Interstellar Dragonships while singing Styx; Skeleton Feet

My dream: After travelling abroad, my wife and I decided to move to another planet. We packed the house (the literal house, not just our things) into a decently-sized star freighter. It was blocky, but roomy and agile in the atmosphere above earth. That star freighter was taken inside a dock near the “foot” of an immensely large star ship, with a robotic dragon head containing many ion cannons. It was a battle-ready craft, probably a kilometer long. It was colored red and green. The dragonship curled itself into a ball and attached itself to an exponentially larger ship, so…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Drawn from the Water, part 7

“He’s breathing,” Anders said. “Quick, Tully, give me an O2 read.” Tully pointed her datapad at the pod. “Eighteen percent, but dropping rapidly.” “Are we doing this?” Randall removed from his side pouch a portable life support system with an oxygen tank and mask. “He’s alive, so yes,” Anders said. He shined his light on the control panel, brushed his gloves over some ancient buttons, and found a long rotary handle. He pulled it out and began turning it. Gas escaped from the seal of the stasis pod, rushing out in a hiss that sounded loud even in the EV…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Drawn from the Water, part 6

“Relax,” Anders said. “It was just that panel bouncing off of something.” “I’m going to go check it out,” Randall said. “Negative,” Anders shot back. “No separation. We all go or we all stay. That’s an order.” “Let’s go,” Tully said. “Let’s get out of here.” “Not yet,” Anders said. “Let’s see if we can get this panel online” Tully stared out into the dark fog for a long moment, and then nodded. “Right.” The terminal sprang to life, and white letters flitted over black screens. “Looks like it’s going to boot awhile, LT,” Randall said. “Let’s see what that…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Drawn from the Water, part 5

The door fell inward, floating and tumbling for a few seconds before crashing into a corroded beam of steel, pitted and rusted, then ricocheting off of a dead terminal. The darkness was total inside the derelict craft, and only the light streaming in from the transport provided any illumination. Anders, Tully, and Randall turned on the lights attached to the top of their environmental suits. Dust filled the beams in strange patterns amid the zero-g environment. Tully cautiously pushed her head past the airlock and looked down one direction, then the other of the interior, which took the shape of…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Drawn from the Water, part 4

“Anders? Report.” It was Macbeth. A nearby screen lit up with the old man’s face. He was frowning. “Tully’s working on life signs. I’m attempting to create a virtual uplink and hopefully extract some data.” “Where is it from?” Anders paused a moment, intent on his screen. “Not sure just yet.” “Like hell you aren’t,” Macbeth said. His signature popped up on Ander’s terminal screen. “This data could be invaluable. We haven’t dared to examine Earth in millennia.” “When you get it, I want it put into physical isolation, not just virtual isolation. Don’t attempt to run any software you…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Drawn from the Water, part 3

“Sensors are aligned for a sweep,” Vanessa said. “I can drop our own sensor burst probe now. We should be able to map the dorsal side of the probe, and then pick up our readings a few million miles on the other side of it.” Anders scratched his chin. “That doesn’t give us the options the old man wanted.” “Of destroying it?” Vanessa said. “I can drop an armed probe capable of that, if you wish.” “He’s looking for an excuse to drop speed and sweep in real time,” Tully said. “Maybe,” Anders said. “If we speed on past it…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Drawn from the Water, part 2

Anders stepped onto the bridge. He noticed the empty captain’s console and chair (though he knew his father rarely sat when he was running the ship) and looked around briefly. He noticed the patriarch leaning over the chair at Tully’s messy station, his eyes flitting over a green-lit display. “Sir.” Malcolm turned and raised an eyebrow to Anders. “On time, as usual.” Anders nodded, then relaxed. “What’s the dig, sir?” “Couple of data pulses over the last few hours,” Tully answered. She nodded to Macbeth without taking her eyes off the screen. “Gramps thinks it might be from Earth. Maybe…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Drawn From the Water, part 1

Stars filled Malcom Macbeth’s vision, bright colors shifting and blurring, artifacts of the divergent passage of time as they cruised near the speed of light. He wasn’t just watching space go by; he was watching time go by, the galaxy beyond the ship hurtling forward in normal time while things onboard passed infinitely slow by comparison. His eyes fixed on one star to the left of the ship, a supergiant with far too much cosmic radiation to risk a close approach. It had been slowly shifting from blue to white as they ceased to close with it, and Malcolm knew…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Twins Across Two Times, part 2

Back to Deep Time   The waitress approached again. “Just wanted to let you know that my shift is ending, but we’re staying open during the shadow hours, and we have a few specials.” Anders looked up in the sky as she flitted away, and realized the sun had been growing dimmer. “This part of Rondella Duo has a daily eclipse. Lots of people use it to take naps. At least, they did the last time I was here,” Claribel said. “How long ago was that?” “I think our waitress’s great-great-great grandmother was probably still in diapers.” Anders chuckled. “Did…

Continue reading

Deep Time: Twins Across Two Times, part 1

Twins Across Two Times Anders Macbeth waited at what he presumed to be the analog of a café. The patio was ringed in verdant foliage of some unknown variety, and filled with people speaking in the strange accent typical of Rondella Duo. It was still English, old and proud, but it had a sick, throaty quality to it that Anders disliked. It sounded to him like a croaking of some cadre of amphibious creatures, and did nothing to aid his anxiety. “Here you go, dolly-wa,” his waitress said in her strange tone, and dumped a wide cup of a mocha-brown…

Continue reading