The Rock Riders

PREVIOUSLY ON The Rock Riders:

“Of course time travel is possible.”

~Professor Lt. Tomeka Babatunde

 

“Looking at a quake uptick downstairs when that coronal stream arrives.”

~Commander Pilot Kunlei So’ng

 

“The stars are calling, my fellow Earthers, and we are finally going to call on them!”

~Captain Ward Zimma

 

“Goodbye, Andy. I’ll take our memories with me. You’ll be there.”

~Ensign Bailey Harlowe

 

“Crew of the ArkBoat Liberato Prime, we, Earth’s remnant, salute you and your courageous endeavors. Godspeed, Earthers…Farewell!”

~MTC Lt. Andre Eckstein

 

“Look, Ecks. I’ll go with you to see your brother. We’ll get a room at the Testing Center. Call in a Specialist.”

~Commander Dr. Yvonne Reyes

 

 

The Rock Riders block logo

Pilot Episode Two, ‘The Rock Riders’

“Liberato”

[] Orbital Launch Platform 12, Mission Tracking Comm Module

“Crew of the ArkBoat Liberato Prime, we, Earth’s remnant, salute you and your courageous endeavors. Godspeed, Earthers; we’ll be along shortly! Until then, we’ll be waiting for our postcards! Farewell!”

 

[] On Board ArkBoat Liberato Prime

{000 SECONDS — MISSION CLOCK RE-SYNC}

“Launching ArkBoat Liberato Prime!”

{001 SECOND — MISSION: Lib Prime, D1}

“What a rush! Surf’s up!” Liberato Prime Navigator, Lieutenant Commander Scott Makanna.

“Flight profile is ninety-seven percent of model. We’re on our way and clear to steer.” Liberato Prime Pilot, Commander Kunlei So’ng.

“Liberato is freedom, people. Steady, now.” Liberato Prime Mission Commander, Captain Ward Zimma.

“Oh, my stomach!” Liberato Prime Chief Science Officer, Lieutenant Professor Tomeka Babatunde.

“Got a payload issue in Cargo Nine. Something in the port dock-notch.” Liberato Prime Chief Engineer, Commander Ramona Domingo.

“When are we going to…?” Liberato Prime Chief Medical Officer Commander Dr. Hasan Abulafia. “When’s this gonna end?”

“Uncle is having a great time!” Liberato Prime Computer Specialist and Communications Officer Ensign Bailey Harlowe.

“Standby for the snap!” Pilot Commander Kunlei So’ng.

“Grounding protocol online!”  Chief Engineer Commander Ramona Domingo.

“Snap is complete. No neg affect. Something that worked right. Let’s send SCI a thank you card!” Navigator Lieutenant Commander Scott Makanna

“Uncle shows a notification from Cargo Nine. It’s a Blue Alert.”

“Engineering, how’s our two passengers?” Captain Ward Zimma.

“Five by five, Captain. All tells green. Their cardio is elevated; they sense the ride! Animal Companions are stable and green.”

“Uncle’s got the ball, Captain.” Computer Specialist Ensign Bailey Harlowe

“Execute the Hail Mary Pass, Ensign.”

“Aye, sir. Uncle calls it. No conflicts. Route Two Mass, Julie, Two, Three, Zero, Six.”

“Damn!”

”Okay, who had Trappist?”

“I did.”

“So did I.”

“Oh, yeah. Pay up, Scott!”

“Of all the destinations. That’s forty lights!”

“For us, the journey is the destination.” Ensign Bailey Harlowe.

“I thought it was having children and spreading our species…” CSO Lieutenant Professor Tomeka Babatunde.

“Well, it is now that we survived the launch.” Lieutenant Commander Scott Makanna.

“Was there any doubt?” Captain Ward Zimma

“I had plenty.” CMO Commander Dr. Hasan Abulafia.

“Shouldn’t have skipped those Rock Rider classes.” Commander Ramona Domingo.

“I never missed…”

“Take it easy, Doctor. We’re almost done.” Captain Ward Zimma.

“Uncle has a notification from MTC. Bulletin update.” Bailey Harlowe.

“Proceed.”

“MTC Solar-Mod from GOES issuing a bulletin detecting an umbral release from the equatorial Eastern Limb, Class C spike and now a CME alert.”

“Might need that duck plot, Mr. Makenna.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Got about four, maybe five percent devi before we start to leave the box.” Commander Kunlei So’ng.

“As long as that rock doesn’t turn around and fly right at us, we’ll be fine.” Scott Makanna, tapping his VR console, the feedback monitor showing a potential change in their flightpath.

“Better be as good as your resume, then. Way too many stray vectors out here.” Kunlei had seen his file; she knew he was a better navigator than he was a surfer.

“My insurance is paid up,” he said to his pilot. Then, “Duck plot on deck; hover status, Captain.”

‘Very well.”

“Uncle has those vectors in mind; that’s why it’s here, right?” Harlowe

“I was told it had something to do with having children out here where even Elton wouldn’t go.” Makanna.

“Wait. Sex with a computer?” Lieutenant Professor Tomeka Babatunde.

“No, Professor. At least, not right away.” Ramona Domingo.

“Stop scaring the only person qualified to guarantee our survival out here.” Captain Zimma.

“I thought I was…” Commander Dr. Hasan Abulafia.

“Long term survival, Doctor. Generational manifest destiny and all that.” Ward Zimma.

“Had to laugh when the Asteroid Assembly Council suggested we include a Lawyer on every flight.” Bailey.

“They were serious, though. Who owns those rocks?” Kunlei So’ng.

“First blood, right? Infuse that flyin’ chunk of some past disaster with our crew’s blood, and it becomes ours. Get out the scope; that’s our strands in the sand.” Scott.

“That’s the way it works.” Domingo.

“MTC update. We’ve definitely got a plasma intercept from that CME, Captain.”

“Thank you, Ensign. Navigator, release your duck to Uncle.”

“Aye, sir.” A single tap from his hovering virtual hand over the digital console that comprised a portion of this virtual mixed-reality environment. “All yours, Bailey.”

“Uncle confirms. Duck plot engaged.”

“Well, who else but one of us would shed that DNA, anyway?” Professor Tomeka Babatunde.

“Good point, Professor. Maybe some xeno-indigenous already set up shop on some of these asteroids. Latest prediction models have jacked the odds; especially after this dwarf bastard shook everything up like a damn snow globe.” Scott

“Don’t know about aliens, but despite that drunken dwarf, there’s plenty of humans still around.” Dr. Hasan Abulafia

“That’s gospel. There’ll be swarms of us out here before too long.” Tomeka Babatunde.

“Another good point. Wild west rules will reduce personnel and resources when you can least can afford it. Maybe a system of jurisprudence should be established. .” Zimma.

“We’ll let Uncle handle that, then.” Bailey.

“That’s not funny.” Kunlei. “Rather have a duel with bazookas at ten paces than let a machine decide our…”

“Uncle is much more than a machine, Kunlei.” Bailey,  a bit irritated.

“Then let’s get Uncle’s opinion. Ensign…” Ward interrupted suddenly.

…and then everything went dark. The holo-image, at a full resolution of just under two billion pixels and the floating Smart-Lit projection with a translucent textual under-layer and a black-infused retinal-anchor that co-opts a viewer’s neural region that enhances physiological sensations, just turned off.

And it felt like a hard, leather-handed slap in the face. A chorus of brief, but anguished cries from everyone except the two passengers in cargo and it devolved into a full thirty seconds of swearing; backhanded by commands from Zimma; everything from ‘relax’ to ‘shut the hell up.’

 

…to be continued…

Episode Two continues soon.