A bit of fiction that occurred to me today (based on this post). I wanted to write it down before I forgot it. It has no connection to anything else I’ve written, and I have no idea what, if anything, I will do with it.
It was the end of the world.
It was a very small world, but it was a very final end, and the situation called for some solemnity.
Control, this is Survey 928. Status report, supplemental. November 11, 2164. Damage during recent solar activity catastrophic. The engines are entirely unresponsive, I just get a Communications Failure Error—nothing comes up at all. It’s way too active out there to attempt an EVA, but I suspect that I’ve lost the whole control system. Engines burned full open at the time of the event for an unknown period of time. I was unconscious for about an hour and a half. Judging from my speed I’m guessing it burned the whole payload dry.
I’m getting a fix from Trans-Vulcan Relays 6, 5, and 4. I’m attaching the avionics file, but the short version is that I’m heading pretty much straight out, about 45 degrees north of the elliptic, at right around 700 klicks a second. I’ve plotted, and there’s just a whole lot of no real estate in my path.
The life system’s good, there was no loss of integrity. So the critical limit is going to be power.
With the engines gone I’m running on batteries. Right now I’ve got plenty of sun power to keep them charged, but that’s going to start dropping. As you know, we’re not designed to operate much past Mars orbit, and I should hit that in a couple of days.
Of course, I can drop a lot of non-critical systems, that’ll buy time.
I’m sending this via TV4, set to rebroadcast when Earth gets out of the solar shadow, which will be in about three months.
So, by the time you hear this, I’ll be dead.
He turned off the microphone. Looked at the screen with its waiting icon. Thought about what more he could say, and who he could say it to. Nothing came to mind. He turned the microphone back on.
Survey 928 out.
He turned off the microphone.