Dark

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 behind.

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.

Tasty

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 rations.

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.

Dizzy

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.

Ancient

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.

Ghost

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 real.