Shattered Space – Part 3

This morning I was sitting in my private transporter, one of the few places where I felt was sufficiently private for me to write my thoughts down in preparation for this week’s meeting. I have long gotten past the frustration of having to constantly fret about what I say in a private conversation even though I am a top level government official in the Earth Union Worker’s Republic. Nowadays it’s just a fact of life. The shadow state is always watching me. They need me; they lack my talent for organisation and strategic planning. They hate me for it. They would have killed me if any of them could do the work I can do. That’s what life is like for everyone on Earth. We are born with a death sentence temporarily suspended so long as we’re useful to the state.

I am a minister in the government, an Alpha double plus class citizen, but I’m no less a slave than the lowest delta class scraping a sewer pipe clean. We’re all slaves in a system of total centralisation of power to one man, and that one man himself is a slave to his vices. However, if you turn on the Global News Network you would think the chairman of the party was God’s own son come to lead humanity to the chosen land. An old Earth philosopher once wrote that a prince can rule through love or fear. But the chairman wants everyone to fear and love him in equal measure. As I look back over my career in politics I have unwittingly been serving his interests. All I wanted to do was to reduce the poverty and homelessness on Earth as much as was humanly possible, but what did they used to say in old times? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 3”

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Space Fall – Part Ten

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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”

Space Fall – Part Five

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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”

Space Fall – Part Four

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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”

Space Fall – Part Three

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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”

Space Fall – Part Two

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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”

Space Fall – Part One

spacefall-lowresThe 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”