The Networked I

On the small flying hover-shuttle, the man tells me his name is Vokrssel, and that he’s a soldier of sorts, a member of The Network of Communicating Planets. He says, without modesty, that he’s farfamed across the known universe for his adventures and exploration. He’s discovered more new worlds than anyone else in the cosmos. We fly on towards a clearing, with the shuttle that will take us to the Orbiter. Nearing it, he tells me about what they’ve been doing.
“We’ve been in orbit, and encamped in this spot of the jungle for a few days, once we land, you should hurry on to the shuttle, and not to worry, because there’s plenty of room for you.”
The camp itself looks abandoned, completely empty. There’s one large ship, everyone is probably inside already; there are only a few people around it. It looks primed for take off.

We land, and quickly other men dressed in the relatively same armored uniform as Vokrssel take the small hover-shuttle onto the ship, putting it in its hangar. More men come to greet us two, and Vokrssel says he has some final things to get, going to retrieve them. The men lead me onto the ship, and quickly show me a room I can call my own while walking down the hall to the main deck, where I’m given a seat. There’s a hurried air about the place, with many of the soldiers running to finish their tasks of preparation in time for the scheduled launch. Just as I am told to fasten my safety harness for take off, a siren starts to go off. For the first few seconds, I hope that it’s just the siren telling crew members that the ship is about to take off. I’m sick of this planet. Soon, I hear a voice over the intercom.
“Crew, please get to your designated seats, the ship is preparing for take-off.” After a pause, it continues. “We are only waiting for Commander Vokrssel to arrive-” It cuts itself off. “Correction, soldier Vokrssel has just reported in, he is inside, and in position, and we are ready for take-off.”

I breathe a sigh of relief that nothing unexpected happened. I’m calm as I hear the engines fire up, and feel the ship as it begins to rumble and shake with the force of the engines. We become airborne, and gain altitude, when, suddenly, the mantis appears again before us. Casually flying by, it’s drawn to the commotion of the ship’s departure, massive claws about to strike. The proximity sensors start to blare loudly, and flash wildly. The crew acts hastily, and engages the giant bug. They deploy their main weapons, and fire. It appears to have no affect on the creature. A split second later, the creature explodes into a million pieces, covering the canopy of trees with its gooey innards. I feel foolish for being startled or worried, I’m with a group of soldiers who came to this planet, of course they’d be prepared for something like that.


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