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When the calamity struck Proxima Minor the Ferren guild feared their livelihoods would be the most affected. The Ferren were the miners and refiners of gases, metals, and liquids extracted from the crust of the planet. Their guild motto was, “Everything we have either comes from a plant or a hole in the ground; and we know how to dig.” When the waters approached their mines they moved their homes, refineries, and machinery under ground. Then they sealed themselves in deep underneath the surface. The water from the new ocean above them seeped in, but they pumped that out and built oxygen factories to supply themselves with breatheable air. Safe underground they had access to all the metals, minerals, other chemicals the Comptoni needed to build their machines and with that trade they were able to buy food from the Vegani.
Despite all this, life for the Ferren was not easy. Before the calamity they could do aerial surveys for potential places to build their mines, but now they had no choice but to simply dig and keep digging until they found something worth selling as a refined ore. Places already rich in underground caverns and shafts were the most desirable as they made the process of looking for new ores to extract slightly easier. One such place was underneath the Oblique Plateau where the first waters from the spatial deluge first landed. Perhaps many centuries earlier the plateau had been an ocean, but like Mars the waters had been blown away off the planet into space and lost forever. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Ten”
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Space was at a premium in the Comptoni underwater settlement of Deliverance. Whereas on Earth a submarine pen would be a large spacious structure for a submarine to emerge into, free of the risk of bumping into other vessels, in Deliverance submarines had a very different function. Underneath Comptoni settlements were a series of large one-way tunnels for submarines to travel through as though they were underground trains. They emerged in tiny rooms that looked remarkably like subway stations. Indeed, passenger submarines that ferried Comptonians from one settlement to another ran frequent routes. The submarine carrying our heroes emerged in one such station pen.
Relieved to get out of the cramped conditions of the submarine the group soon observed that Comptoni settlements were not much spacious. The under water city was full of people sitting and sleeping in the corridors. The overcrowding was deplorable and the faces of the people they passed were long pale and sullen.
“Why is this place so over crowded?” asked Kimberley, “the last time I was here it wasn’t like this.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Nine”
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Submarines on Earth are almost exclusively for research if they are small, while if they are large they are almost exclusively for warfare. On Proxima Minor the situation is quite different. When the Ferrens and the Comptoni decided they were not going to leave the surface of the planet, but rather dig in to resist the flooding coming their way, for the first time commercial sized freight submarines had a market. Thus the submarine our four adventurers are currently travelling on is not like any submarine found on Earth. It has a small crew quarters, a humble sized engine, and a massive cargo bay. Like all submarines though it is incredibly cramped for the crew. The room our four adventurers were staying in was tiny but incredibly had four bunk beds crammed into it. There was much curiosity about the latest person to join the adventure. Fiona was an Aeron who had heroically prevented an attempt on Kimberley’s life by one of her guildsmen. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Eight”
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Back in the sky city of Pearl, the Aeron chief guild master Kaylim was interrogating the Kiron guild master Sybil.
“What do you know of Kimberley’s plan?”
Sybil sighed heavily, “I know as much about that as you do: she intends to seal the rift.”
“What about those two freemen who helped her to escape?”
“I know nothing about them.”
“I have a witness who says that you cleared them both for entry into the parliament, and also brought them into the parliament chamber,” Kaylim raised his voice, “Why did you let them in if you didn’t know anything about them?”
“Because I hoped they would protect Kimberley when the time came, and they did.”
“You fool! I’m going to have to kill them now, as well as Kimberley. You have three deaths on your conscience now.”
“My conscience? You don’t need to kill any of them. That is your choice and your responsibility.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Seven”
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The triplane started moving slowly at first, then as the engine drank in the open throttle it started picking up speed. At the end of the tunnel the soft yellow light of the sky got bigger, faster and faster. The landing gear hovered off the ground, landing gear that included pontoons for sea landings. Alfred had to make quick adjustments to avoid hitting the roof as the plan started to lift.
“Where in the asteroid belt did he learn to fly a triplane?” Cried an astonished Kimberley.
Harold laughed, “Red Baron 2037,” he answered simply.
The plane zipped out of the launching tube and into a sky filled with hot air balloons. Alfred yawed, pitched, and banked to avoid colliding with them. He was sloppy at first but within minutes started to show confidence in his handling of the aircraft. From the gloftoons children could be seen pointing at them and making excited ‘o’ shapes with their mouths. The city of Pearl was shrinking away much faster than it is appeared to them when travelling there earlier that morning.
“Ok, now we’re escaped, where do we need to get to, Kimberley?” Asked Alfred.
“We need to reach a Vegani settlement, they live on the ocean surface. So fly down and look for one, preferably with a floating runway! They have some big trading ships that can accommodate an aircraft like this one.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Six”
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When the Kirons opened the spatial rift they chose to open it six kilometres above the surface of Proxima Minor. They were fearful of it being too close to any place inhabited, but also they wanted to flood a specific area with water for the test. The Oblique Plateau was a vast shallow depression on the surface of Proxima Minor with no settlements on it as yet, and thus it was perfect for creating a new sea using the water from Proxima Major. That was the plan at least. When the spatial rift generator was activated a perfect circle with a diameter of several hundred metres across appeared in the sky and immediately the largest waterfall in history started to gush forth from seemingly nowhere. The water fell six kilometres in a straight, almost clear, tube downwards and pummelled the Proximian ground with seismic force.
Since the spatial rift was a tear in the fabric of space, it had no substance. Looking at it sideways it was so perfectly flat that it simply could not be seen. It was not like looking at a piece of paper from the side at eye level, one can still see the paper no matter how thin: One could not see the spatial rift looking at it side one, it was perfectly two dimensional. There was merely a solid pillar of water pouring down below, and above a clear yellow Proximian sky. The other side of the rift was a perfectly reflective surface, like a mirror. However, while a mirror reflects visible light, this surface reflected all wavelengths of light, and with perfect efficiency. With an ordinary mirror one can fire a laser at it and melt a hole through it. With the upper surface of the spatial rift one could fire a laser at it and the laser would bounce off without any loss of heat in the process. In fact, one could drop a bouncing ball and, if it were not for the atmosphere, the ball would never stop bouncing on the surface of the rift as there was no matter there for the energy of the ball to transfer to each time it bounced. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Five”
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The capsule was winched high into the sky and at one point Alfred decided to poke his head out of the hatch to see what was happening. The ocean was already a long way down and all he could see was a big dark silhouette against the yellow sky. He pulled his head in and felt sufficiently sea sick now to have regretted his curiosity. When Harold asked what he saw he said simply it was big and shaped a little like a pentagon.
The object hovering in the sky was in fact a rather sophisticated innovation in hot air balloon technology. Instead of just one balloon it had five balloons holding up a large basket shaped like a pentagon. It had five balloons because if it had only three or four then the lost of just one balloon to an accident would lead to a catastrophe as the basket holding the thirty odd inhabitants would spill over pouring them and all their belongings into the ocean below. However, with five balloons the basket would remain sufficiently stable for the damaged balloon to be repaired. This was essential, even without accidents, because the balloon craft could seldom land now the planet was flooded and often most maintenance had to performed in flight. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Four”
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The capsule screamed through the atmosphere tearing a perfectly straight orange gash into the Proximian sky. When the capsule had slowed down sufficiently from the re-entry a series of parachutes ejected from it and each one slowed the capsule down progressively; until the last and biggest parachute opened which brought the capsule safely onto the surface of the infinite Proximian ocean. There it bobbed gently on a perfectly blue ocean and a perfectly yellow sky.
Inside the capsule the three passengers were exhausted with the excitement of the dramatic re-entry experience. The strange woman was the first to release herself from her harness and she sank to the baggage laden floor with a soft ‘wee’ sound. Harold and Alfred decided they had better get themselves free and instead of gently falling to the floor with a fluid motion the pair flopped down like jelly dropped on concrete. Groans of pain soon filled the cramped space inside the capsule. The woman was the first to get up and she immediately opened the hatch. Fresh, and surprisingly unsalty, sea air flooded the cabin. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Three”
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The space liner Icarus was in free fall as it tumbled towards Proxima Minor. The co-pilot was frantically trying to call the captain. In the confusion of the panic the co-pilot had mistakenly turned on the ship’s intercom instead.
“Come in Captain! Come in! We need sub light engines soon or we’re going to crash into the planet!”
Throughout the passenger compartments the shaken voice of the co-pilot rang out. The tension that had been brewing on board quickly matured into terror. Passengers started shouting “abandon ship!” and “to the life boats!” Harold and Alfred got swept up with the throng of people clawing desperately at the emergency escape hatches in the floor of the space craft. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Two”
The spaceliner Icarus had just completed its phase jump into the Proxima Centauri system. It was the first refuelling stopover for ships travelling to the outer colonies and immediately after her arrival things started to go badly for the Icarus. The captain slammed his fist onto the armrest of his flight chair in frustration. The sub light engines had failed yet again. Without propulsion within the system it would be impossible to reach the refuelling station in the orbit of Proxima Major. The co-pilot swallowed hard next to him, fearful of giving the captain any more bad news lest his anger spill over into rage. Aggressively the spaceliner captain pressed the button on the intercom system.
“Attention passengers, the Icarus has successfully phase jumped into the Proxima Centauri system. Unfortunately, our sub light engines have developed a minor fault and we will have to remain adrift in space until we have repaired them. In the meantime, if you look out the port side windows you will see the beautiful blue planet Proxima Minor. Site of the greatest colonial disaster in history. Have a listen to the travel guide for full information about what happened to the poor settlers of that world while you’re waiting for us to resume our journey.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part One”