For a brief moment, I thought we had exploded on the launchpad because everything went blindingly white. Then the g-force kicked in and I realized we were rocketing straight up into the sky. The ship was still shaking tremendously while alarms were going off. There were two minutes to go before we were in sub space and were finally able to shut off the engines. Whatever that sticky liquid was that sprayed all over me from the broken hose had begun seeping into my mask. It was both sweet and oddly familiar. I silently prayed that it wouldn’t poison me before we got to our destination. As the ship continued to climb, the violent shaking finally began to decrease as Tom stabilized the the ship.
As we hit zero gravity, I was hit with a sudden wall of nausea. It was like my guts were suddenly tied to a million balloons which were all trying to fly away. We finally reached our target altitude and Tom shut the engines off. Everything which was loose in the cabin was now floating about freely, including droplets of that sweet, sticky liquid. I pressed the intercom panel asking Tom if the mystery liquid would kill me. He assured me I was fine. It was a type of coolant, but it was also safe for human consumption.
“Yeah dude, you’re fine. It’s only Capri Sun, Strawberry Kiwi! I found that it’s got a better viscosity under high duress than most rocket coolants and sports drinks I tested! Plus it’s sooooooo good!”
I suddenly wanted to open the hatch and turn us both into meatsicles. But considering the ship seemed stable in the vacuum of space, I decided to hold off on that plan for the time being. With the shit rocket no longer shaking to pieces, Tom told me start earning my pay as copilot and to turn on the ship’s transceiver so the alien signal could ping our ship. I silent agreement, I spent the next few minutes trying to figure out what a fucking transceiver was and where it was located in the vast array of switches, knobs, and buttons that were sprawled everywhere. Once located and activated, a speaker on the panel came to life with static. Tom doubled back towards the speaker.
“Now we wait, dude. According to our GPS, we’re in the right place. Once we hear their coded signal we’ll know they found us!”
We both sat in silence as static poured out of the speaker. The ship rolled slightly and we were given a view of Earth for the first time since leaving its terrestrial confines and it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life. Tom chimed in on the intercom:
“I fuckin’ know, right?!”
I was puzzled by that statement because he said it with a confidence of a man that’s has seen this view before. Our moment of awe was interrupted by a faint yet familiar beeping fighting its way through the static of the speaker. Then, it got louder. I wasn’t really sure what the plan was beyond this point. Tom never really made that clear. Just that we needed to get here. He now said we had about a minute before ‘first contact’ and that he was going to start shutting down the systems.
Upon hearing that, I immediately began to panic in my seat. Tom threw me a thumbs up in an attempt to calm me as he began shutting everything off. I started kicking the back of his seat out of frustration. The beeping from the speaker was now so loud that it was drowning out the once overpowering static. After a minute, Tom killed the rest of the power and the beeping speaker went silent. Even though we still had oxygen, I could feel my throat begin to tighten. What made matters worse was that the tainted Red Bull must have had shelf life because it felt like it had just run out and I was sure that hypothermia was setting in. The cabin began to freeze and I could feel air leaks in my suit. Deciding that I had enough, I frantically unbuckled my safety harness. This was it. If we were going to die out here, it would be by my hands. I lunged towards Tom and began pummeling the back of his head with all the energy I had left. He used one hand to block my zero gravity punches and the other to unbuckle his harness.
Once he got himself free of his chair, we wrestled around the cockpit. He tried to restrain me as I tried to rip out his oxygen line. We were two men fighting in a tin can 300 miles from the Earth’s surface. And I didn’t plan on losing. I could feel the sharp edges of everything in the cockpit jabbing into my suit. Tom pulled out a knife and dove straight for my oxygen line. I threw up both of my arms up to block his advance, but failed and I felt the blade enter my stomach. The pain was excruciating. I was losing pressure in my suit from where Tom stabbed me. I could feel the skin freeze instantly where the knife entered. Frozen droplets of my blood floated throughout the cabin alongside the frozen droplets of Capri Sun as Tom pushed himself away from me with a look of remorse on his face. Since we were powered down and had no intercom I could see Tom mouth the words “Dude, I’m suuuuper sorry!”
I was slipping away. I’d survived so much in my life that, somehow, it seemed fitting to die in outer space. I began to make peace with everything while Tom floated there sobbing. I’d never felt so cold before. Just as I was about to close my eye, everything turned bright blue. My body began to thaw. My wound felt as though it was healing. I tried to move, but felt suspended in time. Nothing around me was moving anymore. I didn’t feel myself breathing, yet I felt fine. Even though the power to the ship was off, the speaker began beeping again. And this time it was crystal clear.
While I still couldn’t move, I was also able to sense that Tom felt the same sense of warmth and inner peace. We were no longer enemies, but two pieces of a cosmic puzzle. It felt like we were being pulled between two dimensions, like we were being separated from our physical beings and our souls. The blinding blue light enveloped everything around us and it felt like the ship was being pulled by something. We had made FIRST CONTACT.
Tom and I were still in our state of cosmic bliss as the blue light pulled us towards an enormous spaceship. Through the windows above, us I could see two huge doors opening underneath the craft. I imagined Tom internally screaming like a school girl as our ship floated like a feather into the belly of the giant craft. The blue light gently placed us down on a landing pad the size of a football field. As our frozen state came to a gentle end, we floated back into our seats and suddenly, the blue light disappeared. There was no sense of danger even though we were aboard an alien aircraft. It was then that I noticed that something wonderfully bizarre had happened. For the first time in years, I felt like my missing eye was back in its socket. The stab wound Tom had just given me healed. My broken ribs no longer ached and every cut, burn, and physical trauma my body had suffered on this mission were no more than a distant memory.
Tom had assumed it was safe to remove his helmet. When he didn’t suffocate or instantly turn to ice, I assumed the same. I hurriedly peeled off my eyepatch and confirm I had, in fact, regrown my eyeball. Tom wasn’t nearly as amazed by my ocular rebirth as he flung open the hatch, jumping out of our ship and onto the dark floor of what looked like a huge cargo bay. I followed. It had been years since I’d seen anything with two eyes so I took the opportunity to try and focus my new eye on some fixed objects, but since it was dark I could only make out shapes in the darkness. We both stood there not saying anything for a few minutes when a huge door at the far end of the bay began to open. Suddenly, the area was brimming with light and, at the far end of the room, a figure emerged and began to move toward us. It was hard at first to make out the being’s size ,but as it got closer it appeared to be human-like. A huge grin spread across Tom’s face as he gushed:
“Oh shit man. This is it! We made it dude! Aliens DO exist! Ha, I told Mark and Trav this shit was real!”
The being moved towards us. The clicking of its footsteps on the metallic floor made it seem even more human.
With each step, its features became more apparent. Two arms, two legs, a head, a torso, and it walked with a human’s gait. It wasn’t rushing at us in a threatening manner, just calmly walking in our direction. And again, I felt frozen in place. And again, I wasn’t frightened. Soon the being was in front of us. Not only did it appear human, it looked familiar. Really fucking familiar. Then it introduced itself:
“Hello gentlemen. My name is James Cameron. Welcome aboard my ship!”
Struggling to keep up? Feeling a bit lost? Perhaps you’re wondering how a snake can wear a vest or be a band roadie? The answers to these questions and more are in CHAPTER 1, CHAPTER 2, CHAPTER 3, CHAPTER 4, and CHAPTER 5! (Editor’s Note: Bad Copy does not guarantee answers to any questions in these chapters).