The Adventures of Captain Zach Harrow, (Part I)
The world was filled with wonder as the skies cleared and a launch friendly blue splashed from out of the clouds.
Today, the first known human expedition to the outer reaches of space was sitting in ready. The trails, the relentless tests, the endless brutal experiments, had given this final B40T model of Space-Explorer Ship the results needed to prove it worthy of lasting forever out in space. This meant complete self-sustainability, parts that come from renewable resources, engines that could be recharged, and the comforts of home. A starting population of 237 would start out on this voyage, the ship could healthily harbor 10 times that.
Crowds piled up on the safety barriers, just to get a glimpse of the social media deemed "Enterprise." The ship held a stealthy look for the Captain's bridge, connected by a shuttle hallway. This contained much of the mechanical needs and robotics to repair the ship but also connected to the sleeping compartments, living compartments, and engine room. This had been thousands of years in the making, since the turn of the 2nd Millenium. Then, it was getting to Mars. A huge leap from the Moon, but then the idea happened. Could it be possible to send a team of explorers to map the galaxy? Sure, the films of the 20th century had ships visiting other alien races, grand space battles, and gigantic alien ships that could swallow the planet. But, the blueprint idea of humanity visiting the stars was hatched.
The captain sat buckled in, looking out onto the ever rapidly growing crowds about the launching site. He felt a daunting surreal feeling as the situation began to sink in, though you wouldn't be able to tell by his stone-faced expression. He closed his eyes, letting the sun warm his eyelids. He had one request for the launch, that he could sit in the captain's seat. "In case, I was to need to go down with the ship," he had said. When in fact, it was to have the ship to himself before he left the confines of his home, his mother earth. He would miss her as one would miss his heart, a tear slide down his face, silent and hidden from the world, and his heartbroke as he thought his goodbyes.
(shhhhhrt.) came the static of the radio check, "You there, Cap?"
"I am." He answered, clearing his throat regaining his poise "Can you hear me well enough, Eagle's nest?"
"Ha, loud and clear! Loud and clear, good buddy!" replied the tower, "We are setting up the launch sequence. We are within 5 minutes of launch. T-t-t ... Eagle's nest, out. Good luck out there Cap."
Immediately, the ship began to shake in the wake of the rumble from the rocket pilots lighting. Zach took out his launch checklist, entered all the correct codes for confirmation, and with 3 seconds left on the countdown, he flipped the go switch.
The crowds roar nearly matched that of the ion/fuel thrusters of the ship. The entire process went off without a hitch, as the smoke from the rockets drew a pair of lines through the clear blue sky. Zach felt the drift of the upper reaches of earth's atmosphere and a slight weightlessness of space before the tranquilizer kicked in for the hibernation.
It was going to take upwards of a year to make it out to the gas giants, according to the science models and mission control projections.
The fuel rockets used to lift out of Earth's gravity had been ejected, which activated the Ion Space Travel Engines (IST engines) and the solar panel ring that encircled and rotated around the shuttle section to create artificial gravity. The ship needed to be charged by an electrical storm on Jupiter's surface in order to have the IST engines at full capacity. Therefore, the ship and its crew would drift through the solar system, all while the ship's navigational equipment and the computer on Earth would make slight adjustments as the crew slept.
Captain Zach's last sight was a solar eclipse, the moon covered the sun in which a golden fire ring surrounded the solid dark of the moon. The earth remained illuminated, glowing radiantly ... and his eyelids shut.