AlterVerse: Personal Journal – Crewman Sterling

27th Cycle, 4:43 PM AVT

I was minding my own business, flipping through the inter-webs when a cryptic post on Telegram caught my eye.

Do you want to see new places and experience something entirely unique?

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

Must be able-bodied, strong willed, and willing to relocate.

With nothing to lose, I sent a response, if only to settle my own curiosity. Little did I know, that decision would change my life forever.

Top-Secret Facility: 30th Cycle, 6:00 AM AVT

It was still dark out and the morning chill made me shiver as I waited at the rendezvous location. Soon a driver pulled up and opened the door. He spoke no words. I cautiously got it.

As we sped away, I tried to make conversation and he stomped on the gas, using the wind to prevent further interrogation. As the sun began to come up we arrived at strange looking facility with bay doors large enough to birth the Titanic cut into the side.

The driver flashed a quick salute and introduced me to the awaiting officer, “Captain Suarez, this is Jonathan Sterling, here’s his folder”.

Captain? Is this some kind of para-military operation?” I wondered to myself.

Captain Suarez rifled through my 20 page file for a minute, then his eyebrows raised as he looked up at me with a smirk and chuckle. “An electrical engineer… you wrote a thesis on cold fusion? “ I nodded, yes I had, and I knew the ridicule that usually follows. “The top scientists say it’s a fraud… and they’re wrong! Follow me, Sterling.”

“I’m sure you’re anxious to get started, but before we do your physical and get your uniform measurements, I like to show the new recruits what they’re getting into, in case anyone gets cold feet. Once we launch…well, let’s just say turning around to drop you off back at home isn’t really an option.”

Launch? Launch where? Launch what?” My mind was racing.

Hangar A: 30th Cycle, 11:15 AM AVT

I followed the Captain into the depths of a long hall leading to a crowded hangar. I couldn’t stop myself from coming to a halt as we passed a bank of small ships with broad wings flanking their cockpits.

“XR75 Fighter Ships.” The Captain said. “Sleek and deadly.”

As I slowed down to gaze upon these feats of technology, the captain sped up and forced me to his destination — through a palm-scan pad and metal plated double-blast door, and finally into the main hangar.

The domed ceiling rose into complete darkness with an inconceivably massive craft as the centerpiece. “Sterling, you are looking at the second Disrupter ship ever created — The Nautilus!”

The ship was angular and well-armored, with a dark gray hull that had obviously never seen space, let alone combat. Time froze — I realized that failing the physical exam could make this my only glance at the greatest ship I would ever see. I feverishly etched every aspect of its’ mammoth design into my semi-photographic memory.

A row of pods on each side resemble centipede legs, and the 2 layered jaw-like mandibles in the front are unmistakably in attack formation, like the fearsome mouth of the Stag beetles we had back home. I envisioned acre-long particle accelerator conduits along each mandible to charge massive long-range laser blasts. But I could not envision what sort of enemy would deserve such a worthy opponent.

Each of the 3 layers in the center of the ship have their own heavy double laser turret for short ranged defense, with captains decks towering above the top 2 layers, providing visibility of almost every topside inch of the hulking chassis. As long as a football field and 3 stories high in the command center, this must be an aircraft carrier that launches XR75 fighters. We’ve found The Mother-ship!

The captain patiently waited for my pupils to contract and my mind to finish doing back flips. I glanced at his face, with a slight knowing smile and arms crossed like a proud blacksmith that had just completed forging Excalibur, he nodded.

I took 3 deep breaths to slow my pulse. This was my purpose, my moment, and I would not let it fleet away!


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