- Vol. 04
- Chapter 08
THE EXPLORERWe only went because our own planet was becoming untenable – too many people crammed into the habitable areas, and those polluted beyond redemption.
Our astronomers studied the solar system thoroughly, with telescopes, orbital probes, and finally a robot landing, which collected enough samples to prove the plan was viable. The planet was composed of 71% water, but the dominant species were land-dwellers who only trawled the surface. It was perfect – all that ocean just waiting for us to colonise.
Our Spaceship Pioneer splashed down undetected and dived to its pre-determined depth. I was among the first to swim free. Just enough sunlight filtered through for me to see the stunning scenery – countless variety of coral and enough fish and sea-plants to feed us for centuries. If only I had remained at that depth, but curiosity was my undoing.
One of their huge, box-like vessels drummed dramatically overhead, and when I swam up for a closer look an enormous block fell – or was pushed – from the side. It sank slowly, disintegrating into seemingly innocuous parts, and a translucent curtain had enveloped me before I was aware of it. I have shouted till my gills hurt but no-one can hear me and, try as I might, I cannot escape.