In my novel, The Rags Of Time, travel to the outer edges of Earth’s solar system has been accomplished. But the Moon still holds its sway – literally.
To celebrate the space outing of fifty years ago. I’ll post another segment of my written ascent through the heavens. My crew are returning from their trip to the outer reaches of our solar system. and something goes awry. There is no Huston to contact, but there is a problem.
The Captain, Eric the Red, turns to again look at Pluto.
“If it’s not internal, then it must be external.”
He shifts the image of Pluto to a larger screen.
“Although, quite frankly, that concept isn’t much better than its alternative.”
He tries to sharpen the focus on the large screen. After a minute of adjusting the controls, he shrugs his shoulders in failure.
“That indistinct picture is not due to our sensors. Have the other stations turn their view screens to Pluto. See if they get the same results.”
While Malcolm checks with the other observation officers, Eric the Red again runs a sweep of his instruments. As he thoroughly goes over each one, he pays attention to the responses received by his first officer. It is quickly apparent the same fuzzy image appears over the whole ship.
“Any ideas, Number One?”
“I think our movement is being disrupted.” Malcolm looks at the same sequence of instruments. “I’d guess there’s agitation in our centrifugal rotation.” He peers closely at the view screen. “It can’t be much. Our artificial gravity doesn’t seem affected.”
“You don’t look in danger of floating away.” The captain smiles. “So I doubt this explains my `light-headedness’.”
“No, sir.” Malcolm can not tell how serious the older man is. “The rotation alteration is minimal. It is just enough to make our cameras waver.” He taps the view screen. “Considering how sensitive they are, I would judge this force to be weak.”
“Any guess what it is?”
“No data suggests a malfunction within the ship.” Malcolm moves a dial a millimetre. “Which leaves an outside cause.”
“Well.” The captain leans so close his nose touches the view screen. “I think we’re being influenced by the mysterious Tenth.”
“Yes.” He turns back to his first officer. “With Pluto and Charon positioned the way they are, and our attempt to execute the Hohmann-ellipse to take advantage of the Film Technique, we may have added the weight of Iris to our backs.”
“The alignment shouldn’t be intense enough to – ”
“Iris is so perversely inconsistent, it doesn’t have to fit into our ideas of alignment to make itself felt.” The captain makes some inclusions into the library computer. “After all, we’re the ones entering its sphere of influence.”
“It is a minor influence.” The first officer makes some quick calculations in his head. “We could accept a reduction of our artificial gravity for the duration of the manoeuvre.”
“That’s a viable option.” Eric the Red looks up co-ordinates to enter into the computer. “But we can negate the problem without weakening our reserves.” He inserts a bar of information into the computer. “Run an evaluation of our solar cells.”
Malcolm walks to the banks of light-activated monitors surrounding the doorway. He takes a laser probe from his instrument pouch, and traces it across a screen. As the figures appear, he reads them aloud. Most are at full capacity.
“Do you see what I’m getting at, Number One?”
“Yes, sir. We use some of this power to counter the effect of Iris.”
“Exactly.” The captain smiles. “We don’t touch our reserve fuel, and we replenish the solar storage during our last month of earth approach.”
The captain pauses to read a number off his computer screens. He performs some equations on his hand-calculator, then turns to look at his first officer.
“If the Film Technique is successful, we’ll save nine to fourteen days.”
Eric takes a binder from under his work station, and flips through its pages. He enters data into both his computer and his calculator, and talks over his shoulder.
“If we use solar packs A7, A12, A17, K12, K13, O2, O5, S37, then form a Perpetual Loop between the GOT Terminal and the S37 Positive Outtake, we’ll only exhaust 252 of the solar cells. The depletions will be uniform, and restricted to known sectors.”
Malcolm is also doing calculations from the laser screens. He doesn’t look up as he speaks.
“That will give us more excess power than necessary to confront the drag from Iris.”
“Yes.” The captain closes the binder. “But with the Loop, we have the option of creating a surge to replenish some used cells, instead of venting the surplus.” He swivels around in his chair. “We should begin the manoeuvre at the first opportune time.”
“That will be five hours and thirty-seven minutes.” Malcolm crosses the floor to stand beside the captain.
“Advise the crew, and have them double monitor until we correct the interference of our rotation.”
(Image) https: //www.rocketstem.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AS11-0629-69H-977.jpg
As A Bonus – here is a link to:
My Present / Your Future
Still in this World
A Life Away
You would find it perverse to be wished a “Happy” birthday, but your response would be gracious. Such is the reality you understand, and how you deal with it. I have found that your reality is actually real.
Although it will give you no pleasure – well, ‘little’ pleasure – you are correct in all your observations.
Governments become the tools of the bureaucracies which run them. It doesn’t matter what type of Government, from the monarchy under which you lived, to the right wing horror of fascists that called themselves socialists, to the inept socialism pretending to be ‘for the people’. All three governments held their sway over the city where you spent your life. All three oppressed the people they ruled. All three looked after themselves first.
Writers are either writers or they aren’t. The urge to write encircles one like a snake around its prey. Feed it and it won’t quite squeeze you to death. You can not ignore it – even at your peril. It is with you every hour of every day, ever inquisitive and (sadly) always looking for something better.
Love is a see-saw of extremes. Every high guarantees a low. Every low reaches for a high. Every high reaches for a high. When these hills and valleys are eventually levelled, they are still desired.
Sex is highly over rated. The thing of it is, even rated fairly ’tis a consummation devoutly to be had. Yes – I know – you appreciate Shakespeare. On a par with Goethe, even if you can’t bring yourself to say the words.
People are just one damned thing after another. Of course, so many people have brought you blessings, you throw up you hands to ward off the snake. And sometimes – some few times – it loosens its grip.
There is no castle with walls thick enough to hide against the perils of being human. Which is why you never tried.
Except the grave, of course.
Except the grave.
And, in my novel about him, Kafka In The Castle, I gave him this diary entry.
I bet Shakespeare could look you in the eye and tell you who you are – so well-versed in the ways of people he was. And he could then place you upon the stage, and have an actor have a go at you. With puns and foibles and insights.
Thus do I repeat my Shakespeare (if not Shakespearean) homage.
The stage is as bare as my lady’s ass in his lordship’s bedchamber. Rough-hewn in the most knockabout way, leaving splinters in the palace lawns of the imagination.
There’s many a dip ‘twixt the trap and the lip.
It fares little better than hastily strewn boards covering parched ground, and barely enough elevation to keep the understanding masses at bay.
Were one fool enough to come from out the wings, and at centre front begin a soliloquy about the beauty of the wretched arena on which he stands, to fight the resulting and justified spontaneous combustion, there would not be found one drop of piss from any a Thespian’s hose.
For who could allow this sacrilege to be spoken?
Even the flag atop the pole knows that the magic is not yet arrived.
A stage without commercial trappings:
without solid doors and thick drapes;
uncluttered by pillars and arches, tables and chairs, windows and fireplaces;
sans orchestra, sans balcony, sans pit.
A stage revealing all its secrets. Profound as emptiness.
A stage in wait.
For in this world writ small – as in the globe around – the audience has nothing to know, nothing to learn, until the actor makes an entrance, and prepares to fight past our eyes to battle with those thoughts and fears which lurk in sheltered halls.
What’s Hecuba to him?
Why – nothing.
Merely a name on a page of script, a cue at which to turn his profile thus.
It is what Hecuba becomes to we who wait,
that turns the key upon the heavy gate.