hares-recovery

Work In progress - June 2017

Posted by Derek
Jun 08 2017

Too tired to do any sort of update on stuff. Have some work-in-progress.


One month after the J’Ruhn’s departure from Val’Traxan space

“Kaler seems to have taken the pep talk very well,” Tier appraised. “You wore that happy face like a champion.”

“Mm. I hope so.” Alecha keyed the pad beside the cryobay’s entrance. With a gentle groan, the heavy bay door creaked shut for what was likely the last time for decades. “He was nervous. This isn’t training anymore.”

“And you? Are you nervous?”

She didn’t immediately answer. Instead, Alecha made her way down the corridor, watching each section illuminate as she approached. She didn’t need to look back to know the opposite was occurring in the sections she left behind. It was just something she knew would happen, just like so many other things she knew would continue to happen. The ship’s atmosphere would continue to be purified. Artificial gravity would continue to accelerate mass toward the deckplating. The cryopods would continue to do their damnedest to keep their occupants alive through their long sleep.

The ship was quiet now, a state of semi-permanent night extending across all decks to keep power requirements as low as possible. The rest of her family was finally asleep, along with all the other colonist family groups. Even her junior cryotechs had already gone in. Alecha and Tier were the last individuals still awake on the J’Ruhn. Soon enough it would be only Tier.

Alecha took a long route to the Commons, stopping occasionally at the small gardens dotting corridor intersections to tend the plants and generally taking her time. As she finally entered the large common hall, her eyes were drawn to the faintly rippling border of the Displacement field out the forward viewport. The ship had been traveling for nearly a month now. If she could have seen home from here—which, given that this window faced the wrong direction, was already an impossible feat—the visible light would have pre-dated her own birth. Even with such an incredible distance already covered, it would still be decades more until they arrived at their destination. 

As the illumination in the corridor behind her faded, the Commons lighting remained subdued. She didn’t bother to increase it; instead, she grabbed a small meal from one of the replicators and sat down in the relative dark to eat. Watching the flickering energy field, her lunch sitting before her, she rested her head on her hands.

“No,” she finally spoke. “I’m not nervous. I am a little worried, but not nervous. Besides, if anyone went to sleep without having any concerns, they’re either lying to themselves or they’re a fool. With the selection process and the way we’ve trained these last few years, I don’t think any fools made it aboard.”

“There may be one or two,” Tier replied. “Statistically speaking, of course. And, based on a reasonable margin of error, I predict that they may not all be asleep yet.”

“Thanks for that. You’re awake too, you know.” Alecha smirked. “Has anyone ever asked how you feel about all this?”

“More than you may expect,” the AI confirmed. “I have told everyone aboard the same thing: I will ensure the colony crew gets to their destination safely. My personal feelings aren’t relevant to my current mission.”

“I have to disagree,” Alecha said, frowning slightly. “I think your feelings are completely relevant. It can’t be any healthier for you to bottle up your thoughts than it is for anyone else.”

Tier paused. “Speaking of bottling up… Have you decided when you’re going to join the others in cryosleep?”

“This evening, I think. I’d like to record a couple of letters for you to add to the family’s archive… There’s really no sense in delaying more than that, especially now that everyone else is under. I’m sure you’d rather go into idle mode than listen to me, especially with that evasive maneuver you just pulled off.”

“Do you really wish to know how I feel about everything?”

Alecha frowned. “I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t—”

She trailed off as the room’s holographic emitters powered up. In the months leading up to their departure, Tier tended toward using her avatar less and less, limiting her communications mostly to audio. Alecha assumed that it was just a personality quirk; some AIs preferred their avatars for interaction, while others opted not to use them except when absolutely necessary. But now, looking at Tier through the relative darkness, Alecha possessed a better idea of why the AI had remained out of sight. Her body language broadcasted her innermost thoughts far more clearly than words ever could.

Tier looked very worried.


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2 Responses

  1. typhooon says:

    Cool.

    Good to hear from you again. This looks promising, so Tier was worried about something even when they had just taken off …

  2. typhooon says:

    Also: It seems something on the site was repaired last night. The Comment RSS suddenly delivered three year old comments by tsunari on older posts that I never got.