You are the pilot of a mine sweeper spaceship. Your mission is to clear a passage through a minefield. A huge
generation ship with over 400 settlers is following you. They rely on you. If you manage to wipe more than 85%
of the mines, the spaceship's shields will be able to protect the ship from the remaining mines and make its way
through the minefield and land on the nearby planet.
You can control the computer with the keyboard only - as it was in the 80s.
In the game itself, you can use the cursor keys for left and right and the keys A,S and D to activate the blue,
red and green shields.
Your energy is very limited and every action will have an effect on your energy:
-1 flying through space
-5 activating a shield
-50 hitting a mine with the wrong shield
+25 hitting a mine with the correct shield
If you wipe out less than 85% of the mines you will fail, even if you survive.
This is not about you.
* * *
Alpha Centauri Ab is finally in range of our sensors. Over 70 years after my great grand parents started their
journey together with over 1000 other settlers we could do a first scan of the planet we are heading too. We are
now only 432. Lack of resources and some major accidents caused a lot of deaths and infertility was bigger than
expected. But the remaining group is healthy and if we can successfully land the generation ship on Ab, we have
good chances to be the first settlement on a different planet.
If only we could share this with earth - but we haven't heard anything for over 40 years. God knows what happened.
Our scientists could analyse the first scans. It looks promising. Oxygene level is acceptable, no poisonous
gases, oceans, land masses with vegetation and acceptable temperature. This planet is definitely habitable. And
as expected, no signs of a civilization.
I am so happy! This planet seems to be the paradise we hoped for.
Only 3 months until we will reach the planet. But today something is different. Our scientists are nervous and
I only received a rather evasive answer to my questions.
What is wrong?
ELECTROMAGNETIC SIGNALS! How is this possible? There is no higher live on this planet and all the other planets
are dead. They are minimal. But they are there. And they seem to come from a whole orbit around Alpha Centauri
A. We could not recognize them earlier, they are too subtle. What is this?
We have started a probe to analyze the signals and see where they come from. The probe will reach the source of
the signals in 1 week.
Mines! These are mines! Active mines. Billions of mines. They are not simply in one spot, they are everywhere.
It seems they are building a deadly sphere around the star. There are so many, that on any passage through the
minefield, we would hit thousands of mines. Our shields are good and we won't have an issue with a few, but we
won't survive more than 8 or 10 direct hits. What shall we do? We can't change our route, we can't turn, we
can't brake. We have to go straight through the minefield.
We are dead.
29 escape capsules… that's all we have. 29 capsules for 4 people max. The capsule might make their way through
the minefield. But they need a lof of luck. They are small and the distance between the mines is barely big
enough to navigate between them. 29 capsules… 116 of us can survive - if they make it in the capsule to Ab - 316
will not - they will die. Just a few weeks away from their destination. How will we decide who can survive? And
will those that are selected survive on Ab with only that what they can carry in the escape capsules?
We discovered a small passage through the minefield with only about 50 mines. Still too many for our ship but
the escape capsule can easily get through. And we can reach the passage from our position. At least a bit of
hope for some of us.
If only we could clean the passage.
Twenty days before we reach the minefield. We changed our course so we enter the minefield through the passage.
This allows us to start the escape capsules a few minutes before the impact and they can fly through the
minefield safely. I still did not give up the idea that the passage can be cleaned. The probe analyzed the
mines. They seem to react to electromagnetic pulses. Our scientists don't think this could help but it's our
only straw we can cling too.
They HAVE to look into it.
We could identify three types of mines, each being a bit different from the other. If you hit the right
frequency, you can not only deactivate the mine, it will even release some energy. Our scientists and engineers
are now working day and night to find a solution. They know that they will be in the escape pods but now they
recognized that it's not the case for their families...
In 2 days we reach the mines. Our engineers have built a mine-sweeper vessel. Three of the escape capsules, each
equipped with one energy generator to produce a different energy pulse. The energy we can transfer to the vessel
will be barely enough. We need to digest energy from the mines and be almost perfect with this. Hit the right
mines and hit at least 85% of them.
If the vessel gets destroyed or if we don't wipe enough mines... there will be only 26 capsules left.
Just one more hour… Our pilot is ready. The vessel is all fueled up. We identified 96 passengers for the escape
capsules. I won't be one of them.
The vessel will start in a few minutes, lead our way and start cleaning the passage in close distance, 2 minutes
before we enter it.
If anything happens, we will have 2 minutes before most of us die. And only 2 minutes to start all escape capsules.
The vessel has succesfully started, all systems work as exepected. It will enter the minefield in 2 minutes. We
did all we could. We have a great pilot. We do have a chance!
If only I could get one question out of my head. Why are these mines there? What scared this civilization so
much that they put their whole star into a sphere of mines? And what if those, that should not enter, will come back?
But first things first, we have to survive.
GOOD LUCK PILOT!