Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Elpis #5

The screen flickered as the computer transmitted the command to the ship itself. Lights flicked on everywhere, and the humming of the engines increased. The drifting beads of water that had escaped climate control so far fell to the ground in a pitter-patter, and she felt the weight of gravity settle about her neck and shoulders once again.

“Acknowledged. Subjects will be awake within four hours, with a five percent margin of error.”

“Right.” Irina leaned down, switched off her boots, and stepped out of her pod’s alcove into the cramped hallway. “Now, remind me how to get to the bridge.”

Soundless Screaming

Nadr al-Sahir leaned against the elevator wall, his eyes closed, thinking, remembering. He turned his head and glanced once more at his tablet’s display, where the message from the Head of Security still burned.

“All primary colonists, report to the main briefing room at once. Do not discuss anything with anyone else. I will explain what’s going on when you arrive.
-Irina Dovenka, CDR

His first instinct had been to query the computer for information, for data, but everything was locked out by Dovenka, and none of his passcodes would get through.

“Don’t discuss with anyone else?” Nadr shook his head. He had passed a few others on the way out, in various states of dress and preparation, but had held to the order, giving a cursory nod as he moved on. “That doesn’t make any sense. Something must have happened.”

Maybe we’re adrift in space. It’s not like you’d be able to feel it. He wiped away the sweat beading on his brow. Or we got lost. Navigation malfunctioned. Maybe…

Monday, April 6, 2015

Elpis #4

She dropped the tablet back onto the shelf and grabbed her electric pistol and holster, belting the weapon on before picking the computer up again. “Where are we?”

“Current location is approximately…”

“No, never mind. How long until we arrive at Elpis?”

“Orbit expected to occur in seventeen hours, twenty-three minutes, with a seven percent margin of error.”

“Fine.” Seventeen hours. That’s not long to figure out what’s going on. She tapped her foot against the floor, boot ringing on metal. Okay. Calm. By the book.

“What caused the deaths?”

“Cryogenic pods initiated wake-up procedures without draining stasis fluid or altering external environment. As a consequence, all subjects involved were unable to escape the pod, and, due to their heightened metabolic rates, asphyxiated within minutes.”

Irina rubbed her forehead with her free hand. “Holy hell. They drowned?”


The only thing that could have done that is the computer itself. Someone must have screwed with the computer, told it what to do…but how?

She chewed on her bottom lip for a moment.

“Give me the list of the primary colonization wave.”

The tablet complied, displaying the colonists who were to be awakened first to initiate the colonization effort. In addition to the command crew, there were one-hundred specialists in various fields—technicians, scientists, economists, mechanics, engineers—that would be responsible for setting up the new colony infrastructure before rousing the rest.

All right. Need to know basis. We’ve got seventeen hours before we get there.

“Initiate awakening procedures for the primary colonization wave. Authorization code Bravo Delta.”

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Elpis #3

Could be worse. She ran her hand through her close-cut brown hair. Got off easy.

She turned away from the mirror, stepping out into the hallway.

“Wha…wait a minute. What’s going on?”

This section of the ship was close-fitting, cryogenic pods stacked in one atop the other. Over a hundred colonists and crew slept away the journey across the Milky Way in stasis. The electrical activity required to keep the pods running charged the atmosphere in the area, smelling of ozone and iron. She narrowed her eyes.

“There should be more people awake.” Irina moved to the next pod, her eyes scanning over the data readouts—heart rate, oxygen consumption, core body temperature. All indicated deep hibernation.

“Commander.” The voice came from her personal tablet, still in its holder in the cabinet. “You have received an automated message with a priority of Urgent. Are you prepared to receive it?”

Irina stopped, turning, her lips thin. She swallowed, squared her shoulders, and marched toward the tablet, picking it up. “Yes.”

A green light flashed across her eyes, confirming her identity, and then the message appeared on the screen. One of Irina’s hands went to her mouth of its own volition as she read.

Urgent: Captain, ISS Venture

CC: Commander of Security, ISS Venture.

Critical System Failure Log: 12:47 GMT, 10 Jun 2416

Complete Pod Failure

 Irina scanned down the list of affected pods. This…this is the entire command crew, from the captain down to the communications tech. She shook her head, checked again. What the hell is going on?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Elpis #2

Have we already arrived? The shaking lessened, and she stretched out her hand, testing it, flexing her fingers as she watched the distorted images collapse into recognizable patterns. She blinked new tears out of her eyes, then put her hand down and turned her head.

The pod had opened to the inner environment of the ship. The glass walls no longer obscured the view; instead, Irina had a clear picture of everything around her.

“Body temperature reaching 35 degrees. Neural recovery satisfactory. One minute to completion of procedure.” Electrodes released their hold on her head, retracting on small metal cables into the pod.
Irina put her hands underneath her body. The platform was warm, and her skin had shed the ice water left over from the cryogenic sleep. The shivering stopped, and she felt strength returning to her muscles. The restraints withdrew, and she floated several inches above the platform.

“Procedure complete. Welcome back, Commander Dovenka.”

Irina pushed herself up, feeling the tendons flex and the ligaments stretch as she moved. Now upright, she reached for the nearby cabinet labeled with her name, opening the doors to reveal clothes and dry rations, a drawer for personal effects, and a portable tablet computer. She dressed, smoothing the uniform over her body. Her fingers felt clumsy, slow, and buttoning her shirt took a few more tries than expected.

Last, she powered on the magnetic boots, and they pulled her to the floor, attaching to the ship with enough force to hold her in place.

Irina examined her reflection in the mirror, poking at the bruises, the dark patches, the irritated areas that indicated the monitoring sites. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Elpis #1

So I've decided that, in order to have some regular content for my log, I will be publishing a serial novel. I'll put up a single page (approx 250 words) every day. I look forward to your comments!

Awakening in the Void

He opens his eyes in the darkness. His chest moves, heaving, searching for oxygen, but there is none; his lungs are filled with frozen slush, and he feels the crystals tearing at the delicate sacs within as the organs move in and out. His heart pumps like mad, wakening from its torpor and responding to the liquid panic flooding his blood.
He screams, soundless, airless. "His thoughts are like his fists, ineffectual and unfocused, slamming against the inside of his brain, losing strength, fading back into the shadow.
But this time, he would not awaken.
Irina Dovenka took her first breath twenty-seven hours later as the automatic systems on her cryogenic pod brought her out of hibernation.
The first sense to return was sound. A slow gurgle of draining fluid, the humming of electricity. An awareness of her own breathing. A tapping sound, something hard on metal, irregular, sporadic. The shivering started then as warmth began seeping into her consciousness, muscles reacting to the low core temperature as best they could, sending her into spasms, uncontrollable. Metalloid plastics rubbed against Irina’s skin, wet and icy, and her teeth chattered in her head. Blurry shapes began to resolve from the blinding white background as her eyes refocused, relearning their function and resuming their work.
“Body temperature reaching 32 degrees. Neural recovery within nominal limits. Two minutes to completion of procedure.”

The machine’s words cut through Irina’s mind like a blade through the fog.