Sample taken from the novelization of “A Time, Times, and a Half-Life,” by Joseth Moore ; @ Copyright 2019. Pages 12 through 15…
“…twenty more years left,” Maintenance Garson Hanway retorted; his head swiveling around as he looked at the large group around the different kiosk-tables. “By your cerebral-message, I thought we were about to sputter to a halt in a few days!”
Agreements were voiced around the media-tables…Tyra quietly noticed that none of them were from any of the scientists.
“Maintenance Hanway,” Chemist Poul Ean replied in a bit condescending tone, “for a generational ship, we’re fortunate to have had this much time to figure out how to deal with our fuel supply…as much time it takes for the logistics of trying to find the closest planet or moon for us to park next to and orbit; then you have to think about sending out scouting missions to those planets; and, of course, all the while we have to keep feeding and facilitating almost three million residents while we do this!”
“Indeed, Maintenance Hanway, twenty years is not a lot of time to deal with our dwindling ship-fuel,” computerable physicist, Ellenain Eshe, put to the maintenance worker. She, then, turned her attention to the whole group at all the kiosk-tables—looking through projections of iconographic data that also depicted a diagram of the asteroid-encrusted ship at each table. (Ever since Tyra and her search team found that ancient signal, she had been more mindful how her generation communicated exclusively with pictographs. With the exception of math expressions.) “I’d like to hear from the Ship’s rotating crew…You all know more than anyone else of the history the last time the Ship had made port on a planet or moon…whether or not we’ve had energy surges…I guess what I’m asking is, Do we have enough energy from this nuclear thing for us to even look for a planet to dock with and utilize its natural resources?”
“—Stars, we’re in trouble if we even have to ask that!”
“—I heard a computerable report say something like a hundred years ago!”
“—Shouldn’t that be in our records?”
“Ok, let’s hear from the Ship’s crew,” Yeo, an engineer, suggested as she did a sweeping gesture with one of her hands.
The ancient ship’s main crew were scattered among the other people at the kiosk-tables, but it was evident who they were by the way they glanced at one another to see who’d speak among them, for them.
Billamont Harvester, one of the Ship’s rotating crew members, cleared his throat and, apprehensively, responded. “A few of us were discussing this while on the way here over our cerebral-comms…and you are actually on the point, Physicist Eshe, about the need to divert the Ship to an astronomic body in order to compensate our fuel-loss…”
“Why do I hear a, But, coming from you, Crew-Harvester,” Astrophysicist Cairo an Preun pointed out from across the headquarters’ conference hall. He kept his eyes on the shipmate while everyone else shifted in their respective seats to get a look at Billamont.
The shipmate’s eyes uneasily flitted to his crewmates scattered around those media-tables before he responded. “Look, you can’t expect a ship that started off with some thousands of residents thousands of years ago to ignore the issues related to that ship’s fuel supply…years ago, we Crewmembers did discuss—more speculation, really—what we might have to do should the Ship run into some near-fatal incident with one of those meteor storms. Back then, when I was a new recruit, some of the elders suggested that we scrap our long-held philosophy of drifting about in space in a big ship and just find a habitable planet or moon to settle onto…”
There was a stir that began among some within the large meeting. Crew-Harvester went on.
“Well, like I said, it was more idle speculation than a serious policy to look into…” He shrugged, in a defeatist way, main tech Tyra noticed. “And that was pretty much it, sisters and brothers…it was kind of a sore spot to discuss this—almost political! Sadly, some of the crewmembers back in my young days as a shipmate wanted nothing to do with migrating to a planet or moon. I don’t know…I guess one could’ve called them a kind of ‘purist’ movement within the Ship’s crewmembers. You know; what’s the point in constructing a generational ship just to dock it within a geo-centric orbit around, yet, another planet…?”
There were some tacit nods to that point, but the majority of the engineers, scientists, and even among the maintenance workers, were all looking upon Crew-Harvester with suspicious eyes! This was not lost on him.
“I guess the thrust of what I’m saying is, even though I, personally, was open to looking to settle onto a planet—and a few other crewmembers—the majority of the rotating crew were not! Between that mindset of the Ship’s crew and our updated actuator systems not configuring the older systems with the programming of the nuclear fuel with them…” Now Crew-Harvester, in earnest, looked around at everyone in the conference hall, seated at those kiosk-tables. “This is how we got into this mess, apparently!”
For the first time of the emergency meeting, there was a ruckus!
“I ask that all in attendance please be respectful and keep all interactions courteous,” the Ship’s synthetic voice sternly put; its audible booming above. No doubt, there was some psychology at play in such gesture!
“You realize we’ve passed two planets since you’ve been a recruit, Crew-Harvester,” maintenance tech Bennie Dotansk put to all the rotating shipmates as she looked around the gathering.
There was a chorus of consent, as the attendees tried measuring their responses after the warning from the Ship’s actuator!
“What’s the next planet the Ship will run across,” Geologist Fillip Natsome threw out to anyone.
/ End of Sample/
** To read the original short story of “A Time, Times, and a Half-Life” please READ :
~~Smashwords Site >> https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/948387
~~Inkitt Site >> https://www.inkitt.com/stories/scifi/340559