There is An Imposter Among Us

Taliya Lindley

Year 2040. Spaceship of Extraterrestrial Being Research (SEBR) had just reached the atmosphere, entering the unknown of our universe. Twenty years ago, it was theorized that there were extraterrestrial beings on the newly founded planet, TOI-700 d, 101. 4 light years away. Fortunately, scientists have recently discovered a new synthetically made element, “Qualocium” which aids in the process of travel. This allows spacecrafts to travels billions of times faster than the speed of light.

There are eight of us traveling to the new planet to study the new species on TIO-700 d. None of

us are allowed to know each other’s names, so when we can’t expose information about one another when we go back home. All we know is that none of us had very important lives to live; no families and no big stance in society, and yet we’re astronauts. We were all secretly notified about this opportunity and all agreed because we were promised high rewards when the mission was complete. In the contract, we also had to change our identity when we returned to earth. The mission was very secretive.

In place of names, we each have a different colour of space suit, mine being green. The others

were: blue, red, white, brown, purple, black, and orange. When we needed someone’s attention, we’d just say something like, “Hey blue!”. It took a while for us to respond to our colours, but by the second week, it was embedded in our heads like names.

The trip there was supposed to take four years, compared to two million years without the help of

Qualocium. During this time, we all spent our hours, following the given schedule with multiple tasks. The tasks were all completed in one of 14 rooms: Cafeteria, Weapons, Navigation, O2, Shields, Communications, Storage, Admin, Electrical, Lower and Upper Engine, Security, Reactor, and Medbay. Once in a while, some rooms might have a broken machine; it would be our job to get to the room ASAP to prevent possible fatal results. For example, if the O2 pump were to break down and we didn’t get to it in time, we could run out of oxygen.

The four years went by quickly and we got as close to one another as could be expected,

considering we were prohibited from sharing personal information.

We had finally landed on TIO-700 d on the 1,539th day of travel. The first thing we did was scan the

planet from inside the spacecraft. To our eyes, there was no sign of water or life. It was all black and dry, kind of like charcoal. The sky was bright green and very dusty, as if someone had blown a whole shipment of matcha tea powder onto the planet. The planet also had two moons, one of them having a ring like Saturn. There was nothing lively about the planet visually.

After sending a message to earth, confirming that we had landed, we got suit up into our gear and

commenced to explore the planet. The gravitational pull was similar to Earth's, but a bit stronger, so it took a while for us to get used to the weight upon us.

On the planet we took samples of the black dirt and green dust in multiple areas of the planet. All

of us would take turns each day, going out of our craft to bring in more samples, while those inside would study the samples and analyze them using specific procedures.

No sign of life.

After a year of continuous sampling and testing, we still had no evidence of the planet having

potential for life. The odds were extremely low, and we knew there was only the slimmest chance finding anything living on TIO-700 d.

Before we packed up our equipment and supplies, we sent another message to Earth, regretfully

informing them we had no luck.

After much preparation, we were finally ready to lift off and travel another four years back to

home. We were all very upset that there was nothing new to discover after having travelled so far and for so long.

On day three of the return trip to Earth, we were all abruptly woken up by an alarm and flashing

lights caused by a malfunction in Reactor. We all got out of our pods and rushed to Reactor to repair the damage before it overheated. If the reactor over had heated, it would explode and cause an unstoppable fire in the spacecraft. After the reactor was fixed we had a meeting in the cafeteria.

“I don’t understand how that could have happened. I checked the reactor right before I went to

bed last night”, said Orange.

“Maybe you missed a step then”, replied Red

“There’s no way I’d miss a step. I have been doing this same task for 5 years now.” He crossed

his arms, “I bet it was an electrical issue. Blue, you’re in charge of converting power to the reactor, aren’t you?”

“And that’s exactly what I did! Brown was with me in the electrical room as well,” exclaimed

Blue. Brown nodded.

Everyone continued to argue until Black interrupted, “Okay, we’ll let this one slide for now, but

be sure you’re double-checking your task list everyday”.

Nobody said a word after that and we all returned to our pods, but only got one more hour of

sleep before the next day began. Everything resumed and we almost forgot what had happened the previous night. But once in a while, Blue and Red were seen whispering to one another, causing

underlying tension between other crewmates.

It was a couple days later that the same incident occurred again, at the same time of night as well!

After fixing the damage, we all met at the cafeteria once again to discuss the issue.

“Look, I know this looks bad, but you’ve got to believe that it wasn’t me!” Blue and Red were

glaring at each other, then back at Orange, “I even triple-checked!”

“Wait, where’s purple?” Brown exclaimed, “I didn’t see him in s either”.

We all put our tasks on hold and assigned different areas for each of us to search for Purple. As I

walked into Medbay, I saw Purple’s legs poking out from below the table and rushed to see her. “Purple, we’ve been looking for you everywhere“

I was so shocked I couldn’t keep my balance. I collapsed to the floor and started shaking. I pulled

off my helmet and vomited in the corner of the room.

Purple’s body was sliced in half.

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