My name is Captain Beryl Stone.
I am the son of Admiral Clay Stone and Captain Mandy Stone.
The Moon recedes into space at one inch a year, an ion engine is being used to slow the Moon enough to cause it to stop its recession.
If the recession continues, the Moon will spin off into space and be lost.
The Ideal Kepler velocity is when the Moon is moving slowly enough to stabilize its orbit. At this time the ion engine must be shut down.
The Moon has achieved the ideal Kepler Velocity.
Admiral Clay Stone, Captain Mandy Stone, Major Morgan and I are here to complete the mission. I’m so glad to have come along.
Admiral Stone steps up to the command center microphone and issue the order, “Shut down the ion engine.”
He looks expectantly at the ion engine and then shifts his gaze to the engineer at the command console. The humming sound continues.
He pauses a while and asks, “How long does it take to shut down the engine?”
The Engineer says, “It is already shut down, sir. It isn’t running.”
The humming sound continues.
He asks, “What is that humming sound?”
One of the Engineers shouts, “Holy Moly! The damned thing is still running.”
While altering the moon’s orbital velocity, the ion engine has failed to shut down. If we don’t get the engine shut down, the moon will slow in its orbit until it falls to Earth.
The place is filling up with engineers who are looking at every aspect of the control software and servo hardware.
They begin disconnecting all of the lines to the engine.
One of the engineers says, “The ion engine has its own built in power source. We can’t turn off the power. All we can do is instruct the power to turn off.
Admiral Stone asks, “How long do we have to fix this thing?
The Engineer says, “About three hours.”
The Admiral asks, “What happens then?”
He says, “The moon slows to the point where it will begin to move closer and closer to the Earth. In time, the spiral will tighten even if we get the engine shut down.
“The moon will collide with the Earth and everything will be destroyed. It will be the end of the world and the Moon.”
He says again, “We only have three hours to get the engine stopped.”
I approach my father.
I say, “There may be a way to stop this thing. It’s a long shot, but that’s all we have left.”
My dad hands command over to me.
I say, “Get three robotic cranes into position to tip the ion engine on its side when I say so.
“Set explosive charges at the base of the engine mounts and detonate them. Make sure the charges are sufficient to destroy the moorings.”
I urge them, “Quickly, we don’t have much time!”
I continue on, “Make sure the moorings are completely disconnected before you lift it, and don’t even try to save the cranes.”
There is a silent explosion in the vacuum of the moonscape.
Dust flies everywhere. It’s like being sandblasted.
The cranes connect to the rim of the engine to remotely lift and tilt so it slides sideways and off the surface of the Moon.
The engine shudders and, still running, propels itself slowly off in the direction of the blazing sun where It will be vaporized.
The unmanned cranes still connected to the engine, wave around like spindly arms as they drift.
A cheer goes up and the communication lines are buzzing with the good news.
A General comes up to me with a satellite phone and says, “I have the World Chairman on the phone for you.”
I take take the phone and the World Chairman says, “My God, son. That was a close one. I hate to think what would have happened if you weren’t there. On behalf of all mankind, thank you.”
I say, “Yes, sir. You’re welcome and thank you, sir.”
The call was surprisingly brief.
The Basher is a Nova Class battleship with eight Hyper-Carillion Engines.
The Basher is also the first of our fleet to sport the warp capability that our labs have perfected. Top speed for the Basher is classified.
The Basher is so fast that the use of shadow ships has become impractical. We have two ships the size of the one used for the first interstellar mission. That ship was, “The Brute”.
We lost the Brute in a battle with Howling Willy.
These two life-ships are resting in the belly of the Basher. The Basher is ten times their size.
It will be six weeks before the ship is ready to embark on the journey to Lalande 21185 in the constellation Ursa Major.
We know of three planets that exist orbiting this star. We want to know more about the star and the planets.
They are large gas planets, but there may be smaller Class M rock planets, or, if we choose, perhaps we can create an orbiting outpost.
I say, “I can’t wait to leave.”
My dad says, “There is no known pirate activity in that sector right now, but they may decide to set up housekeeping when they discover that it might soon become a regular travel route.”
I say, “Everyone wants a piece of my time and all I want to do is get the Basher under way.
“She’s a fine ship and I’d love to get her out there in open space and open it up, just to see what she can do.”
Mandy says, “That’s my boy. It’s all about duty.”
Our starship Officers pair off in many ways.
We have two men, a Captain and a First Officer on one ship who were recently married.
We have two women, a Captain and a First Officer on another ship who were also recently married.
Gay senior staffs are common in the Omni Fleet ranks because of the encouragement received from the Government toward the homosexual persuasion.
Any lifestyle that reduces the population explosion is encouraged.
Couples, such as my mother and father for example, are allowed to have one child. It is the law.
Extra children are not brought to term.
Mandated abortions are common because people don’t practice safe or responsible sex after they are married.
The definition of safe sex has changed over the last one hundred years and now means sex where pregnancy is prevented.
Venereal disease no longer exists since it became a capital offense.
All of the human carriers have been eliminated.
The World Government has a running campaign on the radio and video broadcasts.
They are urging young people to the service of the Government by calling upon their patriotism and their sense of duty.
On the video screen, it plays out.
A Young man in military uniform says, “As the world has sacrificed for me, I would give my life for the world.
Another more rugged man says, “Let me die if I must in the service to the world and to myself. I know in my heart that, whatever the price, I owe it to myself to pay this debt in full.”
A young group of men and woman say in unison, “For the freedom that is free, we have a debt to thee.”
The World Chairman ends the public service commercial with, “We owe it to ourselves to join and serve, because, at all personal cost, we must repay this God given right.”
The next morning my neighbor says, “Beryl, I want you to know that my son saw the Chairman’s message and joined the World Army. I am so proud.”
I smile back at him and say, “Yes, you should be proud. He is a fine boy and will be a better man for having served.”
My neighbor asks, “If we are only one world, who is the enemy?”
I tell him, “The disloyal among us, the pirates and Howling Willy for starters.
“There will always be enemies of the state. The disloyal among us who wish to destroy the wonderful life that we enjoy.
“God bless the world.”
NASA adopted a policy way back in the Twentieth Century that on long journeys, sex aboard their ships was OK as long as it doesn’t interfere with the mission.
That’s the reason why shipmates aboard the vessels frequently become romantically involved.
It takes a strong crew to survive the turmoil of sex, lust and romance without the whole thing becoming an emotional powder keg.
We are in the process of pulling our crew together for the mission to the Lalande system.
It’s lonely at the top and my fate as Captain is sealed by my position within the hierarchy.
My only hope of having a healthy sex life is to choose a First Officer that will be compatible with me for the long haul.
My First Officer is Michelle.
I am the youngest Starship Captain in history. My crew is leery of serving under me, but being the legend that saved the world has helped my credibility a lot.
Michelle is a voluptuous young woman with pretty brown eyes and jet black hair that hangs down to her lower back.
She is five feet three inches and sings like an angel. She sings opera, religious hymns, and just about any song you can name.
I ask Michelle, “What causes you to enter the Omni Fleet family? You will be traveling light years to the stars and beyond.”
Michelle says, “I want to bring my music to the stars. The brave souls who venture there will need some spiritual enrichment.
“I am hoping to provide that for them.”
I say, “You are famous and wealthy as a result of your songs. The road tours have been rewarding. Yet you give all that up to bless the people under my command.
The day comes to board the ship and depart for the Lalande system.
We scramble aboard the shuttle that is to take us up to the Interstellar Starship Basher.
The crew is all lined up at attention and saluting me as I come on board.
There are no windows aboard the shuttle or the starship to reduce the radiation effects of traveling in space.
The ascent is a punishing ordeal as the ship vibrates violently. We are pressed deep into our cushioned seats. The ship itself is monitored and controlled by my thought links. The ship is tuned to the Captain’s and the First Officer’s brain waves. Our arms and hands are useless at this acceleration rate. We are pinned to the seat.
After a time, the stars become visible in the view screens as we feel our bodies release from the grip of acceleration. We can move our arms and hands now. The first thing we do is release our bonds so we can move freely about the bridge and crew cabins.
It still amazes me that we can launch a full size shuttle and have it become a part of the starship living quarters into orbit even though ninety nine percent of the weight is the propulsion system and additional crew living, working and recreational areas already in orbit around the Earth.
Once attached to the second half of the starship in orbit, the “Captain on the bridge” routine is repeated.
I salute back and say, “At ease. This is going to be an outward mission to a nearby star called Lalande. The vessel proved itself in simulations over the last two years and is of sound design. I want to welcome each of you and say thanks for serving with me.”
I introduce First Officer Michelle Lacross to the crew and announce, “There will be a launch party tonight at twenty three hundred hours in the main lounge. Attendance is not mandatory, but I’m hoping to see you there.”
We all separate and go to our quarters. As Captain, I have a suite, Michelle has a smaller suite, but the rest of the crew has a smaller stateroom with a large bed and a moderate amount of storage space for their personal belongings.
We all meet in the dining hall for dinner. From my vantage point standing behind the Captain’s table, about to sit down, I can see the crew is in good spirits.
Before we begin our dinner service, Michelle stands and sings the launch blessing as the ship’s computer accompanies her with its vibrant organ music.
Her song is one written to bless the crew, the ship and our gallant service to Omni Fleet.
As a follow up, she breaks the solemn mood with her rendition of “On wings of wax”.
The ship’s computer changes instruments to the flute and a chorus of violins.
This is a tale from Greek mythology telling of the fatal attempt by Icarus to escape the labyrinth.
She sings of how having flown too close to the sun, Icarus’ wings melt and he falls into the sea and drowns.
Her song ends, “Let us not be as Icarus.
“Let our wings find their glory and discover our new home among the stars.”
Michelle is telling of the myth in a song, so tender, that there is not a dry eye in the house.
I silently thank God for this woman, for I know her spiritual strength will carry us to Lalande and home again.
You might think we are going on a clear mission to a safe destination, but you would be mistaken.
The curse of BODSO is waiting for us just one week out.
It takes two weeks to achieve light speed.
I wanted to launch on a standard acceleration curve, not run the engines at full power until we clear the Oort Cloud.
My Security Officer Colonel Rand says, “I have starships on my scanner dead ahead.”
I bark the command, “Red alert!”
Then I say, “All hands to battle stations.”
I ask, “Who are these people? Howling Willy is a long way away. The pirates are located between Sol and Alpha Proxima.”
A hail comes in over the inter-ship communications channel.
I say, “Open a channel.”
The screen displays a face that would make most men fearful.
I say, “Who are you and what do you want. We are on a mission and have no time for talk.”
The surly face twists with a threatening scowl and he says, “I am Captain Hacker. You have just entered the BODSO Corporate territory. You are trespassing. You will stop and be boarded.”
I reply, “I am Captain Beryl Stone. We are currently occupying international space.
“You are nothing more than a pirate.
“You will stand down or be destroyed.”
All six Stingers drop from the belly of the Basher and move in the direction of the pirate ship. The Stingers look like angry hornets as they swarm.
I launch our newest weapon. I launch four drones that settle between our ships.
Our LASER cannons and our rockets are primed and ready for action.
The pirate ship is a tenth of our size.
It becomes apparent that the pirates will never survive an armed confrontation. It would be like a Chihuahua attacking a pit-bull.
I look defiantly at the view-screen and say, “It’s your move chess master.”
Three more pirate ships decelerate into position next to Captain Hacker’s ship.
The large screen splits into four smaller screens.
Now there is a mosaic of four faces on the screens.
I never saw four more scurvy looking men in my life. They look vile.
Their features and clothing remind me of the 18th century prospectors, only not as neatly groomed.
A reflection of his credibility and resolve for any man is in his appearance.
These men are just opportunistic hoodlums.
I laugh and say, “You will not bully me and take my ship unless it’s easy.
“If you have to actually work for it, you will put as much effort into taking my ship as you have put into your appearance.”
All four of the faces look as though they are working out a complex problem. I have compared two ideas. They are confused.
Captain Hacker sneers back at me and says, “I will bide my time.
“You may pass in leaving, but if you attempt to return your ship will be destroyed.”
Armed as we are, even four pirate ships will not attempt to take us.
On our return, I will expect twice this number.
Our sixteen point eight light year mission will last for twenty-six months round trip at near light speed.
Omni Fleet is conducting a black ops tier one mission in conjunction with the trip to Lalande.
The two cells of black ops star-troopers are angry that we don’t respond in force when the pirates appear.
The two team leaders confront me and angrily say, “You have disgraced Omni Fleet by negotiating your way past the pirates.
I inform them, “The nature of the ship design and the clandestine mission we are on takes precedence over the opportunity to fight.
“We can’t afford to be captured.”
One of the cell team leaders growls, “I will never be anyone’s prisoner of war.
“They would have to kill me, because I will chew their face off if I don’t have any ammunition left.”
Colonel Rand orders them from the bridge.
If we accelerate to warp two, or twice light speed, we can reduce our mission to fourteen months.
The light barrier is similar to the sound barrier back in the 20th century. People think it can’t be broken without disastrous consequences.
In the 16th century, scientists said you can’t go sixty miles an hour without being killed because of the stress of that speed on the body.
We have since learned that all barriers are self-imposed.
With the Oort Cloud behind us, I give the order to accelerate to warp-two.
Colonel Rand says, “Passing light speed.”
Our speed increases and there is a shudder. Then the ship settles down again.
Even at warp two and beyond, the stars remain fixed in their positions. Science fiction has depicted them as streaking past.
The extreme distance and relative angular velocity is not sufficient to make them appear to move.
It’s much like watching a jumbo jet approach a landing strip. It just seems to hang in the air motionless even though it’s going hundreds of miles an hour.
A cheer goes up across the ship when I announce over the ship's intercom that our ship has just broken the light barrier.
The Basher now has the distinction of being the first to break the light barrier, of any starship, for the first time.
Stage one of our missions is a success.
Orbiting debris makes warp speed impractical inside of the outer perimeter of the Oort Cloud.
Warp speed is risky because the faster you go the harder it becomes to avoid objects.
Your field of forward vision gets shorter and the time it takes to slow or change course becomes longer.
After a certain velocity, the light barrier, you are literally
Verlag: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
Texte: Robert Stetson
Bildmaterialien: Robert Stetson
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 24.12.2013
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