I was on one of my last system scans for the day, when I found it. An undiscovered Earth like world , nestling in the goldilocks zone of a bright F class star. Ten
and I approached the planet for a closer look. We had come across a few ELW’s on this trip so far, but on closer inspection, most of them had unsuitable atmospheric conditions for unaided exploration by foot. Either the O2 levels were too low, or the surface pressure too high. This particular world had a 36% O2 level, higher than that needed to support human life, but still within safe limits. The surface pressure was a little low at 0.63 atmospheres, but the average surface temperature was a most acceptable 287K and it had a surface gravity of 0.78G.
We took the Anaconda into a low orbit and scanned for life forms. It was clear from the greenery that surface vegetation was in abundance. After a more comprehensive scan, Ten confirmed that there was water based life roaming the seas and oceans below, though `minimal` land based life forms. I was instructed to follow protocol and take myself off to the observation deck, which is here -
for `deep cleansing`. Basically, a thorough wash that reduces the likelihood of me contaminating the surface with microbes.
“After all” as Ten
reminded me, “we don’t want new life forms evolving from that bacteria around your Athletes foot and invading humanity in a couple of million years from now”.
“OK Man Friday” she said 15 minutes later, “you’re good to go exploring”. I don’t know what she was on about, but I pretended to know so as not to embarrass myself.
We set the Anaconda down onto a spit of land near the equator, next to a large ocean. The surrounding land behind us was relatively flat, but huge mountains could be seen in the distance. The water fairly shallow and a gorgeous sapphire blue. The waves were small and the beach was thin, with tide range at a minimum due to there being no large moon. As I left the ship and stepped out onto a terrestrial body for the first time in months, I was met with warm sweet smelling air.
There were no birds or land creatures that I could see, though some primitive plants covered the immediate area in green. Nearby there were simple grasses and ferns, further inland and along the beach there were large trees.
I spent most of the day in the local area, gathering samples and storing them away onboard for further analysis. The place was beautiful; I was even contemplating withholding the data on this planet to keep it that way. I camped out under the stars for a brief night, with the sun rising again 6 hours later. Making a fire was relatively easy thanks to the elevated O2 levels, but I still insisted on doing it the old-fashioned way with wood and some dry grass. If ships computers had eyes, I am sure Ten
would have been rolling hers, but I did not care, I was happy in my element.
I decided to have a go at fishing, running out to a rock some 5km away along the beach. I didn’t have any luck for 3 hours, but was happy just to sit there and enjoy the environment, contemplating that I must be the first human ever to make footfall on this world. I eventually pulled the line back in and started running back along to the ship, panicking slightly at one point when I thought Ten
was going to take off without me – though turned out she was just `checking` the engines. As I got back to the ship, I saw some large lobster type creatures scurrying nearby. I was able to catch one. A few tests later and I was able to confirm toxicity levels at a minimum, this creature was good to eat. I bought the fire back to life and placed a couple of the now dispatched creatures onto the flames, spending the rest of the evening eating fresh peach fruits I had also found and barbequed crab meat. Life was good – did I need to leave this place and carry on? I eventually returned to the cockpit and we made plans to continue our trip, but I was sure to make special note of this world, so that I could return one day soon.