THE HUMAN SPECTRUM: PART FOUR: SUN CHAMBER

4
Sun Chamber
<I’m amazed that anyone survived. His knowledge
has been invaluable>
ComOfficer Yu-91 (Europa Collective),
‘The Jupiter’ flight-logs
160229-AJPMSC-ARCT1060-PageBreakLogo
Ghan nearly jumped out of his chair. Doors at either end of the chamber slammed back and shook the entire ship; at the back of the next compartment he could see a row of tanks hanging from the ceiling. The chambers surfaces had not been meant for driving on – the walls and floor were polished and extremely slippery – but he had to keep moving. With so many of the ship-systems automated, would the door close behind him as soon as he got inside? He’d need to move quickly, and as he stepped into the chamber, re-deployed his wheels. They spun wildly, but eventually he started to gain traction. Passing quickly through the chamber, as he neared the end Ghan realised that the doors were staying open, but now he had a bigger problem – he couldn’t stop!
160229-AJPMSC-ARCT1060-PageBreakLogo
He remembered that noise! Whoever was searching the ship must be close to the maturation tanks. There had been so many. How would they react? The London Dreadnought operated for seventy-five years, launching almost three hundred thousand pioneers, but even at that rate it would be centuries before the JSS was finished.
          More importantly, the exchange with Khali let him watch the Jovians communicate with each other. As she’d questioned him, the one called Owan had exchanged flash-messages with her. It’d been difficult to follow at first – undoubtedly effective in the vacuum of space, the flashes were still very fast! – but he’d found out why they were here, and what was happening to their forth crewman: someone called Ghan.
160229-AJPMSC-ARCT1060-PageBreakLogo
Ghan fell through the open air! The fall was short but still came as a shock; the suit-rockets fired automatically, braking his fall. With nervous laughter he checked the HUD: 52% fuel; 61% power. <Check the plans. Is this the last compartment before the engine room?> He panned his view across the compartment.
          <Yes> said Owan, <Move towards the back. You’ll have to pass through the assembly area first>. Another track was recessed into the heavy deck plates. He’d ride the rails, but would have to move carefully. To either side, the deck sloped at a steep angle. During assembly, modular components – including highly corrosive and combustible fuel-pods – dropped from storage bins and rolled down to slot into pre-prepared shells. A larger platform lifted finished probes into the environmental chamber. The dispensers were empty – hopefully – but he still moved cautiously. The compartment was split level, the rear section raised above the deck. As the track disappeared under the deck, he had to find a way off; a short-ramp to his left was the only way out, and after climbing up the track and the slope, he continued towards the rear of the ship.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s