Dies Irae- Prologue
Posted By: Cthulhu117<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 23 November 2006, 9:53 pm
Author's Note: Alright, I did post this already in the Writing Help section, but since I got no response, I'm just gonna assume that you were all stunned into silence by how good it was, ha ha. I hope you enjoy Dies Irae.
It was in the human year 2010 that the last of the American space shuttles was retired. An ever-rising rate of danger had left no successful launches in the last five years, and after over twenty-five deaths, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration cancelled the program entirely and unveiled their new Orion CEV space transport.
It was utterly useless.
Consuming too much fuel, failing in safety tests, and a lack of crew capacity were only three of its myriad problems. NASA effectively lost space exploration the day they tried to launch the Orion.
The vacancy, however, was filled with surprising speed by private companies. Virgin Galactic were instrumental in this; their self-funded high altitude/low-orbit missions with the one-man transport SpaceShipSix and the eight-man cruiser VSS Enterprise made them heroes to the public. Other companies launched their own ships, such as the SpaceX Falcon 12 and the KA K-1 XP. By the year 2045, there were exactly sixty-two companies and organizations on the planet Earth who had sent a human being into orbit.
One such company was SkySight Aerospace. Their ship, the Dies Irae, had completed four launches and recoveries in its lifetime. Capable of holding a crew of twenty-four men and women, it was legendary in the aerospace industry, and even well known to those who did not follow the independent space programs.
Therefore, there was considerable disappointment when it was announced, on June 4, 2045, that the Dies Irae would be making its last flight on July 8. It would then be retired, to make way for the Libera Me.
At 2:15 p.m. precisely on July 8, 2045, the Dies Irae took off from Toronto, on a mission to orbit the moon once and return to Earth by July 16.
At 2:25, SkySight Central received a transmission indicating that the Dies Irae had successfully escaped atmosphere and begun a exit vector that would carry them around the far side of the moon.
At 5:11 a.m. on July 12, SkySight Control began to worry that no further report had come in from their ship. They contemplated contacting the Dies, but since there was not yet an emergency, they immediately discarded the idea.
At 6:58 a.m., the radio operator at SSC, Du-Baek Kim, picked up a faint, garbled transmission from his brother, the Dies Irae's pilot, Chun Sung Kim. Attempting to clean up the transmission, he found that the signal disruption had a curiously regular pattern, almost as though it was artificial. The crew did not seem to know that it was there; indeed, his message was expected and mundane. Chun-Sung reported that their mission had passed the halfway point several hours later than expected due to an emergency situation with their trajectory, but since all functions had since returned to nominal status, he assured SSC that there was nothing to worry about. He advised SkySight that their return time would be roughly 6:00 p.m. on July 16, only a few hours later than expected, and they would most likely be out of contact until then.
At 4:50 p.m. on July 16, SSC assembled a team of management and engineering details to check over the Dies and its crew of twenty-four.
At 6:30 p.m., the sky was still featureless, and SSC began to worry.
At 8:15 p.m., SSC declared an emergency situation, and attempted to contact the Dies Irae.
They received no response. They tried again, but there was nothing. Not even white noise or static greeted SSC's efforts. It was as though the Dies Irae's radio had simply vanished from space.
By 4:00 a.m. the next day, SSC had already organized a private memorial service for the crew.
However, Chun-Sung Kim's brother, Du-Baek, did not attend. He, alone of all the crew's friends and family, refused to acknowledge the obvious truth. He stayed inside SSC headquarters, reviewing what little knowledge they had of the mission log and trying to find some vital, hidden key to his brother's fate.
At 7:30 a.m. on July 12, the Dies Irae had entered the Zone of Exclusion, the region of space was the place where they could not be easily seen by satellites nor heard over the radio. They had been scheduled to exit by 8:05 a.m.
They had entered early in the morning.
But they had never come back out.