Stings just a little. It’s gnawing the tips of my ears, the sides of my cheeks and even the tip of my nose. There’s a grinding sensation rolling down my nostrils with every breath I take and I am quickly reminded to use my mouth but even then, my teeth must be kept hidden as they too will become the quick victim of this pain. Every bit of me that is exposed is susceptible to this strange attack.
I insert the key into my ignition terminal and my information console comes to life. Blue and green light flicker and my sensors indicate they are fully operational. An environmental diagnostic check is automatically conducted by my onboard computer as I fight back the effects of a strange world’s defenses to my presence. I am an alien to its terrain and it does not welcome me with open arms.
The centuries of scientific advances and achievements are processed by my onboard computer in seconds and I finally receive a message. It’s from three hundred and one years in the past. Surely, this frozen landscape has not kept me that long, has it? Nevertheless, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit has let me know – as I read my data screen – it is negative 5 degrees outside. The condition that has befallen me, I now know, is called “cold.”
I turn the key and attempt to start my main engine. My vessel has been sitting in these elements since the end of the last solar cycle and the effects of their power have taken their toll. The viscosity of the refined prehistoric fossilized carbon fluid, which powers the core of my Machtschlager 6.7, has increased. As power is directed into the core of the engine bay to compress the fuel for start up, the main computer indicates the backup exothermic coils must be activated to achieve ignition.
I’m just slightly worried as this phenomena has only come up in my studies of such cold conditions. A practical example was never made available as I am captaining one of the newest models. It does not require such measures on a regular basis. I quickly reach into the fissures of my mind to recall any such similar instance and come up with nothing. Faith placed in my training, I continue the ignition sequence. With a surge of luck and a sigh of relief, the engine is activated. I cross my fingers for moments as it is clearly not the same as any other startup sequence. Everything shakes through the cab as things stabilize. After a few moments, they do stabilize and I breath a little easier.
I input the proper adjustments to the main computer to increase the thermal energy in my atmospheric shield to clear away the solidified dihydrogen monoxide which has coated it from the night before. Soon, its elemental state is changed as it is liquified and wiped away, providing me a now-clear view of the landscape before me. This terrain lacks the color and warmth of where I am from. I recall the personal tastes of friends and loved ones back home and I can but hear their voices drearily commenting on the state of the terra before me. It is almost all of one color; white. This land is a dark frozen one and, to many, inhospitable and depressing.
But I am here on a mission.
The excitement alone drives me. I’ve traveled thousands of hectometers to get here and nothing was going to stop me. Seek and destroy. My weapons systems are charged, as are every targeting array I have available. My enemy is out there. She weaves in and out, up and down every ancient pass created by the mysterious vulcan and tectonic forces from a time long ago. Blending into the flora seamlessly and almost innately, it will take everything I have to find her.