Rays of azure hued starlight filtered in through the capacious glass pane, falling through the artificial atmosphere to illuminate the observation deck. This place's sole inhabitant glowed an equal lapis light as the scene before him reflected off of his pale skin and died among the sallow hairs adorning his cheeks, chin, lips and scalp. His eyes were the most colored feature about him, with their slight bloodshot tinge communicating his insomnia. Three of their simulated nights had he lost sleep, tending to his duties at the time Maria was supposed to take the helm. For the small moments when he did abdicate this throne, he spent most of his time here, awaiting the time when he could examine the subject of their coming task. Yet he had been away too long in the bowels of the ship, lending his presence to issues elsewhere, and had missed the first sighting. Now the planet loomed before him, with it's sun peeking around its horizon, throwing the ship into the shadow of this immense silhouette.
At this point of the morning, the officers were still straggling into the bridge, and both Maria and Lucrecia should be at the helm, supervising operations. Small points of light could be observed criss-crossing nearer to the surface of the planet. It would seem as though the pair of mates had already authorized scouts to venture near the planet, checking atmospheric density, planetary volume, and the chemical make up of any gasses present already. Even through the darkness there below, the captain could observe deep rifts, craters, seas of dust. There were no lightning flashes, and nothing that resembled a cloud. No greens broke the deep blacks and navies, and no shade of blue on the land scape was anything more fluid than jagged land. The starkness of the scene was not unfamiliar to him, and would be a sight seen six more times in the next nine years and five months. Yet never again would he see this place with all of its imperfections from this vantage again.
The Audhumla continually neared the imminent world, the massive ship increasingly dwarfed by the enormous globe. Trails of crystalizing exhaust emanations encircled the mothership, evidences of scouts scouring the ship for imperfections and damage from the seven month voyage before leaving for the planet. The lustrous panels comprising the Audhumla glimmered in the starlight. Every swirl of ice trail glittered in this shine. The single moon of this world was far overhead, a sentinel who's gaze could not be escaped.
Captain Ilúvatar turned away from the observation deck as he detected the sound of company issued boots approaching upon the metal walkway. He chose to move the other way, reluctant to come into contact with subordinates after his introspection. Instead, he maneuvered through a maintenance access way down three floors. This cramped space directly contrasted with the vastness he had just experienced. However, unlike the hulking mass of boundless lifelessness he had spent hours staring at, this confined stairwell was warm, humid, breathing steam. In its deepest bowels such as this, the ship once again formed a womb around Celebalda Ilúvatar, warm, alive, moist, yet constricting of movement, and confining of growth. Outside was a planet, a field of creation. Like the sandbox of a child, one could build about themselves a masterwork on these cosmic havens. Yet all of this space, all of this freedom for development could never encompass one as they had once been, for though there could be an ocean below, and out pulled a universe of life, there would always be the true universe, an ocean of endless and far stretching shores there above.
Ilúvatar exited the well where it lead to the main pathway from aft to bow, beginning all the way back in the engine room, and terminating ahead in the bridge. The floor was corrugated, a black rubberized padding over aluminum designed to prevent slipping and allow those caught within the grand corridor and all subsidiaries in the event of landing, liftoff, or turbulence to maintain their standing grip as well as possible. Above and to the right was the glass encompassed river serving as aqueduct for any Marinaias on board. The cool blues flowing gently through this tubing were so incredibly unlike the harsh light of that ultra hot star that shared the shade. The pipeline was currently empty, but the viaduct was relatively crowded. As these men and women began realizing tall, ghastly pigmented figure was who he was, they uniformly halted and parted to facilitate his movement between them. He took no notice of them or their faces or whether or not he had ever met them before. An officer he may know, but one of these men or women he would never speak to excepting the times when he addressed the ship as a whole.
When the doors to the bridge opened, Ilúvatar was greeted with a planet that had come to encompass all but the entire viewing port. This was soon obstructed, however, by the automatic rise of everyone in the control room at his appearance. "You may be seated." His voice rang out above the silent crowd. It was hoarse with his lack of rest, but guttural and heavy. His plutonian accent weighed thick, drawing out vowels before his tongue softened the harder syllables between his teeth. There was a moment when he was still stared at by all gathered officers. In this time, he moved to the seat occupied by Maria as she had commanded before he returned. Resting himself in his throne, he began again.
"Ki, drop speed and give an estimate for our time until orbital entry. Maria, I want to know all the scouts you have sent. If you or he haven't already, push all reports on damage sustained in transit through to CID. CID, I know you're probably already on it, but I want to see a compiled report as well. Lucretia, when the scouts start hitting the atmosphere, funnel all of their atmospheric reports to Samuel, I don't want to see any of it clogging up my feeds." Commotion began returning to the bridge. Reaching a hand out, he pulled over a panel of screens. Windows shown therein shifted with updates, but with deft swipes he moved a deal of them away. "Kalean, I don't see a report of biological cargo in the system. If it's not there in your head, you are taking a trip to the biological cold storage hold that will be quick or it will be consequential. Once we start getting atmospheric readings, you and Samuel will put your heads together and tell me what can be done with it so far. Please keep in mind that this isn't Inasthiran, carbon monoxide is not part of our aromatherapy palette. Now all of you, I realize that some of us may have never worked together. Our last voyage was two years ago, and only for five. It was my first experience commanding this ship, but I have been in commanding positions on terraforming ships for the past twenty five years of my life. This may be the first times some of you have even served in an operation such as this. A ship functions if it runs like a machine, and that is what we must become. Follow my orders, and I will run this machine into riches. Disobey, and we shall be run into the ground."