Image Credit: NASA

Beyond The Horizon

After leaving Mars we never expected to find a new planet with the fuel that we had on our ship, but we had to leave. With the sun heating up, the temperature on Earth was rising and this was making life on Mars also uninhabitable. We lived there for three years trying to set up a camp, hoping each day that we would make a discovery of some form of life that would make our trip worthwhile. We spent long days on the harsh planet, leaving a permanent taste of red dust in my mouth. The planet was dry and coarse and there wasn’t anything there but a billion years’ worth of dried out grain. We were there for so long that I forgot what rain was. Each day was the same, with the same climate, staying there any longer would have been a waste of our time and resources.

On the day we were leaving we decided to split into two groups, one group would head back to Earth and the other would continue on a mission, heading deep into the unknown. From our years of observations we decided we would go into a dark pocket of space that hadn’t ever been explored before. From then on, we would require an element of luck that would take us to somewhere hospitable. We knew that there was an oxygen emitting source in that direction, but there wasn’t clear co-ordinates for landing. With a small target in a wide expanse ahead of us, our crews parted ways.

On board the ship we had stripped bare all our non-essential electronics to save fuel. We were running on a never ending auto-regenerating power source, but with the supplies we had on board they would only last us 3 Earth years on our journey. At that point, if we hadn’t found this place we would have been stuck in a deep expanse for eternity.

With our navigation systems programmed we set off. During our journey time stopped as we travelled across the universe. All that we had going for us was the hope that we would find a new Earth, a land where we could survive and create a new life for ourselves. Our ship travelled like a speck on a blank tv screen, as we travelled closer to the stars, the further they got away from us. We travelled like this continuously and after some time we would sleep for weeks at a time. We left the ship on auto-pilot only to wake to see how much further we had ventured into the expanse.

As our journey progressed, distant stars appeared as spots only to disappear reminding us that we were completely alone with only the power of our ship edging us further along on our journey. Around one year in we woke to witness our ship swirling through space time. Our bodies felt like they were being ripped apart from the inside as we experienced travelling from the edge of the galaxy and heading into a brand new unexplored one. As our insides tore apart the unmistakable sound of metal bending pierced our ears. We experienced the transition with the bright stars flashing directly into our eyelids. The change taking place felt like an eternity, but our ship’s core pushed on as we entered a new unexplored solar system. Out of nowhere, our entire surroundings had changed, suddenly we could see movement of distant suns. Our ship was being constantly pelted by asteroid showers, but our radar highlighted that we were getting closer.

Not sure whether we would make it or not, we remained stunned by all the new worlds around us. The whole environment had come to life with vibrant colours of burning stars, infinitesimal lights radiating from distant suns and planets wrapped in sheaths of smog that highlighted their organic underbelly. At this point after years of suffrage through the dark expanse of space we started to feel life return to our souls. Within the battered shell of our ship our excitement had returned and our sense of adventure burst with a feeling of intrigue to find a planet that we can call home. 

As our ship ventured on our excitement at discovering new lands began to fire up our imaginations, but nothing we could think of would prepare us for what we were about to find on the planet that we were headed for.  The ship started to guide itself towards the atmosphere of the unnamed planet. The natural gases that were radiating from it created an air of resistance that forced our engines to fire up and push us through the gaseous shell limiting our vision of what lay underneath. As our propulsion system heated up, the windows frosted over, our engines roared using the maximum capacity they were designed for to push the saucer shaped nose to pierce the thick air around us. We slowly made it through to unveil a paradise none of us could ever have fathomed.

Once we had made it through to the other side our engines returned to their normal setting and our descent towards land was light and as we floated downwards. From our distance in the sky the earth beneath us was pulsating with life, the whole planet rumbled with the beats of our hearts, the planet was alive and we could feel our spirits gravitating towards this new lease of life. Nervous and excited about our new discovery, we stared out soaking up every little detail of our surroundings as our ship directed its thruster and lowered us for landing. As our ship was steadying, we checked the outside atmosphere and our systems reported back that there was a concentration of 99% oxygen.

As I arrived in the fields of the newly named XP502120, we found ourselves in a field with reeds that had grown so high that I couldn’t see further than the crossover caused by the breeze pushing apart the long tentacles gently with each gust of wind. We landed here on the 29/01/2021 Earth time. Through travelling the frictionless expanse of space we arrived here at what would be 10/01/1920. So far we can see that there is a possibility of habitation with a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius remaining constant with the planet and the nearest sun maintaining a perpetual gyrating spin.

Unsure about what to expect outside, we put on our suits. As the airlock on our door countdown reached 0 the latch clicked. With our masks on we headed outside onto the soft fertile land which felt like sponge beneath our boots. The entire environment ensconced us with its beauty; there were rich flowing rivers and tall preened trees that bore golden fruit with a blue glaze. With hesitation I decided that it would be time to take off my helmet. Slowly I clicked the button on my glove that released my visor. Without knowing what to expect I held my breath, nervous I let go and breathed a gulp full of pure oxygen that started to fire off the pistons in my brain. Suddenly all my memories erupted through my mind, I could feel my brain functioning at a speed that I had never experienced before. My whole body started to feel energized, I could feel strength in the tips of my fingers and I could simultaneously smell a hundred different scents that I had never experienced before.

With the pure oxygen running through my veins my body stood upright, shoulders spread apart and each step I took felt like I was jogging. Moving fast we walked up valleys overlooking rushing lakes, we scaled up high in the trees and we could see far right across this distant land. Wondering what to eat we decided to take fruits off the trees for testing them back at our ship. The results showed they contained an alien compound that we couldn’t recognise. With our food stuffs running low, I decided to take the risk of consuming this foreign object. As I bit into its soft outer skin, the golden juice squirted down the side of my face.

After a long time exploring and having our minds opened we each started to fall asleep. I woke to find myself hovering gently at my station. As I looked up I saw the several moons elevated in space surrounded by stars that burnt bright with fury. I finally felt that we had found somewhere that we could settle. As I lay staring at the stars my mind wandered back to Earth and I had a dying urge to share my new discovery. However, we didn’t have any form of communication. The only way for us to be able to get our information back across would be to leave this new planet. For myself, I was content here.

 And after all I woke up stared straight at the side of the ship and I concentrated and I could see right through it. At that moment, I blinked closed my eyes and the wall was there again. Suddenly I felt my back ache and the pain tingled into the tips of my fingers and then the energy burst out of my back and I felt myself push off against the wall. I didn’t feel like my regular self, I was moving, faster, hovering off the ground and I could leap high in the air, on top of trees. Something instinctively inside me told me to jump higher and I left the ground into the sky, then there I was, seeing through objects and bouncing round the world. The sun was shining, and soft felt clouds were rubbing coolly against my cheeks, below me the ground was moving at a regular speed and I watched it conclude underneath me.

After a day exploring, the exoplanet tensions were high back at the base camp. There had been discussions that we leave our newly acquired land and report back to Earth our findings. However, with the state of the ship it wouldn’t be sure that we would ever be able to make it back there. On the one hand, we could forget about Earth and its inhabitants and begin to start a new life here, or we could risk going back and sharing our information, in the hope that one day we would be re-joined with further supplies to help us thrive in our new home.

For me it was conclusive that I would never leave this new paradise. There is a beauty to this new environment that I hadn’t experienced ever before. The air was fresh and pungent, with each breath it felt like a meal in your mouth. The nature was pure and untouched; the habitat provided a sense of hope that there could be further longevity for humanity. Each morning the sun would rise in perfect symmetry with the day before and the sky would twinkle with the sparkling stars that would glint constantly providing a continuous show for your eyes each time you looked up.

As the rest of the group set out on deciding what to do, I continued to explore. Each day I would go further with confidence, taking pleasure in this new habitat. I was yet to come across any other living creature so far, however, I was certain that there must be some new species managing to thrive here. One evening I decided not to go back to the camp, I was content bounding this new world. With each mile that I trekked my mind opened further, I started to think of the limitless possibilities of setting up a new colony. As I continued on I found flowing water, on the surface there remained a plate of mirror and I stared at myself. It had been so long since I had seen myself and I realised how young I looked. I hadn’t felt that I had aged, our minds had been so focused on survival that we lost all sense of what we looked like. As I stopped and stared at myself closer, I paid attention to the new smoothness in my face, my appearance had gained an element of youth, an innocence that I had in my childhood.

After a few days away I decided to head back. As I arrived towards the camp I noticed that it was empty, there wasn’t any sign of anybody, and I looked over our abandoned ship and noticed how there had been a start to the repair works. Without adequate machining, it would be a while before it could be repaired to a point for take-off. After spending time thinking over the repairs I felt that there would have to be a way of sending some form of communication back to Earth without having to travel.

We spent a week discussing our plans, all the while we were becoming more accustomed to our new environment. Over time we all started to feel stronger. The new planet had sucked us into its grip and we could start to feel ourselves breathing congruously with the earth and the trees. Due to the pleasant nature of the environment there wasn’t a need to develop forms of shelter. In order for the ground to breathe, the atmosphere would expunge brief flutters of moisture which would waft around in the air, eventually landing on the ground providing a brief sheen of water that would be instantly soaked into the soil.

With the new strength that we had acquired it didn’t take us long to scour the planet in search of new life, but as each day passed so did our scope of the land. We looked further and wider, there were all new forms of organic plants but there wasn’t anything that resembled any form of intelligence. In the end, we conquered the entire land and we found ourselves to be the one dominant force. Alongside this, one member of our crew decided that they would risk going back to Earth to tell them of our new discovery. However what would remain once they made their way back there, remains a mystery.