I am writing another story centered around Jana Stoddert. Since I wrote the first short on her view of the “Fiery Sun” incident. This one will be longer, maybe even make it a novella. Who knows. Already at 4500 words and just getting started. Hope you like, please comment if you care.
Jana woke up in a sweat. Luckily, she lived alone because she would probably have scared the hell out of her partner, with her yell. “Lights” she said to the house computer “Harvey”.
“Are you okay Jana?” Havey asked her. She liked this newer version of the house computer. They built in more empathy and emotions. Not crazy ones, but enough that it gave comfort when she really felt alone. She was not really into the “master” or “ma’am” naming. Too cold.
Like now. “Yes, Harvey, Thank you. Could I get a coffee and toast, please.” Looking at the clock, it was 5am standard Universal. All planets in the Empire sync up to standard Universal, like the old earth Greenwich Mean Time. Even the Union of Eta Leporis used it.
“Would you like an egg with that?” it asked. As Harvey turned on a soft instrumental mode music. Of course, he was monitoring her vitals and knew what she liked when this condition hit her.
“No just toast. Oh, butter it please.” she said as she stretched and got out of bed. She was starting to feel better, the adrenaline from the moment was passing and she needed a shower.
The same dream was plaguing her again. Again, finding the aliens on Gliese 710 and seeing them. Then seeing the Imperial fleet come into orbit above the planet and fire kinetics down at the alien towns. They were not a space faring race, these aliens. She wanted to call them Targs. Not really sure why, just that she felt that matched them.
They were squat, powerfully built beings with huge compound eyes like a fly. Instead of arms and hands, they had many tentacles with two pronged “fingers”. They did walk on four squat legs and had two mouth like orifices.
Beside their slightly intimidating looks, they were very peaceful. None, that she saw, walked around in what she would consider armor. Not that she is an expert in military matters but she would figure something that looked like what a Knight would be from the histories or an armored warrior, like the Imperial Marines or Army.
“Wake up setting” she said as she entered the bathroom. The shower started with a fine warm mist. She took off her PJs and looked in the mirror. She was 129, still young and kept in good shape with regular obstacle course jogging and pole fighting. She admired her curves, she was an average 6.3 feet tall and weighed 183 pounds. “Not bad at all.” she thought.
Once in the shower, the warm mist turned to alternating blasts of cold and hot water, for a minute. Then back to the mist while she lathered up. She enjoyed her showers, always had. Especially where she can program the shower, like at home. Some of the lodging she stayed at, had older systems that would either not let you download your profile or didn’t have all the options she liked to use. She was not fanatical about showers, who had to program her settings no matter what.
Her last boyfriend was that way. Drove her crazy. John would have to stop and make everything just perfect. When they went to Parsin IV in the Union of Eta Leporis, the other human nation. They found a rustic village near the largest waterfall on a natural world. Rustic was the keyword there, no real modern conveniences. Even off MindNet, it was so far out. He just couldn’t cope with the lack of technology and she decided that was just too much for her.
She left him after two nights of him fighting with the kitchen utensils to make what he wanted. In fact, he still might be there. They never talked again after that. Not that she considered it a loss.
“Feeling better Jana?” Harvey asked as she came to the kitchen table and found her coffee and toast as she ordered.
“Yes Harvey, thank you. Please turn on the news.” She said. A virtual screen dropped down on the other side of the table and presented the local news. She could have read it off MindNet but then she would have to think about that and eat. She preferred eating and just letting the news flow by. If something really caught her attention, she would then concentrate on it or seek additional information off MindNet.
While she nibbled on her toast, she thought back to Gliese 710. Their explorer ship “Fiery Sun” exploded just as it got down to observation speed about a light month outside of the system. Bad luck that was. Almost a year invested by her team and many years before that by the Transit team. Luckily, her Guild did not try to blame the team. The telemetry from the sensors didn’t show much before the ship exploaded.
It was a possible habitable system. Many expected planets with a few in the Goldilocks zone. It could have made the Guild and her team a lot of money. Still felt wrong. Jana was not sure but something just felt wrong about how everything went down. That and these dreams about the aliens there. Just made her wonder.
Maybe she should go to a shrink, she thought. Not that she felt she is crazy but maybe they can help her get pass this feeling and help her move on. she was dreaming of these aliens and the ship’s explosion almost nightly and that was starting to scare her.
Of course losing an explorer ship happens. About 3 to 4 a year end up being destroyed by hitting something in transit. They fly between the stars at a third the speed of light and if they hit a big enough object the shields won’t be able to stop it. At a third the speed of light the ship can repel objects about a meter in size safely. At higher speeds, even this becomes impossible to do.
The “Fiery Sun” was the first in a long time that exploded in the system. In fact, the last one was about 40 years ago by another one of her Guild’s teams. That team was told they were not at fault either but they were all reposted to remote sensing stations. She had a friend on that team. Well, an acquaintance. They were a year apart in joining the Guild and talked a little back then. When she was reposted to a remote red dwarf, she never really communicated with her afterwards.
“I wonder what happened to her?”
“I am sorry Jana, could you please repeat your question.” Harvey requested.
“Oh nothing, Harvey, ignore it.” As she got up from the kitchen table.
“Thank you, that hit the spot.” The cleaning robot came out and took the dishes away. Cleaning nanites would scour the dishes clean and break down all the remains into particles that would eventually become a block of biodegradable mass. These would go to farm stations where other nanites would break these blocks down and make fertilizer out of them.
End Chapter one.