Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 26th.
The dark tends to be where most military operations take
place. But we’d never experienced true darkness until we experienced the rare
three new moons on Themis.
Because of the three moons that orbit Themis, total darkness
is a rare event. The three moons tend to rotate and phase in such a way that at
least some sliver of at least one of them is in the night sky. Around our sixth
month here, we discovered what real darkness was.
The night had started as all the others with a sliver of one
of the moons still visible. I think it might have been the blue one. But two
hours later that sliver vanished. The stars still shone, but the light was not
enough for you to see far beyond.
Shortly after that, we got our first homebase glimpses of the
demon-like creatures we’d seen facing off with the knights and our first
glimpses and encounters with some vampire-like creature, which we later learned
were from a planet called Weber. Before the large groups approached Outpost
Sparta, we heard the sound of a large group of mounted troops approaching from
I turned to see what approached and saw the now familiar
armor of the Knights Templars as we recognized the tabard symbols of the
central party, or paladins as most had referred to themselves.
Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 25th.
One term that is rarely used to describe a meal in the
military is tasty. Whether describing the food cooked in the chow halls or the
food in the rations of previous centuries, terms like cardboard, saw dust, shoe
leather, and “needs more hot sauce” were far more likely to be
uttered to describe a military meal.
Fortunately for the military units in prior centuries, no
one had figured out how to create ration-type meals to feed hundreds to
thousands of military troops at a time. Unfortunately for the military members
onboard the Aldrin, someone had deemed it a priority R&D project to create unit-sized
For obvious reasons, that individual’s identity has been
heavily classified and sealed within a safe within a scif in a limited access
building on the most heavily classified military base. Which means everyone
knew his name was somewhere within Area 51 should anyone ever convince the security
folks there that they have secret credentials like Bob Lazar and should be
given access to it too.
Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 24th.
One would think that the use of the von Brain ring on
spaceships would result in a lot of dizzy space travelers. The reality for the
USSC military members on the Sheppard-class ships, like the Aldrin is that the
number of dizzy crewmembers tends to remain around three per voyage.
Fortunately for the rest of the crew, the gravity field
generated by the ring makes any movement of the ring feel negligible. Unfortunately
for these three crewmembers, they are usually the lowest ranking members of
their respective ship teams and as a result spend the most time watching the
von Braun ring turn.
The first one is the member of the command center crew who
gets assigned the task of monitoring the cameras aimed at the von Braun ring
and watching for any sign of problem. The other two are members of the ship
maintenance team that have to don the spacesuits and maintenance exoframes and
repair the exterior of the ship.
Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 23rd.
Any world with an intelligent population will have ruins of
some type and Themis is no exception. Of course, in the case of Themis, one is
more likely to find ruins of structures that are so ancient that they predate
the earliest steps of the first humans on Earth.
The trolls, dwarves, and elves all have different theories
of how each of their racial species came into being. USSC geologists attempted
to help determine dates of the ruins and in some cases, the answers they do
find seem to only raise more questions.
USSC Headquarters Themis officials have a death grip on a
theory that suggests the machines and other equipment items used for the
purpose of dating the ruins must be malfunctioning because of the reverse image
of the constellation Orion we have in the sky here.
The scientists used to try and explain why that is not a
concern, but eventually found it easier to just nod their heads and carry on as
if they didn’t hear the question than try to continue to explain that laws of physics
don’t become optional just because you’re in a different solar system.
Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 22nd.
Ghosts come in three varieties for members of the military: the
friends lost along the way, the enemies and other personally killed, and the
ghost of the past that follows everyone naturally. In the two hundred years since
the standup of the USSC, mental health experts continue to be evaded by the
solution to making these ghost stop following military members.
Mental health experts have consulted with chaplains and
others who deal with things of a spiritual nature. These others continue to
lack a solid solution for making the ghosts go away. While one would think
ghosts could be chased away by exorcism or other means of spiritual banishment,
the truth is these ghosts are tied in with things that exist somewhere outside
the borders of the mental and the spiritual realms.
Sometimes the ghosts leave on their own; sometimes the military
member actively accomplishes a banishment of the ghosts that follow him.
On a world such as Themis where the magical is all too real,
the existence of the ghosts are really problematic, since the ghosts following
the troops aren’t solely creatures of a figurative nature, but tend to be very