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I Was The First Human To Walk On Venus: Something Deadly Is Here

I Was The First Human To Walk On Venus Something Deadly Is Here


Estimated reading time — 27 minutes

Human spaceflight has always been one of the many fascinations of humanity, the idea of leaving behind our mother Earth, exploring new worlds, and discovering the secrets of the universe. Ever since Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into space, Neil Armstrong the first human to walk on the Moon, and so many other achievements, space had really become the final frontier.

I don’t know if anyone will believe what I write here. But I feel like I have to get this out somehow, if I don’t then who knows what will happen to whoever ends up in my shoes in the future. As of me writing this I am alive and well. However, what I’m about to share will haunt me forever.

It’s now 2080 A.D, and by this point in time space exploration has been effectively taken over by private corporations and initiatives. Government agencies such as NASA or Roscosmos at this time have largely been left in the past due to issues like budget restraints or lack of political support and in their place, rose prominent multinational conglomerates. Groups that, regardless of what politics said, did whatever they pleased and weren’t restrained by a congressional or parliamentary decision.

These companies across the world conducted various space-related activities from experiments, launching satellites, and of course human spaceflight. All in the name of research or the commercialization of space. To summarize the changes and advancements of the current space race here’s a short breakdown of everything. The ISS has long been destroyed, there are two fully functional bases located on the Moon, and the only space station in low Earth orbit is owned by an aerospace company. Maintained by a crew of fifty to one hundred men and women operating on a rotational basis.

Eventually down the road, the planet Venus had become the subject of much debate and observation, a harsh and hellish world inhospitable to humans. A planet that lacked any significant magnetic field or suitable air to breath. A dangerous and unforgiving world full of heat, poison and lethal force that dissuaded humans from conducting manned missions towards it.

Or so we thought.

In 2075 an astronomical event occurred over the planet that was observed and recorded by one of the few satellites in orbit, one in which a black moon-sized body orbited the planet. One that seemed to appear out of nowhere with no hint as to what it was. A ball the size of our moon, now acting as a moon to Venus.

No one knew what had happened. Why it did. Or what that black mass was. All we did know was that it gradually descended onto the planet and practically faded away. An event that left many astronomers pondering what happened. The strange events ushering in a new objective for the various corporations across the world, Venus had now become the center of attention. From the media to simple word of mouth. A few months after the event two probes launched from Japan and Europe were sent on a mission to Venus to land on the surface and discover any kind of changes to the planet.

Upon landing, the probe began to transmit date back to Earth. Much of which was relatively the same as when Venus was first surveyed by the Soviet Union during the 1980’s. But there was one noticeable change that took a while to realize, one that fascinated astronomers and space experts across the world. Everyone student of science knows that Venus’s surface pressure is ninety-two times that of the Earth, meaning that anything exposed to its environment, machine or human, would be crushed without mercy.

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But that wasn’t the case with the probes. The machines continued to transmit data and photos for days, weeks, months, and to this day they are still works.

It was then theorized that, whatever that celestial body over Venus was, it reduced the planets pressure to Earth-like standards. So much so that specially designed probes could now stay far longer and cover more range across the planet then they could in the past. Opening new opportunities for space programs to research the planet and discover more about its past. Although this reduction of pressure was quite literally the only difference. The planet’s temperature remained extremely high, it lacked a magnetic shield, and its surface was still shrouded in thick clouds of sulfuric acid, unable to be visible from space.

Although in 2076 these factors were relatively minor to a specific space crew.

In that year a crew of four astronauts of a corporate space program made history, becoming the first humans to visit Venus on a manned flyby mission. Their trip, thanks to the high power and efficiency of NERVA technology, only took about two weeks. The four-man crew orbited the planet several times, taking pictures of the upper atmosphere, monitoring solar activities of the Sun, and using various science equipment to track radiation passing over the planet. Their mission included only two deep space EVA’s where they had to adjust the telescope outside their spacecraft.

Eventually they returned to a Mother Earth that welcomed them with praise and open arms. News outlets covered their story for weeks after and they were hailed as heroes of humanity. They were presented with awards from several nations and were named Men of the Year by a well-known magazine, decorated with medals and fame that only most could dream of.

The question then became, if a space program could send crews to Venus on a flyby mission…who can land a human on the planet and bring him back safely to Earth?

It was a challenge first issued in a magazine article just a month after the flyby, and with the advancement of space technology many companies around the world began to research and test how such a task would play out. There were many mock tests and simulations conducted with some mild successes, others failing to meet expectations.

However, the idea of landing a human on a hellish world like Venus was impractical and reckless, even if the surface pressure wasn’t as intense and crushing anymore. It was a job so difficult that after only a few months many companies pulled out of the challenge, mainly due to how unsure an astronaut’s chances of survival were.

But that didn’t stop one company from completing the task. One organization that would go through with the plan despite what the media said.

Luna Aerospace.

A corporation based in Ottawa with offices in the US, Japan, Britain, and other nations. It manufactured everything from rockets to space satellites, solar panels, and even had a division dedicated to software development. It’s among the top in the world, and like many other companies it has its very own civilian space program. One that had accepted the challenge to land a human on Venus and bring him safely back to Earth, in fact they were the only ones on the planet pursuing the task.

The companies public relations branch publicized its efforts to the media, and while many were unconvinced such a fatal feat was possible the engineers behind the project would not surrender so easily. With ingenuity and innovation on their side they would accomplish the most difficult task since the Mars landings. Or even the Apollo era.

However, to make the trip the space program needed to prove to the company that a lander can withstand the scorching temperature of the Venusian surface, as well as find the mother ship in orbit around the planet. Only after that would they move on with the actual mission.
My name is Jean Cale by the way, and I’m a pilot and former astronaut for Luna Aerospace. I’m Canadian born and raised in Nova Scotia with adoptive parents and two younger sisters. I’ve been a licensed pilot since I was 16 with a love for aviation. My first solo flight took me from Nova Scotia all the way to Iceland.

But I’m also by no means the first space traveler of the family.

My mother in fact is a former Canadian Space Agency astronaut who’s been to the Moon twice and was the seventh and last human to walk on Mars, as such she was a bit famous across Nova Scotia. As well as the hero of the town we lived in. In a way her story kind of drew me to accept the position at the company astronaut corps.

But I won’t bore you with any more personal details. Instead, I’ll get straight to the point.
The first confirmed landing on Venus didn’t go the way like many thought it did, I know because I was the first human to walk on its surface.


***

June, 2076 A.D

I sat at a desk alongside three others like myself. They were James, Erick, and Connor. Three others like me and together we made up the crew that would be traveling to Venus. We were selected days prior by the top brass of the program as the crew for the journey and were set to launch in two days, for the time being we were going over the layout of the plan. Standing before us in front of a smartboard was Serena, an old classmate and friend of mine who worked with the space program as an engineer. She was also the one who initially contacted and recommended me for the astronaut corps, designed the space suits we’d be wearing, and overall acted as a figure of authority.

We were in a briefing room located in one of the buildings of the spaceflight training center owned Lunar Aerospace, where astronauts ate and slept in preparation for missions. And where I had been spending the last few days after leaving my family behind in preparation for the mission.

The mission was named Asuna I, and it was named for Asuna Tachibana. A brilliant Japanese geologist who studied the geology of Venus and assisted in our geology training.

“Well gentlemen this is it. All your training has come down to this moment and personally I’d like to say I’m proud of you. Now just as a final brush up we’re going to go over the plan, from launch, all the way to reentry.”

Serena projected an image of the Earth and Venus side by side on the smartboard in front of us, a dash line between the two planets and a spacecraft illustration traveling along it. The launch procedure would follow a similar fashion to that of the Apollo era, a spacecraft launched into a parking orbit around the Earth followed by systems check, with a go from mission control we would ignite the engines to leave Earths gravitational pull. From there we would be on our way to Venus.

The next image on the board displayed a newly built spacecraft built over a five-year period, the ships exterior design resembled the space shuttle that NASA used in the past and featured altercations such as a much sleeker design. The wings resembling a delta symbol almost and the Canadian flag plastered on the left side of the ship. The opposite side featured the ships name.

Star Caster.

“Once you launch into orbit don’t leave the flight deck until we give you the green light, at least until you’re out of the Van Allen belts. If all goes according to plan it shouldn’t take you no more than two hours to navigate through and out of them.”

“How do we know where to go and not to go?” I asked. “I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure the Van Allen belts are not the place we want to be.”

“Relax, the ships material will reduce the radiation to safe levels, and plus you’re going to be wearing dosimeters anyway. Any else you want to know?”

We each shook our heads.

“Great. Then go and get some rest. Come two days from now, everything changes.”

I stood up and nodded. We left the room and headed towards our quarters for the night to relax considering that, come this week, we would be gone from everything and everyone we knew. I walked inside my room and sat at the desk next to my bed, lost in thought as my brain tried to process and come to terms with what would soon be happening. I could feel my chest tighten at the thought of the mission and my mood fall further, it wasn’t the spaceflight itself that frightened me in the slightest. No…it was what we would expect to see once we landed on Venus.

That black mass that orbited the planet for months before disappearing, no one knew what it was. And for it to disappear and its host planet’s atmospheric pressure suddenly dropping, these were things that didn’t sit well with me. But I had already agreed to the mission, and I would fulfill it, after all adventure and flying was in my blood. What made me who I am and ultimately led me to shooting into space.

By this point in time before the space launch, I had already made peace with my family, my mom, dad, and younger sisters. But there was one person I still had to make up with, even if she was still upset. I changed into a pair of shorts and a shirt before taking out my phone and hitting the first contact. The dial tone rang several times before the other end answered.

“Hello?” she said.

“Hey…Emilia.” I replied. Silence. “Hello…?”

“I’m here.”

“So, uh…you, okay? I wanted to call to see how you were.”

I could hear her faint crying through the phone. Then her voice.

“Babe…I’m sorry. Really. For yelling at you before. I’m sorry. I wasn’t mad at you I was…”
She started to break down. I could just feel how regretful and guilty she was, a few days earlier just before I left for the space center, I broke the news to her of my flight. She was angry that I was going, and we had gotten into an argument as she believed I wouldn’t come back, the fight ultimately ended with her wanted me to leave her alone.

“Emilia, it’s okay. Really.” I replied. “It’s only natural that anyone would be mad at such a circumstance, the only thing that scares me more than the mission is not saying I love you before launching.”

“I love you too babe. I really do. Listen Jean, I know I haven’t been supportive of you getting the chance to fly in space…but I understand now. I’ll be sure to come see you at the launch…and you’ll come back, right? Back to me?”

I smiled sadly as she finished. “For you? Absolutely.”

We laughed. After settling down I told her that I’d spend a week with her for all the trouble. We chatted for a while longer before calling it a night, and after a final “I love you’ I hung up. I laid back onto my bed to stare at the ceiling, my last thought before drifting into sleep being my girlfriends voice echoing in my mind.


***


The spacecrafts seats were comfortable for the most part as I piloted the ship towards the planet, the suns light shining through the windows at the front so much that I had to polarize the glass. The four of us were dressed in matching flight suits with the space programs logo on the chest, and Canadian flags on the shoulder. Connor taking the co-pilots seat and James and Erick sitting behind us acting as our navigator and a mission specialist. For every moment I could I took a long look out the window beside me to see nothing, nothing but the blackness of space enveloping everything within it. The only light coming from the bright ball of plasma that was our Sun.

It was our second week traveling through the void as we had long launched from the Earth. From all life as we knew it with only the cold black, and emptiness of space around us. The day of the launch saw thousands of people surrounding the launch pads from safe distances, watching us. Four travelers leaving the mother Earth behind. To undertake a task in an environment unfit for humans. Our primal urge to explore practically creating a path into the unknown.

But would that primal urge be enough to prepare us for what we would see on Venus? It was a question that I of course at the time, had no valid answer for. I could only hope the mission went smoothly.

The last two weeks traveling in this space shuttle-like ship were not entirely bad however, we had spent that time taking photos of the Earth and Sun. And broadcasting our progress to mission control back home. After another hour of traveling, I could see a faint ball of tan in the distance ahead of our spacecraft, a spherical body peeking out of the blackness of space. Illuminated by the Sun and giving us a clear way of travel.

“There!” James shouted. “We’re here.”

“No way.” Erick added. “So that’s what the crew back then saw.”

Upon reaching the planet we were pulled into its gravitational field and entered a parking orbit; I placed the ship into auto pilot and floated out of my seat to look outside. As I suspected the planet was completely shrouded in thick clouds, obscuring the surface and hiding potential landing sites from our field of view. Connor made another transmission to Earth to report our status as I continued looking at the planet.

As he relayed our position, I glanced at the planet’s northern hemisphere just in time to see something peculiar, something that both confused and shocked me the more I watched it. A large black mass visible in the light of the Sun, gliding through the thick atmosphere leaving beside a tail of black behind it. Rounded like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter it floated across the cloud layers passing over the norther hemisphere before it faded into the surface. I couldn’t believe what had happened, my crew hadn’t seen it and I chose not to tell them for fear of being seen as crazy. As the commander of the mission, I was responsible for making sure everything went well, and to make sure we got back alive.

“Jean!”

I snapped back to reality to see my crewmate Connor beside me.

“Yeah?”

“We’re ready for descent. Control on Earth has been notified so we’re clear to enter the lander.”

I looked back at the planet, then at Connor.

“You okay, commander?” Erick asked.

“Yeah. I’m good.” I lied. “Let’s make history.”

We began to make preparations for our descent to the surface. Two of us, myself and Connor, would take the lander down while the other two remained in orbit to maintain the spacecraft and conduct orbital photography. Our lander was an excursion module nicknamed The Terror. Because Venus’s surface couldn’t be seen from space we couldn’t identify a landing spot, so we had to take our chances and go in practically blind.

I floated down to the mid deck of the crew compartment and opened the first door to the airlock where the others help me and Connor into our space suits. The suits were specially designed with flexible and padded material to not only allow for EVA in space, but also to withstand the scorching temperatures of the Venusian surface. They also had a somewhat historical inspiration in that they were modeled off the suits worn by the astronauts of Apollo 17 but were much slimmer to fit our exact body measurements.

As commander of the mission my suit had red stripes on my arms, legs, and helmet to differentiate myself from my crew. The shoulders of the suits had the flags of both Canada and Nova Scotia, and the chest featured the circular Asuna I mission insignia. Once we were suited up, we transferred over to the Venusian lander and strapped into our seats.

“Microphone test one two. You read?” Erick said.

“We read.” I replied. “Let’s get this thing rolling out.”

Once the lander was filled with air the cargo bay depressurized, and the doors opened to the vacuum of space. I gripped the controls of the spacecraft as the robotic arm pulled us from the cargo bay and over the spacecraft. Just in view of Venus below us. I checked the screens before us displaying the radiation levels, oxygen, and fuel levels.

“Set. And detach.”

I pushed the stick forward to allow the robotic arm to let our lander go. Gradually we floated further and further away from the ship and started to descend towards the planet. The lander slowly began to vibrate and shake once it was orientated towards the atmosphere, the hull creaking and heat shield beginning to pick up flames that flew past the window beside me. We had now been descending through the thick atmosphere of Venus. I could faintly hear strikes of lightning as we fell into hell, into a blazing abyss that would have nothing but death to offer us.

“Damn. Heat rising but we should be good. Radiation levels are high.” I said. “We’re about two hundred fifty feet from the surface.”

The map in front of me showed our current altitude from the ground. Two hundred feet. Then one hundred. Eighty. The numbers dropped lower and lower.

“Activating thrusters!” Connor shouted.

The lander began to decrease in speed as the thruster’s underneath were blasted, slowing our descent until we touched the ground with a hard thud. I shut the engines down and all systems save for the life support and coolant systems, getting out of my seat I crawled over to the window and looked outside. The view of another world before my eyes. I couldn’t see much given the hazy air around us. The heavy wind blew against our lander causing occasional bumps and creaks in the hull, but nothing worthy of concern.

“Holy crap…we’re here.” Connor said with a smile. “Dude…”

“Star Caster, this is the Terror. Tell Earth…we’ve landed.”

“Copy that.” Erick replied from orbit.

Connor and I celebrated with a handshake before we made systems checks of the lander. Once they were complete, we donned our space suits, depressurized the hatch, and were met with a blast of hot wind. I descended the ladder first and stepped onto the Venusian surface. My heart was pounding as I couldn’t believe my surroundings, I was now on Venus. On an ethereal world far from my own as the first human to set foot on it. I remember the sky being a dark and thick haze of yellow where the clouds were grouped together, lightning flashes in the distance and the wind growing and subsiding constantly.

The heat was also another factor. Fortunately, my suits coolant systems kept my body temperature at a minimum. As the thunder continued to rumble throughout the sky, I could spot what looked like a volcano in the distance that was erupting lave down its steep sides.

Small

Connor walked up to me expressing his excitement.

“Dude…were on fucking Venus.”

“Yeah. You got the stuff, right?”

He nodded at showed me the flag assembly kit. After planting the Canadian flag near the lander, we began to walk along a rocky path beside a river of lava. Connor had taken a few photos of us along the way with a specialized camera designed to withstand the high temperature. Once we reached a more open plain surrounded by high boulders, I began to unpack the experiments kit.

The first one being a temperature reader, and another a seismic experiment to detect and monitor the quakes of Venus. The machine was successful in its job as it began to transmit data back up to the ship in orbit with Erick and James confirming the results. As I set up the last experiment my helmets detection feature started to go off suddenly, the green arrow pointing in an opposite direction far from the site.

“What the heck?” I said to myself. “Probably just a bug…?”

It couldn’t have been. The arrow on my HUD would fade away like it was supposed to unless I manually did it from my wrist computer. Every few seconds the same ping sound would go off, again and again. So much that concluded I had to find whatever was causing it.

“Connor, keep an eye on the experiments. I’m going to go look at something.”

“I can come with you.”

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“No, it’s cool. I’ll be back.”

I left Connor behind with the bundle of science equipment we brought and walked in the direction of the volcano, where the signal was taking me. Each step across the Venusian surface I took I started to feel a sense of danger, an unknown gut feeling telling me I should ignore whatever I was walking towards. Part of me wanted to turn back. But the other absolutely had to find out what was happening.

“Maybe I can get a better look up there.”

Climbing a nearby boulder and using it to boost myself up to another hill I scaled the hot rocky structures to the top. On reaching the top I knelt to scan the surroundings including the volcano. Nothing had appeared for a moment until, seemingly from a distance, a loud groaning made itself audible in my headset. I stood up and looked around to find where it was coming from, a puff of thick black clouds surrounded the volcano as the wind suddenly picked up.

My helmet’s detection feature went off again. The black clouds etched closer to my position so much that it would have been pointless to run away. As they floated over me, the volcano coming into view once again, I saw that shouldn’t have been possible. Something evil, dark, soulless, and overall terrifying. A set of red eyes staring at me through the thick clouds of ash over the volcano. Eyes of a demonic monstrosity that had me in its firm line of sight as the head they hosted rose into the air. The black clouds of the Venusian wind fading as the eyes drew closer.

“Wh..what the…?”

I tried to speak but terror froze the sound in my throat. As the winds dispersed the ashes and the hazy skies above me brightened once more, the eyes grew redder and brighter. Their host, a tall other worldly creature which climbed over the volcano and stared down at me. Its body was humanoid with arms that bear sharpened fingernails, its legs submerged in the Venusian volcano it rose out of and a set of elongated wings and tentacles emerged from its back.

The face of the creature was even more frightening to glance at as it had no features of any kind, not a mouth or ears, save for only the piercing red eyes that shot through the clouds of ash.

It was as if God himself or some other all-powerful being beyond human reckoning was making their presence known to me, ready to pass judgement on all beneath him and envelope this world in all his fury. An inferno of alien creation now surrounded me as I took several steps back from on the rock I stood upon before jumping down to a safer level. The creatures gaze not leaving my line of sight as it rose into the air briefly and landed in front of the volcano.

“Connor…?” I said, trying to contact him. Static had come back. “Connor!”

At that moment the creature let out a howling scream, one that seemed to shake the very ground I stood upon. And one that cause me to start running in the opposite direction back to the lander where I prayed Connor was still at. Running across the Venusian surface fortunately wasn’t too much of a pain, given that the pressure was the same as Earth and the flexibility my suit had, it was like sprinting across a track field.

“Connor, are you there? There’s something here on this planet!”

Static. The frizzing of static returned through my headset.

“Jean!” he replied. “Don’t lead it back to the lander! I’ll send you my coordinates.”

A set of coordinates appeared in my helmets HUD directing me in another direction from the lander, after much more trekking I found a cave entrance that was lit by the lights of a space helmet. Connor had been standing towards the end and I joined him.

“Are you okay?” he asked frantically. “You saw it too, right?”

I could only reply with a nod. Connor and I had seen the same thing. The very same monstrosity that now walked the planet we came in peace to explore. I shared with him the photograph of the creature I was able to capture before fleeing and we began to devise our next move. We had no chance of fighting whatever those things were and as astronauts we didn’t have weapons, after all what could we have done even if we did?

“We have to get back to the lander and head back into orbit.”

“We can’t.” Connor replied. “Even when we make it to the lander it’ll be too risky to launch if that thing sees us.”

He was right. Considering the creature had what appeared to be wings there was no telling if it would spot and come after us as we ascended the atmosphere. Upon calming my nerves, I made the decision for us to head back to the lander where it was safer and more hidden from the creature’s line of sight. Once there we pressurized the cabin and removed our suits before contacting Erick and James in orbit. After confirming we were on a private channel, I sent them the photos I captured as well as described what it was. Judging by the prolonged silence through our comms they were just as confused and most likely terrified as we were on the surface. We spoke back and forth for an hour on what our next course of action should be and eventually came to a decision. We would spend the remaining two days on the surface conducting experiments and gathering samples, but also monitor the creature’s activity.

Normally I wouldn’t consider such a task given the circumstances, but we couldn’t tell Serena and the rest of control back on Earth why we left early. The last thing I’d want to do is destroy my name and reputation, transmitting the photos back to control was also a decision I decided against. There was always the possibility that they’d leak into the media and cause widespread panic across the world, and that was a pill I had not the courage to swallow. So, after much debate we continued with our work like normal. At the same time keeping an eye on whatever, that otherworldly monster was.


***


The third and final day on the Venusian surface began with us eating breakfast in the lander and maintaining our hygiene, the winds outside the craft had gone on for the whole night as their hot air pounded the exterior causing occasional bumps in the cabin. Erick had contacted the two of us from the Star Caster to ensure that we were still alive. I’d say yes, but the same couldn’t be said for my sanity in the back of my mind. After eating and cleaning we suited up for the second EVA across the surface, this time we’d take an expendable rover we brought along for the trip situated underneath the lander.

I remember taking the drivers side riding us to our next spot. A crater where we would collect rock samples and place a device that would monitor weather activity on the planet. As I set up the small tower, I glanced in the distance to see if I could spot the creature near the volcano, to my shock it was gone. Yet I could still hear its howls seemingly come from all around against the Venusian winds.

“Jean, that thing is still out there.”

“We’ll worry about it later.” I replied. “The quicker we get this done the quicker we get back to the lander. From what I can tell it doesn’t seem aggressive since we’re still alive.”

“That doesn’t mean that it’s not though.”

I sighed to myself and continued to set up the meteorology tower. Every few moments I could hear the creatures howl through the air as if it were speaking, trying to send a message to anything else that may be on this planet. Or maybe it was sending a warning. Taunting us that we would probably end up in its grasp soon. Before I could begin with my geology duties, I spotted something within the crater, something that seemed to be…twitching and laying on its back.

It was impossible to ignore so I gently trekked into the crater until I hit the bottom, I walked over to the thing that turned out to be a corpse. One entirely naked with its skin burnt and head lacking any facial features. It’s arms and legs were bent and disproportionately long and featured sharpened appendages at the end of each hand.

“What is that?”

I crept close to it to try and give it a poke with my hand tool. My suits oxygen meter reminding me that my supply was down to sixty percent and another loud howl was heard. I stumbled back as a rock fragment landed beside me, at the same time, the corpse twitched once again. Standing up on its out of shape bent legs and displaying a set of jaws in its mouth. A blood curling scream escaped its lips and beneath its feet clawed hands began to rise out of the ground, breaking through the toxic dirt and ruble and standing on their feet. Before I knew it several other creatures now stood beside it.

How was this happening? Were they here this whole time and no one back on Earth had even then faintest clue? That moon. That sphere that orbited the planet months prior. All of this coming together.

“Oh crap!” I shouted.

One of them attempted to slash at my helmet but using a nearby rock I was able to overpower and smash its head. I turned around and bolted back up the crater as the creatures began to chase me, once at the top I alerted Connor who upon realizing the situation grabbed a nearby axe and rushed towards me. He cut one of them down and we made our way back to the rover that was still parked in between two boulders.

“Floor it!” Connor said.

I gripped the stick and sped down another steep hill far from the sight, behind us the creatures continued to chase us but thanks to our speed, we were able to outrun them. Once we got far enough away, I looked over at Connor who was still trying to wrap his head around everything.

“None of this makes sense. First that thing and now this?” he said. “And if we found those things there…does that mean that they’ve spread all over this planet?”

“I don’t know. What I do know is that we’re getting out of here.” I replied. “Once we’re back at the lander prep for launch. Whatever we do, we don’t mention this to Earth at all.”

“And if any future crewed missions to Venus?”

I didn’t reply. I had no idea how to. My brain spun to find a rationale answer but what he said made sense, the idea of future crewed missions to Venus unaware of the dangers that lurked the planet. But I didn’t have time to think about that. I had to get us back to the lander. In the end I was still the commander of the mission, and I would ensure that we’d both make it. I turned another corner pass a cliffside and spotted the same volcano in the with the same alien creature standing before it. Its figure completely visible through the thick yellow haze and red eyes piercing the thick black fog around it.


***


I parked the rover within a cave as we hid from those things that attacked us earlier, they had somehow managed to catch up and gotten the drop on us from a cliff overhead. After cutting one of them down with my axe we found this entrance and had been here since. Our oxygen was running low at only twenty five percent. If we didn’t get back to the lander, we’d be dead within seconds. Fortunately, we were within range of the ship as it was just over a hill outside the cave we hid within. But our path was block by more of those creatures.
Hiding behind the boulder I could hear the snares and growls of those creatures outside, roaming the Venusian surface looking for us. Ready to tear through our space suits and devour us alive. I looked towards Connor and devised our plan.

“Look, we’re getting out of here. Okay?” I said. “Right?”

“Yeah.”

“Here’s the plan. We drive the rover up the hill as far as we can and once we see the lander we ditch the cart, run to the ship and get the hell off this rock.”

“Is that even possible?”

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I scoffed. “Would you just trust me? Listen, we both have people we want to get back to on Earth. I have a beautiful girlfriend waiting for me back in Nova Scotia, and I will see her again. You?”

Connor remained silent for a moment. Then spoke. “Me too.”

“You wanna see her again, right?”

He nodded.

“Good. Come on, get ready.”

We headed towards the rover and started the battery-powered vehicle up, our oxygen supply had now gone down to twenty percent. It was now or never. After counting to three I floored the rover and sped out of the cave immediately alerting the creatures that now began to give chase to us. Driving up the steep hill we were able to reach the top and practically fly over the tip to get back down. Our rover landed hard on the rough hot terrain, so much that one of the wheels had broken and we skidded into another boulder.

We quickly gathered ourselves to run just as the shrieks and growls of those creatures caught up with us, this time there were dozens of them. More than I can count that began to swarm us from all sides, emerging from the hills and behind more boulders. At the same time streaks of lightning had filled the skies above us and gave us even more reason to run.
We bolted for the lander than lay just before us. Not stopping for anything as they etched closer and closer, ready to end us in the most painful way possible. During the run Connor had tripped on another rock and his leg was caught in the mouth of one of the creatures.

“Connor!” I shouted.

“Go! Get to the lander!”

“To hell with that!”

I rushed to his side and slashed at the creature with the axe, its head toppling to the ground and its body falling with a hard thud. Another one of them jumped onto my side and began trying to bite at my helmet, I was able to kick it away and kill it with ease. The two of us stood back-to-back for a moment before cutting down several creatures that hurled themselves towards us, the next few moments blood flew through the thick hot air. Evaporating onto the surface once it hit.

“Quick this way.”

I beckoned Connor to follow me, however things only had gotten worse. One of the creatures managed to strike his suit and damage the life support system on his back. He fell to the ground suffocating; the intense heat would soon seep through his suit and the lack of oxygen would kill him. I rushed to his side once again and killed the creature before picking him up and carrying him to the lander.

“Come on stay with me, we’re almost there!”

Pants. Short breaths. Those were all the sounds I received in return. If I didn’t get him back soon, he would die.

I struggled to carry him to the lander as the creatures continued to follow us from behind. It seemed as though time around me had stopped, the sounds becoming more muffled and distant, the heat becoming more suffocating and gripping. This was when I figured it out that this was no longer the mission that was supposed to take place. No.

I was in hell.

“Damn it…get…out of here!”

I cut another one of them down with my free hand, at the same time almost letting go of Connor who was still struggling to breath. After what seemed like forever and with the Venusian storm growing more intense, we finally arrived at the lander. I had to force Connor to go in first as the hatch opened. We climbed the short staircase and immediately shut the hatch and pressurized the cabin.

“You’re going to be alright!”

I pulled off his helmet and he let out a large breath along with several coughs. His head was sweaty from the heat and exhaustion of running, and I could spot a small burn mark on his neck likely from the toxic air.

“Connor?”

Another cough. Then he finally spoke. “I’m good…. I’m good.”

I let out the largest sigh of relief throughout this whole mission. We were alive and had survived the deathly horrors beyond our spacecraft. Before we could celebrate however a loud thunderous roar from outside the lander pierced my ears, followed by another strike of lightning. I looked out the window and saw that they were still around our spacecraft, except there here more than a dozen. They seemed to be emerging from the great distances beyond our position. Pouring onto the landing site, claws and bladed appendages as far as the eye can see. I wasted no time in starting the engines and setting a route into orbit.

“Engines online, cabin pressurized! Erick, James, get ready we’re coming up!”

I pressed the button on the control board. The lander began to shake as the engines beneath us ignited with immense force, the spacecraft rose off the ground leaving its gear behind and propelled us into the yellow sky. As we ascended, I peered out the window that showed the ground below us, the volcano I had seen two days earlier.

The massively large creature was there again. Looking up at us with its intimidating glare, watching us depart Venus with evil in its eyes. Another loud howl could be heard as we broke through the cloud barrier, sending a bone chilling horror down my spine. Eventually the sky grew darker and darker the higher we got. The air grew thinner, and the spacecraft continued its speed.

“Star Caster this is the Terror. We’re in orbit.”

I could hear their voices come back almost instantly, they sounded relieved and shocked that we made it considering the hell we’d gone through on the surface. after several minutes we found the Star Caster and docked with the ship, then proceeded to the crew compartment where we were met with hugs and pats on the back. The terrifying dread slowly leaving my spine as I took off my space suit and floated for a moment to calm myself, to allow the anguish and fear to leave my spine.


***


We were able to get back to Earth with no further problems. Upon landing we spent three weeks in quarantine to ensure that we were fit and healthy and were clear of any Venusian contaminants brought back to Earth. We gave the media a happy face. One that showed the world we were safe and glad to be back, a face that the world enjoyed and celebrated over. When our quarantine ended, we gave a press conference to the rest of Canada where we answered questions, took comments, the usual.

The four of us then spent the next several weeks touring all over Canada, ticket tape parades celebrating our achievement, a state dinner with the Queen and Prime Minister. We visited America, Europe, Japan, Korea, so many damn places as we met their heads of state and governments.

Countries around the world honored our mission with postage stamps, murals, and even named several planets after us.

I hate to brag honestly, but I was probably the most celebrated out of all four of us given that I was the first to step on Venus. I was often mentioned before my crewmates. Embarrassing sure, but you get used to it after a while. Like the others I was awarded numerous decorations from not only my home country, but other allied nations that saw me as one of the greatest humans in history.

The Hero of the Russian Federation.

Order of the Rising Sun.

The Order of Nova Scotia.

But the highest honor we probably received…was being knighted by the Queen of Britain. In short, I’m often now referred to by the media as Sir Cale. But for all these awards, all this praise, they still don’t take away the fear and crucible we went through on that planet.

No one ever found out about what happened as well made a pact never to tell them, no other manned missions to the planet had ever been carried out. Instead, we’d let it fade into obscurity and pray that the program wouldn’t dare send another crew to that hell. And considering the last time we saw the creature as we rose into space, it won’t be long before the world learns of what Venus is hosting. I eventually developed my own theory regarding the creature.

That it was some unknown species. Dangerous. And deadly to mankind. Using the black celestial sphere over the planet as merely some sort of vessel or ship to enter the Solar System. Believe what you want, but I intend to stick to that truth.

After the mission I took part in several more spaceflights to the Moon before ultimately retiring, I now live a life of peace and prosperity. Me and Emilia had gotten married after the mission in 2077 and now had a son named Alvin.

Still, things may not be so peaceful for very long. That creature. That alien monstrosity will eventually make its presence known to humanity one way or another. If not now, then later. I watch the news almost every other day, just waiting for a report to show something happening over Venus. Watching. Waiting for things to go bad.

Please. If you’re reading this, I can assure you that we are not alone in the universe. I don’t think we ever were.

The only way we can ever hope to truly understand it…and possibly save ourselves from extinction is for everyone to set their differences aside.

To work towards leaving the Earth and hopefully fining a new home. A safer home.

Together.

Credit: Shin

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