Emergency landing on a strange new world. Grant is her internal artificial intelligence computer.
“Gina.” Grants voice roused her from slumber. The lid and sides of the bed folded away.
“Yes, I’m awake Grant. Rescue?”
“No but I’ve located a planet. We will be landing there soon. Atmosphere is optimal. Gravity zero-point seven-five-seven-seven normal. Planet contains large bodies of water and several land masses.”
“Unknown. The search capabilities on this lifepod are limited.”
“I suggest the tropical areas near the equator for landing.”
“Concur,” she answered.
“Gina, Some of the pods systems were damaged during our escape. Not all the landing jets are functional. Set down will be rough but survivable. I am searching now for a small body of water to land in.”
“Understood. Rough landing.”
She glanced down slightly to the left of her feet and saw the planet through the viewport. It was blue and green much like Earth and Teelan but the bodies of water appeared larger. The globe grew in size quickly and soon just a small portion filled the viewport. Although she could not hear or see it, the atmosphere started to buffet the craft as it began final approach.
Straps snaked across her legs and torso, pinning her arms to her sides. They cinched tight holding her in her prone position. A red glow crept across the clear window and she knew it was a result of the tremendous heat being generated as the pod sunk deeper into the atmosphere.
The craft rotated and she was gazing up into a bluish sky. The rockets kicked in with a jar when all three available main engines surged to life in attempt to reduce forward momentum. The compensators fought desperately to equalize the horrendous g-forces pressing against her. Even through the sound deadening, she heard the loud splash when the craft plunged into the water.
Her view of the sky blurred when liquid closed over the viewports. The craft sunk deeper. Outside light dimmed and vanished altogether. At length forward momentum ceased and upward motion began. After what seemed like a long, long time the pod bobbed to the surface. She heard the hissing and popping as intense heat was dissipated from her craft to the surrounding liquid. Though it was light outside the pod, her view was blurred by the boiling steam surrounding her.
“We have landed,” Grant told her unnecessarily.
“So I surmised,” she answered sarcastically.
A single jet shuddered to life and imparted forward motion briefly before it sputtered and died. “I have expended the last of our fuel. We can only drift from here,” Grant reported. “Hopefully it was enough to guide the pod to shore.”
“It should be.”
For hours she watched land get closer slowly. At last the craft ground to a halt when it beached a few yards from shore. The straps holding her released and Gina climbed from her chair. Stepping to the controls she electronically unlocked the escape hatch above her head. Climbing to the pods roof she splayed her feet wide for balance and surveyed her surroundings.
The shore in front of her and to each side as far as she could see contained a heavy covering of blue and green foliage. The trees and bushes and vines appeared tropical in nature. Judging from the stifling heat and humidity that caressed her skin her summation was correct.
“Well all ashore that is going ashore,” she said aloud. Climbing back into the craft she gazed down at herself, barefoot, wearing only panties and a nightshirt. “Hardly dressed to go hiking in the jungle am I?”
She grabbed a survival pack, slung it onto her back and then climbed back onto the roof. Sitting, she slid down the side into chest deep water. She waded ashore and sat in the sand. Rifling through the pack she found a survival knife, a small ray-pistol, first aid kit and concentrated rations she estimated would last for about a week. In addition there was a canteen like object that drew in vapor from the air and converted it to drinkable liquid. There were three more bags like this on board the pod.
“Okay four weeks of food so finding something to eat is not priority.” The sand was already becoming uncomfortable on her feet and she stepped into the water. “First order of business is something to wear on my feet.” She looked at the jungle in apprehension.
“Grant, anything on life here? Especially the dangerous kind.”
“Nothing. I’m sorry.”
“Then help keep watch while I gather some leaves and vines to make shoes from.” Fine sand squished through her toes as she headed across the beach toward what looked to be leaves of the right size to make shoe soles. She cut several off, along with vines and then looked up at the ominous clouds gathering overhead.
“I think we will hold shoe making class inside today. Otherwise I’m pretty sure it will be a wet class.”
Holding the vines over her head, she waded back out to the pod, climbed the built-in steps on the side and clambered back into the craft. After shutting the hatch she sat down and went to work fashioning her shoes. Hours later, after many frustrating attempts she viewed the results. “Not high fashion, not even pretty but they will protect my feet,” she mused.