Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.
I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy
It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers (I crossed 55k last night) and into the book.
In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed. Last week’s snippet skips ahead a few paragraphs from the one before. It’s after she’s finished her training for the day. The discussion of Scotland from before is replaced by the ceremonies for the first jump of the mission.
Mr Campbell clinked her glass with her spoon and the room hushed, “Navigation watch informs me that we are about to make our first jump of the mission.”
Terry felt her insides turn over; this is it.
“I believe,” The captain continued, “that we have a distinguished visitor.”
Everyone’s eyes swiveled to the back of the room where a dark-robed man, a dark-robed woman and two pipers waited. The pipers started playing and the party proceeded, slowly, half-step by half-step, to the front of the room.
If that’s not Chief Ames, Terry thought, I’ll take Mr Jones up on his offer; juice or no.
The pipers only stopped playing when they reached the front of the room and the two black-clad figures had turned to face the crew. The man held up his right fist, a signal for silence.
“I, we, King Pluto and Queen Persephone, rulers of the dark void, have been told that there are members of your crew, Mr Campbell who have not jumped.”
“Aye aye, M’Lord.”
Societies often have some form of initiation. With the Fleet, it’s the first jump.
I’ve skipped ahead over a discussion of “the juice.” The juice is the drug cocktail needed to keep people healthy when exposed to the radiation of space for the time it takes to get out of a star system, let alone the radiation that would occur when decelerating from a jump. Since the juice slows cellular metabolism, one side effect of coming off the juice is something like five years of puberty happening at once – with all that can entail. (Lieutenant Jones’ offer was for Terry to keep her berth open at the time. She wasn’t exactly keen on the offer.)
NASA has shown that even in near earth orbit – on the space station – that there are effects on humans. It’s not surprising. Cosmic rays left characteristic craters in the plexiglass of the space helmets used on the moon landings. We also know that for adults, muscular strength is in a “use it or lose it” mode and too much inactivity, even on Earth, spells disaster. (not literally of course).
So real space flight will require either very effective shielding – which means a lot of mass, or some way to mitigate the effects. It’s also important to be careful about the kind of shielding – Stopping high energy particles in the wrong way can result in the production of X-rays (which is why you don’t put your 32P in a lead box.)
I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.