Doctor Hannah Laurson gazed out the viewport, tears gathered in her eyes as she took in the destructive sight before her. She had come so close to discovering the planet tucked away behind the dying star on the outer edge of the Andromeda galaxy when it’s star suddenly went supernova. In a blinding white light, the star and the planet were gone and so was Hannah’s hopes, If we had only made it here sooner She thought desperately. Then again, what could we have done to save an entire world? With a sigh, she wiped her eyes and turned toward the silent crew, the greatest scientists, physicists, and astronomists on earth. Every one of them had longed to see the young planet and meet its inhabitants, to simply shake hands with someone from another world.
Captian Thomas broke the somber silence and approached her, hands clasped behind his back, an image of formality and control amidst so much heartbreak. His dream was to lead the first spaceship to Andromeda, aliens or not, he would go down in history for such an achievement. And yet, standing on the very edge of the great and glorious galaxy he didn’t smile, nor did his eyes shine with pride. “I’m sorry Hannah, everyone, I failed to make it in time.” The somber faces all turned in surprise. “You couldn’t help it, captain.” One man called, “we all knew the star was dying,” another voice added. Hannah merely smiled, it was a smile of thanks, that despite everything, the captain and crew had tried, wholeheartedly.
Everyone began talking and heading back to their stations, it was a long voyage back and preparations had to be made. Hannah squeezed the captain’s hand as he departed, he gave her his best smile. On earth, he had never seemed at home, from the time they had met she knew that he was an explorer, a traveler that would never stop moving. Once earth had been fully explored, it was only logical that such a man would reach for the stars. Little did she know, he admired her. She was much like a compass, set and determined to reach just one of those many stars, and reach it she had, even if it was a moment too late.
A sudden flash of red light brought everyone’s eyes back to the viewport. Before them, an angry chaotic display of power surged across the blackness of space. “Is that from the star?” A young scientist asked. Hannah shook her head in wonder, “no, it isn’t possible!” Captain Thomas seated himself in his command chair and began asking for readings, meanwhile, the fiery-like cloud continued growing and bursting. “Sir, I’m picking up something, there must be a mistake!” Everyone turned toward the voice, a wisened physicist looked up, wide-eyed, from his console, “What do you mean?” Captain Thomas asked. There was a moment’s pause as the Physicist re-examined his data, he stood up shakily and removed his glasses. “Sir, I’m reading one life sign in that cloud.” A few people gasped, while others laughed in disbelief, the captain remained serious. “Can we modify the scanners?” An astronomist scoffed, “you can’t be serious, what could possibly survive that?” The captain nodded, “yes that’s right, what? I want answers now!” Hannah’s fingers danced across her console in excitement, Someone survived! I don’t know how but here it is!
Hannah clicked the audio button and shushed the crew, a sound like rhythmic drum beats met their ears. “It’s…a heartbeat.” The captain’s voice was barely audible and his eyebrows knitted together in both astonishment and concentration. He rose with a start and much like a military man he ordered everyone to ready a probe. They had already used two of them on their way to Andromeda, having sent one down upon an uninhabited planet to collect samples, and another into a black hole to gather readings until it was completely crushed. “Will the probe be able to navigate in that mess?” He asked, Hannah nodded and replied, “I designed the probe myself, it can withstand it.” She knew that it would locate the “alien”, and attempt to return it back to the ship. As long as it isn’t too big…or hostile. She added apprehensively.
With a hiss the probe was launched, everyone watched unflinchingly, as it soared straight into the fiery cloud and in a matter of minutes, everyone applauded as it came zooming out, pulling behind it a small, spherical black pod. And that wasn’t all it pulled, as the fiery cloud seemed to follow, shooting out explosions of white light, the ship shook under the pressure. “No! it will damage the ship!” The young scientist exclaimed, “just a moment longer, it can withstand this!” Hannah called above the shaking and creaking.
The probe and its pod reentered through the portal under the ship safely enough, the moment it’s doors closed the captain called, “Alright, let’s get out of here!” The ship began to move forward slowly, and yet the cloud followed, rocking the ship and causing emergency lights to flash. “How are we holding up?” The captain called over his shoulder to his engineer, “we can hold out for another five minutes before the ship starts overheating, it wasn’t made to survive inside an exploding star you know.” The captain nodded, “tell that to the star.” He replied in frustration. Hannah suddenly had an idea, “Sir, may I go below and see to our new guest, maybe he or she can help us.” A particularly strong explosion just outside the viewport caused the ship to lurch backward, “I don’t have a better idea at the moment Doctor, make haste!” Hannah took off as fast as she could toward the lower compartments.
After slipping and sliding she finally came to the compartment doors. She typed in the access code and waited while the inner room pressurized and filled with oxygen. A green light blinked on and the doors hissed open. Before her stood the rather beat up probe, and the sleek pod, smaller than she thought it would be. It came only to her knees and was only long enough for a small child to fit in. She felt around for a button to open the door and gasped when her hands found it. In fear, she paused, what if it’s hostile? Oh no, what if it doesn’t breathe oxygen?!” Her compassion for life won over her fear, she pulled the panel back and couldn’t believe her eyes. A crying baby looked up at her, with tears streaming down its face, and arms moving about wildly. The little girl appeared human, except for its brilliantly golden hair and fiery eyes. She lifted the baby out of the pod and began rocking her, “You poor sweetie, I’ve got you, everything is going to be alright.” Hannah whispered, slowly but surely the baby stopped crying and to Hannah’s surprise, so did the sounds of explosions and the creaking of the ship under stress.
Hannah walked back through a completely still ship, carrying the sleeping girl in her arms. Captian Thomas stood when she entered, everyone’s voices stopped as they took in the sight of the baby. The tense stress they had endured seemed to melt away as Hannah approached each crewman, the captain merely smiled and watched until she finally walked up to him, “what do you think of our newest crewman, captain?” she asked jovially. He took the child in his arms and Hannah felt that this was natural for him too, he chuckled softly and replied, “I think our newest friend needs a name,” Everyone nodded in agreement, he looked at Hannah, “you’re the one who saved her, what shall we call her?” Hannah remembered those fiery eyes, saw the beautiful colors of a supernova reflecting upon her golden hair, “let’s call her, Nova.” The captain gently handed her back to Hannah and replied, “welcome aboard, Nova.”
(Part 3: Coming Soon)