Another Look at My Past HTML version

Chapter 9
“He lm, extend the main hatch ramp.”
Captain Samuels waited for the ramp to extend. And waited.
“Bridge, respond. Is anyone there?”
“This is the Navigator. I am the only one on the bridge.” barked the disgraced Navigator.
“Very well. Extend the main hatch ramp.” replied Captain Samuels crisply. Discipline was indeed breaking
“You said that you were going to make me walk the plank.” was the Navigator's petulant reply.
Captain Samuels needed to set his feet on the planetary surface. He did not have time to go back in and deal
with this. So Captain Samuels gave this reply:
“If you extend the main hatch ramp I'll walk down it and it'll be me walking the plank.” Yes, Captain
Samuels was getting soft in his old age.
After a moment the ramp did extend. Captain Samuels strode down the ramp and walked down onto the soft
springy turf. It felt like a flowerbed with fresh mulch, very easy in the feet. The starship captain wondered
how much different it would be leading people who were spread out on a planet.
The gently rolling plain could almost have passed for a golf course. The vegetation was no more than half an
inch high. There were some small conical trees scattered about. Captain Samuels thought of Christmas
trees, and he laughed out loud at the thought. When he was a boy growing up on a small farm, his father
would take them out in the woods every December, and they would cut a small pine tree to use for their
Christmas tree.
“Captain, the air recyclers are shutting down.” The Captain's com intruded on his thoughts.
“Open the inner hatch so the outside air can blow in. Then gather your personal effects and meet me at the
bottom on the main ramp.”
Some of the crew would have to be dragged out into the fresh air and sunshine. Or maybe they could just
stay in the dead ship. Captain Samuels would have to make some harsh choices about what resources if any
the ship-stayers could have.
Best to turn his gaze outward. Could it be that they had a completely empty world in which they could play
golf and decorate Christmas trees? In the distance were some kind of larger creatures running along in a
group. Now they were gone. Time to deal with them later.
“Bridge crew, assemble at the main hatch. Make sure and wear sturdy shoes.” First he would take his inner
circle on a little walkabout. This time they would stay close to the ship. What to do after that - well, it just
“First Speaker, we desire communication, most urgently.”
First Speaker stirred his segmented body in such a way as to suggest irritation. First Speaker was supposed
to be the one who spoke first. But these things seldom worked the way that the hatchlings were taught they
“And what has you so excited that both your tongues are moving at once?”