The Year 2050:
After a deadly but profitable war with an alien race known as Senza, humanity uses a futuristic technology to send you and 10,000+ colonists to an exo-planet called Exantra-22b to serve as Project Second Earth. When the Noah (one of two state-of-the-art spacecrafts) never makes its rendezvous with your ship the Titan on Exantra, an emergency plan is set into action to retrieve crucial resources from the Noah.
Now, fifty years after originally leaving Earth, you awaken from Cryosleep to learn that the colonization mission has been stalled and you have been orbiting your home planet for weeks.
Soon, you find Earth is not as you remember. Whispers of a second Senza invasion during the Titan’s travel to and from Exantra begins to spread and you realize the “truth” is inconsistent on this floating city. Confused and desperate for answers, you take up the call to action and accept the title of “Titan Cadet”. You are tasked with completing a grueling training course in a simulated environment before being deployed to investigate Earth, the Noah, and the fate of humanity.
If you’re going to make sense of anything, you’ll have to uncover the truth for yourself—the hard way.
Journal Access Granted
Author: Shen Frol, Titan Cadet - Date: April 7, 2151
First mission to the Surface
To whoever finds these pages: please know I tried.
It was our first mission to the surface. It seemed like a simple enough mission. It was anything but. I wish I had known. I guess even knowing wouldn’t have prepared me. This whole mission… My mind is tired. But I have to write it down. Someone has to know our story. Maybe it will help them. Maybe it won’t. But I have to try.
...I’m so damn tired.
It started like every training mission we’ve had on the GCSS. We got the mission statement. We packed our gear. We went over the strategy, twice. Checked the map and plotted our course into unfamiliar territory. We boarded the Zephyr and began the descent to the surface. I think we were all a bit nervous, we were finally going home. The reentry was rough but soon enough I could see the beautiful blue sky I have longed for. For that moment the trials in my life had been worth it.
Then we broke through the cloud covers. It’s not home. I don’t think I can explain it. It was… different. Maybe a writer or poet could. It’s earth but it’s not home…
We arrived at the debarking point as planned. We watched the Zephyr fly off, leaving us on a planet feeling like we didn’t belong. As the mission continued, so did that feeling. Even now, sitting in the quarters back in space I feel like we shouldn’t be here.
Our squad Captain, Gorm ordered us to hold for a minute to allow our scout, Vipa, to check the path ahead. As we waited the sounds of the world sprang back to life. I could hear the familiar rasp of cicadas, a woodpecker drilling for food, and other singing birds. There was something else too. Maybe it was just me. I don’t know much about animals or the sounds they make, I grew up in the city. I just know some of the animals didn’t sound right. They sounded…angry.
Vipa reported back with an all clear and Captain Gorm ordered us forward. I admit the strangeness of Earth and its sounds had my tension high. The training dome does a great job of recreating this atmosphere, but before going to the surface I always thought it was just a computer program. I thought they just wanted to make the training harder so coming here would be easy. I thought this planet is still my home, it couldn’t be that different. But it really is the same. I don’t visit the dome anymore.
-Page 6- added May 25th
Grom didn’t seem any different. I don’t know if it’s an act, but he always looks so confident. We quietly make our way through the dense woods towards the torrential current.
The GCSS Titan was built as a transport, not to sustain life. We can grow food, but water will eventually become an issue. Our mission is just to check the water and bring back samples. Shif, our medic, is carrying some special equipment for preliminary tests. I could hear the rush of the water ahead. I remember starting to feel like there was nothing to worry about.
-Page 7- added May 26th
Vipa stops, frozen in place. He was trained to use all of his senses. When he freezes he is taking everything in. He once told me he could almost feel the landscape. That the movement of air and sounds created a kind of scene in his mind of what lies ahead. When he freezes, we all freeze. He’ll tell us if something is off or he’ll just move on. The sounds of the forest were almost deafening, coming from all around us. It reminded me of how we chant for competitors in the dome, growing louder just before the battle beings. But suddenly the whole forest went dead quiet. I could hear my heart pounding, then Vipa’s sharp gasp.
-Page 8- added May 27th
I’ve seen wolves before. I saw a show on the tv when I was a kid. I knew what I saw was a gray wolf. But at the same time, it wasn’t. It flew through the air from our flank, knocking Gorm to the ground. Vipa had sensed the beast and was already nocking an arrow in his bow. The animal disappeared back into the underbrush. We were all armed and ready for the wolf to return. I saw Vipa’s head shoot up and he began to turn back to where the wolf came from. Just then an enormous buck came trampling through the forest and speared Gorm with its massive antlers as he was standing to his feet. Vipa’s arrow hit the deer in the hind quarter and I moved in closer to attack.
-Page 9- added May 27th
The deer picked up Gorm with its antlers like he was a rabbit and ran through the brush, disappearing. We could hear his screams moving away quickly. It made no sense! Why would the deer attack Gorm? Deer can be dangerous when provoked but they don’t attack like that! And then, like nothing had happened, the forest was alive with sounds again. Vipa took command and ordered us forward to complete the mission. Shif and I argued with him, saying we have to go after the Captain. I told Vipa he wouldn’t be too hard to track. Vipa didn’t have to argue, just calmly asked what our Titan code is. I could hear Shif sigh in defeat, echoing my own feelings.
-Page 10- added May 28th
The sound of the rushing river was much closer now, I could feel the moisture in the air. Vipa was on high alert, stopping every few minutes to sense the area. Shif and I stayed armed and ready. We entered a clearing with a small pond in the middle. We stopped for Shif to take some readings of the water. Vipa scouted ahead. I saw it there… It was watching us. The wolf. Its eyes a concentrated green. I don’t think it was hunting. It was studying me. Those eyes… they never leave my mind now.
-Page 11- added May 29th
The wolf slowly, almost imperceptibly moved back into the forest, disappearing like a fog. I tried to tell Shif about it, but I couldn’t get the words out. It all just didn’t make sense. Where the hell had that deer come from? Then I remembered. It was just a moment, a flash. The brief pause after it got shot by Vipa’s arrow. It’s eyes were green, almost glowing. If I’m being honest, I can’t be sure of what I saw. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, maybe it’s the fear. But that deer had the same eyes as the wolf.
-Page 12- added May 30th
Shif finished his tests on the pond water and we began to make the final push to the river. I didn’t see the wolf, but I was sure it was still out there, watching. Within minutes, we found ourselves frozen in awe of the torrential current. These were massive rapids that would sweep away a person in seconds. As Shif prepared his equipment, Vipa scouted upriver. My eyes followed Vipas route when he froze. The wolf had emerged just left of him, stalking. I was about to call to him when an alligator hiding in the river bed clamped down on his leg. I yelled out and started running towards with an outstretched arm him to help. The wolf moved in front of me, blocking my path to Vipa. It’s green eyes burning into me. God, I’m so tired. But I have to finish this story…
-Page 11- added May 31st
This time I am sure. The alligator had green eyes. Not the solid black (ones) that look like stones you usually see, green. Green and focused on Vipa as he tried to get his leg free from the vice grip jaws. Vipa was desperately shooting and beating the powerful beast with his bow. Shif had armed himself and was standing next to me, before the wolf. I took a step and the wolf growled. Together, Shif and I attacked in unison as we had so many times in the training dome. His strikes timed to hit just before mine to increase the effectiveness of my sword. The wolf howled in pain as my blade entered its neck, then silence.
-Page 12- added June 1st
Silence. Why was everything silent? Vipa wasn’t yelling anymore. He was gone. Only blood stained the stones where he fought the beast. There was only the sound of the river. I looked at Shif, trying to decide what to do. I remember the emptiness in his eyes. I could see his hope fading. He was my mirror. But we succeed at all costs.It is our code. We are titans. I told him to finish his tests so we can get back. I took a closer look at the wolf.
Its eyes had not faded with death but glowed with hate. I kicked the wolf and turned back to help Shif. I wish I hadn’t.
-Page 13- added June 2nd
In my death I will not be free. It will always haunt me. It was holding Shif up by the throat. His feet were dangling two feet off the ground. I couldn’t move. We thought they were all gone. I thought they were defeated. Frozen in place my mind blank with fear, I hear the Captain call out from the corner of my mind; Titans fight for each other! Without thinking I ran directly at the hulking alien. I saw it squeeze. Shif’s face contorted. I screamed out no. I ran harder, faster. It stared at me as it tossed Shif into the rapid. It’s eyes were bottomless pits of green death.
-Page 14- added June 3rd
Sprinting as fast as I can I slid underneath it as I swung my sword, cutting its leg deep. The scream echos in my mind, still. I snatched up Shif’s bag of equipment and ran into the forest down the path we came on. I can hear its anger and anguish through the forest as I run until my lungs stop working. I made it to the landing zone. I shot the signal flare. The zephyr arrived a few minutes later. I was still trying to catch my breath. As the plane started to take off I could see green eyes in the forest.
-Page 15- added June 4th
I was hailed as a hero for completing the mission. Everyone said it wasn’t my fault. They said you can’t save everyone. They said the mission comes first. They said I was courageous. It is our code. We are Titans. I’m not, I failed. But you can be. You can be better than me. You can be courageous. You can fight against those eyes. Prepare yourself better than I did. Steel yourself against the fear. Our ship has water. I did my job. I’m so tired. I feel like I still can’t breathe, like I’m still running. I feel some relief in putting my story down. This is not my home. Maybe you can make it yours. Please remember, I tried...
Author: Chase Riken, GCSS Mechanic
Life on the GCSS Titan
Confidential Journal of a Mechanic
Today was like any other day on this massive ship, except for one small detail. I got up, ate the normal drool they serve as a bodily necessity and took a shower. I sat on my bunk for a few minutes, contemplating the life choices that got me here, as usual. So many turns in my life would have led to other places. I guess in the end though, here is better than where I was actually headed. Owing those guys was a bad move and I’m glad the Founding Four decided to hire me for this job. Things could be better, but they could be worse too.
Anyway, I got up, shook the morning fog out of my brain, and left my room. My roommate, Maven is pretty cool. He’s a tech guy, always working on the high-class stuff. I’m just a lowly mechanic, fixing the hardware on this bucket. I don’t know how, but he’s always so awake and energetic in the morning. They must be giving him something special cause he looks like he loves life. He’s a great roommate, but always so damn positive. I’m happy, but he’s infectious. I gotta say, he’s a good guy to be around. He’s always encouraging me to shake it off and focus on the good.
So I follow Maven’s advice and head to work, trying to stay positive. Of course my boss, Bapor was in a bad mood today. One of the pipes in the coolant system cracked last night and he’s looking for heads to roll, just so he can pass the buck. I don’t think anyone actually likes him as a person, but at times he can be a decent boss. Today is not one of those days. I decided to volunteer to fix the pipes. I like it in that area of the ship. The mechanical noises always relax me and is a great way to get away from all the smells the people of this area tend to give off.
I grab my tools and begin the long trek to the portside mechanical bay on the fifth floor. I rode the CenterLine to the closest stairwell and make my way down. I could hear the buzz and humming of the equipment growing as I descended the stairs. The sounds brought peace to my mind. Made it to the fifth floor and the humming vibrates your bones, but somehow it’s not too loud. I walk down the long corridor, past one of the main filtration systems and an artificial gravity generator, each an amazing feat of science and engineering. I love those rooms.
I remember thinking how a simple gasket could potentially throw the whole ship into chaos. It would be so easy to sabotage the gravity generator if someone knew what he or she were doing. Then almost half the ship would have weightless, disoriented people. With weightlessness always comes some puke as well. I could do it. I could turn off the gravity and it would take weeks to find the problem. I know a few others on the ship could as well. Not many people have the knowledge or skills, but even fewer people have the access. Those rooms are locked down as tight as they can be. I’ve only been inside once. There are protocols, and you only enter with a team of three to ensure safety and security.
But man, it would be so easy and funny. I have no desire to turn off the gravity, I just love how one small thing could mess up such a massive and important system. That’s the beauty and intricacy of our mechanical sciences. It’s really something to behold and one of the reasons I love coming down here. Just being that close to the machines feels like I’m in an art gallery. Look but don’t touch. So I take a moment to gaze upon the wondrous machine through the bay window. Some people look at the stars, other in nature, for me… that is my peace.
But I have a job to do, and it needs to get done before it causes any other issues. Coolant leaks can be a disaster if they’re not dealt with. I move further away from the Central line, towards the outer hull. The coolant room is about halfway between the CenterLine and the port windows. It’s a long walk. Finally, I made it to the room. Almost every room on this ship has an access lock. Only those with the right clearance are allowed in certain areas. While this particular coolant room isn’t high on the access list, nothing like the artificial gravity room, it still has a limited number of people who can come here. Looks like one of them forget to close the door after they left. It’s not common but it happens.
-Page 8- added May 27th
Even though the door is ajar, I scan my access card to make sure it’s logged in the security database. It’s better to be safe and have records of your coming and going in this sector. I can feel the rush of fluid through the pipes as I push the door all the way open. The dim light from the hallway casts a long shadow on the floor. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. I picked up my tools and walked through the doorway. I remember feeling a bit of tension, maybe a hint of fear. But I shrugged it off as just being alone down here. Pipes of all sizes line the walls and ceiling of this massive bay. Large machines stand throughout, pumping and cooling the fluids being sent to and from the essential equipment. The lines and perfect planning of such a complex system are beautiful in its own right.
-Page 9- added May 28th
I think that’s the reason I love poker as well. It’s such a simple game, but the complexity hidden in plain sight makes it so exciting. Trying to read the players, predict their actions and remain impartial is similar to designing or troubleshooting this massive equipment. It’s all about knowing what is possible, what could go wrong, and finding a way to beat it. All the parts are connected, each player adding a unique pattern and affecting the players around them. Maybe I’m trying to force a comparison, but the feeling is the same for me. I just wish I was as good at poker as I am at machines. Machines are always predictable, humans are not. But then, without my bad habits, I wouldn’t be on this incredible ship. Hmmm, I guess Maven’s positivity is rubbing off on me.
-Page 10- added May 29th
I tend to get lost in my thoughts sometimes, especially when I write. But hell, this is my journal, so why not? Anyway, I picked up my gear and moved through the massive maze of equipment and pipes. I could hear the hiss of pressure from the crack in the pipe ahead. I periodically stopped and used my flashlight to check the gauges to make sure things were still at safe levels. If the pressure was too low, I know I’d have a big hole to deal with. Fortunately, it was just a bit off, meaning the leak was just crack. I just passed a massive transformer that helps transfer all the required power to this bay when I saw it. It was just a flash, then it was gone.
-Page 11- added May 30th
The lights in the bay are localized, I only turn on the one that points at the equipment I’m working on to save energy. I’ve been here so many times I don’t use any lights while walking through it and let my eyes adjust to the dark until I reach the right machine. But I know... I know where things are, and I know how to get to them. I know this room and I know what’s in it. What I saw was not supposed to be in it.
-Page 12- added May 31st
The pipe had cracked, the coolant was being pushed out at a high pressure causing it to spurt in a fine mist. It wasn’t the mist that bothered me. I saw a someone standing in the mist. The coolant on this. ship isn’t the most dangerous but you definitely don’t want to get any directly on your skin. But there was someone standing in it. Almost like they were staring up into rain. It was only a split second, then I saw their head move slightly and they took off. They moved so fast, it was kind of like an animal scurrying away. I didn’t even hear it moving through the room. After a moment I saw a shadow pass through the light coming in from the hallway. That was it.
-Page 13- added June 1st
I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary with the equipment. After seeing that person I double checked everything. This isn’t the most important room to tamper with, but it could still cause issues. Everything expect the pipe was normal. I spent an extra 5 hours in that room, going over every detail and gauge. The whole time I couldn’t get that person out of my mind. It was so dark I couldn’t really see anything about them. I just know they moved so fast, like a damn spooked cat or something. I got the pipe patched up and recorded the work data so we can replace the pipe in a few weeks.
-Page 14- added June 2nd
I got back and reported the work to Bapor. He wanted to know what took so long. I couldn’t tell him. I wanted to, but the more I thought about it the more I just sounded crazy. I decided to check the security feed before I made any wild claims. I just told Bapor that I was double checking all the equipment to make sure the leak didn’t cause any other problems. He seemed happy with my initiative. I’d love to play him in poker. I asked a friend to check the security feed for anything unusual. I couldn’t tell him much either for the same reason. I’m not crazy, but it sounds crazy. He got back to me and said I was the only thing on the cameras. I’m glad I didn’t say anything.
-Page 11- added June 3rd
I’m keeping my eye out for that person. I don’t know who it is, but there is something weird going on on this ship. It was such a normal day. That had to be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t doubt for a second what I saw. A person was there. It looked like they were enjoying the mist of coolant... I’ll have to ask the docs if anyone was seen for coolant poisoning. That much on the skin would make anyone sick. Just when I was starting to feel positive about this day, somethings gotta go and muck it up.