It had been four weeks since the ship disconnected the reactor. They had grown accustomed to the barren rock they had landed on.
A metal rich world with water ice at the southern pole and a very very thin nitrogen/methane atmosphere. The surface temperature where they had set down varied only slightly, at it's warmest it was a comfortable 28°C and at night which would fall around 17hrs after midday it would fall to -18°C. If they ever made it home the discovery would net them a good pay out from a mining company.
It was nightfall of the first day that was the biggest surprise.
The red sun fell below the horizon and a few moments later a small ice moon appeared. The ship's hull pinged and ticked as it cooled and thin webs of ice crystals began to form around the edges of the cockpit windows.
Just as they were getting used to this new vista Jared swore and nearly dropped his heated vitamin drink.
"Look! What the heck is that?!"
Taz turned to look out of the port side window. He could see a white mist on the horizon, boiling and rolling in curls and crests upwards. A moment on and it was clear it was heading towards them.
"Aurora? Some kind of geothermal thing?"
Taz looked up at the moon now passing almost overhead.
"Tide! It's the tide! The moon must drag stuff around the surface. There's such little atmosphere it doesn't have much stopping it"
As the swirling barrier approached the ship began to vibrate. It grew in seconds from an annoying buzz to a loud shaking that made everything blur.
"Crap, strap in quick. It can't be far off!"
The two scrambled towards the flight seat but Jared slipped in the low gravity. As Taz buckled in he jumped down through the companionway to the sleeping area. Then the wave hit.
Everything lurched sideways with a loud grinding and rhythmic pounding. Jared felt the floor turn beneath him just as he grabbed hold of one of the stores nets.
He could hear Taz swearing between spewing his guts up on the flight deck.
There was one last grinding lurch and then the roaring of the wave passed into a dull rolling.
The moon orbited once every 16 hours. But the freezing wave would only coincide with nightfall and moonrise over their location so it was a few days before they met it again.
Jared had been quiet since waking that day but spoke suddenly, obviously having been in thought.
"This rental thing, could we convince it we aren't safe?"
Taz sat up and scratched his neck.
"I don't know what it's sensors are. Anyway I recon most people would think a raging ice wave every few days that grinds the ship across the rocks isn't safe. Our best bet is to FUUUaaah!"
Jared spun around in his bunk coming face to face out of the window with a large myopic eye clung looking at him through the side window.
The creatures were apparently harmless to the ship but curious. They were greenish or purple with small drop shaped bodies around 30cm wide and 40cm tall with many tiny legs underneath. Their eye was at the end of a long strong looking single tentacle about 2m high. In between staring at the occupants of the ship the purple creatures would blink and look upwards every few seconds. They appeared to be keeping watch for the nightfall-moonrise as they would disappear into cracks and burrows minutes before the icy waves returned.
Jared had spent the last few days trying to bypass the ARTS components and had managed to manually route power to the ships lighting and environment systems. The pesky thing was still getting in the way of the flight controls and had seemed to think they were at the Merlin station in the Ross 154 system..