GreyBeard Dreaming

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I've been sorely and sadly negligent with this Blog.  I'm going to try to do better.

I'll try to post at least a short comment daily.  A comment on daily or current events if nothing else...

.....and to promote my writing.

See I'm attempting to become a writer.  Science(ie)/ fantastical Fiction.  Or perhaps I should just come clean and confess.......escapism.


I'm NOT real happy with the way things are going here in the states.  What if we could fight back?

That's what my fiction will be about.  

David vs Goliath.  Only my david has a laser blaster and nukes.
****

Over the last few days I've been working on "Alley Cats"....it's a new thing.  About a little gurl who got thrown into a war of the worlds.  It was up to her to save all life in the solar system.

She managed...but at what horrible cost?

a snippet...

Bast’s Story
Eleven or so thousand years ago inside the orbit of mercury , very close to the sun, getting closer by the second  and boosting  hard, HARD to get around  the horizon from what was going to happen shortly.


Bast stared down into the abyss and the abyss stared back.   She  couldn’t NOT look down...considering who, where and what she was.

“Brrrrr….that’s frackin Scary”  she thought..and shuddered.

Considering who, where and what she was,  that was saying something. It took a lot to scare her. What she saw was terrifying.  She had tossed a huge  ‘device’ into the sun.  When the device detonated it had dug  a deep , dark hole.  At the bottom of that hole there was something looking back at her...and it was coming OUT.   

The ship she was flying represented  the leading, bleeding edge of advanced technology.  It had the biggest, baddest, strongest and the best of everything pertinent to her task that her ancient technological civilization could provide.  But….was it sufficient? Bast tweaked the particle  shield generators yet again to achieve the very last micro-watt of electromagnetic deflection.  Then she tweaked the drive... yet again...and to achieve the last possible micro-newton of   thrust. Then she examined her trajectory...yet again to see if she was on the optimum course. She had done her job and would kind of like to survive the experience..

The ship was already exceeding full military boost. It was redlined beyond sanity.  She was hammering hard to put the limb of the sun between her and what was coming out of the sun...real soon now.

Meanwhile…..Back in Atlantis,  on Earth

Bast’s mother and her mother’s  human companion stood on their laboratory’s balcony.   They each gazed out across troubled  waters  far into the sky. They focused upon the face of Death.  Planetary Death was coming at them from beyond the blood red moon. They could see it.   Death was visible in the far distance, approaching from  the sector Vigrid which was beyond Mars orbit. There, in Vigrid, Ragnorok had been fought and lost.
“Do you think she was successful” ask the human idly. The time had passed, Bast had either failed or had been successful. They were either dead and didn’t know it yet or they would survive.  No need being tense.  It was beyond anyone’s control now.  He leaned against the balcony rail, heedless of the rocky shore far below,  and gazed at the approaching doom. Like a mouse staring at a cobra...he couldn’t avert his gaze. He had to look.

“If anyone could do it she would be the one...she is unique.” whispered Bastet.  

“ Yes she is.  I helped make her so. We should know shortly...it’s almost time”. he said.

Suddenly the moon brightened  by several orders of magnitude. “She did it! “ Exclaimed the human.

“That she did” said the Cat Lady….”That she did...but did she survive?”  

“A few hours yet and we should know that too”...muttered the  human still fixated on the approaching swarm...which was far  beyond the moons orbit.  “ a few hours…”. he repeated through sudden tears….  Suddenly he was overcome with emotion.  Now that his survival and that of all his remaining love ones was assured.

He Wept…

He shed tears of gratitude for the salvation of his planet.  He shed tears of sorrow for the deaths of the millions of hero’s who had sacrificed themselves.  He shed tears of grief for the one who was his daughter in all but fact ,and had succeeded where all others had failed.  She had succeeded in her mission but had she died in so doing?

Bastet showed no grief..her face was not constructed to show emotion…. she was not human….nonetheless she felt grief deeply. Bast was her daughter also.


The two lovers  didn’t leave the balcony for some time.  It took a few minutes for the light of the flare to reach the swarm.  When it did they were illuminated just like the moon had been.  Close behind the light, the x-rays and the gamma rays was a gust front of high energy particles.They were moving fast but not quite the speed of light.  That one two punch pretty much killed anything living or electronic but the clean up squad had yet to arrive.   Eventually  the Coronal Mass Ejection swept through the crisped swarm.  The  gigatons of the CME was traveling appreciably slower than light so it took much longer to reach the swarm than the light and the radiation. The CME was still intensely hot and writhed with magnetic fields.  The swarm was well and truly…….toast.

Earth, too, was damaged by the gigantic solar flare, as was almost everything in it’s path.  The ozone layer was temporarily destroyed on the Sunny Side of earth and all large animal life  was killed.  It was the MegaFaunal extinction.



 Anything  in a conical section, from the sun to beyond Mars Orbit ,that was not  shielded by either atmosphere or rock….was toast.   Total Planetary death had been defeated. But the cure was barely less damaging that the disease.  Of the original three life bearing planets and several life bearing moons, a damaged Earth was the only survivor .

***
some time later

“momma?.... are you there momma”...the small frightened voice sounded from the communicator.

“I’m here daughter...We are so happy you survived...are you ok”...replied Bastet..Bast’s mother.

“Not really mommy. I broke the ship.  I’m so sorry, it was such a pretty ship.  Now it’s all melty on the outside.”  She sounded like a very young child on the verge of tears.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for daughter” Gruffly responded Ra  “you completed your mission...you saved the planet. You were the only one in the solar system that could do it.  You should be proud”.

“But I broke the ship Daddy…and…..and…..I can't stop”...she wailed.

Silence…..then “you  can’t stop?” he said? “ the ship is out of control?”

“Yes Daddy.  I can’t control it.  It’s a little bit melted”   sniffed Bast.  “I used the engines to keep me in close to the sun.  I didn’t want to fly off into space and be crisped by the Flare.  Well I over did it.  I made a U-turn around the sun and just as  I got pointed toward earth... the  main engines fell off.  Then they exploded.  I’m going really, really fast daddy….and  I can’t stop.  ”

Bastet and Ra conferred briefly..then Bastet said firmly “No tears daughter...your job is not yet finished.  Run a diagnostic  and a status report. Transmit it to us. Quickly now”.

Meanwhile Ra was in communication with other survivors elsewhere in Atlantis.

“I need any and all of the original Icarus Team  available to be ready for a crash project.  Bast is returning from the sundive and her ship is ballistic.  Something about her engines being jettisoned just prior to them exploding.  I need  some  options. I want alternate scenarios and possible solution sets...data will be forwarded as I get it.  I understand that she is moving very rapidly...there might not be much time.”

Shortly the diagnostics were received over the message laser and disseminated to the team.  

“This does not look good” said one.

“We have very little time” said another.

“Lets get busy then” replied a third.

And they did.  The data was inputted into ultra computers and scenario after scenario was run.  All possible options were rapidly explored and the best  one was chosen, then people went into motion.

***

“We’re lucky you know. ” said Khnum  speaking to Ra.

“Why is that?” asked Ra. “I fail to see anything good about this situation.  Other than that we are still alive I mean.  Had she failed we would not be.”

“ What I mean is that the Icarus was to be a new class of ship...had there been time to complete it, an upgraded combination of a Frigga and a Freya, with the drive of a Thor.  The Frigga class is a ship fabber  capable of making everything from widgets to complete ships. It is highly automated, the Icarus even more so.   The Freya class is medical cruiser...capable of handling almost any type of medical emergency, it too is highly atuomated, and the Icarus is even more so.   The Thor class is just a monster designed to ‘get there firstest with the mostest’...it’s drives are enormous and it’s armament is terrifying.

  The Icarus was originally intended to be a scaled up combination of all three. It was intended to have every type of mechanical and medical tool imaginable..plans and data ….. robots to operate them. ..the ability to get on site in the absolute minimum of time...and the ability to defend itself against all comers.  It could have boosted at a hundred gravities had it not been pushing that gargantuan nova bomb.”

“When plan Omega was conceived all the other ships in the system were already dedicated to Ragnarok.  The almost completed Icarus was the only ship available.  Rather than tear anything out, we just added on and made it the most powerful tub ever built.”

“It would have had to be” state Ra as he remembered what had happened  “you’re right... that nova bomb was gigantic.

“Yup “  said Khnum...shaking his head…” The Icarus pushing the  nova bomb reminded me of a wasp pushing a pumpkin. The Icarus is one of the larger ships we built but the nova bomb was possibly the largest single structure ever conceived.  

“It no wonder it took so long to deliver the bomb.”  he said “even with all power of it’s fusion drive and strapped on reaction mass tanks  it’s acceleration was less than one gee.”

“ And it was totally unstable. Bast is the only person in the system who could handle the complexity of control of that slap-together nightmare” said Khnum  “no one else has her reflexes and speed of reaction. No one else can learn as fast.  No one else has a variable time sense. She must have  boosted in FastTime in order to have balanced it..much less flown it.  A subject year or more must have gone by for her in the week it took to get from the Nova Bomb construction site to the sun. Had an organic tried to fly it the thing they would never have succeeded.”

“Well she IS the only uploaded mind ever converted”  said Ra with some pride and a shake of his head. “ and she’s my daughter”

“Yes she is “ said Khnum  “ and that , plus the unique ship she’s inhabiting, might allow us to save her. Perhaps we can send instructions so that the ship, in time, can repair itself. We’ll  have to see”.

***

“Bast?  Can you hear me”  said Bastet.

“Yess mommie...I can hear you fine”...replied Bast much too quickly...she was getting too near too fast… the speed of light lag was almost negligent.

“Bast, we need you to activate all the repair robots you can locate.  Quickly please...and prepare all operable receivers for a data flood.” said Bastet

“Yes mommie”...said the uploaded mind residing in the most advanced computer ever conceived, much less built.  The ultra computer had been hastily installed in Icarus during project Omega.  In some sense Bast WAS the ship. “ I’m activating everything  as quickly as I can”

***

As the massive ship rapidly approached earth ...and  rushed past it all to quickly...a multitude of onboard robots were rapidly making modifications. Molecular Furnaces and Forges were working at maximum capacity.  Memory capacity was being increased and everything possible was being done to capture and store that cascade of data.   Powerful  message lasers illuminated the ship as it passed earth and headed toward the outer system. The ship was soaking up data like a desiccated sponge would soak up moisture.

The ship could not stop. It could not BE stopped.  There were literally no other ships in the system.  None had survived Ragnarok. Absolutely every ship that could launch had been used to fight the enemy...and they had all perished.  Icarus, had been incapable of flight at that time or it too would have been destroyed.

There was no time to build any and no time for self repair functions on the Icarus to be effective. The plan was to upload the Planetary  Archives from Atlantis.    The Archives contained  all the data, history, knowledge  and information possessed by an eons  old technological civilization.   It was all beamed to the ship as it sped past..  Perhaps Bast would find it useful, and given more time, use it to devise her own salvation.  Perhaps it would be safeguarded….it was fated to destruction if it remained on Atlantis.

What they hadn’t told Bast...yet...was that Atlantis was doomed.   Something had disturbed the geology of the area. Perhaps it was the CME ejected by the Nova Bomb.  Perhaps it had something to do with the Enemy Visitation. Perhaps something else.  Whatever the case, the climate was changing rapidly, It was getting much warmer.  The continental glaciers were melting almost fast enough to see  and the sea level was almost visibly  rising. Seismic activity was on the rise .

Land which had been held down by gigatons of ice was rebounding.  Earthquakes and volcanic action were occurring   every where more frequently.   The excavation was already underway but all the massive archives could not be removed in time.

Shortly Atlantis would be no more.


***

“We can’t stop your ship Bast”  said her mother

“I kinda figured that mommy...I’ve been watching”  said Bast.

“The damage was just too great and the time is too limited.” mourned the mother.

“I’m sorry I broke it mommy” sniffed the mind in the machine.

“None of that young lady.” Snapped Bastet to her daughter “I’ve already told you that you should be proud...you have nothing to be ashamed of. The part I didn’t tell you is that Atlantis is doomed.  It has only weeks left and then the ocean will take it.  We are evacuating now.  There is much that We can't take with us with heavy lift transport.  They were all lost in Ragnarok.  We’re making do as best we can with surface transport but much of it is primitive.  We can’t take the Archives for example or any of the large industrial equipment.  We are taking as much as we can…..we’re beaming the Archive contents to you. Perhaps you can save it.  The accumulated knowledge of hundreds of civilizations on several planets over almost a million years.  It’s a sacred trust dear.”.

The mother and daughter talked as long as they dared.  The mother had leave.  She risked injury or death when the island sank beneath the sea. They parted in sorrow.  

A tearful Bast flew outward from the inner system at incredible velocity.  She feared that she had exceeded the solar escape velocity and was heading toward the stars.  She did NOT want to go there.  She wanted to go back home.

After too short of a time Bast flew out of communicator range with earth. The big transmitters had been destroyed when Atlantis sank beneath the seas.  Nothing to hear hear...move along.  

On Earth Atlantis had succumbed to the rising sea level.  In a ridiculously short time all evidence of it’s existence was hidden by the ocean.   Some of her inhabitants  had escaped to Egypt, some went to Peru.

Far, far out in space the Icarus was slowly, slowly repairing itself.  The problem remained that when it was repaired it’s speed was high enough that it would leave the system.

“Fooey “ Bast  thought “ if it’s not one thing it’s two other’s. How can I slow down and return home?”.

She modeled and evaluated various scenarios.  She discarded them just as quickly.

“Nope..can’t ram an asteroid or a  comet.  Going this fast I’d turn into an expanding globe of plasma.  Not a good idea.  What other options”.She thought.

“Expanding globe of plasma? hmmmm...perhaps I can do something with that idea”  she mused.

All  of the sensible options had been eliminated.  None had panned out. All that remained were the stupid ones. She began to model and evaluate  the ‘stupids”.

“If it’s stupid and it works it ain’t stupid” she thought to herself. “Let’s see if this is stupid”.

The Icarus, before it was hijacked for the Sun Bombing mission, had been intended to be a new class of ship.  It had been designed to be a hybrid between…..

Frigga-Ship fabber, cruiser class.  Can make anything from widgets to completed ships.

a….

Freya- medical cruiser. Can fix anything medical including some forms of death.  Complete genetic engineering capabilities.

And a ……..

Thor-Battle dreadnought. Four kilometer long ship boasting super heavy armaments and a hammer head used for crushing all smaller vessels in its path.

The Icarus was a bigger and better combined version of all three.  It had the repair facilities of a Freya, the Medical Facilities of a Frigga and the raw motive power of a Thor.  It had been completely loaded prior to redesignation. The ship was stocked to capacity with  bullets , bandages, nuts and bolts.  The Nova Bomb Project was done in such a rush that things had just been pushed to one side rather than off loaded.

It had been an astounding ten Kilometers long.  Before the Nova Bomb project it would have been the largest mobile structure ever built by man, capable of pulling ten gravities of continuous acceleration.  

Just prior to launch , it and the Nova Bomb had looked like a pencil stuck into a pumpkin.  The Nova  Bomb was HUGE.

Unfortunately much of the Thor part was gone.  The rear third had sheared off just prior to the engines explodin. Since the Nova Bomb was gone it was once again the largest mobile structure ever built by man.

But it wasn’t mobile. It was a high speed derelict.

Bast decided to fix that.  She implemented a remodeling project.  Molecular furnaces, fabricators, replicators, and 3D printers all over the ship activated.  Mobile units scurried hither and yon, moving things as need be...assembling as need be….  

The Icarus morphed. Over the next several decades it’s exterior damage was repaired and, among other things, it acquired a huge drag shoot. Bast manipulated her time sense during this period.  She would slow herself down so that days passed by like seconds during times when nothing much was happening. If close supervision was required for a critical task she would increase her clock speed and seconds would creep by like days.  

And so it went.  Eventually the repair and remodeling job was completed.  It was time to go hunting.  

Comets.

By this time the Icarus was far, far beyond jupiter, so there weren't a lot of small asteroids.  Comets were another matter. Forward looking radar would identify a potential target as far ahead as possible. Icarus had insufficient fuel for it’s now repaired drive engines but it still had plenty for it’s maneuvering thrusters.  

Icarus’s radar located a target that it could intercept. The maneuvering thrusters activated, the distance closed.

Guns were slaved to the targeting computer, fired a short burst each...and a swarm of projectiles closed on the comet. The comet was hit and seconds instantly transformed into a rapidly expanding ball of plasma.

Too rapidly.  By the time the Icarus swept thru the space recently occupied by the comet most of the volatiles had dissipated beyond the area of its “drag chute”.  Much less ‘comet stuff’ was swept up than Bast had hoped for.

This would take some practice. Fuel was available now,.. some. Each time she shot a comet she got more. There was a learning curve  to negotiate in order to become skilled in this particular collection technique. Bast experimented with distance to target shoot times.  She used a combination of projectiles and energy beams. Eventually she got MUCH better and collected MUCH more fuel.  

Eventually the Icarus was scooping fuel from exploded comets like a baleen whale scooping plankton from the sea.  The “dirt” in the ‘dirty snowball” was just a bonus. It took a while but eventually the Icarus was sufficiently  repaired and re-fueled.  It began to decelerate.  It began to return to earth.

Had there been any astronomers on the planet they might have wondered about the anomalous flare, had they been able to see it.  The Icarus was a long, long ways from earth.  There were no Astronomers with telescopes. The Egyptians and Inca never invented them. Galileo wouldn’t be born for centuries.

***

Stay tuned....