BA1DR: An EM-8ER Story

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New Member
Jan 11, 2017
About the Author/Foreword: This story just popped into my head when I first heard about EM-8ER from a friend who also told me about the demise of FireFall. I'm an avid gamer and daydreamer, I always feel things could be better. I wish I could be artistic but all I can do is write. This will be my first published work ever, I've written before but i've only ever been the one to read what I've written. I also wanted to give a shout out to one of my best friends, Oskar, he helped edit/proof-read the story and introduced me to both FireFall and EM-8ER. I'm hoping to do more so let me know in the poll how you feel I did, thanks a bunch and enjoy!

Chapter 1


Earth, it was our home, it was where it all began. We were born, as a race I mean, on that third rock from the sun. It started with use eating meat, the higher caloric content of meat allowed our brains to evolve and from there everything took off; at least that's what the eggheads say. Me, I couldn't care less where we started I was worried about where we were going.

Now just so you know, I have no lofty ambitions and I don't mean where we as a race were going; we'd long since left that little rock floating around that class 2 yellow star we call Sol; I mean it more in the immediate sense. We, as in my teammates and I, were careening outside of normal space. Traveling in subspace waiting for a computer, a computer that we knew nothing about aside from how to input coordinates given by the corporation and general maintenance for that system, to spit us out opening a tear in the fabric of time/space.

Waiting isn't something I do overly well, that's why I hibernate in cryo, in cryo you don't dream. You're supposed to shut your eyes and open them again, magically transported to 1-2 AU from the destination. I have a neural implant that keeps me partially awake in case I'm needed for an emergency; the team lead has to be ready to go at a moment's notice.

The first thing I noticed as I was jarred out of cryo, literally spit out of a glass and steel tube onto the hard deck, was the cloying taste of the E1KtrA, otherwise called Electra. It's mostly electrolytes and a few other chemicals to help the body loosen up from being frozen for however long you'd been asleep. It all healthy and tastes like lemon-lime snot. I hated the stuff.

I was definitely stiff from cryo, but the alarm was going off and I had to get moving. "I swear if this is just another asteroid lost in subspace," I mumbled. It does happen, from time to time, if an asteroid gets close to the accretion disk of a black hole but isn't eaten it can be launched into a naturally occurring rip, it's how we used to jump. I stretched for a moment, a yawn took over and I had to wipe my eyes.

The skintight jump suit was annoying to run in; it bunched in places that didn't need bunching. The alarm was going off in time with the yellow alert lights, flashing on and off as the 100 decibel klaxon sounded its warning tone. The smooth grey panels of the inner hull charged by as I ran, the hollow sound of my feet pounding against the deck grating reverberated up through my body. I guess I was still stiff from cryo; stopping to unlock the cockpit was a bit difficult. "Yeah that'll leave a bruise, fun," I said as I rubbed my shoulder.

Slamming the console in annoyance the door slid open, well mostly, stupid junk ship needed to be ramped up to max speed and directed into a star, or black hole. I shoved hard against the panel and managed to get the doorway hatch open. I glared at the door a moment, grumbled something not nice under my breath and headed for the NavComm read out. I sat down, waved my hand over the display and hit the silence tab on the Aether Keyboard.

Leaning my head against the headrest, I enjoyed the brief quiet that follows the silencing of the alarms. Rubbed my temples and wished I had coffee. Reading over the display, I went from sleepy to fully awake, keyed in the emergency wake up, and launch protocols. It wasn't an asteroid lodged in slip. It looks like a small moon or planetoid came into slip and broke apart, staying lodged in subspace as a debris field. My fingers flew through a fast series of commands, my heart was pumping in my ears, and I didn't have much time. I blew out my breath as I went over my options "it'll have to be an emergency exit outta slip."

Of course, it isn't that simple, god knows I wish it was, but it's not.

I had to go and get the cheat sheet, a list of the right protocols for us pilots who barely can fly space let alone calculate an exit trajectory while technically traveling faster than the speed of light in a pseudo-alternate dimension. Yeah the idea of slip space hurts my head too. I grabbed the emergency kit, pulled out the viewer, and powered it on. Moreover, it did nothing. "Freaking seriously!" I shouted "I swear to god I hate being broke!" I always had to buy second-hand equipment, at least until this job.

I went over, grabbed a new charge pack, and frustratedly slammed it into the viewer, tossing the old one somewhere behind me. The alarm came back on. I powered up the viewer, and started keying in the necessary info. Entry vectors for all four axis (yes time is a vector, don't ask me why), length of time in slip, destination vectors, list of all systems along the route and any major anomalies (i.e. a black hole).

It seemed to take forever and those rocks, spinning out in the distance, were only getting bigger. I tried to type as fast as I could, had to go back a few times and fix a mistake and finally I got the 4 output vectors we'd need for the exit from slip, one problem was that the nearest exit was in 2 minutes, and we're supposed to impact on the rocks in about 30 seconds. I can force an override but we'll come out early and who knows what'll be on the other side.

"Rocks and who knows what hard place," I said with a sigh, "glad to know the universe isn't gonna make this easy for me; I'd hate for it to have to make a huge change." I keyed in the bypass sequence, prepared the ship with all the necessary steps for exit, and punched the go button. panels slapped into place, all along the outside of the hull, engines shifted and moved into exit positions as Ether thrusters prepared to open a tear in space/time.

A tear looks exactly like you'd imagine, green/black energy parted and suddenly the void that is subspace opened. In front of the ship, I could see an uncountable amount of small white specks, each either a star or some other celestial body. I was back in space, the ship seeming to crawl through the tear, it's just because I have no visual markers that it seems slow. I know it's stupid but I still have nightmares about that tear close prematurely and cutting the ship in half. I fought down a shiver as we cleared the tear.

all the read outs said we were clear, on one hand I was glad we didn't have a rear viewer, watching the tear close would freak me out but on the other hand it'd be nice to know we were in the clear for sure. I sighed and leaned back against the seat. "Well that could have been terrible," I paused for a moment and reached into the emergency kit, found the block of wood I keep stashed in there and knocked on it three times.
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New Member
Jan 11, 2017
I waited for an eternity, expecting some alarm to go off, I waited and waited, nothing happened. "Sweet now to figure out where we are and..." and that's when shit hit the fan. The ship lurched forward and an alarm started to go off, "dammit I knocked," I shouted as I went over all the screens currently flashing warning signs. There was a massive Class L planet behind us and we were caught in its gravitational field. I silenced the alarm and checked the crew readouts, Liz was out of the tube and Mikael was just popping the cork.

I punched the overcom, "Liz prep the station, mechs and Baldur, we're headed into firefall!" I watched over the crew cameras as Liz, the lithe, fiery red head with the spiky haircut (which was matted to her head at the moment), gave me a thumbs up and caught Mikael as he fell outta the tube. I switched the main display to the planet below, we were headed down and in a hurry, best case we can launch all our gear, get the NavComm to launch a buoy and stay in geo-sync orbit. Worst case we never get outta the ship, impact on the upper atmosphere and die in a blazing fireball; as far as deaths go, I assume it'd be relatively quick and painless.

The only way I was gonna get the ship to stay in orbit, let alone geo-sync, would be if we dumped weight and let the chemical thrusters take it from there. That's why we were launching. Liz is great in a panic situation, I do ok but Mikael is a greenhorn, so it's best he stay with Liz working on stuff and knew as little as possible. I looked at the bay cameras as she prepped the systems to launch the Stations, mechs, the T.H.M.P.R. BA1DR codename "Baldur," our launch pods and mechs.

My ship, the Bifrost, was an old Class 2 freighter from about 60 years ago, most it was gutted and replaced, only the frame is original. She's what's called a baton type; long body with a bulbous cockpit and habitation center at the front and all the engines/engineering components in the far back with an elevator system running down the spine of the ship. That leaves the middle open for whatever cargo she's hauling, her design also makes it impossible for atmo travel so she's strictly a vacuum vessel.

Upfront I was running diagnostic and calculations for how much time we had before we reached the whole fireball of death stage. I couldn't get an accurate estimate; given that I already knew what I needed to do, I was already doing it and was focused on getting it done, I didn't really care overly much but it was something like 5 minutes. I switched back to the cargo and launch displays and I could see how far Liz had gotten; she was almost done. I started to switch off different displays that I no longer needed and checked the cameras again.

I saw her wrap it up and charge over to the intercom. "Dex" she said, her voice had a husky quality to it I found cute, "we're good to go, get your butt in your mech and lets blow this popsicle stand before it melts." she didn't wait for my reply, we've worked together for so long now she knows I was watching the cams while I prepped everything. No reply was needed.

I was making the final adjustments for geo when I felt the familiar whump of the station clamps let go and it's thrusters kick in against the ship as the station, our home away from home while planetside, left and plummeted for the surface. Next went Baldur, the experimental T.H.M.P.R, said to be indestructible to everything but an incompetent user. Click, whump and off he sailed following the station. I put through the last of the line commands and hoped the buoy would stay in orbit. For good measure I launched about half our supply of probes, if we're gonna be down there for 7 weeks (the recharge time of the electric launch thrusters on station) we might as well get some mining done.

I stepped out of my chair, charged off out of the cockpit, and headed aft through porthole after porthole. I felt the next whump through my feet as I ran, it was heavy, Mikael must have launched in his mech. I reached the ladder that went down to the launch bay and slid down the rails. Rung after rung flew by my face as I slid down the 100-foot ladder. I gripped hard before I it bottom, though I still hit hard I noticed when the next whump went through the ship, Liz is out now.

I sped through a few winding corridors, grey panels passed by in a blur as I pumped my legs into a sprint. "Damn I need something to eat," I breathed to myself as I reached the launch bay. I could see out of the bay window and looked at the empty spaces where Baldur and the station once hung on to the ship. The Bifrost was by no means pretty but she did her job. I patted the hull as I climbed into my launch pod and began to strap myself in.

The launch pod was something like a huge egg; it holds the mech during transport in and then is disposed of during firefall. Hundreds of tungsten-coral straps hold the mech in place, leaving the pilot free to simply strap in and launch. The outside of the pod was made of layer after layer of ceramics that were meant to shear and dissipate heat as it fell. I climbed into the familiar seat of my mech, a scout type, and started to strap myself in. I put on my HUD and buttoned up the pod with a push of a button.

I prepped for launch, mentally speaking, I was already in and ready to go, now I was just waiting for the trajectory computer to find a mark for my crew and begin calculating my own firefall vector. It was programmed to track on the other two pods and get me within a few hundred meters. I felt the click as the pod let go and I was pushed back into my seat, oh and if I didn't mention it, the pods are upside down and climbing in isn't fun, launching feels worse. gravity pulls you one way and then the kinetic force of the thrusters push you another, I had gotten sick quite a few times, thank god I'm past that, vomit floating in a confined space during zero-g firefall isn't fun and smells awful.

Firefall is exactly as you might imagine lots of shaking once you hit atmo and it gets hotter than hell. Hence, 'Firefall' as it became known by those of us who are intrepid enough to travel the stars to pillage and mine out the precious ore that fluctuates in and out of subspace. This Time-Ore is what we are after and as I fell, which based on the timer would be about 3 more minutes, I got the first reading from the probe, this planet has Time-Ore and no small amount of it either.

This planet may be better than any previously mined. He knew he was supposed to be on a testing run for OCP, Omni Consumer Products, and their pet project, the much-lauded T.H.M.P.R., BA1DR codenamed Baldur. It twice the size of previous T.H.M.P.R. designs and has more plating, said to be able to take more punishment and mine more ore than any other design to date. Well if we were going to test it we might as well do it in the wilds, this planet didn't have a designator so it was given an alphanumeric code. EM-8ER. "EM-8ER, huh, Ember it is then. Hopefully it isn't the proverbial fire this whole situation calls for," I said to myself. "So what happened that caused this whole shit-show" I heard Liz say over the team comms.

I went over everything and Mikael said something under his breath I chose to ignore. "Mikael clam it and prep for impact, cut your egg and get your impact thrusters online. You're in a Marauder and all that heavy plating is gonna take a while to slow down now that you're at terminal."

"Yeah alright I'm on it," Mikael said abashedly.

I didn't bother saying anything more, we can talk once we're all on the surface and hopefully the station is intact and ready for us to sort this stuff out. I closed my eyes and waited for the alert timer to go off letting me know when to cut my egg. I might as well focus on what's next; hopefully from here it's just another 'routine' job. I smiled and said "heh, not likely."
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Omni Ace
Base Commander
Jul 26, 2016
Planet Earth, USA, East Coast
About the Author/Foreword: This story just popped into my head when I first heard about EM-8ER from a friend who also told me about the demise of FireFall. I'm an avid gamer and daydreamer, I always feel things could be better. I wish I could be artistic but all I can do is write. This will be my first published work ever, I've written before but i've only ever been the one to read what I've written. I also wanted to give a shout out to one of my best friends, Oskar, he helped edit/proof-read the story and introduced me to both FireFall and EM-8ER. I'm hoping to do more so let me know in the poll how you feel I did, thanks a bunch and enjoy!

WOW, this is really an amazingly well written story!!
I really don't know how I missed this thread last year!

Thanks go to @Sy for commenting on this thread!!
I would love to see more of the story written; and I love how you used the word "Firefall" in there!
Likes: Wyntyr