A little bit of something that’s been kicking around in my head the past few months

November 12th, 2012

The sequel to Methuselah’s Daughter is a bit of a dead issue at this time. I made so many compromises to her character that I’m finding it nearly impossible to write Zsallia well, and without that I can’t see any point in pushing forward. It may yet come to pass, but I doubt it.

Anyhow, other ideas have been poking to the surface- just a little to show:

Belle disliked awakening and in a very logical approach to this dislike she made certain her emotive subroutines were disabled before entering hibernation. It served to reduce the confusion that could accompany the return to awareness after prolonged downtime, particularly under these circumstances. With her awareness returning numerous systems clamored for her attention: it was best to approach this as dispassionately as possible and besides, for the moment she had nobody to talk to.

The vast majority of the alarms were familiar and she ignored them, instead turning her attention to thirteen new alerts, the first of which was the Mission Clock: nine hundred and thirty-seven years, eight months, nineteen days, six hours, fourteen minutes and thirty-one seconds… approximately. Next came the grim realization the remaining twelve were transit pod failures, meaning that of the eighty-nine crew she had been entrusted to safeguard, only one remained alive. In the cold calculus of the mission success probability that even one remained was rather unlikely, though the one survivor was certainly the one she would expect to remain.

Belle acknowledged all alarms and set about a methodical systems check, waking each critical subsystem individually, re-routing where necessary or taking direct control if the management system was too corrupt to be trusted. Once satisfied she had full control Belle spun up the navigational system and compared her projected course against known navigational landmarks, correcting for the catalogued changes incurred by the exceptionally long transit time and the two confirmed Dislocation Events. She was precisely where she expected to be, one star before her appearing noticeably brighter than all the others, sensors detecting streams of energetic particles that confirmed the identity of the star as definitely as any chart comparison could.

Within minutes she located her destination and turned all signal detection equipment to the task of making a final appraisal. She picked up fragments of transmissions and ran brute-force signal processing against them to tease out more structure, to find meaningful data. It took more than twelve hours, but the evidence was conclusive and with a surviving crew member, an officer at that, she had no discretion. Belle utilized minimal bursts from attitude control and an assist from internal gyroscopes to align the ship properly, and then started the countdown clock to begin her Insertion Burn in just over ninety days. She would arrive with dry tanks and little reserve, but she could drop drones to collect and process fuel as well as collect raw materials for repair and refitting.

Planning completed and automated subroutines in place Belle brought her consciousness fully on-line, and wept.

No Responses to “A little bit of something that’s been kicking around in my head the past few months”

  1. There are currently no comments on this entry, want to be the first? Use the form on the right.

You must be logged in to post a comment.