"Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the pilot of the private cruiser Laurel-Lynn M4J679. I've just passed through a micro meteor shower in quadrant LBT13009 in the Horseshoe Nebula and have experienced structural damage."
Laurel Conyers switched off the microphone while she waited to see if anyone would pick up the signal. Seeing that she'd dropped within viewing distance of the planet below her, she activated the craft's stealth mode. There was no sense in scaring the shit out of the natives.
Her radio squawked as it picked up a counter transmission. She turned it on again and started panting and gasping.
"Mayday! Mayday! This is the pilot...." She repeated the previous message.
"Laurel-Lynn M4J679--this is Station O2412 on the outer rim. What's your status?"
Laurel frowned, dropping a little lower as she saw a land mass appear in her viewing port. "Station O2412--This is Laurel-Lynn M4J679. I'm hemorrhaging air. The rudder is sluggish. Some computer malfunction. I'm going to have to set it down for repairs. Copy?"
"Laurel-Lynn M4J679, this is Station O2412. You are in restricted space. I repeat, you are in restricted space. Can you make it to the next system?"
"Negative. I'm going to have to find something closer--really close," Laurel said, panting into the microphone for a little added drama before she turned it off and leaned forward in her seat. A smile curled her lips. There was a village just below her. Pulling the cruiser in a wide turn, she headed back for another look, dropping a little lower.
"Private cruiser Laurel-Lynn M4J679, this is Station O2412. You are not authorized to land in that sector. I repeat, you are not authorized to land in that sector."
Laurel activated her microphone again. "Just what part of 'I'm fucking crashing' do you not understand, Station O2412?"
As she did her second fly by, she saw that it was a good sized city. In the center was a large building she decided was probably a temple--primitives were always big on worshipping gods. There were two smaller buildings on either side of the 'temple' which she figured must be gathering places of some sort, since they looked to be too big to be a single family dwelling. Unless they were something like apartments? The streets were laid out in a perfect grid, forming squares. Dwellings nestled shoulder to shoulder around the squares.
It looked perfect to her--not too big, but big enough to have a reasonably good sized population, she decided. She began looking for a clearing where she could land her craft.
"Laurel-Lynn M4J679 this is Station O2412, the only planet in that system with breathable air is the fourth planet from the star, NY3410--primitive society, believed to be hostile, protected species. Can you make repairs in space?"
"Negative, Station O2412. Guess I'm just going to have to take my chances with the barbarians. It shouldn't take me more than a couple of weeks, tops. I'll check back when I've had time to look everything over. Laurel-Lynn M4J679 out."
Really! All the panting and gasping and acting fearful was starting to make her head swim.
Switching off the radio, Laurel concentrated on the terrain below. It was pretty thick with vegetation--no bare spots. "Shit. I'm just going to have to make a hole."
After checking the distance from the village, she targeted a spot near a small stream of water, did a life form scan and hit it with a laser beam when she saw there was no higher life forms within the immediate vicinity. The beam cut a twenty foot diameter swath through the vegetation, clearing it to the dirt. Satisfied, she dropped her cruiser into the 'hole' she'd made.
When the onboard computer informed her that the craft had landed, she shut everything down, threw off her safety belts and moved to the viewing ports. A shiver of delight went through her. "I'm going to have the best damned thesis that University has ever set eyes on!" she said gleefully.
Unfortunately, she only had a couple of weeks, tops, to gather her data. Less than that if there was a confederation cruiser close enough to do a fly by and check her story out.
With that thought, Laurel drew her laser pistol from the holster and studied the interior of the cruiser carefully, trying to decide where to put the holes. Fortunately, it occurred to her before she'd done it that micro meteors would have struck outside to in, not vice versa. Sighing, she opened the hatch and lowered the gang plank.
The scent of vegetation that struck her as the door slid open was nearly overwhelming. The smell of flowers, and fruit, dead things, rotting vegetation--and burned vegetation, assaulted her in a cacophony of smells.
"This is going to take some getting used to," she muttered. "Who'd have thought plants would smell?" The plants on the space station didn't seem to have that much smell, but maybe it was because there weren't nearly so many plants so close together?
Or, maybe it was the dirt?
Or the animals?