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IMS

Short story
The monotone countdown began. The 10 ton structure sat glimmering in the Key-West sunlight. The radio chatter began to stop. “Fifteen, Fourteen, Thirteen, Twelve, Eleven, Ten, Nine, Eight, ignition sequence start.” Raymond could not hear the rest. The craft violently began to shake. A heavy bass tone rung from the depths of the craft. The liquid oxygen fuel ignited with a massive red fire cloud. The flames were sucked within the base of the structure. The count was now on 0 however the crew could not hear the radio over the violent reactions of the engine. At the negative four count the craft lifted, First ten feet, then twenty, then the tower was clear soon after that. The craft rose a greater and greater speeds. Breaking the barrier of sound. “That was some little jolt”
spoke Raymond. Ray flips various switches preparing for the next stage. The three manned crew prepares for OSS(Orbital Sleep Systems). As the crew travels for six months they will be asleep for the entire trip. As they step into the pods the countdown begins. At zero the massive liquid oxygen fires in a jolting motion setting a telemetry for the crew.

Raymond’s heavy eyes slowly begin to open. He is pleased to see paul the missions captain moving about within the module. Raymond spoke to paul, “wow six months of sleep, and I still feel like shit.” “The OSS will do that to you” “Should we wake up dave?” Raymond asked. “He will wake up on his own, but you can help me establish a radio signal with mission control. This signal keeps relapsing in and out.” Raymond Takes his seat. “Lets take a look out these windows first.” The large steel covered windows slid with much friction and vibration. Staring back at the crew was it, the red plant! The three crew members were to travel down the the planet and replace the soviet crew already on the IMS or International Mars Station. Raymond hailed  signal from the Station. “Good morning comrade, this is group system 576 here to relieve you of your duty.”
The soviet responded, “How vas da ride, a little bumby” the soviet chuckled in a heavy russian accent unlike the rest of the crew.. “ You are clear for landing system 576, we are glad to see you”. “ Any contact with earth?” Paul asked. “ We have some bad news” the soviet replied.

The full awakened crew strapped into the cockpit begun the decent towards the red planet. In total orbital free fall with no control of the craft they lowered. building more and more speed. The Altitude meeter reduced. “Three, Two, One” A massive push in the opposite direction. The reentry pyros, fired with 2 million pound thrust. As the thrust backed off, the craft slowly lowed the remaining three thousand feet. A swift clinch of metal as the arms locked together to complete the docking process.Paul looked at the crew and smiled, “We are hear, finally” After a few beeps and buzzes the airtight locking door opened sighlently to the IMS, The other side just 2 cosmonauts, Yuri and Sergey. Both Yuri and Sergey pale as ghosts stared back into the eyes of the american crew. David shouted ”Good morning, we are so glad to meet you and to be aboard the IMS” The american crew continued into the IMS, hugging the soviet crew. Yuri shot Sergey a look. They whispered amongst them selves. “Do they not know” “How could they know” “They need to know”. “Have you been able to reach a signal from Houston or Moscow” asked Raymond. Yuri patted Ray on the back, “please sit, all of you, much needs to be explained”

“Twenty-seven days ago it began. We began getting radio relays from moscow telling of the american threat. A terrorist attack on moscow occurred within soviet russia. America was to blame, how ever it was never proven. Russia responded Air attacks to america and the whole world turned for the worse. The last transmission we received from moscow, it read “Do not trust the NASA astronauts” the rest was garbled” We have lost all communications since then. Seven days ago these images were relayed to us by scavenger seven a satellite above earth. The pictures show 3 distinct cloud masses over the us and 5 distinct cloud masses of western russia. These cloud masses were those put out by a nuclear explosion. So quickly terroristic accusations turned to total joint destruction.” The american crew back away, and stared at each other for a good few minuets. They looked back at the soviets in disbelief and anger. Paul spoke for the group,”it would be in both our interests if you left this IMS as quickly as possible.” Paul turned back to raymond as he began to whimper for his now deceased relatives and friends back on earth. Yuri and Sergey both moved the shuttle, which was to return them to what as left of earth. Sergey moved to on of the various control panels,” Im stirring the Oxygen tanks 3 and 4 before we leave, they are low. As the button was pressed a loud ripping noise rang through the ship. As if bare sheet metal and steel was being ripped easily like a piece of paper. The IMS jolted around, and artificial gravity was lost. David poked his head out of the room where the american sat. He shot Sergey a look, screaming “what was that!” Paul pushed out of the room “what in the hell did you just do” Sergey responded” I stirred the tan----paul cut him off “you what, I need a damage report” Back up generators kicked in restoring gravity. The americans kept hawkeyed on theSoviets, David said “you were the last to tough the panel, what happened, you have stirred those tanks , 300 times and it just decides to go faulty now, and how convenient for it to go faulty just as you were leaving.” Your not suggesting that we, on no, we would never” Yuri responded. “They hell you would” Raymond answered. The computer responded with a damage report. Leaks in main oxygen supply. Crew survival rate 0% in 4 hours. “We have four hours to live” whispered David. Sergey between is fellow crew mates stood up. We would never sabotage this IMS, not because our countries are at war with each other, they are on earth we are on mars, to different set of values, we need each other to survive, now more then ever.” Paul nodded. An hour proceed with silence in the ship, each crew packed and boarded the shuttle home. At 0900 hours they were ready to leave. Each party still disgruntled with each other, watched there backs. As they packed into the shuttle the locking doors enclosed them. A light push and the shuttle left the station and pushed the craft into mars orbit. Yuri turned to Paul, “to get home faster we could you LWS.” Paul answered back, your crazy Light warp speed has never been tested  before!” Mid sentence Yuri flipped the switch, with out crews consent. They were wisked away at the speed of light. In only 3 min the capsule reached earth. Paul disoriented from the speed, passed out along with Sergey. the capsules quick decent through earths atmosphere was approaching. Faster and fast the capsule fell, almost ripping the craft apart. Staging pyros begun, spinning the craft in the opposite direction. parachutes opened. Splash down. The capsule hit the water at roughly 30 miles per hour. The windowless cockpit revealed little to the crew before opening the gate. Yuri pulled the hatch release button, and the door blew off. An orange swirl of death and destruction over took the crew. Black and red clouds as far as the human eye could see or the soul could bare. The Earths oceans was slightly boiling and vapor was rising, black rain was failing.

Raymond's eyes opened, “How was that six month sleep, welcome to mars, what did you dream about?”.