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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lunar River (Episode 7)

(In case you have missed out previous episodes, please go to 'Collected Memories of the Deep' and click on '2010 (75)', from there, choose 'November' and you will see the previous episodes)

Sylvina had passed through the Booster. It was a magnificent alien structure looked like a ring. But, her sensors told her that there were some things around the Booster and the ship recognised it as non-hostile and probably of Rimdi's allies.

She couldn't be so sure. But her astrogation system was still mapping out where she was. Right now she was lost. That was it. The Booster was still active and it had cast her into deeper space where she might not know. She was like a stone shot out from a rubber band. She knew she had zoomed across space-time, but she didn't know where she was.

She waited.

She held her excitement when she made the transition. It was a fine privilege to have someone passed through the Booster which luckily the structure was active. The experience for her was sufficient to flood all other wonderful memories in her entire lifetime. The feeling was exotic when her thoughts suddenly became plural the moment she stepped through the structure. It was said that anyone passed through it a connection with all your counterparts in the visible universe and external could be established. You might be able to see yourself in the past, present and future in all different universes.

Then, there came a beep. She looked down on her screen. Presently, she was at the region of the galaxy known as Menidas Sector, a region where most stars were still at their younger stage, giving off bright radiation of yellow and blue. She calculated the distance she had skipped and she was amazed. She had skipped about twenty light years ahead. That would make her, she calculated, twenty-four years earlier to arrive.

Another beep made her jumped. She saw her message inbox was filling up by factors of hundreds. Hundreds of news was reaching her in a second. She remembered what Rimdi had told her about some slight causality problem caused during the transition.

Causality is a term that describe a cause always precedes the event. A slower-than-light bullet fired from a gun will cause a robot to spoil, but if causality was violated, the robot malfunctioned before the faster-than-light bullet appeared. Usually objects travelled faster than the speed of light would violate causality.

So, when travelling through a Booster, sometimes superluminal travel occured. The Booster prevented this problem of causality by encasing the entire transport in a impermeable membrane while excited its contents (here would be Sylvina's Nova) into a quantum superposition so that it could react with its counterparts all around the universe to gather information.

Then, the membrane collapsed just as the quantum state collapsed. Now, external information was rushing into Nova to update its system and news so that Nova could know the cause of the event before the result took place.

Complicated, it seemed. But she didn't care. She had leapt twenty light years ahead. It's too late to turn back by now as the Booster had deactivated. She quickly keyed in the coordinates of the Absence, or Vapidus cloud and let the ship handled the course for another twenty light years ahead. Maybe she should take a cold sleep, in stasis and wake up if anything happens.

So, she spun around.

But a beep came again. She walked to the bridge and looked at the display. She frowned. She commanded the ship to throw on a holographic display like before. The ship obliged and instantly she was blanketed by millions of stars. It was a realtime map and radar. She was the blue icon blinking regularly towards an empty void where the Vapidus was located twenty light years ahead. Behind her, a red icon shifted in and out of existence.

'Ship, take on the ID,' she ordered.

A few minutes later: 'Identification failed. Unstable object or anomalous information registered.'

Sylvina knew that the object behind her was tapping Nova's sensors. It knew exactly the point where the sensor swept and it would go quiet and dark. 'Drop probes,' she said out loud.

'Supplies are running low. Additional usage of mass is not encouraged,' the ship replied. 'Do you wish to abort or continue with the deployment of probes?'

'Continue,' Sylvina said.

'Thank you. Probes are now firing up and ready to be deployed in counts of five. Any loud and abrupt noise, interjection or abnormal vocal transmission could be recognised as a denial and rejection. If that case occurs, the deployment will be halted.' The ship said, 'Five, four...'

Sylvina weighed her chances in her mind.

'Two...'

'Stop!' Sylvina cried.

'Deployment aborted,' the ship replied.

'Listen here, Ship,' Sylvina said. 'In a few moments, I am going under a cold sleep. I want you to have a clearance of 2 light seconds volume. Anyone or anything that comes too close, you must destroy them even they are our allies. Address our standing point before they enter the exclusion zone. Do you understand?'

'Yes.'

'If the trail or course of foreign elements are strongly suspicious, do not hesitate to let out a warning fire and wake me up. Clear on that?'

'Yes.'

Sylvina spun and went towards the cold sleep chamber.

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