A single, yellow dwarf sun rose over the marooned ship and her surviving crew. Mauve skies gave way to pale yellow, then to a subdued, teal blue. Wreckage littered the shore of a lush island, leaving a debris field 40 yards wide and 6 miles long.
The Explorer Vessel Caelestis was in orbit around Snion 3H6 when a doomsday solar flare on the planetary system’s sun short-circuited the ship’s the electrical array. Snion’s gravitational field captured the Caelestis, and tore the ship apart as it hurled it toward the surface.
The bridge of Caelestis was the only part of the ship that remained intact. It served as an escape pod for five members of the command crew. The remaining 150 members of the ship’s company were lost, ejected from the ship as it disintegrated.
The Caelestis was sent to survey Snion in the hopes it could function as an adjunct port for a ship traveling farther away from home planet, Frion 39. An away team had reconnoitered the planet, giving the exploration team the go-ahead to bring the Caelestis into orbit
Reports indicated the planet’s surface temperature was cooler and gravity lighter than on two-sun Frion, and the atmosphere richer in nitrogen, but all within a tolerable range.
The bridge hatch lifted, steam seeped from the pod, its interior temperature closer to the warmer climate on the Caelestis crew’s home planet. A weary Captain Welcur emerged, wearing an arctic parka, and a photon lamp in his hand. An oxygen backpack was hung over one shoulder in case the atmosphere’s oxygen component was too thin.
With only one sun, it was difficult to determine time on Snion. Welcur made a circuit around the pod, scouting the shoreline for anything salvageable from the Caelestis. He was soon joined by his remaining crew. Each reported on supply quantities, estimating they had enough food and drinkable water for seven Frion days.
“We’ll need to scope out any indigenous food sources,” said Welcur. “Did any of your testing equipment survive, Lt. Freyaz?”
“Yes, captain,” the Snion’s medical officer said. “I also have adequate pharmaceutical supplies in the case of accidental poisoning.”
“I don’t think that will be an issue,” science officer Cmd. Beacue, said. “The recon team was very thorough and identified several species of palatable flora. We should be able to harvest some from the surrounding vegetation.”
“What about proteins?” Ensign Jaipah’s stomach grumbled.
“Recon also identified which fauna species were safe,” Beacue said. “There are probably marine animals you can attempt to snare from these waters.”
Jaipah looked out at the sapphire ocean, “I don’t think I want to eat anything that swims in water the color of the sky.”
“Have you had any luck making contact with Frion base?” Welcur asked his communications officer, Lt. Nidel.
“I’m getting static,” she said. “But, that’s most likely due to the solar storm. Once that passes, I’ll try again.”
“Looks like we are going to be here for a while,” Welcur said. “Jaipah and Beacue you two search for edible plants. Nidel and Freyza you’re with me. We need to survey the debris, look for anything or anyone that can be saved.”
“You know, it’s really sort of pretty here,” Nidel said as she made her way toward the water’s edge. “In a cold and dark, alien sort of way,”