A Planet’s hopes … dashed by Disaster

Mathew Sanderson, Captain of the HMS Bounty space ship looked out of his window at the golden covered surface of the planet Cirinius, some fifty thousand kilometres below them in the Pegasus system. After ten years of planning, and some six months in space, stored in cryogenic chambers, we humans had finally arrived at our chosen planet, on the other side of the known universe.

Astronauts: Marcus, the expedition leader, along with Caroline, Phil and Ralph had been launched in their shuttle, our short-range space craft, to orbit the planet, waiting for the signal, that it was safe to land.

“Looks like the relay satellite is working,” commented Phil, seeing the lights on the control panel light up.  Their first major task had been to deploy a communications satellite into the planet’s orbit.

Cirinius was almost twice the size of Earth; the long horizon, mountains and rocks dotted across the snow covered landscape.  With the satellite in orbit, surface communications had been enhanced to cover a larger area, and was able to communicate with Earth, instead of piggy backing its way back using radio waves.

“Good to know everything appears to be working,” Ralph spoke to himself as he uploaded the video feed with NASA, as they came online.

“HMS Bounty,” she spoke without any emotion in her voice, “you are cleared for landing, proceed at your discretion.”

“You would expect more from Earth, this is  a momentous achievement after six months in space,” suggested Ralph.

The shuttle’s computers are designed to automate everything, from minor approach adjustments to the final landing,  In the event of computer failure, Ralph the pilot would land it manually.

The entire landing, start to finish was being recorded; sure to be heard millions of times over the next few weeks by space enthusiasts, the world over.  “HMS Bounty, beginning landing sequence.”

The world-wide co-operation in extra terrestrial matters was no longer political sustainable, when thousands upon thousands couldn’t afford to put food on their table.  The planet was in desperate need of space and food, to house and feed Earth’s growing population increase.

America’s suggestion of a new home in space, was considered no more than a pipe dream – forcing them to go it alone, with the eyes of the world upon them.

“I see one of the supply ship,” exclaimed Marcus.  “There’s another down by the tree’s,” he pointed out to his fellow astronauts.

A total of five unmanned cargo ships stocked with food, equipment, water, oxygen and seed stock had been sent ahead of the mission.  All had landed safely on the surface, where they waited the astronauts arrival.

“That’s precision flying,” Phil spoke out loud to anyone who would listen.  “Those boys on Earth are good!”

Marcus nodded in agreement.

Planting the flag in the surface of Cirinius was the moment everyone would remember, but in fact the first humans on the planet had but one simple task: to survive.  The hopes of their home world rested firmly on their shoulders.

The crew of HMS Bounty was methodically preparing to take their first steps onto this newly discovered planet.  The main video camera was extended from the underside of the shuttle, where it would film their first steps, and send back the live feed to Earth.

Caroline Joined Phil near the airlock.  “where’s Marcus?”

“Already in the airlock suiting up, he’s so excited to get out there.”

Inside the airlock, Marcus climbed into his pressure suit and helmet, under the watchful gaze of the empty suits and helmets lined along the wall.  The suits were white in colour with gold visors.  Average temperature on Cirinius, ranged from 25 degrees Fahrenheit during daytime hours to -40 degrees Fahrenheit at night.  Thankfully, the climate controlled suits would compensate, for the changes in temperature.

The order of exit had been predetermined by mission control.  Marcus the expedition leader would be first to step onto the planet’s surface, followed by Caroline, and finally Phil.  Ralph was to remain on board to maintain the link with Earth and monitor the vitals of the astronauts from a safe distance.

That was the way mission control wanted it to happen.

Marcus drew a few deep breaths to test the suits air valves were working, and checked the gauges on his over-sized wrist watch control panel.

Not waiting for Phil and Caroline to join him, he pressed the outer airlock door controls.  He watched and waited for the light to turn from red to green.

Marcus poked his head out, lifts up his gold sun-visor, and gazes in wonder at the deep ice plains which lay before him.  He finally steps down onto the surface.

The suit keeps him warm, as he walks away from the craft.  He surmises to himself, this must be their wintertime.

Some twenty paces later, he comes to a halt, as the indicator alarm on his wrist starts bleeping – a warning, as he crunches the snow beneath his feet to keep them warm.

He hears the hum of pumps and fans of his portable life support backpack, get louder and louder, as they strain to supply him with oxygen.

“Marcus,” shouted Phil through the helmet’s radio, “we three are supposed to step down together for all the world to witness our steps!”

Marcus debated whether to respond, but he turned faced the craft and smiled.  “I just wanted to be the first to step on this planet.”

An angry silence followed.  “We are coming out,” replied Phil.  “You are not hogging all the glory for yourself.”

Marcus could only imagine the furious face that lay hidden behind the sun-visor.  “Don’t come out here, the snow is eating through my space-suit.  Save yourselves.”

Phil gasped in awe.  “Marcus get back inside.”

“I only have minutes before it eats through my air tank pipes.  Shut the door, and save yourselves.”

Phil and Caroline looked in the direction of Marcus, the expedition leader and geologist.  His choice to go out alone, had saved them all from certain death.

As their leader, Marcus knew his primary duty was the safety of his team.  “You must leave the surface immediately, and return to the space-craft, there is nothing you can do for me.”

As the sunlight was fading, Marcus watched as Phil and Caroline, closed the door on him and the new planet – once thought of as a new beginning.

We had hoped to transform the surface of the planet Cirinius, melt its ice, plant seeds, build houses for a new generation of people.  Instead we found a deadly planet, that would kill all those who set foot upon it.  Our mission leader Marcus Clarkson, gave his life, and will always be remembered for his bravery!

William Shakespeare: First steps as a Writer

So what was William Shakespeare doing before he made his debut in London?

It was a known fact, that he had often poached deer from Charlecote Park, the lands of Sir Thomas Lucy.  According to Nicholas Rowe and Archdeacon Davies, he had often been whipped for stealing venison and rabbits.

William Shakespeare’s performances on the London stage …

In the latter part of the 1580’s, Shakespeare arrived in London, hoping to make a name for himself.  By 1592 he had several plays being performed on stage, including “As You Like it.”

Out of utter disgust, Robert Greene the university – educated writer attacked his words in print.  “There is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide, supposes he is well able to bombarst out a blank verse as the best of you, and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake – scene in a country.”

Scholars agree it was Greene’s way of saying William Shakespeare was reaching above his rank, and matching those trained in the art of writing.

By the early part of the 1590’s William Shakespeare had become a partner in an acting company who performed in London, known as the “Lord Chamberlain’s Men.”  In 1603 they changed their name to that of the “King’s Men” following the crowning of King James I.

One thing we have to note, is that during the 16th century, the theatre was not frequented very much by those of mobility or those of high ranking in society.  They showed their appreciation in other ways, by being patrons to the performing arts.

For William Shakespeare to make his mark he needed to attract somebody of importance to his works.  He was fortunate, that the Earl of Southampton; Henry Wriothesley liked what he read and saw, written and produced by this virtual newcomer.

Shakespeare dedicated his first two published poems to the Earl:

“Venus and Adonis” was published in 1593.  The story within the poem, tells the reader that Adonis was being seduced by Venus the goddess of love, by all means possible to her.  Adonis rejects her advances, and is killed by a boar, whilst out hunting, and where his blood falls upon the ground, a flower sprouted in his memory.

“The Rape of Lucrece” was published in 1594, and the story contained within the poem, tells of how Lucrece was raped by Tarquin a family friend.  She tells her father and husband of the event, and they promise to avenge her, then out of guilt she stabs herself to death.

Each poem was designed to show the guilt and moral confusions from lustful acts.  These poems proved to be very popular during the life of William Shakespeare, being re-printed many times.

William Shakespeare’s early years

A question I put forward is, what do we know of the greatest playwright and poet: William Shakespeare, who walked this earth and whence he came from.  It is my intention to answer some of these questions in my blog … so enjoy the ride.

William Shakespeare has been credited as England’s greatest playwright and poet of all times, having written thirty-eight plays, one-hundred and fifty-four sonnets and countless other poems and verses.  His works have been performed worldwide, and his poetry read by countless millions.

His exact date of birth is unknown, but research has found he has been credited with the same date as St.George’s Day.  It was a common practice at that time to perform the baptism of a child within a few days of birth.

William Shakespeare was born on the 23rd April 1564 to parents John Shakespeare an Alderman and Mary Arden in Stratford – upon-Avon, and baptised on the 26th April at Holy Trinity Church.

We know little of young Shakespeare’s schooling, other than we believe he attended King’s New School in Stratford, for the school was only a few hundred yards from the family home.  Based upon the teachings during the Elizabethan era, he would have received a grammatical education based upon Latin classical works.

When Shakespeare was 18, he married Anne Hathaway aged 26, and pregnant at the time, on the 27th November 1582 in Worcester.  She gave birth to a daughter; Susanna on the 26May 1583.

It is stated that the marriage had been by mutual consent according to locals, but you have to wonder.  For the old age custom of marriage banns being read out three times, never took place, only one reading in their case.  All the signs were there, of pushing the marriage through quickly.

William and Anne had two more children on the 2nd February; a daughter Judith, and son Hamnet who died aged eleven.

A Fox in Fear

Deep in the dense undergrowth
a fox lay on his side,
hardly moving with each breath
trumpets sounds through the forest.

Smooth fur, trembled and twitched
ear’s pivoted, towards lair’s entrance,
waiting for the sounds of danger
barking sounds of the hounds.

His heart beat rapidly with fear
his inner voice told him
death was close by, and
there was no denying that.

I won’t go easily
that is for sure
as I leave my mark,
some hounds will surely die!

A Crushed Civilisation

Is there any hope for us?
with our cities in ruins,
and our armies in retreat.

We surrendered to our enemies
to save the lives, of our people
still our identity, was taken from us.

We expected to be well treated
instead, most were executed,
and women, sold as slaves.

I would rather have died
like a warrior, with spear in hand
than face slow starvation…

Dunwich… Swallowed by the Sea

Dunwich, an easterly coastal town
with its own story to tell,
once a thriving community
reduced to one hundred souls.

If you stand upon the shoreline
and hear the ghostly bells,
it is meant as a sailors warning
that a bad storm, is on its way.

Who would have believed that a town
could be all but destroyed,
by the mighty force of the sea
in little over two hundred years.

Once a major trading centre
brought to its knees,
by the mighty force of the sea
destroying everything in its path.

Man would be its final end
the final nail in her coffin,
sending her last, remaining church
to be swallowed up, by the sea.

Heartfelt Feelings…

A voice washed over her
drowning out her senses,
swamping her brain
she was exhilarated, yet afraid.

Passionate feelings surged through her
she thought her heart would burst,
as the tide of his words flowed over her
she felt her strength, drained with each word.

As she sank to her knees
overwhelmed by love-drenched eyes,
she struggled against the hypnotic voice
It was too much, for her to bare.

She threw down her last threads of resistance
as she floated in a sea of words,
as the waves of his voice caressed her
any resistance, just floated away.

How long had she been dreaming?
rocked by the rhythm of his voice,
should I strike out, and take hold of reality
her captive heart cried out… just reel me in.

Promise of Immunity

With heavy steps of fear
I step through the surgery door,
to scores of waiting faces
and waiting room eyes.

With mask across my face
head to the check-in desk,
the nurse checks my temperature
all’s okay, please take a seat.

The minutes tick by
as the waiting gets to me,
until the clock’s sound is broken
by the calling of my name.

Down the hall
lined with chairs,
take my ticket
and wait my number.

My number is called
I step into the cubicle,
my details are checked
they inject me, with the vacine.

The promise of immunity
to those vacinated, they said
yet, still thousands catch
the dreaded covid19 disease.