“Andromeda, I’m not sure this is a good idea,” the male voice was clear and calm despite the severe buffeting the small pod was taking.
“I know what I’m doing,” Andromeda Cunningham focused on the monitor in front of her, hands held tightly to the controls as she lay prostrate within the cramped spacecraft. Outside the pod incessant flames continually burst inches away from the hull as it penetrated the planet’s atmosphere.
“Exterior temperature 7,000 K. Your decent is too steep. You need to…” the monotone voice in her ear-bud tried to relay its urgency as best it could.
“Thanks Daniel, that’s enough,” She blew a golden strand from her face as she pushed the shuttering craft further.
“The heat is penetrating your field; your triple shard lattice generates a 3 Gigahertz tachyon field at maximum. You would need a level five shard or a quad lattice to protect the pod from…”
Daniel was a good Travel A.I., but he could be annoying at times. Of late he had become increasingly obtrusive. She couldn’t blame him though; he was just following his programming.
The violent shaking of the craft continued as she made her descent. Her monitor was a cloud of flame behind the various flashing meters and readouts that reflected the status of the casket sized craft. Her descending spiral circled the small planet twice before leaving the turbulence behind. The panel before her cleared suddenly to reveal a desolate rocky landscape. A small flashing dot appeared on the new horizon, marking the signal she had followed here.
“Daniel, adjust the field aft, and bring us down near the beacon, five clicks out,” she released the controls and sighed.
“Gladly,” came the reply in the same even tone. Andromeda couldn’t hear the relief in the Daniel’s voice, but she liked to imagine that she had given her A.I. a good scare.
“Andromeda, after landing it will take some time to depressurize, would you like to play a game while we wait?”
“No,” her tone was now even more flat than his.
“We have been deep-space for quite some time, and as you know, part of my function is to monitor and maintain you psychological well being. You haven’t used any enrichment programs in the past three weeks, and your cog’ rating has dropped to three out of ten. Before heading out to the trade it might be a good idea to…”
“I said ‘No’ Daniel. Just bring us in and ready my suit to disengage from the pod,” Andromeda closed her eyes and tried to relax the tension in her neck. The AI was probably right. Her well-being was his job after all and he was good at it, even if he lacked a sense of adventure. The truth was she hadn’t been much in the mood for games for the last few months, not since she’d lost Ben.