> Seth Underwood Stories: Venera Khabitat Odin (est. reading time- 19 min. )

Venera Khabitat Odin (est. reading time- 19 min. )

While humanity has been more fascinated with colonizing Mars than Venus, it was with Venus that we learned we were no longer the center of the universe. This Earth sized twin still held some mysteries even for the future, and it would be that humankind would finally set foot on the surface. Most of humanity’s dealing with Venus has been through the use of radar observations from Earth, or from orbital and flyby satellites. 
The Russians placed six spacecraft on the surface out of 11 attempts, a few of which sent back photos for a moment before being destroyed by the crushing atmospheric pressure and heat. At one point, NASA sent a lander equipped with two A 1 Androids to the Venusian surface only to have them be crushed on impact as the two Androids transmitted back a live feed of their last minutes. 
It would be a future orbital mission using x-ray scanning technology that would allow humanity to scan the subsurface of Venus. It showed Venus had an active mantel of lava deep below the surface, but because of the slow axial rotation and lack of a large moon, this lava was not being pulled to the surface as on Earth. It was because of this x-ray mission that an alternative theory was proposed concerning the Venus resurfacing event. Most scientists rejected this theory, but it stated if there was enough degassing of the atmosphere from the solar wind this would cause the surface pressure to decrease just enough so that a planet wide volcanic eruption would occur. 
Again the Russians would take the lead with the Venera Khabitat Odin, or the Venus Habitat One. Assembled in Earth orbit, it was as large as a small building, and designed to fly and land on Venus to allow a crew of four humans to live on the surface for up to two years. The habitat also included a compliment of five A 3 androids to act as general workers and two A 4 androids to be a medical and scientific support. Included was also a fully integrated AI computer control system to help with the gravity and fusion systems. 
It had been theorized and understood that as the quantum forces congealed and formed matter, that this process produced the graviton as a byproduct reaction with space time. It would be later that scientists would detect this reaction through its effects upon the other elemental particles. The near accidental discovery of a graviton particle wave through oscillations in the magnetic containment fields of fusion reactors would lead to graviton production and quantum gravity control. The Venus Habitat was going to be a major test of the most advanced systems in an extreme setting. 
The Venus Habitat used the latest gravity fold drive as its form of main propulsion versus the older push pull gravity drive. It had the latest quantum gravity field generator and reflection technology. It would use this technology to overcome the problems of Venus’ atmosphere by projecting outward a quantum gravity bloom to lower the gravity. 
Outside the habitat, the gravity would be lower and in effect create a bubble of lower pressure and heat around the habitat. Even with the lower pressure from the quantum gravity bloom, they would still need hard suits for outside work. This mission was a proof of concept concerning the debate with the low pressure theorists. For if the low pressure theorists were right then the gravity bloom in theory should create some effect, but if wrong it would do nothing. 
While the Russians built and operated the project, the Universal Bruun Yoso Corporation, an international space mining corporation, mostly funded it. It’s American Euro Exploration Division, the Williams Bisgaard Division, would provide the needed human crew specialists. The Russian government would provide ground control and orbital construction. The Russians insisted on one aspect, which was that the human crew be all female. Although many “sexist behaviors” between men and women had been socially resolved over the years, the Russian government still had enough documented experiences of poor male-female interactions in such prolonged isolation that they demanded an all-female crew to ensure mission success. The Russian scientific history showed women performed better than men in such prolonged isolation experiments, despite men showing greater optimism as a stress coping mechanism. 
The habitat comprised the human crew: Eva Watson, a Geologist; Malaya Harrell, a Biologist; Veerle Pastink, AI Robotics Specialist; and Alicia Blindeman, General Engineer & Flight Specialist. 
What transpires below is the last known conversation with Venera Khabitat Odin, along with the events that follow by RKA Mission Control to determine what happened. 
Mission Day Sol 475 
“This is RKA Mission Control. Venera Khabitat Odin, we are no longer receiving telemetry data.” 
“Are you there Venera Khabitat Odin? Venera Khabitat Odin?” 
Static is returned to RKA Mission Control. 
RKA Mission Control seeks help from European Space Agency operating a research satellite in orbit around Venus to help with communications. 
Mission Day Sol 476 
“This is RKA Mission Control. Please respond Venera Khabitat Odin. Venera Khabitat Odin?” 
A faint, garbled response is heard by RKA Mission Control. 
After cleaning up the message received, “This is Megan. Power levels are low. Suit failure occurring.” 
RKA Mission Control determines that Megan is one of the A 4 Androids according to the flight manifest. They bring two AI Robotic Specialists in to help figure out what has happened, while they make attempts to improve communications reception. 
“Megan, this is Filenkova Kira Artemievna with RKA Mission Control. Where are you?” 
Returned is static, followed by “This is Megan. I am on the surface.” 
“Megan, this is Karbainov Robert Yurievich with RKA Mission Control. Why are you on the surface?” 
Again a brief pause of static followed by, “This is Megan. I was told to go out and collect growth samples.” 
“Megan, this is Filenkova. Where is Venera Khabitat Odin?” 
A pause of static followed by, “Venera Khabitat Odin is 15 meters from me.” 
“Megan, this is Robert. What is Venera Khabitat Odin’s status?” 
A pause of static followed by, “Venera Khabitat Odin appears crushed.” 
Robert turned to Filenkova and said, “We need to download Megan’s memories before she goes offline.” 
“I agree, but the communication signal is going to cause some errors.” 
“What other choice do we have?” 
“Megan, this is Filenkova. We want to download a copy of your memories.” 
A pause of static followed by, “This is Megan. I require the pass key to be transmitted. Please hurry. Power levels reaching critical, and suit is failing.” 
Robert turned to Filenkova, “Pass key? Do we have that?” 
“I don’t think so.” 
“Who does? Who owns this Android?” Robert had a panic look in his eyes. 
“It should belong to the Williams Bisgaard Division, but we need to confirm that.” said Filenkova trying to remain calm. 
Turning to the mic, “Megan, this is Robert. Can you confirm that your owner’s contract is with Williams Bisgaard Division?” 
There were a few seconds of static followed by, “This is Megan. My arms feel hot. Near boiling. The suit is failing.” 
“Stay with me, Megan. Can you confirm your owner’s contract with Williams Bisgaard Division?” 
Another time delay of static was heard followed by, “This is Megan. Yes. Williams Bisgaard Division. My legs are now hot. Hurry.” 
Robert and Filenkova quickly contacted the Williams Bisgaard Division contract representative and got the needed code, transmitted it to Megan, and the download a copy of Megan’s memories began. After about ten minutes the transmission ceased, and all attempts to reconnect failed. It was determined that Megan’s hard suit must have finally failed. 
Filenkova said to Robert, “It’s going to take at least a week to decompress and clean up this data before we can even try to emulate it in an AI system. To make matters worse, the transmission stopped midway.” 
“I know, but it’s all we have to go on. I will tell Command.” 
Mission Day Sol 477 
RKA Mission Control informs the Williams Bisgaard Division of Universal Bruun Yoso Corporation of the loss of Venera Khabitat Odin. 
Mission Day Sol 478 
A joint press release between RKA Mission Control and the Williams Bisgaard Division is issued concerning the loss of communications with the crew of Venera Khabitat Odin, and that immediate actions are being taken to restore communication. 
Mission Day Sol 483 
Filenkova’s concerns about potential corruption in the data download were justified, as the data transmitted to them was not in any sequential order. Usually this isn’t an issue when you have the complete data set from an AI brain, but when you have just ten minutes of compressed information you end up with basically a random set of events and unconnected emotions. 
Both Filenkova and Robert worked throughout the day with the downloaded data set to get an AI simulation to work with it. Eventually they got a stable AI simulation of the data set despite the jumbled nature. 
Mission Day Sol 484 
Standing in front of the conference room, filled with various officials from RKA Mission Control and the Williams Bisgaard Division, Filenkova and Robert introduced themselves. They turned lights down, and they played upon a wall vid screen the memory data set they had retrieved from Megan. 
“We believe these first few memories we are about to see are from a previous work experience.” said Filenkova. 
On the wall vid screen plays out a few scenes of a medical facility on a mining asteroid. Megan appears to be treating a few miners after an accident. The scene plays out as seen from Megan’s eyes, so the small gathering observes from Megan’s perspective of her placing bandages and doing basic wound care. 
“The memories that are coming up next are from the mission.” said Robert. 
Mission Memory 1 
Those assembled watch on the wall video screen a scene of the Habitat crew apparently celebrating their touch down on Venus. 
We see Veerle Pastink with a large bottle of champagne in her hands. Alicia Blindeman says, “How did you get that aboard?” Veerle says cheekily, “I have my ways.” 
The RKA Mission Control Commander commented, “Well, that explains the extra day they wanted before they explored the surface.” 
Mission Memory 2 
The next memory shows Malaya Harrell in the biology lab. 
“Megan, can you come here and look at these samples?” 
“Yes, Malaya.” Megan’s voice is heard responding. 
Megan walks over to where Malaya is sitting in the viewing port of a scanning electron - microscope. Megan then looks into the viewing port, and what appears on the vid screen next is a bacterium. 
Megan pulls back, and is heard saying, “Malaya, I believe I saw bacteria.” 
“Megan, do you know what this means?!” Malaya said with excitement. 
We hear Megan saying, “That Venus has life on it.” 
“Everyone thought it was too hot for life to exist at these temperatures, but there it is. Right there!” Malaya said, pointing to the viewing port. 
Megan is heard saying, “Yes. I concur, Venus has a bacterial extremophile.” 
“And they wanted me to do balloon studies. The damn life is living on the ground where it belongs, not in the clouds.” 
We hear Megan saying, “So we will not do the balloon releases?” 
“Okay, to humor them, I’ll do one or two. But that’s it.” Malaya said, crossing her arms. 
Mission Memory 3 
The next memory, we see the entire crew gathered in the central area of the Habitat. 
“Malaya, are you right about these bacterial extremophiles? That there are two types?” asked Eva Watson. 
“Yeah. There seem to be two kinds living on the surface. One is feeding off the CO2 in the atmosphere. The others are around those small vents, you discovered. They are living off the various gases that come out.” Malaya said. 
“I am concerned about those small vents. I am already seeing some instability in the gravity field bloom around the edges. You know the gravity bloom at the edges is technically higher gravity, because it’s just pushing away the excess quantum particles.” added Alicia. 
Eva commented, “Alicia, I am uncertain what is causing the instability. I know right now there don’t appear to be any lava plumes being attracted to the gravity bloom. Despite the habitat sitting on a large magma pool below it, based on my readings.” 
“Look, I know all this is fascinating. But can we keep the surface excursions to a minimum with the droids? If we keep going at the current rate, I’m going to run out of spare parts. These droids weren’t really designed for these hard suits, and it’s putting a lot of extra strain on their servos, even with the lower gravity bloom.” Veerle added. 
Mission Memory 4 
The next memory image that came up on the vid screen was fuzzy and fragmented. It showed Veerle working on Megan’s arm. We could hear Veerle saying, “I told them not to work you droids so much on the surface. Damn. Your servos are a mess. All Malaya and Eva care about are those damn microbes and the mineral samples. I just know what Eva is going to say in her geology report. ‘Despite the native life, Venus is worth mining.’. Damn corporate geologists.” 
Mission Memory 5 
The next memory fragment to be played is just audio. What we could hear are system alarms going off followed by Alicia saying, “The gravity bloom is destabilizing. The gravity field reflectors are showing an enormous mass moving beneath us. Can you confirm, Eva?” 
We hear Eva saying, “The lava plume is moving. Brace yourselves, a seismic wave is about to hit.” 
“I am going to increase the gravity bloom to match Venus.” We hear Alicia saying. 
There is a big bang sound heard and other sounds of stuff hitting the floor. 
Mission Memory 6 
The final memory fragment shows Malaya talking to Megan near an airlock. 
“Megan, this is important. I need you to suit up and go past the gravity bloomfield.” 
“But, Malaya, why would I do that? What is past the bloomfield?” We hear Megan asking. 
“Look, just go past the gravity bloom and collect growth samples.” 
“I don’t understand?” We hear Megan saying in confusion. 
Malaya grabbed Megan by the shoulders, and looked straight at her and said the following, “Look, I am going to stop Veerle. She is part of an anticorporate terrorist hate group. I need to stop her before she kills us all. I need you outside the bloomfield in case something goes wrong, so you can tell RKA Mission Control. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” Megan is heard responding. 
What happens next are scenes of Megan getting into a hard suit, walking out on the surface of Venus towards what appears to be a shimmering glassy wall. We see Megan putting out her hard suit’s gloved right hand as she pushes through the shimmering glassy wall. There are suit alarms heard concerning structural compromise as Megan passes through to the normal gravity on the surface of Venus. 
Then Megan turns around and faces the gravity bloom. The scene shows a reflection of the surrounding landscape upon the gravity bloom and shimmering inside the bloom was the habitat. In an instant, we see the gravity bloom collapsing towards the habitat, and as it does, there is a rush of wind knocking Megan down to the volcanic surface. What we see next is the crushed habitat from a clear sudden gravity field collapse. Then appears a fusion generator failure, ripping a sizeable hole through the center of the habitat. 
They turn the lights up in the conference room, and Filenkova stood up before those gathered and said the following, “Well, that is all we have from the download.” 
The RKA Mission Control Commander stood up and turned to the Williams Bisgaard Division representatives, “The problem is not on our side. I can safely conclude your side has a major personnel issue that needs to be dealt with. For now, I say we honor these women as heroes and move on.” 
The head Williams Bisgaard Division representative rubbing his temple said, “It would appear we have some HR housekeeping to do internally. We should issue a joint press release. We should cite their tragic death was caused by a freak volcanic eruption.” 
The RKA Mission Control Commander shaking the hand of the Williams Bisgaard Division representative said, “Agreed.”
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