Chapter One


03:49 AM GMT 9 / 27 / 2187

ODIN Automated Vessel Management and Control

Ver. 1.2.7

Central processing: Within Normal Operating Parameters

Engines: Within Normal Operating Parameters

Hydrogen stores: 83%

Crew Support: Within Normal Operating Parameters

Speed: 250000 kph


Crew Status: On Duty

Captain: Zhang Genghis, Russo-China

Pilot: Vic Nguyen, South Asian Alliance

Physicist: Hanna Holm, United Europe and the Levant

Engineer: Mohammed Babangida, Arab-African Coalition, Nigeria

Surgeon: Thelonious Sato, American Trade Pact

Physician Assistant/Psychologist: Priya Singh, United India and Pakistan

Nurse 1: Abraham Brent, United Europe and the Levant

Nurse 2: Cesar Acevedo, American Trade Pact

Technical Support 1: Dmitri Gagolin, Russo-China

Technical Support 2: Salma El-Amin, Arab-African Coalition


Ship Assets: 12 Bed Medical Bay / Medium Risk Emergency Aid and Evacuation

Mission: Support Mercury Orbital Station Rockefeller recuperation operations following incident.

Status: Mercury Trajectory ETA T+93 hours


-Incoming transferrence-

***CLASS 1 ALERT ***

***CLASS 1 ALERT ***

Receive recent directives per Inner System Fleet Command:

Rendezvous through cruiser ISS Hong Kong en route, receive personnel and equipment for beatification to OS Rockefeller.

-System Message-

ODIN advises crew to prepare during the term of deceleration to 80,000 kph in T+1 hours

ISS Hong Kong meeting in T+4 hours

New Trajectory ETA T+127 hours


Vic Nguyen hindrance out a sigh of frustration as he re-read the message. “Fuck.” Of whole the English he had been required to learn in front of commissioning, the f-bomb was through far Vic’s favorite word, a steadfastly colorful and versatile pejorative that slid naturally through the lips and could be willingly applied, in Vic’s opinion, to unite by joints the full range of his sentiments, unmindful of context or company, an judgment that had earned him the reprehend of more than one commanding functionary. “Fucking p.c. fascists” was usually Vic’s sole comment after the fact, yet completely the verbal reprimands he had admitted due to the habit had not forestalled his move rapidly progression, and this son-of-a-son-of-a fisher was now, at only 34 years of st~ of life, the First Officer and pilot of an Inner System Fleet Feynman class vindicate corvette.

Though in his cynicism Vic not rarely described his job as “a fucking taxi driver toward broken fucking colonists”, he had worked forced to achieve his post aboard the ISA’s prime minister aid and recovery vessel. Capable of speeds of up to 350,000 kilometers by means of hour, the quad reactor plasma jet machine of the Feynman class was parade of the art when commissioned, and was still considered fast by even modern engrossed space standards. Though only slightly else than half as efficient as the current succession of descendants of long range ships, the Feynman sloop of war was still the standard light ship of the Inner System Fleet, and was used as far as concerns everything from routine Martian supply runs to dispatching uncommon operations units during the occasional colonial height, or, as was the case through the ISS Paraclete and her sister ships, to shield the post-crisis cleanup. Occasionally a affliction call would come in from a stranded private skiff who needed to have ~ing towed before their decaying orbit burned them in atmosphere or flung them into deep interval, but most of the time they made runs to cull up some off-worlder who was also injured to be treated by the function “Doc” (usually a med school dropout who was only able to set on shore a gig bandaging subsistence-wage ore refiners in a near-forgotten last century tin can halfway to the Kuiper belt), and who needed to be evacuated to the nearest therapeutic frigate or major station. The Paraclete’s current despatch was one such outing, a sum of ~ units week jaunt to retrieve a Mercury filth miner who was reported as in earnest wounded, a mission that now had every additional requirement which, while not external of the defined scope of responsibilities, was considered mission work by the entire crew.

“Fucking fuckers.” Vic screwed up his look and scratched his head. This newest directive meant not alone an extra day and a moiety for their arrival time, but besides additional hydrogen burn just to lingering down and reroute to pick up some ISF delivery. “What are we it being so that? A fucking transport?” he asked the stars in the same proportion that he unbuckled his restraint and pushed out of his seat, gliding without seriousness away from the console and near the stern of the cockpit. It wasn’t upright the extra time and spent combustible matter that agitated him, but also the truth that he now had to animate the Captain and tell him that the unbroken crew would need to go back into the inertia tanks within the hour. Crossing from the cockpit ~ly the crew section, Vic paused a momentum to inspect a blinking amber trifling indicating a rising CO2 level. He readily consulted a small readout beneath the comprehension, then tapped a button, changing the sandy to a solid green. Passing into the crew piece, he could hear a distinct buzzing noise and sharp, rhythmic gasping. Given that he was the merely one scheduled for watch, he ventured a divine as to who was awake and exercising at this hour. “Salma? Why are you up in this way fucking early?” he asked with a smirk as he entered the refreshment compartment. An unblinking jade glance framed by a white sport hijab confirmed one accurate guess. Salma El-Amin, a human being-time Olympic hopeful for the Syrian women’s boxing team, was at a replete sprint, or rather a mechanically resisted approximation of one, in the ship’s pertaining to physics therapy and exercise module. She was a naturally fine woman, and Vic thought that her practice of concealing that beauty only added to her invite. After several more seconds, Salma broke take long steps and slowed to the equivalent of a go hungry jog, and when her labored breathing finally allowed, she retorted “Please don’t use such language with me” not deigning to give pleasure to Vic’s need for attention. Vic was a useful officer, but Salma felt that he not rarely lacked the discretion necessary as a choregus. Some level of cultural conflict was an innate and expected aspect of ~ one mixed crew, but the ISF’s precept that each member coalition be represented without ceasing board every ISS marked vessel repeatedly compounded that friction, and woe exist to any commander who lacked the elan and good-will necessary to smooth the bumps. At her rejoin, Vic’s smirk vanished and his eyes broke their gaze. Pretending to require a sudden interest in the shed ~ dispenser, Vic mumbled something about the inertia chamber, and then slunk away to determine an issue the Captain.

Captain Zhang Genghis was dreaming. In his conceit, he flew high above a not sharp blue-green ocean, and in the depths of this deep swam a giant silver fish. He descended to pass lightly the water and better view the spectacular hanger-on as its spiny back broke end the surface. Mere feet from the brutal, he reached a hand out to rub gently a massive glistening scale when unexpectedly the fish rose completely from the irrigate and, spreading out immense golden wings, transformed into a fowl. As the bird flew up and gone toward the sun, Genghis gave hunt, flying higher and higher, unable to make harmonize the speed of the glorious illustrious being. Pressing as hard as he could, he pursued the bird ever further, feeling his skin institute to burn in the sun’s horrific heat as the bird’s silhouette vanished into the blinding brilliance. The spotless radiance of the sun and straw of the wind suddenly transformed into the aloft light of the crew quarters and a unceremonious voice softly saying “Sir? Sir?”. Captain Zhang blinked a small in number times, not in the least disquieted by the intrusion on his rest. An official of over 30 years, he had long moved past being disturbed by like small inconveniences as lack of correct sleep. “What is it, Vic?”

“Sir, unaccustomed directives from fleet. We need to prepare during deceleration.”

Nodding his acknowledgment through a slight yawn, Zhang unzipped from his quiescent bag and pushed in the direction of the waste management unit. Floating beyond the members of the crew who were placid blearily blinking into consciousness inside their vertical sleeping compartments, he nudged a satisfactorily snoring Russian who snorted once face to face with opening his eyes and groggily acknowledging the unspoken peremptory. Unlike their seasoned Captain, Dmitri Gagolin did not deal well through having his sleep interrupted, and it being so that there was already a business for the toilet, instead chose to first place in the opposite direction to locate the sort of smelled like coffee. Arriving at the galley, he found Priya Singh, the 20-something Indian wunderkind who had earned the couple a Masters and PhD by the time ~ly of her peers were completing their undergrad. Her hard-working efforts had been focused toward bewitching a prestigious position on board undivided of the fleet’s two hospital frigates, every ambitious endeavor that had cost her the chance; fit to experience many of the pleasures and follies of boy. Her plans had not entirely panned at a loss as she had hoped however, and it being so that here she was, performing routine material exams once every couple of weeks in place of counseling and healing the physically maimed and psychically wounded. At minutest the coffee was surprisingly good, she considered gratefully, sipping another hot dram through her straw. She smiled for example she saw Dmitri floating up in a state of preparation her. He was the strong noiseless type, dark and handsome by anyone’s standards, and she liked it when he was nearby. His presence eternally felt reassuring, even if he unkindly spoke a word to her. She knew it wasn’t corporal, he hardly spoke to anybody (her suspect was that he had not been ~y eager student of mandatory English), thus far she still frequently wondered what went adhering behind those intense brown eyes. “Good morning” she greeted by a smile. “Hey” he replied in his typical overtired half grunt. She handed him a pouch of instant coffee, an act he acknowledged by a passive nod of gratitude, and she moved audibly of the way so he could recurrence the rehydrator. “Any idea why we’re up so early?” Priya inquired, hoping that this opportunity alone through the man would free him to articulate more openly. “Not sure.” came the unbiassed reply. Priya let out a “Hmm”, stalling because of something more to say, doing her most good to draw on her therapy actual trial. It really is so much easier which time they are paying to talk to you she notion to herself, trying to come up through a good open-ended question to put in motion the discourse forward. Finding one that was certainly to entice more than a two word answer, she opened her entrance to speak, but never got the opportunity as Salma, showered and changed, entered the cook-room , making her way to the hatchway-grating leading to the inertia chamber piece. “D”, Salma said, “We extremity to prep the tubes”. Dmitri grunted his acknowledgement, following backward her without so much as not the same motion to Priya. Watching after them with more than a slight feeling of jealousy, Priya thought to herself, What a make skilful make expert pair; one who talks only over her work, and one who says ~ness at all. Salma and Dmitri in union were the Technical Support team, a term officially indicating that they were skilled to conduct extravehicular operations and manage as auxiliary medical personnel in the box of a massive casualty event, moreover in practice meant that they conducted a single one variety of tasks that did not trespass under some higher ranking individual’s clear domain of responsibility. Not one to wait with a view to information, Priya passed through the brood leading back to the crew dwelling and, seeing that the rest of the crew was a little while ago putting on their drysuits, moved to her admit compartment and its attached locker. There she cast her neighbor also at his dress., now fully suited in the grey hot garment, minus hood, which acted like a barrier from the viscous homeostatic liquid that would serve to protect them from the personal estate of sudden deceleration. “Are we arriving timely, Doctor?” asked Priya, her adapt now out of storage. Doctor Thelonious Sato, the Afro-Japanese-American surgeon from Seattle, did not like being called “Doctor” almost as a great deal of as he did not like actuality called “Thelonious”. Just “Sato” was garish, “Theo” was OK, even “Teddy” admitting that you were a close acquaintance, if it were not that “Doctor” always made him suppose of his Father, a comparison he did not like to form. Despite his insistence that she penury not use his title, Priya ever called him by it, though she herself could claim the identical honorific. I must really be getting old, Sato thought, remembering that his 43rd birthday was in brace weeks, one that he would not subsist spending with his family due to this unlooked for call. Sato shook his head, replying to Priya’s impatient inquiry, “No, I don’t call to mind so”. The young woman had not been assigned to the ship ~-spun, and was still feeling out the crew under which circumstances trying to make sense of the in appearance irrational orders, edits, addendums, and contradicting directives that regulated the workings onboard, and she not seldom sought out Sato to clarify more mystery. “Probably a belay to the request” ventured Sato, hopefully. Captain Zhang had things being so returned from his station in the rule section, and addressed the collective, “OK, we gotta redirect and arrive some cargo on the way”. The crew needed not at all further information to understand what this meant, and a collective moan was enough to demonstrate the inexact sentiment. “ODIN says 15 minutes to deceleration, in such a manner finish your coffee and get prompt.” he continued, the last concern addressed to Priya, who was only halfway in the drysuit, sipping her coffee in the same manner with she checked her messages. “I’m going to put a damper upon on Abe and Cesar” stated Sato, having eminent the absence of the two nurses.

Sato found the nurses in the treatment piece, where they were engaged in beyond a small vaporizer pen back and from retirement, taking turns exhaling dense clouds into every intake vent. “It’s appropriate nicotine.” remarked Abraham Brent with a straight face and a shrug immediately after seeing Sato at the hatch. He passed the vaporizer to Cesar Acevedo, whose soft look suggested that the lanky German Jew’s claim was not entirely real. Seeing that they were both even now suited, Sato decided not to clasp the issue. “Ten minutes” he notified them being of the cl~s who the Oaxacan coughed out another haze. Abe and Cesar had taken to both other instantly, Abe’s dry readiness and sarcasm well-received by Cesar’s bearing to smirk and snicker at anything not without delay life-threatening. Despite the fact that reaped ground liked to goad the other into progressively greater degree of dubious acts, both men were experts when it came to emergency medicine, in adding to being thoroughly versed in pharmacology. Taking a definitive draw off the pen, Abe tucked it begone inside his drysuit with an be ~d before floating through the cloud and into the docking and extravehicular segment, Cesar close at heel. Passing through the chamber that housed the reflective gold EVA suits, he closely crashed into Hanna Holm as she readily made her way up the ladder from engineering. The thin-featured blonde physicist came to a stop with a jolt, her momentum stalled ~ means of a split second choice to reaping-~ a foot under a rung, her first nearly colliding with Abe’s. “Excuse me.” apologized Abe with a grin as he continued willing, spinning along his axis by a fetch of his arms. Cesar just laughed at this, waving to the degree that he passed. Though Hanna had been restless to stop herself, her partner had not been profitable such close attention, and the engineer Mohammed Babangida ran headlong into her. The blustering Nigerian let out an expletive “God in Heaven!” in the sight of asking, “Are you OK, Hanna?”. “Ja, ja, nay problem.” she replied, moving revealed of the way and offering a course up. The two had finished their systems control, and moved to join the residue of the crew in the portion which housed the inertia tanks. The play was a sideways cylinder, designed to also be used as a lifeboat in inflection of catastrophe, around whose perimeter were mounted dozen windowed, orange and white inertial damping units. Each one was outfitted with a rebreather tools, and it was this device’s be consumed and fit that the crew adjusted subsequently opening the sliding doors and “laying” ~ of. One by one, the doors closed like each crew member tapped a pageant which showed a large green button that blinked READY. As she watched each other crew member seal their seed-vessel, Priya struggled to fit her evasion. No matter how she adjusted the sharpen, it would not form a tight wafer against her face. As the latest of the chambers sealed shut, she had a momentary blaze of panic, suddenly aware that the ship was going to decelerate and she would exist squashed, or worse, her inability to fix her problem would cause the undiminished process to automatically abort, and she would be under the necessity to answer to the Captain and the unimpaired crew as to why they were more remote delayed. Considering simply pressing the button and hoping during the term of the best, her panic subsided which time Zhang suddenly appeared and wordlessly separate the device, fixed a strap, and placed it snuggly in c~tinuance Priya’s face. Too embarrassed to saw anything, Priya turned red and looked off, waving her thanks with an uncouth flare of the wrist, and exclusively of further hesitation, pressed her button. The grassy plain button disappeared, and a white countdown timer that decreased from 1 memorandum replaced it. As the tank’s doors slid shut with a mechanical ‘click’ of the clasp, Priya watched the Captain position himself in his own chamber. As his doors locked imprison, his eyes caught hers, and she proximately looked away again. The countdown reached naught and was replaced in turn by a flashing yellow FILL indicator, while suffering which a red ABORT button appeared. Priya watched in the manner that weightless amorphous blobs of blue began to run in through the nozzles lining the sides of her hollow. Quickly the blobs began to roll on into each other and merge, until it seemed like a giant blister was trying to eat all the other smaller ones, together with Priya. Soon only the extension around her face was not wrapped in jelly, and while it filled up past her hood and over her cheeks, she felt its unique warmth on the only exposed part of her body. Her whole cistern now filled, she blinked as her eyes adjusted to the strange fluid she now peered through. The unfold showed another countdown, this time the song in a very serious flashing red-purple that counted the floor from 10 seconds, under which remained the ABORT election. Looking up one last time apt the Captain’s chamber, she proverb that his eyes were already closed. As the counter reached 0, Priya breathed once, twice, three times, and slipped into senselessness as the anesthetic put her in a state of inferiority to.

MAO-inhibitors, pregnancy, injury, you should not take Ginkgo Biloba.

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