Book 1 in the Space Cats series. Hope you enjoy!
The year 2500...
The space vessel Discovery sailed through space, carrying it's crew of 8 crew members, 6 scientists, and a large quantity of different animals, brought along for testing how they reacted to the weightlessness of space. On the onboard laboratory, the scientists were deep in conversation about their findings.
"The mice reacted quite well to being in zero gravity," one scientist reported.
"Okay, that's another test done. It will only be a day until we get back to Earth, and we still have 20 more different animals to test!" another scientist replied. "Bring in the next animals!"
Another scientist came out with a large stack of cages containing different cats, and opening the cage doors for the scientists to handle.
"I've always loved cats," the first scientist said, absently stroking a tortoiseshell she-cat. "It would be great if we could safely bring them into space."
"We won't figure that out unless we get moving," replied the other scientist, taking a sheet of paper and clipping it onto a clipboard. "Start the test safety checklist. Oxygen supply!"
"Enough for a week, sir."
"Artificial Gravity Generators!"
"Blocking 99% of radiation."
"Strong as ever."
"Okay, we should be good to go," reported the scientist, checking off the last box on the checklist. "Place the animals inside the test chamber."
The scientists placed the cats into the test chamber and closed the door. "Computer! Seal the airlock!"
"Sealing airlock," the computer replied in it's robotic voice. There was a short pause and a hissing noise. "Malfunction."
Suddenly, the test chamber was released from the wall. Multiple alarms blared as oxygen started to pour out of the hole. One of the scientists took out a communications device and yelled into it "There's a breach in the walls! Get to the escape pods and hyperjump out of here!"
The scientists ran out of the room towards the escape pods as the tether snapped and the test chamber went hurtling out into space.
1 year earlier...
Icestorm was woken up from her nap by yowling cats. She jumped out of her nest and raced outside. The normally peaceful ThunderClan camp was overflowing with battling cats. She caught the sharp scent of ShadowClan from the attackers and deduced that it must be ShadowClan that was invading. She jumped on one of the ShadowClan cats and clawed it's back, and it ran away yowling. Just as soon as the battle had started, it was over. Goldstar, the ThunderClan leader, was running around the camp checking on everyone who had fought in the battle. After he had checked on everyone, he jumped onto the Highledge and called a clan meeting.
"Luckily, no one was injured in the battle, but we should send a patrol to make sure they are gone. Flamepelt, you can lead the patrol. Take Blazetail, Icestorm, Lightpelt, and Nightpaw. If they are still on our territory, drive them out if you can."
"On it," replied Flamepelt, gathering the cats for the patrol with a flick of his tail. Icestorm padded over to join the patrol. At a signal from Flamepelt, they took off into the undergrowth, following the scent of ShadowClan. They trekked on in silence until Flamepelt hissed "Look at that!"
There were prey bones scattered all over a clearing, with ShadowClan scent thick upon the air. Suddenly, the bushes up ahead rustled and a patrol of ShadowClan cats fell upon the patrol. A cat tackled Icestorm, and she scratched his belly with her hind paws until the cat gave a yowl and raced off. Right before she could fling herself back into the battle, something flew through the air and got stuck into the ground less than a tail-length to the side of her. The battling cats scattered as three twolegs ran into the clearing, pointing at cats with weird forepaws that shot twoleg things at the cats.
"Get out of he-" a cat yowled before one of the twoleg things hit him. He tottered on his paws and fell to the ground. Other cats were receiving similar treatment from the twolegs, but to Icestorm's relief, she saw that all of them were still breathing. Suddenly, one of the twoleg things hit her, and she felt a sharp prick that gave way to a pleasant numbness. The last thing she heard before blacking out was one of the twolegs yowling to the others in victory.
Icestorm woke up to the sound of twolegs panicking. She remembered waking up in the belly of a monster, and when the twolegs noticed they threw something back that made her fall asleep again. The next few moons was a cycle of eating gross kittypet food, sleeping, and waiting, as all of the cats were kept in separate places.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang, and she sat straight up and for the first time, looked around where she and other cats were contained. They were in a compartment about three-quarters the size of the ThunderClan camp. She looked at who was in there, and she recognized Flamepelt, Blazetail, Nightpaw, and a few ShadowClan cats. There were some other cats that were obviously not Clan cats, as they were keeping to themselves. Probably rogues.
"Does anyone know where we are," she yowled to the cats that were in the chamber.
"No need to yell so loud," replied Flamepelt, wincing. "The sound echoes so much that it sounds like all the cats in here said it at once. It seems to be moving, so I guess we will find out later."
All of the cats sat in silence, except for the occasional muttered conversation or whimper. There was no way to be sure how much time had passed. They found some mice in some weird dens at the side of the chamber, and Flamepelt rationed them out between all of the cats. They were entering what Icestorm thought was the 5th day when the chamber suddenly trembled violently, and all of the cats were slammed against one of the walls. The temperature started rising until she thought that she would roast in her skin when the chamber suddenly impacted into something and skidded against the ground with the sound of broken undergrowth and ripping metal. Sunlight poured into the chamber as it shuddered to a halt.
Cats that had been huddling into the corners attempting to survive the crash raised their heads and looked out, screwing their eyes against the bright sunlight.
They had crashed into a forest, but it looked much different than the forest that ThunderClan or ShadowClan had lived in. The trees were at least twice as tall, with perfectly smooth trunks. There was a normal amount of undergrowth, but all of it was unrecognizable, such as plants with bright yellow berries and spiky leaves, and most of the plants seemed larger than usual. She was still looking around when something flew out of the bushes and toward them.
To say the least, Jeff was surprised when a large escape pod crashed down on his storage shed. As he rushed out of his house to see what was going on, at least 15 people poured out and ran down the street, getting into different civilian-owned cats along the way. Multiple people cried out in anger as they saw their cars driving away from their houses.
The crew members and scientists in their cars drove as fast as possible towards the space center, dodging around cars and pedestrians at 120 miles per hour. After 3 hours, they arrived at the launch pad and immediately assigned a private flight to the space command.
2 hours later, they boarded onto a small space vessel and shot off towards the ISS, where the space command was stationed at. When they arrived at the space station, they immediately sprinted towards the conference chamber. The command was not happy with being interrupted, but they immediately became worried when they saw the expressions on the crew's faces.
"What happened?" asked one of the commanders.
"Discovery... explosion... escape... cats... WASP 5..." one of the scientists gasped out before falling in a dead faint.
"Tony, get the medics," the commander ordered, and one of the attendants of the meeting jumped up and rushed out of the room towards the hospital bay. "Now," the commander asked the scientist that seemed the least affected by the running. "Tell us what happened."
"Well," replied the scientist, "We were working on our research mission to see how different species of animals react to the conditions in space. We were about a day's worth of hyperjumps away from here when an airlock malfunction caused the test chamber to break off of the ship and hurtle out into space, and we barely made it out before all of the oxygen in the room was sucked up into space. We launched the escape pods, but one of them, the one where the captain and four of the crew were in, had some debris hit their hyperdrive and disable it. The last transmission that we received concerning it's location said that it had impacted on the planet WASP 5."
"Let me search up that planet in the database," replied one of the command staff as they typed into the computer. They brought up a page, scanned it quickly, and said "It seems that WASP 5 is a planet that we investigated as part of the population spread project back in 2367. The population was getting too dense, and they went about searching for habitable planets. That's how we found Axon 4, the planet where part of the population is experimenting with living on at the moment. The commander back then sent a research team over to the planet in order to receive data about living conditions, and the first few transmissions were promising. It had liquid water and edible vegetation, and we thought that it might be the solution. However, there were some dangerous animals on that planet, and one night the whole settlement was destroyed by some sort of giant snake creature, which we caught on video." They brought up a video which showed a giant monstrous snake, looking to be about 200 feet long and as thick as a tree trunk, slithered through a temporary encampment, destroying everything in it's path.
There was a stunned silence, broken by the commander snapping out orders. "Arrange a rescue mission for them at once!"
"We'll do it," replied another command staff member, "But on such short notice it will take at least a month to arrange. However, the escape pod has enough food for 4 people to last 3 weeks."
"Put through a call to Starsoar," the commander ordered, naming one of the spaceship building companies. "They specialize in building small transport ships."
"Putting them through now."
Suddenly, one of the walls at the end of the room started glowing, and it changed to the image of a large room, with people frantically running around carrying starship parts and testing prototypes and designs. When the person who appeared to be the production manager noticed that he had a call, he ordered the working people to stop what they were doing. "So what can I do for you?
"We need a rescue transport for picking up someone from a distant planet. How long would it take to get it ready?" asked the commander.
"Well, since at the moment were working on another transport to Axon 4 to move some of the population, so your order should be ready in about a month."
"We need it in 2 weeks."
There was silence on the other end, then the project leader snapped to the staff, which were behind him watching, "You heard the commander, get going! If we finish this in 2 weeks, you lot can get a pay raise!" turning back to the commander, he said, "Excuse me, I need to get this lot working." With that, he ended the call.