Alien atmospheres can have strange effects on people from earth. Strange, BIG effects…
When Darren’s trial run of his home planet’s first FTL drive leaves him crash landed on an alien planet he finds himself face to face with aliens! Though, the atmosphere seems to have an effect on him, and he isn’t going to be face to face for long…
Commission for Skydon, who always has fun ideas and loves growth just as much as I do. Make sure to check out their Furaffinity for all of their work, including their ReSizer app comics which are based on a commission I did for them!
|| Old content, Originally posted December 25th, 2019 ||
"All systems are green. Path is clear. Awaiting final authorization for FTL Jump."
Darren sighed to himself as he flicked the radio receiver off. Reaching up to tug at the front of his suit the tiger shifted in his seat to better adjust where the tail portion of his suit stuck out behind him. Despite his confidence in the mission he still found himself breaking out in a nervous sweat as the moment approached. Any moment now the word would come back from ground control and he would be the first live person to make the jump to faster than light travel. As the silence dragged on waiting for them to respond he skimmed over the control panel again and again to ensure that he hadn't missed anything; looking for that one red light in the field of green that would tell him to abort. Then, the radio crackled to life with the feminine voice of the ground-control operator.
"Everything is green on our end. You are clear for jump. Good luck, and Godspeed."
With a deep breath, Darren reached down and pulled open the glass case covering the FTL jump switch. With one last check to ensure his harness was secure, he thumbed the button. The whir of the engine vibrated through the ship for a solid three seconds as it built power. Then, as if a cork popping from a champagne bottle, the ship abruptly bolted forward at speeds previously unimaginable. Darren found himself pushed into the seat despite the ship's inertial dampeners working to compensate for the drive's momentum. After a solid five minutes keeping a death grip on the armrests of his chair, Darren heard the beep of an alarm overhead. Thankfully, it was simply the notification that the drive was powering down. Seconds after, he saw the blur of lights that the view from the cockpit had become slow then a close-up view of a foreign planet pop into view as the ship abruptly slammed back to sub-light speeds. That's when the notification alarm turned into a dangerous, warning klaxon of the proximity alert. Daren's eyes went wide as he realized how quickly they were approaching the planet filling his view. There was no time to turn or break and his ship was coming in way too fast.
The FTL drive had worked flawlessly. But their distance calculations had been off. Instead of dumping him out in empty space a few light-seconds away from the planet he'd ended up almost right inside the atmosphere. As his hands danced across the controls, it was all he could do to angle the ship to avoid a direct collision with the ground.
Smoke billowed up from the metallic wreckage. Bits and pieces of metal debris that had broken off during impact lined the impact crater and mixed their own, smaller, plumes of smoldering smoke with the larger ones above. The ship had left a nearly half mile-long furrow in the ground where it had impacted and skidded through the ground before finally coming to a stop; half buried in the mound of displaced dirt it had created. Miraculously, for all the damage the ruined scrap that had once been an interstellar space ship had taken during its uncontrolled re-entry, the pilot had survived.
Darren let out a rattling hack of a cough as he struggled to regain consciousness. The tiger was still sprawled out on his front a few yards away from the ship; having crawled himself free of the wreckage shortly after impact before he had passed out. His whole body ached as if he had whiplash in every joint rather than just his neck and even his attempt to push himself up to his hands and knees sent spikes of pain through his limbs. During his first attempt to get upright his arms had given out under him and the faceplate of his space suit’s helmet slammed into the ground as he face planted into it. The second attempt fared better and at least this time he was able to get up enough that, when his body gave out, he toppled backwards onto his ass rather than face first again. Now able to push himself upright into a sitting position, he turned his attention to his surroundings only to find himself face to face with some kind of alien creature.
Alien was the only way he could think to describe the creature he abruptly found himself face to face with. It was leaning forward so the front of its face, or at least what Darren thought was its face, was less than an inch away from his helmet. It didn’t actually have any facial features, though. It looked almost like a cross between a jellyfish and some kind of amorphous goo-creature. It didn’t actually have any discernable distinct body parts but rather was simply a single blob of dark blue, slightly transparent, solid goo. On the ‘face’ of the creature rather than any features like eyes or a mouth it simply had two yellow lights recessed back into the depths of the ovoid shape that Darren assumed was its head. It’s eyes, he’d guess.
Even as his mind tried to analyze what he was looking at his body ratcheted up his adrenaline another notch and a strangled gasp of shock escaped him. He tried to scramble backwards, not even reacting as he painfully pinned his tail under his backside as he tried to crawl backwards. When he tweaked his chest during his movements, though, he did react. His shocked cry turned into a yelping hiss of pain from what he could only assume had to be a couple of fractured ribs. When he felt his back bump against a piece of his ship's wreckage Darren realized he had no more room to back pedal. Despite his retreat, the alien's face hadn't retreated from in front of his helmet at all. Instead, what Darren assumed was the analog for its neck had simply stretched from its main mass so that its head stayed the same distance away from him. At his gasp of pain, though, the creature recoiled slightly then backed off. Whether from fear at the unknown sound or concern at recognizing a sound of pain, Darren wasn't sure. With the creature's analog for a face no longer filling the view out of his helmet Darren did notice another, far more concerning problem though.
His Helmet's faceplate was cracked.
Even as he went slightly cross-eyed to stare down at the small spiderweb of cracks, most likely from when he had fallen on his face earlier, he could see the crack widen slightly. The tiger had no idea what the air composition was or if it was even breathable. For all he knew the air could have been full of mercury and carbon-monoxide and he'd be dead within seconds of breathing it in! He was still too addled from the impact and high on adrenaline to make any rational decision. He couldn't even figure out what part of his situation to freak out about the most: the crash and his near-death, the sudden confrontation with an alien life form, or the damage to his helmet and his potentially upcoming death. The alien had begun making some strange noise somewhere between a musical vibration and the squishing sound you make when you stick your fist into a mayonnaise jar. It had even pulled out some strange looking object that seemed to be made out of crystal and was waving it in his direction, but Darren had no idea what any of it mean. He was too focused on staring down at the damage to his helmet as the internal warning of his suit losing pressure began to beep in his ear. The shifting pressures inside and outside the suit only made the cracking worse.
"Fuck it." Darren growled to himself in frustration. If he was going to suffocate, he just wanted to get it over with.
Taking a deep breath to savor the last of his suit's air, one that painfully inflated his lungs in his damaged rib cage, Darren reached up to remove his helmet's face-plate. After holding his breath for only a moment in hesitation, he spread his nostrils wide and sucked possibly the only breath of this alien world's atmosphere he'd ever smell.
It was... sweet.
It was strange, the way the air smelled like it had a taste. It's like when someone is frying onions and the smell permeates the air so thoroughly and thickly you can all but taste it on your tongue. Except this scent had a strange sweet tang too it, almost like the powdered sugar in a pixie stick. It took Darren several moments of sucking in lungful after lungful of that oddly enticing air that he was actually breathing it! he wasn't suddenly suffocating and his lungs didn't feel like they were being burned from the inside out. Other than the painful agony of his bruised and cracked ribs creaking each time he breathed in too deep, he had no trouble breathing in this atmosphere whatsoever. In fact, he actually felt pretty amazing now that he'd gotten a few lungfuls of fresh air. It wasn't until he took his third deep breath that he realized there was no longer a sharp pain in his chest when he breathed in too deeply.
"What the?" He said aloud, causing the creature in front of him to recoil from the unexpected sound.
His hands tentatively brushed against his chest before pushing in on it expecting to feel a sharp pain from agitating his cracked ribs. But the pain never came. Experimentally, Darren sucked in as deep a breath as he could manage. Expanding his lungs out to their fullest he didn't even feel a tightness of a recently healed injury, much less the sharp pain of broken ribs. When he raised his gaze back up from his chest to look over at the alien he saw the creature had some strange object held in one of its arm-like appendages. The strange T-shaped crystal seemed to be emitting some kind of faint light in his direction and making beeping noises as the light moved up and down the tiger's torso.
"Hey, what is that thing? What are you doing?" Darren asked, reaching an arm towards the device the alien was holding.
Before his arm got halfway between them, though, it stopped mid-movement when the tiger felt the shoulder and sleeve of his suit pull skin tight then simply rip open along one of its seams. Eyes going wide, Darren looked down at his arm and found that thick tufts of his own fur were sticking of the seams where they had all seemed to split open simultaneously. That wasn't what had him so confused and amazed, though. Instead, what caught his eye was the fact that his arm was ripped! He'd been in good shape previously, he'd had to be in order to be chosen for this mission, but the thick mound of muscle for his bicep and the steely tendons along his forearm were a whole magnitude larger than he'd ever been before.
As if trying to grab attention from his first arm, he heard a now familiar ripping sound coming from his other side. looking over, he saw that his other arm's sleeve had ripped apart at the same as well to expose just as much newfound muscular flesh as his first arm had. It was only then as he started to really take stock of himself that he realized just how tight his space suit had become. Tilting his head, Darren realized he was actually having to look down at the alien who seemed to be staring in just as much shock at the tiger's sudden transformation as Darren himself was. Staring down at himself, he saw that his pectorals had burgeoned a good inch forward farther than they usually did, looking ready to shred the front of his suit open the moment he took another deep breath. His legs further down were just as ripped and muscular as his arms had become and just the act of Darren shifting his sitting position a bit caused them to flare and shred open his pants legs much like his arms had done to their sleeves.