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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

210. zero one, zero two...

Yes – I want to cheer you up this week - sort of!

If you have enjoyed reading my blog posts, my brand new short novel should rock your boat.


Zero one, zero two is a mix of acerbic social comment and observation sprinkled with satire and dark humour (brown girl style), wrapped in futuristic science fiction and flung out into space.

Rachel Smith exists at the mercy of technology she does not understand hurtling to a place she does not know with only the bodies of her crew and her memories for company - or is there something else there...
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here's the intro

zero one, zero two
… we are all dead…
 “There is no cruelty here because cruelty needs a tomorrow. Deliberately induced fear or pain combined with anticipation, that is cruelty”

Prologue

We were meant to be a crew of 6. The 6th member of the crew was swallowed up by a fractured earth sink hole. She was on her way to the departure facility two days before we were due to leave. No time to prepare another human. Preparation does not just involve training but certain chemical alterations that make the body both more resilient, more malleable and receptive to adjustment should a destination be reached – which is not a given.

It is not wise to dwell on these things. There has been so much death, what is one more? But I was shaken by the news.

1 is a large proportion of 6. There should have been 6 of us. It is a number the algorithms like. It worried me that things went wrong so early. Not that we are needed to operate the craft. And that ‘gone wrong’ was tiny compared to all the others.
Sector 4, which is in what remains of the old country of Germany, contains the launch facility.

Despite all advances we cannot undo death so only 5 of us were sky lifted, one at a time, then carefully lowered into the opening slit in the outer energy shield of the curving, egg shaped craft. Even getting aboard was dangerous.
I tried so hard not to be sick. Impossible.

As you are lowered, in what looks like a glass inverted teardrop, through the outer, shimmering defence layer, surrounded by throbbing atoms that are supposed to protect you from the unbearable pressure, your lungs feel as if they are bound in iron. At least mine did. No training can prepare you. Pulse waves stop you falling like a stone but all sensations are disturbed. The worst is the effect on the mind. Though, I am told, the process of being forced through the outer shield takes three minutes it seems like half an hour. Half an hour of struggling, gasping, sweating with pain as you sense your head is being crushed by boulders.

Lying shivering, clammy and naked on a recovery pallet I think, not for the first time, what is the point? Why suffer more, why go on? The others who are to follow are, at least, younger than me.

We have not met but I have read their profiles. I have seen their pictures.
Maybe it is just normal human camaraderie but I felt pre-disposed to like them. I was keen to meet them. Ngendi, the youngest, is beautiful. I suspect she has been modified in lots of ways but her cheekbones and strong forehead say Africa to me. She is, among other things, a geo-physicist. She will be clever and capable; it will be good to have her aboard.
The Russian, Nikkoli was a psychiatrist and a geologist. Yes, extra longevity has its benefits. Time to learn. Time to study. And I know from his brief biography that he is brave.
Sophia was a medic in the days before machines took over our biological care. She has even learnt to use some of the genetically modified plants. There is nothing though that she can do that the craft cannot. What she may do is reassure the rest of us, the rest of the crew. Funnily enough it was Nikkoli, one of the chosen himself, who selected her. The fifth, Deepika volunteered. Yes, not everyone chosen for the project wanted the chance to hurtle through space to an unknown unknowable destination. Many clung to the delusion that life would again become sustainable on earth. Finding crew for the four small, even more dangerous kamikaze relay craft that were to follow at intervals of four months, had been almost impossible.

As we prepare to depart, only two of the relay craft have designated crew.
I have been many things. Some useful some not. My last job was working in the hydroponic grow tunnels for my unit. I preferred it to work in areas where there was more necessary human interaction. A plant will not suddenly throw itself down in front of you, screaming, because it has run out of bio-meds.  It was good work. It felt useful.

I think kind, sweet Deepika said yes for the same reason that I agreed. The crew has the feel of a human unit: a family. But maybe she is too young to know what that is.

1.    An End

With the development of the Kepler telescope, NASA discovered the first planets outside Earth’s solar system at the end of the 20th century. Many thousands more were discovered over the next couple of decades and then too many to count. It was not long before planets with similar life potential to earth were recorded. Some orbited their stars at almost the right distance. They varied in size, had different temperatures, different gravitational energies because of their size but some were not so different. Some, it was presumed might have water, some may have similar gravity to earth and others may have breathable gas compounds.

Armed with muscular speculation, the mission began. We had ample evidence that humans would soon, for the purpose of our existence, wreck the planet on which we all lived. The race was on to chart a viable course to a place that could sustain human life.
The search was often frantic, occasionally methodical, sometimes almost forgotten.
Over the decades as humans alternately faced up to the reality of self-annihilation or sunk into collective denial, projects were developed then shelved then revived.
Now we are going. Or, I should say, we were going. Now only I am going. A 200-year-old woman with a precious cargo.

It is 2164

We are all dead…

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Read it in paperback or get the e-book for the price of a coffee.  My blog remains entirely free to read. Purchasing this book or any of my other publications will support my free posts as well as entertain you. - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M4S7CKL
or amazon.com etc
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UPDATE Fri 24th Feb - Although the main driver of this novela is the way we are destroying THIS planet - my youngest daughter and I were on the edge of our seats a couple of days ago when NASA made their announcement about the 7 exo-planets, 3 of which could be the intended destination in Zero One Zero Two :)


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