Designer Gede Eugen’s Journal
This planet is cold. It doesn’t matter how high I turn my thermal suit up, the cold still gets through. It winds its way through my bones into the marrow. I have been squatting in this cave for weeks now. I ran out of ration packs two days ago and now I rely to the potage the locals offer me. It tastes like boiled snot but I suppose it’s better than going hungry. A shuttle did drop by a few days ago and the crew were obviously bounty hunters so I kept my distance. They walked off with Lucy though. Which means sooner or later they’re going to come back. I just hope my aristocratic pen pal arrives sooner to pick me up. He said he had a lot of wealth and his personal space ship. A beautiful ivory and gold detailed star hopper called the Audacity that he liked to brag about.
Ahhh… star hoppers. Those are neat little bugs. How I wish I had one of those beauties; a space capsule the size of an old fashioned suburban house. Capable of 80 times the speed of light. Not fast really, but efficient. Once a star ship got any bigger than that the power requirements to maintain a warp fissure increased astronomically. Not to mention the bane of all inter-stellar travellers: gravitational flux. Big ships could easily travel a 1,000 times the speed of light nowadays, but they daren’t ever enter a warp fissure within two astronomical units of a star. Good safety protocol was to only ever enter or exit a warp fissure on the outer perimeter of a star system and taxi in on sub-light engines only.
Wow. This is my first attempt at a journal and like a typical space engineer I am prattling about unimportant matters like the basic realities of space travel. It’s hard to imagine now that only five weeks ago I was thirty-seven light years away in the orbit of the moon standing comfortably in my office chewing protein biscuits instead of cowering in an ice cave on an obscure planet in the Gliese 623 System. Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 2”
Doctor Agnethea Komnenos’ Journal
When someone started knocking on my door today I thought I was imagining it. I continued working on my computer simulation of polypoid gene expression dismissing the sounds as just part of the normal rumblings of a spaceship’s innards. Alas, because I detest distractions when I am working, I heard the knocking again. Yes, someone was definitely knocking on my door. I started to wonder why they didn’t just use the intercom then I remembered that I had turned the volume down to almost zero a few days ago just to escape these interruptions.
Days ago? Yes… I suppose it must have been three or four days since I last left my cabin. I had become so engrossed with my botany research I hadn’t bothered to even venture out into the ships mess to eat with the rest of the crew. Why bother anyway? It’s not like we have much in common to talk about. I would be a lot happier if I didn’t have to interact with people at all. My computer and my plants are all the company I need.
I opened my cabin door and found second officer Stott grinning at me mischievously with a large rusty wrench in her hands.
“I was knocking on your door,” she said indicating that she had been using the large metal tool. Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 1”
After the first month on Hollandia, things started to gradually go downhill for the colony. Up until that time, we had been living mostly off the fruits, roots, and vegetables native to the region. Because there were so many of us, we had quickly exhausted all those natural resources. The colony had to be broken up into twenty smaller colonies and each colony moved to a new part of the island with their own access to fresh water and food resources. Spreading out the population helped reduce the over-harvesting of the island’s ecosystem at the cost of little further technological advancement. For the time being, we were locked in the Iron Age. It took about a month to resettle everyone and then each colony set about trying to solve the problems caused by so many people living off uncultivated land.
By the end of the third month, it was clear to my father and the leaders of the other nineteen colonies that despite our efforts to cultivate the local vegetation, it just wasn’t going to be as high a yield as the crops we grew on the mainland. We needed the crops our ancestors had selected, modified, and cultivated for us over hundreds of generations and brought to this land with them. The blacks on the mainland have no history of farming and no idea where the crops they eat come from. The wheat, barley, quinoa, and corn they depend on each day are the blessings of the white settlers to Zakhanda— blessings they are seldom, if ever, grateful for. If the supply of roots and berries on Hollandia were to run out, we would be forced to rely on fishing and goats, which might keep us alive to the end of one year, but after that, famine would overtake us and our population would collapse just as President Muza had wanted to see, albeit a year later than he expected.
One morning, I was walking along the beach with my brothers, looking for crabs and clams to boil for dinner. My younger brother, George, started shouting, pointing to a great wooden head moving behind the crags that looked like a dragon. We scrambled up the beach and hid in the undergrowth, watching what at first looked like a sea monster. It turned out to be a great wooden boat being rowed by two dozen men at oars and a single sail made of vines and goat’s wool. The men manning the boat were all like us: blond with blue eyes, so we reasoned it was safe and started to approach the vessel as it was coming to shore. My father soon appeared on the beach and joined up with us. Continue reading “Hollandia – Part 2”
Gods walk this land, it is hallowed by their footprints. He who dies in this land will die only in their body; their spirit shall live on. If they have lived a life of virtue then Osiris will guide them out of this realm to the after life. No Egyptian travels far from his homeland for if he dies in a foreign land his spirit will be cursed to wander the Earth in eternal lamentation. No Egyptian would ever willingly leave this land blessed by the gods.
Yet high in the mountains south of Elephantine, the farthest boundary of Egypt, the desert sun was beating down upon a man covered in dirt and bruises. He struggled to climb up from the river valley below. He moved like an ant his thin body hauling a giant pitcher of water on a makeshift sled. Up he went dragging himself and the clay jug through a narrow passage between the sandstone rocks. He eventually reached his destination: a small alcove on the summit looking over the river valley. Here lay a small garden organised in two long beds in the only part of the alcove exposed to the midday sun. In this garden grew some shafts of wheat and a few vegetables. The thin man set the water jug down and rested for a few moments. Unfastening the stopper inside the top of the jug, he started to carefully hoist it up to pour the contents into a small pan that ran along into a canal that fed out to the garden beds. The journey up the hill had weakened him too much and he struggled under the weight of the jug.
“Let me help you with that,” said a voice and the man flinched as two strong hands appeared from behind him and gripped the jug. The jug would have fallen if the other man were not so strong that he could support the full weight of the jug by himself. The thin man scrambled backwards along the ground and watched the intruder carefully pour the contents of the jug into the irrigation channel for his gardens. Continue reading “The Egyptian Expedition”
The evening sun was waning over the abandoned city, and the cats were on the prowl. Leo Socks was walking down what he believed was an empty alley way just minding his cat business when from out of a bin sprang a red fox. Leo regarded the newcomer with consternation. He’d seen foxes before, but few as bold as this one. He was after all deep in cat land.
“Say, what brings you here Mr. Fox?”
The red fox skulked as he crept sideways yet was careful to maintain eye contact with Leo.
“Who are you?” Croaked the fox.
“Socks, Leo Socks,” said the cat coolly.
A broad toothy grin slipped across the fox’s face. Leo instantly recognised the meaning of this grin and bounded forward just as the fox did the same. They connected in mid air except Leo landed on the fox’s back and sprang back off again driving the fox’s nose down into the ground in an dramatically uncontrolled landing. The baffled fox snarled uncomprehendingly at what Leo had just done; cats generally run away from foxes not attack them head on.
“You’re very brave for a cat!” Hissed the red fox. Continue reading “The Tuxedo Terror”
The tunnel was old, in fact is was so old that the bricks felt like sponge underneath Kelly’s touch. Decades of exposure to moisture had seeped through the bricks and rotted them through. The water lapped at their knees and if it the tunnels hadn’t been so narrow the current would have easily washed them away. Their progress was slow but morale picked up when Kent announced that he could get a clear signal from Suvarin’s phone.
“Just up this way, Kelly!” exclaimed Kent.
Kelly’s legs were going numb as the water sucked the warmth out of them. The air was stale, thick with enough moisture that it was becoming difficult to breathe. Kelly started to wonder if maybe there wasn’t enough oxygen this far underground and if she might faint? Kelly had started out this adventure believing it to be fun, but the rising waters were filling her heart with fear now. At last the tunnel opened up into a large rectangle concrete tunnel with a trough running down the middle.
“According to the tracker, she’s located just down this tunnel.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 25”
Kent was lying in bed working on his tablet computer when there was a knock on the hatch. Startled Kent slowly placed his tablet down and crept towards the hatch. The knocking came again. He put his ear to the top of the hatch and heard the unmistakable voice of Kelly calling out to him from the other side. Slightly bemused Kent undid the bolts and opened the hatch. Out sprung Kelly with her characteristic smiles and enthusiasm. She was wearing her gym gear which fitted tightly over every part of her fit body. Kent found himself having to make an effort to stop his eyes from wandering away from her face. Kelly noticed Kent’s struggle to remain focused on her face and giggled internally to herself..
“Kelly, what a surprise to see you, can I do anything for you?”
“Not really, I was in the neighbourhood so I thought that I would drop by,” said Kelly in her enthusiastic tone of voice.
Kent frowned, “it’s not a good night for spelunking down there. There is rain forecast tonight. Those tunnels are deadly in the rain.”
“Oh, I won’t be long, unless you think I should play it safe and stay here for the night?” Kelly bit her lip anxiously. Concerned she’d played her cards too soon.
Kent blushed involuntarily, “well actually I am expecting Suvarin to stay the night here. So there wouldn’t be enough room.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 24”