How Far Can We Fly?

Mars_atmosphere

“Mars Colony Nuova Gaia, 4th of June, 2114.

Day 3157 of the Dedalus Mission.

Our current settlement is home to 8 people and it’s getting crowded. With the new arrivals set for three months from now, we are on a short schedule to add more space…New living quarters, completely new life support unit, another floating garden and we will finally finish the tunnel to the Dome that will house our first animal settlers.

MarsColony590

They said we could make a list of things they would send us, but it is limited to 5 items and 50 cubic centimeter per person . How can I decide? From all the things I think I miss, what is it that I truly long for?

Marcus and I had an argument the other day. He says there is something disturbingly wrong with me, for he can’t understand how I can stay so focused and determined after all these years out here, but most of all he just can’t understand how can I be so irritably happy most of the time. He is breaking more and more each day, the thought that he can never go back is driving him crazy, slowly and irreversibly.

How can I explain to him that I dreamed about this since I was a kid? That I would leap from tree to tree in my back yard, pretending I am Joan Carter of Mars. How can I describe all those summer nights I was stargazing from the roof of the old barn on my grandparents farm? How can he understand that irresistible interstellar pull on my heart? Every step in my life lead to this moment, to this place, to this planet.

So, when he asks: What do you miss most?
I reply: Dreams.
And when he asks: So, how come you are always smiling?
I say: Because of the view.

earth-globe

Toil and Trouble

Time for another entry in Friday Fictioneers challenge, courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. If you want to give it a try, check the info on her blog. 100 words more or less, inspired by a photo, here we go….

jean-l-hays

 Copyright –  Jean L. Hays

“This is perfect! We’ll make a trading camp here.”

“Well, if you hadn’t blown up our tetra-hop speedster, we wouldn’t have to execute the emergency debark in the middle of nowhere.”

“Shh, don’t let the terrestrials here you call this goolie a middle of an unknown place.”

“This transliterator seems a bit off…I think goolie means something else. I told you we should have turned left when we reached Jupiter. Last time we landed in New York, a kid stuck a gum to my tail. It took me forever to grow another.”

“Mom will kill us. Again.”

“Shut up.”

Lifeline

Time for another entry in Friday Fictioneers challenge, courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. If you want to give it a try, check the info on her blog. 100 words more or less, inspired by a photo, here we go….

wired

 Copyright –   Connie Gayer

Ever since her ship skidded past the event horizon, barely missing the black hole accretion disc, Geneviève Bouchard wondered how much time passed back home.

Accompanied by radio silence, she sailed over the space and time, her trepidation contained in the titanium cage of her mind. Eventually, resignation took over, with only the fraction of her instinct for survival slowly burning, pushing her onward.

The data logs on InternationalSpaceStation finally offered answers, stories of human arrogance and stupidity. Years of nuclear winter left its mark, but the wild sapling she found near the landing site told a story of a new beginning.

After 329 years, Geneviève came home.

I went for a walk and kept thinking how no one will understand this story, apart from Science Fiction fans.
Basically, in theory when you approach the black hole, for you time slows down. Meaning, while it might be days or months for Geneviève, in Earth time centuries flew by.

 

Across The Universe

Time for another entry in Friday Fictioneers challenge, courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. If you want to give it a try, check the info on her blog. 100 words more or less, inspired by a photo, here we go….

moon-and-sky1

 Copyright –   Madison Woods

“Are you looking at me looking back at you?” Moorak wondered aloud, caressing the moon with his outstretched hand, leaning on his IV pole. It had been 17 months since he watched Leilani’s shuttle land on the surface, following her first steps, looking at the Earth through her eyes. “Are you cold, my love?”

***

Leilani adjusted her suit’s oxygen level and stepped outside for another daily routine. Climbing the ridge, she set down on a rock and gazed at the Earth. Almost half-way through, she thought, and I will hold you in my arms. “Will you wait for me?” Leilani whispered.

Moorak – Aboriginal name, meaning mountain
Leilani – Hawaiian name, meaning heavenly woman

Quote

Colliding Suns

On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth's magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3.  Pictured above is an overlay blended version of the 304 and 171 angstrom wavelengths. Cropped. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO NASA image use policy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram


Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

“Grass. Ruby ridges, blood-colored highlands, wine-shaded glades. Sapphire seas of grass with dark islands of grass bearing great plumy green trees which are grass again…Orange highlands burning against the sunsets. Apricot ranges glowing in the dawns…And there, somewhere…” … she smiled, gently closed the book and examined the well-worn cover, thinking that it would hold for one more reading.

Although it was quite archaic, nothing could replace the feel of real paper and that unique smell that only old, used books held. Marcus would laugh at that silly sign of human weakness, exclaiming: “We are scientists! Act like one, for God’s…” No, he probably wouldn’t mention God, she chuckled to herself.

Stone and water, people called them behind their backs, hard and cold, enduring and persistent, forever marked by their parent’s fame and demise. But, they were only survivors, desperately clinging to each other, as a drowning man clings to a driftwood in the middle of the river, not knowing where it will take him, not having enough strength to swim for shore. The question was, between the two of them, who was drowning and who was just drifting?

Just a fragment of the story that lives in the corners of my mind for quite some time now. Set in the near future, it’s about brother and sister, alien ambassadors to Earth. They are shape-shifters living in a human form for several centuries, feeling more human than alien. Desperately in love with Earth and its inhabitants, they are struggling to stand by while Earthlings and their own species head on for inevitable and tragic collision.

Sigh…I really need to sit down and start writing.

Make It Count

Weekly Writing Challenge Digging for Roots

The-Majestic-Sombrero-Galaxy-M104   Hubble Image

 

 

…10…

Is this one way trip to nowhere?

…9…

“We are launching a single person mission and we have a very limited knowledge what lies beyond the wormhole.”

…8…

“If we want to solve this equation, I need to be there.”

…7…

“Mom, do you have to go?”

…6…

How will I do this?

…5…

“Based on all the data, there is a possibility of several habitable planets. But you are still going in blind.”

…4…

“I’ll miss you.”

…3…

“Due to the effects of the velocity time dilation and proximity of a black hole, there is a high probability that in your near future no one you know will be around here. But there are protocols for future generations to follow.”

…2…

“You are going to be a Grandma. We decided to name her after you.”

…1…

I love you.

***

Day 3

The view up here is beautiful, the splendor of my home below more distant every minute. Everything I ever knew and loved is there. DNA of my ancestors and my descendants compressed in building blocks of future. And still…there is this calmness I feel, the sense of fulfillment as I reach for my final frontier.
My great-grandmother taught me to look up, to search the sky: “One day you could be up there.”
“But I am not a bird.”, I would exclaim in wonder.
She would smile and caress my cheek: “No, you are a ray of light.”
Well, here I am, soon to become just that.

***

Day 247

I am a Grandmother. My future is split in two ways. One is behind me and the other awaits ahead. I wonder if the two will meet someday.
The last transmission was received several hours ago. She is beautiful, my granddaughter. Margaret. A dark-haired spark of life, stretching her little arms towards the sky. I imagine she is waiving at me.
After a lifetime of running and rushing, this quiet solitude is still enjoyable. But moments like these hit hard. I wish I could hold her in my arms.
I am alone. I am truly alone. And still…I am not afraid.

***

Year 4 Day 54

I am passing Saturn,  A ring seems almost at my hand’s reach. If I don’t emerge on the other side of the wormhole, just what I’ve seen so far will be enough. My readings on Cassini show it is still surfing on the Titan’s waves. Who knew it would last this long, years beyond our wildest expectations.
I am half way to Neptune

***

Year 8 Day 17

Wormhole is 2 days ahead and this might be my final log entry. I sent my latest video recording yesterday. My daughter finally forgave me for leaving, I think she understands, now that she is a mother. I always told her I would go to the ends of the world for her, that I would do impossible to ensure her future.
“What is impossible?” Rowena used to ask me when she was a child.
“Unknown is impossible until we learn enough to make it probable.”
“Stuff of dreams.” she told me when she grew up, ever the pragmatic.
“And dreams make probable become possible, my love.” I replied, my heart breaking for her absence of dreams.
Did I love her enough? Does she dream of me? I am not afraid. But there is this feeling of regret.

***

Year 8 Day 21

I spent last 4 days receiving and analyzing data from the other side of the wormhole. It appears the probes I launched from this side work as some kind of relay stations, picking up signals from the old probes, some of them going back several decades.
The exit from the wormhole sits right on the rim of the black hole’s event horizon. The transmission from two probes is so slow, that I am still receiving data from their first hours on the other side. If my calculations are off by a fragment, I will be caught in the accretion disc. Point of no return.
With my last findings and equations transmitted, it is time. I wonder if I’ll ever see it. The Blue Planet. My cradle of life that holds my roots, my past and my future. Once I was brave. Now I am not so sure. Was it worth it? I guess there is only one way to find out.
I am alone. And I am afraid.
For you, Rowena. End of the world.

***

Year 8 Day 21 – the other side

“Don’t fight the wheel, kid. Just let the car slide and gently steer it, let it find its way back.”
“Like this, Dad?”
“Yes, just like that. And don’t ever touch the breaks when you’re on ice. You’ll spin and lose control.”
“So, no fighting and no breaking. Just let it slide. I’ve got this.”
“You got it, kid. Just like that.”
I almost passed out at one point. I can’t explain it, the wormhole. There were ridges and canyons. Mountains and valley. Voids and bursts of light. And there was nothing. I was wrestling with the ship’s controls and then I remembered. No fighting. No breaking. Just let it slide.
I missed the accretion disc by a hair-line. The ship is on course to MXp1, leaving the black hole behind. It seems something is wrong with the beacon configuration, it receives the unusual amount of data from home. The wormhole is not visible from this side, but the transmission is getting through.
I need to rest.

***

Year 8 Day 22 – the other side/ Year 55 Day 153 – Earth

My daughter is dead.
My granddaughter Margaret is older than I am. I have four grandkids and eleven great grandkids.
My daughter is dead.
I am alone.

***

Year 8 Day 35 – the other side / Year 55 Day 166 – Earth

I came too close to the black hole. What seemed like hours to me was actually decades. For every hour I was passing by accretion disc, I lost eleven years. 55 years in a blink of an eye. I am 97 years old.
My daughter is dead.

***

Year 8 Day 101 / Year 55 Day 180

78% of Earth’s population is gone. Victims of the plague. I traveled through wormhole to another galaxy and barely escaped the black hole, while back home people died of a 400 years old plague. What a joke.
Margaret is an astrophysicist and an astronaut. Just like another Margaret I know. She is flying a spaceship, approaching the Neptune. But she is so much smarter. She didn’t leave her daughter behind. They are all with her. Her family. My family.
The humans built an arc, after all. We solved the equation. The plague wiped most of the population, but it also erased the borders, quenched wars, drowned the hatred. Fear of loneliness overcame all obstacles and united the human race. 127 people volunteered for the Arc Mission. 34 of them are related to me by blood or by marriage.
They will enter the wormhole tomorrow. The data they received from my passing through gave them a perfect trajectory, leading them away from the black hole.
“You must go.”, my husband said, when I told him the truth.
“She will hate me.”
“No, she will be angry. But she will not hate you.”
“Do you hate me?”
“Hate you? Oh, my love…Never.” he held me close, his lips pressed to my forehead. “You will be alone out there. But don’t be afraid. I believe in you.”
“I love you.”
His cancer spread to his brain as I passed the Moon. He died when I was half way to Saturn.

***

Year 8 Day 286 / Year 56 Day 1

Today is my birthday. 98 years old. 51 years young. Margaret complains that she can’t call me Grandma, when I am actually younger than she. I just laugh at her teasing, watching my family gather around the table.
We found a home. Breathable atmosphere, 83% of earth’s gravitation, water, solid rock under our feet. The Arc is huge, equipped with everything we need for a fresh start. Plants and animals will be kept there until we establish the more permanent base camp. There are few basic life forms, but nothing we are interfering with. Eco-system is rudimentary, but stable. With careful approach, our own species can be introduced.
We are mostly scientist, doctors and teachers. There are no weapons, no private property, no government. We will make a fresh start.
When I was 14, my mother died. But I still remember her last words:
“When you were born, I said I would never leave you. But life is funny, sometimes it gives you no other choice. You are strong, Margaret. Smart. Resilient. Don’t waste it. Make it count. Everything you do.”

***

Year 9 Day 30 / Year 56 Day 110

Margaret said her mother made her promise something. That she would bring her to me. Yesterday I found a little urn on my desk.
There is an ocean 2 hours drive from our camp. I went there today. The water is deep blue, just like back home. She always liked the ocean. Summers on our sailboat, her dad teaching her how to stretch the sails. She would love it here.
For you, my love…To the ends of the world. I guess I was wrong. I was searching for the end just to find the beginning. I left my roots behind just to let them grow again. I watched my future split in two just to see it whole again.
I am not alone.

***

Year 1 Day 1

For Rowena.

m082-2012-07-28-HLA-1092

   Hubble Image

 

A Series Of Unfortunate Events Of One Sad Interstellar Traveler

Time for another entry in Friday Fictioneers challenge, courtesy of Rochelle Wissof-Fields. If you want to give it a try, check the info on her blog. 100 words more or less, inspired by a photo, here we go….

unidentifiable-on-a-stick

 Copyright – Kent Bonham

Funny things, these humans turned out to be. So curious and resourceful, yet inexplicably chained to this planet. In all my travels I never encountered stranger creatures, capable of so much kindness and cruelty in a single breath.
The little one picked me up from the rock with the utmost care and showed me to the big one: “Dad, look what I found. Can I put the pin in it? It will look great in my collection.”
They should count their blessings they can’t hear my screams.