Dating the Stars

Dating the Stars

This is only half of chapter one Travelling to Jupiter's Moon Europa is an easy task for Captain Rhetton and his crew.


Fantasy / Sci-fi


Donkeykongstrong (United States)

~~Dating the Stars
I am writing this letter to inform you of our immediate separation. I am sorry, I know this may seem sudden to you, but for me, however, it is far from. At this point I can barely stand the sight of you, or thought, even if it is only once a year. You're an exposed nerve in my tooth, one that I've finally gained the courage to fill. You're always gone on missions, and I'm left alone. I'm 28 and not getting any younger, that I can assure you. I don't love you anymore. Please refrain from contacting me.
Sincerely, Vivian.

Rhetton's hand trembled anxiously as he wiped sweat from his brow. He rubbed his cheeks with his hands, with a steady increase in speed and pressure. Sniffing hard he wiped his eyes, they were damp and glossy; and with the moisture from his hands, he styled his hair. Rhetton re-read the letter several times, however, no matter how many times he read it, I don't love you anymore, never disappeared. He folded the letter carefully, and with as many creases as he could without damaging any of the text and placed it in his suit pocket.
Rhetton patted his legs wearily, then stood up to make himself a drink. His body on cruise control, and his mind locked deep within itself. Moments after taking his first sip, his communication device whirred incessantly. Hearing the whirring, Rhetton took two more sips before answering. He pulled the device out of his belt pocket and placed it on the counter in front of him. He pried open the panel on the top of the device and flipped the "Line-in" switch. A loud buzzing vibrated the communicator's antenna. With a hard voice he finally answered, "Rhetton here, I was just starting to relax, this had better be good Mr. Lehtz." There was a very calm and forgiving voice that answered,
"Apologies Captain, you know I wouldn't contact you on the 7th of the first month, your only off day in the year, unless it was important. You're needed aboard the ship, we are at space coordinates XT011. Vivian will have to understand." Those words felt like a punch in the gut. Rhetton steadied himself against his wooden counter, and his voice went very soft,
"Yes, I suppose she will," Rhetton's voice made Mr. Lehtz uncomfortable, and his voice made a small noise as if he were to begin speaking, but nothing came out. "Rhetton out." Rhetton turned off the communicator, the loud buzzing devolved slowly into a low hum, then to silence. The silence felt near maddening. Rhetton walked gingerly towards the large pill-capsule-like-machine hovering horizontally above the floor. The top half of the machine was a bright red, and the bottom half a dark red. He pressed the large green button and a thin screen projects in front of it, along with a keyboard. A soothing robotic voice spoke,
"Please type in your sixteen digit password." Rhetton types all sixteen keys in at record speeds. "Welcome, Captain Rhetton." The machine begins to slide apart, with a series of whirrs and beeps. The inside of the machine had a thin red cushion, with the quote For even the very wise cannot see all ends, etched in the middle. He thumbed the etched quote and gave a smile. There were several blinking lights and a constant high-pitched ring. Rhetton stretched across the levitating cushion and spoke freely,
"Commence teleportation, V."
"I'm sorry, Captain, can you please repeat that?" Rhetton looked at the screen and cleared his throat, and repeated himself at a higher volume,
"Commence teleportation, V." Rhetton sat in silence for a few moments. Silent, except of course the ringing of V's computation module, and the flickering of light bulbs. "Commence tele-" V interrupted him,
"Teleportation sequence commencing." Rhetton unclasped his hands, put on his black-out glasses, and fiddled with his waist protector. Rhetton's waist protector was four models behind, and had small shards of plastic that poked his back. However, it was a gift from his brother, who has been missing for seventeen years. The pill-like-machine closed firmly around him with a sharp hiss, then started to vibrate and spin in circles. Eventually the machine slowed down and came to a complete stop; and when it did, it split open once again, and it was empty.
The machine then begins the decontamination sequence, and starts to steam, emanating a bright gold aura. Teleportation opens up various connections within the active device; and anytime any particle is transferred, it runs a very serious risk of contamination. The Spatial Bug of 1120ST (the years changed to Space Time, from AD, ever since first contact with alien life) proved that when the human race was almost completely wiped out by a virus that liquidated the stomach. The population dropped from nine trillion to fifty-nine million before a cure was produced by the colony then known as Germany.
Rhetton had made it aboard the ship, which was conveniently located forty-five light years from Jupiter's moon Europa. The teleportation room, where Rhetton landed, was incredibly bright; and everyone had solid black glasses on. The bright aura that remains after a teleport lasts anywhere between six to eight minutes. Until that time, no one is to move, or remove their glasses, or the light would rip your retina to shreds.
After the light dissipated, the light detection console beeped five times, which is the signal to remove the glasses. An incredibly tall man, with straight black hair with such length that, if attempted, could be tucked into his waist protector with ease. The man spoke gently, "Welcome Captain, I suppose Vivian didn't put up much of a fight, did she?" Lehtz felt amused by his joke, just as anyone does when they comment on a whipped friend's relationship. Rhetton slowly removed his glasses, and painfully handed Lehtz the letter he had tucked in his suit pocket. Lehtz face changed from a mused grin, to a tight-lipped apology, and opened his mouth to speak. However, a raised hand from Rhetton was all that was needed to silence him.
"For even the very wise cannot see all ends, do you know who said that, Lehtz?" Lehtz looked at the captain sympathetically. Lehtz began to speak,
"Affirmative, Captain. It was G-" Rhetton started to speak as if he couldn't hear Lehtz at all,
"Gandalf, Tolkien's character, the epitome of wisdom," Rhetton exhaled hard "and sometimes it takes the words of a wizard to mend the spirit of a broken man." Lehtz gripped Rhetton's shoulder and gave a reassuring nod. The two of them stand silently for only a moment before the level two alert system blared. Without a word further on the matter of Vivian, Rhetton stood quickly. The two men jog towards the elevator, "Brief me, Lehtz."

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1


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Review 1:

Compelling hook?


Strong characters?


Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing!
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals, conflicts and purpose were clearly introduced and I wanted to find out more about them.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice.
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The setting was realistic and vivid. The characters’ mood and emotions were conveyed successfully through the believable setting.
Opening line and hook
  • Your strong opening and compelling hook was a promise of wonderful things to come!
General comments from your fellow writer 1:
I loved it. Good job!