The Mighty Lux #1




Beginnings, Part 1: Twilight

“Commander Montcalm, this is Paragon One, please come in,” the small panel speaker crackled at me as I floated over to the console from doing one of my hourly readings on the Ununpentium engine.
“Paragon One, this is Commander Montcalm reporting. So did Zeke hit another homer last night or what?” I said, already regretting the fact that I just earned a lecture from Doctor Reece.
“Commander, this channel is kept open for monitoring your status and that of the UUP engine,” Doctor Reece angrily shot through the speaker, “not keeping up on the latest football scores…”
“Baseball,” I said smugly.
“What?” Doctor Reece said perplexed.
“Zeke Curtis plays baseball. For the Paragon Heroes. You know, that big domed stadium just outside of town?” I said smirking to myself, “And home runs in 10 straight games is a pretty amazing achievement if you ask me.”
“Well, it does not compare to the achievement you are lucky to be a part of, Commander. I would suggest you remember that. Now what is the status of the UUP engine?”
“At 0900 hours, the engine is producing approximately 1,000 luxes of energy per second, while maintaining a core temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. We are currently at 247,000 kilometers above Earth, orbiting geo-synchronous to your position Paragon One,” I spoke into the microphone on the console.
While the scientific study component of the mission didn’t really excite me all that much, the chance to fly an experimental shuttle was something I couldn’t pass up on. So I swallowed my pride and gave all of the Crey scientists what they wanted… a perfect little robot to fly their ship and type in readings into the on-board computers.
“Excellent, Commander. This is Doctor Reece out.”
“Hey, Red, so did Zeke hit another one, or what?” I asked hoping the connection had not yet been terminated.
“Yup, a blast over the left field wall. Eleven in a row, he goes for the record tonight.”
“Darnit, I wish I could get the game up here. I have a good feeling, Red. He is going to tie it tonight and break it the next. May 23rd, 2002 is going to go down in history, I just know it.”
“Well, you take care Commander, we will be checking in with you again in a couple days. This is Paragon One, ending transmission.”


Space is the best place I have ever been to do some thinking. I know it sounds corny, but being all alone up here and looking down on that blue ball Earth below me, lets a guy like me put it all in perspective. I have been hitching rides to rocketships for the past seven years. At 20, I was the youngest astronaut ever back in 95, and since then, I have broken every single record they have ever bothered to keep about astronauts. Most Total Time in Space, Longest Mission, Most Distance Travelled over a career, Most Number of Missions. If you look those up, next to them says Commander Matthew Montcalm. In the end though, I don’t keep coming up for the glory. I keep doing all this for the perspective. In a world full of superheroes, mad scientists and extra dimensional technology, things just make more sense up here I guess.
This latest mission is a doozy. If the science guys at Crey are right, this new UUP engine (short for Ununpentium, the latest element to be discovered, sheesh, what are they up to now? 160?) they developed could feasibly provide unlimited energy for the entire world. It is absorbing solar radiation and using the UUP to exponentially magnify it into tremendous reserves of energy. I am running the whole ship and all of its machinery on the energy it produces, and have more than enough juice to spare. The scientists even believe that it can absorb other forms of energy, which is one of the reasons I am up here I suppose. Doctor Reece is world famous for his theories on so-called cosmic radiation, an unseen, and as yet, untapped, form of energy that inundates space like water in the ocean. But in the end, the real reason I am up here, is to just get a way from it all.
Alison and I have been fighting again. I told her when we got married that the life of an astronaut’s wife wasn’t exactly going to be glorious. We are fighting over everything. Money, mainly I suppose, but everything really. Ah well. I am going to hit the treadmill and then thaw some gourmet space food. Log date May 23 2002, recording stop.


“What are all these alarms?!?” Doctor Darwin Reece yelled as he entered the control room. A wailing siren was heard overhead, and red emergency lights gave the entire Crey facility an unearthly glow, which seemed kind of appropriate all things considered.
“Doctor Reece, we are tracking hundreds of what appears to be dimensional portals opening up over Earth,” Red Young, mission control leader, told the stone faced scientist with more than a little concern in his voice, “We have lost touch with Commander Montcalm and shortly thereafter, have stopped receiving any remote readings from the UUP engine. Something happened immediately before the portals opened… the readings began to spike and…”
“What do you mean “spiked”, Young? What were the final readings?” Doctor Reece demanded.
“It doesn’t make any sense, it was like they just off the chart… the last reading we got from the engine was 100,000,000 million luxes per second… but that can’t be… that’s the equivalent of a star.”
Red Young had seen a lot in his thirty years working on space missions in mission controls. Tragedy, heroism, sacrifice, pain… the depths of these emotions though could not prepare Red for the gut wrenching feeling he felt in this next moment. Doctor Reece began to laugh a maniacal almost sickening laughter. Red felt scared for his good friend, Commander Montcalm. Red felt scared for them all.
“Don’t you see, you simpleton? It is exactly as I hypothesized. The engine absorbed the energy given off by the portals opening… the engine absorbed the cosmic radiation of the ripping open of the space time. It worked! I was right!”
“But Commander Montcalm… how could anyone survive a build-up of all that energy? How could he…”
“I highly doubt that Montcalm could have… hmm, we will need to send a recovery team to get the engine back as soon as possible now that we have lost the pilot…”
“All you can think about is your damned engine? You’re a monster…”
“Sir!” a young technician said, interrupting the confrontation that was about to occur, “We just received word from NORAD… the portals… there are vessels streaming out of them. And we have word of assaults in Indonesia and Europe. There are unconfirmed reports of some kind of laser cannons being fired on parts of Paragon City…”
“Steady son,” Red said as he regained the strong air of confidence that made him a natural mission control leader, “I want you to get full documentation of Montcalm's last position before we lost contact, and I want you to start trying to contact him at ten minute intervals from here out. I don’t know what is happening, but whatever it is,” Red said as he stared at Doctor Reece with fire in his eyes, “we have to remember we have one of own stranded up there, and we can’t let him down.”



----------Mission Log Date December 5th 2002
----------Mission Code Name Star Engine Salvage
----------Mission Commander Log Start

Lift off was rocky. We had 2% loss in starboard aft hull integrity due to a collision with some debris left in orbit, likely left over from a high altitude fight between one of the capes and the aliens. According to computer modeling, we will be able to reenter Earth’s atmosphere without any additional loss of hull integrity and without posing significant risk to the crew.

The telemetry models prepared for us back at Crey headquarters gave us 90% assurance that we would find the wreckage of the experimental shuttle Crey 000047101 with in the vicinity we are now approaching.

Primary mission objective is to locate the Ununpentium Engine and transport it back to Crey Headquarters. Secondary mission objective is to download any onboard readings or data taken prior to engine malfunction and then destroy all data remaining on the ship. Tertiary mission objective is to recover any remains of test pilot Commander Matthew Montcalm for military burial back home.

Ever since the Rikti invaded, Crey has been given the green light by the United States government to operate independently of its space agencies. It is widely agreed upon by most of the Crey scientists involved with this mission that it was likely some form of pilot error that caused the accident. I can’t blame the guy though. If I had hundreds of thousands of aliens pop out of portals right in front of my unarmed experimental shuttle, I am not sure I might just make what the scientists are calling a “fatal lapse” as well. So when we filed our flight plans with NASA, Crey only accepted NASA’s request to recover Montcalm’s remains reluctantly. In typical Crey fashion, they made the government sign over his body parts if the scientists deem it to be “of scientific interest”.

We are approaching the quadrant now. Time is 1900 hours.

Log end

----------Mission Commander Log End


“Sir, this is Crewman Hodges reporting,” Kendall’s console speaker crackled.
“Go ahead, Hodges, what is our situation?”
“Well, sir, we have completed the primary and secondary mission objectives. The Ununpentium Engine is being secured into the crane arm, and will be ready for recovery within the next ten minutes. From the looks of it, the engine would appear to be non-functional. We have also downloaded all data from the onboard computers and have set the remote charges to be blown after we have achieved safe distance.”
“Hmm, the engine is non-functional? Doctor Reece will be disappointed, he was convinced he detected some sort of power source on the craft in the telemetry we received. What about your tertiary mission objective? Is there anything left of Montcalm up there?” Kendall asked, the disappointment of finding the engine to be offline clear in his voice.
‘Well, that’s just it sir. We’ve… managed to find the power source Doctor Reece detected. It’s Montcalm.” Hodges stammered.
“You mean his remains are irradiated? Well your suit will protect you from…”
“No, sir,” Hodges interrupted, “not his remains. I mean Montcalm is up here. He’s not dead… he’s unconscious and he is surrounded by this… well, for lack of a better word, glow.”
“Crewman, is this some kind of joke?”
“No, sir”
“The integrity of the vessel was breached during the invasion. Montcalm would have had to survive for the last seven months in space without oxygen, how could…” Kendall didn’t like it. Not only did the engine end up being offline, but now he would have to be part of the coverup that would inevitably result from finding Montcalm. He had worked for Crey for twelve years, and he knew how they operated. If Montcalm was still alive, after the scientists were done with him back at Crey headquarters, he is going to wish he wasn’t. “We are going to need to bring him aboard, Crewman. When you get Montcalm aboard, I want you to bring him directly to the quarantine facility. This is Kendall out.”