Sunday, March 3, 2013

Origin of a Spacehip - Personal Journal, Ice Fields

Excerpt from Origin of a Spaceship

Personal Journal, Ice Fields
Location: Teonusude, Fittaken, Molden Heath - Minmatar Republic

It is with great excitement that I found myself invited on a tour of the Teonusude ice fields.  My guide was a native of Minmatar space.  A well seasoned man his skin was weathered from the intense reflections of the sunlight off of the ice.

My guide explained to me the nature of the ice fields.  They seem to only exist in some systems with a particular amount of vaporous gas that has condensed into massive fields of ice.  My guide even suggested that there was enough material in a belt for a planet.  There, he told me, we had a good chance to view Mackinaw in their native environment.

As we traveled my guide explained that ice fields and Mackinaw had always attracted each other.  The massive barges grazed upon the sheets of ice, hiding in their shadows from predators.  They were flighty beasts, prone to panic but highly social.  If we were fortunate, we would find some so glutted from feeding that they would be torpid and allow us closer study.

It was hard to contain my excitement   My fingers quivered above my stylus as we dropped out of warp above the ice field.  What awe I felt.  The ice rose in a sweeping pillar of sparkling, blue diamonds.  The deep, red background of the nebula cast millions of shades of purple in every direction   How it glittered! I was enthralled and my guide had to almost force my attention to our real quarry   A fleet of Mackinaw grazed off of a single block of ice.  Their lasers swept about in lazy patterns as they scraped the surface for minerals.

They ignored our shuttle.   I longed to go closer but my guide was stern.  Over hunting had rendered the Mackinaw shy and he was familiar with this herd.  Even as he warned me a Catalyst landed in the system.  Its green hull shattered into bizarre shades against the ice as it pounced on one of the Mackinaws.  Even as it unleashed antimatter fury onto the hapless barge the rest ran.  Their engine trails flared as they scattered in a wild pattern.  The Catalyst ignored them and took down its prey.

Even as the last gusts of fuel flared about the dying Mackinaw Concord arrived and disposed of the poacher.

"Are the Catalyst starving?" I asked.  The carcass was descended upon by a Thrasher.

My guide shook his head.  "Catalyst.  They can't resist.  Their population has skyrocketed and they are always hungry.  So they take chances."

To my surprise, the fleet of Mackinaw returned quickly.  They did not morn their loss but they did move away from the shattered remains as the Thrasher salvaged.  My guide turned the shuttle back towards the station as I pondered what I had seen.

5 comments:

  1. Your best one yet, probably because it has your writer-self really shining through. Unlike the exposition articles this one has the feel of flash-fiction with a nice arc to it.

    You're making me want a Vorlonesque bioengineered Eve. Room for the Jovians, perhaps?

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    1. I'm really going for that 1800s explorer scientist feel mutated into Eve.

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    2. Hmm, if steampunk is Victorian exploration mixed into cyberpunk, thus those sensibilities forward a century or two, then perhaps what you're looking at is pulling it forward just a bit farther. :)

      Have you read Bruce Sterling's Mechanist/Shaper books?

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  2. Fifth paragraph, 'fury' not 'furry'. At least I hope.
    LOVE the 'Origin of a Spaceship' columns!
    Sorry about the constant nitpicking of typos.

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    1. The mistakes are there and needs to be fixed. I thank you for taking the time out to help me improve.

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