COLLISION OF REALITIES
by Robert Morganbesser
The saucer shaped craft had come streaking down into the sky of the temperate planet two days earlier, its store of nuclear fuel nearly exhausted. This wasn't the first time the ship had landed on an alien world, but each time took a little more hope out of the small crew. Once landed, they began to set up camp, hoping beyond hope that this planet would have the necessary ore for them to refuel their ship.
Once their ship, known as the Jupiter 2 had been the height of Earth technology. That had been twenty years ago, when they were the first of what was supposed to be a colonization effort in the system of the star Alpha Centauri. Things had gone awry though, thanks to a spy/saboteur, who'd been paid by an unknown power to make sure the ship never reached it's destination.
Once the small ship had held a crew of six; eight if the Robot and the stowaway Dr. Smith were counted. The Robot, useful beyond his designer's dreams, was counted as a crewmember. Dr. Smith, useless beyond imagination, was not. Just before their latest attempt to find either Earth or Alpha Centauri had begun, Smith had died. Not at the hands of an alien, or because of his own plotting. The morning they'd lifted off, he was found in his cabin, dead, clutching at the ships tattered copy of the Bible. His only friend aboard the ship, Will Robinson, now 28 years old, felt his friend and partial mentor (the Robot being his best friend) had died of a broken heart.
Now, Will mused, as he ran a Geiger counter over the planets surface, seeking the radioactive ore they needed to refine to fuel the Jupiter, he wondered if Dr. Smith were better off dead. They had buried him on the surface of the planet they hadn't even bothered to name and left him there, a little less weight (Don West, their military assigned pilot had duly noted) for the ship to lug into space.
Will missed the Doctor. For all the trouble he'd been; he did play a good game of chess and was someone to talk to when the others were busy. Will wished the Robot could have come with him, but his treads wouldn't have gotten him over the rocky ground that he had to negotiate.
Staring at the ground, Will nearly missed the rusted, battered metal scaffolding that the planets weather had beaten down. Tripping over one broken support, he stopped scanning for the ore and stood up. Wiping sweat from his eyes, he moved closer to the scaffolding. The Robot had claimed that there was no sapient or intelligent life on this planet, but the Robot like the ship was two decades old. The scaffolding was raised and near it was a large scorched circle as if something had exploded there. Under the scaffolding were several blue barrels. As Will moved closer, his counter began to click wildly. Lifting the device, he moved closer to the barrels and glanced down at the small machines meter. Inside those barrels was refined ore. Enough to fuel the Jupiter for another century! Turing the device off, Will turned to head back to camp. "Looks like we won't be on this planet for long," he said aloud. Then he stopped. There on a small peak roughly a mile from where he was stood a monument of some kind. Curiosity getting the better of him Will headed towards it. Perhaps it might be a clue to who left these supplies here.
It took nearly an hour to reach the large square block of white stone. Will moved around it and was surprised to see that it had writing on it; English writing! Stepping back, the young man read the legend carved into the stone:
Beneath the legend was an arrow shape that bisected a circle. Will touched the block, which was cool to his fingertips, even though it stood in the sun. What was a Stardate? The name of this planet was Veridian III? Who was James T. Kirk? Will filed this information away, knowing that soon the sun would go down and he wasn't dressed for night on this planet. Besides, he'd need to get the chariot up and running to retrieve those ore barrels. With a final look at the monument, Will Robinson turned and trudged toward his ship and family.