The Planet that Didn’t Want to be Found

The planet shouldn’t have even been there. When Riley emerged from jumpspace, he had expected to rendezvous with his partner Stone in a clear sector of space. Instead, he’d nearly been pulled into the gravity of a small world that was inexplicably very much present. Upon recovery after the near disaster, Riley studied the improbable planet.

He checked and triple-checked the coordinates; he had made no error and had brought his ship to the correct sector. But there was not supposed to be so much as an asteroid here. Riley wondered how an uncatalogued world could exist in charted space.

“Hey, buddy!” came Stone’s voice over the comm. “That’s you up there, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, Stone,” Riley replied. “Don’t tell me you’re on that planet—”

“Where else? Come on in, I’ll turn on my beacon.”

“What the hell’s going on? What’s this planet doing here?”

“Let me tell you when you get here.”

Riley sullenly set his trajectory to Stone’s beacon. In a small ship such as Riley’s, a pilot had to set entry-course properly with shields up or the ship could easily be crushed by the world’s atmospheric pressure. As Riley had entered this space, the ship had upended and it had taken all of his skills to pull away from the world. But he had no fear of normal entry and had already shrugged off his near-death experience.

While heading for Stone’s position, Riley scanned the mysterious world. Its gravity was  almost three times that of Earth along with an unbreathable amount of methane in the air. In short, this world was not habitable for mankind. Not surprising, Riley reflected, for a planet that’s not supposed to even exist.

Before long, he had landed near Stone’s position. After a quick conversation, Riley grudgingly donned his spacesuit and joined his partner outside. The suited pair stood on a calcified beach next to a boiling, sulphurous sea.

“Paradise,” Riley said sardonically.

“Why not?” Stone countered.

“What’s on your mind, partner?” Riley asked warily.

“You and I are the only ones who know this planet is here,” Stone said. “Isn’t your mind running wild with the possibilities?”

“I suppose this would be a great place to meet up without interference,” Riley thought aloud. “But that’s why we picked these coordinates anyway. Because nothing was here.”

“Yet something is here,” Stone interrupted. “Something is very much here, isn’t it?”

“I guess you’re thinking of setting up an unregulated casino or brothel or something here.”

“That’s not bad,” Stone responded. “At least you’re warming up. But you’re still thinking small, my friend. This is not just a city or small country to plunder. This is an entire world.”

Riley scoffed. “There’s nothing to plunder. This world is a pit.”

“Irrelevant,” Stone chided him. “And ‘plunder’ isn’t the word I really mean. ‘Exploit’ is better.”

“Exploit what, though?” Riley demanded. “I wonder if you and I are even seeing this planet the same way.”

The two men argued in this vein for about an hour without even addressing the bit of business they’d called this secret and private meeting for.  Finally, Riley struck Stone and knocked him to the ground. Stone lay there, uncharacteristically regarding Riley with an amused look rather than anger at being hit.

“Look, Riley,” Stone said, rising and calmly checking his suit for damage, “I know you’re completely unimaginative. But how can you not see the incredible situation we’ve run into here? I can’t even be mad at you, it’s just too unbelievable. If you don’t want anything to do with my ideas, feel free to go. I’ll go it alone from now on.”

“Your half-baked ideas are ridiculous,” Riley muttered. “We’ve got a dead planet here. Useless. It was probably left off the charts because it’s a big, fat nothing.”

“Fine. Then why don’t you leave?”

Riley shook his head.

“We have business to discuss. The Ganymede heist—”

“Keep all the loot,” Stone declared. “I don’t care. This is so much bigger than that!”

Riley was first shocked, then suspicious.

“That’s stupid,” he decided. “Let’s go get the money and forget this place. It’s made your mind into mush, Stone.”

“I’m serious. You can have it all.”

Stone led Riley over to his ship and while Riley waited, Stone quickly entered. When he emerged, he handed over a chip to his befuddled partner.

“Here’s my half of the coordinates we sent the loot to,” Stone confirmed. “Now you have the whole key to the location. Go live it up, my friend. I’m going to stay here awhile and think some more.”

“You’re giving up your share of our heist for this rock?” Riley said. “Basically, you’re paying me off to forget about this planet.”

“That is exactly what I’m doing,” Stone agreed. “You go away and leave me this planet to do with what I will, and give up any claim you might feel later you’re entitled to. Obviously we can’t draw up a legal agreement, so I’m granting you my share in hopes that you’ll keep your vow out of a sense of good will.”

Riley grunted harshly at Stone. He was certain his normally rational partner had lost his mind.

“I’ll take it,” Riley said. “It’s for the best that we part now that I realize what a fucking nutjob you are.”

Stone just smiled at Riley and said nothing more. With disgust, Riley turned his back to Stone and headed for his ship. He never saw the lasershot that burned through his helmet and ended his life.

…to be continued

{Ooohhh cliffhanger! I’m very late today, but I still made it. EvDaDaDec rages on! This tale I started on yet another Daily Prompt seems to be a two or three parter. Part two will be up tomorrow….or maybe something completely different.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. I appreciate every comment and like. See you tomorrow!}

10 thoughts on “The Planet that Didn’t Want to be Found

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompts: I was here | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

  2. Well, you’ve got me intrigued. Was there really something to this planet, or just an opportunity to kill his erstwhile partner? It couldn’t be a casino idea because a 3-gee would never be comfortable enough for people to relax. You’ve built up the suspense on this one really well and now I’m anxious to see what else happens in this cliffhanger. Well done!

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