Ship in the Void – Pt.1

Dream a Little Dream

Today is all about catching up on all my ARC activities. I’m at or behind several deadlines related to sending out review copies, and today is the one-month weekend mark before Hidden Memory is officially released. I still need to set up my Bookfunnel account, perform final checks on the copy to be uploaded, finalize my ARC sign-up form, create the MailChimp ARC invite that points to Bookfunnel, and identify bookstagrammers and others like that to request reviews. Today marks one of the final milestones before the very last Amazon uploads, so I’m hoping I can get it all complete. 

I will share some of the details next week if all goes well. In the meantime, I had an odd dream recently. Usually, I don’t remember much of my dreams, but this one had some of the details stick with me more than usual. I wrote them down in bullet form, and I have decided to turn them into a short story here on my blog. It will be the draft version with the only editing from Grammarly, and if it ends up making no sense…Well, it was a dream. So, while science fiction is not my go-to genre, here is part one of my sci-fi short, Ship in the Void:

Stage one – Liftoff

I looked up at the clear sky in anticipation of my imminent ascent. Despite having made numerous AG lifts before this, it still made her pulse race every time. The speed. The altitude. The weightlessness. It was like skydiving with additional exhilaration from going well beyond the stratosphere. 

“Final check!” Tryss, our unit commander barked out. “T-minus ten minutes to liftoff.” 

Tryss was…intimidating. Gifted with Amazonian height, she topped everyone else in the unit, measuring 6′ 3″ barefoot. When you added in the leanly corded muscle, stellar record, strong voice, and eyes that missed nothing, she could inspire awe in anyone. 

She was also gorgeous. Her head was shaved, accentuating sharply defined cheeks and full lips. There was a warm glow to her smooth brown skin, and it echoed in the melted chocolate color of her eyes. I’m certain her appearance gave her no end of grief as she made her way up the astrocore ranks. That certainly did nothing to lessen my jealousy.

At Tryss’s command, I quickly started performing final equipment checks with the rest of the squad. We were all wearing our AG (anti-gravity) suits. When I compared AG lifts to skydiving, it was not only about the feel of flying.

AG suit design supports AG chute use for lifting humans into space and bringing them back. Each suit carries three ascent chutes, two drifters, two descent chutes, and thirty-six hours of compressed oxygen. They regulate body temperature, even in space, and process liquid waste. The drifters, extra oxygen, and waste features are all to get us back into the atmosphere without burning or breaking up on re-entry.

Checking my gear at this stage was primarily about the monitors on all this equipment and the suit itself. As my gauges read in the green, I started with the boots and worked up through each piece. The suits were constructed of an ingenious fabric that was self-repairing and self-sealing. A code activated each suit’s connective properties. Once it was “on,” each piece was sealed in place when put on.

The boots merged into the pants, which melded to the shirt, then the gloves, helmet, and equipment vest that integrated and monitored me and all my equipment. All-inclusive, it was over 100 lbs of gear wrapped around my torso and settled squarely on my hips.

All the seals were looking good, so I did a final check of the face shield. The helmets were made of the same flexible fabric with a sturdy frame around my face. It contained the shield mechanism and a holographic HUD I could toggle visually or manually. The shield functions measured air pressure and would maintain a healthy atmosphere in the suit, adjusting resistance and air consumption from either my reserves or the environment accordingly.

To test it one final time, I slowly touched my nose with my bare left hand. The face shield flared, sparkling a faint orange glow and producing a soft tingle against my skin. Finally, I put on the final glove, and it merged with my sleeve. By all measures and senses, I was clear to go.

“T- minus two minutes!” Tryss called out.

I looked up to see others touching their noses and putting on that final glove, ignoring how stupid we all looked. My position was number twelve, so I lined up.

“T-minus one minute,” she called. “Get in line and sound off!”

“Twelve, go!” I yelled out when it came to me. 

Tryss looked at her wrist as we finished the sound off. We were all a go. No one would miss this lift.

“Ten!” she started the final countdown. 

My adrenaline spiked, and I shook out my jittery limbs as I waited.

“Three. Two. One. Mark one, go!” Tryss shouted, and the first of our unit deployed, shooting upward.

“Mark two, go!”

One by one, we took off, until finally, it was my turn. My jitters always settle in the buffer-time before a lift, and it was a steady hand I raised to my interface.

Three. Two. One.

“Mark twelve, go!”

To be continued…

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