Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Prompt: As his ship emerged from hyperspace, Raald Var realized something was wrong…

Nineteen jumps. Each one carried him through hyperspace, travelling just over one light-year in one week’s time. Nineteen jumps without a hitch, closing the gap between the Sol system and home. Perched just over a light year from the Gliese sytem, Raald Var leaned back in his pilot’s hammock and admired the beauty of the Three Sisters.

During the three years he had travelled throughout the Sol system, the single, yellow sun had always seemed so lonely in the sky, so dim, despite the crowd of planets around it. Var thought the only sight more beautiful than the three Gliese stars could be the horizon view of his own planet. He knew he couldn’t see any of the five planets from this distance, but he peered closely at the monitors anyway.

He streamed the comm dataset one more time, as he’d done before every jump. The data was far more vital than he. Better they receive it twenty times than not at all. While he waited for the data to download, there was time for a meal and a fur scraping before his final jump.

Protocols called for two system checks before each jump. Var ran three before he initiated the ship’s systems to jump into hyperspace. He had acclimated to the body-churning sensations enough that he no longer vomited, but he was eager to return to his suspension hammock. After one final system check.

One week later, the ship woke him with gentle rotations of his hammock. When he was fully alert, he slid out into the zero-g and pulled himself to the flight center. If he hesitated for a moment before settling in the pilot’s chair, who was there to see it? For one last time, he held his body still while the ship’s access controls wrapped around his arms, neck, and head. He stared at the Gliese Sisters while the rods pierced his fingers, throat, spine, and finally his eyes.

Fully connected, he initiated the jump sequence that would finally bring him home. As his ship emerged from hyperspace, Raald Var realized something was wrong. Asteroid debris tumbled around his ship, and he quickly dodged a piece large enough to damage the hull. Working with the ship to find a neutral space, they coasted while Var studied the monitors. He blinked, and blinked again.

Here on the cusp of Reelsa’s orbit, he could only see two of her sister planets. The ship’s sytems displayed the other, long-orbiting Dhjaba . But Reelsa was not there. The ship’s systems confirmed what the ache in his heart already told him was true. There were only four planets orbiting the Gliese Sisters. His home was gone.

TBC (perhaps)

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle

“Cleopatra’s Secret” from ARC Music 35th Anniversary 1976-2011

Time writing:
~40 minutes (darn Word crash!)

April word count:


  1. Prompt: As his ship emerged from hyperspace, Raald Var realized something was wrong…

    Raald let out a string of curses, unable to hear himself as the prox-sirens filled the air. There was little he could do, now, though, for he had already bled the hyper bladder and the ship was irreversibly transitioning to real space. He had enough juice, just, for a pebble skip, but he would have to touch down in reality.

    He hovered his fingers over the controls, ready to fire the hyper injector the moment they transitioned down. But as the plain blackness of real space replaced the sparkling hyperfog, he pulled his hands back. There was no danger of collision. There was nothing there.

    He squinted at the screens then palmed the canopy control to get a real vision view of the outside. There was _literally_ nothing there. Real space had stars and galaxies shining through the blackness. The view in his screen was echoed by his eyes--inky black, like a squid's last known location. He was meant to transition down by a planetary system, including a gas giant with two moons, which should have been arcing by about two-o'clock in the plane of his trajectory.

    Where the hell had it gone? Or, he considered, perhaps the better question was where the hell had _he_ gone?

    1. I like it! Fun rollicking start with the string of curses and the prox-sirens. Hyper bladder is a nice touch, though by hyper fog, it felt like one too many "hyper"s? Really like the inky blackness and the last line. Good intro!