Smitty. Any casualties?”

“Negative, Captain. We buttoned up pretty much everything. We are pulling out other equipment now. Will let you know if any other issues”

“Thanks, Smitty.”

Evans turned to his Science Officer, Sheldon Leonard. “What is the hull temperature, Mr. Leonard?”

“Right now Captain we are at 650 Celsius. It’s dropping fast.”

“Will we be able to exit the ship without melting soon?”

“Hopefully, in about six hours, sir.”

“Dammit, we’re all going to suffocate by then!” Evans hit his console in frustration.

The bridge was silent. The intercom buzzed.

“Captain, Norwood here. Sick bay is functional. I am missing Lieutenant Deavers, though.”

“Missing, Doctor? I am quite certain no one left the ship in the last few hours.”

“Dammit, Jake! I’m a doctor, not a detective. She’s not here and you want a status. List her as missing. If I find I will let you know.”

“Thank you, Doctor.”

The intercom buzzed again. “Captain, Johannsen here. All weapons are off-line.”

“What would it take to make them functional, Gunny.”

“All we would need is power, sir.”

“That seems to be the problem of the day. Not missing anyone, are you?”

“Missing? On a ship? That would be a little… Wait one, sir.” Evans could hear a muffled conversation between Johannsen and one of his gunners. He couldn’t make at the words, it seemed a little heated.

“Sir?” Johannsen was back. “It seems we’re missing Mitch. You know, Commodore Mitchell’s great-grandson.”

“Great, we lost the Commodore’s great-grandson? Gunny, have a look around and get your people to engineering. We may have to close off that section to save power. Get Donaldson’s crew up there, too.”

“Aye-aye, sir.” Gunny responded and snapped off the ‘com.

“How the heck do people end up missing on a buttoned-down destroyer,” Evans muttered.

“Maybe they…” the helmsman, JR, started to say but was cut short by withering looks from the bridge staff.

“Captain,” Leonard said. “It seems that our hull temperature is dropping faster than previously. Apparently, we set off some fires of local indigenous plant life. I calculate an acceptable temperature in approximately four hours.”

“So, we’ll only be dead an hour. Awesome,” Evans said. “So this planet has life.”

“I can only ascertain plant life at this point, Captain. I will certainly advise when I receive updated information.”

“Mr. Leonard, have you been able to conduct an atmospheric observation yet?” Evans asked.

“Will do so now, sir.”

The intercom squawked. “Captain, Smitty here.” The gunners and chefs arrived in engineering. We are shutting power off in section seven through nine. That should buy us another half hour.

“Great, Smitty! We’ll only be dead half an hour before we get out then.”

“Captain, I have an idea,” JR interjected. Again, he was met by the same withering look from the bridge crew.

“What?” Captain Evans asked.

“We still have five mines aboard ship. Perhaps we can use the explosive as a fuel element.”

“Smitty, did you hear that?” Evans asked.

“I’ll see what I can do, Captain.”

“Mr. Leonard,” Evans turned to the science officer. “Do we have an atmospheric analysis yet?”

“Yes, Captain. It seems there is a high oxygen content, with traces of other gases such as helium, hydrogen, and argon. I think we should be able to breathe without a problem.”

“Well, at least something is working out.”

“I’ve also checked the water content, since there is a lot of that around.”

“I’m all ears, Mr. Leonard.”

The water is mostly a standard hydrogen – oxygen blend. There seems to be trace elements of zinc, copper, arsenic, and cyanide.”

“Doesn’t sound like a good blend to me, Mr. Leonard.”

“It will not be too hard to separate, Captain. The cyanide and arsenic, being heavy metals, should be able to separate from the water without too much trouble. Boiling should take care of that, I imagine.”

“You imagine? Would you drink it, Mr. Leonard?”

“Certainly, with proper testing, of course.”

The intercom buzzed. “Captain,” Smitty voice announced. “Ensign Ferguson’s idea buys us about thirteen more minutes.”

“OK, we only need to figure out the extra seventeen. Any ideas?” Evans replied.

“Working on it, sir.”

“Sir?” JR asked.

“What now, JR?”

“Based on the position we are in now, if we blew airlock hatches one, four, and seven, we might be able to have an air supply until we can exit the ship.”

“That might be feasible, Captain,” Science Officer Leonard agreed.

Evans punched the intercom. “Smitty, if we blew airlocks one, four, and seven should we be able to vent the ship with the local air supply?”

“No we won’t be able to vent the ship, Captain. We could all stand in the airlocks after the hatches are blown, however. We should be fine after the initial blast.”

“Send Johannsen and his men to check out the airlocks. Make sure nothing flammable will give us problems at go time.” Evans ordered.

“On it now, Captain.” Smitty signed off.

“Switch off all non-essential systems,” Evans ordered.

The silence was broken by clicks of switches being thrown. Lights began to turn off. Monitoring systems were powered down.

“Captain, Johannsen here.”

“What’s your status, Gunny?”

“We’ve found Deavers and Mitchell, sir.”

“Where”’ Evans asked.

“They are in airlock number four. They are dead, sir.”

“Airlock number four? What were they doing there?”

“Um, I’d rather not say, sir. Let’s just say they looked like the impact killed them.”

“Well Gunny, I would take them down to Dr. Norwood. He can figure it out.”

“Aye, sir. Airlocks one, four, and seven are ready to go. At your command.”

“Thanks, Gunny. We should be ready in a few minutes.”

“Captain,” Leonard observed. “We have about 20 minutes of power.

“Gunny, blow the airlocks” Evans ordered.

Three explosions shook the ship.

“Airlocks blown and cleared, Captain,” Johannsen reported.

Evans punched the intercom, knowing it would be for the last time. “All crew, report to airlocks one, four, or seven. Shut down all systems. Prepare to abandon ship.”

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Marooned on Planet X – Part 2

Marooned on Planet X

In our last episode, the Space Fleet headed by Vice Admiral Quentin DiPaullo found itself in a trap. In a desperate escape, all the ships of the fleet were ordered into hyperspace. The crew of the space destroyer GSF Pickett found itself trapped in the atmosphere of the unknown Planet X.

“Captain the hull is now at 3500 Celsius,” Science Officer Sheldon Leonard reported.

“JR, full reverse thrust,” Captain Jake Evans ordered.

“Sir, I only have maneuvering thrusters available.”

Evans hit the intercom, “Smitty! I need forward thrusters. If we don’t slow down we’ll burn up in the atmosphere!”

“Captain, you getting all she’s got right now!” Chief Engineering Officer Irene Smithson reported.

“Can’t we redirect some of the plasma drive flow?”

“It might be dangerous, Captain.”

“As dangerous as burning up in the atmosphere?”

“Aye, Captain. I’ll see what I can do?”

“3600 degrees, Captain,” Leonard reported.

“JR, see if you can pull the nose up about ten degrees.”

The crew felt the angle of the deck change. They were well within the gravity field of the planet.

“JR,” Evans wondered. “What is this planet?”

“Harv from the Beauregard and I call it Planet X,” JR answered.

“Planet X?”

“Yes sir. It’s not a known system. We found it quite by accident. It seemed like an out of the way place.”

“You mean like a place rescue ships won’t search?” Evans asked.

JR’s face turned white. “I, we, didn’t think we would need rescue, Sir.”

“Apparently not, JR. Yet here we are,” Evans complained.

“Sir, front of the ship is cooling while the aft is near 4000 degrees.”

“Speed, JR?”

“We’re at 4200 kilometers per hour, sir. That nose trick is slowing us down a lot.”

The intercom buzzed, “Captain, you have some forward thrusters. Do not put it on maximum thrust, it may back up and blow out the equipment.”

“Thanks, Smitty,” Evans answered.

“You heard the lady, JR. Easy on the reverse thrust,” Evans ordered.

“Aye, Captain.”

The ship began to shudder. “Captain, she wants to flip.”

“Lower the nose, son. It should steady out.”

The angle lowered and the shuddering stopped.

“Mr. Leonard, can we get the scanners to find a place to land.”

“Sir, the hull is too hot. I’m trying to use alternative methods.”

“Keep me informed, Mr. Leonard.”

“Ensign, what is the speed?” Evans asked after several minutes of the crew concentrating.

“We’re down to 2800 kph, sir.”

“Mr. Leonard, the hull temperature?”

“It’s lowering. Captain. The instruments are not working properly at this point. We are about two thousand degrees.”

“Captain, we’re losing power on the forward thrusters.”

Evans punched the intercom. “Smitty, what’s happening?”

“Captain, the power generators can’t process the plasma quick enough. We need more power.”

“What systems can we divert from?” Evans asked.

“The life support is fighting to keep us from roasting, that and the fuel conversion are taking the most energy. I can shut down the plasma guns, that will give us some more for the thrusters.”

“OK Smitty, but I need number one gun ready.”

“That takes the most power! What are you going to shoot here anyway?”

“Smitty, you must have never been a SkyScout. ‘Always be prepared’ is their motto.”

“Aye, Captain. Whatever you need.”

“Sir, I’m starting to get imaging of the planet,” Leonard said.

“We need to find a level place to land. Not too many bumps.”

“Captain, all I see is water. I see no land.”

“We can’t land in water. This thing is not built to float.”

“I am aware of that, sir. I am expanding the search.”

“JR, how fast are we dropping?” Evans asked.

“About 500 meters per second, sir. That’s at this speed. As we slow it might be faster.”

“Can you calculate our maximum range?”

“Assuming we continue on the same slowing curve, about 1800 kilometers.”

“Captain!” Leonard announced suddenly. “I found an island!”

“About time something went right. Where is it?”

“Downrange, sir. Twenty-five hundred Kilometers.”

The silence on the bridge was deafening. Everyone knew that the end was near.

“XO, what are the co-ordinates of the island?”

“On you panel, sir.” Leonard replied.

Evans scanned and entered the co-ordinates in his computer. He hit the save button.

“Launching buoy number two,” Evans announced. The ship shuddered as the small rocket launched. The second buoy was designed to maintain a geosynchronous orbit over the crash site. It provided a subspace communication channel with buoy one, which had a neutrino communication system for interstellar communication. It would provide a link with the fleet when, and if, the ship was able to land.

“Did that buys us any distance, JR?”

“Compensating for the weight difference, sir, it buys us about 125 km. Sir, may I suggest cancelling the reverse thrusters.”

“Approved, JR.”

“Where do we stand?” Evans asked.

“We’ll still be about a hundred kilometers short, sir.”

Evans hit the intercom. “Smitty, do we have any fuel in the ship?”

“Captain, the externals are gone, as you know. We do have enough for a twenty-second burn,” she answered.

“What does twenty seconds buy us, JR?”

“Roughly eighty kilometers, sir.”

“Captain,” Leonard spoke. “The island is only about 3km by 5km. It will tough to land on it, assuming we get there, sir”

Evans smiled, “Mr. Leonard, didn’t you ever hear the ancient stories. The ones about faster than sound aircraft landing on ships in the middle of the ocean?”

“I always thought those were fairy tales, sir.”

“I saw a vidchip about once, sir,” JR spoke up. “But if those guys missed, they could always go around again. We’ve only got one shot, if we get that far, sir.”

Evans smiled, “JR, I think you mean that you only have one shot. But, I have no worries. I know I have the best helmsman in the fleet.”

“Thank you, sir. But I’m not feeling real god right now.”

“Don’t worry, JR. I’ll but you a beer when we’re on the ground.”

Evans punched the intercom. “Smitty, I need twenty-eight seconds.”

“How much plasma do you have know that we’re not burning the reverse thrusters?”

“I only can fire that through the aft maneuvering thrusters. I can get you about thirty seconds of that.”

“Captain, those won’t keep us in the air,” JR said.

“Don’t worry, JR, we won’t need to be.”

“How far?” Evans asked.

“We have six hundred kilos to the island. We’re 3000 meters above the water.”

“Keep me posted, JR.”






“Fire main thrusters, full burn!” Evans ordered.

The ship lurched. Evans watched as the crew dealt with the G-forces of a full burn. The roar reverberated through the hull. The crew was silent, knowing that sound would never again echo through the doomed ship.

The sound stopped.

“JR, maintain a ten degree up angle, not matter what.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Forward screens,” Evan ordered. The view showed water. “Keep reporting, JR.”

“300 meters.”



“Fire thrusters. All crew buckle in, it’s going to get rough.”

The ship skipped over the surface of the water several times. The thrusters kept enough forward motion to keep it afloat.

“Sir!” Leonard pointed to the screen. A thin shadow appeared in the center of the ship’s path.

The crew watched the screen. The island approached. Features appeared. There were tree, rocks, and various shrubbery. The thrusters died, the ship faltered.

“Smitty!” Evans yelled punching the intercom.

“I found a little fuel, sir, for the main engines.”

“Punch it, JR.”

The main engines flared again. The ship charged forward. There was more than enough speed to make it to the shore. A large black rock loomed in the way.

“Gunner, fire number one!” Evans commanded.

A triple blast sent shards of rock flying. The ship ground to a halt in the smoldering ruins of the stone.

“The Pickett has landed,” Evans announced.

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Marooned on Planet X – Part 1

Marooned on Planet XVice Admiral Quentin DiPaullo of the Galactic Space Force stood on the main bridge of the Star Cruiser Reliant. He looked with pride on the information displayed on the main screen. The plan was going, well, as planned. He succeeded in forming a perfect parabola, luring the ships from the evil Corpellains.

The Parabola Maneuver was a classic plan taught to field grade officers in higher levels of Space Academy. The maneuver allowed maximum firepower to be brought to bear from 180 degrees out of a 360 degree space field. Every time the maneuver was successful, the results were huge victories with maximum damage dealt to the enemy.

“Sir, Combat Battalion One is reported the enemy is now entering maximum range,” one of the captains reported, pulling DiPaullo from his reverie.

“Maintain position. We’ll wait until they enter the killing zone.” Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes, DiPaullo remember the ancient saying from long forgotten battles. Too bad those Corpellian devils don’t have white eyes, DiPaullo thought.

“Where are the drones, Captain?” DiPaullo asked.

“They are entering the perimeter near CB4 and CB6. The nanobots are making contact with the Corpellian fleet now, sir.”

Outstanding, DiPaullo thought. The nanobots were small dust sized robots. They floated through space until they made contact with an enemy ship. They would then deploy micro-laser drills, eventually punching a hole in the hull. Enough nanobots could severely damage the ability of an enemy in combat.

“At the Corpellian’s current speed, Sir, firing should be effective in eight minutes,” the captain announced.

“Excellent, Captain. We’ll throw everything we’ve got at them. I’m not sure how I feel about accepting a surrender from them.”

“Not that I have any say in the matter, Admiral. But I hope you would remember the Hargrove.

DiPaullo nodded. It was near the start of this horrible war. The Hargrove was on a patrol. It was attacked by a squadron of Corpellian fast attack destroyers. The captain of the Hargrove tried to surrender. The Corpellians kept up the attack until the Hargrove’s shield failed and hull was impinged. The firing stopped and the Corpellians laughed as air slowly bled out of the ship. DiPaullo was determined to be the one laughing now.

“Captain, transmit to all units, ‘Remember the Hargrove.‘”

“Will do, Sir.” The captain wore a wry smile.

“Five minutes,” the word came for somewhere. DiPaullo nodded.

“Sir, we are picking up an anomaly in sector 774.”

The admiral was puzzled. That was quite some distance away. Yet it was best to be sure.

“Can we get eyes on it?”

“We’re sending a probe. Should be about thirty seconds, Sir.”

“Three minutes,” a voice spoke somewhere in the room. “All weapons are powering up.”

“Sir the image is up on the main screen.”

DiPaullo strained to see what the “anomaly” was. It was fairly close to the system’s sun, it was hard to make out.

“Can we put a filter on it?” DiPaullo suggested.

“Sorry, Sir. Here it is.”

DiPaullo could see the outline – it was definitely some sort of ship. He walked up to the controls, highlighted the image and sharpened the focus.

He stepped back two steps, and felt the blood rushing from his face. “Holy Mother of Buddha,” he whispered.

Senior Captain Charlotte Douglas came next the admiral. “What is it, Sir?”

DiPaullo wished he could tell her, but was sworn to secrecy. The intelligence service recently identified this as the newest attack ship of the Corpellians. Intel dubbed the ship the “Star Splitter” class. It was first used two months ago. That’s how the Sirius 7 system disappeared, DiPaullo knew. He also knew that his armada was being set up.

“Captain,” DiPaullo barked. “This is a trap. All units disperse immediately. Go to Hyperspace. Now!”


Captain Jake Evans, commander of the space destroyer GSF Pickett hated hyperspace. He knew it was better than the past, where there was a 37% survival rate. One would only use hyperspace in the face of certain death.

His brain told him things have vastly improved since to old days. The survival rate of hyperspace was nearing 85%. With the latest navigational technology and up to the second orbital tracking, hyperspace was now almost routine. Should he survive this one, he would be eight for eight. He knew the odds were starting to work against him, but for the admiral to give that order was so out of character.

Old “Blood and Guts” DiPaullo never ran from a fight. He’d rather lose a couple a squadrons than lose the spacefield. Something big must have spooked him, Evans thought.

“Twelve minutes,” the helmsman JR, announced.

Twelve minutes until what? Evans contemplated. Do we come out into empty space, an asteroid field or even a sun? He shuddered.

The technology of hyperspace has existed for nearly a hundred years. It was a way of cheating the Speed of Light limitation. The ships would tear a hole in the fabric of space and reappear in another. The trip itself was perfectly safe; it was where the reappearance took place that was the problem. In asteroid field a ship would last seconds. In a sun, microseconds.

“Seven minutes!”

Evans hit the com button. “All crew. Stow any loose gear, get strapped in. Close all collision doors and test airlocks. Prepare for hyperspace exit.”

Evans knew his crew was already there. Having the old man yell at them made life a little normal. One of the first he learned in Command School – When the whole world was going to hell, swab the deck. It made the crew think things were not hopeless. That was the captain’s job.

Evans sighed. Normally the best situation was having near zero relative speed. Unfortunately, the Pickett was planting nanobot mines in the path of the Corpellians. The mines would explode and send a wave of nanobots towards an approaching Corpellian ship. To deploy the mines, the Pickett needed to have enough speed to avoid random blaster attacks. Speed and maneuverability where the standard of the “Lee” class space destroyers.

“Three minutes!”

“Close scoops,” Evans ordered.

The scoops were ingenious devices. The scoops would haul in loose bits of matter. Some of this matter would be hydrogen or bits of ice. These would be refined and used for fuel or water, allowing the ships a longer operating range.

“One minute.”

“No countdown, JR,” Evans ordered.

“Aye, sir.”

Evans checked his harness. His closed his eyes and hoped for the best. He took a deep breath, knowing full well it could be his last. He knew the time was close, and he opened his eyes.

The blank display screen blinked on. The ship jerked and felt as if it were slammed. Individual station modules blinked on and off randomly. A deafening roar resounded outside the hull.

“Where are we?” Evans shouted.

“We are in an atmosphere,” JR responded.

A large explosion jerked the ship. Red lights began blinking everywhere.

“Captain, our fuel tanks have been sheared. This atmosphere is too dense. The hull is beginning to heat,” said Evan’s number two, Arnold Putchin.

“What kind of reserves?” Evans asked.

“Not enough to reach escape velocity.”

Dammit! Evans thought.

“Launch buoy number one,” He ordered. “We’re going down.”

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