Sci-Fi Survival

Sci-Fi Survival

Lost on Kepler 852-b (Chapter 2: Descent and Discovery)

(Pour lire la version française, cliquez ici.)

            All right, so now I have to descend this massive cliff that looks like fucking El Capitan in Yosemite Park. Problem is… ever since I fell through a roof when I was eighteen while trying to impress my girlfriend with a rooftop picnic, complete with uneaten chocolate and scattered flower petals, I have a visceral fear of heights. My limbs start shaking violently while I look over the edge.

            Second problem is that I’ve never done any serious rock climbing in my life. When I was twenty-nine, I took my wife to one of those indoor rock-climbing places on one of our first dates. We did something she called, “Free soloing” which means we climbed without ropes. She looked sexy as hell as she kicked my ass, navigating those colored, amoeba-handles like a monkey. I had already started falling in love with her by then. I’m fairly strong, and I can hold my own when it comes to leisurely-athletic actives but I learned an important lesson that day when it comes to rock-climbing: it’s more about technique than brute force. Better to stay close to the wall, be patient, and take your time. I also learned: don’t climb too aggressively or your hands and limbs will get sore, become useless, then you’ll become careless. Careless = bad.

            My fear of heights and my lack of climbing skills means that I don’t want to be climbing when it’s dark, and I don’t want to construct one of those suspended-sleeping-hammocks in the middle of the cliff. 1.) Because fuck that 2.) Because that would be dangerous and I wouldn’t sleep. I’ll become sleep-deprived, probably make a mistake later, and die.

            So I need to figure out how much daylight is left and how fast I climb. If I don’t have enough daylight I’ll descend tomorrow at the butt-crack of dawn.

           While these thoughts rush through my head I realize something that fills me with terror: the clicking has stopped, my surroundings are now completely silent. It feels like that cheap-horror-film moment right before one of the less-important characters gets pulled into oblivion/another second-rate film. But despite being scared shitless, I have an idea. This silence gives me an opportunity to test something out…

           I find a rock nearby, open the stopwatch on my tablet, walk to the edge of the cliff, then press ‘start’ as I simultaneously drop the rock. I wait and listen for the faint impact: 5.6 seconds. I do this five more times and take the average: 5.4 seconds. With this information I can do some physics…

            Besides this rock trick, the only other thing I remember from physics class back in high school is when I wrote in the margins of my final test: Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive. When I received my ‘F’ back I saw that teacher, Dr. Wilson, had written next to my margin message: Do work! Do work! Do work! I know you can graduate! Well, Dr. Wilson, even though I dropped out of high school, here I am, dropping rocks on an extraterrestrial planet and doing work. Are you happy now?!

            On my tablet I verify that this planet has about the same gravitational field as earth, causing objects to fall at the rate of 9.8 Newton/kilogram (there must be a built-in gravimeter inside it). Assuming that Kepler-852b also has the same air resistance (please Space Jesus make this be true, please), I draw a picture on the tablet. I’ve decided to give this El Capitan Yosemite-like cliff a name for eternity, Ohfuckme: 

            Since the acceleration of an object depends on both the force and the mass, the mass cancels out and I get an acceleration of g meters per second squared. Then I search “Finding the height of a cliff through dropping a rock” and find another equation on the tablet for finding the height and write h = gravitational force (triangle – t) squared divided by 2. So my height is 9.8 times (5.4)squared, all divided by 2 = 142 meters. Fun fact: I impulsively type in 142 meters into the search bar and find an image of “The Killing Cliff” a cliff on Traelanípan (an island between England and Iceland), also known as the “The Slave Cliff,” where legend says that Vikings used to push slaves and criminals off. Interesting! Here it is: 

            El Capitan Yosemite is actually 900 meters/3000 feet high, about six times higher than the cliff I’m about to descend. All right, so I exaggerate a little bit.

            Now to determine how much daylight is left with the help of the trusty tablet. C’mon Walter, focus.

            Unlike earth, which rotates once every 24 hours, this planet rotates once every 48 hours. Why is this? I learned on part of the voyage here that the rotational speed of a planet is determined by the initial angular momentum of the planet when it was formed (my wife and I attended an optional ‘science talk’). Our earth probably collided with another planet back in the day, which gave us our moon and likely slowed down the earth’s rotation. Maybe this Kepler 852-b was hit by a couple of planets…or yo mama’s fat ass. In any case, I found an application on the table called: “Determine Time of Sunset on Planet.” It instructed me to take a video of the planet’s horizon then to shift up to the planet’s sun. While I am doing that I see the tablet calculating the angle. Then I have to type in my latitude location (assuming the crashed ship didn’t land too far off course, I use the latitude that we learned in the voyage briefings: 31 degrees). Okay, so the application determines that I have about 10 hours of daylight left. Side note, due to this planet’s relatively large tilt (44 degrees, almost double our Earth’s tilt of 23.5 degrees) and fast revolution (1 full rotation every week), the seasons change much faster than on earth, but I’ll worry about that later (the temperature has been getting steadily colder). 

            Final step: let’s see how fast this little boy can move.

            Luckily, the 300 yards of iron filament and 30 yards of rope that NASA gave me has little marks every meter. Thank you, NASA, for thinking of this detail.

            If I can descend an average of 20 meters/65 feet per hour, I should be able to make it to bottom before sunset with some time to spare (3 hours to reach the ship). But that’s probably giving me more credit than I deserve.

            Now, the most important part, how to descend with all my shit. I type into my tablet search bar: how to descend a cliff. Yes, I’m an amateur.

            The first video that popped up was Rappelling basics 101. All right, what’s rappelling:

            Descend a rock face or other near-vertical surface using a double rope coiled around the body and fixed at a higher point; also known as abseil. Knowledge!

            Looks like I’m going to have to make a harness using the iron filament and the net. This is going to crush my nuts. But better to have crushed nuts and continue being alive. 

          Also, I’ll need this rappelling/abseil thing to be retrievable. So I watch another video on How to Rig A Retrievable Rappelling Anchor. Yes, these tablets have millions of videos. Thank you again NASA, you intelligent, resourceful motherfuckers!

            Okay, so I have to construct a Ghost Knot, which is a knot that will keep me from falling down the cliff as I descend, but will also be retrievable if I pull hard on it a bunch of times…

            The clock is ticking, as usual, so I immediately create an anchor at the top by cutting then tying long strips of the iron filament to two trees, creating a triangle (to distribute the weight that will pull on it during the initial descent). These iron filament strips will have to be left behind.  

            So I take the center part of the rope, which I’ve doubled up in the shape of a ‘U’, and wrap it around the anchor, so it is in the shape of a candy cane. Then I take one of the ropes of the ‘U’ (the two are parallel to the candy cane) and thread it through the bottom of the ‘U’ candy cane, simultaneously pulling on the other rope to form the knot. I do this eight times. Ghost Knot…complete. When I want the rope back during the decent I’ll have to tug on one of the ropes repeatedly, waiting to feel a ‘pop’ as each knot breaks, until all the knots are popped and the rope falls down to reunite with daddy. 

            But now I need to create something to relieve the tension of the rope as I descend, so I don’t undo the Ghost Knot unintentionally as I climb down the cliff and become a ghost. I’ll be trying to limit how much I pull on the rope by holding on to the crevices and rocks, but looking down I see that the cliff doesn’t always have places for me to hold on to, so I’ll have to rely on the anchor at the summit (or wherever I tie myself to later on) to support my body and supplies.

            I type into the tablet: essential rappelling supplies. I find something that resembles a “belaying device,” that looks similar to something attached to my multi-use knife. I’ll use that. I thread my double rope through this. I’m shaking as I do this, palms sweaty, knees weak, about to vomit my mom’s spaghetti.

            Remember Walter: always keep yourself perpendicular to the rock. Don’t waste energy. Track your progress.

            In order to prevent the iron filament and net from cutting into my groin, I will use my sleeping bag as part of the harness. Ah yes, much better. My nuts will be saved! Also, I cut up a bunch more of the iron filament to create five, make-shift carabiners, which will lock me into the rope. Let’s do this…

            6 hours later…

            I moved faster than I thought I would, fast enough to justify a descent today instead of waiting until tomorrow, but that wasn’t fun, and I don’t want to talk about it. I’m exhausted. But the Kepler 852-b sun is about to set and I’d like to reach the ship before nightfall. I eat an energy tube (29 left) that tastes like bubble-gum cough syrup (maybe NASA didn’t think of everything, unless there’s a trade-off between taste and dense caloric content) and jog in the direction of the ship. My surroundings are still silent.

            The terrain is similar to earth’s grasslands, with a few rocks here and there. After two hours of jogging, I see something that looks like a piece of the ship, a wing, jutting out of the ground. Remember, the ship was transporting 300 humans. The thing’s fucking huge.

            I arrive at the ship, stupidly expecting a welcoming party. “Mr. Wanky! You’re alive! Where the hell were you?!” But there’s nobody here. It looks like the thing has been gutted. While wandering around yelling, “Is anyone there?” I see something that makes me fall to the ground, to my knees…

            Bones. Human bones. But not the kind of bones you’d expect, with remnants of bodies on them, but shiny-white bones, as if they were sucked clean after a chicken-wing eating contest. They are scattered throughout the wreckage. What the fuck happened?

            I barely make out what the ship used to look like. Something really big must have attacked this ship after it crashed.  

            I have to hope that some people escaped. There are a lot of bones, but not enough for 300 humans, I think. I have to alert the survivors that I’m still alive. I have to make a fire.

            What I’ll do is that I’ll make a fire and hide in the wreckage. That way if a monstrous alien comes back to eat me, I’ll be hiding, and hopefully be safe. I’m banking on the aliens here having a weak sense of smell, because I already smell like a rat’s ass.

            I scout the wreckage and find a little cavern high up in a pile of rubble. I hide all my supplies there, then I look for flammable things. After an hour of searching I find some books (the ship contained a hard-copy library). There are also some twig-like sticks on the ground outside the perimeter of the crashed ship. After watching a short tutorial on: best way to construct a fire, I tear out the pages (The Martian by Andy Weirand shove them under a little twig-hut. Then I make the fire using the iron bar, also called a ferrocerium. The alloy (70% cerium and 30% iron) gives off sparks when scratched by my carbon-steel blade. The tiny shavings are oxidized as I scratch, ignite the paper, and bada-bing, bada -boom: fire. But the fire is green and smells like trash. Hmmm, does that mean it’s toxic? I run back to my hiding place. The sun has completely set. Time to wait.

            For twenty minutes I stare at the little green fire, praying to Space Jesus again, watching the smoke twist up into the star-filled sky. Thankfully, the twigs (I typed in: what is green fire? into my tablet: potentially contains copper sulfate or boric acid) burns slowly. Please let a human see this and know I’m alive. Please let me wife see this, if she somehow made it out….

            I hear a bizarre sucking, slithering, clicking sound at the edge of the shadows. The clicking and sucking sounds just like the noises that I heard at the top of the Ohfuckme mountain. I hold my breath.

            Something massive emerges from the shadows. I do my best not to scream in horror and despair…

…Chapter 3…coming soon…subscribe below

Lost on Kepler 852-b (Chapter 1: Shipwreck)

(Pour lire la version française, cliquez ici.)

            I woke up in a pile of rubble 1,602 light-years from earth.

            Fuck.

            My last memory was during the descent when something collided with the spacecraft. My wife and I ran to the emergency-landing chambers, like we had learned during training. I was locked in mine and I looked at my wife’s face one last time, before there was another collision and everything went black.

            My landing chamber must have separated from the rest of the ship. And I must have inhaled some leaking anesthesia by accident because I feel dizzy, sick, and thirsty enough to drink torch fluid or that nasty medicine the NASA scientists made us take for interstellar travel. Around me there’s a thick jungle with twisted trees like I’ve never seen before, even in the voyage briefings. Where are the others? Where’s the rest of the ship?

            My vision is blurry and my mouth is desiccated: first, before the finding the others, I need water.

            Luckily, every emergency-landing chamber is equipped with a survival kit. Every passenger got one. It contains a cooking pot, an inflatable and insulated sleeping bag, a little axe, an iron bar that produces sparks, a metal-multi-use water bottle (with water already inside), a portable water reclaimer, a net, a multi-use knife, 3.5 lbs. of iron filament (300 yards long), 30 yards of rope, 30 energy-food tubes that will be able to last me at least 2 weeks, and a solar-powered tablet with useful (survival) information. 34.2 lbs. of equipment, all packed neatly in a sack. Not too bad. Except I’m on an extraterrestrial planet, and humans don’t know hardly anything about what’s here.

            I crawl to my survival kit, hacking up a lung. My throat feels like it’s been scratched by sand-paper. But the NASA scientists were right, I can breathe and the atmosphere and the gravity are like earth. Kepler-852b is located in the “habitable zone” of a star practically identical to our sun in the “northern” part of the Milky Way Galaxy. I take out the metal water bottle and chug. It tastes glorious.

            Once my thirst was quenched, I can’t help but smile at the absurdity of my situation. Amongst all the passengers aboard the ship, United Republic Migration #2, there is no doubt that I am the least qualified to be alone on this planet. When I was on earth I was a janitor at a high school who wrote a sci-fi blog on the weekends. On a whim, I applied, with my wife, for the lottery to be a part of The Great Migration to Kepler-852b. NASA wanted to include all members of society on the spaceship, which would carry 300 passengers, and not only the elite. My wife and I were chosen to represent “the common people” who also deserved a chance to live another life on another planet. I bet NASA just did that for positive publicity and to receive more public funding. In my application essay for the lottery, I wrote that my wife and I had couldn’t have children and dreamed of leaving on this great adventure. That must have pulled the heartstrings. In any case, they chose us, my essay was published in major newspapers, and now I’m here. Hooray. Lots of other passengers weren’t prepared to survive alone which is why everyone was equipped with such a good survival kit. But still, I think I’m the worst. My specialized skills include knowing the right cleaning liquids to remove graffiti from bathroom stalls and how to fix a toilet. I don’t even know how to make a fire. 

            However, nobody was expected to survive alone. The spaceship was going to land near a place where the first spaceship, United Republic Migration #1, had landed a year ago. A city was supposed to have been under construction (which I was going to help clean! Everybody has their part!) I wonder if our vessel went far off course. I wonder what hit us in the sky. I wonder if I’m the only one who survived. I think about my wife and I feel a pain rise in my chest. No. She’s still alive. I don’t know why I know this, but I know it, that’s all. I have to believe it. 

            Enough questions and speculations. I don’t have the time. I have to find my wife and the others or I’m a dead man. I survey my surroundings.

            I take out my axe and tie the sack on my back. It’s then I hear an ominous clicking in the jungle around me. It sounds like an insect. Son of a bitch, I hope it’s not a giant insect. I hate insects.

            I walk in the opposite direction of the sound and make a path through the jungle. The leaves are soft like silk, some of them are blue, and the light sparkles on the trunks of the trees. I would say the place was beautiful if I wasn’t trying not to die.

            The jungle becomes thicker with crisscrossing branches and I use my axe to chop them. As I cut through the wood-like material (it breaks more easily than wood and emits a minty smell), I feel a rumbling in the ground and hear a peculiar noise, like pressurized air passing quickly through a tube. This makes me nervous and I start bushwhacking faster. The noise becomes louder. I approach a trembling wall of foliage. I push through the leaves and fall off a ledge.

            The air rushes past me and I blindly search for anything to grab a hold of. I grab hold of a root that protrudes from a rock. My sack slips off my back but I’m able to just snatch a handle. I swing in the air.

            After pulling my sack over my shoulder I just swing there for a minute, my heart pounding in my throat, my breathing ragged and heavy. I look down and see jutting rocks, maybe five hundred feet below.

            I look up and see that there is a network of intertwining roots, all the way up to the ledge. The foliage forms a thick wall on the edge of the cliff.

            I climb up the hanging roots, then drag myself and the sack on to the cliff. I sit down and wait for my breathing to settle. Dying from falling off a cliff. That would have been anticlimactic. Cross the Milky Way to the constellation of Cygnus and then stumble over a ledge and splatter on some rocks.

            I get up, carefully push a few leaves aside, and look out.

            Yup, my emergency landing chamber landed on the top of a cliff, a mountain, on the edge of a vertical drop. Looking down, I see that beyond the roots is a practically vertical rock face with small ledges and protruding slabs. Then, looking into the distant valley, I see something that makes me gasp.

            The spaceship. It had crashed in the grassy-like valley below. 

          No wonder I woke up alone. The survivors of the ship would never have climbed this steep mountain looking for me. They must still be down there. The ship was filled with all our provisions, of course. They probably formed a base there, then sent out scouts. I couldn’t see the ship’s details from afar. But I knew I had to go. It was my only chance of survival.

            For the next two hours I wander around the jungle, attempting to find a path off the cliff, but it’s a steep drop all around. Weird. And unlucky.

            I discover the source of the clicking. In the middle of the jungle there’s a deep, wide hole that reminds me of a volcano. The clicking is coming from there. The hole is so deep that it’s black at the bottom, and the sides are smooth, impossible for me to climb down without sliding into the abyss. No clicking abyss for Walter Wanky. Yes, that’s my real name. Please save the jokes. I’ve heard them all.  

            It looks like I’m going to have to find a way to descend the cliff. 

            Problem is, I’m scared of heights and I don’t know how to rock-climb, or rock-descend, or whatever they call it.

            But if I don’t get off this cliff and find help, I’m a dead man.

            Fuck.


Chapter 2, coming soon, subscribe below:

Perdu sur Kepler 852-b (Chapitre 1 : Naufrage)

(To read the English version, click here.)

            Je me suis réveillé dans un tas de décombres à 1 602 années-lumière de la terre.

            Putain.

            Mon dernier souvenir est celui de la descente lorsque quelque chose est entré en collision avec le vaisseau spatial. Ma femme et moi avons sprinté vers nos chambres d’atterrissage d’urgence, comme on nous l’avait appris pendant l’entraînement. Je me suis enfermé et j’ai regardé son visage encore une fois, avant qu’il y ait une autre collision et que tout devienne noir.

            Ma chambre d’atterrissage a dû se séparer du reste du navire. Et j’ai dû inhaler une partie de l’anesthésique, par accident, car je me sens étourdi, malade et assoiffé pour boire le liquide d’aullumage ou ce mauvais médicament que les scientifiques de la NASA nous ont fait prendre pour les voyages interstellaires. Autour de moi, il y a une jungle épaisse avec des arbres tordus que je n’avais jamais vus auparavant, même dans les briefings de voyage. Où sont tous les autres ? Où est le reste du navire ?

            Ma vision est floue et ma bouche est horriblement desséchée: d’abord, avant de trouver les autres, j’ai besoin d’eau.

            Heureusement, chaque chambre d’atterrissage d’urgence est équipée d’un kit de survie. Chaque passager en avait un. Il contient un marmite, un sac de couchage isolé et gonflable, une petite hache, une barre de fer produisant des étincelles, une bouteille d’eau métallique à usages multiples (avec de l’eau déjà à l’intérieur), un récupérateur d’eau portable, un filet, un couteau à usages multiples, 3,5 livres de fil de fer (un filament unique de 300 mètres), 30 mètres de corde, 30 tubes d’énergie alimentaire qui peuvent me durer au moins deux semaines et une tablet à énergie solaire pleine de données utiles (pour la survie). 15,4 kilogrammes de materiel, le tout emballé efficacement dans un sac. Pas mal. Sauf que je suis sur une putain de planète extraterrestre et que les humains n’ont pratiquement aucune idée de ce qu’il y a ici.

            Je rampe jusqu’à mon kit de survie, en crachant un poumon. J’ai l’impression que ma gorge a été éraflée par du papier de verre. Mais les scientifiques de la NASA avaient raison, je peux respirer et l’atmosphère et la gravité sont comme la terre. Kepler-852b est situé dans la “zone habitable” d’une étoile presque identique au soleil terrestre. Je sors la bouteille d’eau en métal et je bois. Le goût est délicieux. Les petites choses de la vie.

            Une fois ma soif étanchée, je ne peux pas m’empêcher de sourire devant l’absurdité de ma situation. De tous les passagers du navire de United Republic Migration N°2, il ne fait aucun doute que je suis le moins qualifié pour être seul sur cette planète. Lorsque j’étais sur terre, j’étais concierge dans un lycée et j’écrivais un blog de science-fiction le week-end. Sur un coup de tête, je me suis inscrit, avec ma femme, à une loterie pour participer à la Grande Migration vers Kepler-852b. La NASA voulait inclure tous les membres de la société dans le vaisseau spatial, qui pouvait contenir 300 passagers, et pas seulement l’élite. Ma femme et moi avons été choisis pour représenter les “humains ordinaires” qui méritaient aussi une chance de vivre une autre vie sur une autre planète. Je parie que la NASA a fait cela pour une publicité positive et pour obtenir davantage de fonds publics. Dans mon dossier de candidature à la loterie, j’ai écrit que ma femme et moi ne pouvions pas avoir d’enfants et rêvions de partir pour cette grande aventure. Cela a dû toucher assez de cœurs pour nous faire participer à la loterie. Quoi qu’il en soit, nous avons été choisis, mon essai a été publié dans de grands journaux, et maintenant je suis là. Bon. Beaucoup d’autres passagers n’étaient pas préparés à survivre seuls, comme moi, c’est pourquoi tout le monde était équipé d’un kit de survie aussi bien garni. Mais quand même, je crois que je suis le pire. Mes compétences spécialisées comprennent la connaissance des liquides de nettoyage appropriés pour enlever les graffitis et la manière de réparer une toilette. Je ne sais même pas comment faire un feu.

            Cependant, personne n’était censé survivre seul. Le vaisseau spatial allait atterrir près de l’endroit où le premier, United Republic Migration N°1, avait atterri il y a un an. Une ville était censée être en construction (dans laquelle j’allais aider à nettoyer ! Tout le monde fait sa part !) Je me demande jusqu’où notre vaisseau a dévié de sa route. Je me demande ce qui nous a heurté dans le ciel. Je me demande si je suis le seul survivant. Je pense à ma femme et je ressens une douleur montante dans la poitrine. Non. Elle est toujours en vie. Je ne sais pas pourquoi je sais cela, mais je le sais, c’est tout. Je dois le croire.

            Assez de questions et de spéculations. Je n’ai pas le temps. Je dois trouver ma femme et les autres ou je suis un homme mort. Il faut surveiller les environs.

            Je sors ma hache et j’attache le sac sur mon dos. C’est alors que j’entends un cliquetis inquiétant dans la jungle qui m’entoure. On dirait un insecte. Fils de pute, j’espère que ce n’est pas un insecte géant. Je déteste les insectes.

            Je marche dans la direction opposée au son et je me fraie un chemin dans la jungle. Les feuilles sont douces comme de la soie, certaines sont bleues, et la lumière scintille sur les troncs des arbres. Je dirais que l’environnement est magnifique si je n’espérais pas ne pas mourir.

            La jungle devient plus épaisse avec des branches qui s’entrecroisent et je les coupe avec ma hache. Lorsque je coupe la matière qui ressemble à du bois (elle se casse plus facilement que le bois et dégage une odeur mentholée), je sens un grondement dans le sol et j’entends un bruit particulier, comme de l’air sous pression passant rapidement dans un tube. Cela me rend nerveux et je coupe plus vite à travers les branches. Le bruit devient plus fort. Je m’approche d’un mur de feuillage tremblant. Je pousse à travers les feuilles et je tombe d’un rebord.

            L’air se précipite devant moi et je cherche aveuglément quelque chose à quoi m’accrocher. Je m’accroche à une racine qui dépasse d’un rocher. Mon sac glisse de mon dos mais je suis juste capable d’attraper la poignée. Je me balance en l’air.

            Après avoir tiré mon sac sur l’épaule, je me suis balancé pendant une minute, le cœur battant dans la gorge, la respiration étant lourde. Je regarde en bas et je vois des rochers déchiquetés, peut-être 150 mètres plus bas.

            Je lève les yeux et je vois qu’il y a un réseau de racines qui s’entremêlent, jusqu’à la corniche. Le feuillage forme un mur épais au bord de la falaise.   

            Je grimpe sur les racines suspendues, puis je me traîne avec le sac jusqu’à la falaise. Je m’assieds et j’attends que ma respiration se calme. Mourir d’une chute dans une falaise. C’est un peu décevante. Traverser la Voie Lactée jusqu’à la constellation du Cygnus pour ensuite faire un faux pas et s’écraser sur les rochers.

            Je me lève, écarte soigneusement quelques feuilles et regarde au-delà.

            Ouais, ma chambre d’atterrissage d’urgence a atterri au sommet d’une falaise, d’une montagne, sur le bord d’une chute verticale. En regardant en bas, je vois qu’au-delà des racines, il y a une paroi rocheuse pratiquement verticale avec de petits rebords et des dalles en saillie. Puis, en regardant dans la vallée lointaine, je vois quelque chose qui me fait haleter.

            Le vaisseau spatial. Il s’était écrasé dans la vallée en contrebas.

            Pas étonnant que je me sois réveillé seul. Les survivants du vaisseau n’auraient jamais pu escalader cette montagne escarpée. Ils doivent encore être en bas. Le vaisseau était rempli de toutes nos provisions, bien sûr. Ils ont probablement formé une base là-bas, puis ont envoyé des éclaireurs. Je ne pouvais pas voir les détails du navire au loin. Mais je savais qu’il fallait que j’y aille. C’était ma seule chance de survivre.

            Pendant les deux heures qui suivent, j’erre dans la jungle, en essayant de trouver un chemin pour sortir de la falaise, mais c’est une pente raide tout autour. Bizarre. Et malchanceux.

            Je découvre la source du cliquetis. Au milieu de la jungle, il y a un trou profond et large qui me rappelle un volcan. Le cliquetis venait de là. Le trou est si profond qu’il est noir au fond, et les côtés sont lisses, impossible pour moi de descendre sans glisser dans l’abîme. Pas d’abîme mystérieux pour Walter Wanky. Oui, c’est mon vrai nom. S’il vous plaît, gardez vos blagues pour vous. Je les ai toutes entendues.

            Il semble que je vais devoir trouver un moyen de descendre la falaise. 

            Le problème, c’est que j’ai peur des hauteurs et je ne sais pas comment faire de l’escalade, ou de la descente, ou peu importe comment ils appellent ça.

            Mais si je ne descends pas de cette falaise et que je ne trouve pas d’aide, je suis un homme mort.

            J’emmerde.

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Chapitre 2, à venir, abonnez-vous :