I sadly had to cut my visit to the moon short, having still never found Selenites, or really getting anywhere’s with my lunar research, but it was a pleasant, if somewhat quiet, visit.
the skeleton crew up here keeping mostly scarce aside from repeatedly asking me if I had authorization to use the laboratory (usually a flat out lie telling them I was there on navy business would make them go away, but if that didn’t work, informing them I worked for the hospital back in babbage seemed to grant me access, as well as a laundry list of typically overhyped ailments that particular person was suffering, why he never seemed to remember I’d been in the lab using it already, I haven’t the foggiest), or to repair the steamrover.
My supply of serum # 14 was running low as well, I had used the last bit on the head (fortunatly the one peice of information my research had shown, the moon is relatively safer from zombies, they’d move even more slow if not freeze solid, much like escapees at the Harbor Landing facility), so I would need to return to earth for more supplies.
After seeing to the automotons packing my equiptment, I had made my way to where my rocket was docked, Only to be stopped by a young man in a ridiculous uniform, it appeared to have been some form of military dress uniform at one point, but with much gold colored material incorporated into it, and some badge that seemed to take over a good quarter of his chest, resembling a moon with a fairly inaccurate rocket orbiting it. He claimed to be one of the autorities of the base, though I had never seen any mention of him, or that particular uniform on any of the occasional crew I’d already met. And tried to bar me from boarding my own rocket!
He said I had no clearance for take off, it’s a private aethercraft and I told him I was well withing rights to launch it when and where I required, especially on the moon. He babbled on about some ‘federation’ and, finally annoyed, I had the lunar automoton accompanying me let loose it’s teslarod on him. Once I was assured he was out cold, I stepped over and returned to my rocket.
Sitting in the control seat, I started activating switches, making sure all systems were on, and there was plenty of air and we were pressurized before I removed my helmet. Once all gauges were at 100%, I hit the ignition button, and so we left the lunar surface.
I set course to earth, planning on re-entry coming down in the Vernian, and got up to make a pot of coffee.
As I was taking my fifth cup of coffee, I immediatly spit it out as warning klaxons sounded, rushing back to the cockpit, I saw the gauges were all off by 70%, and we were soon to be in re-entry, and the systems for closing the heat sheilds were only at 10%.
How this happened, I had no time to figure out, I had to get the heat sheilds up at the very least.
This involved prying up one of the floor panels, and crawling into the workings of the rocket, where it was already very hot. I found the cogwork for the heat sheilds and saw immediatly, one of my canes was in the works, how that happened, again, no time to work out.
I set to work extracting it, as I felt the vessel shuddering, and the klaxons sounding, as well as a new klaxon, as the automoton had decided to be helpful by following me and sounding a warning klaxon in my ear in rythm with the ship’s.
Eventually, coated in sweat and with a pounding headache, I managed to force out the cane, and the cogs turned again.
Getting back to the controls in a hurry, I pulled the lever to manually close the heatshields, watching the glass of the viewscreen begin to melt, as I braced my foot against the control unit and pulled. Eventually it slammed down with a click, as the heavy metal sheild slammed shut.
It still wasn’t a relaxing ride, As I’m trying to buckle myself to the seat, and failing as I’m tossed around like a ragdoll while the rocket tumbled from the sky. It finally ended abruptly with a loud crashing sound as the rocket slammed hard and I was whacked into the side of the hull.
The klaxons were still sounding, this time the cause was obvious, water was pouring into the hull. I retreated to the rear of the rocket, and standing in the bronze diving bell in back, activated the terrestrian escape system.
The diving bell was ejected from the rear of the rocket, high enough, I could see from the window, landmarks that looked unfamiliar, plus the fact the rocket was quickly descending to the depths, before the bell reached the end of it’s arc, and splashed down into the sea, the rafts around the circumferance activating as they kept it afloat.
I should of just taken the portal back.