Dispatch 2

Every day I keep asking myself if all of this is just some strange psych mind game that the Terra Defence doctors are playing on me. I figure it has been about 20 days since I had eaten any real food and breathed in some fresh Earth air. Why I’m alive on this planet is beyond me. I am down to my last quarter liter of emergency water. I have rationed as much of it as I can but it looks like I will probably finish it off later today.

¡Ay Dios, que sed tengo! I’m so thirsty!

I have been giving a lot of thought to how we were told, in survival class, that urine is supposed to be safe to drink. I remember that as we made faces and proclaimed we would never drink our own urine the instructors would remind us that we had a duty to hold out as long as we could – until help could arrive. “We’ve spent lots of money on your training and it’s your duty to survive” was constantly drilled into our heads. Besides, your families want you to come home was the closing argument.

Well it seems like my smug attitude of never being in a predicament of having to drink my own urine has finally come to haunt me. Frankly, I’ve decided not to drink my urine. Fact of the matter is that rescue is not a few days away it is never coming. I am going to die on this planet.

Mama, perdóname pero ya me conoces soy muy tonto, but remember los quiero mucho; I love you all.

I still have food, if you can call it that but water is a serious problem. The emergency rations have lasted me much longer than I anticipated because I am so thirsty that I can’t eat any food, although I force myself to eat some each day.

By the way, remember that diet I was always talking about? Well, I’m finally on it! LOL!

I guess I should let you all know how I ended up here, while I still can.

As you probably already know, our squadron had scrambled to intercept the unknown object that the early warning system had picked up. Space Command was able to get us on an orbital trajectory where the bogey was supposed to insert into Earth. But the bogey orbited the Earth twice and although our targeting radars would pick it up its orbit was too high to intercept it. We had been tasked to observe and intercept. Our targeting radar would not lock on and we soon lost the bogey. A while later Space Command vectored us into an intercept course as the bogey reentered our sector on its second orbit around Earth. Four other squadrons from around the world tried to intercept but their orbits were too low to reach it.

This time, the bogey deorbited away from Earth. Cmdr. Chen ordered the squadron to maintain orbital formation and said he would attempt a final lockup before the bogey left Earth orbit.

As you all know, I’m not much for procedures so I disobeyed Cmdr. Chen’s order and maintained a tight-formation intercept posture behind his Raptor. I know he knew I was there and he never ordered me to back off. We both burned off the last of our main engine fuel in an attempt to close up on the bogey and shoot it down.

I do not know if the bogey was aware of us or not but it was heading out into space. Either it knew we couldn’t catch it or it didn’t care because the bogey didn’t maneuver defensively at all, it just kept heading away from Earth. We did not attempt to communicate with the bogey; Chen and I were intent on shooting it down.

I was about to radio Cmdr. Chen when without warning my instruments suddenly went dead and Chen’s Raptor disappeared behind some weird haze that suddenly enveloped my cockpit. Everything disappeared behind the haze, including the bogey. I had zero visibility. The stick was dead.

I am not sure how much later I awoke from a black out. As I came to, my instruments were coming back online and the bogey was still in front of me, but Earth had disappeared. There was no moon or space station or any familiar stars. Instead, there was this giant hazy planet in front of me. The bogey looked like it was maneuvering into a deorbit burn.

As my instruments came back online, I tried to get a lock on the bogey but it was too far ahead of me. I soon realized that I only had fuel for the maneuvering thrusters as my main engine fuel was completely out. I had burned it off attempting to get closer to the bogey before everything went dark.

My engine and flight instruments seemed to be working but my navigation instruments and radios were completely dead. I wasn’t receiving any IFF telemetry at all. Not that there were any friendlies around, just a foe I couldn’t catch. Although my chronometer showed that a little over an hour had passed since I had blacked out, later, after I had ejected and retrieved my personal digital assistant, I realized that almost two days had actually passed since I had scrambled in pursuit of the bogey. I cannot explain how my oxygen did not run out but I finally understood why I was starving and dying of thirst when I came to.

I tried to raise Cmdr. Chen on the squadron frequency and even tried the emergency frequency. No joy, he did not respond. My Raptor was heading straight for the planet and I had no time to wonder about where I was or what had happened to Chen. I had only a few seconds to decide what to do next.

I settled on trying to achieve orbit around the planet but with no fuel other than my thrusters and with the momentum my Raptor was carrying, I wasn’t able to. Had I had time to think I may have not attempted to orbit as I might just as easily bounced off the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, my thrusters were not enough to slow down my approach and I came in too steep. Thinking about it now, I’m not really sure what I was thinking. I didn’t even know if the atmosphere was sufficient enough for me to attempt an engine out glide to ground, much less breath the stuff. I came in too steep and fast and my Raptor was burning up around me.

The only thing I had left was to attempt to punch out. I waited for as long as I could, almost until my Raptor burned to a crisp before ejecting. Do not bother asking me if I had given any thought as to whether I could even breathe the air on this planet because I really had no other options. I could stay with my Raptor and burn up or I could hope that I would at least survive the ejection.

Obviously, I’m sending you this dispatch so the question of me surviving the ejection and breathing the air is mostly moot now. As for what I am breathing, I have no way to test it. It is hard to breathe and I have been light-headed since I arrived. I am assuming that what I’m breathing has some oxygen in it or else I wouldn’t be writing you this.

Whether I’m slowly being poisoned with some unknown gasses is a moot point since I’m running out of water. I have decided to drink the last of my water later today and eat the chocolate bar I’ve been religiously hoarding for a special occasion. I guess dying of dehydration or from alien viruses or bacteria could be considered a special occasion.

I found a liquid that resembles something like water. It does not have any color or smell to it. I have no way to test it. When I cannot take it any longer, I’m going to drink some of it and see what happens. This will be my last dispatch before drinking the alien liquid. If I survive, I’ll send out another dispatch.

Mama y Papa, por favor no se preocupen de mi, know that you are in my heart and that I have done what I have always wanted to do. No tengo nada de que quejarme, I have no regrets. Siempre recuerden me, keep me in your thoughts and know that I love you all, los quiero muchísimo.

Adios… good bye.

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